Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Why the bleep doesn’t anything last anymore? June 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

THE NEWSPAPER IN MY COMMUNITY runs a mystery photo every Saturday. Readers are invited to identity and name the location of the place in the image. If correct, their names will be entered in a drawing for $100 in Faribault Chamber bucks at the end of the year. I’ve participated only once. I’m just not that interested in challenging my brain to identify some place in town.

But maybe you like brain teasers. So I’m challenging you to name the items in the two photos that follow. These are both at my home and are two of four items/appliances which broke within 10 days. Whoever said things happen in threes was wrong.


Top of hot water heater


PHOTO A: Why don’t they build these like they once did? This is the third one we have installed since moving into our home in 1984. The one in my mom’s house was original to the 1950s rambler and was still working in 2014.


Redneck door handle


PHOTO B: This object may or may not be familiar to you, depending on your sense of humor.

Identify these objects and you will know what we had to replace in addition to a microwave and a dehumidifier.

Try not to cheat and peek at the answers. If I knew how to turn this print upside down, I would.


Photo A shows the top of our leaky gas water heater. I entered the laundry room on a recent morning to find water spreading across the floor. I phoned the husband at work. It was only 7:15. What a lovely way to start his day. Upon his arrival home much later and after supper, we headed to the local hardware store which had exactly two gas water heaters and no one on staff who knew anything about them. Randy surmised we needed the taller one. I disagreed and suggested we return home to measure. Nope. So the taller version was loaded into our van and unloaded onto the driveway. Guess what? I was right. Eventually, with the correct size purchased, it was then time to wrestle the old water heater out of the basement and the new one into the basement. No one was injured in the process. At 8:40 p.m., the husband announced that the old pipes were not long enough as the new model differed slightly from the old. The hardware store was closed by then. Because my husband desired a hot shower after a hard day of work, we then drove to a Big Box retailer in a neighboring town for those pipes. By 11:30 p.m., he had hot water and a shower.

Photo B is an improvised door handle to replace the one that fell off in my hand one morning, leaving me locked outside. Fortunately, my son was home to let me back inside. Then, what to do. I called the husband. Again. Are you seeing a pattern here? Hey, I am not mechanically inclined or good at solving problems like this. He advised that I find a screw driver and remove the broken handle and slip wire through the holes where the handle was once secured. I did. But apparently I do not know how to twist wire as the wire broke loose, leaving me once again stranded on the back steps. The son let me back inside and retwisted the wire. It held. For the past week we have been using this wire handle, appropriately dubbed (by the husband) as a Redneck Door Handle.

There, how did you do? Did you guess hot water heater and Redneck Door Handle? If so, award yourself an “A” and then explain to me why nothing lasts anymore.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling