Mom Against the Machines

The icemaker strikes back.

My hot water heater and my icemaker have unionized. I haven’t yet received the paperwork, but I expect the group to be called something like the Domestic Appliance and Machine Union (DAM-U).

I realized this as I was standing in yet another tepid shower, trying to wake up. I do not enjoy merely warm showers — I like my showers blisteringly, turn-my-skin-pink hot. There is absolutely no mechanical reason for my hot water heater not to comply by supplying gallons and gallons of steamy water. No other water-using appliances were running at the time. My dear husband was not flushing the toilet or washing dishes.

Still, there I was, miserable in my lukewarm shower.

My icemaker has a similar problem. It is designed to make ice until the container is full, then cut off production until the supply dwindles. The icemaker is then supposed to automatically register that more ice needs to me made, and get to work.

But my icemaker seems … unmotivated. It knows there is no ice, but it will still take its sweet time (sometimes two or three days) to get around to producing more. This most often happens just when I really need ice, like on a sweltering summer day when I’m craving cold lemonade.

Like any sweatshop boss would be, I’m nervous about DAM-U. My appliances, my automatic domestic slaves that are supposed to make my life easier, are organizing. Soon, I’ll have to give them vacation days and overtime. What if my furnace gets knocked up by a wood stove and demands maternity leave? What if my oven decides to take its 15-minute contractual break 20 minutes before my son’s birthday cake is done? The iron, the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner — DAM-U is out to control my household.

Just don’t tell my dishwasher.

Article © 2006 by Stacey Duck