Friday, July 30, 2010

Appliance Tour 2010 Part III

I really should have led the whole “We-are-nincompoops-when-it-comes-to-home-ownership” stories with the facts that in the two weeks before the dishwasher died: A) We had to replace our lawn mower, and B) The Professor had to take his Harley into the shop because it wouldn’t start. If I remember correctly – don’t hold your breath here – it was something to do with a spark plug or a fuse or maybe a spark fuse? Whatever it was, it was constantly firing and draining the battery, and even I know a drained battery does not a motorcycle ride make. Basically, the problem was something that plenty of people could do on their own. We took it to the shop and paid 5 times too much to have it diagnosed and fixed. Aside: The Professor minus the Harley for 4 days = one very sad husband. So…about a week after the Dishwasher Fiasco was finally over and done with (did I just jinx myself? It will probably devolve into a nuclear weapon in about 20 minutes), I got a phone call from The Professor. It was about 4 PM and I was still at work. I could practically hear the soundtrack of doom playing when the phone rang. He wanted to let me know that it was 84 degrees in the house. And seeing as how the thermostat was set to 78 degrees… Can I even tell you how hard and fast my stomach sank? I know even less about air conditioners than I know about Harleys and dishwashers, but what I do know is this: THEY ARE EXPENSIVE AND SCARY. Mostly scary with a scattering of expensive. Because when it comes to expensive, a smattering is more than enough. So he called up Friend J. And Y’all, when The Prof told me he had called good ole reliable Friend J, I assumed we would just have to start paying that man for allowing me to call him our Friend. I don’t think all the home cooked meals and bottles of liquor are going to cut it for much longer. And dude’s a vegan so I can’t even bake him cookies. Anyway, unbeknownst to us, Friend J’s brother in law is in the A/C business. As in “has his own A/C business with a logo’d truck and an assistant and everything”. So the next evening, A/C Dude & A/C Dude’s Assistant come over and do a few things to the outside unit and then head up into the attic to check out whatever’s up there. All I know is that’s where we go to change the filter, and really we don’t do that as often as we should, because Holy Mary have you BEEN in an attic in July in Alabama? No? Do you know why you haven’t? Because you’re not SUICIDAL. Anyway, Dude’s Assistant comes back down with a piece of paper and says “Here’s your problem” before showing it to me. So I look down and there is a tiny little fried baby mouse on that piece of paper that he had found inside the unit in the attic. A mouse electrocuted himself by chewing on the wiring in my air conditioner. You want to know why? Because he was suicidal from being in an attic in Alabama in July.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Dishwasher Fiasco, Part II

So, last I left you in this marvelous tale, I was getting a new dishwasher and we all thought the drama was over. You know I didn’t make the process of getting a new dishwasher easy on anyone, right? My first bright idea was to go up the Habitat for Humanity Restore and check out what they had. A friend of mine in Nashville had great luck getting one last year, so I told The Professor we’d head that way. Of course it’s almost an hour away. And when we arrived…the look on The Professor’s face was priceless. “Honey,” says he, says my love, “I’m glad I got a lunch date out of this, because we are not buying anything here”. Well, I got a little huffy and made him at least walk over to the appliances, at which point he said “I’ll wait in the truck”. OK, fine, we go to my second choice. Mazers, which sells scratch/dent/show-room models. It’s where he bought his washer, dryer and refrigerator 7 years ago. And our fridge keeps the beer cold, which is all I need. So, we set off for discount appliance land. An hour later – and after more incompetence & disorder in a sales department than I ever want to see again – oh yes, Mazers, you broke my heart and I’m calling you out BY NAME – I had a dishwasher. It was so disorganized, I almost went up to the loading dock and asked them if they had changed their mind and wanted to keep my little GE for themselves. The next day, trusty old Friend J comes over to install it for us. And things…well, things did not go so well. First off, I headed to the gym, leaving the Professor in charge of handing over tools and stuff. I was done with dishwashers for the day. I figured if I paid for it, The Prof could watch over the installation. So, problem #1: There was no “junction box”, which Friend J assured us was necessary although who knows why. Luckily, we still had the old broken machine – sitting in our kitchen, because we’re classy like that – so he just reached over and took it off and put it on the new sucker. There was also a trip to Lowes involved – although I have no idea what for – because some other $2 part wasn’t included. But finally – finally! – the thing was put together, pushed in and hooked up. At which point it refused to take in water from our pipes. This dishwasher was not out to make friends with ANYONE. The reason was long and detailed, and involved a switch of some kind that Friend J discovered was broken. I understood exactly one word: broken. Guess who spent an afternoon taking the dishwasher back? Our second trip to Mazers took twice as long and – as incomprehensible as it seems – was even more disorganized than the first. First these people who hadn’t wanted to get rid of such a prime piece of kitchen equipment now couldn’t figure out the process to take it back. By this point, The Professor had had it with me and my money saving ways. And when I say he’d “had it”, I mean “almost didn’t allow me to have any input on where we went next” and no amount of kissing and sweet talk was going to get me in this conversation. That’s when I pointed out that I had the credit card. So we ended up at Lowes’, chose a model and had it delivered. Installation was not free – it cost $100+ - they said because they had to get a licensed electrician to install it, and they don’t keep those on staff. I guess that’s true? Doesn’t matter, because Friend J – unbelievably – had promised to help install the new one when it came. So, 2 days later, the boys are back on the kitchen floor and discover that – Surprise! – there was a different part not included with this model. Off The Professor went to the hardware store, instruction manual in hand to ensure he purchased the right thing... Where he was promptly told that the instruction manual was wrong and sold a different part. When he got home Friend J laughed, sighed, and said “let’s go”, taking them to a different hardware store to get the correct part. Back they came, full of confidence that they would get this thing DONE and finally eat dinner. I was given 2 jobs: Cook said dinner, and turn off the circuit at the breaker box. I can handle that! It was only after I ELECTROCUTED Friend J while he was helping with my THIRD dishwasher in 2 weeks that I realized I had flipped the circuit without really looking – and it had never been flipped back on after the last fiasco. It all worked out in the end, leaving 3 important facts: Dinner was damn good, the dishwasher washed the dishes, and Friend J is still a friend. But…I’m thinking that from now on, The Professor and I should just leave the country when we need something repaired or replaced.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

It's been awhile since you've seen Layla

So, here she is, taking in what the cats call "A Good Morning Sun-Nap".
She loves to sleep on tote bags (our last Bengal loved to pee on them, so I don't argue with her).
That bag was hanging off the back of the chair until she pulled it around and down onto the seat to make a proper bed for her.