Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sinister Forces

Solar flares, rogue magnetic monopoles, or imps must be prowling. I can’t think of any other reason that my dishwasher, my washing machine, Ariel’s computer, my van’s brakes, and my treadmill should all fail within weeks of each other. Sinister forces are at work.

The van’s brakes didn’t even bother to squeak first. We were driving to my parents’ house with the stereo blaring when we heard a heinous noise. Cal and I looked at each other. I turned the stereo off. The van was filled with a noise that sounded like shredding steel. I said, “That’s the brakes grinding.” After the initial thoughts of we’re-all-going-to-die-driving-down-the-ridge were allayed by getting down the ridge without dying, we cringed every time Cal touched the brakes. But after our visit, we got home safely.

The next day we took the van in. Of course, one of the rotors was damaged. No duh. It wouldn’t have been damaged if the stupid brakes had squeaked beforehand like they’re supposed to. Because then we’d have taken it in to be fixed before the grinding damaged the rotors.

Cal talked to the repair guy about the rotors. It turns out that they don’t make rotors (or brakes) the way they used to.  They’re now very thin. Apparently, this is done to make cars more fuel efficient (thank you so much imposed government standards). I’d like to see a fuel efficiency vs. rotor use cost-benefit analysis.  But I won’t get started on that...especially since I recently got the US Department of Commerce long version of the census, which I’d shred except that there’s a boldface warning that states “Your response is required by law.” Which is—never mind, that will be its own blog post once my blood no longer boils looking at it. Why is it the government’s business if I often feel confused? (Seriously, that’s one of the questions.)

Back to the brakes. They are repaired. I can drive without wondering if we’ll plunge off a precipice or plow into a semi. But here’s the thing, with the dishwasher and washing machine, I got new ones that are functionally on a different plain than the ones I had before. The new things are fun. I can delight in clean dishes and clothes that spin and smell like new mown hay. With brakes, all you get is new brakes. Of course, that not going over a precipice is a big deal. I can be happy with that. 


  1. I'm afraid brakes aren't the only things that aren't made the way they used to be made. I'm glad you managed to get yours fixed without incidence, though, other than that day or two you shaved off your lifespan because of worrying about the possiblility of sudden death and all...

    I know what you mean about the new appliances. My new washer and dryer play a little tune when they finish their cycles... I LOVE 'em. (NEVER expected to feel that way about appliances!)

  2. Susan,

    My new washer sings too. I love it. So cheerful.

  3. Our big white almost-a-bus-but-not-really car was squeaking a couple of weeks ago. I ignored it for about a week, but I eventually got them taken in and got it all fixed. It was kind've concerning to have your car whine and squeak whenever you put on the brakes.

    But more than that, it must be *quite* concerning to have the brakes just suddenly crack on you. Sorry to hear that!!

    (But just so you know, the TECHimps are on rebellion. Pass it on and prepare for war.)

  4. I had my dishwasher and garbage disposal go in the same week. I was like, what elf or brownie is doing this???

  5. Oh man, that sucks! Funny thing happened to me yesterday, my car door broke! Like it was fine all day, and I drove home from work and then when I unlocked the door to get out, it was stuck! So I had to crawl out from the passenger side.

    It's not as dangerous and frightening-sounding as your car problem, but it is annoying. On the other hand, the car is sort of old...

  6. Lydia,

    I forgot--we had to replace the garbage disposal too. It's got to be brownies.