Saturday, April 19, 2008

Enter at your Own Risk (in theory)

One of my jobs around the house is not to load and run the dishwasher. Of course, that’s ever since “the incident.”

It happened one afternoon as I was roaming around the house with a dust rag and a can of pledge. I had cleaned just about every surface I could find when I spotted it: The closed doors (protecting and guarding) my husband’s precious little wet bar. He wasn’t home at the time so I figured what the hell.

When I first opened the doors, it was like a rush, a power trip. I was invading, damn it; and it felt great. Somebody take a picture!

The place was amazing, filled with all kinds of fascinating objects. I grabbed one particular interesting-looking mug, and placed it in the top rack of the dishwasher with other barware. During the appliance’s hour-long cleansing sound, I hummed and scrubbed.

When my husband arrived home we went out to eat, and I forgot about the dishwasher until the next morning.
That’s when all hell broke loose.

What went into the dishwasher in one piece came out in three. And apparently it wasn’t just any old container. Oh, no. It was a 95-year-old Croatian pilsner glass that my husband’s mother’s grandfather crafted on the island of Olib prior to WWI and which my mother-in-law had just gifted to her only son for his 50th birthday, the week before.
Oh, boy.

My husband wanted to know why I didn’t notice the hand-painted floral designs stenciled in gold delicately throughout the glass. Or the inlayed miniature cherry-tree leaves decorating the lower four bands that circled the glass, just above the hand-hammered copper base. This stunning antique had survived bombings, artillery raids, and occupation. It had withstood jurisdictional changes, Ottoman Empire exchanges, and regional rages. It had tolerated immigration, relocation, and Yugoslavian generations. But not our dishwasher.
Oh, boy.

In response to his question, I pushed my shoulders back and arrogantly said: “Well it didn’t say anywhere on it that it wasn’t dishwasher safe”.

In order to save myself, I had to develop a plan…and quickly.

The next day, I took the broken pieces to my office and asked for the referral of a good glass repair guy – preferably someone named Pierre - and whose nickname was not “Breaker”.

The first co-worker I approached, Mr. “D”, was dumfounded by my actions - not with regard to the dismantled glass - but with respect to the fact that I had the audacity to venture anywhere near my husband’s bar.

The second was kindler and gentler. He said he knew of a guy who might be able to repair it but “probably not to its original condition.” And it would take some time.
Oh, boy.

I waited eight weeks - eight long, agonizing, heard-it-already-I-get-it-already-won’t-do-it-again-all-right-already weeks. Finally I was told: Mission Accomplished. And I must say that I thought the glass guy did a bang up job….so to speak.
I was thrilled to bring it home.

My husband, however, looked at it differently. He put his family’s precious item through the beer test, the taste test, and the smell test. It passed. What it failed was the “look” test. You see, in order for the glass guy to repair it, he had to whack off two inches from the bottom of the stem to get the surface flat enough to re-solder it into the partially-melted/disfigured copper “foot” section.
The result was a pilsner glass that tilted to one side.
Oh, boy.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I heard the glass guy had to go to the emergency room because he lost his eyesight. Apparently, he used a new high-tech laser tool but neglected to read (important) operating instructions which clearly stated that workers should “not attempt to use device without wearing protective eye gear”.

The emergency room doctor had to call in a specialist, an ophthalmologist from another state, who had seen this kind of thing before and could render an opinion and course of treatment to recover (some of) the vision.
Oh boy.

Upon hearing the prospect of her husband’s condition, the glass guy’s wife had a heart attack and spent five days in intensive care...that is, before she was transported to another facility. I might mention that their daughter gave birth to their first grandson the next day. Last I heard, he had not yet “seen” the child.

I guess you could say that the sentence of not being allowed to load and run the dishwasher seems light considering the circumstances. And in five years or so, all lawsuits should be settled.

Most importantly, I learned a valuable lesson that I’d like to pass on for what it’s worth: Touching things that aren’t yours – on the pretense of trying to make them better - when your real objectives are self-serving, can get you into a whole mess of trouble.

Oh, yes, and watch out for things that go snap, crackle, pop. They can be dangerous to your health.

Lynn - NOTTV
Copyright 09/07

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