Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, April 04, 2014

When EGS was applying to grad schools one application (I forget which) asked her to list any patents that were in her name. Oh my god, the wailing. "I don't have any patents! Why didn't anyone tell me?" We all felt bad. Obvioulsy it had fallen to us to make sure she invented some stuff early in life, and we'd failed as parents.

A couple of nights ago I pushed the button on the range hood to turn off the fan-- and it didn't work. The fan kept whirring. The other buttons worked-- I could turn the light on and off, and I could make the fan louder and more annoying, but the Off button had quit.

Wednesday night, when I got back from class A said, "We have to call an electrician to fix that."
I said, no, I suspect that it is just gunked up with grease. I can fix that. She said, "Okay, fix it." So I took a screwdriver to the thing, and found that it was three parts. There was a brushed steel panel that was die cut for the buttons to poke through.There was a metal frame behind that which secured a black box to the hood itself, and the black box. The black box had five small rods coming out of five little holes. These were the buttons that protruded from the brushed steel panel, one for High, Medium, Low, Off and the light switch. Now I had a the brushed steel panel, the screws, the metal frame, and the black box, which was dangling from the hood, suspended by a bunch of wires. I pushed the button for High, and the button for Off sprang off and rolled under the table. They were, I now recognized, spring mounted, and unsecured to the black box now that I had removed the brushed steel cover. I retrieved the errant button from where it had rolled, and put it with its friends, the other bits and pieces. Then I looked  at the black box. It had screws as well, but it looked to me like those screws held the mysterious inner workings of the box in place. There did not appear to be a way to open it, and I realized that I had probably already done enough damage  by proceeding four screws into the demolition, so I decided to put it back the way I found it.

Of course, the entire apparatus was coated with a delicate patina of old grease, and I was operating on a wall mounted piece of equipment that was over the stove and over my head, so I couldn't really see what I was doing. I tried contorting myself, limbo-like, over the stove, but I couldn't get the angle right, so I fiddled around behind the hood trying to get the pieces to fit. Unfortunately, this seemed to have to involve turning the black box towards to floor, which made the buttons fall off. Also, I could not recall how the pieces had fit together. The frame thing and the brushed steel thing seemed like they should nestle together, but they wouldn't.

A, becoming exasperated with my growing exasperation, (chiefly manifested by increasingly loud swearing,) told me to step aside. She took the little rods that were the buttons and put them back in the holes where they lived. She pushed the Off button, and the other buttons flew across the room. I washed my hands and opened a beer. A retrieved the buttons and started trying to fit the frame thing and the brushed steel thing and the black box together. I took a sip of my beer. Things went on this way for a while, then we stuck the black box up into the works, covered it with the vents and went to bed.

 Yesterday the electrician came. He looked at the little black box. He took one of the buttons and put it in the hole for Off. Then he put the other buttons in their holes. Then he pushed the Off button. Then the buttons flew out at him.

 It appears that it may be broke for good. So perhaps Emily should have invented a better range hood. Or perhaps the fact that she did not is due to genetics.

| Comments:
First of all, may I commend you on even trying to fix the thing. There are those among us who would not have even made the attempt.
Second, there must have been a certain schadenfreude in watching the same result of effort as your own by both your intrepid wifey AND the electrician
Third, I regret that you felt the need for swear words to express your frustration when you possess a very fine vocabulary that might have engaged your interest in seeing how far your excellent command of the English language might have better expressed your feelings.
Furthermore, upon reading this posting, your father offered his fervent, lifelong belief that "sometimes things fix themselves".

You're going to need a bigger hammer

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