Illness attacks modern conveniences

BY DOROTHY ROSBY

Merry Christmas all! 

I hope this holiday letter finds you and your loved ones well. I’m happy to report that not only have I dodged COVID, I haven’t even had a cold in more than two years thanks to my stylish pink and black mask and my penchant for avoiding social commitments. 

I wish I could say the same for our technology and appliances. Some kind of virus swept through our home this year, rendering our modern conveniences inconvenient and even causing some actual bellyaches. Or rather bellyaching.

It started when one of my email accounts was hacked. I won’t go into details, mainly because I don’t understand them. But that incident kicked off a series of calamities involving both my computer and my cellphone. In the process, I spent two full weeks on hold waiting to talk to tech people and another entire week talking to them. By the way, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to stop exaggerating. 

Anyway, after all that, I spent practically a whole day staring helplessly at my computer while it was taken over remotely by someone I desperately hoped I could trust. The only thing that makes me feel more vulnerable than having my computer taken over by someone I can’t even see is having my house broken into by armed men. 

That and having my utilities fail. One day this summer, our electricity went out for 14 hours. Or maybe it was 45 minutes. That may not sound long to you, but I was in the middle of exercising and I can’t exercise unless I watch the Hallmark mystery channel while I do it. I was forced to lie down until the power came back on. 

The very next day, I went to wash my hands and no water came out of my faucet. If that wasn’t bad enough, when I called the water department, explained my problem and gave them my name, they transferred me to the billing department. What? We always pay our bill. It turned out a waterline had broken in front of our house. Not only was I vindicated, my lawn got watered for the first time all summer. 

The water was barely running again when another issue came up…and wouldn’t go back down. Suddenly our automatic garage door was only automatic on cloudy days. My husband said there was an issue with the sun hitting the sensors, but I think our door just felt lazy on warm, sunny days. I’m the same way. 

Around that time, I opened my washing machine one day and found not only the clothes I’d just washed, but all the water I’d washed them in. The letters OE appeared on the digital screen of our fancy, computerized washing machine, but we had no idea what OE meant. Overeat? Oh, eggplant? Obedient earthling? None of those were helpful.

Luckily, I’m EO, exceptionally organized. I’ve saved the owner’s manuals for all our appliances, including 30 or 40 we no longer own. And I was able to find the one for our washer after ransacking every drawer, cupboard and closet in our home. 

We never did learn what OE stands for, but we determined that the drain pump filter needed cleaning. In the seven years we’ve owned the washer, we’ve never cleaned its drain pump filter—or knew it had one. So, we were surprised to find a tiny sticker near the filter telling us it should be cleaned monthly. I guess there’s another New Year’s resolution I should make.

I’m relieved to report that everything has been repaired and the virus that plagued our technology and appliances in 2021 seems to have run its course. I have power and running water again. I can leave my garage no matter what the weather is. And I hope the same for you. Wishing you, your family and your modern conveniences a healthy, happy New Year. 

Dorothy Rosby is the author of the humor book, I Didn’t Know You Could Make Birthday Cake from Scratch: Parenting Blunders from Cradle to Empty Nest.Contact drosby@rushmore.com.