punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

What's in your "appliance graveyard?"

Two weeks ago, I decided to clean out our dining room hutch. I never realized how cluttered it was. We bought it new when we moved here in 2000, and at some point it became a collection of "junk items" until it filled up, and then became "forgotten." I actually found phone books in there. When's the last time I saw a PHONE B-- oh, right, 2001, says it right here.

Anyway, it led to our biannual "toss out the appliances we don't need" argument which is not so much as fight as a palaver and interlocution discussing how we were raised. My wife's heritage is among the impoverished West Virginians who state, "save everything you never know when you may need it," whereas I take the more modern approach of thrift in regards to clutter. Her ancestors ate coal dipped in pancake batter while mine wore black and played the bongos to poetry in coffee houses.

Legendary debates have involved an "Onion Blossom Maker," a set of interlocking Tupperware storage containers that were both missing lids and not microwave safe, a 1970s toaster oven that had once been in a fire, and an apple peeler that had a broken suction cup clamp. This time, it was over an ice cream maker that had never been used, an uncleaned juicer from an unknown coworker who didn't know if she had all the parts, a broken bread maker, and a George Foreman Chicken Rotisserie Oven that came free with a George Foreman grill. All items have never been used by our family, except the bread maker, which fell off the counter in 2003 and the case broke so bad, the lid won't stay closed.

Often, I avoid the debate altogether and throw away things without consulting her. My success rate of "her not knowing or ever bringing it up" versus "her finding out and needing it" is an amazing 9 to 1. Odds in my favor by a landslide. Sadly, however, I must have suffered a minor stroke and told her I was throwing away the ice cream maker while the blood didn't get to that part of my brain in time.

Thus it begins:

It starts of with a protest. The usual protest states a shocking suggestion directly opposite to the end goal of us not having it sit at the bottom of our hutch. Usually in the oversimplified form of, "Wait, don't throw that out." Despite the futility of the next statement, I feel my social upbringing has made a scientific reflex of the commonest delaying tactic I have used since I was 5; I asked "why?" Then I hear the predictable response, "someday we may need it/have it fixed/need the parts for something else." For about the first 15 years of our marriage, I actually considered this a good response. I blame it on poor diet and the wrong blood pressure medication. Now I have a retort. "When would that be?" Despite the fact it's a interrogative sentence, I don't say it to get an answer. I say it to point out that her "someday" in fact means nothing more than an open-ended future with no actual realistic planning in mind. She predictably answers that she doesn't know, and a counterpoint of how much we paid for it back when a nickel will buy you a steak and kidney pie, a cup of coffee, a slice of cheesecake and a newsreel (with enough change left over to ride the trolley from Battery Park to the Polo Grounds). I volley back the argument of the cost of storage space, which is a weak argument, because we have never actually charged anyone for storage space, even though my sister and her new husband left stuff in our guest room for over a year. I shore this up with a comment of collecting dust which, leaving it to the mind of the reader the *horrors* of such a collection in my home. There is a response of "so what?" meaning now I have to find stronger evidence that leaving this object untouched in our hutch is, in fact, harmless, and will not hatch baby spiders that will drink the water from the corners of our eyes when we sleep.

"We never use it," I repeat. This is actually what most debate professors call, "stating the obvious," since I had already established that premise as part of the initial hypothesis. My argument has stepped far back from the battleground, and I am regrouping my efforts. I decide to divert the cause to the point of the rotisserie oven and bread machine. In a one-two punch, I state that we paid nothing for the oven, and the bread machine is useless. I further mention that the juicer has never been cleaned, we probably don't have all the parts, and lord knows how long we have had it. My wife counter attacks in a surprise advance, pointing out that it is not a juicer but a FOOD PROCESSOR and undermines my "never used" defense with a comment had she known where it was, she would have used it!

I collapse. Grasping at the failing argument, I admit defeat. My last memories of the argument are faded echos of how she once MEANT to use the ice cream maker, but it didn't end up happening. Her remaining attacks decimate any worthy cause I would have, and now all appliances are at the bottom of the pantry, collecting dust that will surely form a sentient cloud and kill us all and then she will be sorry.

So... what's in your appliance graveyard? Why is it still there?
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