Better Living through Small Appliances

I found myself back in our little Sears shop for another appliance, because of all the dog poop.

The dogs are pooping in the house again. This go-around, it’s been four days in a row in the living room. This is partly my fault, for not giving them the walks they need. But there’s also a breach in the baby gate that has (up until now) preserved the living room as my grown-up space. Daughter and I will get right on that with our new powertools and fix that babygate. I’ll ask son to pitch in with dogwalking.

But that doesn’t help with the current deposits.

I scooped up the poop each morning as we left for the day. I detected some pee and sprinkled baking soda over it, to get to it immediately and to be able to identify the spots later. Eventually I was able to get to all of it with my carpet cleaner. The carpet cleaner is great. It gets the dirt and spots up right away. It’s supposed to suck up the water that it uses during the shampooing, but it never gets it all up, and that creates a whole ‘nother problem. This morning, I could tell the floor was still wet. I lugged the dehumidifier up the stairs and dang if it didn’t kick in. The tantalizing thing about the dehumudifier is that it has a sticker that says after you plug it in, it takes 2 minutes to kick in. So I powered it on and waited patiently. Sometimes it starts, other times it doesn’t. Today, it didn’t. After two minutes, I pressed the power button on and off, in some sort of negative feedback loop, always hoping that the next time, it would kick in. As I engaged in this futile pressing of the Power button, I could smell the mustiness in the floors. If the water set in, it would ruin the carpet tiles. I’d struggle with the smell until finally capitulating and ordering more from FLOR. (That’s what happened over the summer.)

Screw this, I thought, I’m going to Sears.

I don’t know what the guy from Sears thinks about me. I walk in there every few months, walk up to the appliance I’m looking for, browse for 5, maybe 10 minutes, then tell him I’m ready to make a purchase. I don’t even need to bring my Sears card; he just pulls up my name and puts it on my charge card. It’s like an old fashioned general store, except instead of leaving 20 cents of flour on my account, I’m charging hundreds of dollars (and sometimes $1,000). When they’ve come to the house to install the big appliances, they’ve cocked their eyebrows at my not-so-old or not-so-outdated appliance and wondered why I’ve bought a new one. I evade the question.

What can I tell them? Of course any good old Yankee would get the not-so-old appliances fixed, but I’m not feeling like my Yankee self these days. Things need to work around here. I need to feel like we’re safe, and I need to count on these appliances. A dishwasher or an oven or a screwdriver or a vacuum or a dehumidifier–these things should not be our challenges, they should make our lives easier, so we can get on to the business of struggling with the real challenges or, on a good day, not struggle so much at all and just live mundane lives.

At home, I fired up the new dehumidifier. It kicked in immediately, with more power than the old one ever had. Within minutes, the musty smell dissipated. A few hours later, I walked on the floor and it was dry.

Purchase decisions are difficult to make on my own (as are medical decisions for the kids). I try to exercise judgment, but I don’t trust myself, because I often feel crazy. When my new oven preheats quickly and the stove burner flames don’t splay out treacherously, when the dehumidifier sucks water from the carpet like it says on the box, only then do I have confirmation that I made the right decision.

And here’s the other thing about my regular trips to Sears. I can’t stand baggage from the past. We carry enough baggage around with us. It’s in our memories, hardwired in our brains, imprinted in things that are broken from the times when husband would lose his marbles. We live in the now now, and I can’t abide stuff from the past that doesn’t work. We can’t replace our brains and hearts with new ones. Fixing and healing them is a long game. That, there, is where I apply all the Yankee ingenuity I can muster. An unreliable dehumidifier? A 5-minute visit to the store and a charge on the Sears card and–there!–it’s over.

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2 thoughts on “Better Living through Small Appliances

  1. Resolve Pet OXI carpet cleaner from the grocery store does wonders to neutralize the smell of urine. Levi went through a spell where he was feeling the pressure of my grief, too—and probably his own as well—and the carpet suffered for it. More walks and more attention has cured his problem. If only it would work that way with us I’d hire someone to walk me. LOL

    I recently replaced a toaster for no other reason than the color and replaced a coffee pot when the old one was still perfectly fine. And I’m shopping for an iPod that I could do without. There is something about buying stuff that makes you feel in control, if only for a short time. When Don first died I traded in a vehicle with less than 10,000 miles and some people couldn’t understand that. There is no reason to put a guilt trip on ourselves about getting rid of baggage from the past no matter what our motives for doing so. It’s our lives and we should celebrate every decision we make that moves us forward.

  2. I am heartened to hear about your toaster purchase. I totally get it. It helps me to hear because I never know if this purging-and-buying comes from being a “survivor” or if it’s just standard widow behavior. It doesn’t matter, though, does it? And, you’re right, every purchase has been premised on the desire to move forward, and that’s a desire that doesn’t come often enough, so we should feed it when we see it.

    Thanks for advising me not to feel guilty. I get it, I do. It’s just that I’m trying to pay down credit card balances. I’m on a plan to pay them all off, and then I go and buy an appliance. It’s that decisionmaking that I doubt. Should I pay off the cards, then budget this stuff in? Or should I pad the credit card balance a little as I pay down the balances? In making those decisions alone, I have reasons to doubt my judgment, because I just don’t trust myself these days. But my new oven is *great* and that dehumidifier is a workhorse. (Sometime I’ll write an ode to my electric kettle or can opener that is so safe that I don’t even understand how it’s possible.) I have a friend in town who has been alongside me all along, and she has also approved every purchase. I know one of you will let me know when I’ve gone overboard!

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