Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Duke of Earle Electronic Domino Theory

Some time back, John, also known as the Duke of Earle, wrote about the domino effect of electric appliances (and other items) and how they die in threes or something like that. You can check it out at:
and at:

He was perhaps right; although for me, it comes in fives. My coffee pot semi-died in December and I immediately bought a new one, although the company quickly sent a replacement part for the bad one, since it was still under warranty. If you have read my history with coffee pots, you know that I will soon be (if not already) on the national coffee pot makers list of "do-not-sell-to-this-woman-or-you will-regret-it".

Just before Christmas Eve, I was attempting to make 2 recipes of my special mashed potatoes to take to my son's home for dinner and my hand mixer gave up the ghost between the first and second batches. It was 22 years old, though, so I suppose I shouldn't fault it too much. After I got a new one, I realized that the old one must have been showing signs of old age for a long time, and I just didn't notice it slowing down......sort of like me.....

Last week the garage door opener decided it had been operating smoothly for too long - and it began to groan and moan before stopping completely. Luckily we can disconnect it and leave it down, and since we don't park in the garage it doesn't matter too much; at least until I have a big wedding. Then it is a problem.

The next thing happened last week. I turned the clothes dryer on and all of a sudden it sounded as if I were tumbling cinder blocks. The repairman spoke those dreaded words....."It will cost almost as much to fix it as a new dryer". Seems the fan assembly is coming apart, and the noise will continue until one fateful day it won't work at all. Then I'll be forced to buy a new one. I shouldn't complain about it either, though, it is 22 years old and has never given me any problems before. What hurt the most was writing the check for $50 to the repairman.

The next day, I tried to make corned beef and cabbage in my crock-pot, which was a gift to me 13 years ago. Suffice it to say that after 6 hours of cooking, the meat was still pink and the carrots were rock hard. I don't know if the thermostat is done for - or what the problem might be. Finally, at nearly 9pm, we got dinner. It was really tasty, but hardly worth waiting that long. I think there is a new stainless steel crock pot in my future!

So, whaddya think? Am I the brunt of a conspiracy between the appliances or is it just karma? Should I scrap everything and start anew? As I see it, the trouble with that would be having everything crap out again in that familiar domino pattern some time in the future. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and buy new appliances, but I hope I can stagger the purchases somewhat to avoid a future Duke-of-Earle-Domino-Effect.


Hope said...

Wow, you must take excellent care of your things for them to last so long. Of course, they used to make things to last. The sticker shock of replacing things is hard, but be good to yourself you deserve some new stuff. Try switching to tea and make your coffee pot jealous that'll teach it!!

srp said...

No this is just the way it is. Here it was not completely appliances alone. I think the sequence went garage opener, garage ceiling (something up in the attic), back up in sewar line (Roto-rooter), hot water heater, light in refrigerator, tires, vacuum. Yes, that about does it. All this since September. It seems as if Murphy was right: Any thing that can go wrong will.

Carolyn said...

I soooo identify with your dilemma Judy. First our car in November, washing machine in December, our toaster just went up in smoke 2 weeks ago, and now some home repairs are becoming obvious in the winter months.

I think people should be allowed to have household showers after say, 15 years of marriage. Host a party and have guests bring new sheets, towels, mixers, crock pots... If these things are all given to us at marriage, they're bound to all wear out the same time. A replinishing shower works for me, lol!

Elle said...

I haven't run into the appliance domino effect yet, but I've experienced the automotive equivalent. I went through such a bad stretch with my last car, that I finally bought a brand new car, thinking I could break the domino effect, but no - I've had 2 flat tires in the year I've had the new car. There's nothing you can do but submit to the karma.

Peter said...

The problem is Judy, that with planned obsolesence, todays appliances don't last as long as they used to, so the replacement cycle gets shorter as our lifestyes improve.

Star said...

I adhere to the Theory of Planned Obsolesence. Appliances are made to last a certan amout of years. Since we tend to get a lot of new thing when we first set up house, they tend to break at the same time. I also am a firm believer in the theory of things happening in threes, birth, deaths, and broken household goods. My dryer broke just before Xmas. I am holding my breath.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Oh, Judy! NOW you've gone and done it! You may have single-handedly started the cycle all over again. I mean, I KNOW that in YOUR home the dominoes have started dropping in sequence, but by publishing this exposé to the blogosphere you may have opened up many more to the effect!

I may have to respond on my own site to attempt to counteract this potential disaster.

But y'know, I've never had an "effect" named after me before. Well, except when I've acted like a jerk and Carol labeled the result "The a**hole effect." Does that count?


mar said...

I know from self experience that there is a chain reaction. And the appliances you want to change will keep working and working, like our 17-yr old TV set...Now the inconvenient part: I have moved the blog because I wasn't happy with Sorry about this. Pls tell me you will come see me, won't you? leaving my address here...

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

Say, I don't want a pessimist here but I bet you don't get 22 years out of the new ones.

Jamie Dawn said...

That is so strange to have all those things go kaput around the same time. I think your appliances are staging some kind of revolution against your reign over them. Some of them have agreed to martyr themselves.
Enjoy all your new appliances! Get top of the line stuff and hope for the best.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Sad stuff! But, really, you've had your things a long time, so it's not so bad. But you're right. Replace it all at once, and it will die again all at once.

Life's full of flaws.

Karen said...

Judy, that's freaky! I hate how things break in groups. And it always happens at the worst time, doesn't it? Today's appliances are so relatively cheap, but it seems a waste to throw them out when they break. Hmm...what to do?

Michele sent me!

kontan said...

mmmm, if any of my appliances stop working after reading your blog i'll be back to get your information so i can send you the repair bill. :)


here from micheles

sage said...

Blame it on the power company--bad electricity (is that CP&L or Duke you have there?)

Kenju, when I get those sidebar things finally figured out (they're not yet right as you see my archives are down in the S. Pole, I'll be glad to help you put in links to others. It was easier having someone talk me through it, however.

Jennifer said...

I think, mostly, it's exciting that you'll have all those new toys to play with!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Ah, Judy Judy Judy. Think about it:

1. Coffee pot. No new one. Use freeze-dried coffee, or drink root beer for the caffeine.

2. Hand mixer. You don't need a machine. What are hands for?

3. Garage door opener. See above: Raise garage door by hand/arm power.

4. Clothes dryer. Do not spend money on electricity for this machine. Have you not heard of clothes lines?

There, I have solved all your problems. That will be $595.

Chele In {dot} LA said...

nah its them trying to get back at you.
stopping by from the other Michele's..

Janet said...

Your electronic devices seem to be revolting for some reason. This might take some serious reflection on your part to get to the root of the cause.

Here through Michele!

Minerva said...

I think it is amazing that you have managed to nurse them along for as long as you have!

But it did make me think about our grandparents who had to deal with all this stuff without appliances - How did they do it?


valbee said...

EEK! I was almost afraid to read this post, for fear it would somehow jinx my own appliances! But I do believe in this, although I have my own theory. I once wrote an elaborate fairy tale about a beautiful princess who had dishpan hands, so her husband the prince purchased a dishwasher. The dishwasher missed all of his former shiny new roommates at the appliance store, so he cast an evil spell on the princess' refrigerator. Fortunately, the prince's uncle had an extra refrigerator that he wasn't using, and so he brought it home to the princess. But the dishwasher was not to be foiled. He cast a spell on that refrigerator as well (and wouldn't you know it - right after the princess filled it up with all kinds of perishables), forcing the prince to hit the king up for some cash to buy a new one.

And then the dryer quit.

I wish you luck with your appliances. Here's hoping their all to bashful to communicate and that none of them practices magic!

Carmi said...

Amen. Our TV, microwave and kettle have all recently returned to the great appliance heaven from whence they came.

You're lucky to have gotten away with only a $50 bill for the dryer. Keep that repairman's number: he works cheap!