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Nan C Loyd

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Appliance Abuse
By Nan C Loyd
Friday, March 23, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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What happens to someone who works from home?

It’s not easy to talk about. It happens to many people, but most are unwilling to bring in out into the public forum. It has never been brought to light in any discussion group I’ve been in or read about, yet I know people who are dealing with this problem. I’m talking about… APPLIANCE ABUSE.

You see? It is most unlikely even you, dear reader, have heard of this hidden abuse in people’s lives. It strikes most often in the lives of women, especially stay-at home moms and those who work from home, but it is not unheard of for it to affect men. There aren’t many statistics available because it is such a hushed-up topic. People are so ashamed. Name me one celebrity who has come forward with this issue?

This abuse crosses social and economic barriers. It has no respect – it strikes rich, poor, educated, or uneducated. This abuse is pervasive in our society – an insidious cancer growing, hidden, within the underbelly of our world today. It is merciless in its destruction.

It began slowly in my own life. I was perfectly contented with my life when I was given the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom for the last few years of our son’s life. Talk about your mission impossible! Talk about totally unprepared for the hardest job on earth, battling demon’s others only dream about. I didn’t know then that I would be talking to appliances within a few months of coming home.

Appliance abuse is when your dishwasher destroys your favorite stemware – even though you obeyed and put it in the top basket. It attempts to take over the kitchen because you dared to hand-wash a bowl on your own. You find yourself talking to the appliance in an attempt to placate its hurt feelings.

How do you talk publicly about the heartache when the VCR holds your favorite movie hostage in an attention getting coup? You try to negotiate a peace treaty. It refuses to believe you understand its programming needs. You explain to it that you once had self esteem when you worked outside the house. You had a real job. you made your own money, and you had “respect!” You explain that do understand its feelings and needs. You talk to no avail; it promptly eats your video tape.

Then “it” happens. The stove goes on strike in the middle of baking a cake, right before hubby’s office party. Why? Because it is jealous of your previous relationship with the computer you had at work.

Some people believe the washing machine is the worst offender because it eats one sock and leaves you the other sock to console because its mate has disappeared. What do you say to a mate-less sock? I am here to tell you the truth. It isn’t the washing machine, it is the clothes dryer. Mine mocked me. It told me that God had taken my socks because they were so hole-y. Get it? Is that cruel, or what?

The telephone began to join in the abuse. It would ring and voices would come out the other end saying things like, “Yes, I know, but what do you do all day?” “Remember what it was like when you used to work?” And my favorite, “Well why can’t you do this or go to or help with __________ (fill in the blank) for me? You have time. It’s not like you have a real job or anything.”

Oh, and you haven’t lived until you’ve been ignored by your beloved microwave. I believe of all the types of appliance abuse, this one hurts the most. The microwave knows you totally depend is on it to reheat all those cups of tea that got cold while you were dealing with other chaos in the house. And sure, the bread machine committed suicide in the middle of an electrical storm – how was I to know it needed unplugging? Now the juicer holds a grudge against me and never lets me forget that the suicide of the bread machine was my fault. Is there to be no forgiveness?

Depression settles in. The hair dryer curses you every morning because you no longer use it. You no longer have that executive hair cut that requires early morning high maintenance. A hair dryer in withdrawal is an ugly sight. You begin to feel responsible for all the appliances – which is right where they want you – loaded down in guilt.

In a very sick way, you actually begin to enjoy the abuse of appliances. At least they are communicating with you, albeit in a negative way. It becomes a very enabling relationship; one requiring much counseling and chocolate.

There are no support groups for appliance suicide. There aren’t even underground support groups for appliance abuse. Trust me, I tried to find one.

So here I am, working from home as a writer, trying to ignore the printer telling me in that dominating male voice to please load paper in the paper feeder. While he does thank me – which is way more than I can say about the other appliances – I cannot believe I am reduced to talking to my printer.

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