Whining about electronics

Published 9:47 am Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Column: Sara Aeikens, Creative Connections

Why do electronic appliances and gadgets seem to settle in for near death experiences, or at least take on major disabilities all at once?

Sara Aeikens

Our portable dishwasher began the series of malfunctions. My husband all of a sudden noticed its’ resounding silence after the comforting periodic moanings simply came to an abrupt halt in mid-cycle. For an astounding fee of several hundred dollars we found out we could repair and recycle it. When the bill arrived for a door shut-off switch for only $85, we thought we got a bargain.

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If you are updated on advances in home tooth care, you may be using an electric Waterpik. We have a small rechargeable for traveling and larger tank plug-in type for home use. With several phone consultations I discovered how to unclog the waterspout in one and learned how to prime the long thin hose in the other. Skimming the directions may not work with some of these new-fangled home health care devices.

In this same time period, I changed camera brands and upgraded to a versatile Canon digital. It let me know recently it needed extra attention, so I made a trip to the cities, where National Camera Exchange showed me step-by-step preventive measures and gave all sorts of new advice on smart cards, cables and USB ports.

A few years ago a computer-expert friend gave me something she called an MP3 player, and on Sunday I finally tried it. I pushed a key button, and it started to show a photo slide show of my computer pictures all by itself, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to leave my computer alone.

The vacuum cleaner came forth as the next lack-of-action item. The finicky power nozzle turned off all by itself and for $30 the repairman improved the wire connection. Now it just doesn’t happen as often.

The most important appliance my husband enjoys daily stopped working a few mornings ago. Fortunately coffee makers sometimes come free in the mail to make sure he keeps up his coffee drinking habit. A brand new machine may appear when he purchases four boxes of fresh coffee beans for $25.

When I really pine away for a less complicated non-electronic lifestyle, mowing our corner yard with our handy compact size hand-push lawn mower usually fulfills my need after one round of overgrown grass.

Tomorrow morning I take off with the Albert Lea High School choir on a trip to England and Scotland and will definitely take my Blue Zones battery-run pedometer and the new rechargeable battery-operated camera.

I wonder if I can find a three-pronged converter for the English electrical outlets around midnight in Albert Lea! When we return, students will turn in their best photos for a trip photo contest either burned on a compact disk or a hard copy, both accomplished through electronics.

Sara Aeikens is an Albert Lea resident.