Sorta seemed like things were going O.K.
I should’ve known better.
Last week when the dishwasher dude came over, to the tune of $70, I whined him into submission by crying about the alleged pending layoff, and so instead of charging me $380 plus parts plus tax to replace the impeller motor, he clued me to his theory that you can sometimes clean out whatever is obstructing the motor by running two or three bottles of Dishwasher Magic through the machine. This miracle elixir can be had at any Ace Hardware for about $4.00.
It seems to have worked, in a desultory way. However, now the dishwasher has decided that it won’t turn off at the end of the wash cycle. When its “countdown” reaches 1 minute, it just keeps on running. Makes its noise, too. It no longer makes the noise anywhere else in the washing process. But it makes it as it struggles unsuccessfully to shut down. To bring a stop to that, I have to enter the “cancel-&-drain” code. Helle’s Belles. We have 10 people slated to descend on my house for Christmas dinner, and so the prospect of letting the problem go until the dishwasher craps out does not appeal.
Because, as you know, this will guarantee that the dishwasher will die at 9:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
So it looks like we’ll be enjoying a $300 or $400 dishwasher repair bill, after all.
A decent night’s sleep—more than 10 hours!—ended a two-week-long spate of insomnia. Nevertheless, I felt tired. Did the laundry. Precious little food in the house: made do with a cheese sandwich and coffee for breakfast.
The pool needed to be backwashed, its pressure having risen from its normal 6 or 8 psi to about 14 psi. It needed other attention, too, as signaled by some green patches of algae. The techs at the pool store claim the growth of algae when the chemicals are correctly balanced indicates that the pool should be drained and refilled, another little operation I can’t afford just now. They suggested that I let the pool pump drain the water as far as possible for several backwashes in a row. So I flooded the alley (illegal! on Sunday, though, the City’s enforcers will be home doing their own weekend chores), creating a model of Lake Superior out there. It took over an hour with the hose running full blast to raise the water line back to normal.
In the interim, I noticed a fine bathtub ring of white calcium all around the tile. So had to get down on hands & knees, with my head hanging upside down over the water, and scrub this stuff off with vinegar and a scouring pad. One 45-minute tour around the perimeter didn’t suffice. Had to do it again. I scrubbed in the icy water until my fingers were numb and my knees wouldn’t hold my weight anymore. Then I brushed the algae off the walls and steps. To accomplish this latter, I had to take off my shoes, socks, and jeans and climb into the December water, a bracing experience indeed.
When the pool was full, I turned the pump back on and poured eight pounds of diatomaceous earth back into the filter, via the pump intake.
And what might I have forgotten?
What, indeed. I forgot that I hadn’t turned the backwash valve off.
All the time I was dumping pound after pound after suffocating POUND of D.E. into the intake, the pump was gushing it out the other side. By the time I realized this, the backwash hose had dug a hole in the desert landscaping and sprayed DE all over the side yard.
What an incredible MESS. Now I’ll have to pay Gerardo to come over here and repair the landscaping. Merry Christmas.
So now I shut the pump down, turn off the backwash valve, and turn the pump back on.
This causes VAST CLOUDS OF D.E. TO VOMIT INTO THE POOL THROUGH THE OUTLETS!!!!!!
Now the pool water is opaque. Not only that, but the pump is running at 10 psi, well above normal.
I call the pool service people and get a human. Of course, the dispatcher hasn’t a clue. She recommends that I turn off the pump, though I suspect that over time it will suck the stuff back in and catch it in the filter.
The pool guy will be here on Tuesday, minimum $85 charge plus parts plus whatever else they can dream up.
It took another hour to refill the pool back to its normal water line.
So, it’s off to the grocery store. I’m feeling too depressed to go to the Safeway and the Costco and the AJs, so I decide to cut it short and go only to AJs, where I can pick up the coffee and the bacon I happen to favor. The rest of it: later.
I’m starved. Consequently, against my better judgment I buy a take-out dinner of vegetarian pesto Yuppie gourmet lasagne and a bottle of wine. I’m freaking depressed, too. So I buy not one but two bottles of my favorite bubble bath, of which I’m about out. They have a new scent. How can I turn it down? And some gelato. Double chocolate. And carmel de leche.
While I’m feeling sorry for myself in the grocery store, I run into an old friend from Arizona Highways.She tells me she’s out of work, sliding into debt, and anxiously searching for a job. Do I know of any PR openings?
Dear god. This lady is highly professional, very good at what she does, and has an impeccable track record. If she can’t get a job, times really are tough. I tell her about LinkedIn, promise to send the names of every spy I can think of, and stumble off to the cash register. The bill for all the indulgences I’ve picked up comes to something over ninety bucks.
Back at the Funny Farm, I decide to turn on the pump no matter what the Leslie’s dispatcher says. The D.E. has settled. I run the brush over the steps and bottom by way of getting the stuff back into circulation, stirring up more VAST CLOUDS of opaque fog. Too late, I realize that if I had let the powder stay on the bottom, I could have simply taken the manual vacuum and schlepped it into the filter that way. Duh!
I bolt down the take-out, two glasses of wine, and a bowl of ice cream. At this point I’m shivering cold, three sheets to the wind, and dead tired. I lay down on the sofa in front of the space heater. The dog jumps up and settles in next to my feet. I fall asleep but soon am awakened by the dog fussing.
Two pillows have dropped off the sofa onto the floor, where they’ve come to light (heh) directly in front of the space heater.
I leap up, grab them, and toss them across the room. Luckily, they haven’t yet caught fire.
Now I put a trio of chicken thighs into a pot of water to cook for the dog. I go into the back room to work on Quicken. A bit later, I figure the meat’s cooked. It is. And the pot has splattered greasy water all over the top of the stove and the tiles, baking the chicken grease on around the burner.
Last night after the yard sale, I used the last of the stovetop cleaner to scrub a week’s worth of grease and crud off the top of that G.D. stove.This, you might note, left me left with no stove cleaner and little vinegar.So we’re talking a brand spanking clean stove that is now covered—again—in baked-on grease and calcified water.
I try to clean it with Windex.
Now I sprinkle on some baking soda and scrub the stove clean with that and the rest of the vinegar. Works, but it’s a hassle.
Feeding the dog uses up the last of the cooked rice. I decide to use the chicken broth to cook up another cup of rice—which, we might add, uses up the last of the dry rice, necessitating a trip to Sprouts. Later. I put the three soiled burner grates into the dishwasher and turn the washer on to its full cycle. Then I go back into the office to make a couple of online transfers and finish Quickening while waiting the 25 minutes for the rice to cook over the one remaining undefiled burner.
By now, mind you, the dog is loaded and cocked.
Twenty-five minutes later, I walk into the kitchen to find the rice has overflowed all over the damned stove.
So I get to scrub the stove again, while the dog campaigns for a walk. I finally finish this project, take the dog out into the MIGHTY CHILLY night, and hope she will do her business quickly.
We have to sniff every blade of grass, every stone, every freaking crack in the sidewalk. Not only that, but I swear to god, every third neighbor is stumbling around his garage and eyeing us balefully as the dog threatens to dump on his lawn.
Of course, I have bags with me to pick up after the dog. But I’d just as soon not be glared at by the proprietors while the dog tries to make up her mind which lawn to use as her personal doggie loo.
Finally she releases her ammunition on Harriet’s yard. Freaking freezing, I drag her home. She is unhappy, since she wishes to journey southward, not turn back to the house.
And as I sit here bellyaching about all this, the dishwasher is making its vibrating/grinding noise.
Three hundred eighty bucks, plus parts, plus tax.