It has been said that technological items and I don’t necessarily get along. Printers, in particular, and I have a long-standing mutual hatred, dating back to the days of dot matrix printers and certain students threatening to heave said printers off the balcony. And, I will concede, the use of brute force on technology is not necessarily going to endear me to most of these instruments of technological voodoo.
Last night, as I emptied the dishwasher, I noticed the dishes were getting kind of cloudy and filmy. I’d been noticing it for some time, but last night I decided it HAD to be because the water softener was not working properly. Now, let me just say that since we got the water softener when we bought the house six years ago, it has gone through long stretches of not working at all, periodically interrupted by phases of working like shit, and the odd fits of working fairly well.
So, I loaded the dishwasher and ran it, and then went up and asked BDH when he was planning on heading to bed. If it was after midnight, I asked, would he mind going down before bed and setting the water softener to run a regeneration? That way, it would run while we were asleep and then be ready to go for tomorrow. Sure, he said. And as I was up reading when he decided to head to bed, I chatted with him briefly to remind him.
This morning, I slept in. BDH got up early and headed out to visit friends for the day, but I was tired and wanted to sleep in, so he did not wake me when he headed out. I woke periodically, you know in that way you do in the morning, and each time, I heard this mechanical fan-like noise. A hair dryer, maybe? Maybe BDH left the bathroom fan on? This sort of stuff bugs me, so I had to get up and shut it off, whatever it was.
I wandered out, following the sound. And then I heard it — the water softener was running. I thought, “Maybe BDH reran the regen before he left. What a good boy!” So I made my coffee.
Just then, the phone rang. It was BDH to tell me he borrowed my car keys. So I asked about the water softener. He hadn’t rerun it. It had been running since he set it to regenerate at 1 am.
Cue: me freaking out.
You see, given my relationship with technology, things like this running independent of instruction and reason just set me to panicking. I envision all sorts of bad things happening. Now, nothing catastrophic could possibly happen with a freaking-out water softener, but I imagine them anyway. Water running everywhere, motors burning out and catching fire, total anarchy. Sure, in the cool light of day I know this, but bleary-eyed and without coffee? Freaking. Out.
I ran downstairs. I pushed buttons. The only thing on the console was a little telephone symbol. AHA! Call for service! NO! IT’S SUNDAY! BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
So I did what any rational person would do when faced with misbehaving technology. I tried rebooting it. Unplug, wait ten seconds, plug back in. Nothing. I tried it again. Nothing. I pressed more buttons. Nothing. I unplugged it for good.
But the most alarming thing? When you unplug a water softener, THE DAMN THING KEEPS RUNNING. Now I KNEW I was in trouble.
I ran upstairs. I got on the corporate website. I read manuals. There was nothing so complex as service instructions — that would eliminate their need for service calls — but there WAS a guide to what functions the thing had. GOLD.
I ran back downstairs and plugged it back in. I began resetting the clock time, the regen time, everything. Suddenly, the thing started grinding and churning. The little phone symbol went away. And after a few moments, it went silent. SCORE!
I have no idea whether I fixed it, broke it further, or whether it just surrendered and died. NO idea. But the damn thing stopped running, and that’s all I cared about. I’ll go down and try to run a regeneration later, but for now, it is quiet, so I know nothing bad will happen.
See? Sometimes it pays to manhandle your technology. AND, I’m guessing that from now on, that water softener is going to think twice when it sees ME coming.