Moaning about user manuals and machines behaving badly.


Well, October is here – a month of witches, ghosts, monsters and bats, just to name a few things.

Oh, and candy corn too, those sugary little pellets guaranteed to give you a sugar high about five minutes after you eat them.

I think this “witching season” brings about a little bad karma as well – the weather for starters.

It is Day #3 of the wicked weather. Yesterday might have been okay for a walk, but the weather folks said it was drizzling, and it was too dark to tell.  When I scurried out to at least run the car, since rain is predicted off and on through Monday, the pavement was dry, but barely, and that was probably since the wind was raging which was drying it off … no thanks, I’ll pass on the walk.

So, I fired up the old buggy, and trudged right back into the house.

I’ve accomplished a few things, besides catching up on my sleep, since the walking regimen went kaput and my boss has been out of town in the UP the past few days.

I decided with a lot of sleep under my belt and some extra time on my hands, I’d tackle a few chores requiring some brain power on my part.

I know we live in a digital age, but that digital age sometimes confounds me. And annoys me.  Even though, were it not for the digital age, I would not be typing this blog post on this Saturday morning to moan about user manuals and machines behaving badly.

I really hate to tackle jobs involving manuals, and, that is why I deferred to the car dealership both times to fix the *&^% car clock. I looked at that huge manual, some 428 pages long, and also searchable online, but said “no thanks”.  I did try to fix it one time, but pushed the wrong button and had a blank area in my information window on the instrument panel, except when I opened the car door and the mileage appeared briefly.

I got the whole information display panel fixed a couple of weeks ago when I went in for the most-recent recall. Yeah for that, and I now know the current mileage and direction I am headed without guessing.

I have a new problem though. Whenever I put the car in park, the door locks open, instead of waiting until I take the key out of the ignition.  “Well hold on there young fella” I want to shout because I’m not ready to leave yet.  I’ll just deal with it … for now, as long as there are no more surprises down the pipeline.  As far as the car goes, the biggest surprise was to go out earlier this year and it was completely dead as a doornail, despite having a new battery just six months before.  It was revived by clicking the remote – I was dubious, but one click brought it back to life.  It should be that easy with humans, though coffee usually suffices in that regard.

I turned on the furnace the other morning to take the chill out of the house from all this rain. It turned on, was perfect for a couple of days, but has gone offline.  This morning at the crack of dawn, there I was downstairs, decoding the flashes and jump starting the furnace.  Thankfully, it is the beginning of the heating season.  When this happened last year, the furnace tech asked me where my manual was as it was missing from the side of furnace where they put it after installation in the Summer of 2012.  I said “I don’t want a huge paper manual that close to the furnace!”  “Ma’am, it’s the cold-air return, it’s okay … believe me” was his response.  So, at his request, I went upstairs to get the manual, usually in the file folder with the rest of the product manuals.  Missing!  I have no idea where it is and have scoured the house for it and it is still at large.

So, this morning, fortified by my large cup of coffee, fueled on several days’ worth of extra sleep, and feeling successful in jump-starting the furnace, I decided to tackle putting the new battery into my pedometer. Though I’ve memorized the length of my two favorite walking routes, I’ve had to cut my treks short due to the darker mornings, so, rather than “fudge” on the steps taken, I must resort to the pedometer to be accurate in tracking my mileage.

But, alas …a few weeks ago, the pedometer started flashing “battery low” … well, no problem, I had to buy a two-pack of special batteries a few years ago, so I’d just pop the remaining battery in before all my settings were wiped out.

Easy-peasy … if I only could remember where I put the battery?

Hmmmm. It wasn’t with the other batteries, tucked away in plastic boxes for safekeeping.

Well, I looked everywhere for that remaining battery, which I thought was tucked away in a safe place. Or so I believed.  I don’t have a clue where I put it.  Over the past two weeks, I’ve searched in all the hidey holes it might be in, to no avail, and, finally the last time I was at Meijer, reluctantly I purchased another two-pack of batteries.

The pedometer has been f-f-f-f-f-fading fast with just a glimmer of the date and time still evident in its “face”. I decided this morning would be the big operation.  I picked it up – dead as a doornail.

Ah well, I’ll just have to start from scratch programming it.


So, where did I put the manual for it?


I went to the place I store the smaller manuals – it wasn’t there.


So I had to fire up the computer to search for the model number to find out how to program it.

While cursing myself for my inability to find anything anymore, I found the manual and scrolled through it.

Then I saw the words glaring at me – the recommendation that you set the pedometer by using a knitting needle since the buttons are very small and hard to maneuver.

A knitting needle.

Then I remembered – the last time I installed a battery I had to use a knitting needle from my mom’s knitting bag … sure enough, I opened up the spring latch of the soft pouchy knitting bag and what was inside?

The remaining battery and the pedometer manual.

Great, just great.

I fixed the pedometer, emerging victorious that I didn’t break it.

On the heels of the pedometer “fix”, I was trying to figure out why the new digital alarm clock I bought refuses to ring, even though the alarm is set? For years I had two alarm clocks, which needed no maintenance or bother,  just replace the battery when the alarm sounded weak.

Then one of the clocks broke.

They probably quit manufacturing that model years ago, as nothing similar was on the store shelf. I could have gotten a wind-up alarm, but I remembered my grandmother’s alarm clock.  She had it for years.  Whenever we visited at her home in Toronto, I shared her bed.  She had this most-annoying alarm clock on the nightstand.  Tick-tock, tick-tock … all night long, and, even me, the sound sleeper wanted to take the thing and toss it against the wall to make it stop that incessant noise.

I bought this digital RCA clock, streamlined and looking sharp, but it worked for a few weeks, now nothing.

For that, I had no manual – who saves the manual for an alarm clock? It appears nothing was amiss when I took off the cover.  I replaced the batteries and will give it one more try, then pitch it against the wall a few times to smarten it up.

So, I ask you – is it this “witchy season” or something that happens after you pass that magical time of turning 60 years old?

The getting older thing is a pain sometimes … this syndrome is much more than running downstairs to get something and then forgetting what it is you went to retrieve, until you come upstairs … ah, yes.

Maybe my brain battery is running down, like the car battery did when it had its big fail, on my 60th birthday no less.

And, that annoying creaking feeling, when you step out of bed in the morning … well, maybe it is all the rain?

And, those wily grayish-white eyebrow hairs … I daren’t pluck them out, because then I’ll have either a quirky, or quizzical look going on, so I’ll just leave them be, for now anyway.

As to the brain fog, last week a friend of mine circulated an e-mail about amazing facts about your body. I read it with awe and was especially impressed with the segment about the brain.  It said:

“Your brain doesn’t stop working. It’s estimated that about 50,000 thoughts pass through it each day on average, although some scientists put the figure closer to 60,000.  That is a whopping 35-48 thoughts every minute.”

Now, I “get” it. I understand why it is so hard to remember things these days, and, I won’t despair about losing manuals, or going batty over batteries, or letting machines behaving badly get the better of me.

P.S. – Perhaps I’ll buy a big bag of peanuts next time I’m at Meijer because “elephants never forget”, or so I’ve heard.

[Image by Joyce Harkin on Pixabay]

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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4 Responses to Moaning about user manuals and machines behaving badly.

  1. Majorie Aubin says:

    Linda this is hilarious. I can relate. Thank you for the smile on this early dark and rainy day.


  2. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………your blog today is laughable because it happens to all of us……………as organized as i try to be, I can never put my hands on that manual that you need NOW…………………..I think that I too will buy a bag of peanuts at Meijer tomorrow…………….to be as smart as those elephants at never forgetting


    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad I made you laugh Ann Marie – I used to be so organized … had folders for outside equipment, one for big appliances and one for small stuff. I could lay my hands on anything in a minute’s time. The fact that I cannot find these two big furnace and A/C manuals really floors me. I called Bryant and asked if I could buy each of the manuals, but that was not doable, but they e-mailed and sent a hard copy of the specifications in case the repairman wanted it. I believe I need alot of peanuts to make me remember better! I thought I’d get a walk in this morning, and was just about to go out and it started to rain … not happy about that.


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