Top Five Lessons Learned This Week and the Tossing of the Gauntlet for Appliance Repair

There are some things you learn in life completely by accident.

Or by your refrigerator forgetting its basic function of working properly – on a holiday – and then being useless for three days.

Top Five Lessons I’ve Learned This Last Week

  1. Lesson: Do not freeze cucumbers.

    Why the bottom of the fridge part turned into a freezer...

    If a cucumber freezes in the fruit chiller – because your fridge stopped cooling the freezer and turned the lower half of your refrigerator into a meat locker – when you thaw the cucumber it transforms into the consistency of applesauce…. wrapped in cucumber skin.

  2. Lesson: Parents do NOT pay attention to their child’s feet. As I picked up The Tackler and Lil Diva from the gym’s childcare on Thursday, I was met with a puzzling dilemma: The Tackler’s shoes where nowhere to be found.  They have a play place there, and kids are required to take off their shoes and put them into a cubby – something my son does religiously multiple times a week.  Only this time, the shoes had magically disappeared.  To say I was mildly pissed off would be stating the matter… well, mildly.  After turning the place upside down, they concluded someone else’s child must have mistaken my son’s shoes for their own and expected me to leave with a shoeless child. Instead, I insisted they ask every child to grab their own shoes and whatever ones were left we would “borrow” until the perpetrators returned our pair – because I am practical and my son only has one pair of sneakers (and a pair of sandals) that fit at any given time.  Sure enough, a pair was left, in his size, unclaimed. However, they look nothing like The Tackler’s sneakers whatsoever. So I ask you, how could a parent have gone this long not realizing her son snatched someone else’s shoes???  I want his shoes back…
  3. Lesson: The Tackler needs boot camp. Friday I ran late, missed pilates class, but still hauled my children to the gym so I could grab a shower and some time to write (and I hoped The Tackler’s shoes had turned up).  To my chagrin, I was summoned to remove the Tackler from childcare for pushing two kids and tackling another while blissfully ignoring redirection and running away to hide in the play place tubes whenever admonished.  I blame us for part of the problem: The Tackler roughhouses with Daddy frequently and cannot grasp the concept that not everyone is a willingly recipient for take down. I have also witnessed many occasions where he is reenacting a scene from Toy Story and it was not recognized or was misinterpreted as A Hostile Action by the recipient due to lack of understanding.  And sometimes, he’s just being a punk. At one time, he was The Sweetest Boy and the victim of these same acts.  He learned this behavior from others. He watches older boys do the same things but as they are engaged in An Actual Game With Rules and no one ends up crying, he doesn’t understand why he can’t do the same.  I’m left at a loss for how to get through to him how these actions are not acceptable.  Is there a boot camp available for almost four year olds???
  4. Lesson: Never watch a movie aired on TV unless your prerecord it – or have a non-commercial movie channel. For several weeks, our DVR remote was not working. This meant I could not watch anything recorded on our main TV.  Which left me with the option of Live TV.  On New Year’s Eve I was sucked into The Live TV Movie Trap: where they show you twenty minutes of a movie without a commercial break, and then gradually progress, increasing the frequency and length of the commercial breaks, while decreasing the length of movie shown until by the end you have more commercials than movie.  And you’re trapped, if you really want to see if Roadtrip is going to have the totally cliche ending you think it will (it did).  I fell for it, too delirious to realize my mistake until it was far too late. Now that the remote is working again, I never want to see another a commercial again. Unless it’s one of new Conan O’Brien ones, which I find oddly amusing.
  5. Lesson: If you give a computer engineer a challenge he is not qualified for – say fixing a refrigerator – and a few days off work – he will insist upon fixing it because “I can do it without paying several hundred extra dollars for another guy to do the same thing.”

    The Tackler is another engineer in training...

    Naturally, he will have to go into work the actual day you need it serviced. Then once the weekend arrives All His Free Time will be spent on this project, causing grumpiness because he didn’t get to do “anything fun” or exercise.  The Grouch is only partially canceled out by the Sense of Accomplishment of Once Again Fixing That Which He was Told He Should Not Fix.  So while I’m ecstatic The Fridge is repaired and for a much decreased cost, I am left with CG the Grouch and a fear that he missed something and The Fridge is now a ticking time bomb to more thrown out food – even though it was darn cute watching The Tackler have a lesson in Fridge Repair.

Meanwhile, I’ve “requested” CG also repair our ice maker that has been broken for five years (and one really does require ice in Texas, where tap water is tepid at its coldest for five months of the year). Because in repairing the actual refrigerator, he has taken away my justification for paying exorbitant fees to call a repairman to fix it.

CG is off to the parts store as I type this, gauntlet picked up and run with.

While The Tackler rides along with his daddy, certain to morph from tackling to He Who Takes Everything Apart to See How It Works.

After I find a boot camp.

Because that’s just what boys do.

What lessons did you learn this week?


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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8 Responses to Top Five Lessons Learned This Week and the Tossing of the Gauntlet for Appliance Repair

  1. Holy crap! You had a handyman living with you? Is this an undiscovered side of him?

    • Kelly K says:

      No, this side I have been aware of since before we were dating: one of CG’s early jobs was fixing video games at an arcade. Despite zero training and very little direction, he was able to “MacGyver” almost any machine: if he couldn’t get the correct part, he’d find something else that worked.

      As I watched him do these things, I was left in total awe of how a 16 year old could make sense out of the maze of circuit boards and wires and actually fix it.

      With the exception of the washing machine in my old house, I have rarely seen his skills in action on appliances. However, he’s proved very adept at: dry walling, electrical light wiring, ethernet/phone/cable wiring, computer repair/building, programming, and toy repair – just to name a few.

      Plumbing is one thing we typically avoid, with the small exception of replacing the inside of the toilet tank – which has now been done on every toilet in this house – one of them twice.

      I do enjoy the handyman aspect, but sometimes I wish he’d hire someone. Particularly long convoluted, labor intensive projects where his time is better spent elsewhere.

      If the ice maker works, I’ll be very very happy.

  2. Ironic Mom says:

    What a week! Sounds like you need a holiday…this time without the kids. I know how that feels like. I returned to work today, which in some ways was a break; that perception changed when I got a flat tire on the drive home. Ugh. May your fridge be frosty and The Tackler’s feet be on the floor and in his own shoes!

    • Kelly K says:

      I saw your tweet about the flat tire! What did you do about it? Are you Super Tire Changing Mom, Call Auto-Club Mom, or Pray Someone Pulls Over to Help Me Mom?

      I’m sad to admit I’m the latter, as they happen to me when either: 1) dressed in nicest clothes or B) I have a young child in the car who is very upset the vehicle dared stop for undetermined amount of time.

      The fridge is slowly getting frosty, the water spout works, but it is undetermined if ice maker is repaired.

      Shoes still MIA.

      Tackler currently passed out cold. Once awake I don’t hold my breathe for the whole “remain on the floor” bit… 🙂

      Thanks for the good thoughts! May your tires remain inflated!

  3. CG says:

    I fix everything. Except people. I have a hard time reading their schematics and finding replacement parts.

    We had our deck refinished by insurance (hail storm). I would rather have done it myself because I would have done a better job. But it is a lot of work, so since it was “paid” for, I allowed it. Instead, I replaced 30% of the deck surface with the slave labor I had last Christmas (in-laws). Which is okay because I fixed their range and oven this Christmas (again saving hundreds and/or thousands of dollars).

    As long as you aren’t afraid of getting electrocuted a few times, appliances aren’t scary. They usually boil down to about three parts, one of which is basically unserviceable and the other two a child could replace.

    I will also insist that my free time was limited this weekend, and it is difficult to efficiently fix something as simple as a dead battery with a toddler and tackler around. All told, I was probably only actively working on the fridge for 2-3 hours, plus some phone/internet time searching for parts and travel time picking them up.

    • Kelly K says:

      The roof… You didn’t do the roof (all paid for by insurance). Thank god.

      I’d already forgotten about the oven you fixed this Christmas for my mom.

  4. Mimi says:

    The oven & range burners are working great. Thanks so much for installing the new parts & fixing. 🙂 I still shudder thinking about how awful it was not having a working stove & a house full of guests.

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