DIY for Dummies

“Hon, the dishwasher’s on the fritz again. I jiggled the tube like last time, but that didn’t work. Can you take a look at it when you get a chance?” Meredith asked her husband Ron.

Ron was busy watching Top Gear, but he absently nodded and tossed another peanut into his open mouth. “Sure thing.”

Two days later, Meredith groaned as she reached to open the dishwasher and realize that Ron hadn’t gotten around to it yet. “Ron, the dishwasher?” Her tone meant now, and Ron knew it.

He didn’t even grumble as he capped his jar of peanuts and walked into the kitchen.

“Thanks, babe,” said Meredith, on her way out of the room.

Ron grunted an unintelligible response as he leaned down and opened the cabinet underneath the sink to have a look. He tried jiggling the tube, in spite of Meredith’s assurance that she had done so, but she was right, that didn’t work this time. He checked to make sure all of the connections were secure; they were.

He crawled out from under the cabinet and slid over a bit to open the dishwasher and check inside. Fortunately, Meredith had emptied the dirties and washed them by hand, so he fiddled a bit with the sprayer before sitting back and cocking his head.

“What’s it doing, Mere?” he asked.

“Not cleaning. I think the heating element is out, because the dishes get wet, but they’re cold when it shuts off,” she replied.

“Hmm,” said Ron. He closed the dishwasher and looked at the settings. All good. This was turning out to be more work than he expected.

Ron got up and grabbed a tool bag from the hall closet. When he got back to the kitchen, he unscrewed the dishwasher from the countertop and pulled it out of its cubbyhole. There was a slightly crimped wire sticking out of the back, unattached to anything. Ron assumed this was the likely culprit, so he quite intelligently unplugged the dishwasher before touching the wire.

It seemed to have come loose from a small connection, so after a quick once-over, Ron got out the soldering iron and stuck the poor little wire where he thought it went. He plugged the machine back in and switched it on. After a few seconds he opened the door to check, and sure enough, the water was warm as toast. He pushed the whole thing back into place, replaced the screws, wiped his hands on his pants, and called it a day.

The next evening Meredith was scooping them each a bowl of ice cream after cleaning up the dinner dishes. When she turned to drop the ice cream scoop in the sink, she noticed a funny smell, and an awful lot of steam coming from the dishwasher.

“Hon, I thought you said the dishwasher was fixed,” she called toward the living room, one eye on the ever-increasing steam bath rising to the ceiling.

“Yeah, it should be good to go. I thought you already started a load, anyway,” Ron replied.

Meredith bit the bullet and cautiously opened the dishwasher mid-cycle. The handle was extremely hot.

“Hon, what I actually need to do is wash the dishes, not fire them like they’re in a kiln. My grandmother’s plates are browned at the edges,” she said.

Ron knew that the rest of the week would not be a pleasant one. He spent the rest of the evening searching the internet for a plumber with a good review and reasonable rates.

***

Meredith eventually got over the loss of her heirloom china, and things were back to normal in the household when the thermostat went out five weeks later.

Since Ron had installed that one six years earlier, Meredith didn’t have a problem with him replacing it. What she didn’t know was that Ron found an extra wire in the wall that he didn’t bother mentioning.

The truth came out when she heard a noise in the middle of the night. Suspecting the cat had gotten into something he wasn’t supposed to get into, she flipped on the hall light and noticed an odd glow coming from the bathroom. It didn’t really register, though, as the cat was merrily destroying her knitting basket.

She took the basket away from him and headed back to bed, but on her way, she noticed a suspicious warmth coming from under the bathroom door.

“Hon? Did you leave the sunlamp on in the bathroom again?” she asked Ron.

He didn’t wake enough to answer her question, so she just flipped the switch and went back to bed.

The next morning they woke drenched in sweat. The thermostat wasn’t fixed, Meredith noted with a grimace.

“Must have been a faulty one,” said Ron. “I’ll take it back and swap it out after work.”

Meredith turned the hall light on to get a better look at the thermostat. “You jerk, it’s on heat, and in July, for crying out loud!”

Ron was in the bathroom, and suddenly remembered the extra wire. He looked up, and sure enough, even though he hadn’t turned it on, the sunlamp was beaming down on him.

He sheepishly called to Meredith.”I think I know what the problem is. But the upside is when we turn on the the hall lights, the sun lamp comes on.”

“I’m going to stay with my sister until this house is air conditioned,” Meredith sighed, and went to pack a bag.

***

Meredith’s sister Tabitha was used to Ron’s shenanigans, and had plenty of stories of her own to share.

“Do you remember when we had that sinkhole at the old house? That was directly Nathan’s fault,” she told Meredith.

“No! I can’t believe you never told me this one before! What happened?” Meredith was dying to hear it.

“Okay, Have you seen that infomercial where they flush all the burritos?” Tabitha asked. Meredith nodded. “Nathan put that new toilet in the guest bathroom and wanted to give it a shot. That man brought home three packages of frozen burritos and threw them right in without thawing them first. Not that I would have been okay with that, but you know, put some thought into it, right?”

Meredith was already shaking with laughter.

“Anyway, of course they got stuck. Of course, right? And we had to open up the entire basement to take care of it.”

“I’m so glad Ron hasn’t tried to flush golf balls or burritos!” Meredith laughed.

“Oh, no,” said Tabitha. “That’s not the end of it. He left a bag of something in the basement. He still won’t tell me what it was. But he poured concrete over it for the new floor, and then, about two months later, his sister was visiting. You know Amber was five then, and smart as a whip.”

“She’s just like us when we were that age,” Meredith interjected.

“I know!” Tabitha agreed. “Anyway, the floor had cracked right in half the day before she got there, and it was all Amber could talk about, until her aunt got there. She started drawing pictures of the horrible basement floor!”

Meredith was loving this story. “Seriously? And you never told me this!”

“I know, I know. So Nathan’s sister is mystified by these drawings of what looks like black lightning. Amber got her artistic talent from me, unfortunately. She finally asks what Amber’s been drawing all day. My daughter politely smiled and told her embarrassed aunt, ‘That’s OK. We’ll just say it was inspired by a massive earthquake.’ “

I highly recommend you check out today’s prompt at The Blog Propellant. Very entertaining basis for it.


6 Comments on “DIY for Dummies”

  1. tnkerr says:

    This is the most entertaining and most well written thing I have read all day! Bravo

  2. LRose says:

    As always, you figure a way to tie all the options together. Big fun!

  3. abbiosbiston says:

    This is so funny! Love it!


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