A - Z 2021: Can't have your Cake and eat it, too

Welcome to Season 2021 of the annual A - Z Blogging Challenge. Yesterday you were kind enough to help me cross the bridge.

Today's post is C ist for

Can't have your Cake and eat it, too

It obviously means you should not expect to be able to benefit from two desirable things, hence you should not get too greedy. I'm usually a pretty humble person who's grateful for what I have. 

On my birthday, however? Wouldn't it be great to get an exception?

Here's the situation:

It's Monday, the day before my birthday. I am in the process of making my own birthday cake that I am going to take to the office the next day. 

I like to bake, and I do so often, even in non pandemic times, so I figure I can't make the same old for my coworkers. 

Wanting to do something special, I take the time to roast my own hazelnuts. I peel them. I hand grind them. Well, I use a small engine powered grinder, but that's between us. I chop the dark chocolate, I separate the eggs and whip the whites, again using my bare hands, OK, a hand mixer.

You get the point, I make a real effort. 

I also use quite some bowls and dishes, which I load into the dishwasher and immediately push start so it'll be done after lunch, by which time there'll be more dishes. I'm busy prepping veggies so I don't even notice that the dishwasher is awfully quiet.

Hubby and son come home, we eat, I want to open the dishwasher when I notice there are messages blinking alternately: E55 and F16. What on Earth..? Upon googling them I learn that one means water supply is compromised, and the other one does not even exist on the list.

I disassemble the filter basket, empty and rinse it - always a good idea. Insert it back, start the machine. Nothing. E55 and F16. Silence.

Not a happy camper!

Annoyed, actually!

I run hot water in the sink and start unloading the dishwasher. It's a small wonder I don't break any dishes because I am not handling the innocent plates and glasses with the appropriate delicacy. 

Finally done, I dial 0-800-APPLIANCES.

For German, press 1.

For Repairs, press 2.

I do as told. "Mi displace, questo numero non existe più" the automatic system informs me. 

In Italian. 

Didn't I just press 1 for German? I must have done something wrong. Let's start over. 

Guys, I can show you my phone call history. I tried several times. 

Ultimately I press 5 for "I want to purchase a new appliance" - after all, the sales people have to answer the phone, right? They sure did, and they were kind enough to connect me with a repair dispatcher.

Since I work in IT, I was appropriately prepared. I love my clients for having the serial number of their computers at hand, it helps so much. I had the product number, serial number and some other number specifying my unique dishwasher.

You want to know which number the call center guy (whose German was not great, btw) asks me for? My freaking phone number!!!

"So what seems to be wrong with your dishwasher?" he asks.

"It doesn't wash the dishes." I reply. "Which is a shame because we just purchased it last June, so at least we are within the warranty period..."

"Well, it all depends whether it's your own fault because you mishandled your appliance."

I am not happy about the way this is going.

"I don't care whose fault it is. I need my dishwasher to wash my dishes, so can you please send a repair person to our house to fix the problem?"

"Yes, I can" he was reading from his script. "Actually tomorrow, there's a possibility between 7:30am and 5pm."

"You're kidding, right? I work. I can't sit at home, twiddling my thumbs all day. My office, however, is 5 minutes from home, so could the person please call ahead and I'll make sure I'll be home?"

That's what we agreed on, he thanked me, again, clearly reading from his script, for the friendly conversation.

So far, so good. I had to drive Colin to hockey practice and didn't think about my dishwasher anymore. Until, on our way home, which was in the evening, long after office hours, to give you an idea.

A notification pops up on my watch. I hand Colin my phone, and he reads to me:

This is to confirm your service appointment: Tomorrow, March 2nd, between 7:10 and 9:10am. This is an automated message, please do not respond.

Are you freaking kidding me? 7:10am? I thought 7:30 was early enough, but I was going to bite the bullet. After all I wanted my problem fixed. 

Fast forward to the next morning. My birthday. I get up at 6, wash our breakfast dishes by hand, take a shower, get dressed, it's 7:10, I'm ready. My phone is blowing up already. Lots of texts. Not from the repair guy though. My friends and family are wishing me a happy birthday. 

Husband takes pity at me.

"Go to work" he tells me. "I'll stay here and wait for the handyman. I have a Teams Meeting at 8:30 though, if he doesn't come by then, you need to release me."

At 7:50 hubby texts "Handyman is here". 

Note that he never bothered to call ahead like we agreed.

At 8:10 husband texts again "Pump is damaged. Costs about 650 bucks. I told the guy 650 bucks buys me a new dishwasher. Guy said "Nah, we don't make "Swiss width anymore." I'm coming to the office now. He'll call you when he's done."

Wow! Surely, a dishwasher purchased six month ago is not supposed to have a broken pump.

PS: Swiss width? 

Yes. Appliances come in Swiss or in European width. That's what we got for refusing to join the European Union. Swiss is 55cm (21.65 inches), European 60cm (23.62 inches). Why the distinction? I have no idea. 

Actually I do have an idea. Prices in Switzerland are higher for pretty much everything, especially groceries, but also appliances. And since our country is so small, it's very easy to drive to Germany or France to get your dairy, meat - or dishwasher. They probably want to prevent us from doing so.

Can't we just order a European one via our Swiss distributor and pay a higher price? Unfortunately we can't. All our appliances are built-in. Oven, fridge, dishwasher. Unless we want to remodel the entire freaking kitchen, we have to stick to Swiss size.

I go about my business at the office. I am on the phone, helping a client with her payroll, when an unknown number calls. It could be a birthday wish, it could be the dishwasher guy. I pick up. 

"I found a shard in your pump" he informs me. "Probably from a broken glass. I replaced the pump, and I am done. Should I just leave, or do you want to see me?"

I don't particularly want to see the guy, but I want to see the broken pump with my own eyes.

Aplogizing to the lady, I hurriedly leave the office. On my way home I'm feverishly trying to think. Did I put a broken glass in the dishwasher? Did a perfect glass break during the washing process, in which case I must have noticed it was damaged upon unloading? 

To make the already long story a little shorter: As it was going to turn out, the husband might have noticed a broken glass last week. The one night out of 99 when he was in charge of cleaning up the kitchen. I'm not saying it's his fault, I just kind of hate the fact that my birthday present this year ended up being a new dishwasher pump.

That's life, though, right? Can't have your Cake and eat it, too.

Can't sleep in and have a repair guy come over.

Can't purchase a pricey appliance in June 2020 and expect it to run flawlessly until March 2021.

Can't celebrate my birthday and go out for dinner or have my friends over.

It's nobody's fault, it's just life. 

I'm glad my dishwasher is fixed, and I had a nice birthday. Oh, and my cake? Tasted deliciously.

How about you? Any handyman stories to share? More importantly, do you like cake? Which one is your favorite? Let me know down below.  Please include the link to your post in your comment to make it easier for me to visit you.

On Monday we will talk about Ducks and Dinner - don't miss it!


  1. Well, it's a birthday you will remember ;))
    I love cake! All of them, but I appreciate if there is a lot of chocolate somewhere in the recipe ;)
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

  2. That was an interesting account ....

    I can totally relate to the feeling one gets on seeing the E001 or some other error code flashing on our appliances....

    Coincidentally I just finished baking an eggless mango cake a few minutes ago...

    Of course every home has its own share of handy man tales ....like when we bought a water heater for our bathroom at 60$ and had to spend 90$ for someone to install it ! :(


  3. OMG - that sounded like every time we've ever had to call a repair man for something. When we first moved to the highlands it took us over a month to get our phone and internet connected, and we both ended up slightly crazy after all the very unhelpful phonecalls.
    These things are sent to try us.
    My favourite cake is coffee cake, whereas my beloved's is any as long as it doesn't have vegetables or ginger in it.

  4. What a frustrating experience. I'd be bummed too especially with it happening on your birthday, that's just not fair. Glad it got resolved and that the cake was delicious. I always pick chocolate cake with chocolate icing. It's my favorite although the one you made sounds amazing.Weekends In Maine

  5. How frustrating! We have run into a few "off-size" issues too but it's just because our house is so old (built in 1955). My favorite cake? Chocolate with chocolate frosting. Actually just the frosting - LOL. Great post. Happy Birthday!

    Janet’s Smiles

  6. That doesn't sound like a good day but at least, you still had cake to eat.

    I'm not much eating cat but I wouldn't turn down a slice if given.

    Have a lovely day.

  7. Guess appliance quality is the same everywhere. Bad. And, during the pandemic, you pray your freezer doesn't go out because it's months to get a new one. This reminded me of the New York City subway system, which was formed by the merger of three different subway systems. Two used trains of one width and the other used trains of a different width, so trains are not interchangeable between all the routes (in case there is a breakdown). My favorite cake? Anything with chocolate. Peanut butter or bananas is a bonus. https://ramblinwitham.blogspot.com/2021/04/binghamton-atozchallenge-skywatchfriday.html

  8. No idea what you are on about,never happened to me,yeah that's a big lie......

  9. OMG that was quite a birthday. I too have these issues with machines and believe it or not, I actually bow to my washing machine before I put it on and pray that it works fine.... I know this is extreme but it is better than it not working....

  10. Some days are like that, and it's worse when it's a special day.
    Coming to think of it, our water purifier has stopped working, and I am trying to get it fixed!

  11. Great story! When I had my kitchen renovated after a major sink backup, I had the option to upgrade and add a dishwasher — but I decided against it fearing issues like yours. Thanks for reinforcing my decision. And glad you enjoyed the cake!


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