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Avocado green or harvest gold; take your pick
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My husband and I are at the age where things are starting to wear out, and I'm not referring to our knees, hips, hearing or eyesight - although my ability to read the fine print isn't as fine as it used to be.

The wearing out I'm talking about isn't in reference to body parts. It's regarding replacement parts - of the mechanical variety. Like refrigerators. Clothes dryers. Microwave ovens. Computers. Cell phones.

Our fridge is sputtering and puttering on its last drops of Freonic energy. The clothes dryer screams bloody murder every time I hit the power button. The microwave has been zapped of its zap. The computer does not compute and my cell phone possesses far too few Gs to attain a speedy connection.

They are conking out. We need replacements. Already. It doesn't seem so long ago they were new - because it wasn't.

My parents had the same appliances for decades, and the same corded phone for even longer. Families of the Brady Bunch generation made a lasting commitment to avocado green or harvest gold because once you bought the fridge, the color scheme defined your kitchen for a long, long time.

Imagine Carol Brady waking up one morning, going downstairs and suddenly realizing avocado green is almost exactly the same hue as vomit green, booger green or mold green. How appetizing would the palette prove to Mrs. Brady's palate? What would practical Mike say when Carol requested a complete remodel?

"Well dear, I suppose a new fridge is better than a new husband."

Certainly he wouldn't condone throwing out perfectly good appliances because they made Carol sick to her stomach?

"I told you we should have gone with the harvest gold, honey. It would've coordinated nicely with Marsha's hair."

Picking your appliances used to involve commitment, loyalty and a guarantee the working parts would last longer than your marriage (or at least longer than Alice's courtship with Sam the butcher).

Now, the relationship is a quasi one. Fly-by-night. As brief and fleeting as a peck on the cheek from your teenager on the first day of school. Our expectations have changed. We anticipate the need to replace the fridge after 10 or 15 years. A computer lasting half that long is considered ancient. A cell phone older than 24 months becomes an outdated dinosaur.

We're moving faster than ever before and our machines are working harder to keep up. No wonder they wear out just in time for us to get the newer, brighter and much-improved version (with remote control and voice-activated 27G, no make that 28G technology.).

It's exciting to get new things. Out with the old; in with the new. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

I see one problem with our current acceleration. We are moving faster than ever. Mother Earth is not. She spins on her axis, the same as always. Dependable. Steadfast. With the space available to store only a finite number of dead refrigerators. Or washers. Or microwaves.

There is a possible solution, and it may surprise you. Green is the new beige and I've decided to embrace it - in an avocado hue. I bet I can find some old appliances on eBay or craigslist. Those things last forever; I'll be set for life - or at least the next 20 years.

On second thought, maybe harvest gold would be a more prudent choice. It might coordinate better with my hair. I sure wish I knew what Mike Brady would do.

- Jill Pertler's column appears every Thursday in the Times. She can be reached at