Category Archives: Denton

Trivial Vicissitudes

Somehow I didn’t think it had been so long since I’d posted. So it was surprising when I saw that the last time was June 2. Yikes.

We’ve been having computer adjustments. The laptop has a soldering problem, which Joe is trying to fix. The internet sites on that particular problem advise against trying to fix it without professional help. But as we are on a tight budget, I’m certainly not willing to pay for repairs.

(Joe thinks he can do it himself, and he probably can. He can fix just about anything from cars to washers & dryers to electrical wiring. And welders. One of our neighbors had a welder that needed fixing and even though he’d never worked on one, she asked him to look at it. He fixed it. He even plays a mean Chopin.

What a Renaissance man!)

After another computer virus on our main computer, we have had to make adjustments in the way it operates, learning new file systems. Actually, Joe figures it out and gives me only the information I need to use it. I don’t want to know all the ins and outs. But it has taken some doing to learn how to scan and use photos.

I am absolutely not superstitious, but that makes 3 mechanical things that have gone on the blink this year and 3 last year. The car I drive is inoperable – no way am I ready to spend the money that the garage estimates, and I even agree that it’s a fair price.

So, the math works like this:

1 broken car + 1 broken laptop + 1 virus ridden system = 3 clunkers – 1 new system = 2 trivial problems

Not having a running car is not a huge problem because I actually like being home during the day. Even before it quit, I didn’t use it much. It was lovely going to town sometimes, but no way do I consider it a necessity. (More on that in a future post.)

Last year bigger things broke:

1. Our 8 year old Amana dishwasher
2. The riding lawnmower
3. Our central air conditioner.

We solved those problems by:

1. Washing dishes by hand. Joe won’t buy a cheap dishwasher and I’m too cheap to buy a good one.
2. Bless his heart, he worked on that old John Deere all summer; he’d get it going and then something else on it would break. So we used our old power mower, the regular kind that you walk behind (it was the smallest one that Wal-Mart sold when we lived in the trailer park and had a postage stamp-sized yard.) When we moved out to the country we bought a used John Deere and it worked a couple of years, then it went caput. He was able to keep it going for another couple of years, but it took a lot of work and finally it just wasn’t going to make it. So with the small one, we just mowed enough to keep the varmints at bay.
3. No way was I going to go far enough in debt to finance a new central unit. (Have I mentioned that I’m cheap? Thrifty is a much nicer term, but sometimes I’m just plain cheap.) But air conditioning in modern life is almost a necessity because our homes are just not built to withstand the summer heat. Especially in Texas. So we bought a new Friedrich window unit (made in Texas) at McNeill’s Appliances in Denton. We looked at window units at Home Depot and somewhere else, which I can’t remember. We prefer to buy American made products and from a local business when we can. Going to McNeill’s was wonderful. It reminded me of the appliance store in That Thing You Do, which is the way Americans used to buy household goods. Click here to watch a trailer of it on youtube. It’s a nice tribute to the year 1964. Tom Hanks did a really good job with it.

We also had two small units that we put in bedroom windows. The surprising thing is that our electric bill went down from previous years. Significantly down. So while it’s nicer and quieter to have central, this was a really good and affordable way to keep cool during these Texas summers, or in other words, May – October. And they keep our home really comfortable.

In the long run, none of these road bumps are even important. They’re inconveniences.

When I think about my widowed great-great grandmother, taking her 5 children by covered wagon from eastern Tennessee to start a new life in western Missouri … well, these trivial vicissitudes are hardly worth mentioning.

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