Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Washing Machine From Hell

I'm in my domestic goddess mode this morning given that my laundry room is overflowing out into the hallway. In my house the laundry is never ending. So I need machines that will get the job done for me. I've noticed that they just don't build washing machines like they used to. Does anyone else out there agree?

I'm a year into my second washing machine in my new house; my first one gave out after a mere 7 years of abuse. In my last house (circa early 1970s) the Whirlpool in the basement was easily 25 years old before I had to replace it. For starters I think it's absurd that I needed to replace my washing machine. It only lasted 7 years! Can you imaging how many new washing machines are sitting out there on the junk pile?!

I really wish I could have gotten a few more years out of my old top-loader because my new LG front-loader really is an expensive piece of junk. This new washer claimed it was energy efficient, water saving, and environmentally friendly. NOT! It wastes water, electricity, and it literally stinks when not in use. This washer spins so fast and so hard that my lights are shaking and the floor is rattling. Great, it's doing it's job. That's what one would like to think. No, it's actually adding lovely dark black streaks onto all of my whites from the disgusting rubber liner/sealer at the edge of the door. The same rubber sealer that creates the huge stink and still leaks water onto the floor.

My new LG washing machine is creating hours more work. You can probably guess just how much I love this! By adding fresh and nasty stains to my so-called "clean" laundry, the washer is effectively using more detergent (and bleach and stain remover), wasting more water because it takes at least two more rounds to remove the new stains, and requiring more drying time in the dryer. Isn't this machine supposed to make less work and be earth friendly? I think that whoever is designing these washing machines had better go back to the drawing board. 

I found it very odd that a new washing machine would add dark streaks to clothes and towels and leak water all over the floor. I did what anyone else would do. Call up Sears and send out the repairman while it's still under warranty. I was informed that this was normal. Normal! REALLY! Best of all, it was user error. (Me being the user.) This prompted a 20 minute lesson on how to load, clean, and use this machine. All of this instruction was thankfully at no charge. Who knew that you needed a tutorial to run a load of whites?

So if you are in the market for a new front-loader washing machine, don't buy one. Look everywhere for one of the traditional machines. As for the washing machine lessons, they helped a bit but my washer still likes to surprise me by making my laundry dirtier than when I put it in for a wash. Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a laundress.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

My 8-Year Old Addict

I hate to admit it, but my son is an addict at age 8. What's his addiction? Screens. Any type of screen: computer, TV, iPod, DVD player in the car, my smart phone, Nintendo DS, camera. Nothing else quite compares to a screen in Jack's world.

I realize that I am partly to blame for this addiction. It's super easy to just let him watch one more show, finish up that video game, or play a game on my phone. He's the youngest and has spent far too much time waiting on his older sister and brother as well as waiting on parents who have gotten busy with work or chores or helping one of his sibling's with homework. To help pass the time, enter the screen. He goes to incredible lengths to find a screen. Any screen will do. I'm beginning to think that he would even watch a test pattern.

Now that he's 8 years old, he's become really sneaky about his screens. He will tell me he's reading in his room but he's secretly watching The Simpson's on his iPod. My Android phone will open up to a slew of odd, but distinctively Jack, photos that he took while I thought he was watching his brother's football game. The game Angry Birds, which mysteriously appeared on my phone one day, is Jack's other calling card. He begs to watch a Tom & Jerry DVD on a 10-minute car. When I return home from dropping one of Jack's siblings at a practice, the television in the kitchen will be blaring Phineas and Ferb, but no one is in sight. Just a trail of Goldfish cracker crumbs on the floor leading down the stairs. Hmmm...I wonder who was here?

But now that school has started, Jack has been forced to curtail his screen addiction, having to sit in his 3rd grade classroom all day. Much to Jack's disappointment, the X-Box disappears during the school week. Whatever will Jack do to fill his time? Thankfully his amazing teacher has introduced him to something better—silent reading time. It's now his favorite time of the day. Okay he is reading The Monster from the Black Lagoon series but at least he's reading, and it's holding his attention! Better than being a TV-head.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Astronomical Meds

Has anyone else out there experienced this phenomena or is it just me? The cost of my prescription drugs has skyrocketed in the past year! I'm talking blatantly unaffordable prescription drugs. I've just gotten off of the phone to order my asthma meds and promptly hung up when I heard the latest cost for a 90 day supply of Singulair. It's now $432! And that's WITH my insurance. (If you can even call it insurance.) Excuse me, but who can afford that?

I've already discovered that I don't need the full dose, so I split the pill in half. My body has adjusted, and I'm saving money. Believe me, I've tried to split it into quarters but that task is nearly impossible, and my lungs need a bit more than a quarter of a Singulair tablet each day.

I literally cannot afford my asthma anymore. Given that I'm self-employed and don't qualify for a "group" insurance pool, I pay roughly 80% of my health care costs. This is on top of a hefty premium that will bump up by 25% in the coming weeks. Excuse me, but what am I paying for? Everyone else's health care I think. I'm seriously thinking of switching to a catastrophic plan. It would be cheaper, and I could bank the savings in a medical savings account.

I could understand if my premiums were raised because I had recently had a terrible bout of something or undergone some sort of major surgery. Nope, nothing like that. I eat right and work out to help keep healthy and away from the doctor's office. What do I get in return? Massive hikes in my meds and a huge premium hit.

This unreasonable price-hike is totally unfair! Why should I be penalized for my healthy lifestyle and trying to control my asthma through exercise? I almost hate to find out what my allergy meds will run me this month. I'd rather not compromise my health to save money, but the pharmaceutical companies don't leave me much of a choice. No wonder Americans are so upset about the rising costs of health care. I think I'm joining the masses.