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Rise of the Machines, Part II

May 19, 2005

'Member when, about a year ago, I bitched and moaned that appliances and electric doodads were conspiring against me, and that all I had to do was merely PASS BY something with a plug, and it would immediately start the Beeping of Death, followed by smoke and/or fire, and then die in a painful, shuddering heap? Remember that? Well, good people, THAT TIME IS UPON US AGAIN.

It started with the washing machine and dryer. They had worked so faithfully for me for so long, even moving from Athens to Atlanta with no complaint, existing in peaceful harmony even though one was white and one was bisque and they clearly did not match, THIS DID NOT MATTER, they provided nothing but love and spring-scented clothing anyway, for they were FAITHFUL APPLIANCES. Until they turned on me.

The dryer was the first to go, but it was followed quickly by the washer, who died a sympathy death much like the second dog in Where the Red Fern Grows (OH I HATE THAT BOOK). And even though this was maybe a little sad on an sentimental level, I wasn't too upset, because I purchased a BRAND NEW, FANCY ASS European washer and dryer several weeks ago, which had been donated to a charity-used-things-sale, and which I had bought, in anticipation of THIS VERY DAY.

So I was feeling smart, and also smug, because I knew I had two brand new, top of the line European machines just sitting outside in the garage, waiting patiently for their opportunity to European-ly permanent press the daylights out of something. I imagined that while they waited, they talked to each other in stereotypically German accents, saying things like:

Washer: I can't VAIT to start the voshing. I vill vosh EVERYSINK zat she has, and it vill be so CLEAN and VONDERFUL like days of Spring.

Dryer: I vill dry like the engine of zee jet. I vill be so fast she vill vonder, where has time gone? Poof!

So, anyway. I called Dig and Dukay and my father, and everyone came over to participate in the Great Switching of Washers and Dryers, and it involved a dolly AND a hand truck and lots of rippling muscles, and I pretty much just stood there, smugly, watching and offering to wash everyone's clothes, and their families' clothes, and anyone else's clothes, pretty much, because...new washer! And dryer! Yay!

Y'all, I even went out (wait, correction. Had Dukay go out) and buy the industrial-sized jug of Tide, which contains enough detergent to wash the whole entire wardrobe of a family of seventeen. And DRYER SHEETS. A WORLD of dryer sheets. I was ready to WASH, y'all!

Wait, hold on. Is it...sad that I was so excited about doing laundry? It's...it's sad, isn't it? Awesome! I officially suck now. Don't tell anyone.

But ANYWAY. So the moving was completed, and Dad started hooking up the European washer. And then he turned it on, and all these buttons started blinking, and I said, "Oh, let's WASH something! Let's wash THIS!" and happily grabbed a towel, and threw it in the basin, and added soap, and pushed some blinking lights, and sat back and waited, BREATH BATED, for water to fill the machine.

And this is what happened.

Machine: (Gurgle. Splurt. WATER! Stop. Gurgle.)


Dad: Huh.

Machine: WATER! Stop. Gurgle. Splurt. Beep?

Machine: Vosher is feeling...so...wrong...

Self: Look! It's energy efficient! Or...something!

Dad: Yeah, I guess...

Machine: Beep! WATER! Splurt. Gurgle. Blaaaaah.


Dad: Is it supposed to do that?

Self: Um. I don't actually know what classifies as "European," and what classifies as just..."broken."

Dad: I think we're in the second camp.

Machine: Ding! All done!

Machine: Good bye, vorld.

Machine: (Turns off.)

Self: Aw, shit.

So, the washer? Broken. And us, with no manual of any kind, because I bought it from a thrift sale thingy, thinking I was the most brilliant and economical individual on the planet. Ha ha, good intentions!

And naturally, that was just the beginning, because at that point, at least we could install the dryer, but NOT SO MUCH, when Dad turned to me and said, "Wait, are these European?"

And I said yes, indeedy. In fact, they are German, with stereotypically German accents.

And he said, "Well, what is FUNNY, is that the plugs ARE ALSO EUROPEAN."

And I said, "..."

And SO, Dig and Dukay and Dad had the sheer pleasure of REMOVING the new European washer and dryer, placing them BACK into the garage, where they are sitting next to the OTHER two dead machines, and the inside of my garage is now riddled with dead appliances.


Because the NEXT DAY, while sleeping, a major thunderstorm hit. And apparently, the fucker hit MY HOUSE, because I woke up as the entire room flashed white and there was the kind of crash that indicates that maybe GOD IS PISSED AT YOU.

(Dukay, naturally, slept through the whole Biblical thing. No wonder I feel so safe when he's around! It's like being protected by a doberman. Who happens to be dead.)

So, I figure that whoa, that's...loud, but seeing as I'm still alive, and Dukay is still snoring, I guess all is well and I'll just go back to sleep.

And all WAS well, until the following afternoon, when I tried to watch a DVD that I had in the DVD player, and the damn thing would not turn on. Nor would the VCR. Because they were FRIED, like EGGS, like YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS, and like many other examples of things that are similarly fried, and as a direct consequence, WILL NOT WORK ANYMORE.

The realization that the DVD player was fried, and that it contained a disk that I was not going to lose, OH NO, because it was a bootlegged and possibly slightly illegal copy of a television show which you can find NOWHERE, and I NEED THAT, put me in the novel position of having to try to figure out how, exactly, one extracts a DVD from a player that will not turn on, no matter how nicely you ask. Ultimately, the question was solved by using:

Two steak knives
A toothpick
A hammer
Some wine
A gallon of gasoline
A match.

(No, not really. But it was CLOSE. Still, isn't that very MacGuyver of me? I called all kinds of people and announced "I just got a DVD out of my DVD player all by myself!", only it was sad because nobody is ever impressed by what I do. There is no pleasing some people.)

But. ANYWAY. SO, so far, casualties include TWO washers, TWO dryers, a DVD player, and a VCR. I'm glad the TV and laptop haven't been struck (although...matter of time, possibly), but I am now eyeing all of my appliances suspiciously, wondering who is going to turn next.

And frankly, I've got my money on the dishwasher.

Posted by doxie in General Whining | permalink


Ha! I'm sorry but your plight is so cute. You should've called the Kiefer Twins...one day you'll learn. We recommend surge protecters. And Euro/US outlet converters or adapters.

Posted by: Kiefer Twin | May 19, 2005 07:48 PM

You are just a radioactive girl, I think. And no appliances stand a chance when within range of the GLOW THAT IS DOXIE. RIP, appliances! You are all very very lame-o.

PS. Hope the job is going well!

Posted by: Em | May 19, 2005 07:55 PM

Your European appliances are probably not dead, just bummed out at being asked to run on your low-level US voltages (110v) instead of our efficient vorsprung-durch-technik 220-240v current, which has the advantage of ensuring small children do not stick cutlery in electric sockets more than once.

Posted by: James | May 19, 2005 07:59 PM

My mother once slept through lightening hitting our house. My sister and I were watching Uncle Al (a local children's program) at the time. We went to wake her up, not because of the noise or the light, but because we were deeply, deeply concerned that Uncle Al and his friends had just turned bright green.

Yeah, the television? Was totally fried. As were all the other electric appliances.

Posted by: maryann | May 19, 2005 08:03 PM

I love the way you write. I AM impressed. and it's ok if you are a dork or whatever you said about being excited about laundry. I get excited about little things all the time.

Posted by: She who shall not be named | May 19, 2005 08:47 PM

Dammit, Doxie, I just bought a house. You do not instill confidence in me....

Posted by: Sister Rae | May 19, 2005 09:29 PM

Have no doubt, it will be the dishwasher. I have never lived in a house with a functional one.

Posted by: Erica | May 19, 2005 09:32 PM

I am impressed by everything you do. Coming from a person who cannot walk and chew gum at the same time (in all seriousness. I've got the scar on my knee to prove it), all your endeavors well merit everyone being impressed.

And I'm not just saying that because you're cute. Well. You are cute. But thats not the only reason I'm saying it. Um. Getting flustered.


Posted by: number1hypocrite | May 19, 2005 10:13 PM

Dude, I appreciate the DVD thing. I once had to extract a video rental from my crappy tv/vcr combo. Never again will I purchase the tv/vcr combo! You have not lived until you have taken the back off the tv and pried the video out with a knive, a vice-grip, and lots of obsenities.. Anyways! Good work!

Posted by: Vanessa | May 19, 2005 11:45 PM

Heh. I remember reading on a Reader's Digest once when I was a kid an article about a guy who said that one should never talk about earning money, thinking of upgrading the appliances nor anything that would mean for the appliances to be replaced in front of them because they have ears and eyes and they will die, just to get back at you.

Yeah, I don't know. It was a stupid article but it stuck on me so much that up to this day I do not ever talk in front of my car about how much I wish I could upgrade him. He already has thrown me some hints that I better behave or else. (i.e. new tires, filters, trips to the dealership because trunk has a life of its own, etc.)

Also, may I mention how much I love and care for the computer in which I am typing this? (heh. kiss-ass)

I believe the twins are right. And may I say, that the trash disposal on your zinc (sp?) may beat the dishwasher?

Posted by: Lily | May 20, 2005 12:18 AM

I think when you get excited about large appliances, like I was a couple of months ago after my own new washer/dryer purchase, it means your an adult. Which I still have a hard time with thinking of myself as. And I have 4 kids!! One of them very close to adulthood himself!! Ack!

Posted by: Bethmk32 | May 20, 2005 12:21 AM

Condolences on your tragic loss.
I know if I'm going from UK to the continent, we take an adaptor to plug small appliances eg hairdryer into, so they work with the foreign currentsy.
Would you consider having an electrician check if new plugs and an adaptor or two, would re-animate your deceased white goods? Or am I too stupid for words? Hmm.

Posted by: fifi | May 20, 2005 04:20 AM

oops, sorry Kiefer Twin.Shoulda read carefully. I had a shitty night's sleep. Dream about lightning strikes, funnily enough....

Posted by: fifi | May 20, 2005 04:22 AM

Too bad the old W/D weren't still plugged in - then you could blame the lightning and get insurance to pay for them, too. Lawyers can engage in insurance fraud, right?
BTW, what's the difference between a dolly and a hand truck? I thought they were the same. Is it different in the South?

Posted by: Mark | May 20, 2005 06:43 AM

Mark, there is a difference..."dolly" and "hand-truck" are sometimes used interchangeably but this is a misnomer! A dolly is a flat platform on four wheels for moving larger loads. A hand truck is the apparatus with a narrow ledge or platform on two large wheels at the bottom with a tall vertical handle tilted to the rear to move loads (reference mental picture of UPS guy). Knowledge provided courtesy of my manual labor days.

Posted by: Kiefer Twin | May 20, 2005 07:56 AM

I, too, love to do laundry. You can throw something in the washer and then go watch tv, but you aren't slacking, you're doing laundry. It's quite lovely. I get such a sense of accomplishment from being caught up with laundry.

Posted by: Joanna | May 20, 2005 09:52 AM

Man, that sucks. Stupid European plugs.

One time I noticed that my dryer wasn't, well, drying anything, which is kind of it's job. So my dad came over and we unhooked it (which requires me to crawl into a very tight space and still be able to unscrew things), loaded it up on my truck and took it to get repaired. Turns out nothing was wrong with it. I just hadn't emptied the lent trap in, oh, six months, so the joker got overheated and blew the breaker switch. I felt very smart that day.

Posted by: smartjuice | May 20, 2005 10:07 AM

Clearly you've done something very wrong, and God is pissed off at you. If this happened to me, I couldn't even begin to guess for WHICH particular transgression he was punishing me, and maybe this goes for you too. Probably something to do with getting drunk.

Don't go to laundromats, go to Mom's house to do your laundry; although many years ago I was once offered cocaine in a laundromat by an actual prostitute, and that sort of thing doesn't go on at Mom's house, I'm guessing.

Posted by: Gretchen C. | May 20, 2005 10:31 AM

Girl.. I'm impressed.. appliances are certainly not my thing.. see I would've probably shocked myself even w/ the DVD thing all fried out.. that would be my luck.. And I suggest just moving into a place like I did w/ appliances like the dishwasher already dead.. makes the grief much easier to bear.. I hardly notice it's there as I stack up the hand-washed dishes above it..

Posted by: roguedevyl | May 20, 2005 11:50 AM

I'm sorry that everything broke itself! The big question burning on my mind, though, is: What show was stuck in your DVD player? It must be good!

Posted by: K:) | May 20, 2005 04:15 PM

Damn girl. Time to call Extreme Home Makeover, they get a brand spankin new washer and dryer ever time.

Posted by: Brighton | May 20, 2005 09:59 PM

Heeeeeeeey Doxie! I AM impressed with the whole slightly illegal DVD extraction and I am very mechanically inclined. Bravo for you!

Too bad about the washer and drier though. That is very sad. I too get excited about such appliance purchases. In fact, my BIG-ass dryer was purchased in a very similar way (excecpt I got the manual!) and fortunately it still works. *knocks on wood, like 400 times* I still frequently go and stroke my 6 month old computerised Whirpool washing machine, which I love. It's purty.

By the way Doxie? Thank you eversomuch for Dukay/Dead Doberman analogy. It KILLED me. Thankfully you have 4 small dogs that think they are dobermans, so it all works out.

By the way, my Mama (so therefore I do too)has people in Athens. Interesting.

Happy Appliance shopping. (and trust me, stick to Whirpool)I've had European models, they're not all they're cracked up to be.

Posted by: Scarlett Cyn | May 21, 2005 01:31 AM

Doxie you are the greatest! I should really learn not to eat or drink anything when I start to read your page, this time I snorted smoothie out my nose, not a comfortable experience I can tell you!

I totally sympathise with the whole 'experiencing the wrath of the Gods' thing, it happened to us a couple of years ago and resulted in a totally wiped hard drive, which was not fun at all.

Good luck, and stay clear of smoothie makers, for they are evil.

Posted by: Moneypenny | May 21, 2005 07:46 AM

Long time reader, first time commenter. I'm moving to Atlanta tomorrow (from San Francisco), and I sure hope everyone there is as hilarious as you! Keep it up. :)

Posted by: Tiffany | May 21, 2005 03:22 PM

Hi Miss Doxie!

Not to get technical, but was your house built in the 60's? They started using this stupid ass aluminum wiring about then, which will eventually cause all your little devices to go SPURT...it's pretty easy to fix..and maybe it's time for a lightning rod?


Posted by: mramunds | May 21, 2005 08:02 PM

I do believe this is the funnies thing I've read in quite some time!

Posted by: Kristin | May 21, 2005 11:09 PM

Oh my goodness! Doxie, stay away from my computer. Don't even think about what electronic device I am using to send you this message. Just kidding. I just bought a new washer and dryer yesterday. How weird is that. You need to check out the new electronics store "Frye's". I think it's on Steve Reynolds off I-85. It is like Best Buy, Circuit City, Borders, Microcenter and Tower Records all under one gianormous roof. Wear comfortable shoes!
By the way how did the dogs react after the lighting strike? I bet they came a foot and a half off the bed.

Posted by: Mackmomma | May 22, 2005 12:03 AM

Omg that book with the kid and he falls on the axe?!?! Agh!!!

Posted by: Mary | May 22, 2005 07:13 PM

whatever, that asshole deserved it. THAT WAS NOT THE SAD PART... mountain lion! hello! so sad

Posted by: dandy lion | May 24, 2005 10:51 PM

He totally deserved it but still twas scary and gross.

Posted by: Mary | May 26, 2005 12:37 PM

I don't think you've lived properly until you have a good stock of dead white goods in the garage. By the time I moved out of my last house we had collected four dead washing machines, one dead dryer and a live machine and dryer in the garage. So you're well on your way.

Posted by: Uli | May 26, 2005 10:40 PM

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