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Happy dishwasher update

October 29th, 2019 at 07:01 am

The 2nd attempt at getting our dishwasher installed was yesterday afternoon. A different crew from a different company came out and they were amazing! They were friendly and understanding and professional and skilled. They were shocked that the other crew hadn't even made any attempt.

They pulled out the old dishwasher easily (the other guy said he might not be able to get it out) and proceeded to install the new one like it was nothing. They appreciated that we were educated and knew what we were talking about as I'm sure they encounter plenty of customers who think they know everything and don't really have a clue.

Once it was installed, they showed us the basic features and gave us some tips. They even answered a couple of questions we had about some other appliance issues. Of course, we now have their contact info and would happily use them again for future needs.

So we now have a shiny new installed and functioning dishwasher. We'll probably run the first load tonight.

Nothing is ever simple - appliance issue

October 23rd, 2019 at 10:33 am

We bought a new dishwasher last week. They came yesterday to install it. The guy took half a step into the kitchen and said, "I can tell you right now it won't fit." We have a ceramic tile floor and there is a drop off at the end of the tiles to the floor where the dishwasher sits. It's been like that since we bought the house 25 years ago. This will be the 3rd dishwasher going into the exact same space. Previous installers thought the same thing and then proceeded to install it just fine.

Nope. This guy was convinced it wouldn't work and wasn't even willing to try. Back I went to the store today to complain. They said I had to contact the installation service directly as it's a third party.

I called them and the guy I spoke to actually seemed pretty good. He understood the issue and seemed surprised that the installer didn't even attempt to do the work. He said he'd seek out another installer and get back to me, which he did a short time later. He gave me his direct line if we need him and gave me the name of the new guy. We're just waiting for that guy to call and schedule to come out. Hopefully he can do it with no further issue. Otherwise I'm going to have to go to Lowe's again and have them refund what we paid for installation. I have a friend who has already said he'd be happy to install it if it comes to that. So still on hold at the moment to see what the final outcome will be.

Small DIY success

October 22nd, 2019 at 04:02 pm

Okay, this one may sound lame but I still count it as a success.

We were in Lowe's last week buying a new dishwasher. As we were walking through the store, we passed the aisle with the 4-foot long workshop light fixtures like many people have in unfinished basements or garages. We have 3 in our basement. One barely works and one hasn't worked at all for ages. I just never bothered to do anything about it.

Ours have 48" fluorescent tubes. Now they are all LED which is nice. I took pictures of the 3 options and a couple days ago searched on Amazon. Of course, I was able to find similar fixtures that are even brighter and cheaper than Lowe's so I ordered two of them.

They arrived today and I installed them both easily since they were going exactly where the old ones were, even hanging on the very same hardware that was already there.

We now have 2 super bright fixtures. The laundry room has only had a single regular bulb since that fixture died and the other half of the basement was pretty much in the dark except for the rare occasion when that fixture actually decided to work. It looks great down there. DW is happy because she is in charge of laundry and I'm happy because I do a lot of stuff on the other side. Plus the extra pantry is down there so now we can find things without pulling out our cell phone flashlight. And all for just $60 (and I'll get 5% cashback from our Discover card).

Bought a dishwasher

October 16th, 2019 at 02:13 pm

We headed over to Lowe's today. We've bought several other appliances there. They seem to have a good combination of reasonable prices, nice selection, and helpful staff that isn't overly pushy. Today was no exception. A couple of people asked if we needed help while we were browsing and walked away when we said not yet. Once we had it narrowed down to 2 models, we went over and asked the one woman for help. She was very nice and answered a few questions we had.

Of course, we ended up with the more expensive of the 2 we were looking at but it did have a couple of features that we preferred. It has a recessed handle so we won't be constantly banging into it like we would have been with the other one. And the racks and gliders were clearly of better quality. It was also rated a few decibels lower on sound level.

We just have to wait for the installer to call and schedule installation. Hopefully that will happen within a few days. It will be nice to have a working dishwasher again.

Time for a new dishwasher

October 13th, 2019 at 05:45 pm

Another chapter in "The Joys of Home Ownership". My wife informed me that the dishwasher has been making an awful noise lately and the other day was the worst it's been. We could: a) call out a repair person or b) buy a new one. Yes, I realize there is choice c) try to troubleshoot it ourselves to see if we can fix it. However, I'm opting for choice b.

We got our first dishwasher in 1995. We remember because we bought it when DW was pregnant and started having trouble reaching the sink to do dishes Smile. That one lasted almost 10 years and was replaced in late 2004. So the current one is actually 15 years old which is not so bad as appliances go.

I don't think it's worth paying for a service call plus any repair costs for a 15-year-old dishwasher. Plus, I've been self-managing gradual rusting of the one rack for the past few years, sanding it down and coating the edges. I even cut out a small section of the rack that was too badly damaged to save, so the whole thing is kind of ghetto at this point.

I've been browsing online and we'll probably hit a couple of stores on Wednesday and get a new one. It's not a huge expense as home repairs go and I can't complain about this one lasting as long as it did.

Odds and ends

March 20th, 2019 at 03:55 pm

I said I'd try to blog more regularly so figured I actually need to post every couple of weeks.

I made our latest mortgage payment which brought our principal under the $10,000 mark. The end is near. I expect to pay it off in August most likely so that's exciting.

I haven't picked up any extra shifts at work the past week or two. I need to take a look at the schedule and pick up something in the coming weeks.

My wife and I are doing an overnight getaway this weekend. We're just going across the river into the city. There's a whiskey bar we've been wanting to try (we are big bourbon and whiskey fans). We didn't really care for their dinner menu so we're eating at a different place in the next block and planning to then go to the bar for drinks and dessert. The only problem with that is that we couldn't reserve a table just for that so we'll have to wait for space at the bar on a Saturday night. Hopefully around 6:30-7:00 it won't be too crazy yet. We're using a free hotel voucher for our stay. Just have to pay for parking.

Haven't done any decluttering lately. I'm hoping spring brings a nice weekend soon when I'm off and can start attacking the garage.

Need to start working on plans for our June trip to Dallas. The hotel was booked months ago but I haven't bought airfare yet. DW has been browsing the tourist sites looking for things to see and do when we're there.

I can't think of anything else of significance from the past couple of weeks so I'll stop there.

Happy Spring!

Fixing our cable bill (due to my own error)

February 27th, 2019 at 07:06 am

A couple of months ago I took a look at our cable bill, something I had neglected to do for way too long. I noticed we were being billed for 2 convertor boxes at $6.99/mo. each. However, we only have one. I went over to the office and told them and they agreed to take one off the bill.

Fast forward to last week. I was in the basement and came across a convertor box. Sure enough it is the one they insisted we had and have been paying for. I have absolutely no memory of why we have an extra box or why I never returned it. I brought it up and figured I'd drop it off next time I was over that way.

A couple of days ago, I get a letter in the mail from, the cable company. An account review showed that we're paying for one box but their records still indicate we have two so they're going to start charging for it again.

Now that I actually have the extra box, I can fix this once and for all. I'll go over today and return it and make sure our account is updated accordingly so that we can stop paying that $6.99/mo. fee.

Mortgage payment, decluttering, and date night

February 18th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

There are 3 savings things that I do manually each month. I send $1,000 to our Ally savings account, $1,000 to our taxable Vanguard account, and $1,000 extra to our mortgage. I don't usually do them all at once but it worked out that way this time. I just did the Ally and Vanguard transfers.

When I went to do the mortgage payment, I discovered a notice that the annual escrow review showed a shortage (doesn't it always?) of $114.89. So I had to pay that. I also had already decided to up the extra going to principal from $1,000 to $1,500. So I did all of that and made that payment. I can't wait until the mortgage is gone in a few months.

If you really want to follow our decluttering process, I'd head over to the forums: https://www.savingadvice.com/forums/forum/financial-chit-chat/general-discussion/700407-2019-decluttering-thread. We just went through all of our sheets and mattress covers and are getting rid of a whole trash bag full that will go to Goodwill. Some worn out stuff is also going in the trash.

I didn't realize it but my wife and I have a "date night" tonight. Our daughter is heading back to her college for a fraternity event and will be gone from about 4:30 until after 11:00. I think we're going to cook dinner together and then rent a movie on one of the online services and relax with a couple of drinks. Not sure what we'll see but maybe A Star is Born.

New computer and faster internet

June 28th, 2010 at 04:55 pm

Ok, this entry is NOT about saving money. It is about spending plain and simple. Our 6-year-old iMac has gotten incredibly slow. I think the last couple of software updates really did it in. It had gotten to the point of being almost unusable at times. Also, we have had Verizon DSL for years and from time to time, the service would be very undependable but lately it has gotten really bad. We never knew from day to day or hour to hour if we'd have internet access. As I'm sure you all understand, we depend on our net access a great deal at this point for all kinds of reasons from financial stuff like home banking to entertainment like streaming movies from Netflix to making travel arrangements to DD doing school assignments. Having access that we can't depend on just is no longer acceptable in 2010.

So... we are now the proud owners of a brand new 21.5" iMac and Comcast cable internet with a wireless network. The computer is beautiful, the screen is huge and the processor is way, way faster than the old one. And the internet access is now 3 times faster than the DSL and, I anticipate, much more reliable.

Oh, my wife also got her iPhone last week, so we now have 2 iPhones, an iPod touch, a netbook, a laptop and a desktop on the network. On the phones, the new cable hook up is superfast. On DSL or 3G, there was a very noticeable delay when checking email or viewing a website. Now, it is instantaneous. I literally hooked it up 10 minutes ago but I'm already loving it.

Home construction

March 16th, 2010 at 01:06 pm

A few months ago, before the winter, we discovered that the paneling on one wall of our family room was rotting. We had never seen any water coming in but we had a contractor come out and he found where water was getting in. The roof over the family room is about 14 years old and the roofing material is generally expected to last 10 years so we were overdue for a problem.

The contractor said he should be able to do the job by the end of January. Of course, snowstorm after snowstorm kept pushing that back but he finally came out today to start the job. So far, so good. When he opened up the wall and poked around, there was no more damage than expected. I was afraid he would find rotten ceiling beams but he didn't. Hopefully, that means the work will come in close to the estimate he gave us which was about $2,200. I set the money aside back when he first came out so that's no problem. I just didn't want it to balloon much higher.

My wife's been home supervising. I'll see it in a couple of hours. Hopefully, everything will be done by the end of the week.

Snowed out of our house

February 11th, 2010 at 07:52 am

Those of us on the east coast have been buried under record snowfall this year. We've officially broken the all-time snow record by over 6 inches as of last night (and it is only early February). This week alone, we've had two major storms totaling over 40 inches which is unheard of in this area (hence the record).

Anyway, while most people have been snowed in, we actually got snowed OUT. Last night while I was washing the dinner dishes, I saw a bright flash out the back window. My wife happened to be looking out the front window at the time and saw the transformer blow on the electric pole and out went the power. Considering it was still snowing heavily and the number of homes without power was in the tens of thousands, we figured it could be quite a while before a crew got out there to fix the problem and restore power. So we decided to escape and spend the night at a hotel.

I called the local Fairfield Inn and booked a room, then went out and cleaned off the car and shoveled enough of the driveway so I'd be able to get out. My wife and daughter packed overnight bags while I was doing that and we hit the road. It was kind of eerie as roads that are usually heavily traveled interstates were deserted. Between home and the hotel, I doubt that we saw more than a dozen cars. We made it there safely and checked into a nicely lit and heated room, two things that were lacking at home.

This morning, I called the house and the answering machine picked up so I knew the power was back on. We had breakfast (included with the room) and packed up and came back to the house. Other than one large tree branch coming down (no damage done), everything was in order. So ended our little snow adventure. And only a tiny ding to the savings for an unplanned hotel stay.

Snow, Snow and More Snow

December 20th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

It started snowing about 6 am Saturday and forgot to stop. By the time it was done, we had recorded the record high snowfall for the month of December beating the record set in 1909. We also got the 2nd highest snowfall ever after the storm of 1996.

Needless to say I've spent a good part of the past 2 days snowblowing and shoveling snow. I'm done now. Well, not done in the sense that all the snow is cleared but done in the sense that I'm not going out there again. I've got my car shoveled out. The van is mostly cleared but needs a little more work. I'll probably do that tomorrow night after work and DW and DD can work on it tomorrow, too.

It has been a long time we've seen snow like this (13 years to be exact). I just hope this isn't a sign of things to come this winter.

Need money - Clean your house Pt. 2

December 12th, 2009 at 06:40 pm

As I reported a couple of weeks ago, we've been working on some house cleaning lately. The first round turned up some monetary rewards by finding stuff to sell on ebay.

This week, cleaning actually turned up money. Wednesday night, I was cleaning in the basement. I came across a file box of papers from when my wife and I ran the Girl Scout cookie sale for our daughter's troop 3 years ago. I realized there was no reason to still have that stuff and started pulling everything out to recycle. In one of the folders, I found a $20 bill. I'm certain that we handed over all money due to the troop so this $20 probably belonged to us for some reason, but I have no idea why it would have been in that file. So the next day, I stopped at the Girl Scout office and told them the story and to give the money to her troop (she's not a scout anymore).

Today, my daughter found a $20 bookstore gift card and $8 cash plus some change while cleaning.

So that's almost $50 turned up in a few days. Get rid of your clutter and get organized. It may pay off more than you realize.