When the Whole House Falls Apart

An overflowing washing machine is one way everything falls apart.

Back in the mid-90s, there was an impossibly catchy song by one-hit wonder band Dog’s Eye View. Remember “Everything Falls Apart?”

“Don’t look now, things just got worse.”

We probably all know what this feels like—though what we consider a life in ruins has probably evolved over time.

Early on, the bar was pretty low. Okay, really low. Consider the popular blog “Reasons My Son Is Crying.” It features photos of infants and toddlers in various states of emotional devastation with captions like: “The goldfish [crackers] came from the wrong place in the pantry.”

As we grow older, our falling-apart criteria are more complex. Like when we move into our first home and we understand the concept of everything falling apart in a tangible way.

Because when it happens, the whole house falls apart, right? In an ideal world, the roof would blow off the week you got your big promotion and corresponding raise. And the furnace would go kerflooey a comfortable stretch of time later. Like right after sweet old Aunt Hildy slips you a just-because check at the family reunion.

In my house, one period of falling-apart lasted about a year from start to finish. Here’s what went wrong:

  • The Wreck of the Water Heater: Vacuuming flooded carpet, in case you wonder, sounds a lot like sucking yogurt through your teeth while humming a C note.
  • The Microwave Malfunction: This mishap may (or may not) have been caused by a wayward bit of unremoved foil seal. COUGH. No one can prove anything.
  • The Clothes Washer Catastrophe: Well, of course that happened just after the kids came back from sleepover camp. In the woods. In the rain.
  • And the Double-Oven Disaster? That was on the day of my daughter’s birthday party, a casual evening affair for 25 girls. Let’s just say we’ll never again activate the self-cleaning oven function when we’re entertaining…or ever.
  • Finally, The Tree-asco: A freak summer storm downed a 150-foot locust tree onto my husband’s backyard workshop. While it could’ve caused more damage, the cleanup was significant. (And the subsequent claim experience made me thankful that I’m an Erie Insurance Customer with a great Agent.)

Perhaps the super-organized among us have an appliance replacement fund. Or engage in home projects that can help squeeze a little more life out of things.

Yet odds are there’ll be a time when part of your holiday bonus or a chunk of your vacation fund will be reluctantly rerouted to appliance replacement. But look on the bright side, as I did when we had to buy a new refrigerator before hosting both sides of the family for Thanksgiving: You may finally get the built-in ice and water dispenser you’ve always dreamed of.

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