Gambling with Appliances

About 6 months ago, our dryer started beeping. Like all the time. Whenever it’s running, it’s beeping. And they dial never turns to the right setting unless you really shove it in – and even then you have to quickly push start with your other hand to get it to a delicate setting that won’t nuke they clothes.

I finally broke down and called Sears appliance repair. The guy on the phone was actually very through and very nice. He explained that they sell a 1 year warranty that will cover all the parts and labor and that includes whatever is currently wrong with it. The cost? $145. The visit itself was $129…so there was a chance that I just needed a new knob that costs $10 and I would get out for $140 bucks total. Oooorr I could buy the warranty and if there was some astronomically expensive part, it would be covered….decisions decisions. I felt like I was at the blackjack table trying to decide if I was going to hit on 12 when the dealer was showing 13.

Not being a gambler – or I should say a good gambler – I did not buy the warranty. And you know what? I was wrong. Dead, stinking, ridiculously wrong. I hit and got a Queen and the dealer got an 8.

Within literally 2 minutes of being in my laundry room, the man had an estimate of $450. Four HUNDRED and fifty dollars. One f word crossed my mind and it was not fifty.

Despite the repair man being very nice, he did look a little smug when he realized I had busted on my bet. So I took my chips and went home – or more accurately said No Gracias and decided I’ll keep my beeping drying until it croaks (hey, it’s made it 6 months!) and put that chunk o change towards a new dryer.

Who knows, maybe Baylor and I will form a band with the dryer as our beat box…



When a Door Closes

There is an old saying that when a door closes, a window opens. That’s true with life, but not in our house.

You see, we remodeled a late 50’s home a few years ago. And what was hip in the  fifty’s (long, rectangular windows) isn’t really hip today. However, the length of all the windows in our house were the exact width of double doors. So everywhere there was a window, there is now a set of french doors. And even where there wasn’t a window, we threw in a few more doors. The result? We have a 10 to 1 ratio of doors to windows. Yup, we only have one window in our entire house.

Normally this is no problem. Having an exit (or several) from each room is actually very comforting to me – you know, for all those pesky home invasions. But during this time of year, we kick ourselves. The weather is so beautiful and cool at night. But we don’t want to sleep with the doors open so we’re forced to close up the house and turn the air conditioning back on every evening.

When I pass the pretty doors with long skinny windows on either side at Lowes, I sigh and think what could have been. We could just have a little window with some fresh air blowing in, but no! We had to have french doors – not doors with windows. Arg.

Appliances With Attitude

Almost four years ago we moved home to Arizona from Washington DC. We had decided we were going to renovate our rental house for us to live in and started the project prior to our 40 hour drive across the country. We walked in to this:

More than once we had a “Oh sh*t. What have we started??” moment. But the house came together beautifully and 9 months after we started, we ended up with this:

We had only minor snafus along the way – one of them being the dishwasher installation. Because we were total novices at remodeling a house and managing the contractor and the sub contractors, supplies (we learned the hard way to buy our own materials and hire someone to install them) and the physical work we did ourselves, we didn’t catch that we had measured the hight for the dishwasher from the sub-floor rather than the tiled floor. And when you’re using 1 inch thick and extremely inconsistent sized Saltillo tile, this is an issue. Long story short, we had to chip out the tile under the counter and in front in order to get the dishwasher in place. This resulted in a very serious condition called Appliance Attitude.

Yes, the damn thing developed a negative attitude towards work because he knew that he had job security. Often at night I would hear Dishwasher chuckling as I loaded up dirty dishes. Then in the morning when they were still dirty he would mumble under his breath “What are you going to do about it, lady? Chip out all the tile, haul me away, put in a new dishwasher, relay the tile and then seal it?? I don’t think so!! Mmmmwwwaaahhhaaaahhh!!”. Dirty bastard. And the worst part was he was right – it was way too much work to get a new dishwasher. So I called the factory service – who were no help. I changed detergents and even – gasp – washed the dishes before putting them in to be washed. Some of it helped, but not enough. So this past Christmas, we decided it was time. We were going to do the work and get something that actually cleaned our dishes instead of just making them appear clean but smell funny.

And that’s when it happened. Dishwasher decided he wasn’t going out in handcuffs, he was going out in a body bag.

Tuesday night I was settling into bed and Peter was working out on the couch when we both heard a very loud and ominous BANG. He came flying into the bedroom saying that he thought someone had thrown something at our front window. We both proceeded to investigate and Peter proceeded to ignore my snarky comments questioning why someone would choose to break the front window rather than one of the two glass doors on either side of the window to get into our house.  We settled on the dishwasher and when we opened it, we were greeted with a plume of smoke and steam. Not to mention all of the “clean” dishes were covered in a crunchy white substance. There was the telltale sign of a problem in the bottom of the dishwasher – a tube thingy was split wide open and a wire was hanging out – it reminded me of the Sad Mac face with two X’s for eyes and it’s tongue hanging out.

And so the process begins. The handy man is coming today to chip out the tile – the new super fancy and tested by my mom dishwasher comes tomorrow and by Saturday night, we’ll be washing dishes like normal people. And by sometime next week we won’t have a giant, tile-less section in our floor.

I did ask the salesman if the installation people who will be hauling away our POS would let me kick it – he didn’t laugh. There’s probably now a note in the delivery instructions to beware the crazy homeowner.

Clean Up Clean Out

The spring cleaning bug has bitten at our house. Peter and I have gotten into the “clean up, clean out, organize and get rid of it” mode. Slowly but surely, we’re making our way through the closets, the cabinets and the toy bins (yes, there are more than one) and getting organized.  And hopefully getting enough stuff out to make a few bucks at a garage sale.

It’s amazing the amount of crap that you accumulate – especially when you have kids. It becomes very apparent after Christmas and birthdays when there is an influx of new toys and clothes. Or after a growth spurt where the “too small” clothes are tangled in a pile with the new clothes.

Because we are planning to have more than one child, we don’t get rid of a lot of Baylie’s stuff. Rather, we clog up most of my parent’s storage unit, which they are undoubtedly regretting offering us to use. As first time parents and first grandchild for my mom, there is an excess of stuff. We didn’t have 4 bottles, we had 10. And 10 of the various size nipples that are required for each stage of baby-hood. Don’t get me started on clothes – first grandchild, girl, first child – enough said. I could build her a full size house out of the storage bins of just clothes. Toys that she has grown out of, the baby bath that’s too small, the beastly stroller we used until she was big enough to fit in the jogger and two baby carrier car seats all are wrapped in trash bags (we’re classy organizers) and marked waiting for their next owner.

That said, I have come across a lot of stuff that I just don’t think we need to hang on to. Like stuffed animals, we have 29,000 of them and maybe 5 get played with. I’m not saying I’m the grinch and I’m going to get rid of them all, but some of the little trinket ones need to goooo. And the books that have been chewed up, torn apart and ripped up are out.

Moving on to my side of the closet….When you gain and lose 50 lbs over a 2 year period, the sizes of clothing in your closet vary wildly. There’s the pre-pregnancy clothing (aka, the skinny bitch stuff), the gaining-a-few-pounds sizes, the starting-to-need-elastic-waist pants, the super-cute-maternity clothes and finally the whatever-will-fit-over-my-ass-belly-boobs-and-doesn’t-look-too-bad clothes. And the process reverses after the baby is here. As the pounds have come off, I’ve moved clothes to what else, a storage bin. But I’ve never done a full sweep of the closet and the off-season stuff I put in storage under the bed. I’m more than half way through, just two drawers and accessories to go!

Peter has been hard at work in the garage. We have a great garage; it holds two cars and lot of stuff, which is both great and terrible as it tends to get messy easily. Thus causing me to walk through a maze of Costco paper towels, boxes of diapers, the jogger, the wagon, a bag of trash…the list goes on. He totally changed the layout of the storage racks and added a HUGE work table complete with peg boards and a new miter saw. Not sure how that’s helping us organize…but it is helping him make me a new “lettuce table”. More to come on that in a later post. It’s nice having a hubby who can sue people AND make stuff.

The kitchen, office and laundry rooms are next on my list. I think the level of difficulty will go in that order with the hardest being the laundry. We have a lot of great storage, but do not utilize it well which means a lot of extra work trying to decide the most efficient way to set it up. Currently it is the catch-all for a lot of crap – I found dog treats under a lot of other crap on the counter across from the washer the other day and started to freak out. I was picturing being on that show Hoarders and finding things I haven’t seen in years when I finally clean out all the junk. It was a frightening thought and has only fed my need to keep going!