August 25, 1999

When it rains, it pours
___We all know trouble comes in threes. It’s a fact of life. Especially when you’re dealing with appliances. After this weekend, our appliance/household woes onlineonlyhave exceeded that old saying by one.
___First it was the air conditioner.
Remember one of the first really hot weekends we had this summer? Iremember because that was when our air conditioner went out. On Memorial Day weekend. When repair persons are scarce and parts are even scarcer.
___After sweating it out for several days while we waited for our home warranty people to send out their service people, we got the bad news. It was fixable. This was a 22-year-old unit we were hoping had finally bitten the dust while we still had a home warranty. But here was the catch: They wanted to keep fixing it, and they would have to send away for the parts, which could take several days. Several really hot days.
___It was 87 degrees in our house at that point. What would you do? We replaced the unit with a small "upgrade allowance" from the home warranty folks and the rest out-of-pocket from us.
___The rest of the summer was fairly uneventful and blessedly cool (inside the house). Then we hit August.
___First, our garage door opener, which had been a little cantankerous, started to get really persnickety. It wouldn’t always open on the first, second or even third try. We started making a game out of it, guessing how many tries it would take. Sometimes it took 20 tries. And no, it wasn’t the battery in the remote, it was the motor.
___In the meantime, one of our deadbolt locks bit the dust. Luckily, it was locked at the time and we have other exits from the house. But before I could call a locksmith or the garage door repair people, household tragedy struck once again.
___The washer stopped working on the main cycle.
___Alison can write calmly about all these household breakages because, although inconvenienced by them, she does not bear the scars of attempting to repair them. My problem is I think I can fix just about anything that needs fixing around the house. Think, of course, is the operative word in
that sentence.
___Although, in my defense, I must report that I had kept the washer and dryer going for years. We bought the set 14 years ago—used. After replacing a belt here, a motor there, a timer a couple of times and so forth, I’m convinced I had rebuilt both the washer and dryer at least twice.
___But there comes a time when the sum of an appliance’s replacement parts is greater than the value of the appliance itself. I finally called it quits, and we headed to Sears.
___It probably was a good thing, too, because if I had been tied up rebuilding the washer again, I couldn’t have had the joy of replacing the garage door opener.
___By the way, did you know that the simple boxes garage door openers are sold in contain about 2 bazillion parts and yet you still have to go back to the store for some important parts that aren’t included? It’s worse than putting together a kid’s toy on Christmas Eve.
___And it takes a lot longer. Now I know why the garage door company wanted to charge about $150 for the job. Like all home repair projects, this one took about three times longer than I projected.
___Advice to all women of the world: Never believe any man’s estimate of how long it will take to repair anything. We’re always wrong. We may feel like we’ve saved a lot of money and proved our manhood, but in the end it will have taken twice as long as we thought.
___I do have a new slogan for those home repair warehouses, though, and it even sounds biblical. They should post a sign above their doors that declares: "A fool and his money are soon parted."

___He Said/She Said is a new regular feature of the Baptist Standard's on-line edition. Mark Wingfield is managing editor of the Standard. Alison Wingfield is a freelance writer. The Wingfields moved to Texas in January from Louisville, Ky., where Mark had been editor of the Western Recorder, in which this column appeared weekly.

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