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The Uprising of the Appliances

Our car continues to throw little zingers at us. Dave would love to replace it; every now and then he peruses the used car ads on Craigslist with a gleam in his eye. But the car still runs, and as long as it continues to do so we will be savingsavingsaving for our next house. I imagine a new (to us) vehicle will be first on the list once we move, though.

So this time it was the key fob, the little doohickey that locks and unlocks the car (and sets the alarm). It doesn’t start the car, just unlocks and locks it. We each have one, and Dave’s stopped working a little over a month ago. He took it apart and something inside was broken, so it wasn’t just a battery or a simple fix. When we did some research on a replacement, we found out it costs around $300 to get a new one and get it programmed by a dealer. Good grief! We had no idea.

Once we realized it would be so expensive, we put it off. We still had mine, after all. But it was making Dave nervous, so last week he found a place on eBay that sells used key fobs and ordered one for $20. Then he searched for a video on how to program it himself. We watched it together and it looked fairly straightforward.

The key fob came today, and after he watched the video one more time, Dave went down to the garage to try his hand at programming (and saving us over $100). He ran upstairs a couple times to re-check parts of the video, and at one point I thought I heard an alarm going off. Finally he came upstairs, smiled weakly and said, “Well, it’s done! I didn’t realize it could’ve shut the car down completely, so that it wouldn’t start. It’s messing with the security system, after all. But it works!” It turned out to be quite a bit more complicated than the video showed, and perhaps he might not have done it if he’d realized what he was risking (the security system could’ve freaked out and locked the car in such a way that we couldn’t start it). Better not to think of that, and just think of the money we saved. (Whew.)

In other ‘things breaking down’ news, a couple of days ago I noticed a faint electrical burning smell in our kitchen. I called Dave over to sniff the air with me and he could smell it too, right by the kitchen island but nowhere else in the house. After we’d walked around the house sniffing the air like hound dogs, we met back in the kitchen and couldn’t smell anything. We did a collective shrug and figured it was just one of those things.

Later, after dinner, Dave made a cup of Earl Grey tea and he used the microwave to heat the water in his mug. After it finished, he called me over and there it was again. We remembered that the microwave had been used earlier that afternoon, when we first smelled the mysterious odor. Obviously something was burning up inside the microwave. My immediate reaction was to clap and say, “Oh GOOD, we get to buy a new microwave!”

We bought that microwave, a Panasonic, back in 2002. The first thing I did was use the ‘popcorn’ button to pop a bag of popcorn, and it burned the crap out of it. (I naively thought the machine knew what it was doing; I pushed the button and walked away, then came back to a room filled with smoke.) The plastic on the door was a nice light brown color after that debacle, in distinct contrast to the white shade on the body of the microwave. Dave never let me live that down, and I felt so bad that I sullied our brand new appliance on the day we bought it.

After some fast internet research, we settled on a Magic Chef microwave that’s a little bigger than our old one. It’s very pretty and it was inexpensive (especially after I found and printed a $5 off $50 coupon). It works a treat.

I no longer trust the ‘popcorn’ button. So far this microwave is still as pretty as the day we bought it.  🙂

They say bad things happen in threes.  Let’s hope the appliances haven’t figured this out.

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