Part of being a dad is simply knowing how to do Fix Things That Need To Be Fixed. Instinctively. Things that we’ve never peered inside of before, especially if they require expertise that is far out of our scope of training. Especially if failure to do them correctly will result in loss or damage to personal property. Including eyebrows, or limbs. That’s why we’re always in the emergency room, being treated for ailments like routine removal of stray lawnmower parts from our extremities (or vice versa). Because the lawnmower needed to be fixed, and we’re dads, so it’s expected that we’re the ones who know how to fix it.
Which explains why I’ve just bought a new razor.
You see, the batteries in my old one needed to be replaced. That handy Norelco I got in grad school (heck maybe it was college?) had been soldiering on since before I could grow an actual beard – the no-that-scruff-on-my-chin-is-a-beard rite of passage is another story. Every few years, when the time-between-charges got down to the same range as time-required-to-shave, I’d find an appropriate shop and drop the device off. Given $20 and a week or so, they’d return it to me with fresh batteries installed, cleaned and charged, ready to press its whirling little razor blades against my neck for another few years.
But this trip is coming up (did I mention that we’re actually going on a trip? I may not have….), and my longtime companion is getting close to the I-don’t-wanna-charge up-anymore stage (the razor people, the razor! Sheesh…). But now, you see, I’m a dad. I should be able to fix this thing myself, right?
And so, armed with Google, much in the way a toddler might be armed with a hand grenade, I set off to replace the batteries myself. Found replacement batteries online at BatteryBarn.com, with two-day shipping for a total of $12.98 – hey, I’m even saving money!
Three days later, when the pair of shiny blue nicads arrived, I sat down to the task of actually opening my little ol’ Model 4586XL. Which, apparently, required tools I didn’t have. But y’know, That’s Okay (another dad maxim), because, we can, y’know, find something else that’ll do the job. Smaller than a crowbar…. figured out that the eyeglass screwdriver Devon kept in the pantry could wedge into those little slots just fine, and with enough pressure would dislodge the Torx nuts (and I’ll buy her a replacement screwdriver before she even notices that her old one has gotten kind of mashed up at the tip).
Popped the back off and started poking around. Batteries are right on top, but they’re soldered in place, and the connectors are tucked under the circuitboard. Which meant I had to get the board out of the case, only to discover that there were two circuitboards, back to back, that had to be separated by gently pulling on the springly plastic connectors that looked like they should just come apart.
Anyhow, to make a short story not too overly long, I got everything apart, unsoldered the old batteries, soldered the new ones in place, and got everything back together while only minorly electrocuting myself. Par for the course.
Including the bit where, when the power switch was flipped, absolutely nothing happened. Pulled it apart again and went poking around with the multimeter (every dad has a multimeter, you know). There was definitely electricity in the batteries – even after the “electrocuting myself” part. And power was going through much of the circuitry – I could register usable voltages all over both boards. Applying power directly to the motor demonstrated that it was working, but somewhere in the maze of the printed circuit, something was dead.
I cleaned the area around my solder joints. I poked some more. I reassembled. Dead, dead, dead. Devon was giving me that pitied look that she does when she knows I’m doing one of those Things A Man’s Gotta Do. I was pretty sure she hadn’t seen the eyeglass screwdriver yet.
So I took it apart again and laid it out on the counter, a little electronic corpse at a bathroom-counter wake. It sat there for close to a week before I finally laid it to rest, chucking the plastic housing and putting its innards in with our collection of circuitboards to be dropped off at the greenwaste facility.
And three days ago I walked into Target and unceremoniously plunked down some unknown sum on a Norelco Arcitec 1050X, which looks vaguely like what H.R.Giger’s alien would have shaved with if it had chosen Norelco. If all goes well, it should last me another twenty-odd years, by which point I’m expecting us have nanobots that do our shaving for us. In the meantime, if those Li-Ion cells need to be replaced, well, if we weren’t able to do it ourselves, it would say something like “No user serviceable parts” on the side, wouldn’t it? After all, I’ve already got a tool that works great for opening those Torx screws…