Friday, February 27, 2009

Since My Last Post....

We discovered that our friend was probably murdered.

I lost a classmate to cancer. I wasn't very close to this person, but I was good friends with her twin sister.

My cousin, whose husband is dying of lung cancer, broke her foot and is confined to a wheelchair. Last week she lost her aunt to Alzheimer's. I don't know how, but she still retains her upbeat attitude. You're my hero J!!

The 12-yr-old great-grandson of my parents' neighbor is in intensive care after rolling a snowmobile 6 times. His skull was crushed. The police report says that "speed was a factor". No shit Sherlock!! What were the parents thinking when they let a 12-yr-old drive a sled, capable of 100 mph speeds, unsupervised?

Our little town lost 40 jobs, that paid over minimum wage with benefits, last week. I imagine most of those people will leave town.

We got 9 more inches of snow on Monday and another inch yesterday. This morning it was -15F and it will remain below zero through the weekend. Starting Monday the forecast calls for warmer temps and 5 more days of SNOW!

I really NEEDED to accomplish something worthwhile, so I finally tackled the 2 overflowing baskets of mending I'd been ignoring for the past 3 years. I patched 15 pairs of jeans for me and 12 pairs for L. I also patched 6 insulated flannel shirts for L and fixed a seam on a sweatshirt I had forgotten I owned.

Now that the mending is out of the way, I bought material to sew desperately needed new curtains for the kitchen. The best part is I got the material for $3.99/yd! Now that we've chosen the color for the curtains, we can now pick a paint color for the kitchen. I brought paint color cards home from Menards yesterday. This weekend we'll make our final color choice. Once the painting is done, we'll be able to install new flooring. I also picked out the laminate flooring that we'll buy as soon as our tax refund arrives. Check out my post from May 23, 2007 for a picture of the sad state of our kitchen floor. It hasn't improved any in the past 2 years, trust me.

I'd like to refinish the kitchen cupboard doors this summer, but I don't think I'll have the time. We have to re-side, at least, the back of the house. We're hoping that the siding on the front and ends of the house will last until next summer. We also MUST build a new computer desk for ourselves...AND replace the front door....AND build a workbench for the garage since we already have the materials...time, and money, will tell....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Tragic Waste!

We just found out that a 36-yr-old friend killed himself on Wednesday.
The last we knew, he was managing the water rides at Disneyworld. He started working there by playing Goofy, which we always found appropriate.

I'll always remember how he'd patiently play with Z, when he was a toddler, for hours.
If it wasn't for Ed, we wouldn't know that it's illegal to pee in the Mall of America parking lot.

God bless you Ed-The-One-Man-Party!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Camping Out at Home

Here's a picture of our current fridge. Why do I feel like we've been camping all week? Let's see, maybe it's because we lived without a furnace for 2 days and the fridge for 4 days.

The repairman came this morning and declared that the problem was in the "sealed system". So I got to go refrigerator shopping this afternoon. This activity really doesn't take very long, as we only have 2 places in town that sell appliances-Sears and Menards. There were only 3-18 cu ft models to choose from. One of them was $900, so that narrowed my choice to 2. I was ecstatic to find evaporator coils on the back of the model I chose! The salesman said that very few refrigerators are made with "sealed systems" now. Gee, I wonder why?

Delivery is set for 1:30 tomorrow afternoon, so today we get to move the furniture around to make a path for the new fridge. Tomorrow we'll need to remove 3 doors to squeeze a 30 inch fridge through a 32 inch door. The good news is that they're taking the old fridge with them AND we get a rebate for the whole delivery fee. YES!

Tomorrow night I'll be able to cook dinner without running out to the front porch umpteen times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Sealed System"=Planned Obsolescence

Just a quick update on our gremlin situation.

The furnace conked out again on Sunday afternoon.
L was right. The furnace repairman didn't show until 11:30 Monday morning. The good news is that our problem was only a clogged orifice, which is the cheapest thing that could go wrong.

We had freezing rain from 6:30 a.m. until noon yesterday. Then it warmed up and just plain rained. What a MESS! Our newly roofed back porch is leaking like a sieve in the same spot it always has. WTF?! Boss decided to close early due to lack of business, so L didn't work yesterday. At least I got a full days pay.

Our refrigerator got progressively warmer until, by yesterday afternoon, the freezer compartment was 25F and the fridge was running at 45F. Our refrigeration is now being handled by coolers on the front porch.

L and I decided that since the fridge was empty, we'd thoroughly defrost it and let it dry, with the doors open, overnight. Maybe a little chunk of ice had lodged in a vent somewhere? L found some screws on the back of the fridge. He removed them and found a very dusty motor. Aha, maybe that's the problem? L cleaned up the motor. This morning I turned the fridge back on. By noon, the temp was reading 45F in the freezer and 55F in the fridge. SHIT!!!

A customer gave me a phone number for the only residential refrigerator repairman in town. I called him this afternoon. That call was quite an education! It seems that our lovely new refrigerators, that don't have coils to clean, are called a "sealed system". There are only a few repairmen in the state who will work on a "sealed system". The reason for this is that it is a VERY expensive procedure. It's usually cheaper to buy a new fridge. Just friggin' lovely!

I also learned that my relatively new AMANA refrigerator is made by MAYTAG. I love my Maytag dishwasher, but I won't be buying any more of their refrigerators!

The repairman asked me a few questions about how the fridge was operating. He didn't think that sounded like part of the "sealed system" package, but he wasn't certain. He apologetically said that he could take a look at it for $40, but he couldn't make any guarantees. With our luck, we'll probably have to replace our 5-yr-old fridge, but I have to give the repairman a shot first. We really can't afford a new fridge plus disposal fees for the not-so-old one right now.

With all the "green" movements right now, I'm surprised that someone hasn't jumped on refrigerator manufacturers for this blatant move toward planned obsolescence! If this keeps up, we'll soon be overrun by refrigerator junkyards.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

SICK of It!

Is anybody out there missing a gremlin? If so, PLEASE come and get him before I find him and wring his scrawny little neck!

The last couple of weeks our internet service has been horrible. It's either down or s-l-o-w. I mean dial-up slow! Arghh!! A couple of times the service outage was our fault. Z would disconnect and reconnect the cables and everything would work again. Friday night I found what was causing our loose cable problem. Hairry has started sleeping under our computer desk, curling up on top of all the cables. The new computer desk we're planning on building this summer should solve that problem, as the cords and modem will no longer be on the floor. The slow service I'm blaming on the new cable company which will take over in April. They said they would be switching our service to their system over this 3 month period. Once again....ARGHHH!!

Two weeks ago, I noticed that the food in the freezer section of our fridge wasn't as frozen as it normally is. I checked all the vents to make sure they weren't blocked, then I bought a fridge thermometer. The freezer was running at 15F and the fridge was running at 40F; acceptable, but not up to snuff. I turned the controls down with no result. Yesterday, the freezer section was running at 25F. SHIT! Our fridge is only 5 1/2 years old! I don't even know if there's still a residential refrigerator repairman in our town anymore. I'll start that quest tomorrow.

Yesterday, after I got home from work, we went over to my parents' house so Z could clear the snow off their screen house and shed. My Dad had hired someone to clear the snow off the house and garage. Dad built the shed and screen house, so he wasn't worried about the roofs collapsing under their 3 feet of snow. I've been reading up on snow weight. The 3 feet of snow on the roof weighs a bit over 15 lbs/sq ft. BUT-if you add 1/4 inch of rain to the snow, the load doubles. Freezing rain is forecast for Monday, so I thought those roofs should be cleared.

When we got home, our house felt a bit chilly. YUP, that's right, the furnace was OUT! We hit the reset button, which crumbled into a million pieces when I touched it. Next step--call a furnace repairman. We already knew that the 2 major furnace repair shops in town would NEVER come out on a weekend, so we called the new guy in town. I left a message at his home and on his cell phone. L chuckled as I left the messages: "You don't REALLY think that we'll hear from him before Monday, do you?"'s almost noon on Sunday, so I guess not. Fortunately, we have 3 electric heaters, which kept the living spaces in the house at a toasty 73F. We were also lucky that the outside temperature was above 0, so our water lines, which run beside the heating ductwork, didn't freeze. At 1:30 a.m. the furnace mysteriously started working again, although it's also leaking small amounts of fuel oil right under the pump. I'm guessing that we'll need a new pump....IF the repairman ever gets back to us.

On the bright side, L fixed my garage door opener when it warmed up this week. He gave up trying to fix it when it was -40F, as his hands kept freezing. In the interim, L put the truck on his side of the garage so I wouldn't have to manually open and close the door. What a sweeheart!

It seems like we've been fixing one or 2 things/week ever since 2009 rolled around. I sure hope this trend doesn't continue all year!