We (I’m speaking to the ladies here) all know what frustration means, and have each experienced it at some time or another. There are little frustrations like not being able to find both socks of a pair you wanted to wear that day, having your bra straps continually slip down causing you to visibly list to one side (this invariably happens while you’re waiting on a customer who’s outfitted in sartorial splendor, or sitting in a meeting with your boss and an important client) , skirt hems that creep up, emitting electric snaps, over your newest designer tights or nylons, exposing more of your nether regions than your mother would think proper, fly-away hair that you can’t seem to tame on dry, or windy, or wet, or hot, or cold days, finding hubby’s dirty socks on the bedroom floor again and wet towels from the kid’s (or grandkid’s) latest shower draped over your new bedspread, and your loving family saying, “We already ate on the way home” when you’ve slaved half a day to prepare a nice meal and fancy dessert. And then, oh, wait, don’t get me started on that! – the things your pets do. Yes, we all know about these things. Then, there are the compound frustrations that impact you and your spouse together. January of this year was filled with such frustrations, first brought on by having our TV and satellite receiver both die. At the beginning of the new year, the TV could only be coaxed into life after about half an hour of button pushing. We finally resorted to leaving it on 24 hours per day and muting the sound. After about a week of that, it went off and wouldn’t turn on again at all. That TV, bought because it had supposedly been made in the USA, spent more time in the repair shop than it did in our home during it’s three year life. It literally blew up a month after we bought it and we had to transport it 45 miles to the nearest certified repairman. The TV repair technicians don’t make house calls! After spending three months in that shop it was carted back home. Several months later, which process was angrily repeated numerous times, we had to take it back for another problem. Sure, the repairs were covered under warranty, but meanwhiile, we were watching a little 19-inch screen TV at home while our 55″ big screen was sitting in a dusty shop some 45 miles away. When that TV finally gave up the ghost last month, and we were told the repair and parts would cost over $250, my husband finally gave up. We did some online research regarding quality and price and performance analyses and bought another 55″ TV. A representative from the company making our chosen TV was on hand the day we made the purchase and he told us that the company he represented makes the inner workings for all TV makes and models. Well, we were feeling good about this purchase. We brought it home happy in the assumption (you all know what’s said about assuming something don’t you?) that it would solve our TV situation quite nicely. WRONG! The old TV was unhooked, unplugged, unscrewed, carried out of the house with difficulty (it was heavy and bulky) and placed unceremoniously in the back of the pick-up, destined for the town’s bulk-trash container. We opened the box containing the new TV, anticipating a good week-end of final playoff football games. My husband spent about a half hour getting it properly fastened onto it’s base, hooking up all the wires and gadgets and finally turning it on. After about another half-hour of getting it acquainted with the satellite receiver, it finally produced a picture. GOOD GRIEF. Our new 55″ screen looked like there had been an explosion in a tartan factory. There was a 6-inch square in the upper left-hand side which was completely black. Down that same side were multiple striations of color, like streams of painted ribbon. Across the middle of the screen it looked like someone had taken a fine-tooth comb and dragged it through layer after layer of those many colors. After being given a big run-around by the store where the thing had been purchased and especially by the company which had made the thing, we were finally told to return it to the store. We did, and after making that 90-mile round trip finally had a new, working TV. The next day, (who could have expected that?) the satellite receiver died. Happily, that company did have a representative in the local area. He came and replaced our old one with a brand new one, with no additional charge. Thank goodness for small favors!
Frustration was only beginning to assert itself in our psyches though, and the month was destined to play out with us under total duress. On the morning after the satellite receiver was replaced, my hubby had an appointment to have the car tires inspected at a local shop. The inside edge of the front tires was found to be wearing badly, and the ball joint was bad. The new front tires were installed on the following Monday, and replacement parts for the ball joint were ordered. My husband was told in jest that the only thing wrong with the car was the need to buy a newer car as our’s was 13-years old. The shop manager told him the car was okay and that it was safe to make a projected drive down to OK City for a doctor’s appointment. After making that drive it was more than apparent to us that the car was NOT okay. We did make it safely home, but the ride was terribly rough, even on our less than perfect Oklahoma roads. So – back to the shop it went. GEE WHIZ – we had just driven that car with a very loose front end down to the city and back – a distance of over 200-miles at high speed. Our guardian angels must have grey hairs galore! Frustration wasn’t done with us yet, though, with more to come from the shop, the tires and the car. After spending another substantial amount of money and a day without the car, the ball-joint problem was finally fixed. BUT – the car was still not right! My own less than perfect patience was wearing see-through-thin to say the least. My husband, as usual, managed to keep his in check, even though justifiably frustrated, and insisted that the shop owner take a short ride in the car with him to feel the vibration and bumping we were experiencing. After a very short ride that man told my husband to pull over so they could look at the back tires together. He said that he knew what the problem was. Seems as though there were bubbles on the left rear tire, coming out where the plies were separating. That, apparently is a common problem experienced by drivers in this part of the country where many of the roads are not paved but covered with gyp rock. Large chunks of that hard rock play havoc on the two-ply tires commonly found on most passenger cars. The back tires on the car were quickly and expensively replaced, and the car now rides as smoothly as it did when it was new. NO – we didn’t need a new car, but we could use a lot less frustration! Oh, NO! Now it’s time to prepare our tax report for the IRS!