Top load or: The old fashioned way…

Six years ago when I bought the current homestead, it came with a Bosch front loading washing machine. It’s quite a piece of kit. It’s got approximately 40 buttons on it and about 3700 different settings for getting your clothes just the right kind of clean (I guess). Honestly, I never loved it. Two hour wash cycles and having to let the door hang open for days after a load of laundry in order to avoid the stench of mold and mildew kind of turned me off of the whole front load concept.

Its replacement should be here in about a week. It’s a standard top loader from Whirlpool. Aside from the various rounded edges, it looks like home washing machines have looked in America for decades. No glass top, three or four knobs controlling maybe a dozen settings, and one button. My only concession to modernity was opting for the slightly more efficient impeller model versus a true agitator.

It’s not the kind of machine that turns the laundry room into a showplace, but it’s exactly what I wanted. I’m not the kind of person who wants to spend a lot of time tweaking settings on wash day. I want to dump in some detergent, pick hot or cold water, and push the start button… the same way I’ve been washing laundry my entire life, with the exception of the last six years when I was left to deal with someone else’s front loading ideal.

Plus, my nice middle of the road top loader still ended up costing less than the estimated repair on the ailing Bosch. I consider it a win both for personal preference and value for money.

The plastic doohickey…

I inherited all the major appliances here when I bought the house. They’re all 20 years old and serviceable, so I haven’t been in a wild rush to replace anything. That said, though, I’ve hated the refrigerator from the day I moved in. The damned thing looks huge, but interior space is cut up and awkward. There have always been drawers that never seemed to sit level, shelves that were supposed to slide but didn’t, and an inexplicable missing piece of glass shelving that I replaced early on with a thick piece of plexiglass (because I’m too cheap to pay Maytag prices for a panel of tempered glass). 

The whole contraption went to pieces last week. The crisper drawers wouldn’t push in all the way, two shelves were wildly askew, and you could forget about anything sitting level. It was at some point during the great unpacking of the fridge that I discovered there was very clearly a missing piece somewhere in the middle of the mess. Whatever this missing bit was, it was obviously the lynchpin on which all of the slides and drawers depended to operate correctly.

The manuals for all these appliances are long gone, but thanks to the power of the interwebs, I was able to pull up some schematics and identify the missing bit through the process of elimination. So, after ordering up a $26 plastic doohickey, a couple of days shipping time, and once again pulling 75% of my refrigerated items out of the refrigerator, it’s all now working the way it should have done from the beginning. Reaching in for George’s spring mix is no longer an exercise in playing early morning Jenga, so that’s a thing I’ve got going for me now.

Mostly, the saga of the refrigerator leaves me wondering how the geriatrics I bought the house from lost both the oversized glass shelf and this particular bit of plastic in the first place. Alas, that will remain an unsolved mystery unless the ghost of the previous lady of the house starts leaving me spectral clues as to what tragedy befell them here.

Hot water…

Usually when I post about hot water it’s because I have found myself boiling in it… almost always through no fault of my own, of course. Today, of course, my post is a little more focused on actual, literal hot water… or more specifically the lack of it.

All the appliances here on the homestead are originals and put in place back in 2000. I know I can’t reasonably expect the average appliance to last much longer than that, though I’m eternally hopeful that they’ll actually last forever and spare me the expense and aggravation of replacing them. That hope, today, proved to be in vain. I’d seen the warning signs a few weeks ago in unexplained damp around the base of the water heater and again last week when it had gone from damp to wet in a few spots. I’d hoped I’d be able to nurse it along for at least a few more months – deferring the expense of the fix or repair as long as possible.

The steady stream flowing from the heater towards the sump pit this morning told me that my optimistic plan of deferred maintenance wasn’t going to be a thing we actually got to do. Now as a man who knows his own limitations, my next call was to the service outfit I use pretty exclusively for all the moving parts and plumbing around the house. There’s a premium to be paid, but they’ve never failed to show up as scheduled and fix the problem. It’s the kind of service I’m willing to pay the premium to get.

So now we’re part way there. By this time tomorrow all should be resolved even if my wallet will be significantly lighter for my troubles. The joy of home ownership is probably a real thing… but maybe more a real thing felt by those unburdened with the mechanics of paying the bills and keeping all the bits and pieces up and running.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

If you thought movin’ on up was going to in any way interfere with regular installments of WAJTW you clearly don’t know me at all. In my head there’s always something worth bitching about. Like these:

1. Going bump in the night. Two nights in a row I was brought out of a dead sleep by something going bump in the night. It’s a fine little rush, but doesn’t make for a restful time. The third time it happened it wasn’t so much a bump as it was a persistent scratching… and that’s when reality sank in. My headboard and George’s tank align almost perfectly and are separated by two thicknesses of drywall and about three inches of air. Every time he did a little excavating or nudged the side of the tank I was hearing my tortoise loud and clear from half a foot away. That made it a lot less unnerving at 3AM, but didn’t do much at all to eliminate it’s the week’s most annoying “discover” here at Casa de Jeff v2.

2. High efficiency. I inherited a high efficiency front load washing machine. It’s an impressive piece of equipment, no doubt. However, with the old top load $300 Sears outlet model, when I set it to a normal wash cycle it would finish like clockwork in about 40 minutes. This new, improved, high efficiency model on the other hand just takes as much time as it decides it wants to take no matter what it’s set on. Could be 30 minutes. Could be 2 hours. Just depends. While my clothes, I’m sure, are cleaner than ever it sure would be nice to have a little predictability in how long getting them to that state might take.

3. Stupid dreams. So far this week I’ve had dreams about home networking, dreams about washing machines, and dreams about work. Whatever happened to dreams about Sports Illustrated cover models, I have no idea. All I know is going to bed is way less fun when it involves home improvement projects rather than scantily clad supermodels.


Yes, yes, I know It’s Thursday and Thursday means What Annoys Jeff this Week. As long as I have an internet connection and a bit of power in one of my iDevices, I’ll get that post up at some point later today. Just now, while I’m sitting here watching the snow turn big_15to sleet turn to rain turn back to snow, I’m taking a moment to wish myself a happy 4th anniversary on WordPress.

I can’t say it’s always been perfectly smooth sailing, but WordPress has genuinely provided a great home for With 30,212 views, 410 comments, it’s been everything a small blogger who spends his day writing about whatever wild-assed idea crosses his mind could ask for. I can’t say for sure whether I’ll be here in another four years, but consulting my magic 8-ball, I’d have to imagine that signs point to yes. I’m not the kind of guy to tinker with something that works and this joint is filling my need to offer the world my opinion very nicely.

Now if the internet is any guide, I should run out and get myself the gift of fruit or flowers or maybe a new appliance. The internet is a strange place.

Not-so-Best Buy…

It feels good to get back to the basic reason I started keeping this blog… Bitching and complaining about the stupid people and things that cross my path in the course of everyday life. Every so often it’s good to come back to your roots. 😉

Before heading back to Maryland for Christmas, I made a point of doing the vast majority of my major purchases ahead of time. I ordered blinds, new living room furniture, and a refrigerator, washer and dryer. Now, being a good steward of my own money, I did my due diligence by checking prices both locally and online. The best price on the washer, dryer, and refrigerator was actually from Best Buy. Good prices and points on my rewards card… Sweet.

I knew I would be in the house by this weekend and scheduled my delivery for today. I should have been prepared for a problem when I called the store yesterday to confirm the delivery time… I called the delivery department. There was no answer. I called the store’s main phone number. There was no answer. I waited an hour, repeated the process, and got the same result… and infuriating ring… ring… ring. By this point it was early evening and I needed to go out to get something for dinner, so I thought I would stop by the store to get an answer and critique their customer service. After waiting for 15 minutes for the customer service desk to actually find the manager, I explained the situation and the information I required. In response to my comment about not being able to reach anyone by phone, she mentioned that “oh, during the holidays, we don’t even bother answering the phone.” I’m fairly sure one of their forklifts could have driven into my mouth at that point. Did the store manager actually just say that they don’t answer their customer service line? Yes. Yes she did. Even if this were true, I think I would have come up with a better excuse.

And so, we come to this morning, with delivery scheduled between 8:00 and 11:00. The time is now 11:38 and I just got a call from the delivery driver. Apparently my street doesn’t exist and because he spent so much time driving around looking for it, he’ll have to move on to the next delivery and try to get me in later in the day. What the fuck?

Honest to God, I can’t believe anyone actually does business this way. If I don’t have a refrigerator, washer, and dryer sitting in this house by about 4:00, I’m cancelling the order and going to Home Depot.