Category Archives: Fun times

Smoko – flying off the handle

Quality – it aint what it used to be.

And not just the obvious stuff either, like cars that are designed to last a few years, phones that last less than one, shoes that give you six months. No, I’m talking about things that are touted as tough, durable, authentic or state-of-the-art. Things that cost ridiculous amounts of money, that one buys in the belief that the price is worth the lifetime of use one will get from the thing.

We have a frying pan that we bought with a very generous wedding gift voucher, plus some money on top, from a top end shop (okay, Myers), that I’m sure came with a lifetime guarantee, though I’m buggered if I can find it. It’s not the sort of thing you keep is it, frying pan receipts? This thing is supposed to be bullet proof – cook anywhere there’s heat: stoves, ovens, fires, 6 inches in front of Tony Abbotts face. And it’s Italian. I figure if it’s got a lifetime guarantee, is made from metal…you get the idea…what’s gonna go wrong?

But the handle fell off it, about 6 months ago. Well part of it anyway, enough to spill dinner on the floor. We still use the pan, but it does have a tendency to slip sideways at inopportune moments. And so I decided to call the company and ask for a new one. But I hadn’t quite got round to it yet.

We also have another piece of cookware, also very expensive, also a wedding gift. German this one, I think. This thing has in-built temperature gauges in the lid, a multi-layered, multi-metalled base, you can cook without oil or water (and without burning)…a lovely reassuring weight…it’s everything you’d expect from high quality 21st century cookware. In fact it’s so damn classy, it must have a couple of lifetime warranties on it. But, coincidently, the handle fell off it, about 4 months ago.

This got me pretty irritated. 2 pans in 2 months? And both on the handles? Is it something we’re doing wrong? Maybe we’re not supposed to pick pans up by the handles but no-one ever told us. Are pan handles purely decorative? But no, I’ve worked in enough kitchens in my time to have seen pans cop major abuse without breaking (as many a brain-damaged, previously lippy waiter can testify), and I’m damn sure Giovanni’s didn’t spend $400 per pan, so what’s the deal? I added the fancy pot to the list under the frying pan, and even made it as far as pulling up the respective company websites for the phone numbers, but once I’d done so I didn’t have the heart to ring them, pretty much because it was a nice day, and nothing ruins nice days quicker than talking to service reps.

And I know whereof I speak as, 2 days ago now, our almost brand new, energy efficient (solar-friendly), most excellent SAMSUNG (beware, beware!) fridge suddenly started blowing warm air instead of cold, which of course we didn’t realise until everything in the freezer had defrosted. This one I addressed immediately, and have spent one day on the phone, another waiting for the phone to ring back, but so far to no avail. The best I’ve wrung out of them to date is that they will try to find a service technician in our area within a week, and then try and book them in, and then they’ll access it…

I’m normally very good at getting people moving, even service companies. If there’s ever a problem that needs addressing in our household that requires someone getting eloquently fucking furious on the phone, I’m the man for the job. It brings out the best in me! But this time…I found I just couldn’t be bothered to spend hours on hold, going up and up the Samsung food chain, repeating myself again and again to someone who doesn’t understand me. I’ve got better things to do. Like, er, running to town for ice for one, but other stuff too. So for now (tonight) I’ll think of other things, tomorrow I’ll call them back and get cross, and so despite the broken fridge having reminded me of the bastard pans, which I really will get on to now soon, right now I shall think of other things.

That’s what I was thinking, about an hour ago. Think of constructive things to do, I thunk, like tightening those screws on the chair that the kid got himself stuck in the other day that I had to dismantle in order to free him.

So I go and get my screwdriver, just now, before I started writing this – a very nice Kincrome screwdriver that came in a set about a year ago. Funny thing about this screwdriver is that it’s a flathead screwdriver – a big chunky one – and one of two that came with the spanners. I’d never used it before…and who has? No-one uses flathead screws anymore. But I had to use it the other night to free my 3 year old, who’d managed to squeeze his bum through the 4 inch gap between backrest and seat on the chair and got completely stuck. I got my toolbox to free him, drills and everything, but the whole flaming chair is put together with flathead screws! Lord above. It took me about half an hour to find the flathead driver, in the dark, at the bottom of a tool box up at the shed site while the poor little fella was stuck in a chair on the veranda with the wallabies closing in. (I thought about taking him to a neighbour’s for the tool at one point, when I couldn’t find mine, but I couldn’t work out how to get him in the car – sideways? The boot? Should I strap in the chair or just him?).

Anyway, to get back on point (and wrap this up cos it’s bedtime), I did find the driver, and I did free him, but just now when I came to check the screws are tight, I put the screwdriver in the slot and turned the first screw, and guess what…..the fucking handle fell off!

I learned something knew about J today – the man can handle a wheelchair like no able bodied person I’ve ever met. I, on the other hand, suck at it!

We picked up the wheelchair from the scrap metal pile at the local tip (my new favourite place in the world) with the idea that we will refashion the wheels into a clothesline pulley system.  Turns out there is nothing wrong with it (it steers beautifully- if you know what you are doing).

Whilst at the tip we also salvaged some old birdwire and netting which we’ll use for garden protection.