This month has seen a variety of deaths in the Lockett Lodge.
To be fair, after sixteen years of togetherness, it's to be expected that appliances wear out. We've been through three irons, several kettles, two vacuum cleaners, two 1970s cars and farewelled Love Chunks' 1969-model Kelvinator 'Foodarama' fridge for a Fischer and Paykel, but it seems right now as though everything my index finger even thinks about touching instantly dies.
A couple of weekends ago, LC decided that it was time to have a wood fire in our lounge-room fireplace. We'd had one a few times earlier this winter and it heated up our little weatherboard box so well we wore shorts and leavened some bread.
This time, unfortunately, the electrical paraphernalia that powers the pump device that pushes pesky smoke up the chimney and heat into the house conked out (two of my favourite words are in that sentence: paraphernalia and conked). The nose-hair singeing smell of burnt plastic rapidly combined with a churlish chimney to fill the house up with black smoke, swirling soot and four screaming alarms.
Several minutes later as we assured our frightened neighbours whilst staggering around with bleeding earholes and broomsticks that everything was OK, the house was silent but reminiscent of Pompeii as ash was strewn everywhere. With grey flakes fluttering from his lashes, LC gave a sigh and said, "Right, so we might be looking at a jetmaster gas heater next year then."
Then his beloved Gaggia coffee machine stopped frothing. That was okay, we could live without the froth on top, but when the element stopped heating it made sitting there with a tepid cup of brown a little bit more un-fun. Surprisingly, Love Chunks' farewell to Lady Gaggia was brief and unemotional. Little did I know that he'd already spied her replacement, Mrs Krups.
Like all good Germans Mrs K was big, efficient and fairly quiet. She also ground up the beans which saved us having to do it and sprinkle the counter and floor in dirty brown crumbs. Unlike all quiet Germans, she fluffs up a treat which might - just might - justify what she cost us.
It was also time to get a new computer. I'd written earlier about my laptop no longer having the KNIHL keys visible but that was bearable. Now though, it was labouring so hard that the fan would go into overdrive before giving up, shutting down and vengefully freezing my documents and web pages more effectively than Walt Disney's cryogenic chamber.
Love Chunks researched, found and bought us a desktop computer while Sapphire and I were at my folks' place and we came home to a massive screen, thumping black modem, connected iPod docking station speaker thingumajiggies and wireless keyboard, mouse and remote controls. It is very impressive but still needs a folded up tablecloth under the keyboard so that it doesn't rock and roll over our $19 plastic camping table that we call a desk....
Sapphire's electric toothbrush decided that the 'electric' bit was too tiresome to continue with; my mobile phone needs a dozen strong indentations of my thumbnail (and a fair bit of swearing) before it deigns to turn itself back on (and even then presents me with a thick black line through the middle of the screen) and evilly rearranges my settings; the shower screams like it's having its toenails ripped out whenever the hot tap is turned on and the MP3 player no longer, well, plays. Alternatively, when the stupid device does play it's at 3am when it's sitting in the clock radio slot and suddenly turns on, making me glad I've just been for my nightime wee trip.
So was it any surprise that our kitchen floor boards started lifting, presenting us with a lacquered representation of a Toblerone block, right at the join in front of the dishwasher? I only noticed it when my ugg boot snagged on it, causing me to trip forward and dong my noggin on the fridge door (I'm sure the biscuits I had in my hand are still hiding under it somewhere).
Love Chunks suspected that the dishwasher was leaking and promptly called out a dishwasher um, detective, to figure it out. "Don't you DARE talk to him or offer him a coffee," he hissed down the phone at me during his lunch hour. "This bloke costs $150 per hour, so get him in, get him working and get him out."
Detective Zorran looked like the dark-eyed love-child of Jon English and Stevie Nicks. Despite his bohemian parentage he arrived on time, and with my mental clock - and bank balance - ticking, I ushered him into our kitchen so fast he banged his tool box on the front door but didn't rub his elbow until he was by the back one. "Yep, your motor's gone. It'll cost you $500 to replace plus installation and seeing as they've put in a fourteen year old dishwasher into a new kitchen you're better off buying a new one. It'll be quieter and save you water and all that."
I couldn't help it; I had to talk. "Um, at your hourly rate I guess you could choose between prostitution or mechanics?"
"Umph," his head was underneath the sink. He'd clearly heard that line before.
But I couldn't help it; I had to keep on blathering. "But I guess in both roles you'd be spending a lot of time on your knees, heh heh."
That did cause him to pop his head up and his look of shock actually made me blush and apologise. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to offend you."
"Ah no worries love - I was just going to tell you that the tool who installed this before stuck it to the wrong pipe."
And so, as the grand final loomed and the carparks were packed with frantic footy folk looking to buy dips, chips, sausages and sauce we found ourselves at the local Good-Harvey-Warehouse-Crazy-Norman-Guy-John-Homemaker Centre dully looking at expensive silver and white boxes, wishing we'd had the foresight to bring in a sample dinner plate and wineglass to check if they'd fit in or not.
At first bounce the dishwasher arrived because the delivery guy was a staunch soccer fan who was quite happy to miss the game. It fit through our Gates of Hell with ease and was wheeled around the back to reside by Skipper's townhouse until we found a plumber to instal it.
It was then that I noticed, whilst bending down to rub at the rabbit's nose, that the little bugger has nearly eaten through the bottom of both doors and his inner stairwell was hanging together mostly by a fortuitous mixture of compressed turds, wet hay and newspaper scraps. How come they don't make these things out of titanium alloy or kryptonite; he's only had the joint for five months for creditcardssakes.......