Category Archives: appliances

I Do This — Do You?

I buy used durable goods, like blankets.  We have quite a few blankets, almost none of which were bought new. A few were, one’s an heirloom, but more were bought used, especially the wool ones. I love wool blankets, and even used they’re rarely cheap!

So, buying a blanket with moth holes, or missing its binding, is not new for me. I’d rather pile them on the bed and just enjoy the warmth, than be bent out of shape because I can’t find the perfect piece.

I was thinking about this because I’d just looked at a few sites pushing the idea of buying something only once. That by buying quality items, then the inevitable replacement isn’t necessary. I like the idea, and as I was going through the blankets today I was thinking about it:

  • Two of the blankets I bought new in 1984. They were replacements of two blankets I’d bought the year before and had taken to the dry cleaners, which burned down before I got them back. The plastic carrier for one of them has split and was put into the trash today. I can store both of them in the other carrier when I put them away next spring.
  • Two LL Bean Polartec blankets we bought shortly after we got here. They’re over 20 years old. The used-to-be-feral kitty loves Polartec, all happy claw kneading and deafening purrs, so whichever one we aren’t using is her current bed.
  • We have a hand-quilted matelese piece which is literally falling apart. This is one of those supremely comfortable pieces you fight the guy to get rid of. We got it at auction about 10 years ago.
  • We have another hand-quilted blanket which DH’s grandmother made. (She made enough quilts for all the grandchildren.) It’s starting to wear, but we’ve had it 30+ years now.
  • There are 3 wool blankets, (white, pink, green) with moth holes. I got these at a church sale on the seacoast 6 years ago. I intend to actually felt these this year, somehow that just hasn’t gotten done.
  • Finally, there’s a plaid wool blanket I got last year from an antique store. It’s nearly the same colors as the 3 wool blankets from the church sale. I felted it right after I got it. Works fine.

The first blankets weren’t cheap, but we’ve had them 30 years, so how much is that? I don’t remember how much the Polartec blankets were, but they’re weren’t cheap either. The others were all cheaper and bought second hand.

Buying used stuff makes it harder to get matchy-matchy if that’s what you want (not my thing).

I have 4 duvet covers, which is quite a lot for just one bed, ‘eh?

We bought one this year and it wasn’t cheap, but we’ve been looking at buying linen sheets. We want to stop buying sheets for at least 5 years. [Buying used sheets is a crapshoot. You get something wonderful which lasts every now and then, or you get a sheet you put your feet through the second time you use it.]

Sheets are insanely expensive for what they are. Okay. If I’m going to have to spend premium money, I want premium goods which won’t need to be replaced in two years! So, we got a duvet with linen content, as a test. Without a quilt in it, we used it as a top sheet this summer to see if we hated the feel of the fabric (No.) We plan to use it as a regular duvet cover this winter.

Two of the duvet covers are home made (not by me) from sheets. I got these used, somewhere, don’t know when. I don’t use them as duvet covers, but heavy pieces of cloth over veggies in the car on the way back from the farm, to haul laundry, etc.

The last duvet cover is a fancy Umbra one we got at BB& B, on last markdown, about 9 years ago. It’s spring green and I break it out mid-winter when I’m completely sick of white, mud brown, black, gray, drab and other grim wintery colors. Combating those winter blues!

So I buy a few premium new pieces and keep them for decades, or buy good used things — and keep them for decades. I’d love to have the $ to just go out and buy premium stuff if I wanted to, but I’d miss the hunt and satisfaction I get from knowing I’ve paid little for something which will help me be a happy non-consumer.

One reason I went through the linen collection this week was to determine WHEN I need to start worrying about buying sheets? When we do, I’ll go looking for linen content, but in the meantime, what we have should last another year or more. The same is true of duvet covers and blankets.

We have one bedspread. I will probably sell it. The duvet covers work just fine.

 

Advertisements

Going Down for the 3rd Time

I can’t do this.

No matter how much stuff I get rid of, there’s more. No matter how many books I get rid of (and I’ve been doing that for 13 years now, ‘eh?) there are still more.

It will never end.

I have (literally) gotten rid of 1,000s of items. And I’ve done it for years. I’m still drowning in stuff.

See? I can’t do this. It will never end.

The old storage unit still has stuff in it. I don’t have anywhere to put it. I don’t know what to do, donate boxes to Salvation Army tomorrow I guess. I have a bookcase in the old unit which came from S.A., I can donate it back. The library is taking books again. But that’s one piece of furniture, there’s at least 3. One of which has to come home (no room for it either). There’s about 25 boxes of books, maybe more still in the old unit. I have given away books every-single-day for the past 3 weeks. EVERY day. As few as 3 and as many as 3 boxes at once.

drowning

This isn’t quite as bad as figuring out I couldn’t beat the PTSD (or whatever it was, before I •knew* what it was) by just being stubborn and being willing to work at it, for 42 years to diagnosis, 50+ for most of the rest of it. So, the last piece, the very last piece is this stupid, neverending purge o’ crap, which believe it or not hurts on occasion, and is terrifying on occasion too. I do better and worse and I’ve kept going. I have been determined that I’d win — at least this battle.

But I think the abuser won instead? Can I just blow my brains out? (No gun.) You can bury me under a pile of books and papers and put on the headstone: she never actually accomplished anything and couldn’t finish anything, except her life. I really have no desire to commit suicide, but if suicide is the absence of pain, yes, that I DO want! How squishy does your brain have to be from beating it into the wall before you just give up?

Maybe the abuser was right after all? There just is something “not right” about me. I can’t do things.

Or maybe I’m just discouraged? I wonder why! And I suppose that tomorrow will be different. One of my largest life lessons was that I learned to “skate” when things are bad. Just let it go and don’t do anything permanent or dramatic: don’t break up a relationship, don’t hurt yourself, don’t drink & drive. Just find an emotional rabbit hole (for me that’s a book) and jump in, and hope you keep falling — at least until tomorrow. And tomorrow? Tomorrow you may find your life is completely different?

It usually is.

Let’s see, tomorrow starts in three hours. Can’t be here soon enough!

J

Note: Tomorrow, having come, isn’t perfect, but I’m not as overwhelmed as I was yesterday. Of course I didn’t sleep well, which never helps, but it is what it is.

Minimalism in Food Storage: refrigerator & freezer space

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/the-huge-chill-why-are-american-refrigerators-so-big/280275/

Because our big fridge broke earlier this year, we’ve learned to live with a 10 instead of 18 foot fridge. Having one copy of the 18′ refrigerator die three months or so after we bought it, we don’t have a lot of faith this one will keep working for long, after these repairs. We’re planning to replace it in the next year. We think we’ll buy a small, 8 foot or less fridge and perhaps a 10 foot or so convertible fridge/freezer.

We get produce from a farm, 6 months a year. The idea has always been that we’ll put aside food during the months we get farm food to help feed us the other 6 months. So our need for fresh and frozen food storage varies hugely.

The used commercial freezer we bought this year works, not as well as we’d like, and it’s a dedicated freezer. It should be nearly empty by winter’s end.

We have decided on counter depth units, as they’re shallower; there’s less space for food to “hide.”

We’re working on our minimalism. This includes making the best use of the farm food, something we haven’t managed.

  • The first year I had no idea how much food we’d get.
  • The second I tried but got overwhelmed.
  • This year I managed at the beginning of the season, but the fridge dying being fixed then dying and being fixed again and other factors made it impossible.

In the meantime, our 18′ 4 year-old fridge/freezer is working again and we’ll use it.

I like the idea of the underground fridge thing, but I think it would likely be expensive and impractical here. (Look for underground refrigerator, it’s a plastic bubble which is buried, with a walkway out of it.) I want a California closet (Not the brand of closet organizers but a form of unpowered food storage.). I would love a root cellar, but that’s not practical here.

We’ll see!

 

Recharge?

Okay, the week has gotten to me. The “it’s never going to be done”paint job is getting to me. My work situation has become more complicated, in the way that my colleague complicates things, again. And I’m weary of the apparently never-ending, never finished overwhelming things which need to be done.

And we added one: our 2nd batch of wood was delivered this a.m. Certainly, it beats freezing this winter, but we hadn’t, because it has been so hot and sticky, dealt with the 1st cord, mostly. Now we have a 2nd to deal with — and we need at least one more, 2 by preference and there will be nowhere to put those until we deal with these.

Re the fridge? We went shopping again yesterday and codified our planning. The tech was here yesterday, talked to KA about the fridge and they’re shipping him a part. (This is identical to what happened with the 1st fridge btw.) Assuming he can recharge the system, then it should work. But whether it will work for 3 days or 3 years is unknown. So. . . our short term plan is to use the small fridge we have, buy another big cooler (just in case) and hope for the best. The midrange plan is that AFTER the new roof goes on, next month, we start saving for a new convertible fridge/freezer. We plug it in as a freezer and sell the smaller commercial freezer. If the fridge continues to work? Great. If not, we convert the dedicated fridge/freezer to a fridge and probably go buy another freezer or maybe another convertible. Dedicated freezers are a lot cheaper than fridges. A convertible fridge/freezer although the insulation and compressor have to be beefed up are basically much simpler than the (fragile?) high-tech fridges. Hopefully this means they’ll work for 10 years at least instead of 4 or 5.

The interior staircase wall I worked on yesterday is gorgeous by comparison to when I started, it is no longer filthy, and marked with various wear.

I have 2 tasks today. 1) Clear the section of the kitchen where we plan to move the fridge. 2) Start moving things away from the other side of that wall, the kitchen wall, so I can clean and spackle it. It’s the only piece of the living room’s walls which haven’t been done!

And of course, there’s laundry and dishes and various horizontal surfaces to clear: kitchen counters and the dining room table being the most urgent. The dishes, laundry, counters and table are the things which almost always need work, sigh.

 

An Adventure & Cooler Reviews

I was on my way up the stairs, decided I’d grab the sanding block. Got to the entry  — oh that spot just there– over my head, just.

Got wallboard dust in my eyes. Wound up doing an emergency visit to the eye doctor. This was annoying because I’ve been, in the weeks we’ve been working on the living room very diligent about standing to one side, not sanding things I’m looking up to, etc. Except this one time. The doc’s assistant says it’s that way for pros too, they see people who just don’t think about things like this, but if you do, it’s the one time you don’t take precautions. . . . So now I have safety glasses and I didn’t get much done yesterday on the home front; because I was gone!

I also paid the storage, tried to go to one of my fave thrift shops (in a basement, got flooded in our torrential rain the other night) and went to the two antique shops and a consignment shop. In front of the consignment shop was an old zinc wall ice box. If it had been < $100 I would have bought it, just to use as that California closet, eh? It wasn’t. I did call DH and rib him that I’d found our new fridge. (He wasn’t real amused.) It looked a bit like this, except no wood.

old wood ice box

 

No news on the refrigerator saga, except we tossed more produce on the compost heap last night when DH refreshed the ice. We have learned a few things: If you’re going to buy a styro cooler, buy one where the lid seats to the body, like this:

lifoam huskee cooler

We have one of this line (huskee), works best of the three lifoam chests we now own.

The one which works the least well has plastic clips which hold the lid down. Like this:

0415187a-eddf-472f-9794-9f213014c257_1.016f569ea019ba3d3ea7a50eb3409654

So, simpler is better. We have a thinner walled plain chest too. That isn’t quite as good as the “Huskee” like the first one shown, but works better than the one with the plastic clips.

 

Decisions

Assuming the fridge is dead, what do we do?

I’d like to go low-tech, no-tech, but DH won’t, so, a decision had to be made. After much discussion and looking at big box stores and our local used appliance place (great deals, if you want to spend that much — I don’t.) we decided on a dedicated fridge as opposed to a fridge/freezer combo. Much cheaper. Eliminates the ice maker we don’t use. (Did you know if you buy a side by side fridge WITHOUT the ice maker it’s more expensive than one with it?)

I’m willing to spend big bucks (the approx $2,000 we spent for the fridge we own) for something which was the “last” such item purchased in our lifetime. I’m not willing to spend that much if I have to replace it every 5 years. Energy efficient, stainless, etc. be damned. I’m not a good “consumer” I guess. I should have leapt at the $3,000 fridges for $1,000 I saw at the used appliance place, but didn’t. I love the shelves and bins in my current fridge, but I’m not willing to spend $1,000 or more for something similar, if I have to do it again in 5 years. No. (And you know? we already OWN the bins and shelves in the current fridge, I may repurpose them.)

This is the same sort of thing which happened with the furnace. I get mad and drop out. The older I get the more ornery I get and less willing I am to put up with badly made crap and corporate greed.

Your “lifetime” warranty is only good for 20 years? Even though we’re the original purchaser? Fine. I’ll go low tech instead — and if I do buy something new?

I’ll do much research. I won’t count on your machine working except as a backup for my low tech. And that is part of what I’ll do with the new fridge

Fall’s coming and with the house in the state it is, we can’t afford another project. But over the fall and winter I will plan our new pantry and kitchen, I was supposed to anyway. I will include a California closet. Or maybe I’ll get a metal worker to make me one for a window. The Victorians used a metal “bread box” hanging out a window, like a window air conditioner as a small “ice box” in winter.

Hmm. I wonder if you could use an old air conditioner shell . . . ?

I came home yesterday having delivered the merchandise to the new antique store and found DH priming the remaining trim in the hall! 😀

Started Calling

It ends up that the place which sold/serviced the first fridge doesn’t come to our town any more.

Just left a message for the 2nd guy.

It occurred to me that we may be screwed a different way this time — no one will come and service the thing. One of the “local” people (who I left a message for) is one guy and an answering machine. If they gave him a hard time about his bill last time, then I bet he’ll never call me back.

Without someone authorized to evaluate the problem, we have no way to file a claim for the 5 years parts/labor the warranty says we have.

Gotcha!

10:20am: the local guy just left. Says yes, we have a problem, not sure what it is exactly. Needs some more documentation. Apparently, KA stopped making this machine because it had too many issues — surprise, surprise!