Tales of domestic dullness: The kitchen timer

One of the most useful (and used) things in our kitchen is our timer. Apart from timing during cooking, we also use it to ensure we brush our teeth for a full two minutes in the evening (it’s become a kind of ritual), and for things like ensuring Isaac’s keyboard practice is long enough.

Once upon a time our microwave oven had a timer function on it. Alas when it was upgraded about five years ago, the new unit didn’t have a timer, so I bought a standalone one.

It works well but has one annoyance: like many devices, once it starts beeping, it won’t stop. In fact after about 15 seconds it goes to a more frantic beep which keeps going until you tell it to shut up.

On the amusing side though, the four-beep pattern is identical to the sound effect used for the bomb timer planted in Martha’s flat by the Master’s henchmen in Doctor Who: The Sound of Drums.

The problem is that over the years it’s got dropped a few times. Occasionally the beep doesn’t work, or sounds off (give it a bump and it usually rectifies itself — hardly the idea way to fix electronics) and recently the magnet fell off the back so it wouldn’t stick to the fridge.

Then sometime in the last day or two (after using it for timing a painting project I’ll talk about later) it got lost completely. I’ve looked thoroughly, and can’t find it. Odd.

So given it’s not only lost but was falling apart as well, this week’s lunchtime excursion task is to find another one. Where should I look?

This Salter model looks rather nice. I wonder if it’s actually metal (and therefore perhaps stronger than the old one) or just metal-coloured plastic? Where would I find it? DJs perhaps? Myer had nothing.

(Wow, that’s way more than I thought I could write about a kitchen timer. Riveting stuff.)

The broken dishwasher

Oh great.

The other day while opening the dishwasher, a “sproing” sound was heard, and now the door’s springy thing doesn’t work — that is, once open, it just drops down to horizontal with gravity, rather than a gentle drop or springing back towards closed like it was before. And it triggered an F1 alarm, which according to the manual is the Flood switch being triggered.

But does that affect the actual washing? Perhaps yes. On the first go, the F1 error triggered again, about halfway through. It used to do that with a U1 alarm. Then, as now, I’ve been able to run a couple of rinse cycles to get things finished, but it’s not as good, of course.

This is a Fisher and Paykel Nautilus DW920. It’s not clear to me how old it is, as I inherited it with the house in 2005. The manual says it’s from 2004, but it’s not clear if the unit is that old, or if that’s just when the manual was last revised — comments on the ProductReview site suggest this model goes back to around 2000.

It does appear that new springs (non-genuine) are available on eBay for about $15. Thanks to the interwebs, others have managed to replace the springs themselves. No doubt I’ll pay through the nose if I get a repairman out to do it.

Given recent experience with the fridge and the washing machine (and even the old car) — paying a bunch to find out something wasn’t worth repairing — I wonder if instead I should be thinking about replacing it altogether.

In the meantime, I hope this doesn’t mean I need to do the dishes myself.

Update lunchtime. Rae and Roger left comments about fixing it myself, which I’d agree with, but I just don’t have the time. I rang F+P this morning; someone will be out today (handy as I’m at home unwell, with two sick kids too). It’ll cost me $121 plus parts, which is expensive, sure, but it’ll be done quickly with no mucking about.

Update 2pm. The repairman came and went. $154.10 for his presence and expertise, 3 x washer spray arm bearings, 1 x door spring. Ah well.


And now for something completely different. Glasses.

I’ve got a few different types of glasses in my kitchen, many of them remnants from previous collections.


From left to right:

(1) These used to come as IXL jam jars. You’d use up the jam, dispose of the label and the lid, and get to keep the jar as a glass. Given that was a good 11-12 years ago, I’m amazed they’ve lasted this long, though I only have a couple of them left.

(2) When I first moved out on my own in 2000, I bought a pack of The Price Brand (eg the cheapie brand) glasses at K-Mart. This is the very last of them that has survived.

(3) This one is tall and fat in the middle, and is one of a pair left behind by Iris when she went home to Israel back in early 2001. (A colander, a dish rack, some mugs and some plates were also part of that collection. She chose well; they’re all still in use.) These glasses have got a heavy base, which means they’re quite top-heavy when placed into the dishwasher upside-down.

(4) I’ve got a bunch of these ones. This glass shape is my preference for new purchases, because it’s tall (but not too tall) and narrow, it makes the best use of space in the dishwasher. Like my strategic purchase of more cutlery, this helps ensure I don’t have to run it more than every 2-3 days.