Thursday, January 24, 2013

Too Cool For Sub-Zero

Why won't teenage boys wear a winter coat? After a futile argument minutes before the bus arrived, I gave up and watched my son run out the door to catch his bus. I usually will agree with him and let him go to high school without a coat, but this morning the temperature was a frigid -8°. Add in the windchill and it was probably -20°. That would be Fahrenheit folks. Your exposed skin will freeze in minutes when it's that cold outside. But don't tell that to a 14-year old boy.

Here is the logic behind not wearing a coat or hat or gloves when it's below zero or even hovering at a balmy 32°:
  • I have to carry it around with me all day because I don't use my locker.
  • My coat is too bulky.
  • We cannot wear hats at school. It's against the rules.
  • No one else wears a coat.

The last point is the real reason. No one else wears a coat, and I would stand out. I'm willing to get frostbite and be incredibly cold as I walk outdoors between buildings for classes, but I must be like everyone else. It seems that if everyone else is brilliant enough not to wear a winter coat when the temperature plummets my son must follow suit. I do wonder what happens if a teenage boy were to actually wear his coat to school . . . is he ridiculed, laughed at, given dirty looks? No idea.

Teenage girls seem much more logical and are actually seen sporting a winter coat, gloves, and even boots. But not a hat. My 10-year old son even went off to the bus wearing a face mask this morning to protect his face from the wind. The dog wears his sweater outside. Although I must admit that somehow my husband did get the Freshman boy to actually wear his winter coat a few days ago when it was -35°. Maybe a father's influence carries more weight.

I cannot force him to wear his coat and hat, but I do hope that the reality of a cold wind cutting through his flimsy sweatshirt may make him rethink his choices. At least he opted for jeans instead of wearing basketball shorts.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Naive Washing Machine Owner or Lazy, Unprofessional Installers?

I'm not sure if this is a case of Sears installers making an expensive mistake or my own stupidity. It might be a combination of both. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you will remember back to my hassles and headaches surrounding a particular front load washing machine I purchased from Sears. The one that smelled nasty, left black streaks on the whites, and leaked water out of the front of the machine. To make a very long story short, Sears finally did the right thing and replaced my "lemon" washing machine free of charge with a lovely Whirlpool model that works perfectly. End of story so I thought.

To refresh your memory on where my story left off back in February 2012 see the attached link:
Overall the new top load washing machine works perfectly—it smells fresh, cleans the clothes without leaving black streaks, and keeps the water inside of the machine. Except there was always one little nagging problem. It was always hot.

The laundry room is tiny, and I noticed once the new washing machine arrived that little room turned into a steam bath when the washer was doing it's job. At the end of a cycle the clean, damp clothes were always really hot and the glass cover was always steamed up. No wanting to tempt fate or upset the washing machine gods, I resolved to solve this problem myself and not call Sears.

The hot and cold must be reversed. After inspecting the water hoses that lead to the water hook ups under the sink, the washing machine hoses were hooked up correctly. However I did not look at the hoses attached directly to the washing machine. I figured maybe it's so hot because the machine spins so fast and must generate lots of heat during the spin cycle. Happy in my own mind with this solution months passed by until this past weekend when my mother stepped in and helped with the laundry chores.

I arrived home from my son's basketball game to find my parents in the laundry room with the new washing machine pulled completely out as well as all of the treasures (read junk) that lives underneath the sink where the water hooks up. As I originally suspected and confirmed by my Dad, the hot and cold water hoses were reversed on the back of the machine. The hot was hooked up on the cold and vice versa. Eureka! That explains the constant hot water and perpetual steam. The problem was easily solved with a pliers.

So whose fault is this? Sears for installing the new washing machine incorrectly not once but THREE TIMES or mine for writing it off as a quirk of the machine. I try to wash in cold to save money and hate to think how much money I've wasted unknowingly washing clothes in hot water for an entire year! I guess that explains much of the shrinkage as well. Perhaps I should take a course in basic plumbing to prevent such a problem in the future.

As for my Sears installers friends, if you are a "professional" installer, shouldn't you know the difference between hot and cold? I would only hope that other professional washing machine installers do not reverse the hot and cold or at least take the time to test the machine before the leave a customer's house. It all boils down to customer service, which seems a relic of the past.

For the entire washing machine saga, enter in the key words "washing machine" into the Search box on this blog. All of my stories about the washing machine will unfold before you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Is This the Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy?"

Belief or disbelief. How do we know what to believe? Today's headlines illustrate that fuzzy line between the two:

Heisman Finalist Reveals Bizarre Hoax
Is Lance Armstrong the World's Biggest Liar? 
Hostage Crisis Unresolved in Algeria; New Attacks Vowed

We live and breathe the information age. Everyone is plugged in, attached to their iPhones, and tweeting or posting their thoughts and whereabouts. We tend to think that we actually do know it all because our devices enable us to get the details as they happen. Here lies the problem . . . does anyone check the facts before they put the information out there?

The media blindly believed that Manti Te'o's girlfriend died of leukemia because he was a star linebacker from Notre Dame and Heisman trophy finalist. Why would he lie? It seems that Manti Te'o even somehow convinced himself that he had a girlfriend although he had never even met the woman. This confuses me. How can you have a "boyfriend-girlfriend" relationship if you've actually never met your girlfriend? That and scheming that someone died from leukemia should not be taken lightly as leukemia is an incredibly horrible disease.

I'll not even go into the whole Lance Armstrong fiasco. He lied, everyone knew he lied, and I'm glad that Sheryl Crowe left him years ago. Armstrong is being compared with Pinocchio as his lies continue to mount. The media did uncover this story, but in a way they let Lance Armstrong climb to the peak before dropping him off the edge. Did anyone not think to question how it is humanly possible to win the Tour de France seven times in a row?!

Finally the Algerian hostage crisis, which seems as murky as the last September 11th unfortunate raid in Benghazi, Libya that killed Chris Stephens, the US Ambassador to Libya, and other Americans. Lots of random and contradictory information is trickling out today. Does anyone really know what is going on in Algeria? These news accounts do put me a bit on edge, and I feel that I don't really know what to believe anymore. 

The television networks have always given out slanted stories sometimes based on incomplete fact. Now we must contend with sources of information who have convinced themselves that their own lies and fantasies are the truth. 

Maybe we all need to take a Bohemian Rhapsody moment to put life back in perspective.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Embarking on Downton Abbey

"You've pronounced it wrong," corrected a friend. "It's DownTON Abbey, not DownTOWN Abbey!" Whoops, my Downton Abbey ignorance is showing. I've not yet journeyed into the addicting world of Downton Abbey but I've been warned that I may not surface for awhile once I venture in. I received the first two seasons of this PBS Masterpiece series for Christmas and have yet to watch a single episode. Starting in on a brand new job right before Christmas has dramatically curbed my TV watching.

I remember vaguely hearing good things about this show and then the flood of Downton Abbey posts hit Facebook over the weekend right before the third season aired on Sunday night. Being a self-proclaimed Anglophile for a variety of reasons, Downton Abbey should be a perfect replacement for that long overdue trip back to England.

I'm about to figure out what all the fuss is about. How could Downton Abbey possibly be as good as the PBS Pride and Prejudice series? Given that it is 32° and pouring down freezing rain tonight, I see a perfect opportunity for some quality Downton Abbey viewing. I promise to report back and let you know if I end up as addicted as all of my Facebook friends.