08 December 2020

Stuck at Home Boos

I got a powerful head start on the trauma of 2020 when I lost my phone and an external hard drive on Christmas Day last year. Perhaps one of the most challenging parts of being home full time is keeping the rest of the appliances and electronics working under such strain!

First it was the toaster. It may have been 30 years old. Then the blender. I loved my industrial strength blender! My bosses bought it for me in about 1998, and it was powerful! It was so awesome, I bought one for my neighbors (the ones who helped me with my landscaping) just a couple of months earlier when their blender went out. I didn't realize my blender had been discontinued or I would have bought a second one to keep in reserve.

The old one was glass. Glass doesn't seem to be the standard now. Everything seems to be made of plastic. It was difficult to pick a new one.

I was forced to buy something "new and improved" I'd never heard of, which seemed kind of scary this year! (And because I ordered it on Amazon, I now get ads for every single appliance by the new blender manufacturer every time we watch anything via our Fire Stick...) Receiving the new blender was a bit frightening, too, because the packaging was damaged. Thankfully, the blender was packaged in a good layer of Styrofoam, and it survived shipping. I don't know if it will last as long as the old blender, but so far, I'm really loving my new Ninja!

Two of my grow light housings bit the dust. Two grow lights burned out. There are so many different kinds of grow lights and housings now, the most difficult part of replacing one was choosing one. Which made replacing the second on the next paycheck a bit easier.

My watering can literally split in half. Probably because I kept water in it year-round to prevent it from blowing away in our famous wind. It probably died of freeze-thaw syndrome, which affects many high country roads, as well.

The new watering can hasn't been used yet. I decided not to keep it outside, and that way, it won't freeze and thaw. I'm a little anxious to use it because it's just so different from the plain jane one that busted.

The humidifier dried up. The new one has about double the capacity, which means I don't have to fill it as often. It also has a dial instead of a switch, so I can make the reservoir last even longer. It's much quieter than the old one was, too.

Next went the sound bar, which wasn't that old. Maybe two years. Ugh. But we're loving our new mini Bose! It isn't top of the line, but it already works better than the toddler Polk ever did. We'd always wanted a Bose. Now we have one.

On cue boomed the circa 1995ish boom box, the only stereo in our house. First the cassette deck quit, and then the CD player. The speakers are still awesome, so we can listen to FM... when we can pick up signal. We both have playlists on our phones, so we thought perhaps it's time we get a Bluetooth so we could pipe our MP3 tunes through those great speakers.

I found a (seriously) cheap stereo that blares its worth via not-quite-the-sound-quality we've enjoyed all 15 years of our marriage. Lizard had purchased the retired stereo long before he met me, so just like the old blender, the stereo provided many decades of beautiful sound. It will be a while before we can replace the inexpensive stereo that actually doesn't have Bluetooth capability. I didn't read the description close enough. Learned that just because you search for a Bluetooth receiver doesn't mean everything that comes up in the list will actually meet that requirement. This little stereo looks nice, but it doesn't even have jacks for additional speakers!

I searched for a replacement boombox, and the manufacturer of the retired model is actually still in business. The only compatible units I could find, however, are used. And very expensive. Much more than what Lizard paid when he first bought his boombox... brand new!!!

I suppose at some point, I could put jacks on the old speaker wires. I've actually replaced jacks on old-style headphones (way before earbuds) back when I was still in high school. But it probably would be less expensive, more efficient and better sounding if we just invest in a nice truly Bluetooth receiver next time. We'll get by with what we have for now.

The microwave that came with the house gave out. The nightlight in the microwave replacement doesn't work. So I moved the on/off switch-equipped handmade snowflake nightlight from a beloved glass-blowing friend into our kitchen. We have to have an all-night light source in each room now. I had to turn the nightlight switch on and off every day. (Had to do that with the old microwave, too, but that isn't what quit.)

The on/off switch on the snowflake nightlight didn't take long to expire. Just completely quit. The snowflake light maker probably would make another nightlight if I asked, but his family is about 100 miles away, and they have some immunity concerns, too, so I'll wait. Tried new bulbs. Took the nightlight apart and did what I could with the innards. It was deader than a doornail. But I love my new snowflake nightlight! It has a sensor!!! I don't have to turn if off. Ever! It goes on and off all by itself!!!

Two rechargeable batteries for my point and shoot fried. They tend to do that after more than about 100 charges. I still had one working battery, and it took quite a while to find two more because the camera was discontinued several years ago. Now I have three working batteries. If I find more, I will buy them because I'm not replacing this camera until it dies. (I probably shouldn't mention that. I don't want to invite the grim camera reaper.)

The rechargeable AAA batteries in my mouse also decided they are no longer worthy of service. The next day, the rechargeable AA batteries in my LED photography light played the same game. Then, after the replacement batteries arrived, the charger decided it was too old and too tired, too.

Lizard's printer went out about three months into lockdown. I used it more in 12 weeks than he had used it in several years. Two months later, my extremely cheap printer breathed its last breath. It wasn't that old, but it also wasn't that helpful because it was black and white only. We finally were able to get a replacement printer in November. It seems affordable home printers are as scarce as toilet paper these days...

Now my (2015) computer is growing very, very slow. Its operating system hasn't been supported since January. It's becoming more difficult by the day to get updates to run properly. Some programs don't run at all. I really don't want to move to the current operating system, but I know my day is coming.

On the bright side, I've put maybe 20 miles on my road bike this year, and no miles on my mountain bike since April 29. So both, which are older models, are still running just fine. No overuse at all.

I'm also not putting many miles on my car at all. Thank heavens! We go to medical appointments, and that's about it. So my 1998 car is still running like a charm. I did have to renew my plates last month. But now we can do that on a machine in the sort-of local grocery store. I don't have to go stand in line at the DMV anymore. And thankfully I don't have to get my emissions checked until next year. So no lines there, either! YAY!!!

This is a time of year when I like to donate and volunteer. Thanks to all our medical expenses and 2020 in general, I don't have money to donate this year. I'm not in a position right now to volunteer in person. I'm not living my life in fear at all. But I will do whatever I have to in order to protect Lizard, who currently is immune-compromised. He's been through enough trauma for a lifetime, and it is not a difficult decision at all to do what it takes to keep him safe.

I never throw out big boxes. At work, I was the box queen. My co-workers would visit my desk this time of year because they knew I would have just the right size box for their Christmas mailing(s). Thanks to all our forced replacements this year, plus all the adaptive equipment I've had to buy for Lizard and almost exclusively online ordering just about anything else to prevent exposure, I had all kinds of boxes multiplying and replenishing the earth in the garage with no smiling visitors looking to mail packages.

I found a charity in need of large boxes to package donated PPE, groceries, cleaning supplies and toiletries for refugees and victims of domestic violence.

My vast collection of boxes is gone. All I had to do was send one text, then put the boxes out on the porch. And smile and wave.

I didn't give much this year, but I gave what I had, and it feels terrific! Christmas just isn't Christmas without snow, and Christmas just isn't Christmas without doing something to help others.

I'll keep an eye out for other things I can do, and I'll keep hoping for more snow. But Christmas feels good right now because someone out there benefitted from a simple thing I was able to do. That's what Christmas is all about.


  1. My computer video is having issues flickering and such,very temprarmental hard to read things.It still works, we'll get through it. Merry Christmas to you and the Lizard.

  2. Good luck with your "machinery". This sounds like a nightmare. All the best!

  3. Wow, it has been quite the year. Keep up the positive attitude, and enjoy the Ninja and the cool watering can!


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