Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Lowest Low of High Tech

If high tech is a ladder, I'm on the lowest low rung.

My cellphone is positively high tech to me because when I was growing up even the idea of a cellphone was in the realm of science fiction. No, not in the realm, it WAS science fiction.

Recently I had to get a new battery because the old one simply wouldn't take a charge anymore.

"Hmmmmm," said the very young girl at the phone store. "I haven't seen one like this in a very long time."


That's right honey. It's old, it still works and I haven't had a contract in probably five years.

"Did you know you can get the latest phone for free? Just sign up for a 20 year contract and you can have a phone that does everything for you. Why, you can get an app that allows you to simply speak into the phone and it will do a web search for you. Watch this...... Kim Kardashian. Look at all these hits."

"Ummmmmm, no thanks," I assured her. "I'm not going to live 20 years anyway and I kinda like doing my own web searches, certainly not for any Kardashian."

My phone takes calls and makes calls. Oh, and occasionally gets a voicemail. That's it. I did figure out how to take a photograph and save it as a screensaver. This is a cool apron I saw in the bathroom of a kitchen shop in Hot Springs. I give myself an A+ for somehow figuring that out.


Low tech extends into the house also. I'm very happy to have a modern washing machine. My grandmother would have killed for one in her youth. She was the one in charge of scrubbing the clothes on a washboard in the nearby stream where she grew up in Tennessee.

Last year our old faithful machine finally gave out after 25 or 26 years of faithful service. Todd, our appliance repairman, came out and pronounced the machine beyond hope. I had been spying those slick, beautiful front loaders. I was dreaming about them, in fact. Todd warned me off. He said that he's doing $$$$ repairs on them as soon as three years into their life. He suggested buying the bottom of the line Whirlpool. Does the work, no bells or whistles.

It worked for us because, at the time the Farmer was newly unemployed. An $1,100 washing machine was not in the cards for us. So off I trudged to the local Sears appliance store and soon the bottom rung of the high tech washing appliances made it's way into our home. They forgot to mention the noise. This machine sounds like a machine gun when it's in the wash cycle. Ditto for the rinse cycle. OK, I can just close the laundry door and think about all the bucks we save.

There's just one more problem. No bells and whistles, remember? The handy-dandy fabric softener dispenser was non-existent. Drats. I hate having to catch the machine between cycles.

That's where this cool little thing comes in.


It's a fabric softener dispenser and it's positively, fabulously, low-tech and wonderful. You put in the correct amount of softener (store-bought or homemade) and pull the plug shut.


You toss it into the washer at the beginning of the wash cycle and magically it opens and dispenses the softener during the rinse cycle.


I just LOVE inventors. I guess that the motion of the spinning breaks the seal and allows the softener to escape. It's just a crazy little amazing piece of plastic.

I think it was $1.59.

How about you? Are you lower rung high tech or top of the ladder high tech?



Lisa D. said...

Can I be both? My dishwasher is a very basic model, with the dial to choose cycle. The previous dishwasher had an electronic panel that fried and the repairman said it would be cheaper to get a new dishwasher than replace the electronic panel. I did get the fancy front loader washer and dryer though, because I have four children and no laundry room in a tiny house. But I do worry about the electronics going on them. We are going to need to look for a new minivan within another year or two and I do not want one with the doors that close with a push of a button - just more to go wrong. I would be happy without electric windows too. I refused to get a cellphone for years because I had no real need for one, but I got a smartphone this winter because it's such a fun toy. And for the time being, it's my only internet source as the computer is kaput and we only had dial-up internet access (high speed options are few in the sparsely populated north, and the available options come with $400 installation costs). Maybe I'm just cheap, rather than low-tech :)

bv said...

hi to you! we have a front loader, sears...middle of the line...i am tried of bending over all ready...when it goes i opp for the one you can stand up to use....as for fabric softner...some where i read pouring softner on to a cloth and tossing it in the dryer. have used this since...i use the same cloth over and over so have to use less and less...money saver!
bv who really needs to do her laundry...

bv said...

PS...my smarty pants phone...I LOVE...love and i love it. and i am the MOST tech stupid of them all! love....

bv said...

gezzz i am hogging your comments today but just read down to past ones....you blog when you feel like it...life has a way of being in our way all the time! i will always be checking..always. and Mr. Hobbs is a all time fav of mine...saw it when i was 'young' and catch it whenever it rolls by...i LOVE jimmy...

linda said...

No fancy cell phone-mine is a match to yours. Watch DS do all kinds of stuff on his-I'm probably too stupid to learn all of it. But I did get front loader washer on top of drawer. Like that it uses less water & being on drawer makes it accessable & hides "junk". Hate my last dishwasher with electronic panel and rack that my dishes don't fit in well. I'll take them with to try next time. LOVE my van with push button doors; especially the hatch back when I'm loaded with bags.

Harriet said...

You phone made me :-) because I have the "sister" of yours. Guess that puts me in a low tech world. I --gasp-- am in need of a new dishwasher; or, perhaps, I will go really low tech and use the sink. I am amazed at the "phones" available and all their useless stuff. I suppose we are heading into a more singular and isolated society. Last night I saw an ad on TV --don't know what for-- showing two young women in the same room texting each other. Modern world that I can do without.

Tess said...

I have you beat...my really old cell phone doesn't even take pictures. God help me if this phone ever breaks.

Yours at the Menger,


Lily said...

Hi Suzanne!
I am still using a old cell phone that does not take pictures and so on. Does this mean I am old?

MelissaD said...

Funny - I just had to order a new battery ($4.79) for my old Motorola cell phone. Although it can do more I only use it for phone calls and the calendar function - I can make it beep to remind me of dentist appts. and such. Plus it's purple - my fave - and so I don't want to trade it in. We're fairly high tech (I work at a computer co.) with laptops and such. I have a dishwasher that is pretty fancy - but that's because it's the 3rd one we've had to buy in 14 years at this house. Nice fridge - I got for free because one of my husband's homeowners didn't want it because it had a dent in the side. And I splurged and got a nice stove that's propane burners and electric convection oven :) Now my washer and dryer -I paid 1/2 price at the Sears outlet - meaning they got dropped, dented, whatever. I don't care what they look like as they're in the laundry room - they work! We're in cheap mode now - hubby has been unemployed for almost 2 years - so we use what we have.
I personally don't care about the Kardashians...and always wonder - why are they celebrities? what do they do?? did I miss something??

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

I'm low on phone tech and a bit higher on washer/dryer stuff (we have the new ones). I'd love an iphone but alas we're not made of money!


lifeinredshoes said...

OMH, I have a phone similar to yours, does what I need it to do, any more complicated and I'd need to hire a 12 year old to follow me around.
Appliances, am I the only one that thinks they don't make them like they used to? Remember when they were built to last? When our old fridge was finally removed from life support and we were forced back into the marketplace, you know what the pre-pubescent sales boy told us? They only make it 5 to 7 years now...tops!
And I'll be needing a new washer and dryer any day now. I have had my eye on that fancy shmancy high efficiency set for quite some time now, you know they make it in red?! When the time does come however, I'm going for the good old fashioned basic top loader in white, it does the job :)

Suzanne said...

Lisa - Yes, it can be both!! I'm always waiting for electronics to fry, perhaps that's why they do! I'm still desiring those front loader machines, even though Todd-the-appliance-repair-guy said no. And the electric windows - BOTH of the windows in my last car broke and it was a fortune to fix them. With the installation prices on the high speed internet, I'd stay with the smart phone.

BV - a.k.a. Barbara - The reason I'm still dreaming about that front loader is EXACTLY because I wouldn't have to bend over. Well, that is, IF I bought the bases. Smarty pants phones? I'll treat myself someday when we ditch the land line. That's not possible with the Other Mother.

Linda - Isn't it terrific that we have the opportunity to pick and choose our high-tech wonders? Some work for our lifestyles and some just don't. It's different for everyone.

Harriet - I'm so glad my phone's sister is doing well at your place. You know what? You made me think about the fact that I actually like doing dishes - ironing too! My mom loves to do dishes. We just don't like putting them away. Two women texting each other in the same room? I'm SURE that happens.

Tess - That phone is your TRUSTY STEED!!! Yes, it is. And every Texan needs a trusty steed. HA.

Lily - HECK NO.... it means your phone is old, that's all.

Melissa - I'm like you, I don't mind dented anything because for sure it's going to get dented or scratched around here in no time anyway. The Other Mother is a kamikaze with a vacuum cleaner.

Kathleen - See there - another split decision. It might actually be scary to have high tech everything.

Red Shoes - I KNEW, KNEW, KNEW you were going to bring up the shiny red washer and dryer. The Farmer spotted one at the local Home Depot and fell instantly IN LOVE. Now, never mind that he hasn't done a load of laundry in 30-something years, he fell in love with those shiny red appliances.

Thanks everyone for taking the time out of your busy day to read and comment.

Susan said...

I remember when the Downy ball first came out. We all sat around and wondered how it knew when to release its magic!
I am caught in the middle of tech also. Mainly comfortable with low tech with everything but my cellphone computer. This baby will do all kinds of wonderful things, but mostly I love it because I don't have to sit at a desk waiting for my old computer to get where I want to go.
My phone takes me everywhere!

Marilyn from Norfolk said...

I truly believe one generations luxuries are the next generations necessities. I cannot imagine living every day without electricity and running water in the house as my parents did when they were young. I have a relatively low tech phone but feel I need to get a more high tech one soon. I can not afford to be left too far in the past.

Oh and no fabric softener at all for this girl. The husband is allergic and I don't miss it at all.

Crafting Marfa said...

I'm kind of in the middle. I don't need the latest and greatest of anything. But I do like comfort. My phone is not a "smart phone". But its not a dumb phone either...lol I pay $50.00 no contract, and I can do texting, go online, get my email, take photos and have a GPS with my dumb phone. Not planning to get one of them smart things anytime soon.

My BF is going to get me a Kindle for my birthday. I like to read but I don't have nearly enough room to keep all the books that I read. So I end up giving my books away, So the kindle is perfect cause I can have my entire library with me wherever I go. But he offered to get me an iPad instead. At first I though: Oh wow, fantabulous! Everybody raves about those. Then I looked into it and I realized that its just a glorified iPhone and I can do everything on my laptop. So rather than spend $500 on an ipad, I told him to get the Kindle, which is cheaper and it does exactly what I need.

I drove a 1998 Toyota Corolla for I don't even remember how long. I upgraded to a 2010 Toyota Corolla last year because the old car was breaking down way too much already and costing a lot of money. But I got the basic Sports model, no extra bells or whistles. As long as it runs, it has AC and it plays music I'm happy.

I'm not completely low tech, but I do believe in being thrifty and some times high tech is just an excuse to convince people to waste money.

Ruta M. said...

My phone looks even more basic, no photos but I can phone and text which is all I need. I bought it because it was cheap, £5.50 and has large clear white numbers on black keys which I can see without my glasses.Nearly all washing machines in the UK are front loaders and mine is fairly basic with dial settings and not too many programmes. I hate the feel of conditioner so don't use it and we wash our dishes by hand. I still haven't worked out how to use my MP4 player properly but I feel cross that I am teased about this because it didn't have an instruction book and no-one would go through all the functions with me. It's supposed to be all intuitive. Not a lot of good when you've had no previous experience.I used to drive an old Landrover and effective heating/AC were done by opening or closing the windows which had to be slid across. My Micra does have heating, a basic dashboard and you have to wind the windows with a handle. As long as it starts every time and gets from A to B I don't really care.