Friday, October 23, 2009

It Started with the Pepper Mill: Or, Everything Goes to Hell

It started with the pepper mill.

After refilling it with a fresh load of peppercorns, the pepper mill simply quit grinding. I tried cleaning it out, refilling, tightening various bits and pieces of the mill, etc., but unfortunately, the "lifetime warranted" William Bounds pepper mill we've had since around 2004 was, to use a kitchen cliche, toast.

Then the dishwasher went out; the retaining nut holding in place the agitator snapped clean off. This one was fairly simple to fix; I only had to squint at parts diagrams on Sears' Web site for a few minutes and try to match up lines and labels on the figures to the unusual part names and descriptions. Although shipping was a whopping $20 for a $5 part (well, I could have put off using the dishwasher nearly two weeks for only $8.95 shipping and handling--I'm far too impatient for that, and we go through a load of dishes about every day and a half anyway!), once the replacement part arrived, the repair was rather simple.

Then Tabitha, my GPS, developed a severe, progressive, and incurable case of dementia. From stuttering the occasional "t-t-turn right" she went on to depressingly-long bouts of "loading maps" to finally admitting "no data" for requests for anything map related. A course of electroshock therapy (soft- and then hard-resets) failed to clear up this electronic case of Alzheimer's. Eventually, Garmin sent me a replacement under warranty, though the new Tabby is a refurb (a bit loose, if you ask me) and although a newer GPS chipset, a "downgrade" in that the prior one was a quicker-to-acquire, more sensitive version which chatted up the celestial orbiters in 1/4 the time the newer (but I'm sure cheaper) replacement does.

Our server crashed over the same weekend, apparently the victim of a fried hard drive logic board. I tried an identical drive (bought refurb for $40) to swap printed circuits and bring the middle-aged gal out of retirement long enough to recover backups without resorting to pricey data recovery joints, but in the end, we had to send the drive off to ESS Data Recovery and fork out an ungodly sum of money for my mistake in having not made off-system backups for several months.

And my car apparently has a bearing going bad--despite dropping over $2000 into service a month or two ago (a lot of that was on the maintenance schedule, but still...!) I'm debating what I can do to tackle the repairs myself, or if I want to go ahead and fork out the cash to keep the Exerda in good working order.

I just replaced my laptop's keyboard for a third time; maybe it's my typing... but fortunately, e-bay found a brand-new replacement for $15, shipping included, so it was only having to wait a week for the new one to arrive (and mashing the "E" key with extra force in the interim to avoid typing "th quick brown fox" "ovr and ovr" again).

Let's not forget, either, the leak in the backyard pond liner, which so far has received to no avail two complete sealant treatments of the likeliest points of leakage. I've got some ideas to find the leak that go short of buying a new liner sheet entirely, but it's still annoying nonetheless.

If I hadn't gotten a clean bill of health at my physical, I'd be a bit afraid to look myself in the mirror for fear of what might break down next!

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