Monday, November 30, 2009

Washing machine heaven

That's right. All I have to report in house-related news is our great pleasure in using a set of fully functional appliances. It wasn't without hassle, but it's all worked out in the end.

Last time I checked in, we had bought a closeout LG washer and dryer set for $700. They had to be ordered and were to arrive on Thursday. I waited until after the Friday shopping craze to call. Saturday morning, this is how the conversation went:

"Hi, I ordered a washer and dryer and want to know if they are ready for pick up..."

"What's your name?...Oh. The LG front-loaders. [Long silence...] Just a minute. [Long Wait...] Ok, ma'am? There's been a massive mistake. We oversold those machines. We sold WAY too many. There aren't any more in the store or in the warehouse...We can't order more. There are no more. You can bring in your receipt for a refund or get another set."

"For the same price?"

"No, you'd pay the difference."

Seriously, Best Buy? I calmly (well, mostly calmly) explained to the poor customer service rep that I had skipped out on the good Black Friday sales because I had already bought these and now I was going to be out more money because they screwed up and that was really not ok. He got a manager and I was promptly informed that I could come back in the store and pick out a new set for the same price.

We went in and while we weren't given the option of picking out another set (that would have been ridiculous-- I'll tell you right now I'd have opted for steam!), we were given the nearly identical set that is replacing the closeout model we had ordered. The machines were in stock and we started our washing marathon yesterday.

It's wonderful. A little vibration, no air hammering, and no walking so far-- and that's on the high and extra high spin speeds. I love it. LOVE IT. I watched the first cycle and I took a shower while one was running without losing pressure. Most of all, I'm completely smitten with little song they play when they're done.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Friday resting

I've never EVER stood in line for a Black Friday deal. This is partly due to never caring enough about what was on sale, and partly to the fact that I've had to work retail on that day more times than I ever cared to, and have absolutely no desire to be a part of inflicting that much headache on fellow retailers. Its a shitty day to work.

But truth be told, we NEED a new washer. We need one BADLY. And the dryer is starting to make a suspicious squeaking noise.

We have been looking, and looking, and looking...and now it is mega-sale time.

I've been keeping my eye on the Friday sale ads as they've been leaked. First we saw that Sears had a set of Kenmore front load washer/dryers for $500, and these new appliances started to look like a worthwhile proposition. Then I read the reviews. Not good. So we started considering the Samsung set for $1000. Excellent reviews, and probably worth the money, considering a bargain basement top loader and dryer would cost us $600+. Then the Home Depot ad was leaked; LG set for $800. Sold. I was more than willing to get up at 4am for these, especially since my local McDonald's has 24 hour drive-thru. Sue me-- I love their coffee. And yes I used to work at Starbucks and am usually a coffee snob. But I love the Micky D's plain ole coffee.

Anyway, at my in-laws yesterday for an early Thanksgiving get together, we were perusing the paper and saw that Best Buy was trying to offload their warehouse stock of LG washers and dryers before Thanksgiving. We were also informed that my sister-in-law has a Consumer Reports subscription allowing us to check out everything first. The model on sale was recently replaced with a redesign nearly identical in features at a slightly lower price point. It looked like BBY needed the space. And this model is a Consumer Reports recommended washer. They were selling these for half price. HALF PRICE. A washer and dryer for $700.

The LG DLE2516W and the LG WM2016CW.

So we bought 'em. We should get them next weekend. I let them know, too, that I've worked for Best Buy, which generally keeps them from harassing me about extra warranties and financing.

And now we get to rest on Black Friday.

I'm a little apprehensive, though. I've never had front-loaders and have heard some walking-washer horror stories on these old floors. One of the reasons I was partial to the LGs was that they have some lower spin speeds that I've heard help in older homes. And I'd like to side vent this dryer and eventually stack them. But right now, I'll just be happy to get them inside the house.

Anyone have any experience with front loaders in old home or with LGs in particular?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Put another log on the fire...

Or turn up the gas.

I'm ashamed to admit that we have owned this house more than 2 years and we'd never even bothered to see if the gas logs work.

A good friend of ours used to be a chimney sweep; while he was over for beers, he started geeking out over the fireplace-- we didn't force him to give us free advice/labor, I swear! He took a look through the flue, and even climbed up on the roof in the dark to check the state of the chimney. He burned some newspaper to see if it drew, and then took the logs apart to see if they worked.

Long and short is this: chimney is super clean, as in, it's possible it was never used for wood; if it was used for wood, the creosote has dissolved over the last 40+ years, as the logs are a 1968 model. The chimney draws really well, and the logs are indeed still hooked up to gas and light up like they're supposed to. However, the ceramic logs didn't get very hot (the cat jumped on them while lit, so...yeah.), but it was still neat to have a fire.

Now we have a decision to make. We can use these logs or get a new set of gas logs-- they aren't very expensive at all. We can take out the gas logs and burn wood, but we have to clean it extremely frequently. We can have the chimney relined, so we don't have to clean it so often. And I would assume that we could convert the gas line into a starter if we wanted to.

We had a fireplace in one of our houses growing up, and it was nice when we used it; most of the time, though, we were all too lazy to light it up. I sort of like the idea of gas logs that I can just turn on and turn off when I feel like it, and it sounds like this may have been original to the house in terms of use (the logs in there aren't original, but maybe there were always gas logs there).

On the other hand, you sure as hell can't beat the smell of a real wood fireplace. And a gas starter would make me more inclined to use it; but if we're going to use it a lot, we should get it lined, I guess.

So many choices. Any thoughts?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Night of the ADULT Trick-Or-Treaters

Happy Halloween, folks.

Not much has been happening in the blog because not much has been happening at the house that doesn't involve our various animals.

Simon, our 14 year old fluffy little lamb dog, appears to perhaps have doggie Alzheimer's, so we're keeping an eye on that, adjusting his diet, and trying to do mind-stimulating things with him. River was supposed to begin obedience classes last week, but the trainer had to postpone them; in the meantime, we're trying to get a little ahead of the game. Since there's only 3 dogs in the class I figure the faster we can make this go, the more we can learn for our money. We're also spending a lot of time at the dog park. Fort Smith has a 40 acre dog park with ponds and brush and pastures. It's great. My mother, also had animal trials and tribulations, managing to get 2 feral kittens hiding out in her house, and every time she caught them and tried to put them in either the bathroom or a kennel, they escaped. She finally got them out of the house and out to a friend's house in the country. They were really old kittens and really feral, but we were going to try to socialize them and get them fixed; unfortunately, they were proving more than a handful. Hopefully, they will have a great time catching barn mice.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

We did a little Halloween fun stuff. Pumpkins:

And skeletons:

And passed out candy to about 300 trick-or-treaters. Then a funny thing happened. Adults trick-or-treated. Grown ass women. Women old enough to collect social security. Women NOT EVEN IN COSTUME, wearing their sweatshirts and jeans, carrying sacks and getting candy. WTF. We were so gobsmacked that we gave them candy, but we were truly baffled.

At any rate, we now have to have to have to focus on the house. We can't finish up the insurance claim from the hailstorm until we plug the hole in the living room ceiling and paint the damn house. It might be getting too cold to paint, but we can at least tuck point. And really, we're in the south-- it's still 75 degrees some days, so I figure that if Thanksgiving weekend is a warm one, we might have to get some painting done anyway.

We only have until April.