Looking for information on how to defrost the IH fridge, I stumbled on a YouTube channel run by a guy who does restorations on old appliances and other antique stuff: Vintage 55 Restorations has a bunch of interesting topics to browse through.
Our refrigerator has decided it’s time to break down again, just a few days before Christmas and with a 25-lb. ham freshly purchased. I had to make an after-hours run to the store last night for ice, and throw all of our groceries in the coolers, and run two coolers’ worth of stuff over to Christi & Glen’s spare fridge. Meanwhile the temperatures are projected to be in the mid-40’s instead of the 20s like they were last week, which would have been perfect for storing stuff on the back porch. Merry Christmas.
I spent a good bit of the day out in the garage with a couple of podcasts and a bottle of Simple Green scrubbing the dirt out of the new fridge. It was a nice quiet way to spend the day before going back to work, and none of the 30 other things I meant to get to really mattered. I pulled the shelves off the inside of the door and wound up having to unscrew the whole perimeter to recover six mounting plates that fell into the door as a result; not really a big deal.
It’s impressively built. Most of the parts are metal—the drawers are enameled steel—and the plastic pieces there are all in really good shape. It cleaned up really well but needs a lot more love both inside and out. I have a lot of research to do on methods and advice, but I’m happy to dive down this rabbit hole.
We redid our kitchen back in the fall of 2005, when we were newlyweds and it was still a relatively good idea to walk into a Sears to buy Kenmore appliances. And for the most part, the appliances have held up. We had to replace the fridge a few years ago, but our stove and combo oven are still humming along. The dishwasher was beginning to worry us, however. Already a loud unit, it was getting louder and washing less with every week. It gets run pretty much every day, and due to Finn’s distracted method of loading it (skipping the step of scraping food off the plates first) it had to work extra hard. I’ve disassembled the screen and chopper several times, and mopped food sludge out of the bottom repeatedly. We weren’t surprised, then, when it stopped working last week: the light on the front flashed on startup, which meant that the computer was confused. I found a couple of reset codes on the internet and tried them all with no luck. I cleaned out the drains and the chopper. After another reset, I restarted it, but the light continued flashing sadly, as if to say, “that’s all, folks.”
So we hit the Home Depot to shop for a new one. We’ve got multiple relatives and friends who all swear by their Bosch, so we took the chance on German engineering and laid our money down on a 500 model. The 800 model has wi-fi for some reason. I guess it emails you when the pots are in the wrong rack, or to tell you when it piddles on the floor. They are all super-quiet and have a third tray on the top for silverware. Apparently we need to watch a video, take a quiz, and be licensed to load it properly. We had to settle for a stainless-front unit, as the black units are special-order and apparently trapped on a container ship somewhere. I’m going to see if I can get a black replacement panel and install it at some point, as we like the way a black unit blends in with the cabinet better.
Two guys showed up today and traded the old for the new in about an hour. I guess 17 years isn’t too bad, all things considered.
I love a bargain. I’ve haunted the yard sales in our neighborhood for years, looking for good deals, and I’ve been lucky more times than I can count. As Finn has gotten more interested in sewing and creating her own clothes, we’ve been looking for materials to work with. Jen started taking her to thrift stores a while back, and tagging along with them has awakened the dormant thrift store shopper in my blood.
I found a couple of things yesterday that I’m excited about, and one of them isn’t even for me. Our daughter is now a Teen, which means she sleeps 21 hours a day and complains about not seeing her friends for the other 17. Jen has been waking at 6:30 to get her out of bed and off to school by 7:45; the bus picks her up within visual distance of our front door but she’s already missed it once. We are eager to get her functioning as more of an adult, so a better alarm clock was in order. Among the shelves of disused electronics I found the exact same model GE alarm clock I took to college; in a weird bit of circular irony I donated that clock to charity back when I got my first iPhone, glad to be rid of its grating alarm noise. After scrubbing this one with bathroom cleaner and a toothbrush I plugged it in on her dresser and set the time. She’ll need to climb down from bed to shut it off, and hopefully that will wake her up enough to get the day started. Because if it’s in there going off for ten minutes every morning I’m going to bury her body somewhere deep in the backyard.
The other gem I found is a Toshiba 19″ LCD/DVD combo in working order with an attached stand and power cord. I did my best to test it out at the store at the single available power outlet, and all seemed to work OK—for $12 I figured I could deal with some broken features, as long as the coax input still worked. See, I like to enjoy listening to football when I’m working around the house in the fall, and the only room I can do that in currently is the den. For another $20 I can pick up a digital antenna from Amazon and move the TV where I’d like to watch some games before the season is over. For the rest of the year, I can plug a laptop into the HDMI port on the back and watch movies (I checked, it works) or use the built-in DVD player (I checked, that also works).
I tested this plan out on Sunday while I installed a lockset on the new door going into the new bathroom; the TV sat on the dresser next to me, and I got to watch the Packers finally beat the Bengals in overtime while I put a final coat of paint on the back of the door. It’s nice to have something in there that closes and latches and locks, and it’s nice to hear the game while I’m working.
Then I moved it downstairs and addressed a leak in our washing machine, which has been covering the floor in water for the past couple of weeks. I’d looked over all the attachments and found nothing wrong, so I bought a water tray and set it up underneath the washer partially as insurance and partially to see if the leak was under the washer or somewhere else. My hunch paid off when Jen reported a new leak this afternoon, so I pulled the drain hose off and checked it out: a leak at the low point squirted water out into the sink. $15 and a trip to the store fixed that right up; the TV sat on the workbench and kept me up to date on Giants/Cowboys. Not bad for less than $20.
We’re currently experiencing that wonderful synchronicity homeowners enjoy when lots of little things start failing all at the same time, leading to repair bills and irritation.
- Aforementioned washer woes.
- The work sink in the basement backed up last week after a load of laundry and took most of the night to drain itself; we called Roto-Rooter and they sent a guy out who wanted to charge me an absurd number to snake it. Having already phoned a guy who quoted me less than half that price to do it later that afternoon, I got R-R to match that price and he cleaned it to the sewer line. This is not the first time we’ve had this problem, and I expect we’ll have to call someone else in another fifteen years.
- We’ve run the downstairs air conditioner, a monster 18,000 BTU unit, out of one of the dining room windows, for the better part of 10 years. The plug it was attached to had been original to the house until some investigation revealed it was poorly jumped from a different line—some asshat had cut insulation off a different circuit and taped two wires around it to bring power to the plug instead of adding a junction box the way they should have. We ran it this way for several years, risking certain incineration, before we found it and had an electrician fix it. Yesterday the plug decided it would quit completely, and when I put a tester on it, the readings made no sense—It indicated open neutral under no load. When I plugged in a fan. and turned it on, the tester then indicated hot-ground reverse, which is Not Good. So, we moved the AC unit into the living room and called another electrician.
- The refrigerator, which is only two years old, is struggling to keep up with the Maryland humidity. Part of that is due to the A/C being off and the upstairs windows being open for most of the morning. Part of it is because it’s been sitting in the old coat closet with the door closed, which doesn’t help ventilate it. Part of it could be because we haven’t replaced the air filter yet. This is not our first rodeo with balky refrigerators, so I tend to believe it’s something to do with the location or operator error. I took the door off the closet to see if that helped, but it looks like we’ve got to call somebody to look at it.
There’s a special evening scheduled at our pool for immunocompromised swimmers tonight, and I am sure as fuck going for a swim.
As of today, we are at 525 CDs completed, for a total of 145GB of data. The second carousel wasn’t as full as the first—maybe 300 of 400 slots were full—so the final number should be somewhere in the 6-700 range. There are a bunch I haven’t ripped, like the ones I digitized for Rob back in the day, where I’ll substitute clean copies from my discs instead. There are a few others that came from other folks that I don’t have the originals for.
© 2022 Bill Dugan