I’ve heard it said that things happen in threes, especially tragedies, deaths and doses of Pepto Bismol after a big Tex-Mex dinner.

My own three defining experiences over the past few weeks can’t be described as tragedies, per se, so I’ll refer to them as catastrophes, instead.

First was/is the great Graves dishwasher incident, or saga, or ongoing fiasco. In our home, we tend to hang on to appliances until they die of natural causes–and sometimes we invoke extreme resuscitation measures. In fact, most of our appliances hail from the Clinton administration (pre-impeachment).

It all started with a repair technician informing us that our dishwasher needed several part transplants that would require him to gouge it out of its current lodging where it was inadvertently “tiled in” the last time we replaced our kitchen flooring. Because removing it might cause further injury to the unit (and himself), he was unable to do anything other than charge me $100 for inviting him out to give me the bad news.

Miraculously, though, probably after hearing that it might be euthanized and replaced altogether, the unit started working again–briefly. The second technician, this time a plumber who was also hired to reset a toilet (don’t ask), told us that we should just replace the dishwasher because repairing it would cost more than purchasing a new one. Ha! Apparently, this guy was unaware of the vortex of calamity he was dealing with.

To make a long story longer, I tried ordering two different new dishwashers to fit the space, and both arrived looking like they’d recently participated in a WWE death match with André the Giant. At that point, I refused to spend another three weeks scouring skillets by hand (Little House on the Prairie-style) while waiting for another new unit, so I managed to extract our elderly dishwasher from its space using only my sheer brute strength, some utterances in unknown tongues and a couple of ruptured disks.

When the third repair technician arrived, the real fun began. To avoid allowing our two doglets to harass the repair technician and accidentally (or intentionally) be used as replacement parts for the dishwasher, I asked our youngest daughter to secure them in her bedroom. Suddenly, our smallest doglet produced the same earsplitting screech I make when I see the bill for one of my three daughters’ visits to the hair salon. Somehow, the dog’s foot had become lodged between the wooden bedrail and mattress, and she injured it getting free. A few hours later, I had a resurrected vintage dishwasher, a Maltese mix with a splinted foot and about $1,000 missing from my bank account.

Amid all of this merriment, my youngest daughter had a minor fender-bender in her car. Luckily, I was with her at the time, no one was hurt and the other driver admitted fault. There were a few tears and hysterics, but my daughter was able to console me after a few minutes.

Now that I’ve survived a triumvirate of domestic debacles over the course of a few weeks, I’m praying we’ll have smooth sailing and operational drain pumps for a while. But if we don’t, I know I can depend on Tex-Mex take-out, paper plates and a few doses of Pepto Bismol.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at susanjase@sbcglobal.net.

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