2011.03.30 Beware of things that spin

Written by David Green.


I came downstairs one morning in late-February to discover a note from David in the microwave. 

No, it wasn’t a sweet belated Valentine or a frustrated observation that I’d again left the kitchen table in a crazy mess of newspapers and junk mail.

It was a warning: “It’s done. Do not use!”

The microwave, he later told me, shot out a brilliant arc of electricity before sputtering to a certain death.

The collapse of all things electrical began on my first trip to Little Rock when I pulled out my phone charger and it collapsed in my hands. It was a very cheap car phone charger purchased because I was too cheap to buy a regular phone charger. 

I considered spending more than the two bucks I dished out, but this cell phone is  old—probably on-its-last-legs old. But it keeps on kicking—or did until the charger self-destructed, coming apart at its center and spitting out skinny red and yellow wires.

It’s a 2119b Kyocera, an early Virgin Mobile model that we bought Rosie when she was in high school...Rosie is about to turn 25 which means the phone is at least eight years old. Other than the numbers fading away and its insatiable need for electricity, it’s perfectly fine.

Maddie doesn’t think so, though. Whenever I pull it out in public, she walks away from me.

I told my friend Adrienne about it and she just laughed.

“Oh, Mrs.,” she said. “Is it one of those refrigerator-size phones? Who could blame her?”

Certainly not the salesclerks I showed it to when trying to buy a new charger. Everyone from Michigan to Little Rock got a good laugh upon seeing the phone.

Microwave, phone, and then the washing machine. The washer has been biting the dust for some time now, but I’d rather spend money to visit my new grandbaby than buy a new machine. 

It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen baby Caroline and I can hardly stand it. Every day I flip through photos and we’ve done a little Skyping, but it just isn’t like being there in Little Rock, smelling her pure goodness...not perfumey baby products...just pure baby.

Everything she does is cause for celebration or noteworthy in some way—even her grunting sounds and eye-rolling routine that brings to mind “The Exorcist” as her eyes roll to the back of her head, then both look left, both look right, then look cross-eyed.

Her little pursed lips as if she’s practicing how to kiss, her smiles—real smiles, her full array of entertaining facial expressions and vocalizations—they’re all just cause for wonder.

She’s a person! A real, red-headed, sweet little person! There’s no end to the mystery of it, the awe, that this pretty little thing sprung forth from my daughter, who sprung forth from me. I know, there were a couple of men involved along the way, but it just seems not quite believable that such a thing could happen.

So, nursing that washing machine along is fine by me, especially since David just discovered a unique fix for the problem of the washer not kicking into the spin cycle. He stuck a screw driver into the lid locking mechanism and somehow, with the lid up, the washing machine courses through all its cycles with no problem.

On a do-it-yourself online forum, the issue was actually being discussed after a guy named Ben (No, not our son, Ben. Our Ben is usually frustrated by his parents’ make-do attitude and would go out and buy a proper washing machine.) posed this problem about his newly purchased second hand washing machine:

Subject: missing washing machine lid, need to bypass lock mechanism!

“I lost the lid when i picked it up from where I bought it from and the lid blew off when I delivered home.”

“Running a wash machine with no lid is going to be both dangerous and messy,” advised one responder. 

I read that to David and he disagreed.

“The only danger is fighting the urge to stick your finger in there,” he said. “No, not finger, hand,” he amended his original statement.

“‘Finger’ is when you have a table fan and the shield comes off,” he explained.  When the fan is spinning around, “You want to just stick your finger in,” he said.

I told that to Adrienne and she said, “I guess I better not turn my ceiling fan on when Mr. comes to visit. He might get the urge to stick his head in it.”

Note to Caroline: You better focus those eyes when you’re around your Grandpa.

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