They only last 5 Years

This post is about your everyday household major appliances. What you bought way back when that worked fine for years (and years) vs what you were forced to replace it with when “ol’ trusty” finally gave up the ghost. Unfortunately, my wonderful wife and I had to go through this very same thing, replacing 2 major appliances and 1 could-be-considered a major appliance and all within a 2 year span of time.

The washing machine

Okay, once upon a time…

There was this washing machine, a top loader Kenmore, bought  new sometime around 25 years ago. It worked wonderfully, never once failing to do the job right up until last year when it simply refused to do anything at all. Just died all at once. Alright, inconvenient but not unexpected. After all, 25 years of good steady service out of a washing machine is more than acceptable.

So we wandered up to our local Sears outlet and ended up buying a fancy front loading machine with all the bells and whistles to replace “ol’ reliable to the tune of around $700 marked down from $900 or so (what a bargain). Prices on washing machines have sure gone up. Still, it had an excellent rating and all that.

But it will probably only last 5 years.

That’s what the tech told us when it was being installed. “Yeah, don’t expect the electronics in this thing to last more than 5 years”, he said. “These are what you call throw away items”.

Ah, great. We just spent $700, marked down from $900, on a “throw away item” that will typically only last 5 years.

Right. On then.

The hot water heater

Once upon a time…

There was this power vented, gas fired, hot water heater (the kind where the exhaust can’t be piped into a chimney so it requires a blower and it’s own exhaust pipe to the outside) that was lurking in the corner of the utility room of our house when we bought it. I don’t know how old this thing was but the tech we had in to replace the pilot mechanism one year asked us where we got the museum piece from. Apparently this particular hot water heater was built back around 100 years ago? Well, at least 30.

I tried to drain the sludge off the bottom of it a few months ago and when nothing came out, not even water, I decided to have it replaced there and then before the bottom gave way entirely.

In comes the new power vented gas fired hot water heater with a price tag of $1700 (installed) instead of the usual $700 (installed) for the non-power vented type and the old one was carted off while I wept silently cuddling my checkbook to my chest. But before the “installation expert” left, who had basically stood around criticizing the two techs that were actually installing the thing, I asked him how long these new fangled, electronicized, computerized water heaters lasted these days. His reply?

“Well, don’t expect the electronics to last more than 5 years”, he said. At least he didn’t say it was a throw away item?


The microwave

Once upon a time…again…

So maybe a microwave doesn’t qualify as a major appliance in this day and age but considering the microwave we recently replaced was built sometime around 1978 (Amana Radar Range), it most definitely qualified as “major” back then. Hence the inclusion in this post. It was also huge-ish and it had to be replaced with one that was just as huge-ish.

And just for the record, the old Amana had given good reliable service for 38 years before it went up to the great radar range in the sky.

So again we meandered up to our local Sears outlet…*

*Look, we live in a little town in Vermont near the Canadian border, which has the all-out audacity to call itself a city, that has anything you’ll ever need as long as it’s groceries, over priced cars and trucks, farming equipment and accessories and little else. All priced at what the market will bear–which is as much as they can get away with. Except our little Sears outlet. Now where was I?

…in hopes of finding another huge-ish microwave (and we tend to use every inch of that hugeness) with a price tag that wouldn’t force us to limit the groceries we needed to buy that week. In short, we found one with the same huge-ish dimensions as our antique had priced around $250. And this time we could damn well install it ourselves.

But while our usual Sears rep showed us the various microwaves available and the pros and cons of each, he also included what seems to be the standard disclaimer that comes with any modern consumer type appliance that could possibly contain a microchip. When asked what the approximate life span of these new microwaves were he responded:

“Well, these are basically throw away items these days so I wouldn’t expect them to last more than 5 years.”

And so…

So now we’ve had to replace just shy $3000 worth of appliances that, according to those that sell and/or install them,  will only last 5 years before we have to either fix or replace them. Really?

I started thinking that the old USA had become nothing but a “throw-away society” quite a few years back but I never thought it would go this far or become this expensive. What’s really bothering me now is that my low-mileage new-ish car which replaced my old high-mileage one has several on-board computers and electronic gadgets installed in it including electronically controlled steering, brakes and and accelerator.

And it’s already 2 years old! That only leaves 3 years left before everything craps out. At least that’s according to what I’ve been recently told about anything that contains any sort of electronics.

So can anyone tell me how long a horse lasts?


Best Laid Plans

Does anything ever go as planned–ever? No, they don’t, which is why I’ve spent the majority of my adult life not making any plans at all. At least not past the point of, ‘I’m going to go shopping tomorrow because I’m on my last cracker and the cheese is gone’, type of thing. Any more effort applied to “firming up” up of said plans (like actually planning a schedule of events for the day) is a complete waste of time.

There’s a number of things that have to be done before the summer is out. There’s 165 feet of hedge to finish trimming, a few cords of firewood to move into the woodshed yet, the ever present mowing, and writing something on this blog that I, in my infinite lack of wisdom, decided to revive from hibernation recently. Okay, no problem.


First, I woke up one morning about a week ago sick as a dog and it wasn’t some 24 hour thing either. More of a week long thing you might say of which I’m still recovering from. I hate long-in tooth diseases don’t you?

Second? Well, it has something to do with a “neighbor-turned-rabid” that has been giving my wife and I no end of trouble for the past year or so. And I really can’t say any more about the situation since it isn’t resolved–yet. Suffice it to say that being sick and dealing with the damn situation hasn’t left me in the best of moods and, as much I would like to, I can’t be bashing this neighbor here on the blog for all the public to see. Something to do with slander or is it libel? I forget.

Third. Well it seems I’ve forgotten what the third thing was but I’m sure it was time consuming and really annoying as well.

So everything I planned to do have been pushed back a week or so and that too is annoying me. What I really don’t understand is why a man like myself, who was fortunate enough early on to understand that making anything but the the loosest of plans was absolutely futile, becomes so annoyed when the plans he didn’t actually make don’t happen.

I think I’ll have to make a plan to learn how not to get so annoyed when my plans fall through. The plans I don’t make that is.


No such thing as online

Why is “online” not a word? This is something I’ve been pondering for quite awhile now ever since every spell checker incorporated in every applicable program and browser has been telling me that “online” is not actually a word for many years now. I’ve also ignored this for many years now.

It seems to me that I’ve been “online” ever since something called the “Internet” first came into being. And later the term became even more widely known with the advent of the World Wide Web so it appears I’ve been “online” or, to be more spell-checking accurate, I’ve not been “online” since the 90’s

So this morning, despite the fact I was feeling rather horrible and minus my second cup of coffee, I decided to look into this and appears now that I’ve actually been “on line” or “on-line” all these years even though every single person I know, either personally or “online” (Ha!), spells it the way I do. Perhaps it’s time to add this poor neglected term to a dictionary somewhere?

Now you might think that this is a rather frivolous or downright silly subject to be writing about and I probably wouldn’t blame you however, as I said, I’m feeling rather horrible and I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet. Also, it’s my old blog and I’ll write whatever I want? Well, something like that anyway.

So happy day everyone and remember…

…you’re not really online.

The Land of Confusion

Yup, it’s 2016 and there’s just so much to complain talk about that I had to drag this old blog of mine out of hibernation. I couldn’t help it–it’s truly become the land of confusion around here and it just bears whining writing about it. Aside from that I pretty much promised a good friend and fellow blogger that I’d start writing again and I couldn’t very well disappoint him now could I?

Now, before I begin (again) on this newest chapter in my blogging life I would like to direct everyone’s attention to the topmost entry in my sidebar. Please read it since it’s important that those who visit here and actually reads something that they understand my situation. I put that up when I took a break from writing and you can bet it still applies so please don’t expect a post a day since I doubt I could keep that up.

Everybody done reading that little blurb? Good. That’s taken care of.

So what confuses this 57 year old disabled vet these days? Here’s a very few that irk me to no end:

  • People
  • Politics
  • Global warming (and those who deny it)
  • The return of the Flat Earthers (really?)
  • Any device that begins with the word “smart”.
  • Texting (’nuff said for now)
  • Clinton and Trump (and those who would actually vote for either one of them).
  • Transgender bathrooms
  • People
  • Much much more

Did I list “people” twice? Yes I did because when it comes right down to it it’s people who confuse me the most. My whole impromptu list boils down to people, our society, how we act these days and what we’ve become or, more to the point, what we’ve appeared to devolve into. And this comes from someone who actually likes people and always practices the seemingly lost art of common courtesy and gives anyone the benefit of the doubt until they prove they don’t deserve it.

And those who prove they don’t used to be few and far between and now? It’s more than obvious they seem to be on the rise. Doesn’t anyone think before they speak anymore? Seems not.

So, out comes the virtual pen once again. I figure this old blog has been around for the last 10+ years and I keep it well maintained despite the lack of posts so why not use it? Blogging may be not the forefront of online social activity any longer but there’s still a few of us around. Probably more than a few.

On the road again…

Note: Comment moderation for new commenters is enabled. Hopefully those who have commented here before haven’t been forgotten by the main computer core. For the new folks, I’ll drag your comments out of moderation as soon as possible.

Howls and Bollix

I was banging around the Google News today as I usually do every day and what to my wondering eyes does appear in the Google News “Science” section? This does:

Howler Monkeys With Loud Manly Calls Are Not As Well Endowed, Study Finds

Yes indeed ladies and gentlemen, apparently it finally proves once and for all what’s been said about loud, large aggressive male types for decades. The article even included a video but I really didn’t dare watch it. And this particular article was not only ranked important enough, by some sort of Google News server farm algorithm, to grace the “Science” news section but it also had top billing as well.

Basically it boils down to this–the louder the howl, the smaller the balls. Yup, that’s what this recent study proved. No more, no less. Perhaps that’s why they howl so loud?

This brings to mind a couple questions:

Why, exactly, have a team of researchers been studying howler monkey balls in the first place and…

…why is this important?

It probably has something to do with evolution, procreation and loud guys with really huge vehicles–who knows? Even more to the point, who cares? We’ve have more important things to deal with don’t we? Like Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest (oh my) and when does the latest iPhone come out?

Alright, alright, it probably is important. Or at least important enough to study in order to contribute to the continuing quest of understanding our own species and all that but for myself? I could have done quite well without the knowledge.

Anyway, back to finish out the “Science” section for the day and perhaps I’ll find some other important “breaking news” in the world of scientific study that people really need to know about.

Like this for instance:

Human fist may have evolved for punching out other guy

Ah, jeez…

Nothing came to mind

I’ve been sitting in front of my display staring into an empty sheet of cyber-paper, fingers trembling above my keyboard in literary anticipation and…

…nothing came to mind.

So much for trembling fingers, anticipation or not.

It’s not as if there hasn’t been things happening in my life worth writing about (there most certainly has been), it’s the annoying fact that these happenings of late are not the kind of events that I should really write about. Not unless I wish to make these events worse than they already are.

Very ironic. Lot’s of stuff to write about but not the kind of stuff I can write about. Unfortunately, everything else going on pales in comparison to the equivalent of putting gas into my car. Not exactly fodder for the masses (all 5 of them).

And, of course, these events that I can’t write about involve people. What else?

The problem that occurs is that these people I refer to can most likely read or at least I assume so. Actual comprehension is another matter. Now I could be completely wrong but I’d rather not take the chance of illiteracy on their part. Also, there’s the off chance that they actually may have stumbled upon this old blog of mine and take the time to check in once in awhile just to see if I’ve written anything concerning them. That way they could get upset about it.

So I’ll just leave it be for now.

I suppose you’d tell me, if you were sitting here with me instead of reading this from afar and actually knew what the hell I was not writing about, that this is one of those situations I’d laugh about later on. Well, that may be true but I can tell you, it would not be a wise thing to say to me at the moment. Not if you didn’t want to find yourself dangled out a 2nd story window by your feet.

So, there you have it. Sitting here in front of my display with a blank slate ready to be written upon and all these things I can’t write about–I couldn’t think of a thing to write about.

So I wrote about it.

Sheer genius if you ask me.

When Fate Intervenes

I’ve often found it strange how things come about in my life. Some things or events are actually planned insomuch as I have a vague idea of what I want to do/buy/cause-to-happen and an even vaguer idea when this thing or event should occur but, for the most part, things or events that occur in my life seem to be left in the hands of fate as it were. And since fate landed me in the good hands of my wonderful lady over 12 years ago, fate seems to have tagged along for the ride or at least assigned one of his (her?) apprentices to us for a bit of the on-the-job training.

Take for example this year (so not to bore the good reader with past examples from my long-past life…): We knew we had to replace our rather ancient (propane fired) power vented hot water heater but we didn’t know it would be quite so expensive. Pretty normal occurrence all around. But we had no clue that our trusty old washing machine, which still had the protective plastic over the control section, would simply and permanently stop working one wash day–right in the middle of the rinse cycle of course.

Now the above would also seem pretty much par-for-the-course as far as normal life events are concerned but it did have a “touch-of-fate” to it since it occurred on the same day as our local Sears store had a rare sale on a top-of-the-line front loading washing machine which put it financially within our grasp. So, to make a long story short, we bought one of these new fangled, computerized, “high efficiency”, front loaders and the laundry was finally finished and hung out to dry. It also plays music at us when we turn it on, when it’s finished and when it turns off–I’m still not sure I’m comfortable with that. At least it doesn’t talk to us?

But fate’s apprentice was not through with us yet it seemed. Shortly after the washing machine incident, I told my darling wife of a Sunday that I was going to take an hour or so and indulge myself perusing the lots of the various car dealers we have around our area. I was planning on replacing our old reliable but rusting 2003 Jeep Liberty with something a bit newer and a lot less rusty. I wasn’t intending to do anything until after September though but I tend to do 3 to 4 months of research before upgrading my vehicle. Hence going out on a Sunday when car dealers are supposed to be closed.

My criteria was fairly simple. Real 4WD, a class 2 hitch, reasonably low mileage, good condition and not rusty.

The first two dealers I hit were closed as expected but otherwise the pickings were more or less meh (Meh, good word that–perfectly describes the experience). The newer style vehicles are all pretty much meh to me these days anyway. No style, no personality and they all pretty much look alike be it sub-compact, compact, sedan, SUV or pick up truck. And what is it with the pick up trucks these days? The things are HUGE not to mention horribly expensive. And what happened to the small pick ups? I swear the so-called modern small pick up truck is as large as the 1986 Ford F150 I owned way back when.

So on to the next lot I went on my Sunday afternoon car-hunting jaunt. I cruised slowly by the lot and was about to pass it by since I didn’t see anything that caught my interest when I spotted this:

2012 Jeep LibertyOkay, so…this was interesting. Worth a look anyway and safe enough since, as I said, I wasn’t planning to replace the 2003 I was driving around in until after September and auto dealers are supposed to be closed on Sunday! Still, it was good research material. And here was where fate (or the apprentice) stepped in.

The dealer wasn’t wasn’t closed even though it gave every sign that it actually was. A young guy came out dressed in a t-short and shorts to which I stated, “You’re supposed to be closed!”, to which he immediately threw up his hands and backed away from me as if I had pulled out a gun and pointed it to his forehead. I took pity on him though and asked him the particulars of this vehicle and in short, to the point terms (no sales talk whatsoever which impressed me a bit) he did:

2012 Jeep Liberty.
18,220 miles on the odometer.
Leased for 1 year by some guy in Massachusetts.
They had just put it on the lot that weekend (late Friday afternoon).

In short, it was sitting in my driveway Monday afternoon. I got a good amount for the old 2003 (much to my surprise considering the mileage), it’s financed through the same local bank that the 2003 was and at the same payment, they swapped over my nearly new tires from the 2003 to the 2012 and I’m scheduled for a class 2 trailer hitch installation tomorrow, the price of which was included in the price of the vehicle. The price of everything and the interest on the loan was surprisingly enough, very reasonable.

But fate wasn’t done quite yet. On the Wednesday following the Monday I bought the 2012 I was back at the dealer waiting for the tires to be swapped over and I spotted a 2002 Chevy 1500 4WD “supercab” pick up truck sitting in their “yet to be inspected, cleaned and detailed” back lot. Despite the 140,000 miles on the odometer, the body and truck bed actually looked new, not a spot of rust on her. Inside the cab of course, looked like it had been driven all those miles but the wear for mileage wasn’t bad at all.

So why am I looking at a pick up truck after I bought a 2012 Jeep Liberty you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

My wife and I have a mutual friend and fellow disabled veteran who lives alone on top of a rather secluded mountain in a very nice house of her own design. In contrast to her very nice house is her only vehicle, a 1990 Chevy 1500 4WD “supercab” pick up that fell off it’s “last legs” so to speak at least two years prior. Non-inspectable, running on 7 cylinders, more rust than solid metal and still she drove it–she badly needed a new truck.

I was looking over this 2002 and immediately thought of her.

I asked the young lad who sold my my latest vehicle about this rig and it turned out it was what they call a “one owner” who took immaculate care of it including undercoating it every year. He gave me the keys, I took it for a jaunt and was very impressed with it overall. 140,000 miles is nothing for a well-kept pick up truck by the way. The trouble is that well kept high mileage pick up trucks are a rare thing these days. Usually they’re destined for the junk yard. But not this one.

It also was just traded in the previous day. What do you call that? Kismet or something? Fate intervened once again?

So, in the end, our friend is now driving around in the 2002 pick up truck instead of the rolling junk yard of the 1990 she had previously. Two vehicles that just by chance had just arrived on the same lot within a few days of each other which had just happened to be spotted by the same guy (me) who had no intention of buying anything or looking for anybody else.

And by the way, a week later I received I check for $50 from the very same dealer. A “thank you” as it were for the sale of that 2002 pick up truck. Now how about that?

All very mysterious and I’m tempted to ask, “what’s next I wonder” but then again…

…I wouldn’t want to tempt fate.

What’s in a logo?

It appears that Hillary Clinton has now officially announced her bid for president in 2016 and with that bid comes the new Hillary Clinton presidential campaign logo. It looks like this:

Hillary Clinton logoNow I’m not one to be one to be carrying on about politics, especially on this ancient blog of mine, as I’m hardly a prime example of the “political animal”. In fact, I’m more the antithesis of one since I actually believe in getting the job done instead of wasting time bickering about it and wallowing in party dogma. But this logo caught my attention simply because it’s simple, to the point (so to speak) and it bloody well stands out. Well done in my oh so humble opinion. The aforementioned reasons are probably also why the new logo has been “crowdsmashed” by social media since it came out which begs the question…

…don’t these people of the social media set have anything better to do?

It’s a rip off of the traditional hospital sign you see on roads and highways they say (uh…no).

It’s a rip off of the Wikileaks Twitter logo they say (like can you actually trademark a red arrow?).

“I could do that and better for less money” blah blah blah.

At the very least, one can say without reservation that Hillary’s new campaign logo certainly grabs instant attention which probably means it was done right. Whether it means that the presidential candidate behind the logo is as equably capable of doing the job that’s required if she does get elected remains to be seen and way too far ahead in the future to even bother considering at this point.

But that logo certainly brought out the computer chair critics now didn’t it? As for myself though…

…I prefer this one instead:

Hillary logo IWSHave a nice day all.