Fire + Water

As avid readers of this blog may recall, we purchased a Kindle Fire for my autistic daughter some time back, shortly after the device was released.  She’d been using and prospering with an iPad at school, but being an Amazon supporter (yay, Kindle!) and poor, I opted for the much-nicer-to-my-checkbook Fire.

Aside from a short period where she absolutely refused to use it without any sort of explanation, the Kindle Fire has been her best friend.  She uses it to solve puzzles, play games and even accesses YouTube when she wants to watch a particular clip.  It’s become a regular enforcer in our home, a means of learning, entertainment and a reward.  So, you can imagine my horror when she got water into it.

Taking advantage of a situation in a way I’m convinced only my daughter can do, she slipped out the backdoor while my wife was indisposed.  And since this occurred in summer, she decided, why not turn on the hose and flood the grass?  It was at this point, she set down her Kindle Fire, her friend, and ran off to play.

When I got home, my wife was understandably upset.  I knew something was wrong right away.  The last time I’d seen her like that, it was to tell me Natalie had dropped my beloved PS3 off the top of a bookshelf (don’t worry, it still lives to this day).

I wasn’t nearly as mad as I would think I would be (if I had to take a survey on how I would respond, I would have totally gotten it wrong).  Fearful the device was dead, we plugged it in to see if it worked.  The loading screen came on…and that was it.  It never got past that initial Kindle Fire screen.  Frantic, I jumped online to see if anybody else had any experience with this kind of craziness.  Turns out, we weren’t the only ones.

The first thing I read was, “Don’t plug it in.  Get the water out first, or you risk ruining the battery.”


We unplugged it and looked at one another, knowing what had to be done.

A half hour later, I returned from the store, a brand new Kindle Fire in my possession.

I know, I know…it does nothing to teach her responsiblity, that there are penalties for her actions.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand these things and until we can communicate better with her, she would never make the connection.  There is no cause to the effect for her.  Or maybe I’m just rationalizing it because she was already incessantly saying, “Kindle, please.  I want Kindle, please.”

So, we got her a new one and loaded it up with the apps she used most from the old one.  For those of you who have one and are looking at getting another, Amazon makes it amazingly easy to transfer your apps over.  In a short time, it was fully loaded and the damaged unit went into the cupboard.  Oh, and this time, I bought a replacement plan for the new one, just in case.

A few days later, out of curiosity, I plugged the damaged unit in.

It turned on.

The battery only lasted for a few minutes, but it had power.  And from what I could tell, it worked fine.

More internet browsing revealed a good way to get water out of a device is to stick it in a bag of rice.  Even a co-worker confirmed this by saying he resuscitated a water-logged iPod.  So, I bought a cheap bag of white rice (no need for Jasmin or organic brown rice here) and stuck it in.  The next day, we pulled it out, and after knocking some rice out of the headphone plug, booted it up.


So, now we had two fully functioning Kindles.  I gave the new one to Natalie and took the old one to work with me to listen to MP3’s on, but it still troubled us we just paid $200 for a device we didn’t really need.  My wife called the store and they said they’d take the new one back if we still had the receipt.  So it was with some reluctance I wiped the new Kindle (Natalie seemed to prefer the old one, anyway, for some reason) and we prepared to return it.

The next day, my wife showed up to pick me up from work, the new Kindle in tow so we could return it on the way home.  Only, she also had the old Kindle and a concerned look on her face.

“It’s not working.”

For some reason, the old Kindle was stuck on the boot screen again.  Determined, I got it to reset and turned it back on.  It cleared the boot screen and went to the screen where you have to drag your finger across the screen to get to the carousel.  The touch feature didn’t work.

I tried several locations on the screen, but we were locked out.  Defeated, we returned home with both Kindles and again reinstalled her apps on the new device, while trying to figure out what we were going to do with the defective one.

The next day, it worked once more.

My wife and I discussed returning the new Kindle, but we were worried about the old one giving out again.  We watched it for several days, letting my daughter use it as she normally would.  It seemed strong as ever and, satisfied, we once again wiped the new unit and this time, returned it to the store.

This was several weeks ago, and though I still fear the Kindle giving out on us, it hasn’t disappointed.

Recently, a new version of the Kindle Fire was released and we’re contemplating picking one up and keeping the old unit for ourselves (we deserve toys too, don’t we?).  I hope they’re made as durable as the old model, because my daughter still doesn’t understand the concept of cause and effect.

S.L. Madden
Shop Amazon’s New Kindle Fire


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