jeans 0919
Jeans hanging for dramatic effect from my laundry bar, with Walmart super-stick hangers and SpongeBob kid-sized hangers (why, do you suppose?). Notice the plant I don’t know what it is has decided to grace us once again with flower(s).

I don’t know what I was planning to blither about to you today. I had a multitude of topics; possibly I was going to go with GCEA’s Electric Car Week, which I feel the need to take off from work to celebrate. But then I took a shower, and now I’m just about over electricity.

My month-old steam shower will no longer steam.

The last time I used steam, I was pushing multiple buttons on my control panel to see what each one did, and steam was emanating from the white piece on the side, more noisily than the most ancient steam radiator you can think of. Bangs, clanks, groans, the digital temperature gauge was ratcheting up through the 80s . . .

Then everything went dark. The tub button that controls the bathtub jets was still rumbling — it turns out to be on its own circuit. But everything else stopped until Lynn, who has gained way more proficiency than she should have, went out to the garage and flipped a double breaker.

I was done with my shower by then, so I just pushed a couple of buttons to ensure power had been restored, and went on my merry way. Since then I’ve used lights and the fan, and I’ve tried the tub knobs again. If water is up to the holes, they seem to squirt random jets of water, none of which has felt particularly warm. I don’t know if it’s adding water or reusing what’s already in the tub. And I still can’t explain the Klingon controls or any other silver piece down in the tub.

After having trouble with nasal congestion yesterday and most of the night, I was showering this morning and thought, I have a steam shower! So I pushed the button of squiggles and waited. This turned out to be like being at Sonic all over again. I waited and waited and nothing happened.

No bangs, no clanks. No groans. No steam.

On the other side of the wall I was fluffing my jeans in the dryer without heat after letting them hang dry on my new laundry bar. The bar works well, although it’s a bit thick for my SpongeBob hangers, and my Walmart hangers, which would be great for scoop-neck shirts or other slidey garments, grip way too tightly for casual short-term hanging.

I thought perhaps the use of the dryer was maybe causing the steam problem, so I tried again after the dryer stopped. Nope.

I pushed other buttons. The lights work, both sets; the fan makes noise (I’ve never been clear how effective it is); I even got the radio to switch frequencies. I’m not sure how — it might be one of the buttons at the bottom. But volume 11 turns out to be very loud, and in my less than five minutes of pushing buttons I didn’t find anything to turn it down.

So maybe more buttons are working now than used to, but every time I pushed the steam icon it blinked, but nothing happened.

Let’s count: the vacuum tripped a breaker. The vacuum still works. The microwave tripped a breaker. The microwave broke. The steam shower tripped a breaker. The steam unit appears to be broken.

I realize this is a small sample size (although on the annoyance scale, it’s a huge sampling), but so far it appears that the electricity in our house has broken 67 percent of the things that draw enough power to trip breakers. Maybe it only breaks things made in China, although I’m not sure where our Shark vacuum came from. Maybe our electricity doesn’t like things that steam. (So no Bissell home steamer for us, then.)

There has now been a long time-out that you have missed wherein I spoke with Dusty, who hung up on me to speak with Shawn the electrician, back from vacation and probably wishing he wasn’t, and then Dusty calling me back.

First he said Shawn was taking no responsibility for anything having to do with the steam shower. He supplied power, he told Dusty, and did so without any instructions. I have to agree, this is a major, major flaw with this unit. The first thing Dusty asked for before we ordered it were assembly instructions, and what he was sent was inadequate, which he told the company.

They assured him they were working on better instructions, but I can’t find anything on their website all these months later.

But Shawn did then tell Dusty he wants us to be happy, and he will do what it takes to get us there. He is coming tomorrow at 5 p.m. — I assume, slotting us in after a full day of work elsewhere — and bringing items he thinks he might need to fix things.

His theory on the fire alarm, by the way, could be as little as a gnat. The detectors have particle sensors, and if a little bug in the middle of the night is drawn to the green light, that may be enough to set it off. Someone at breakfast yesterday detailed how hummingbird moths used to do that to their smoke detectors, so it must be a real thing.

So we will see. in the meantime I guess Oz and I will take a chance on the electric car, even though electricity isn’t my favorite thing right now. It is Electric Car Week, after all, and we should celebrate at least nominally, even if we are over electricity. Or at least steamed about it. Or not steamed, as the case may be.


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