The 7E Diagnosis

But Amma you are not a lady! yelped the toddler son.

The conversation regarding who is a lady and who is not was an amusing one that lilted with the gentle evening breeze rustling over the early October trees still in bloom and blew all over the place before finishing on the note that I am no lady.

Paati (Grandma) is a lady. You will be a lady when you become a grandma. Now, you are a mom, just a mom, he says firmly.

All these mind altering conversations happen the evening prior to the sixth visit for repairing the despairing spirits who own the dishwasher. The dishwasher itself is beyond repair.

I know what you are thinking. Has the girl (or lady) lost her marbles completely? I thought she filled every available nook and cranny of the blogging space available to her years ago with this dishwashing lark of hers. As if her tales weren’t enough, we also endured those horrendous diagrams.

Dishwasher Chronicles: Do Birds Roar Like Lions?

The Dishwasher Chronicles Part 1

The Dishwasher Chronicles Part 2

The Dishwasher Chronicles Part 3

Not again, you moan. I understand you, and as much as I would like to say that I travelled down a time warp tunnel, it is not so. The pesky d.washer gave up a few months ago. The husband and I tried avoiding eye contact with it for a couple of months to see if rest would jog things along, but we had to finally agree that it was gone. 7E was something even the great wide internet space threw their hands up with. Picture the doctor in the Indian movies taking their glasses off and nodding sadly. I am doing that now. I have my glasses in my hand and I am nodding sadly. But 7E it is and shall be.

The dishes have been flopped and propped about all over the counter every time they are washed for months now. When folks accuse me of slacking off making idlies or critical grandmothers  look the children up and down and say, “Oh how thin they look. Do you feed them enough?” I’d like to invite them over to the sink. Barring the slightly bizarre notion that I revel in washing clean dishes again, how can this many vessels be dirty if I was not feeding them enough?

Anyway, the next day, the technician is downstairs on the call with Samsung technical support.  A mellow fellow whose name I am unable to sing no matter how many times he says it. Each time it sounds different. Tsung or Tshawng. There have been days when I have walked into the kitchen to see the husband crouching next to this fellow and peering into the depths of the dishwasher looking like microbiologists looking for life on Mars.

Twang looked miserable at the thought of picking up that phone to get on with his technical customer support buddies and took a long gulp of water before calling. Every time he sees 7E, he looks like lightning struck again. The husband and I exchange a look that says (Gandhi-died-in-1948. 7E-started-months-ago. Deal with it.)

dishwasher_7e I heard the static from the phone line, the clipped tone in which the customer service rep recognized him, and I heard the faint groans from Tsung and the dishwasher. After what seemed like an hour, I went downstairs to give him (the repair guy not the dishwasher) some moral support. Tsung had the customer service rep on speaker. At long last, I asked him if I can talk to him instead. He nodded and asked him, “Customer wants to talk to you.”

“No. No! I don’t want to.” responds this technician on the other side quite unaware that he is on the speaker.

What a useful device the phone must be in these situations. If the fellow was fumbling along with instructions in Isting’s ear in person, he would have found it a dash sight harder to avoid my piercing eye and my necessity to ask him man to man, I mean lady to gentleman, I mean mom to man (for I don’t know whether the guy on the other end is a dad.)

Ysung ties himself  in knots and is deeply embarrassed by his colleague and tells me that he will have the service desk call me again.

As promised, the day after Tsung mopped himself out of the house, I got another call from the Samsung Service Desk. I crackled and bristled a bit. I told the voice on the other end of the call that we are very busy folk who have important places to be with important things to do. I asked them what it would take for them to just replace the unit since nothing but the outer casing is the version of what we bought two years ago.

This is where I have got to admire the gall of the person on the other side. The sheer cheek. She said, “Can you hold”, and before I could answer, smartly switched on the hold-music designed to extract ear worms through your nostrils. Just like that she had un-bristled me and un-crackled me with one brilliant stroke.  When she came back on, I felt like telling her off and asking her a crisp question or two  on what she meant by putting this infernal music on when she was the one who called me, but I used her tactic on her. Brusque. And I asked her to call back when it is convenient for me and hung up.

The son is right: I suppose I am not a lady yet.

Dishwasher Chronicles: Can Birds Roar Like Lions?

I  read somewhere that these great and wonderful kings of yore were excellent orators. They probably approached their troops the morning before the war and enthused their troops with words dripping with honey, infused with rage, that sent their blood pumping with pride, so they performed their best on the battlefield. We cannot, in all honesty, lay any such claims when we sent the poor husband off to wage a war with the Dishwasher company, but we tried.

The fact that the dishwasher had tested our patience was evident:

Not only were tempers short, but festivities abounded. There was Krishna Jayanthi, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Navarathri, a couple of full moons, a couple of new moons and all the days of waxing and waning moons in between. Every God had to be appeased, and every blip in the lunar cycle acknowledged. What was one to do? How does all this affect dishwashing you ask. If ever there was a race to determine the maximum variety of dishes cooked, I am sure the sturdy South Indian family will lead the race with a resounding burp. Festivals provide ample opportunity for the palate to be challenged and rewarded. Consequently, the dishwashing load increased.   It did not help matters at all that in the 2 months since installing the new dishwasher, the repairmen had clopped into their house with large horse-like feet twice with little to show. Much like horses, these men, left their shoes on as well. The slight pursing of the lips of the parents-in-law may have been lost on them men, but they were not lost on me.

All in all, there was sternness in manner and reproach in tone when telling the husband clearly that he must throw his weight about and create a ruckus.  His parents did their best to buck him up. They told him that their generation did not stand for such namby-pamby nonsense as polite calls to customer service. He was urged to gain inspiration from such sturdy souls as his uncle.

“Remember Kichaa Maama?” said the mother-in-l.

“I thought you didn’t like him much.” said the husband smartly for he seemed to know where the conv. was leading.

“That is not the point. Kichaa mama achieved things.” There was pride in her voice. Kichaa Maama’s mother could have learnt a thing or two on feeling proper pride at her son’s achievements.

“Who is Kichaa Mama?”I asked, nibbling a persimmon, from the sidelines.

The husband shot me a dirty look that said, “Et tu Brutus?”

It was just the cue that the parents-in-law were waiting for. They tripped over themselves explaining. This Kichaa Maama’s middle name was ‘Follow-up’. He was also a close relative: only twice-removed-on-the-paternal-side and once-removed-by-marriage-on-the-maternal-side. He never quailed at simple things such as customer service calls. Apparently, no atrocity of service was left to simmer in kitchens like this. He called and called them again. (“You mean, he made a pest of himself.” said the husband in a brooding low-tone. This slur on Kichaa Maama was ignored for the moment)

They were dealt with firmly in letters to the CEOs by that uncle. CEO’s, apparently, reacted much better to customer complaints than customer service representatives and this legendary uncle had received new items as replacements in his firm dealings with companies. Legend has it that he once received a new television set from the CEO personally. I am thinking he received a set of AA batteries for his trouble sent personally by the CEO’s secretary’s assistant.

The husband had a martyred look about him as he slunk out to call the customer service department that day and live up to the dubious precedent of Kichaa Maama.

The day wore on and the husband adroitly avoided all calls from home. The first words to greet the tired warrior as he stepped into the home were: How did the customer service call go?

The man grinned somewhat sheepishly and I knew what happened. There were things I am sure that the husband would like to imbibe from Kichaa Maama, but yelling at customer service representatives was not one of them.

“I did try.” said the endearing man. “But, the image of a sad customer service rep earning a regular paycheck to talk to irate customers all day long rose before me. What do they care about an Indian man whose house is filled with dirty dishes?”

“So, what? Did you even try to tell them that this was the third time that all this is happening?”

“Yes. Yes. I did. “ said he rather pained and stung that he should not have mentioned the trauma the household was in. Another repairman will come to take care of things anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. before the next full moon. (I exaggerate, but this time he did not even get a shorter window in which to make ourselves available. Really!)

“Let’s go for a walk.” I said hurriedly before proper admonitions were forthcoming. It was clear that the man was incapable of having a customer service rep reach for their earplugs, so why harp on the point?

“Did you let them know that there are upset people in the house?” I asked when we had reached the safety of the sidewalk lined with trees whose leaves had started changing colors to welcome beautiful Fall.

The husband laughed and said that he did start off in an irate tone of voice, but then he thought of the poor lady’s life. “I mean, she has a life and we have ours. Her job was to note down complaints and take care of them. Two sentences into my call, I think she sensed my reluctance and I started laughing. I told her that everyone was upset and she said very fairly that she understood our situation. So, she noted it down in her comments that, we are upset, and that it has happened twice already – so, the CEO knows the nourishncherish family is upset over the dishwasher.” said the man, a smile quivering over his lips.

Sigh. If a bird tried to roar like a lion, could it?

Dishwasher Chronicles - Can birds roar?
Dishwasher Chronicles – Can birds roar like lions?

P.S. The third set of repairmen clopped into the house looking like Laurel & Hardy and this time spoke with great Spanish comedian authority that the slider was the problem. All in all, all the innards of the dishwasher have now been replaced. We walk gingerly around it, just in case. Friends suggest a tribal dance to appease the Dishwasher Gods.

P.P.S.: Last night, the dishwasher knew that the saga around it was coming to an end and made a weird noise like it was thudding shoes around inside. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Dishwasher Chronicles Part 3

I have always wondered how it must be to be an agriculturist. What if you had fields of coconut trees and jackfruit trees? How do you detect from the outside given the rough and tough exterior of the produce if it is ready for harvest or not? Let’s take coconuts for example. Do you gaze up at the trees and think, “That big one over yonder looks big and green enough, so it must be ready.” . Then, you go fetch some ropes, hoist yourself up there and sever it from its tree and plop open its head.

What if, after all this bother, you find it still has another week before its prime time? You can’t seal it closed again and attach it back to the tree, can you?

coconut farmer

Examined from this angle, I suppose, the plight of modern dishwasher users is better than that of a coconut farmer at harvest time. Though, the methods are the same.

You still need to hoist yourself at a safe distance from the dishwasher to determine whether it is done or not, for the only way to find out whether the dishes are done is to plop open the dishwasher. If it is not done, you run the risk of having the dirty or partly clean water give you a splash. All the controls and progress indicators are set on the top panel which slides out of view when the dishwasher is closed remember? I must say, the husband is the most skilled at this among us. The rest of us baboon around till there is water on the floor and are still unable to see how much of the task remains.

As was so often the case, the dishwasher stopped midway through and the husband’s skill-sets were increasingly called upon. Initially, he was able to tell us how much of the cycle was done.  He would say, ’23 minutes remaining’, so just switch it on again, or ’46 minutes 30 seconds left, let’s just do the dishes’ and dash away from the premises for an (ahem) important meeting. But later on, he professed ignorance. I don’t think this kind of degradation of service is acceptable anywhere. How can you go from giving the exact number of minutes and seconds remaining to nothing? There was much murmuring and looks-exchanging at this.

The parents-in-law accosted him one morning and said enough was enough. Either he shouted at the person he got on the phone, or they would call the nice fellow who came last time and assured them in Spanish about the parrots-liking-green-tea and ask him for explanations. The husband looked cornered – there were three belligerent-looking blokes/blokees demanding explanations or a new dishwasher. He buckled and said he would do his best to shout at the customer service representative.

I caught his eye and couldn’t help smiling. The husband may be the head agriculturist if ever we become coconut farmers or jackfruit orchard owners. But he shall not be the one shouting at the coconut if it is not yet ripe. I gave him a much needed cup of coffee from a cup picked up from the dishwasher and sent him on his war.

I have a sneaking suspicion on what happened on the call and this, I shall share, with you all in the next blog entry.

Dishwasher Chronicles Part 2

The gleaming stainless steel dishwasher made its way home after a 2 week waiting period. There was great rejoicing in the house when we switched it on for the first time, since we could not hear it. The previous dishwasher was an autocratic leader. When it spoke, no one else could. This was a problem because that meant we could only use the dishwasher between the sweet hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. (we have a gamut of late-sleepers and early risers in the household who just don’t get the beauty of a long night’s sleep), and since there was no timer, the autocrat was ousted. But as with the end of every regime, there was euphoria initially followed by a period of wistful thinking and even yearning for the old dishwasher. If only ousted monarchs stayed to watch the wistful periods, they might have died happy deaths, but since most of them were taken in bloody coups, the chances of that were slim. So, it was with our dishwasher.

Every night, I washed the dishes almost clean and then placed them in the new dishwasher to completely clean, set the timer to start 4 hours later, smiled triumphantly at everyone in the room and went to bed. Things were marvelous the first few days, we ran the dishwasher right through our conversations and there was not even a beep and all the stake holders were happy. Things started to crumble toward the end of week 1. The grim period was about to begin.

You know how in the old dishwasher, we knew right away whether it was allowed to complete its job or not because the dials were so prominently placed – like bright large bindis on a broad forehead?

The Expressive Dishwasher (Not the primitive one!)
The Expressive Dishwasher (Not the primitive one!)

The new one, had the controls hidden, so there was no way to know whether it had done its job. Absolutely poker faced. Now, one was stuck with the joyful task of identifying the almost clean ones to wash again. The only possible way to know was by feeling the dishes. Looking at the dishes were a fat help because they looked almost clean. The first few times we figured the dishwasher had stopped midway through, we had already put away more than half the dishes. I don’t know about you, but none of us in our house have eidetic memories. In fact, it isn’t far from the truth to say that we give as much attention to the intensely-dull tasks such as putting away the dishes as a well-fed cat does to a caring otter. Given this, how was one to find the dishes that were almost clean and put away?

There were brilliant suggestions to ascertain the ones that were in the dishwasher when it decided to go belligerent and stop working on us. “Smell every cup” said one with a long nose, “Just look closely” said the one who forgot to wear spectacles, “Maybe we should try to pat every cup and examine the tissue paper we used to see whether it needs cleaning” said the environmentalist. So, we’d wash all the cups and plates again to make sure.

The Poker Faced Dishwasher
The Poker Faced Dishwasher

After the fifth time, the husband took command. He placated the dishwashing public. His spirited speech to remain calm was heard and he contacted the service desk. A repairman would be sent between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. said the appointment. So, the house waited for the men of action to arrive.

The father-in-law is a man of practical talents. He has a way around fixing the odd things in somewhat odd-fashions, but they work. He also takes a keen interest in seeing how things are fixed. The mother-in-law knows her limits in this realm and prudently keeps away, but feels obliged to point out to her husband that he must fearlessly question and prod. Luckily, they don’t know English and the Spanish speaking repairmen did not know Tamil. One shudders to think of the outcome had they understood each other. I formed a loose sort of dam between the spate of questions from the household and them. “Why was it broken? Is the connection to the water-hose done properly? Do they really know how to fix it? They look young, they look like they eat chips a lot, do you think they will ask for juice? If they ask for coffee, we need to buy a can of milk in the evening. When you are at it, also buy tomatoes.” I have to marvel at the ability to fit a grocery list into the proceedings when one is questioning means and methods of dishwasher repair.

The sliding rack was the problem said the knowledgeable men and though question arrows were splicing my back (Are they sure the rack is the problem? What if the cup area was the problem? How did they know the rack was the problem?), I bore the arrows painfully on my back, asked them civilly to drink up a cup of orange juice and sent them on their way. There was talk about me being a softie and not being brave enough to ask them all the questions, but one cannot please everybody. You either pleased the folks who displayed something like brute strength when they lunged the rack out of the dishwasher, or you pleased the parents-in-law who shot grocery lists at you during dishwasher repair. Not both.

To save you all from the events of the next few painful days, I implore you to go back and read paragraphs 3,4 & 5 again. The husband, this time, was asked to take a firm stance and ask for a different set of repairmen, but really, what could you ask to see? Their poly-technic certification? What if their degree, if they did have one, was for repairing washing machines, but they picked up dishwashers along the way? You were fighting a losing battle with this and he knew it.

The second pair decided that the spine of the dishwasher was the problem. It pushed the rack out and that is why the dishwasher stopped working, they said. If it stops again, ask him if he will change the dishwasher for us, asked the parents.i.l. I tried telling them that these people had no clue whether the company would replace the dishwasher or not and that would be a different call to make. I could see my rationale was not being received well in their mind. With this, I seemed to have sunk even lower in the efficiency department. I went upstairs for a brief moment and I came back to see a thriving session of puppetry and dumb-charades flourishing between The Spanish and The Tamil. They managed to ask him their question and he was managing to smile at them and answer them something. I think he was saying, “Parrots also like green tea, have you tried giving them coffee? You should see their faces then!”

But everybody was happy and the second set departed. Before the third set came in, there was positive yearning for the old dishwasher. (At least, it just made a noise and if you did not have to watch TV or talk when it did its work, it did a marvelous job!) . Our dishwasher’s psyche was taking a beating and dishwashers from next door were ready to come and give the one in our house a hand.

To be continued: Dishwasher Chronicles Part 3 …..

The Dishwasher Chronicles – Part 1

Our dishwasher was an old one. I suppose it did its job, but its noise was inversely proportional to its efficiency. Speaking of noise and efficiency, I remember a maid we had once who treated the dishes with the same crashing nonchalance. There too, the noise and cleanliness were inversely proportional. The lady was a force to reckon with and neither the vessels nor the people stood up against her. She once scared the bejesus out of my sleeping brother causing him to leap like a salmon from the floor to the couch in an elegant upward arch at 6 o’clock in the morning. ( My father, a brave man, once mustered up the courage to tell her he could hear the dishes crashing even without his hearing aid. I gave him a bracing cup of coffee afterward and told him how proud I was to be his daughter and all that, but I don’t think it affected her or the dishes in any way.

On a related note, when you plot the state of wakefulness in the household, there are a bunch of continuous sinusoidal waves like this:

sinusoidal sleep waves
sinusoidal sleep waves

So, I suppose when you interlace them together, you get a pretty good picture. Between visiting maternal and paternal grandparents, 2 children (1 toddler), Molly & Sally the fishes, the husband and I, the state of wakefulness in the house in a somewhat hazy positive at all points in time. To further elucidate, If we were to have an owl as a pet, it would be hard put to find a time when it thinks it really is night. For there are late sleepers, early risers. And just to make things interesting, there are folks who sleep early, then get up at midnight and stay up for a few hours. I am telling you, we house all varieties of sleep monsters.

I know you think I am driveling (dishwashers, maids, sinusoidal waves, owls: what next?), but bear with me for a moment. Let’s back track to the d.washer model. The problem with the poor thing was that it did not have the option to let us program the time at which it was welcome to start crashing the dishes. The dishwasher was so loud, if we actually had a couple of bulls stampeding into the china cabinet looking for a cup of tea or some bears trying to nip food from the kitchen, they could have done so under the cloak of secrecy hiding well behind the dishwasher’s sounds. The dishwasher running in the kitchen meant that nobody could hope to get a word in to each other in terms of conversation and all thoughts of enjoying a quiet television show was out the window too. Basically, the only way one could get quiet time downstairs was to camp out in the backyard with the kitchen door firmly closed, but that can be hard when one is also looking to keep warm and comfortable. All in all, a hard spot, you’d agree.

So, then I hit upon the best solution available: I would load the dishwasher and make a general announcement that the last person to come upstairs must switch it on. Every person who went upstairs afterwards, scoured the area and passed the baton to the people remaining downstairs. Usually, that worked pretty well, unless the last person (no points for guessing the most frequent offender)  forgot to switch it on. Worse still, there were times when I would switch it on as I was the last to leave and still find the dishwasher hadn’t finished its job because the husband would have popped out of bed after that to get milk for the baby, and switched it off.


Every time something like this happened, there was mayhem the next day. Remember I told you it wasn’t a very efficient one? So, I’d wash the dishes almost clean before putting them in the dishwasher. I will not do them perfectly clean, because the dishwasher has to work no? As I write this, I realize I have been a priceless ass and that I could have just washed them all myself and be done with it. But I don’t get to write this blog if I was efficient like that. Anyway, the point is that, whether or not the dishwasher ran, the dishes looked pretty clean.

But the dishwasher being an old model was also primitive in it’s operations. There was a large dial on the control panel that slid all the way to ‘Off’ as the dishwasher worked its way through. If the dial was halfway through, you were warned it was not done properly. Then, you sounded like a hurt werewolf on full moon night, evacuated the residents out of the kitchen and switched on the dishwasher. If you got no talking done during the entire hour that it crashed about, that is punishment enough to make one remember to switch it on at night what? We had a few interesting moments when it was revealed the son as a baby had learnt how to rotate the switch and we had therefore let the dishwasher rewash dishes unnecessarily on a number of occasions.

After a series of these punishing days, we were goaded beyond tolerance. We complained sorely for a few years. And then, with the speed that it takes for lightning bolts to strike (just a few weeks), we went in for a new dishwasher.

The daughter and son said their goodbyes to the d.washer in a touching manner.

I shall continue the new dishwasher chronicles in my next blog. I suppose I don’t very much like the idea of leaving the readers hanging from the cliff like this: do the dishes get washed in her household or not?Hang Tight folks. Hang Tight.

Thank You Mr Hulk and Mr Bulk

The doorbell rang and I opened it to welcome Mr. Hulk and Mr. Bulk into the house. Let me rewind a little: this feels like trying to bite a carrot in the middle portion. It is easier to start working off one end or the other, but the middle of the carrot leaves very little to play with.

The husband was seen pottering about the home with a book in his hand. He has also been extolling the many virtues of getting work done, and how prompt action has saved many a day. Imagine, the number of things that can be done if we set aside a few minutes everyday? As he says these things, there is a light around his head that emits a faint glow.

A bit of a jar coming from someone whose home has reached a state of disrepair that needs Mr Hulk and Mr Bulk to come into the home to get it running up if you ask me. Yet, he seemed so happy to be in his book, that I did not have the heart to dampen it just then. Sometimes, keeping quiet is harder to do than saying what you think. You see, while he was illuminating my life with his snippets of knowledge, I had taken an old sheet, torn it in half and was spreading it about the sink area. I then went on to take a cup and clasped it around the exhaust pipe in the sink. I also took an old towel that is extremely water absorbent and placed it on the floor near the dishwasher, should water leak on the floor by mistake. To answer your question, I was not plumbing a new connection or taking care of exhaustive water leakages, I was just getting my attention-seeking-dishwasher started. It had become part of the daily routine.

We usually rely on one person, who does a reasonably good job with our household projects.  Of late though, he has been telling us that his services are required in Lake Tahoe, Seattle and Washington DC and that if he does not take care of a trap door in the White House, it might become an issue of national security: so busy! Therefore our dishwasher has been limping along spewing all of its water on to my kitchen sink and the floor nearby for months. One or two of the others we called said their minds were meant for larger and greater things than mere dishwashers. It looked like everyone had washed their hands off our dishwasher.

That was not all. We had to postpone baking during the Thanksgiving season because the oven put on its Santa’s whiskers and sat down like an old man. The oven light would flicker, cough and then die. The sounds from it were not alarming, but they were not soothing to the soul either. Of course, we ignored it and went about bypassing the oven, till one day it beeped like a noisy toy with a motion sensor in a Bazaar. BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP. I promptly did what I know best and googled for the remedy. I was glad to see that the remedy was one we had tried before with intermediate success with our television (Namely, beat it hard to silence it. That will take care of loose connections.) All the strong men and women were called upon to wield their hands on it and we had silenced the thing, but it was so angry with our crass treatment of it, it refused to start up again. The reset buttons, fuse boxes, nothing worked. Fussy people and things rarely receive much attention and so, it remained till a friend of ours started a cookie business. It might have gone on in this state had she sold cookies, but she sold cookie dough. So, every week-end, we would wistfully sigh about what baking might have been had the oven worked. I was not afforded the luxury on brooding on it for long, since the dish washer would give me an angry snort and gorge out a bucket of water spraying the sink with it and I would leave to deal with that.

“One must never put off things that can be taken care of today.” said the husband meaning well as usual. There was no restraining me at this point and I marched up to see the drivel he was reading to enlighten me and saw it was a book called ‘Solving The Procrastination Puzzle’. I gave him a look that mixed incredulity, sarcasm and why-don’t-you-practice-what-it-says all at once. Of course, it was completely lost on him. So, I asked him why we could not exert our energies into finding another handyman, and the husband said that made sense and found the hulk-and-bulk pair.


That is the story of how Mr Hulk and Mr Bulk came to our doorstep the other day. The men, heaved themselves in and asked after general health. I started to tell them about the corn in my foot, when I realized that by health, they meant the health of the dishwashers and ovens. I don’t know what they understood because I mixed a bit of Tamil into places I could not get them to understand in English and they seemed to get that. Maybe, a study on the similarities between Spanish and Tamil is in order.

Once they ascertained all the things that needed fixing, they went about their tasks. The pair of them looked into the sink pretty deeply, talked among themselves, and did a bit of pipe doctoring. In a few minutes, they started the dishwasher and voila! The water was not spilling on to the kitchen counter anymore. I was amazed at them and showed them to the oven.

I swear I do not lie when I say this: but all they did was go to the fuse box, switch off and switch on the thing again, gave it a mild thump and the oven greeted them happily and hummed back to work.

There is no saying how grateful I am to having things back to normal. If you will excuse me now, I might go and bake a fresh batch of cookies in my oven after giving it an affectionate pat and give my dishwasher an indulgent smile when I load up the dirty dishes.

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