How many household gadgets can break down at once? Let me enumerate.

First, the Apple logo on my husband Paul’s laptop turned green. “That can’t be good,” I said, and I was right. A trip to the Genius Bar and a few days “in the shop,” and it was fixed. We think.

We did battle with our old washing machine for months in 2014. Multiple repairmen failed to fix it. After Paul wrote to the president of Sears, we were awarded a brand-new machine. This one is proving to be as problematic as the first one was.

Already, one repairman has failed to fix it, and is scheduled to try again as I write this. We’d call the whole thing off and cry uncle, but the machine is still under warranty.

The lawn mower has been at the repair shop for several weeks. They’re waiting for a spring to arrive. Really. We’ve tried for years not to have a lawn, by planting ground cover, etc. But we still have enough grass to need a mower.

Paul must keep on top of the laundry and the lawn, so he was ready to explode. Instead, he went out and whacked weeds.

The weed whacker died.

All that was running through my mind at this point was the title of an old Grateful Dead tune: “Brokedown Palace.”

Paul suggested buying a reel mower. They don’t break down. I suggested he wait, as they might go on sale at the end of the summer. “The grass isn’t growing much now, is it?” I said.

Well, because of global warming (yes, it’s real), Paul now mows the grass until the middle of October.

On the off chance that the spring may arrive before Christmas, Paul went off to buy a new weed whacker, instead of a mower.

A light appeared on the dashboard of our Prius. As we were on a losing streak, we both gasped. I yanked out the owner’s manual and was relieved to see it was just an indication of low tire pressure. Paul gave them some air. The light went off.

Then it came back on. The dealership said it might be stuck. We could reset it. Needless to say, that didn’t work. Did we need new tires? Did the light need to be professionally unstuck?

Paul put more air in. The light went out. We’re waiting for it to go back on again.

Our wireless and landline have crashed. I called the Internet service provider. I crawled around, plugging things in and pulling them out, to no avail. Our case has been bumped up to “level two.” A “ticket” has been opened on our behalf. I am terrified.

I had contacted the ISP last week because we were suffering slow Internet speeds. I wondered why they hadn’t gotten back to me, and was just about to shoot off an email when we heard a knock on the door. It was a utility repairman, at 7 o’clock on a Friday night. He found a few things to fix, including a wasp’s nest on top of the utility pole. Do you know utility repairman carry cans of pesticide? Fun fact.

The Internet started running faster, but our landline, which had previously been a bit staticky, now got worse.

Since we expected the phone to die at any minute, we got out Paul’s TracFone. The last time he tried to enter the pin from his new phone card, it wouldn’t work. I tried online; no luck. I went to Target to see if it had been activated. It had. The associate called TracFone. We didn’t get far because I didn’t have the phone with me.

We let it sit, but its time had come. I spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon on my phone with a pleasant man named Jose. He determined that we needed a new SIM card. Apparently, if you don’t use your phone for awhile, the company suspects you are a drug dealer who has thrown away the phone. You are deregistered.

The card arrived the night before the landline crash. The directions for removing the old card and inserting the new one were straightforward. My problem? Getting the back off the phone in order to do this.

Once I realized that the square cut-out at the bottom of the phone was not the power port, I knew that a small screwdriver was all I needed. After weeks of living in the “Brokedown Palace,” I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Liz Soares welcomes email at [email protected]

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.