Friday, August 19, 2011

Old and New, Part 3: Oven

The long awaited oven has arrived!!

This is part 3 of a series I started a while back.  I thought I'd be publishing this post soon after the first 2, but it turned into quite a saga.

First for a little history lesson, we bought this house in September of last year, and when we bought the house, as is becoming customary with all home sales in Texas, we got a 1 year home warranty from the sellers as a part of the sale.  We've used the warranty for a couple things (electrical issue and some piping problems in the attic)

In November, our oven started doing something funny... well "annoying" is probably a better word.  It started beeping.  It would beep about once a second for 15 minutes, and then flash an error message.  Pushing buttons on the oven made it stop for a couple hours, but it would start right back up.  John called the manufacturer help line, and they said to reset the breaker.  If it did it again, we should call the home warranty.

We reset the breaker, and for several weeks, all was well.  Then, it happened again.  We were a little lazy, and we didn't want to deal with the warranty for folks for such a small nuisance.  It got to a point where it might go off once or twice a month, and we were busy with wedding planning stuff, so we just let it happen.

The original oven wasn't much to look at.  I never really liked the white and black mixture, and there was no window in the door to see how things were progressing in there without letting out heat.
By early April, the behavior changed; it would go off sometime within a 24 hour period after we used the oven.  (Not the stove thankfully, only the oven, which I use far less than the stove).  At this time though, we were very close to the wedding, and couldn't be bothered to deal with it.

When we got back from the honeymoon, the oven was one of many things we had put off to "after the wedding".  In late May, we submitted a ticket with the home warranty.  A technician was on the phone with us the next day.  Over the phone, he was able to determine that the oven's mother-board (for the digital display) was going out, and they don't make that part anymore.

We thought, "Sweet, we'll be getting a new oven", but the warranty company took their time making that final.  It was a couple weeks before they finally decided to get us a new oven.  When they did, they gave us three options, of which, straight cash was definitely the best, but also took the longest for processing.  We finally got a check for our oven in late June.

In the mean time, we'd been looking at ovens online and determined which model we wanted.  Several reviews had told us that Frigidaire was the best brand for low-end ranges (there's no reason that we need more than a low-end range).  I knew that I really wanted a coil top stove (Call me crazy, but I've had the smooth top and the coil top in the various places I've lived since I left my parent's house. The smooth tops are a lot of fuss, and unless you've got the separate stove and oven thing going on - not a range, I don't think they improve the appearance that much).  However, the majority of the market has now moved to the smooth top, so coil tops are reserved mostly for bottom of the line models in the stores.  We also wanted stainless steal with black accents because we plan to eventually replace all the aging appliances in the kitchen with nicer stainless.  Though stores don't carry nice coil tops in stock (by "nice", I mean just not the very bottom model of the line), the manufacturers do make them.  I found a Frigidaire, coil top, that is stainless steal with black.  The best price for that model... Lowe's.

Thus, on July 4th weekend, we went to Lowe's.  As was to be expected, they didn't have the model in stock, but they ordered it and setup a delivery and haul-away.  Unfortunately, since it wasn't in store, we'd have to wait 2 weeks.  The delivery date was set for July 18th.

On the morning of July 18th, Lowe's called to tell us that the oven hadn't been delivered yet, but would be delivered to Lowe's that night.  They rescheduled the delivery for Thursday (July 21st).  On Wednesday, July 20th, we got another call from Lowe's telling us that the oven wasn't delivered to Lowe's on Monday, and in fact was on back order.  Needless to say, we were quite upset, and let them know as much, particularly given that they had lied to us the previous Monday about it being delivered that night.  However, we still wanted that model, and the soonest we could get that was now August 15th.

Sometime during June and early July, the oven had deteriorated further.  It no longer beeped, but it also no longer had a display.  Thankfully, when you turn on the oven, it did flash the temperature for a few seconds before shutting off again, so I could at least confirm the correct temp from the dial.  Also, thankfully, the problem was isolated to the digital display, the stove and oven still headed appropriately (well mostly, one of the coils only half heated, but it's rare that I needed all 4 coils).

Notice the nice big window! Our first step in moving from a white/black kitchen to a stainless/black kitchen.

On August 15th (last Monday), we were told again that the oven was delayed. John called several complaint lines with Lowe's and got a firm confirmation that we'd have our oven this week. On Wednesday morning, Lowe's called wanting to deliver that day... of all days, the day John started his new job. We had to schedule a delivery for Thursday evening because Lowe's delivers late on Tuesday and Thursday and we could have it delivered after we got home from work.

It took what seemed like forever to get, but it is a thing of beauty to have a fully functioning oven again!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Old and New, Part 4: Couch

I started the "Old and New" series back in June.  It was intended to be a 3 part series that only lasted about a week.  However, seeing as part 3 has dragged on for multiple months and is still sitting as a draft post, waiting for completion, I decided to add a part 4 for our latest home purchase: A New Couch and Chair.  (I think it's important to note that in my head, the statement "our latest home purchase: A New Couch and Chair" is said like the announcer on the Price is Right saying, "And you could win: A New Car!")

First, a little history into our old couch. When I moved out of the room I was renting for the first year of living in Dallas into a rental house, I didn't have a couch.  John's Mom helped John and I get a couch for the rental house. John's Mom teaches English to Japanese people living here in Dallas (another interesting story itself), and most of her students are only in the country for a few years to work in the US before they return to Japan. When they return to Japan, the company that brought them to the country allows them to sell the home furnishings provided for them while they were here. Many of her students offer great deals for gently used furniture and appliances.

A family was moving back to Japan about the same time as I was moving out of the rented room. We bought a sectional couch, a chair, and a refrigerator from them for $110! The price was all we needed to hear. We needed something to fill those voids and any 1 of those things new would have been more than $110.

John's Mom had seen everything, but John and I saw them all for the first time on the day we went to pick them up from the family.  All were pretty nice.  The chair has a little rip in the upholstery, but we cover that with a throw. The section, being white and used in a children's play room, was a little dirty, but still in good shape and nice to have.

I cleaned the sectional, using a can and a half of cleaner, and then, it was pretty decent.  However, in the 2.5 years we've had it, it's needed many cleanings because it's white and we have dogs.  Also, it's a very soft couch, not just in texture, but in the support of the cushions - you sink in. All in all, it's difficult to keep it looking nice, the white is kind of a boring color, and I like my couches more firm.  Thus, we decided it was time for a replacement.

We found our new red beauties at Weir's.  They arrived on Friday, and I love sitting in them - Just the right amount of support.

We're trying to find a replacement for the other chair too, but no dice on that yet.  Also, there are plans for a new TV stand (post to come, I'm sure), and we're going to get a new end table to put between the new red furniture.  Before we know it, we'll have revamped our whole living room furniture situation!