Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Falling Apart

Do  you ever wonder if the so-called advances in the making of products we use every day really are advances? I have to say that given all the things falling apart in my house of late, there is little to convince me of this.

We bought our first house in 1998. That home was built in 1973. While there were many things wrong with it, I was never concerned about the soundness of it's construction. While the heat and A/C were original, we never had more then minor hiccups with them. We did eventually replace them, but the need for more efficient machinery was the motivation. We bought good quality equipment and in the 5 or so years we lived there after had no problems. We had to replace all the appliances in the house, because each was not functional enough to do what they were meant to do with any reasonable reliability. Again, we bought good quality equipment and paid more for them to get  that. We communicate every so often with the folks that bought our house and they always have good reports on how well things are holding up. That makes me feel good, because it made spending the extra money for good stuff, really worth it. Most of them are about 8-10 years old now.

The house we have now had "new" appliances in the kitchen and original heat and A/C. The previous owners took the washer and dryer when they moved. Luckily I had  my old set, so I used it until the washer sputterd it's last breath at age 10. What a bummer! So, I had to buy a new set. I did research and read reviews and spent several weeks trolling the internet, going to the various stores and picking the sales people's brains in my quest for the best or at least as close to it as I could afford. I was disappointed by the salespeople. Each store I visited did not seem to care to give their own opinions. Rather I received canned answers and was often pushed towards a certain brand. In testing this theory, I visited several branches of the stores I have to choose from and each store pushed the same stuff on me -- regardless of my wants and what I was asking for. That is suspect in my book, because it means that even if the one they are pushing is a good product, if it has a better product next to it they may not tell you. This is why I did so much research.

So, late in 2008, I made my choice and selected a highly rated set. I wish I hadn't but that is because I hadn't seen any complaints about top load HE washers with no agitator in the middle leaving clothes knotted and uber-wrinkly. Since then I have found many such complaints, so be warned. :) I have adjusted how I wash things and adapted for the most part to get around that, but it is a pain in the ass. To boot, the machine just doesn't always do what it is set to do and seems to have extreme difficulty dissolving powder products. Last week the dryer began making a noise that could wake the dead. It has apparently is the drum roller and it needs to be replaced. It ain't cheap either at $135 before labor! YAY home warranty... $75 deductible!

Right now I am thanking my lucky stars that we decided to keep the home appliance warranty going each year since we bought this house in 2007. The previous homeowners had replaced all the kitchen appliances and the hot water heater in the 3 years they owned the house. So far, in addition to the 4 year old dryer, we have had the 5 year old dishwasher start burning up its electronic parts. (Apparently this has happened a lot with our model and yet ours was not included with the recall that the maker had for a whole bunch of other models from the same time frame. No logic there! OH and the recall only gave those people $250 towards a new machine of their brand AND these people had paid TOP $$ for their DWs!) The water heater was maybe 6 years old when it died and had to be replaced.

The A/C is original to the house which was built in 1992. When we moved in, it promptly died and the home warranty repair man said there were no parts for it, so he flat out said he was going to jerry-rig it to make it work. Since then it has been re-jerry-rigged 2 more times by the home warranty. Uhm? How is jerry rigging safe?

The fridge makes ice but not water, because the line freezes. I gave up thawing it out, and the home warranty doesn't cover ice makers. It also randomly freezes things in the fridge, and the freezer has to be kept on the warmest setting or else everything freezes so hard you cannot even scoop ice cream! The gas stove doesn't heat evenly in the oven and the burners do not regulate well which really messes with cooking! It is so bad that I was using the gas grill almost year round for the vast majority of my cooking. That is until the tornado last year knocked it over... Never has worked right since... :( I miss that! But that was all that was damaged... Unlike the neighbors who lost the whole top of their house!

All these problems in products that are not very old are very disturbing. For all the things that are amazing in the advances in our world, appliance manufacturing has gone down hill in my book. Efficiency is a wonderful thing for sure, BUT The cost of the things we buy is SO HIGH and there is NO EXCUSE for the paltry warranties they give for the products. It seems to me that they would warrant them longer if they actually believed in their own stuff and weren't such greedy bastards! Advances are only good if  they improve a product AND keep the quality to last a good long time at a high standard. They don't anymore and we are ripped off in a big way because of it!

Let me know what your favorite appliances are and why. It looks like I might have to start looking for some new ones soon... UGH! Like I have money for THAT!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The "SCARY" Revolution

Sometimes at
just the right moment in time
just the right person will strike
just the right nerve with
just enough people to start something
just a little bigger than they had intended.

It would seem that is what happened to Blogger cum Author Jill Smokler, adoringly known (to most) as SCARY MOMMY. Her blog took off in a way she never imagined. So much so that the wise ones over at Gallery Books have now provided us with her hilarity and honesty in book form. And what fun it was to read!

Confessions of a Scary Mommy was released Tuesday and my advance purchased kindle copy appeared quietly without fanfare. From the outset I had repeated giggle fits. Mostly because nearly everything she said I could relate to my own experiences. Sometimes in an eerily similar fashion. What struck me most was that things I had not thought of as funny when they happened to me now have a humorous quality that makes some obnoxious mothering memories far more tolerable in the memory banks (What is left of the memory anyway... HAHA!)

I would totally recommend this book to any mom, new or seasoned. Either you will learn ways to toughen up your maternal skin or you will nod your head with the memories it brings back to you. Hubster and I enjoy the Confessional immensely and I have definitely put one or two in there. The confessional provided plenty of comedic value to the book, as Jill used some of her favorite quotes to introduce chapters.

I finished my copy yesterday evening. I plan to go back and read it again. Reading it in bed the other night, I got a case of the giggles. Hubster would have tossed me out if I didn't realize pretty quickly that it would be more enjoyable to read when I could let go and literally LOL!

Does Jill know who I am?
Nope.
Does she know I enjoyed her book?
Possibly, since I said as much in a comment.
Did she ask me for a review?
Not personally.
Did she ask her Scary readers to review it?
Yes...on bookseller sites.
(I might just do that...even though I don't usually.)

Little bloggers like us only dream of the big bloggers viewer numbers. One day maybe another one of us little'uns will strike the right nerve like Jill did and take off. Meanwhile, I for one will continue to enjoy Scary Mommy both on-line and on my Kindle. Oh, and I totally plan to be there when she comes to town next month!