Saturday, September 3, 2011

Raffle Winner and Is It the Heat?

The winner of my August Giveway is my friend Ali J.  She is the new owner of a personally signed copy of my chapbook Familia.  Ali was also the very first person to follow this blog, so her raffle win is a nice little tit for tat.  If you’d like to buy a copy of my book instead of waiting for the next raffle, get in touch, or you can follow this blog (blue button on the left sidebar) or subscribe via e-mail (top of right sidebar) and you’ll be automatically entered next time.

Lately, lots of things we own have been breaking.  Maybe it’s the month of 100°+ temperatures, or maybe it’s because most of our stuff is eight years old (we bought a lot of things after we married).  My youngest brother worked for Sears while he attended college, and he tells me most things are made to last seven years or less; I guess we are lucky some of our stuff made it to year eight.  Several things, however didn’t last nearly that long.

Fourteen months ago, we bought a new sofa with reclining seats and two additional reclining chairs for the living room.  This week, the handle for one of the sofa recliners broke, and it wouldn’t recline.  The warranty was good for a year.  My husband has fixed it, but we’re not sure this fix is going to hold.

Last week, while I was having the oil changed and tires rotated for the car I drive, the dealership told me one of the tires was worn and needed replacing.  Sure enough, it’s got uneven wear and won’t last much longer.  Six months ago, we suspected the front end alignment was off and had it corrected.  Apparently, that alignment went off again, but of course the warranty on that adjustment only lasted ninety days.  So, now we need another alignment adjustment and a couple of new tires.

Earlier in the summer, our water dispenser stopped heating water.  We’ve had this convenience for eight years and have gotten used to instant hot water.  I’d forgotten how long it can take water to boil, until the dispenser broke.  So, we bought a newer version of the same model and two days later, that one also stopped heating water!  Next, we bought a different brand, but this one doesn’t always close its valve completely and sometimes drips between uses.  We haven’t returned it because we aren’t sure we’d be able get anything better.

The step for our kitchen trash can was the next thing to break, losing its lifting power little by little, until the step came loose completely.  My husband tried to glue it back on, but that didn’t work.  At least we can still lift the trash can lid manually, so this particular item will continue to be useful well into its eighth year.  My husband keeps reminding me that it was a very expensive trash can (it’s stainless steel), so hopefully, it will last a while longer.

The dryer knob broke a few weeks ago.  This appliance is also eight years old, and my husband has already tightened a loose drum screw twice.  It still dries the clothes, but since the knob won’t turn, it doesn’t shut itself off anymore.  No more putting a load of while t-shirts, underwear, and socks to dry on my way out of the house.  I’m not that diligent about remembering to check a load even when I’m home, so we have a repair appointment scheduled; hopefully nothing will catch fire before then!

Last weekend, we took advantage of the car seat trade-in event at ToysRUs and bought a new, larger capacity car seat that converts to a booster for our oldest daughter.  I wanted a seat that kept her in a five-point harness for longer than forty pounds, and the original convertible car seat we bought for her that her sister was using was more than six years old (retirement age for car seats).  We found exactly what we needed: a seat with a five-point harness up to 65 pounds that can be used as a booster with the car’s seat belt after that.  FYI: even bigger kids are safer in a harness than in a booster seat; car seat belts can unbuckle during a crash.  Most harness seats only go up to forty pounds, or convert to using the car seat belt after that weight, but more and more choices are becoming available that use a harness to 65 pounds.  

The one we bought has an adjustable head rest that also adjusts the harness straps as you pull it up so they are at or above the shoulders, as they need to be.  However, this head rest does not stay locked in position; when our daughter is not sitting in the seat, it slides down to the bottom, clicking as it goes.  An annoyance, for sure.  I haven’t yet decided if we are going to trade it for another one of the same model or just live with having to adjust it all the time.

By the way, the ToysRUs trade-in event includes strollers, cribs, high chairs, swings and lots of other stuff.  You can mix and match what you trade and what you buy, getting 25% off new items until September 18.  Info here.

One more appliance story.  Eleven months ago, we bought a new dishwasher.  Early in the summer, it started acting up.  Sometimes, the detergent dispenser doesn’t open up at all, or opens later than it should, and it finishes with clumps of detergent still in the dispenser, or splattered over some of the dishes.  A couple of times, the buttons have locked up and we couldn’t get it to start the cycle for several hours.  Another time, it kept turning itself off before the cycle was finished.  Other than all this, it’s working well most of the time; at least we bought the extended warranty so we won’t have to pay for future repairs.  All this home maintenance is getting expensive!

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