Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Patchwork Fixes

I have put off maintenance around the house for a very long time. Now that I'm finally tending to a few things, I am finding that the patchwork fixes don't always work ...

I bought a used digital cable box from a Kijiji ad last week. I hooked it up and everything appeared to work okay. One 'quick' call to our cable company to do whatever-it-is-that-they-do to make the on-screen listings work and we'd be off to the races. Wrong. Strange and unusual things happened. I talked with two different technicians over the course of the hour that I was on the phone. They had never seen this particular problem before. A service call has been placed. We decided it would be best to wait until our other boxes arrive just in case we have any problems with them. Proactive thinking. I hope it works.

We bought weather stripping, door knobs and dead bolt locks for our existing doors this past weekend. We can still see daylight between the front door and the door jam. The back door doesn't close quite good enough for us to rely on the keypad door lock to do its job. The door and door jam have seen so many different door knobs and dead bolt locks in their days that (even though my son assures me that this is no problem) things just don't look as secure as they should. I would still like new doors ...

Our computer was running so slow that I was starting to feel that there was a serious underlying issue which would result in the computer crashing and burning and losing everything that is on it. So I called my Computer Doctor. He came yesterday and cleaned things up and added more RAM. He told me of the issues that were probably slowing things up on the computer, but he thought that what he did should make a noticeable difference. Well? They did. We now have no sound on the computer. Not only that, it seems to be running just as slow (if not slower) than it did before. He is coming back this afternoon ...

We are getting the furnace, ducts, air conditioner and air exchanger cleaned today. I am fearful of the ramifications. Everything that has been 'patched' has resulted in more work, follow-up and the revelation that perhaps getting rid of the old and buying something new is the best answer.

What is it about this disposable society that makes me feel victimized by the inability to simply fix what works? I am doing my best to keep what has worked for me in the past out of the garbage dumps. I feel like I am being thwarted at every turn. Are new products not meant to be fixed? Are the repair and maintenance people not capable of repairing something that is over five years old (often as a result of parts not being available)?

We went through a fairly massive renovation and repair of things-around-the-house in 2003. Everything worked. Everything felt new and improved. The downside is that was over nine years ago. Now what was new has become antiquated and effective repairs and maintenance seem to be illusive. Granted ... our doors are most likely 47 years old. They are most likely the one item on the list that could work effectively with a few minor adjustments. The rest? Is one step away from the garbage dump.

I am trying. I am truly trying. I would love to be able to toss out the old and buy new. But the budget doesn't allow it. Heavens! The budget doesn't even allow for repairs and maintenance!! But I'm trying none-the-less.

Something tells me if my dad was here, he could make a lot of these things work. At least the stuff that isn't electronic or computer related. Dad came from a generation of fixing what you had and nothing went to waste. This stemmed from necessity, but the generation who lived through the Depression years never lost that way of life. 'Waste not want not' was the motto of the day.

One step forward, two steps back. Patchwork fixes used to work. Now the patches seem ineffective and a waste of time and material. But I'm trying ...

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