The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

There’s a dryer downstairs that has suddenly decided it doesn’t have to start. The refrigerator, I just noticed, has started to hum with a song by Dwight Yokum that is playing on the radio.

And The Kelvinator, as he likes to refer to himself, is even more alarmingly in key.

It’s one thing that these guys talk to me, but quite another to find one has perfect pitch. And can sing! Plus: Even normal people hear it, which is unusual.

Septic Samson, who is in charge of everything downhill from here, is upset that the whole family was here this past weekend. 

“Those girls!” he exclaimed huffily. “They each flushed the toilet 12 times a day!” 

He went on to accuse me of more stuff that we sent to him. ( I don’t think you need the details.)  So. I guessed it was time to call The Appliance Army, which is how they like to be called, together for a meeting of the minds.

“Well,” said General Electric the Washing Machine, “I see we’ve gotten ourselves into another conundrum, haven’t we.” 

There was an outburst from the gathered Army, such as it is. Some of them cannot attend in machine, but are communicating in some fashion that I cannot explain. Nonetheless, they all were riled up about this, that, and the other.

“I cannot be expected to keep the house cool when the doors are opened up 147 times a day.” 

This from Dave Lennox, who, since he is in charge of the delivery of air, is called a slave driver by his air conditioner, whom at this point was figuratively jumping up and down and threatening to short out. 

“I will!” he said repeatedly.

Dave looked at me and said: “See? This is what I have to work with! Where did you find this guy, anyway?” 

He’s always been suspicious about the provenance of A.C. the NoName unit that sends cold air to Dave.

In turn, I’ve been reluctant to tell Dave that I found A.C. behind the neighbor’s machine shed, where he was sitting, half tipped over. When I asked the neighbor what the deal was with that condensing unit, he said “that What’s his name the service guy said he’s no good, and I had to buy a new one.”

A.C., not a hundred feet from us, told me: “Oh B.S.! I spat oil all over his new blue jeans and he made up a story about me not being worth fixing!” 

So I took A.C. home, tested him, and found that there indeed are a few HVAC service people out there that may not have a total grip on the fundamentals of freon.

I reminded him at this point, when he was shouting “I will! I will!” at the top of his blower fan, that there was a spot for him out in my grove, behind my machine shed. He quieted down right away. It seems he’s allergic to insects crawling up and down his tubing. 

And then Lady Kenmore the Dryer, who was pulling the work stoppage this morning by refusing to turn, said: “You’ve always treated the mechanical machines better than you’ve treated me!” She then reminded me about the special spot I hold in my regard to the affection I’ve demonstrated toward John Deere the Riding Mower. (Yes. I love John.)

“You’ve changed his belt three times in the last two years, and you have never even inspected mine!” 

This from Lady Kenmore who is so prudish about me wanting to look at her underneath that she would make a 90-year-old spinster seem coquettish by comparison.

I told her that if she wouldn’t jump up and down when I came at here with a screwdriver maybe I could treat her better. 

She said “Hmmmmphhh!” 

Then she ran long enough to spit my shorts out on the laundry room floor. Sigh.

Electrical Elvis piped in about now and said, rather huffishly: “I told you you shouldn’t run a switched light bulb by controlling the neutral, didn’t I?” 

He had me there. Mostly this house is a nasty, colorless assemblage of wiring that has been modified intermittently ever since The REA was created in 1949. It’s hard to tell black from white. All that old cotton wire has kind of bleached out to grey.

You’re right, I told Elvis E. The thing is, I’ve been trying to put a motion sensing light in the pantry for about five years. 

Each time a new one comes out on the market, I try it. It never works. I’ve been too busy until just lately to start tearing stuff apart to find out why.  (At which point I found that some dimwit ran the neutral, instead of the hot.)

Yes, okay. That was me, but I’m not telling Elvis that.

At this point, everyone had had a chance to scold me about something, and now they were talking quite excitedly about the nightly poker game that Emperor-san Sony the TV sets up. It seems that Sony-san isn’t quite as good at Texas Hold’em as he thinks he is.

Never, by the way, play poker with an appliance. Just saying.