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From the corner of Broadway and Main Street

Posted on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

What a difference a week makes. On Palm Sunday I awoke to the sight of 6 inches of fresh snowfall. As I stared out the window, sipping my coffee I reflected on the story of Palm Sunday; of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on a donkey with palm fronds strewn upon the road before him. Good thing Jerusalem is a more temperate climate than Missouri, I thought. Jesus arrival in this would require a dog sled, he’d have been greeted with a melee of snowballs; and Christendom would have an entirely different set of traditions. While the arrival of the snow thwarted my intentions to go to church, I did not surrender to the sin of sloth. By heavens I went out and shoveled the drive way so that Nancy would not be trapped in the house on Monday. Consequently when Monday arrived she was duly notified that her office would be closed and that she could enjoy the day off. Now we have all heard the aphorism that “No good deed goes un-punished” but really?

Of course the week was just starting and by Wednesday we had a full blown crisis, the dishwasher died. It had been making a series of interesting sounds, sort of like a half dozen hamsters in their exercise wheels if you substituted their regular hamster granola for something laced with caffeine and speed. But then in the last two weeks the noise had abated. Then it got really quiet. As annoying as an appliance is when it is excessively loud, it is far worse when it is suddenly quiet. The machine had started its pre-wash and all was well, then silence followed by a clicking sound like drum rim taps without any recognizable sense of rhythm. Nancy and I ventured into the kitchen and simultaneously recalled the words of my cousin Mike. Mike and Dana had remodeled their kitchen a year before us. Last year they had replaced their dishwasher, and now it was our turn.

Appliance replacement is not exactly new for us. After 28 years of marriage, three houses and three kitchen remodels, we are rather seasoned hands. But every time I have replaced a dishwasher range or refrigerator, I develop an new found respect for logistics. I am beginning to think that appliance manufacturers deliberately change the design of their product just to send the home owner back to the hardware store for one more part.

Take the basic electric range. It may have a three prong plug or it may require a four prong plug, but I will guarantee you that whatever you have in your house will be wrong. Refrigerators are simple right? Just pull the old one out and put the new one in. What’s that? The icemaker? Yes, it has one it takes a quarter inch inside diameter plastic line with a compression fitting. What’s that? You say this new one has a fitting like the back of the washing machine. Good heavens, with that flow of water I could make ice cubes in a cupcake tin. Range hoods are another special joy. No matter how thoroughly you clean them, there is a permanent layer of grease that is just waiting to get smeared on tools, hands and clothes. Removal invariably requires you to bend over backwards like a Chinese contortionist to access the anchor screws. When the last screw is removed you are in the perfect position to catch the range hood with your nose, using your mustache as a scrub brush to remove that grease.

So on the Saturday before Easter I was laying on my kitchen floor staring at the underneath side of the new dishwasher, knowing that once again, Murphy had showed up. The new dishwasher had a fitting, just like the back of the washing machine. The 90 degree street “L” that had attached the previous machine was totally useless. And so on Sunday Morning, before I went to church, I went to Home Depot to purchase one more $3 part. After church, as I laid on the floor, again, my daughter Maggie came in and said, “You know, there are people who do this kind of thing for a living. Why don’t you just hire somebody who knows what they are doing and has the part that is needed?” I looked up muttered something about not being dead yet, and she said, “Are you sure? “ I’m not certain where she gets that wisenheimer streak from. As I finished with the installation, I looked at Nancy and said “Not exactly the ideal way to spend Easter Sunday is it?” “Oh, I don’t know,” she said, “after all, cleanliness is next to godliness!” Harrumph, I think I know where my daughter gets it after all.

Bottom line, when you’re engaged in home repair or home improvement, before any thing else, pray. For guidance, patience or wisdom; as all are applicable. Belated Happy Easter to all of you.

John Armstrong is a Vice President with Peoples Bank & Trust Company in Elsberry.