Sunday Mornin' Coming Down - A post about my Dad each Sunday, named after a song that he loved.
My father did not like to buy things, well more accurately he didn't like spending money. In order to save money he always tried to keep things around the house going as long as possible so he wouldn't need to go out and get a new one. He wasn't particularly handy, but these were his techniques:
Digital - Ignore It
If any of our digital equipment (video camera, computer stuff, VCR) stopped working, Dad would turn it off and on again. He would push various random buttons. And eventually he would just unplug it, tuck it away somewhere, and ignore it for a while. This was know as the 'fix it fairies' approach, the hope that when we next went to try it, the item would magically work all of a sudden. This actually happened on occasion so it encouraged the continued saving of broken digital things in case they starting working again later.
Mechanical - Clean It
Something mechanical that was broken (an old toaster, power tools, some boating things) required thorough cleaning (and maybe greasing) if broken. This was sometimes accompanied by some light dismantling. I never saw him really take apart anything, he wouldn't have deconstructed the entire lawn mower for example, but there would be some opening and removing things to give it a good clean. He didn't really use this to find and replace broken parts that often, partly because that would require buying something, and partly because I don't think he was very good at identifying parts that were the problem. Cleaning things does prolong their life and his focus on this type of upkeep saved us money for sure.
Physical - Tape It
If the broken or worn out item didn't have digital, electrical, or complicated moving parts, than my dad would use duct tape to reinforce, protect, and repair it. I grew up with sailboats, camping equipment, toys, and other items that featured some liberal use of duct tape. He taped up our Christmas Tree, coolers that cracked, the side of the fridge where the installation was coming out, even cardboard boxes that he wanted to keep. I have learned from his crafty duct tape skills and have employed them on occasion. Sometimes though, it just makes sense to buy a new item.
Following In His Footsteps
That is what has been happening with me over the past few months as our Tassimo machine has gradually started to break down. Jason and I use this coffee maker every single day (at least twice - a drink for each of us) and lately it has been struggling to read the bar codes, incompletely brewing drinks, and leaking a bit. I keep wanting to go out and buy a new one, but they are about $100 and I don't want to spend that to replace a small kitchen appliance right now.
I had asked Jason a bunch of times about the 'cleaning disk' that should have come with the machine and he always said it didn't have one or he had lost it. Finally I looked up how to clean the thing (with or without the disk). So today I took apart the machine, all the removable parts can be put in the dishwasher so I soaked them in lemon juice and washed them with soap in the sink. In the process of doing this I found the cleaning disk, exactly where it should have been, and ran a few 'descaling' cycles. Jason and I had to work hard to clean and clear the nozzle since it had 5 years of gunk trapped in it - the machine has literally never been cleaned, the internet says it should be washed weekly.
It works well again and I am so happy that I put the effort in. Dad would be proud, and I saved $100!