I am dealing with appliance abuse. I’ve been dealing with it for years but was too ashamed to tell anyone. Now that we are moving, the abuse has escalated – especially when they discovered I wasn’t taking them with me to the new home. The weeping and wailing and gnashing of gears is getting on my nerves.

Appliance Abuse is when your dishwasher destroys your favorite stemware – even though you obeyed the rules and put the stemware in the top basket. The dishwasher then attempts to take over the kitchen because you dared to hand-wash a bowl on your own. Anarchy! You find yourself holding hostage negotiations with the appliance in an attempt to placate its hurt feelings.

How do you talk publicly about the heartache when the old VCR holds your favorite oldie movie hostage in an attention-getting coup? You try to negotiate a peace treaty. It refuses to believe you understand its programming needs. You talk to no avail; it promptly eats your video tape.

Then “IT” happens. The stove goes on strike in the middle of baking a cake, the night before hubby’s office party. Why? Because it is jealous of your previous relationship with the computer you had at work. It sulks, putting no heat out.

Some people believe the washing machine is the worst offender because it eats one sock and leaves you the other sock to console because its mate has disappeared. What do you say to a mate-less sock? I am here to tell you the truth. It isn’t the washing machine, it is the clothes dryer. Mine mocked me. It told me that God had taken my sock mates to heaven because they were so hole-y. I know, I know. Is that a cruelty beyond believing, or what?

The telephone began to join in the Abuse. It would ring and voices would come out the other end saying things like, “Yes, I know, but what do you do all day?” “Remember what it was like when you used to work?” And my favorite, “Well why can’t you do this or go to or help with __________ (fill in the blank) for me? You have time. It’s not like you have a real job or anything.”

Oh, and you haven’t lived until you’ve been ignored by your beloved microwave. I believe of all the types of Appliance Abuse, this one hurts the most. I thought we had a special relationship. The microwave knows I totally depended on it to reheat all those cups of tea that got cold while dealing with other chaos in the house.

And sure, the bread machine committed suicide in the middle of an electrical storm – how was I to know it needed unplugging? Now the juicer holds a grudge against me and never lets me forget that the suicide of the bread machine was my fault. Is there to be no forgiveness?

The hair dryer curses me every morning because I no longer have time to use it. I also no longer have that executive hair cut that requires early morning high maintenance. A hair dryer in withdrawal is an ugly sight. I begin to feel responsible for all the appliances – which is right where they want me – loaded down in guilt.

So here I am typing my woe, trying to ignore the printer telling me in that dominating male voice to please load paper in the paper feeder. While he does thank me – which is way more than I can say about the other appliances – I cannot believe I am reduced to talking to my printer.

Now they have discovered we are moving – and most of them aren’t coming with us. The crying is keeping me up at night. I need help. How can I explain to them that there are new and shiny appliances where I am going without destroying their self-esteem and hurting their feelings? I don’t want them to commit suicide before I move. I NEED them to keep working.

No. What I really need is a Special Support team to slip in and dispatch these whiny babies and their unholy control over my life. Then I need chocolate. Lots and lots of… stop! Get away from me. What are you doing? No!! You can’t do tha….