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Snow Birds and Broken Appliances

My husband was  recently on the phone with his parents and they were discussing their annual  trip to the Florida Panhandle.  They are the typical snow birds that descend south every winter  spreading their tiny wings to fly out of the freezing cold chicken coop.

I was eavesdropping , I could hear my husband, “You are driving where for a microwave? The same microwave that you had when I was a kid? Let me get this straight – you are taking your microwave with you to get it fixed in Alabama?”

However, I learned many years ago never to breathe a word about his parents appliances or their need to hold onto everything. It was a lesson I  learned the hard way!

My mother in law had her eyes on The Kitchen –Aid mixer it was like a red sparkly bike that was calling her name. It was with impulse she purchased a new kitchen-aid and handed her  Braun mixer down to me.

It was within that brief time the Braun and I were together we  were a happy couple baking until our hearts content from bread to pastries. It was until that one fateful spark that changed everything!  My beloved mixer was gone and floated up to the appliance heaven in the sky.

It was weeks later over lunch with the in-laws popped  my mother in law asked, “Do you still have the mixer? The kitchen-aid just isnt’ the same.”

I’m already the black sheep, the art student, opinionated women, that stole her golden boy. I could never do right and knew that I was going to have another strike against me the moment I opened my mouth…

“Um! Well no!” I stammered.


“Well it broke.”

My father in law chirped “You what? You threw it out?”

“Yes. It broke.”

They both had stunned looked on their faces waiting for me to finish as if I had just dropped an F-bomb in church.

In my own defense I proclaimed “ It was made in the sixties!”

They both gave me a ghastly look that I had done some great injustice to the world and couldn’t believe I acted without the thought of the consequences it would have on them.

I clarified “Well it was old! And we didn’t know how to fix it…”

It was with that I was given another look.

“Do you still have the bowl?”

I exclaimed out of  nervousness, “Yes! I kept the bowl! I love it! It’s wonderful just for day-to-day baking.”

“Can I have it back?”

And it was with that I handed back the bowl never to be trusted with second-hand appliances again.

So as my husband got off the phone he gave me a look and said “Why don’t they just buy a new microwave?”

I looked at my husband with the knowledge of never insulting their appliances, “Honey, it must be the one they love forever. The breeze along the river would say  Just let it be.”

How far would you go to rescue your appliances? Would you drive to Alabama to get it fixed?

Categories: Anne Murray Broken Appliances Kitchen - Aid Mixer Life shelf of an appliance recycling appliances Snow Bird

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

79 replies

  1. For our 15th anniversary, I bought my husband a good Swiss watch. The jeweler told me that when it was time to have the watch serviced they would have to send it to Switzerland. I told my husband this and then offered to personally escort the watch when the time came. The watch hasn’t needed service, but I’m happy to report that we went to Switzerland anyway.

  2. Too bad your in-laws didn’t know my in-laws. They used the microwave as a bread box. They may have been willing to give it to them in exchange for the bowl (to keep the bread in of course).

  3. Ha Ha ha… that is too funny. It’s hard to imagine that some people are really this way. And it’s so hard to tell your elders it’s just cheaper to get a new something. My hubby’s grandma has all these old appliances and gadgets that are eons old. And we would never in a million years tell her to get something replaced!!! 🙂

  4. If it’s an excuse for a trip, then I’m off to Alabama. I’ve never been there!

    But I think I’d prefer to go on the trip and conveniently leave the appliance by the trash with a note saying, “Broken. Free if you want to fix it”.

    Laughing. Your post is great on so many levels. You stole their son. And you don’t save your appliances. The list must be endless. Thank goodness my in-laws actively try not to harbor a list, because it would indeed be endless as well.

    1. hehehe! The list is endless! Don’t even get me started 😉

      I think it would be great to visit Alabama and enjoy some really good Southern food. But I would leave my microwave at home. I’m still wondering what will happen when they drive back and get stopped in customs. LOL!

  5. I doubt I’d take an appliance to Alabama to be repaired… but I have shorts that are 20 years old that I mend when needed. I also have kitchen towels that I do the same for. The truck is 21 years old. I can understand their attachment, but some things you just have to let go and replace.

  6. I toss anything that breaks. I even traded a car one time because a light came on and I didn’t know what it meant.

    And, I wouldn’t drive up the street to get something fixed, much less to Alabama.

  7. Funny how just last night, my friends and I were talking about how sentimental we are. And I just realized that I am the most sentimental among the bunch. For them, once something is broken or will just accumulate dust, it’s time to throw it out. For me, it takes a while to let go but maybe not to the extent of your in-laws. So i kind of understand where they are coming from 🙂

    1. LOL! I am sentimental about books and trinkets but appliances not so much. The mixer was great and I understood why she would miss it. But I never thought I would see the day someone would take their microwave with them on holiday to get fixed. I guess that makes them very practical 🙂

  8. Is there even an electronics or appliance repair place anymore? I usually try to buy from somewhere that recycles the old one, so I do not have to deal with it. I can understand to a certain point, but at times it costs more to repair than to replace. I do not care for this throw away mentality, but sometimes that is the way it is. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Cute story and now days, I think appliances are made to dispose of when broken. Maybe back in your in-law days, the appliance were made better and they probably thought of it as a craft to fix it. The person in Alabama may have been as old as the appliance so this person was the only one left on the planet to repair the microwave. 😦
    Smiling as I’m leaving . . . 🙂 thanks!

    1. Hahaha! He probably is 🙂 It is a craft to fix things and my FIL loves to tinker with things. We once had four lawn mowers in our garage as back up on the off chance one would break. He use to collect them on trash day and fix them. We had to put a stop to it because four is just getting out of control.

  10. I know the feeling… My ex’s parents are the exact same, they have 5 broken electric kettles in their garage that they refuse to throw out, “just in case someone needs them some day”… Eh, they’re broken!!!! I found the best way is to accept nothing from them, and just nod and agree! Good Luck 🙂

  11. We had my grandmother’s old cuisinart stand mixer until only a short while ago. It was great, despite the fact that it was at least 60 years old. It was disappointing when it started smelling like burning chemicals every time it was on, but I figure something that old has led a good life, same with your 60’s blender. Hilarious that they took the bowl back from you! Though it’s too bad you didn’t keep it, you could have gotten a brand new slightly-used kitchen-aid mixer out if it.

    1. It was a really nice mixer with all of the cool gadgets and I can see how one could get attached to it. I even liked the bowl! LOL! Know mixer for me I suspect she would have returned it or passed it down to her daugther 🙂

  12. I wouldn’t go very far at all. I am one that would typically just throw-it-away! There price of fixing the appliance is usually around the same price of buying a new one…so why not 🙂

  13. Too funny, except for the part where your in-laws don’t recognize the jewel they have for a daughter-in-law. Asking you for the bowl back is wrong, wrong, wrong. Giving something away should be a one way street.
    My natural meaness is coming out this morning. 😦
    Thank goodness we can blog about these things. Saves a lot of lives.

  14. Really interesting post, Belle. Here, our wartime generation had ‘make do and mend’ drummed into them by the propaganda of the time. They must have been young and impressionable. Our generation gets sermonised more times than I care to mention: “I can’t abide waste!” the wartimers tell us.

    When someone says they can’t abide something I usually conclude there are issues way beneath the surface – why feel this strongly about mere appliances or left over food? Perhaps the propaganda was more potent than anyone realised at the time!

    1. I can definitely see that and is something ingrained in a lot of older baby boomers. My FIL is very much like that and fixes everything. They don’t believe in waste or leftover food and that is another story in itself.

  15. This reminds me of a story about my great grandmother. She had a mixmaster from the 30s that she would periodically have my father fix well into the 70s. She shipped it to him in MD (from Alabama) and he absolutely couldn’t fix it. He sent her a new one instead. She grumbled about it every visit we made afterward–it just didn’t work the same! Never mind that she used the old one heavily and was famous for setting butter and sugar to cream together at supper and let it run through the night so her cakes would taste right.

    1. I bet your poor father never lived it down! I bet her cakes were delicious 🙂 They still bring up the mixer from time to time and my husband just chuckles. I wonder where in Alabama they are taking it to get fixed? And where they came up with the idea? I do know the microwave is a tank because it once fizzled out my digital camera that I left on top of it one time.

  16. First things first… I nominated you for Versatile Blogger award… check it out.

    I feel ya ! In my family, Dad is the one who’s capable of doing that…. he always says he’ll fix it later, then Mom will ask, ” what year? “

  17. Nope! I’d drive two miles to the nearest Goodwill, where they have an excellent track record of taking my (usually still newish) appliances and routing them to someone who can fix them readily.

    This is a very rare occurrence because I don’t use my appliances too frequently. But your in-laws? They’d hate me for this, too.

  18. This is funny. I am divorced now but my ex inlaws were of the mind if it’s not broke keep it. In 1951 the year my ex husband was born my ex fil bought a maytag washer and dryer. It was still going strong in the ’90’s. They had such good luck with the first maytag set they bought another oe that seemed to break down every ix months. Good luck to the alabama fix it man.

  19. Dropping the F-bomb in church… made me laugh. 😉 Yes, I have to say that I think some of the older generation does that for some reason! My grandparents and dad used to do that kind of stuff too. Many of them were taught not to be wasteful, and to be resourceful. So, I think they take it to an extreme. Never mind that you can buy a new microwave for like 50 bucks! They’ll spend more in gas driving probably, ha ha! Oh well. Like you said: just let it be. 🙂

  20. No way! If it costs more to fix it than to buy another one – or even close, I’m buying a new one.
    I love the image of you handing back the mixing bowl in disgrace, by the way.
    And why anyone would want a microwave that was that old, I have no idea. Our family’s first microwave (purchased in 1970) had a timer – and that was it. No ability to adjust anything about the way it cooked. And it cost something like $500!

    1. LOL! I know! I think there’s is definitely from the early eighties so maybe they are thinking they haven’t gotten the cost out of it yet 😉 I held my head down in disgrace as I handed back that beautiful bowl. How was I to know that I was in the wrong? I guess I should have asked for permission first to throw it out….

  21. If, BIG if here, hubby can fix it, we’ll keep it going for as long as we can. I REALLY hate parting with my things. I grow very attached to them. Like your mother-in-law. LOL!

    I wear my shirts until the holes actually get too big to be of any use in covering my flesh. I have a problem. I know! 🙂


  22. OK – here I come with a word of support for your MIL. When I grew up, things were made to last, and to be repaired. They were sturdy, and functional, and nearly industructible.

    I still have my mother’s stand mixer. It’s been re-wired once, and taken apart and oiled and such a couple of times, but it’s the best mixer in the world. There’s not a lick of plastic in it, and it’s heavy, with 12 speeds and various paddles. The danged thing was a wedding gift in 1938!

    Let’s see…. that’s a few years older than I am! And if it breaks, you bet I’ll fix it!

    1. It’s true things were made to indestructible and that mixer was fantastic. However, neither of us are very handy and rewiring something would probably send us to the ER. I guess I should have asked permission to throw it out…

  23. Of course I would head to AL to get my appliances fixed…. is there something wrong with that???? 🙂

    OMG…. Your MIL would hate me…. especially for my tendancy to break things… I will go as far as to see if I can return it, but other than that….

  24. haha this made my giggle 😛 my grandma used to do this (may her soul rest in peace) I don’t like to throw out things but I won’t go too far to get it fixed!

  25. This is too funny! My mom had the same stove in her house for 31 years. (in fact it was still there when she passed away)
    The timer and light went out years ago. The back 2 burners a few years after that. Then the broiler went and the oven was temperamental.

    I asked her, “mom, let me get you a new stove. We can go pick one out and bring it home today!”

    Her response? There are parts of me that don’t work right. Hopefully, you aren’t gonna just toss me out and buy a new mom!

  26. I’d drive all the way to Alabama to get my in-laws fixed, if they had anything needing repairs, but appliances? NO. Thankfully, my in-laws are absolutely fabulous *and* quite flexible about Stuff, so no worries here! I feel for you, honey! At least you tell the story so fantastically that we get some benefit from your long-suffering. 😀

  27. I purchased one of those old mixers at a yard sale. The motor burned out and yes I saved the bowls also. They are fabulous bowls.

    I myself have had emotional attachments on items when I was young and starting out and put a lot of thought and money into those purchases. I guess that has not changed so much now. After all, I have purchased items that are newer and improved. Andy when you are cooking you really want your “go to” appliances to help you make it through cooking all your recipes.

    funny post 🙂

  28. Sorry you had to be honest with your inlaws and tell them the bad news. I recently had to say goodbye to an iron my parents gave me. they had it in the 60s but it just was not heating up anymore. So, I replaced it. My mom was pretty sad.

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