Sunday, September 11, 2016

Old Things Beyond Repair

When I buy something, I expect it to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the something doesn’t necessarily cooperate. Now, in my Third Third, the somethings are falling apart. They’re dropping like flies.

The stereo, for example.

I was very proud of this purchase in 1986. It included a tuner, an amplifier, a double cassette deck, and a turntable. Oh, and big speakers. Yes, even I know it sounds obsolete, but it worked. Later on, I got a CD/DVD player and everything worked together. I could even pipe my TV sound through the speakers.

A couple of years ago, the power button on the amplifier stopped sticking. It wouldn’t stay pressed in so I got a stick and propped it between the button and the carpet. It worked, and guests never asked me why we had a stick sticking out of our stereo. Maybe everyone’s machines start getting finicky like that.
As I’m de-cluttering all my obsolete media (audio cassettes, VHS tapes, etc.), I have to be able to listen to them. So my obsolete stereo came in handy. Even with its required stick.

Well, then, of course we got the new carpeting, and I was reluctant to risk gouging a hole with the propped stick. But that proved a moot point because the whole amplifier/tuner – they’re attached – stopped working. Period.

I checked online with the handy Marantz Service Center locator. I plugged in Alaska: “No Service Centers Found.” So then I started phoning around. Guess what? Nobody fixes stereos anymore. They fix car stereos and phone gizmos, but not stereos. Or maybe just not old stereos.

Granted, I don’t darn socks either. My mother used to, but I decided I’d rather buy new socks. So I guess I can’t complain (except that socks are way cheaper than a whole stereo system!).
So I’ve had to start some preliminary research to Buy a New Thing. Can you see the dominoes starting to fall? The amplifier is connected to the CD/DVD player and the TV, even the obsolete VCR. Wanna bet the cables that go between them won’t work with a New Thing because millennial-generation cables and plugs don’t like Boomer-generation components?

But it turns out they don’t sell amplifiers by themselves. New stereos have everything – CD player, speaker – in the space of my broken tuner/amplifier. Things are tinier now.

But if I get new, tiny speakers, where do I put the ivy that sits on top and is connected to the walls and ceiling from the exact height of the top of the speaker? This is the same ivy I had to hold at the right elevation while the carpet guys laid carpet underneath the speaker. Do I keep a silent speaker like some vestigial organ in my living room?
No, now my research has to include finding a 32½-inch stand for the ivy pot. Maybe the stand can include a shelf for the new all-in-one stereo. I know I don’t need a turntable anymore. My friend Judith discovered they no longer make needles to play on hers.

Okay, put “donate albums” on my to-do list, too.


  1. thanks, Barbara. I guess I can take "Figure out if there's any reason to keep your record albums" off my to-do list.

  2. I think you should guerrilla knit a cover for your speaker....

    Also, does the turntable work? I'll take it if it does. :-)

  3. So, you're saying I could turn our old stereo and speakers into plant stands? I could do that, but then I would have to get some plants. But I do like the idea . . .

    But where do we donate the albums?

  4. You do NOT need to replace the speaker. Part of my husband's trouseau in 1969 were two huge Warfedale speakers filled with sand to weight them down. For the last 45 years they have served well as nightstands in what is now our guest room.

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