Maladjusted Mondays, #19

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson, and I’m back! Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

The following post first appeared on my blog January 1, 2019…

Over-Charged… or,
Night of the Zombie Phone

Just in time for the new year… another terrifying tale about my maladjusted appliances. Or, in this case, electronics. Whatever. They’re all in cahoots.

I don’t turn my phone off very often. Instead, I just silence the ringer when I charge it overnight. But not long ago, the thing was acting kind of squirrely so I turned it off.

Minutes later, I turned it on and waited for the little Apple symbol to appear, showing that the phone was waking up, then left it to do its boot-up thing.

Half an hour later, the little Apple symbol still showed. No home screen.

I tried turning the phone off, holding the button down for several seconds.

It wouldn’t turn off.

Unplug it and turn it off again?

No change.

I picked it up. “Oooh, it feels kind of warm.”

Brent said, “Better take it to the AT&T store.”

They’d be open for another 45 minutes, so off I went.

Went inside and told the guy “My phone won’t turn off.”

He took it and immediately dropped it onto the counter. “That thing is hot!

Sure enough, the phone had begun to warp.

The AT&T guy nervously wrapped it in a shop towel. “Is it okay with you if I set it outside in case it blows up?”

“Be my guest,” I told him. I mean, I didn’t want to die by phone shrapnel any more than he did.

After duly buying another phone and getting everything set up, I took the barbecued unit, still in its towel, home for disposal. But what was I gonna do with it? I wasn’t about to put it in the wastebasket and start a house fire.

The one time I’d dropped my first smartphone into water, it went dead in about two seconds. So I got a bucket, ran a few inches of water in it, and gave the phone a burial at sea, only on the driveway. Then I waited respectfully for its light to go out forever.

And waited.

A whole minute went by…
It was still looking up at me from its watery grave.

This was ridiculous. Clearly, I had a Zombie Phone on my hands. What can you do but go inside and hope it gives up?

Three minutes later…
Yep, I’ve still got a luminaria out here. Stomped back inside, this time stubbornly staying away until nearly bedtime. You cannot imagine my relief when I went outside and found… darkness.

Free at last!

I fished the phone out and let it lie in state on the kitchen island until morning.

Next day, when I went to view the remains, I saw…

(Cue “Psycho” music)

“chaaarrge… meeeeee…” it seemed to be whispering.

Yeah, right. I may not be as smart as my phone, but I’m not about to fall for that again.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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Maladjusted Mondays, Week 18

NOT Linda.

Hail and Farewell!* I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

* This week, I changed my usual “Greetings!” to “Hail and Farewell!” — because today’s is the last appliance-wars post I currently have to offer. This, of course, does not mean that my appliances intend to live meekly ever after. With Linda’s permission, I will submit reports on any new uprisings or shenanigans that may occur in the future.

And now for the 18th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog June 5, 2018.

Pandora FAIL

How do you fail at Pandora?

To be clear, I’m talking about the online-radio app, not the charm bracelets.

Technically, it’s just an app, not an appliance… but I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Sunday evening, we had our Liberian friends and several friends from church at our house for a potluck dinner. I set Pandora on an uplifting worship music station and put it through the speakers. Everyone arrived, we set up the food, and people visited while munching chips and salsa. Then it was time to start eating in earnest.

We bowed our heads for prayer, and Brent thanked the Lord for the friends and food. He had barely started speaking when I heard a feminine voice say, “Uh-ohhh…” Thinking something had spilled, I glanced around to see whether anyone needed a towel or mop.

No, all heads were bowed.

That’s when I heard the voice again. This time I realized it was coming from the speaker above my head.

It was a commercial…

… a commercial for diarrhea medicine.

Could there be a more ominous start to a meal?

We got through the prayer with only a few snickers. Now we’re all thankful, not only for friends and food, but for laughter.

And the fact no one needed any medication after dinner.

 

Thanks for read– Wait! NEWS UPDATE!

The Very Next Day after this post went live on my blog, I got an email from LinkedIn, touting several job openings they thought would interest me. The first one was for a marketing copywriter.
The company?
“Poo-pourri” bathroom air freshener.

Just thought you’d breathe a little easier knowing that…

Thanks for reading,
Jan

PS: NO, I did NOT apply for the job. Thank you.

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 17

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 17th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog May 15, 2018.

Cat-and-Mouse

Here’s a riddle:

What gets underfoot, completely ignores humans,
carries filthy things in its mouth,
and generates a steady supply of hairballs?

In our case, it is not a cat.

No, it’s the Roomba that Brent gave me this past Christmas. It’s been in our house four months, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

Correction: I should say “her.” Because we named it Hazel, after the old-school TV comedy starring Shirley Booth.

Anyway, Hazel does a creditable job of dusting the floors. She glides under the furniture with ease and bumps her way around obstacles.

But she isn’t all diligence and efficiency.

A diligent appliance? At our house?

Don’t be silly.

One evening, Brent could only find one sock of a pair he’d left on the floor. Hazel had done her rounds, so of course he asked me whether she’d eaten it.

“I don’t think so. She worked until her battery ran down, then went back to the docking station like normal.”

But the sock was nowhere else, so I went and turned Hazel over. Sure enough, she had picked up the sock–then dusted half the floors with it hanging out of her mouth.

Eeewwwww.

I wrestled the sock away from her, only to find she had also coughed up a hairball. Or more accurately, crafted one out of someone’s long grey hair.

Can I help it if I shed?

A few minutes with the kitchen scissors took care of it, but I’m betting this hairball won’t be her last.

Just yesterday, I put Hazel in our bedroom and shut the door so she wouldn’t wander out into the living room, which was already clean. Half an hour later, I realized I didn’t hear her high-pitched humming.

I went to the bedroom door and listened. Nothing.

“Hazel? Everything all right in there?” Nothing. (Really, did I expect an answer??)

So I turned the knob and pushed the door open. Half an inch. Then something blocked it and three beeps sounded.

“Hazel. Move!” (Tries again)

“Beep-beep-beep!”

The door was blocked, but good. Fortunately, our room has a door out to the patio…

I had to go find my house key, people!

And there she sat, right in front of the closed door, not doing a single thing.

I still don’t know why she stopped, but after I opened the door, pointed her out, and pushed the “Home” button, she was able to find her way back to the docking station.

Believe me, I followed her every step of the way.

And people wonder why I don’t program the thing to work while I’m away from home.

Thanks for reading!
Jan

 

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 16

NOT Linda.

Greetings! Janice Johnson here. Thanks for joining the fun on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 16th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog November 24, 2017.

Dances with Hazelnuts (The Blender)

Brent and I both love hazelnut butter, but there’s so much sugar in the commercial stuff! Then a friend gave me her recipe for a healthy version. I found a source for blanched hazelnuts, Brent ordered a killer blender, and I’ve been making my own nut butter ever since.

Here’s the blender, photographed beside the protein-shake one for scale. If the little one is a Bullet blender, the big one is the Howitzer of blenders.

The craving hit recently while I was out of hazelnuts. Undaunted, I brought a pound of in-the-shell nuts home from the grocery.

But in the back of my mind was the nagging realization that, for the first time, I’d have to blanch the nuts. I approached this task with the same confidence with which I might gut a fish.

Sheer terror.

However, you can look up anything online, including how to blanch hazelnuts. I boiled the nut meats according to the directions. It took longer than I expected, but at last the papery skins slipped right off.

The nuts looked bigger and puffier than the pre-blanched ones I’d bought before. Should I be uneasy? … Naaah.

Next step, toast the skinned nuts in the oven. Since they had apparently retained a bit of water, I made sure they were fully toasted. Then, into the blender they went. Here they are, coarsely chopped and on their way to smooth, dippable greatness.

Once the nuts were pretty well pulverized, I added the other ingredients and blended some more, pushing the stiff goop back down into the blades every ten seconds or so. Usually this “stiff” phase lasts about two minutes.

Half an hour later, the consistency hadn’t changed a bit. If anything, the goop had grown stiffer. By now I could only blend for four seconds before the blades would lose all contact with the hazelnut goop.

I let the blender cool off for a while, and went at it again.

Still stiff, like mortar.

Maybe I had over-toasted the nuts. I added water.

An hour later, I gave up and scooped the resulting hazelnut product into a container to refrigerate, ready or not.

It looks like poop.

And this time, I can’t even blame the appliances.

One thing’s for sure: From now on, I’m only buying already-blanched hazelnuts.

After all, I’m not completely nuts.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 15

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 15th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog November 14, 2017.

Party Animals… And Vegetables

The two suspects.
Notice the sly look on that teakettle, though…

I’m starting to realize the grim truth: I’m outnumbered and surrounded–by my appliances. Last week, the toaster oven and the gas stove rebelled… on the very same night.

In support of our quest to eat more super-healthy foods, I picked up some sea scallops on special. A salad and a dish of fresh veggies, ready for stir-frying, sat in the fridge. The plan? Broil the scallops and cook a batch of quinoa to go with them, while stir-frying the, um, stir-fry.

Simple enough, right?

But I reckoned without those appliances of mine.

According to the package directions, quinoa cooks up like rice, taking about 15 minutes to absorb all the water once it’s come to a boil. So when the quinoa and water boiled, I turned down the flame to simmer, again according to directions. Then my attention turned to the plump discs of seafood greatness.

It seemed silly to heat our large oven just to broil 3/4 pound of scallops, so out came the toaster oven. Lightly crumple up some foil, spray it with olive oil, and fit it into the shallow toaster-oven baking sheet. Boom — a makeshift broiling pan.

After giving the quinoa a sportsmanlike head start, I set the toaster oven to “broil” and cranked the temperature all the way up. A dash of olive oil on the neatly arranged scallops, and into the oven they went. Now for the veggies.

Several stir-frying minutes later, I opened the toaster oven to turn the scallops. To my horror, they weren’t browning on top. A broth had formed, nearly filling up the makeshift foil pan. The scallops looked more like they were relaxing in a hot tub than getting cooked.

What to do?

I’ll spare you the sad details of scallop broth splashing over the floor as I ferried the little pan to the sink. No seafood was left behind, though. Or in this case, none went down the drain.

I’d have to sauté the scallops.

Fine. I shoved the veggies to one side and popped the scallops into the same skillet.

Minutes later, they were ready. Great–now to serve up the quinoa.

I lifted the lid to access the fluffy side dish.

Instead, the little seeds literally floated around in the pan, still up to their necks in water. Here we had yet another hot-tub party, and me not even invited.

Tasting a few grains, I found them pretty much done, so I cranked up the flame to accelerate the process.

Eventually everything was done enough, the floor mopped up, and dinner was served.

Perhaps some day I’ll be able to regulate the stove flame, and maybe even find a true broiling pan that will fit in the toaster oven.

Meanwhile, sandwiches sound more appealing all the time.

Thanks for reading,

Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 14

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays.  Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 14th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog October 2, 2017.

The Interplanetary Appliance Conspiracy

On a recent trip to Washington state, Brent and I took a road trip to his boyhood home town. The next day found us driving for hours through the Cascades to get back to our kids’ house. Construction detours, rain, no cell service, verrrrrry spotty map info, snacks but no real lunch… Relief flooded us when, at about 1:00 PM, we finally came to Packwood–an actual town.

To our delight, we spotted a scruffy old pizza-and-burger place with beat-up pickups and motorcycles parked out front.

In a charming bit of anachronism, the ladies’ room boasted a contemporary wall-mount foam soap dispenser and a sleek cylindrical paper towel holder.

In due time, I washed my hands and reached under the cylinder for the corner of paper towel that should be sticking out. I didn’t feel any.

Just as I was about to frisk the holder more thoroughly, a deafening noise like a jet engine filled the air. At the same time, my outstretched hand came alive with an intense, eerie blue glow.

Adrenaline jolted me halfway across the room. Clearly, this was an alien abduction.

I regained my balance. Thankfully, both the shrill engine noise and the blue light faded away. Once my heart started beating again, it dawned on me that the “paper towel holder” must really be a warm-air hand dryer.

What I’d really like to know is how on earth the appliance revolt spread clear to the state of Washington. It’s like they knew I was coming.

Must be the aliens.

I’m no dummy… I wiped my hands on my pants.

If you’re ever in Packwood, Washington, be sure to stop at Cruisers Pizza. The food and people were great. (Click here for their Facebook page.)

But you might want to steer clear of the “paper towel holder” in the ladies’ room.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 13

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays.  Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the 13th post in the series, which first appeared on my blog May 29, 2017.

I’ve Been Hosed! (The Pool Cleaner)

Not gonna lie… we’re total newbies at having a swimming pool. I mean, we don’t trust ourselves to take care of it, but have professionals maintain the pool lest it end up infested with mold or jellyfish or something.

Adding to the pool’s entertainment value is an automatic cleaner that roams around the bottom and sides, looking like a cross between a Roomba and a defibrillator. It vacuums water in through the Roomba end, filters it, and pees it out via a three-foot hose. The hose swishes around, sometimes breaching the surface and squirting a bit of water onto our breakfast room windows.

Windex: buy stock.

Last Saturday, I glanced out the breakfast room door and was startled to see rain blowing into the patio. Going out to investigate, I found the “rain” was actually arcing up from the pool, thanks to the Roomba hose, which would surely re-submerge in a second.

Surely.
Re-submerge.

Any second now. . .

>gives up and moves in for a closer look<

Oh, wait. Maybe I’d better get the skimmer and un-wedge the spray end of the hose from that crevice between the rocks.

After freeing the hose, I checked around to find a puddle in the adjacent flower bed, and another in the lawn just beyond. My personal rainstorm must have gone on for at least ten minutes.

Apparently, the Pool Roomba has made friends with my other appliances and joined the revolt.

What’s next… piranhas?

Thanks for reading!
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 12

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays.  Linda heroically offered to host this collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the twelfth post in the series, which first appeared on my blog May 24, 2017.

Navigate THIS!! (It’s a car thing)

About that trip to Missouri last week

My brother, David, and I drove to the town of Nevada from different directions. Next day, we agreed to each find our way north to Warsaw and meet at the Common Ground Cafe for lunch.

His rental car had an add-on navigation system, and my Infiniti of course has the latest version of GypsE ROSE. What could go wrong?

My route meandered up state highways alongside the Truman Reservoir before veering off onto a local road that approached town from the “back” side. At length I came to Highway 7, where I expected to turn right. But GypsE ROSE said to cross it.

The map showed me turning right just past 7, and crossing a bridge into town. Fine.

I turned off where indicated. Moments later, there was the bridge.

A footbridge. You know… for pedestrians.

“Not driving over that.” I pulled into a convenient parking lot to reconnoiter.

The cafe was only a half-mile away. Why not walk?

So I took off afoot. A man crossing the other way stopped to chat. I mentioned the cafe. He told me I’d see a convenience store and said, “That’s Main Street, just keep going.”

Soon I saw the store. Something stood between me and it: Highway 7 and some fast-moving traffic.”Not walking across that.” Back over the bridge and into the car. As soon as I turned to retrace my route, the map guidance changed to show me taking Highway 7 into town and turning onto Main.

“Why didn’t you say so in the first place?” I demanded.

I figured David would be tired of waiting for me by now, but as I parked I got a text from him. “Just got to the cafe.”

When we were seated, he told me his own nav system tale. . .

Shortly before he was to turn from a narrow farm road onto a highway, he accidentally pushed the steering wheel “phone” button. A feminine voice said, “Phone. Do you wish to make a call? After the tone, say ‘select a phone,’ ‘add a phone,’ or ‘no.'”

His nav chose that moment to say, “In zero point five miles, turn right onto Highway 83.”

Ms. Phone: “I didn’t understand that. Do you wish to make a call? After the tone, say ‘select a phone,’ ‘add a phone,’ or ‘no.'”

David was about to yell “NO,” but his nav butted in. “In zero point three miles, turn right onto Highway 83.”

Ms. Phone: “I didn’t understand that. Do you wish…”

David couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Desperately trying to kill the phone and end this mechanical stalemate, he missed his turn and drove two miles before finding a place to turn around.

By the time he got to Warsaw, he figured I’d be tired of waiting for him.

I thought of my ongoing appliance battles. “There’s such a thing,” I said, “as too much technology.”

Thanks for reading!
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 11

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. This series is a collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. (Thanks to Linda for hosting me!) I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the eleventh post in the series, which first appeared on my blog March 1, 2017.

Protein Shaken, Part 2
Police Drawing of the Suspect
Police Drawing of the Suspect

When last we left Jan, she was wiping splashed protein shake from her face and was about to clean up the (major) portion that had dripped behind the refrigerator.

Spill + 3 minutes: Step one– Pull the fridge out away from the wall.

Spill + 4 minutes: Step t–wait, I’m still tryna move the fridge.

Spill + 11 minutes: It simply wouldn’t budge. I looked everywhere for the user manual.

Spill + 18 minutes: I couldn’t find any manual, so I looked it up on LG’s website. The online manual showed how to do every possible thing you might ever want to do with a fridge…. EXCEPT move it.

Spill + 24 minutes: I got on phone with a very nice person at LG, who spoke pretty good English as long as she didn’t have to stray from the script.

Spill + 25 minutes: We had to stray from the script.

As near as I could tell, she was claiming that I first had to retract the wheels so that the feet, not the wheels, were touching the floor.

Spill + 32 minutes: The LG lady wasn’t familiar with the term “counter-intuitive.”

Besides, I couldn’t even see the wheels OR feet, because a handy rubbery barrier like a giant squeegee blocked my view. You couldn’t get too mad, I guess, since it probably saved hundreds of green peas and blueberries from rolling under there and going bad.

Spill + 1 hour, 13 minutes: Brent came home.

Spill + 1 hour, 14 minutes: Brent wished he hadn’t come home.

Spill + 1 hour, 27 minutes: Brent somehow figured out how to get those stupid wheels to turn.

By the time we got the fridge rolled forward enough to clean behind it, I figured the shake mix would’ve dried up and I’d have to sort of chip it off the wall and floor. Not so… the protein had coagulated into wet, sticky, dark brown clots.

My kitchen floor looked like a violent-crime scene with dust bunnies.

That happened about a year ago, and I’m still having flashbacks.

I can assure you, though, that every time I serve up a scoop of protein-shake powder, I turn well away from the blender before re-closing the bag.

Maybe I should get a roll of Crime Scene tape, just in case.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Maladjusted Mondays, Week 10

NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. This series is a collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. (Thanks to Linda for hosting me!) I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the tenth post in the series, which first appeared on my blog February 27, 2017.

Protein Shaken, Part 1

Seriously, I still can’t find an honest appliance anywhere. And if they’d only cooperate, I could really use their help with my fitness goals.

See, I don’t mind being kind of matronly, but I don’t want to overdo it. So not only do I exercise, but I also try to go easy on my beloved carbs and take in more protein instead. I rely on my bullet blender for a smooth protein shake.

img_7002Protein shake powder? Great. Especially in chocolate.

Recloseable press-and-seal zipper bag? Wonderful.

Zipping the bag closed while standing right next to a bullet-blender cup full of protein powder, ice, and water?
Not cool.

One night I was fixing a shake and had set the ice-and-water-filled blender cup on my postal scale to measure the powder.

Turns out, the postal scale and the bullet blender are in cahoots.

Gripping one end of the bag with my left hand, I used my right to pinch the zipper closed. I did this by getting it started and then squeezing while pulling my right hand across the top, away from my left. Everything was fine until somehow my right hand slipped off the shiny bag.

The sudden release caused me to backhand the plastic blender cup right off the scale. It arced through the air, slammed into the side of the fridge, bounced off, landed on its feet on the countertop… and fell over backward from surprise. The cold, blackish-brown, sloshy, powdery contents were running off the edge of the counter and dribbling down behind the refrigerator before I could finish pointlessly yelling “NOOOOOOOooooo!”

I sighed and set the nearly-empty blender cup back on its feet.

Clearly, I had some mopping up to do.

A pain in the neck, but at least mopping is simple enough…. right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next time: Part 2, in which even the refrigerator joins in the mutiny…

Thanks for reading,

Jan