Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Seven-Year Switch (A Light Bulb of an Idea)

What if God had meant for appliances, gadgets and household fixtures to have everlasting life on earth? We might not need any electricity or batteries, although everyone needs a re-charging now and again. (Can you imagine the Spa for Weary Appliances? Spin classes for washers and dryers. Toasters roasting in a tanning bed--#4, medium brown, please. Stove top massages. They don't even have a holiday, you know!)

Everything would heat, cool, clean, light up, sound off and otherwise function according to expectations, right? But, that would imply that such items were without sin. Alas, even if God had planned for our appliances to have everlasting life, failure would still come into play sometime, figuring God made appliances a little lower than man and definitely lower than the angels. (The Bible also doesn't say that when Eve needed a helper(s!), that He crafted a dishwasher from her rib.)
I'm non-electrically shocked at how the lifespan of appliances is on the decline. The CDC surely must have stats to back me up, if not Sony or G.E. We had our last TV for 15 or so years. When its sound finally died, my husband declared it ancient anyway. "They only last a few years," he says. And when appliances die, you don't go to the appliance repair man any more. "Cheaper to buy a new one," he says. Not to mention the extras that come with the most current installment of whatever you're buying, (i.e., curling iron, version X.1 with free WiFi software).

We've been fairly early adopters of technology at our house. Part of that comes from the two of us being television/radio majors and generally techno-curious.
But, while my hubby easily parts with and replaces items, I will do anything possible to preserve their use. This is why we're putting all things toastable through the machine twice these days. The toaster's inner heating element is broken, so we have to flip the toastables if we want the other side toasted. As you can imagine, it's only a matter of time before my way is the highway to toaster heaven.

If you asked me, "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?" I'd say, "No." I expect things to outlast my expectations. Thankfully, a new type of technology has emerged--the new breed of fluorescent light bulbs. Longer life! Yes!! I just had to replace the over-the-kitchen spotlight. "Lasts 7 years," proclaimed the package. Wow! I won't have to change that bulb for seven years!! Take that one off my to-do list for a while. Give me a survey, quick, so I can check "Exceeds expectations." What will be next? (Or, maybe my new toaster will come with software to fix my car's "Check Brake Light" warning message.)

Your turn--What appliance has exceeded your expectations (if not its 'natural' life)? Who's going to the Appliance Hall of Longevity (besides my heating-challenged toaster)?

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Postscript: I wrote this last Thursday for publication today. On Saturday, hubby brought home a new chrome-finished Hamilton Beach toaster. (Did I tell you?) But, true to my word, our old Cuisinart has new life as a bagel toaster--one side toasted, one side plain. Someone at Goodwill will love it (and have their name on the plaque of ownership in the Appliance Hall of Longevity instead of me).


My ADHD Me said...

Our water heater died...probably 20 plus years old. A few years ago the washer and dryer walked the long lonely mile to washer and dryer heaven. Our AC unit has been on life support for 2 yrs. We finally replaced the dishwasher when dishes started coming out dirtier than when they went in. And my stove has more parts replaced than Joan Rivers.
All those things were in the Harvest gold (aka yellow puke) color so that gives you an idea of when they were originally purchased.I just wish they didn't all try to die at the same time.
P.S. I've tried those light bulbs. Unless they have improved them in the last year, then I know why they last so long. Minimal light. The ones I had made everything look dull. Maybe they're better now.

Chatty Kelly said...

In general blow dryers tend to last a long time for me. So that would be my pick. Our last TV only lasted 5 yrs before the something blew making everyone green. It was going to be $300 to fix it, so we got a new one. (I'll leave out the part that we gave it to my bro-in-law, and he fixed it for $40).

We bought the extended life bulbs too, and they didn't last 7 yrs. More like 9 months at our house. So don't get your hopes up too high.

And you should link back to your wholly jeans post - - I'm seeing a pattern with you and holding on to old stuff (not to mention the menagerie of childhood barbies & dolls you have.)

At least your hubby never has to worry about your trading him in for a newer model! haha.

The Patterson 5 said...

My parents have LOTS of old appliances lasting the lengh of their marriage- 42 years. I think they used to make things to last longer. Their blender, as old as it is, still can out perform my much newer one. Our entertainment appliances, TV and stereo, were my husbands from college (15 years) (even though we gave away the TV when we moved b/c he "needed" a bigger one and I like having only one TV in the house- but the old one is still going) We are trying the new light bulbs too! My husband is very hopeful (his pet peave is burned out light bulbs) so we hope they last- they are dimmer than regular ones.

Bonita said...

Our air conditioner/furnace has been re-incarnated so many times I've lost count. Let's just say the repair man was included in our last family portrait. Gotta love those Kenmore appliances! It was old when we bought the house 12 years ago. Now it's ancient, but we keep propping it up and rigging it to make it through "just one more season" so we can save money to replace it (money that hasn't seemed to manifest yet).

I had to laugh. One day I was at a friend's house and she was making hot water for tea and she put a towel beneath the pot because it has a permanent leak. Every appliance she used had a special "something" that had to be done to it to make it work properly. We laughed heartily because I could so commiserate. It seems everything in our house has to be jiggled a certain way, tapped at just the right place, or otherwise babied for it to work right.

When you put something in the microwave you have to count the seconds yourself. Our toaster only toasts one side of the bread and one hole burns it while the other one barely browns it. The DVD player usually up and quits about 2/3 of the way through a movie (always at the best part) and you have to give it a rest before it can continue on. The iron has to be set at the highest temp to work and even then it no longer sprays steam. The vacuum cleaner rattles so loud it could wake the dead. The curling iron barely heats. The lawn mower has to be started about three times before it will actually run and then it spurts and sputters. The back windows in my husband's car can't be put up and down because they get stuck in the down position. My brake lights get stuck and won't go off without tapping the brake when I shut the car off. We have a woodstove in the basement with missing parts so we can't use it. We're just a mess!

And we're also the same people that lived in this house the first ten years, through ice storms that deprived us of power and heat, without using our fireplace because we thought the floo was broken. One day we decided it was high time to have the fireplace cleaned and fixed. The chimney sweep reached up pulled the floo and voila' it wasn't really broken at all!

Chatty Kelly said...

Sue J - it seems in Bonita, you have met your match! You even have matching toasters!

Kacey Elliott said...

I used to be just like that Sue, and it was only a few short years ago that I finally said to myself "Why am I saving this? We can afford to buy a new one!" I think it comes from our upbringing too. Coming from a blue-collar/middle class family sometimes we just had to make due. That just carried over into my adult life. But enough is enough! Ths was THE year to replace EVERYTHING! We got a new car, a new refrigerator (even though the "old" one was only 6 years old and repaired twice already), a new convection/toaster oven, two new heat pumps, a new computer, and... oh, there has to be more... it'll come to me :-) Best of luck with those new light bulbs, long lasting ain't what it used to be :-) P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Anonymous said...

I have moved too many times to have kitchen appliances with much age. They usually convey with the house. But, when we moved to our current home, we had to replace every appliance because the ones that came with the house were probably bought when the house was built in 1978. My washer and dryer are about 18 years old and still going. And, I have a baby monitor that has been working non-stop for the last 8 years. My husband decided last weekend that it was time to retire the baby monitor since our youngest is now two years old. Why was that so emotional for me? But, I agree that appliances just don't last as long as they use to!

KelliGirl said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed reading through yours and will be back to visit.

I'm not a big fan of those funny shaped lightbulbs. The color of the light always looks "off" to me. I'm more like you in that we keep our appliances for a LONG time! I'm still using a hairdryer from when I was single. That's a long time ago!

The one appliance we splurged on was a Starbucks coffee maker. The bummer was it broke after a couple of years and they had discontinued making them. It made the best cup of coffee!!