Conspiracy

An Open Letter to Whirlpool CEO, Jeff Fettig

To the Whirlpool CEO, Jeff Fettig,

Dear Sir,

My recent experience with your Whirlpool W10219708A Compact Front Loading Automatic Washer has been, how to put it delicately, something of a bit of a joke. Were I a calm and reasonable person, I might describe it as mildly frustrating, perhaps even undesirable. Instead, I find that the simplest and most effective way to describe said experience is to equate it to that of a Shakespearean tragedy, with more irony than even the Bard himself could possibly muster in this day and age. I am, therefore, obligated to write to you now and express my dissatisfaction with as much vim and vigor as I can muster. Vim, because that is one of the cleaning products I utilized after the A10 error supplied by your clownish machine caused my laundry room to flood, and vigor, because that was the rate I wished to strangle myself after I was able to finally run a successful load of laundry without calling in a local priest to exorcize what I can only assume is the restless spirit of some North American Buffalo God whose golden idol was bulldozed to make way for our condo.

Spoiler alert: The priest was useless and the rabbi has since stopped returning my calls.

But I am getting ahead of myself, as I am want to do when I find I have wasted the majority of my day scooping water out of the bottom of a washing machine with a ladle.

My husband and I purchased our condo just over two years ago, and were most thrilled to learn that appliances such as a washer, dryer, stove, and fridge would all be provided by Whirlpool. There is nothing quite like pulling the plastic off a shiny new brushed steel appliance. I suppose I might equate it to the sensation of peeling the top off a yogurt cup or, to give an example you are more familiar with, unzipping a dufflebag filled with grand wads of cash that you can roll around in naked.

But the good times were not to last. Fairly soon we began to notice several things going awry, least of all the fact that our neighbour down the hall turned out to be absolutely insufferable and, quite frankly, a bit of a dick, as well as the presence of a mad pooper in our building. Those issues were negligible though, when compared to the vicious, insensitive flashing of the A10 error which began to appear on our washer’s display. I’m sure you aren’t aware of what A10 means, given that you probably do not furnish your house with the same appliances that you sell. That would be silly. Why use an itty-bitty stackable washer and dryer when you can pay orphans with baby smooth hands to wash your clothes for you in the local enchanted spring? I am, of course, only assuming your local spring is enchanted. Ours is filled with geese, and thanks to a series of unfortunate events involving the retrieval, and subsequent returning of their eggs, I can confirm they are not enchanted.

A10, sir, means there is a clog. A nasty old boogery clog that is preventing the washer from draining. There is only one solution when an A10 error happens, and it is quite possibly the most aggravating solution your company could have possibly come up with. A10 means taking a flat blade and prying off the bottom bit of the washer (in my case I opted for a butcher knife so I could feel marginally superior to the machine I was servicing) and then proceeding to open the small valve at the bottom to clear out the blockage.

Youtube ensured me that this was very simply, but could get messy as there might be a bit of water in there, so make sure you have a towel nearby to mop up any mess.

No man, woman, child, or god could have predicted the torrential flooding of water that gushed from my washing machine. Indeed, had I not been wearing arm floaties there was a very strong chance that I might have drowned at that moment. Frantically I shoved the plug back into place and raced for more towels as the now soapy, mildew-esque water began to seep into our baseboards, which are now permanently warped, thank you so much. I threw every towel I had at the floor, watching helplessly as they became instantaneously soaked by the deluge of dank washer water.

Now here I must offer kudos. It is very convenient that the means to dry said towels is so close by. Theoretically one might able to toss the ruined towels into the dryer with one hand while sopping up the mess with another. However, I must caution you that towels, when soaked absolutely through, are rather heavy and thus, when attempting to pile them into the dryer, you can expect them to drip to the point where you may slip and fall on the linoleum, only to find yourself being crushed beneath a mountain of towels, quietly whispering ‘why’ as your life flashes before your eyes and the room around you grows dark and cold.

If you manage to struggle free from the pile of death and you manage to get those towels into the dryer, you are still up shit creek, as I learned. Because much like the vagina of your mother, it is still absolutely soaking in there.

That was rude of me. I’m sorry. I’m just so upset that I wasted my own day off doing this whole process over and over again.

Oh, didn’t I mention that? This is not the first time we’ve received the A10 error. It has happened multiple times over the last two years and, fortunately, we have become masters in the art of hastily acquiring towels, bed sheets, and duvet covers to cover the flood in order to prevent even further damage to our walls and baseboards.

Where was I? Oh yes. So you’ve managed to survive the flooding, the crushing, and now the drying, and somewhere a long the way you’ve found a spare dry square of cloth that you can place under the Magical Faucet of Neverending Water. You’ve probably accepted at this point that no amount of specialty fans or emergency clean up will help with this issue, so you might as well let yourself be baptised in the abysmal flood of suds. Miraculously, there is an end to the water. Somewhere between the swearing, crying, and fighting with your spouse, the washing machine does appear to be fully drained and you are able to carefully pick out the microscopic piece of lint that managed to ruin your entire load of laundry, your baseboards, and, at this rate, your marriage. Now you put it all back together, press the cancel button, let the machine finish draining automatically, and do a test run on “Spin/Drain”. Yes, you’ll have clean underwear for work ye-

Are you serious? Are you fucking kidding me? There is another A10 error? There isn’t even anything in the machine! I just cleaned out the trap! There is literally no reason why this machine should not work unless for some reason it is cursed in which case Whirlpool better have a damn exorcist on retainer because apparently I need one!

I’m not going to mince words any more than I already have. I am frustrated. In a wild effort to do several loads of laundry today (because your machine is only slightly bigger than a bread maker and thusly I have to do my four bras in two separate loads) I have soaked, dried, and soaked again the following:

5 towels

2 Duvet Covers

1 King-Sized Fitted sheet

6 rolls of Off-Brand paper towel

7 paper napkins

1 Fuzzy blanket

Untold number of hand towels

 

These are the atrocities of war. The victims of untold flooding. The smell of mildew is now firmly embedded in the above textiles and as such they have been relinquished to a cupboard which we have deemed to be our “Emergency Stupid Washer Is Broken” cupboard where we can grab them, as well as a bottle of vodka, at a moments notice. The duvet covers were unsalvageable even after being washed in a real machine. The off-brand paper towels were as useless as one might expect them to be, however I believe given the amount of fluid ounces of water that was used that day, even Bounty, the Quicker Picker Upper would have had their work cut out for them.

Now let’s talk about the smell. Yes, the smell. I don’t know if you have any idea what it is like to live in a condo, and before you decide to call your pent-house suite a condo let me explain: a condo is a living space where you can stand on either end and long jump to the other side without much effort. Condos are tiny. They are tiny and cramped and they do not come with air conditioning unless you pay extra, which we would have done except that we had already used up our ‘extra’ budget on a washing machine that is probably imbued with the spirit of Mrs. Topechka, an angry Ukrainian Turn-of-the-Century Pioneering Woman who does not care for our new-fangled ways. So there was no room in the budget for an air conditioner, which, given that we live in Alberta, means we rely heavily on fans during the summer. But not all the fans in the world can stop heat and water from crushing together and creating the stench.

Let me tell you, when something stinks in a condo, it really stinks. My husband’s mildewy dress shirts, for one thing, which he put in to wash over night only to wake up and discover an A10 error the next morning. Our towels. The towels we used to clean our bodies with. All of these things, now forever drenched in the scent of mold, mildew, and probably my tears. And the stench in the condo is horrendous. The water sat in the washer for less than 12 hours and yet the smell that culminated in our condo is so ripe that it is literally transcending time. I can feel my eggs shriveling up in my ovaries. My children will be born with a perpetually puckered nose simply because the odor in the condo is clinging to everything. My cats curled up into the corner of the den and projectile vomited everywhere before dying abruptly. My dog has turned rabid and is now locked in the bathroom, which I imagine is making her even more upset given that the bathroom is right across from the laundry room and is probably the second most smelly place in the condo.  They say Vicks Vapor Rub under the nose is a good way to deal with the smell of decaying bodies, but what they don’t tell you is that smearing it all over your face will only serve to help the smell of mold and mildew permeated deeper into your pores. I am actually molding as I sit here and type this.

But yeah, sure, shit happens, right? Roll with the punches. I did try to make a game out of it for a while. I played “What will dry these towels faster: The Majesty of the Sun or This Perpetually Disappointing Whirlpool Appliance?” I am sorry to say by the end of the saga it was Majestic Sun: 4, Whirlpool Appliance: 2. Of course, those games only take you so far, especially as you spend more and more time steeping in the smell of mold, watching water trickle carefully out of a small valve that you have adjusted the perfect amount to avoid more flooding. It makes a person introspective, really gets you thinking about life, the universe, and how goddamned crappy an appliance has to be if the smallest item not classified as a textile in the washer somehow causes it to have a grand mal seizure. I mean, let’s be honest here, I know it’s a small appliance for a small space, but I should be able to leave a receipt for a box of tampons in my pocket without having to worry if the neighbours below us are going to have flooding in their kitchen.

And yeah, cleaning your pockets is always a good plan prior to doing a load of laundry, but give me a fucking break, I actually do have other things to do (aside from today which I dedicated entirely to watching water trickle from a valve, did I mention that yet?) I have a condo to clean, a rabid dog to walk and/or put down, food to make, actual work to do for my actual job which I am actually paid to do, and clothes to pu- Oh, well. I guess I don’t have clothes to put away at the moment, but we know whose fault that is, don’t we? The point is, people generally live very busy lives these days, and worrying about a scrap of lint in a pocket is not on the top of my priority list. If your product cannot sustain itself in those little moments, how can anyone ever expect it to clean the grass stains off of my metaphorical snub-nosed child’s soccer gear? Failure to do its most basic job in the face of slight interruption does not bode well for the longevity of your product.

And before you ask What about warranty? Yeah, that was a year long. And as is tradition with all things produced in the 21st century, it broke roughly 6 minutes after said warranty expired. Of sure, we called in the dealer a couple times, but that was about as useful as nailing a banana to a fruit bat. It was not useful at all, and was incredibly pointless and, in the long term, will probably result in the loss of life.

So what is the point of all this, you might ask, knowing full well that you are going to receive a snarky reply.

The point is I assumed Whirlpool was simply a brand name and not a description of what I could expect draining from my washing machine. The point is I would very much like to know why the Whirpool washer has the constitution of an anti-vaxxers child in a room full of whooping cranes with nasty coughs. The point is, I would very much like my washer to not break down the next time I forget to pick each stray thread off of my jeans with a pair of tweezers prior to washing them. The point is, I am horribly disappointed with your product, with its ability to do its most basic function, with my ruined towels and bed sheets and duvet covers, with my warped baseboards that will detract from the resale price of the condo and, perhaps finally, I am disappointed knowing that it will only be a matter of weeks before A10 comes back and we have to repeat the whole process all over again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my head in our Whirlpool oven. I’m not sure if I’m hoping it will work or not. One thing is certain, the outcome either way is sure to be exciting.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky

The Story of Dean

Theory: We all have one person we are allowed to hate. One person who, when mentioned, drives us so close to the edge of insanity that we would rather throw ourselves off the cliff into the thorny hell below than spend another moment thinking about that one individual. My husband has such a person, and last night I met mine.

His name is Dean.

Dean is a horrible person. Dean has the personality of an aggressive badger that has been caught in a rainstorm and, with no concept of social norms, has decided to take out his years of pent up rage and frustration on the nearest person. Dean has all the charm of Darth Vader, hopped up on bath salts, having gotten a taste for human flesh. Dean is reason for climate change and, I am almost 100% sure, the Mad Pooper of Building 3000.

Dean is just the worst.

Dean is what happens when you combine the current cast of Saturday Night Live with a large swarm of locusts that have all been taught to play kazoos and the kazoos are on fire.

I had the gut-wrenching horror of laying eyes on Dean last night at a meeting for our condo board, wherein “I might just literally be Satan” Dean decided that the best way to air his grievances was by publicly humiliating our cheerful Property Manager by demanding “Why haven’t you returned any of my emails?”

(Note: He is apparently the only one with this issue, which may or may not be a telling point.)

Now, I like our Property Manager. When we lost our original key fob, she was all over getting us a new one made. And when I went to get said fob, there was some miscommunication, and this Property Manager immediately left her lunch break to make a new one for me, and then apologized profusely for making me wait. She is British and lovely and has never let us down.

Which is why, after she initially apologized for not returning his emails, and Dean continued to berate her repeatedly, I felt the need to interrupt him and explain that she had apologized to him already and the subject could now be dropped.

I got wild, uninhibited satisfaction in watching him turn to look at me. The shock on his face indicated that never before in his existence as a puddle of human excrement had anyone dared to interrupt him, and he had no reply to make. The reactions of those running the meeting were equally amusing as they raised eyebrows at me and smirked.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that there is a need for good communication when in a position of authority. If our Property Manager made an error, she has now been more than made aware of it and she will obviously try her utmost best to not make that mistake again. However, to call someone out publicly in such a way is a show of power. It is Dean trying to say, “Listen, I get that I am a total gargoyle of a human being, so here, let me put all the attention on you.” No one ever accomplished anything by trying to ‘out’ someone in such a way, and while it was rude of me to interrupt him, I like to think of it as more of a karmic balancing act. My actions simply neutralized his own, thus restoring the balance of the world.

“I’m a Frogman, Ra-ra-ra” Dean also used the term “Point of Order” during the meeting, which was just so pretentious I almost vomited koolaid all over my shoes. Point or order? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we were in a Forum to Address the Misanthropic Ways of World Leaders. Clearly this is a serious situation and not at all simply a meeting where we, as condo owners, form our new condo board. Super serious, guys.

Unsurprisingly enough, Dean volunteered to be a condo board member. Me, being me, could not help but do a quick political calculation in my mind, which went something like this:

I have no desire to be on the condo board, yet I despise Dean. If someone votes for me, they may theoretically no longer vote for Dean. Ergo, if Dean loses, I win. If we both lose, I still win.

I did not win, thank goodness. I have no time for condo board meetings. More importantly, however… Dean lost. It led to a very important realization in my life…

I don’t want to win. I just want Dean to lose.

Note: You may be asking yourself, Why, Kathleen? Why hate Dean so much? To which I am reminded of Hannibal Lector’s feeling on rude people. They are no good. They also, apparently need to be eaten. I am, of course, not prepared to escalate this conflict to such a point. I’ll probably just keep passive-aggressively using his name in puns (Thanks, Community). Honestly, I would have let it go, but as the meeting was winding down yesterday, the Property Manager came around to collect the contact information for the new board members. She sat briefly next to me and was visibly shaken, close to tears. Because that’s what happens when you publicly humiliate another person repeatedly. It actually bothers them. Go figure. I can’t abide that. It was neither the time nor the place, yet “Punch me in the kidney” Dean seemed to think he had the right to act then and there. Basic compassion goes a long way, and I aim to teach him about it, one way or another.

Dean you later!

In Which a War is Waged

Sharing a bed with someone is like a war that is fought entirely by special ops agents who act out in the most deviant ways possible. Their methods for gaining the upper hand are based around dirty tricks and propaganda delivered in nightly air raids. If you’re lucky you have a larger military force on your side than your partner.

Even the whole concept of sleeping in a bed suggests different sides. His side, her side; his lamp, my lamp; his corner, my corner! Mine!

(more…)

In Which Cats, Cats Cats, Cats? Ha ha! Cats!

Get your tinfoil hats on, folks, because the internet is in our brains and our constant contributions to social media is ruining our lives. Also, cats.

For the last four days I’ve been taking part in Block Week. The hellish University of experience of completing an entire course, that is four  months worth of material, in five days. It has been an interesting experience. In the more exhaustive moments I have searched the darker portions of the internet for anything and everything that might keep my brain active. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Despite how tiring the 9-5 schedule has been, the information garnered from Social Media Connectivity and Jibber Jabber has been hugely eye-opening. Facebook’s algorithms, the inescapable nature of the ‘like’ button, the sad puppy-dog-eyes of Flickr, and the sneakiness of Twitter. Oh yes, they’re on to us. They know everything.

Also cats.

I half-heartedly wondered how many times I would have to mention ‘cats’ and ‘kittens before all my Facebook advertising started to tune in and relate to those lovely felines. Cats. Imagine my surprise when I opened up my WordPress reader this morning and discovered the #1 blog that was recommended for my enjoyment was Cats & Chocolate. Recommended because other people I follow have liked it? Nice try, WordPress algorithms. The people I follow are a distinctly dog-centric group.

But that still got me thinking about cats, and also about how if my simply mentioned ‘cats’ repeatedly on Facebook might possibly somehow influence my WordPress recommendations, what would an entire blog post about cats and conspiracy theories and cats and also, did I mention cats? do to my Facebook ads. Cats.

Maybe I will add a ‘tag’ of cats. Maybe the category will be cats. Maybe I will post a picture of my cat.

Cats

Cats

And then maybe after that I will cats with some cats doing cat-like stuff with cats.

Wearing an orange peel on your head like a cat

Wearing an orange peel on your head like a cat

Because sometimes cats and cats.

I’m not saying it is a conspiracy theory (it is not a theory.) The whole algorithmic jumble is clearly very efficient. But just how efficient is it? I would assume that WordPress and Facebook must be linked in some way, like button or not. Toss in Google (which I will be utilizing to look up interesting facts about cats in a moment) and you have a trifecta of internet connectivity. Or cats. Either one really. Probably more cats.

Hey, how many cats does it take to screw in a ligtbulb? None. They do not have opposable thumbs and are also too short to reach the light.  Silly cats.

Now what if my first Google result on Interesting Cat Facts is a Wikipedia Article on felinus domesticus (have not confirmed that is the Latin for domestic housecat. Like most North Americans, I assume I can ‘Latinize’ any words by adding ‘us’ to the end of it.) Suddenly Wikipedia is in on it. Suddenly Wikipedia knows that I want to know about cats. Is it telling Google that I’m a can aficionado? Has the SPCA been alerted that I am a potential cat hoarder? How soon will it take for the Internet to know that I cat cats so cat-ing much?

Oh my god, you can't just ask someone why they are a cat.

Oh my god, you can’t just ask someone why they are a cat.

Then add the fact that I have Youtube videos of Beemo being a freaking cat. Who am I kidding? I don’t have to look up cats. They already know about cats. Oh my cat. Oh man, they know everything.

Holy cats, we are so screwed.

Cats.