Death of a Dishwasher

January, 2001 

Greetings to all!

For those of you who really enjoyed the December Read & Delete newsletter, I have some shocking news for you--- I didn't write a newsletter for December! I was working on one, but between battling with the jolly fat red pagan and working overtime keeping the wheels of industry running over my broken body, something had to give, and it was the R&D. Besides that, my new laptop/notebook/PDA had an aneurysm or something, so most of last month's treatise got mistreated. But don't worry, the machine is fine now, and soon will be littering the web with jagged barbs, awful puns and salient salinity. 
I could distill the events of the last two weeks down to one word----HELP! Last October, while I was away in England, apparently the magic ran out for our Magic Chef dishwasher, and it turned in its notice. Wendy wanted me to take a look at it, with the idea of my actually repairing the beast. I claimed that my schedule was too full for minor repair jobs. (I try not to become involved in domestic affairs, especially since I am now a world traveler) Wendy was not amused. Faced with the ominous threat of incarceration into forced kitchen servitude, I mounted an heroic effort to replace the said dishwasher with something other than myself. So I went appliance hunting, right in the middle of the Christmas shopping season.
The only difference between shopping for a new dishwasher and buying a used car is that one cannot "test drive" the dishwasher. Other than that, the two experiences are the same: questionable products, same salesmen with the same schpeel, same checkered jackets, the works. In a half-dozen stores I used my usual tactic for shopping in peace: when a salesman would approach, I would call out, "I'm a leper! Unclean! Unclean!" It worked beautifully on salesmen who weren't covered with decay. The others kept coming. 
I ended up buying a Maytag from my old arch-nemesis-- Montgomery Ward. Ten years ago I actually WORKED for Montgomery Ward as a TV and appliance service technician. At Wards I learned a lot about customers, especially how angry they can get when they are seriously mistreated. I wouldn't say that the Wards management was bad, because that isn't true. They were evil, at least the management I worked with. I left the company after four years due to a misunderstanding. They couldn't understand that the truth is an absolute, and that the customers were paying money under the premise that they were actually receiving the parts and service that they were paying for. In my opinion, what kept Montgomery Ward in business for the last ten years is the fact that no one had developed a practical hand-held polygraph unit. (lie detector) Yes, I bought a dishwasher from Wards. I figured it was my last chance. Even then it was a death-defying experience just picking it up from the appliance warehouse. 
Speaking of death-defiance, I saw an accident where a tractor-trailer combination blasted some roller skate car. The occupants of the cars were O.K., but the real peril came from the police officer who was directing all adjacent traffic into a series of smaller wrecks. In retrospect, I couldn't really tell if he was an officer at all--- he might have been a mime practicing in the middle of the intersection. It was pretty tough driving around that invisible wall he put up.
I put a new timing belt in Wendy's minivan and saved $650.00 by doing it myself. I will be spending the money at the chiropractor's over the next three months. While doing the job I don't know which was popping louder-- my ratchet wrench or my lower vertebrae.
Right after that, James and I went winter camping (in cabins!) at Phantom Ranch with about 75 kids and leaders from our AWANA group. It was a weekend filled with tobogganing, tubing, broom hockey and spinal adjustments. The tubing hill had a slope of about 50 degrees and enough snow to make it an extremely fast run. Next time I'll bring my own neck brace. Seriously, everybody had a blast. The cabins were warm, the food was great and the activities--- well, let's just say that I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. But not on the bus. 

Gotta go..... 99 bottles of coke on the wall,........


Neil