Appliance Gremlins Strike!

So my dishwasher quit two days before Christmas. This wasn’t an entire surprise since I’d been having issues with it for a while, but when I ran a load this last time, it made a sound like a toaster being thrown into a tub of water. Zip, zap, crackle, shftttt…. R.I.P. to my dishwasher, which was relatively new Jenn Air- only six years old. For some reason my husband thought it wouldn’t be too hard to install a dishwasher himself.

How hard is it to install a dishwasher?

Zeke asked the Appliance Salesman we bought the new (and old) dishwasher from.

It depends on how handy you are.

Al said.

“He’s not handy!” I screamed in the background, to no avail. Zeke got a truck, picked up the dishwasher with Guillermo’s assistance and brought it home. When he opened the dishwasher box and found the 30-page installment instructions, he realized he was in over his head. He then tried to get someone to come and install it. On Christmas Eve.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen, so we hand-washed meals from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after, until we were saved by actual plumbers, who took two hours (!) to install our new dishwasher. Since it involved hooking up water and electric, I’m not sure how Zeke thought he was going to be able to accomplish this by himself.

He was convinced, however, he could install our new microwave in the Keys. He bought it as a Christmas present (thanks Honey, but I wanted a trip to New York!) for me when he went to pick up the new dishwasher. Our old microwave is ancient, from the ’90’s and didn’t even have a turntable inside. When I heated up my coffee in it, the mug got very hot, while the coffee inside stayed cold. So while we definitely needed it, appliances are never my idea of the most exciting Christmas gift. Practical, yes. Exciting, no.

We loaded the large microwave box into Zeke’s car and drove to Key Largo for the weekend. As I was upstairs unpacking, I heard a loud CRASH that was the unmistakeable sound of glass breaking. The box was heavier than Zeke realized, so he unpacked the microwave from its box and while he was carrying the glass turntable upstairs, it slipped out of his hands and shattered.

Beyond that, once I helped him lug this monster of a microwave upstairs, he realized it was way too heavy for one person (especially if that person is a lawyer and not a handyman) to install. So, once again, he relied on an expert to install it, as a surprise to me, when we were back in Miami. Now, we have a new microwave and my sailboat coffee mug stays cool, when I heat it, while my coffee inside is hot!

When we went to do a load of laundry in the Keys, lo and behold our washer and dryer weren’t working. Since they are also original appliances from the ’90’s, there seems no reason to try and fix them, but the stackable units are expensive and Home Depot is out of them. Probably because of the supply chain, blah, blah, blah. The one at Bouche Appliance (where we’d gotten the dishwasher and microwave) is $1700, so it’s not a cheap appliance to replace. So, for now, I’m bringing our Key’s laundry home to wash and dry.

Back home, while I was watching T.V. in my bedroom, the usually sunny Ellen Degeneres suddenly faded to black. I changed the channel to see if it was just that station, but no, every channel was black. I could still hear the program, so it was kind of like radio, but not as good, because it was T.V. without a picture. This T.V. is old- about 15 years- and it’s not a smart T.V. In fact, it’s a very dumb T.V., but up until last week, it was a dumb T.V. that worked. T.V.s are relatively cheap these days, so I guess it’s time to replace it. But I really started wondering what bad juju was happening to the appliances at home. Someone suggested a lightening strike, but that wouldn’t explain it happening in Miami AND the Keys. It’s not even Mercury Retrograde yet (it starts January 14th), so can’t blame it on that either.

My Holidays were nice, except for the fact I was washing dishes by hand for DAYS and everyone I know got Covid. Not quite, but it felt like it. The couple we normally do New Year’s Eve with, couldn’t celebrate with us because the husband got Covid and then the couple we pivoted to spend it with in the Keys couldn’t either, because the wife got Covid. Like Oprah on her talk show- “Now you get Covid! And you get Covid! And you get Covid!” Ugh! And, other family members, friends, kids of friends, distant relations etc… have contracted this new, highly-contagious Omnicron variety of Covid. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

So, we spent New Year’s Eve alone, in the Keys, which was peaceful and relaxing. We had caviar, bacon-wrapped scallops and Fresh Stone Crabs with all the Joe’s sides- mustard sauce, tomatoes, cole slaw and sweet potato fries for dinner and champagne to drink. We stayed up to watch the ball drop- a Big Deal to stay up that late at our age!- and went to bed, praying to God that 2022 will be better than 2021.

Zeke made his typical New Year’s Day Southern meal of Black-eyed peas and Collard Greens. These dishes include ridiculous amounts of Pork, so I just close my eyes to the process and enjoy the results. My diet, for this reason, never starts New Year’s Day. The Black-eyed peas, which my Italian grandmother always insisted we eat each New Year’s Day, are supposed to be good luck. The Peas are for Peace, the Rice is for Riches, the Hog Jowl is for Joy and the Collards are for Cash.

So wishing everyone Peace, Joy and Riches in the new year, good health (aka no Covid) and appliances that don’t break when you most need them! I realize, while this whole blog has been a rant of things gone wrong, that I’m very lucky for a lot of things. I’m healthy, my family is healthy, I have a place to sleep at night, clean water and an abundance of food to eat. So this New Year, I only have one resolution and that is to #belikebetty- the beautiful, ever-optimistic Betty White who recently passed away. I want to be the person who always sees the glass half full (even if I have to hand wash that glass myself!).

Manatee Sighting on New Year’s Day!

Up Next: Joe’s Tomatoes

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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