Schelhaas: The attack of the appliance virus | Opinion

Can a virus attack appliances? My wife and I couldn’t help but ask this question over the past few months as one of our devices after the other went on fritz.

The first to go was the microwave. Well, we thought we lived without a microwave for more than half of our married life. You don’t need to get it fixed right away.

But at some point we missed simply reheating a piece of leftover pizza or quickly defrosting a container of homemade salsa. “Cannot be repaired,” we were told when we called the appliance store. You could replace it, but it would take time. Due to the coronavirus, production had slowed, shipping was slow, and the color you wanted was hard to find. But we ordered one and waited.

Next up was the washing machine. Fortunately, our mechanic was able to fix the problem.

At about the same time, the dishwasher stopped working. It was irreparable, but replacing it was far more important than the microwave. We’ve had one since I had to take care of the dishwashing chores when our first child was born. However, we were told it would be at least three months before the device store could get the one we wanted. So we went to another equipment store and they told us they could install the one we wanted in two weeks. That was over a month ago. Still no new dishwasher.

A vacuum cleaner isn’t the most important tool in the closet, but we’ve had this since we moved to the Sioux Center 32 years ago and felt kind of sentimental. So we decided to get it fixed. We got it back a month later and it worked like new.

The automatic garage door opener stopped working two weeks ago. After playing around in vain with those little transverse lights that needed to be aligned just right, I decided to call the garage door opener. It arrived that afternoon and a new garage door opener had been installed by nightfall. There are certain needs that need to be done right away.

Some young readers might ask, “You mean in the old days people had to back out the car from the garage, get out of the car and close the garage door and get back in the car?”

Yes! In fact, I can remember days so old that people didn’t even have garages.

(BTW, if you want to have fun, take your 3 year old grandchild in front of the garage door with an opener in their jacket pocket and show them how to open the door by just saying magic words.)

Last week it was the refrigerator, a big old monster so tightly nestled in a corner of the kitchen that it takes Herculean strength and gracious conjugal collaboration to slide it out. But we were able to slide it out after a lot of pushing and grunting. When the refrigerator was installed, we were told to periodically blow the dust off the coils under the refrigerator. For us that meant every five years. When the ice cream I took out of the freezer turned the consistency of gravy, we knew we were in trouble.

We sucked out some dust and blew the rest out with the leaf blower. But no. That thing still didn’t work. The refrigerator repair man came right after we called and five minutes later he had removed a faulty part, replaced it with a new one and was out the door with a check in his pocket.

Right now we are very careful with our television, the most important of all virus survival devices.

Dave Schelhaas taught English in high school for 23 years and English in Dordt College for 20 years. He is retired and lives at the Sioux Center with his wife Jeri.

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