Monday, May 08, 2006

Dishwashers and Drunken Monkey Pills

It says right on my discharge papers: "Avoid making important financial decisions or signing important legal documents."

I consider this to mean that I should not have to deal with such things as broken dishwashers for the foreseeable future.


So, the dishwasher has been fritzy for a while. Basically, it throws cold water over the dishes, hums a little tune to itself for a while, and that's it. It does not actually wash the dishes. It does not, in fact, even get the water warm enough to dissolve the dish soap.

So we had a guy come out and look at it a little over a week ago. He said, "Aha, your heating element is broken. It will be $200 to replace it."

Well, this being a $600 dishwasher of only five years antiquity (note that this is outside the warranty period), we decided to pay the $200. He orders parts and arrives this morning to replace the heating element.

Shortly after arriving and yanking the unit out of the counter, he says, "Um. There's a different problem here. The heating element is broken, BUT, it isn't getting instructions from the motherboard. Yup. Your motherboard is broken, too."

The motherboard. The dishwasher has a motherboard.

A broken motherboard.

Ay yi yi.

So the total bill was now creeping up toward the $400 mark to fix the old dishwasher.

And, I am on Drunken Monkey Pills. The technical name is 'Vicodin', but I prefer to call them Drunken Monkey Pills, because when I take them – well. It's appropriate.

So I'm sitting here trying to do the math on getting a new dishwasher.

$400 to repair a dishwasher that hasn't worked right in months and never really was up to the horror that is Dishwashing for the Den of Chaos.

$600 for a new dishwasher of suitable brand/durability/ability to handle the somewhat copious dish-needs of the Den.

$400, with no guarantee that it will continue working once the new motherboard (motherboard!) and heating elements have been installed.

$600 for a new one with a full three year warranty on all moving parts.

$400, and the repairman is shaking his head sadly at me as if to say, "You and I both know that I will be back here inside of a month fixing something else that has gone wrong with this thing."

$600 is probably too low. $600 will be the price before sales tax, delivery charges, the $65 drainage tube that somehow is never included (and usually takes two weeks to be shipped from Norway or something), and the fact that the guy who comes out to install it has to carve up a 6' ring of Pergo before he can get it in.

$400 sounds better and better. Then the guy points out that there is also a mystery leak coming from 'somewhere' near the back and that the pump doesn't seem to be pumping.


I would like to direct the attention of the Guild back to the statement on my release papers: "Avoid making important financial decisions or signing important legal documents."

This includes choosing a new dishwasher, paying for a new dishwasher, and otherwise dealing with a dishwasher in any way, shape, or form.

Especially not while taking Drunken Monkey Pills.

Also, can I say right here and now that I do not feel up to making a journey out to Sears and/or Best Buy and/or Appliances-R-Us and/or to inspect dishwashers? I really don't give a {bleep} about dishwashers right now.

Except I have way too many control issues around my kitchen to just send forth the husband to pick a stupid dishwasher.

There is also the tiny fact that I do not technically have even the $400 to repair the old one. I will be stealing this money. Using "creative finance" to handle it. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Let's see. I have to come up with roughly $1,200 for all the medical bills I've racked up over the last few weeks, plus I'm not getting paid for my time off this week (already used up my vacation/sick pay before we even had the diagnosis), can't get disability in the thankfully unlikely case anything else goes wrong here (because they would base it on the last quarter of 2005, during which I was a stay at home mom with $0 in salary), am still trying to recover from the staggeringly huge start-up costs associated with earning money (ironic, ain't it?) and now…the damned dishwasher is broken.

I feel very, very abused right now.

And I'm also angry, because I keep telling myself I really shouldn't complain. A dishwasher, I tell myself sternly, is hardly a "need". Mankind managed to survive without dishwashers for thousands of years, I inform myself loftily.

"You know," I tell myself with the droll self-importance of The Enlightened. "You really need a reality check. Food is a need. Your health care costs are a need. A dishwasher is not a need. There are children in Africa right now who…"

Aw, shaddup. I'm pissed, and depressed, and feeling very, very put upon. And oddly, counting my blessings is making me even pissier. And I can't blame anybody else for doing it to me – it's all coming from inside my own head.

I get upset because I'm sick and sore and 'recovering', and what do I say to myself? "You should be grateful you have those Drunken Monkey Pills, and a nice clean hospital with kindly nurses to tend you! Millions of people all over the world are dying from far less than this for lack of basic medical care!"

I feel kind of sick inside because I'm facing a major expense, and there goes that snarky-mouthed witch inside my brain: "You know, first of all, a dishwasher is hardly a 'need'. Hardly. And secondly, you know full well that financing such things on a whim is not sound fiscal policy. Furthermore, washing dishes by hand is a wholesome, family-building experience blah blah blah blah blah…"

Usually I'm grateful for my gratitude. I think it helps me laugh off things that might otherwise be Crushing Disappointments™. I feel I have it pretty darned good, even when things are going pretty darned poorly.

But right about now…well. Maybe it's just the Drunken Monkey Pills, but I surely do wish I could stop feeling like I should be grateful and just wallow in a little self-pity for a little while.

Of course, what's a good pity party, without tea and cookies…and I can't eat real food yet. You see how bad things are?! I can't even have a nice little sugar cookie with my self-pity!

"You know…there are people all over the world who would trade their right arm to have a lovely cup of lukewarm chicken broth right now…!"

(Can I send them mine? Seriously. I'll box it right up…)


Very Herodotus said...

Now stop that. Given your full-time employed status, your commute, and the amount of dishes that must occupy your sink every day, I don't think it's unreasonable to call a dishwasher a 'need'.

Your kids are too little to help with the dishes right now, and you and your husband probably have very little time after work to get housework done. And that will only get worse when *all* of your kids are in school and bringing home piles of homework every night.

Go get a dishwasher. Stainless steel interior, whisper quiet operation, shiny and new. Pay someone to deliver and install it and haul away your old one. Finance it if you need to, because you know perfectly well that you'll pay it off soon enough. This is one of those times when it's worth paying for convenience, the convenience of the dishwaher itself and the convenience of delivery and installation.


Moira said...

At this point what you have gone through in the last several days/weeks you DESERVE the dishwasher... really you have more socks to knit!

21st Century Mom said...

I'd argue that at least 2 of your kids are quite capable of helping with the dishes. However, you have a nasty problem. Maybe you can find a great deal at Sears in the scratched and dented area? Or maybe eBay (Sears uses eBay to dispose of older models) Or maybe 0% financing for a year from Home Depot. Or something.

For now just rest and get better and let your husband and the 2 older girls deal with the dishes. It will be okay - really.