Why is it people wait until their kids are grown to buy new appliances?
Oh, I know, because we were all buying groceries for all those kids. That was half our yearly income.
We’ve been married 36 years and we have finally upgraded all our kitchen appliances. It has taken us six months to do that. This is the first time we have had a refrigerator with an ice maker in the door. We are as giddy as first-graders with new backpacks. Tim, the tea drinker, is especially happy over it. I’m a little disappointed that there is no longer any way to hide in the ice cubes those plastic roaches my Georgia girlfriend sends me. But I have to admit, it’s sweet not having to fill the ice trays in the summer.
When the kids were growing up we had hand-me-down appliances. The kind that were already in the apartments we rented or the homes we bought. Our best appliance by far was the 1950s double-oven stove in the house we owned on Carden in Pendleton, Oregon. The house was a lovely shade of avocado when we bought it. I mean everything was that lovely shade of green. Every lattice, every clapboard, every gingerbread scallop, every rain drain. All green.
We painted them different shades of purple.
Not exactly a popular color in a town whose rival school colors were purple and gold.
We weren’t thinking about that at the time, but then again I was never one to do the popular thing. I think I understood from an early age that Miss Congeniality was a title that would always elude me, so I didn’t even aim for it.
I think my classmates voted me the title of Most Likely to Piss Somebody Off. God and my family knows that title suited me best. I’d apologize for it, but seems wrong to apologize for one’s gifting.
Of course, the boys delivering our new dishwasher today didn’t know nothing about my title when they rolled that new dishwasher in the back French doors and declared, “Uh, we don’t take out old dishwashers or install new ones.”
“Come again?” I said, completely befuddled.
Tell me, do I look like the kind of woman who gets down on the floor and unhooks dishwashers?
I just had my nails done, for goodness sakes.
“Well I ain’t signing no paper that says you all delivered anything until I talk to the people at Home Depot,” I said. I did not smile sweetly when I said it. I didn’t bark it either. I just stated an obvious-to-me-fact.
It took 20 minutes and two attempts to get a real life person at Home Depot. Her name was Lenore. I did not yell at any point in the conversation, but Lenore was upset when I told her the men making the delivery – they were boys, really – would not take away the old dishwasher or install the new one. She asked to speak to them. So I put her on the phone with the guy with the clipboard. He told her that his boss had instructed them to not uninstall or install any appliances. He told me after the call that Home Depot does this all the time – sells an item and doesn’t inform the homeowner that they will have to have a plumber install the item.
We had previously bought a frig and stove from Home Depot without any trouble. Their delivery folks installed everything without any problem whatsoever.
Lenore said she’d call me back.
I’m still waiting on her call.
Meanwhile, Tim spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos and reading the manual about how to install a new dishwasher. He’s a lot less excited about this new appliance than the one that spits out crushed ice.
Of course,when the kids come home all they ever do is stand before the open frig door and whine: “You and Daddy never have any food in here!”
Well, why should we? I reply. There’s only the two of us at home.
We probably could get by with paper plates and an oversize cooler.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of the forthcoming Burdy, Mercer University Press.