Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Aug. 11, 2014 - 6:58 p.m.

Blending In

AAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I won a VitaMix blender on eBay!


I don't know if I've ever mentioned to you the ongoing VitaMix saga that is the Grail Quest of my life. Basically, when my mom died I pried the VitaMix 3600 that she loved so much from her cold and stiffening hands and set it up in my own kitchen. It stayed on my counter pureeing everything short of my Bianchi 10-speed for almost 15 years. But finally, almost 50 years to the month my mom bought it, the metal coupling between the canister and the motor snapped. And VitaMix doesn't make replacement parts for the 3600 anymore. That's customer service, huh?

I tried getting replacement goodies from eBay and C-List, but to no avail. I won't bore you with details, but in a nut shell, I'm an idiot. I didn't realize there were different 3600 models, none of which used components compatible with the other. After a few months I had a foot locker in the basement filled with dinged and rusty blender hardware, something that both amused and irritated NewWifey(tm) no end.

Then the Lone Ranger showed up, in the form of my kid sister Kathy. Kathy, a horse nut, was helping a friend clean her stable when she spotted a massive metal blob covered in dust over on a shelf. "What's that?" she asked her friend. "Oh, it's just some old blender" the friend said. "When mom died we just stuck it out here, since none of us cook. You need a blender?"

My sister dusted it off. It was a VitaMix 3600.


Now my sister - unlike me - actually pays attention when her sibling talks to her. She remembered me calling her sobbing in the middle of the night the previous year when my own VitaMix bit the Big One. So she said "yes!" to her friend, and the next day plunked down $37.50 at the post office to 2nd Day air mail it to me. (That reminds me, I really should send her a Christmas card or something one of these years. Oh well.)

Ok, so I got the new/old VitaMix. It worked GREAT!

For a year.

Then the metal coupling between the canister and the motor snapped. I guess 50 years is the expected life span of those puppies.

So, VitaMix-less again, another pall descended over DangerHouse.

Understand here that I could have just gone out and purchased a new VitaMix. But new VitaMixes cost more than the first 3 cars I ever bought (a '68 Beetle, a '76 Chevy Monty Carlo w/ the 327, and, for some inexplicable reason, a Mafioso black '67 Lincoln Continental with the suicide doors that my co-worker needed to off-load fast. I didn't ask why. Each of those babies took less than 500 out of my wallet).

Anyway, the point is that it just feels wrong to spending half a grand on something that pulverizes things into little, little pieces. For god's sake, if it came to it I could just use a hammer for that. A $4.79 hammer. So, no, a new one was out.

Instead, I went to the Bible, aka: Cooks Illustrated. They have done several blender tests over the years, so I looked up the most recent one. As usual, the Conclusion at the end started out, "The VitaMix is once again the hands down winner, but if you don't want to spend the price of a Faberge anklet on a blender, we recommend...." and they recommended two blenders: the KitchenAid, and - winner of the Best Buy trophy - the Kaloric.

The Kaloric was 40 dollars. I'm in, giggity giggity!

And you know what? It worked GREAT!

For a minute.

No, seriously, one minute. That's the maximum amount of time the instruction manual said you could operate the thing before giving it a 10 minute rest.

Seriously? One minute of blitzing every 11 minutes?

People, I do HUGE soups. Sometimes I have to blend 5 batches if I'm making a puree. In my VitaMix, that meant 5 minutes. In this Kaloric, that same amount would take just shy of an hour - most of it spent with me glaring at it while it sat not blending.

Still, it worked great when it did work.

Until the plastic screw-on canister base vibrated itself off in the middle of making cream of watercress soup. My kitchen ended up looking like I'd hired Jackson Pollock's interior decorator sister to re-do the place.

Goodbye, Kaloric.

Since then there's been a sickly parade of lesser, mostly garage sale, Osters and Hamilton Beach's and whatnots. I dunno. They're all pretty much indistinguishable from one another when they're not a VitaMix. After a while I gave up. For the last two years I've solely been using my stick blender. It's works ok, I guess. That is, as long as it's soup. You can't exactly grind wheat with it, like you could with the VitaMix. And it takes forever if you've dumped all 5 gallons of the stock you just made into the soup you want to puree. But...I've survived. Barely.

Then, yesterday, with nothing to do while NewWifey was out with some friends, I logged on to eBay and dully looked at all the 2 - 3 hundred dollar starting bids for 20 year old VitaMix's. *sigh* Scroll, scroll, scroll, scr......wait, what's this? I roused myself from my sullen torpor, for there on the screen was a VitaMix "Sidewinder" 2200 for - is that right? - 25 dollars! It was an estate sale listing, and was only up for another hour or so before closing! And NO ONE HAD BID ON IT!

I almost broke my keyboard typing "$25" as furiously fast as I could into the Bid box.

If you're not familiar with historic VitaMix models (and shame on you if you're not), the Sidewinder 2200 was a commercial grade VitaMix that came out, *cough* 30? 40? years ago. It was a real workhorse, meant for more sustained operation than residential models. It's got 2-speeds forward, 2-speeds reverse, with the classic "instant reverse" feature that separates VM's from mere mortal machines.

And all for 25 clams! Clams that I could pulverize into soup, shell and all in that thing!

With crossed fingers, toes, and every other appendage available, I went to sleep last night before the auction ended. When I got to work this morning, hooray! The cheery little e-mail popped up telling me I was now the proud owner of a classic commercial VitaMix Sidewinder 2200! Or at least I would be as soon as I paid for it.

Noooo problemo. I was never so happy to part with 25 bucks since NewWifey(tm) insists I was when I paid for our marriage license. I hit the little box that said "Pay with PayPal" and another box popped up instructing me to log in to PayPal. Makes sense.

But wait. I haven't used PayPal to purchase anything since, oh, before the Spice Girls broke up. What the heck was my password back then??

I tried everything I could think of, but nada. Ugatz. That stupid little screen kept popping up telling me I was a loser in the game of Get My Money. After 5 or 6 attempts I hit the "Help, I'm A Loser Who Can't Remember His Own Password!" button. They laughed and said they were sending an e-mail and I just had to click the link, answer the Security questions, and they'd let me in. Easy peasy.

Sure enough, there was an e-mail with a link immediately in my in-box. The link sent me to another log-in screen, but this one had a list of questions that I supposedly answered 150 years ago and was expected to remember again now. "How old was my dog when she caught her first squirrel?" "What was my Dad's shoe size before he got married?" "How many jelly beans were in that jar in Woolworths?" I don't remember ANY of those! And I said so. Out loud, to the computer screen in my radio studio. But as usual, nobody was listening to me.

I couldn't get in to PayPal.

Let me correct that: I *can't* get into PayPal.

So I *can't* get my stupefyingly over-kill Hadron Supercollider of a blender. For 25 dollars (er, plus 30 dollars shipping. But still.).


Wish me luck remembering things I thought were witty enough to be used as a secure password back when a 4-character one was considered secure. Otherwise I'm running down to Ace and picking up that $4.79 hammer.



edit/update: I remembered the password. It was "GingerLynn4Ever". Oh, the Single Life....

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