Friday, April 30, 2010

Five-year fridge fiasco, or bad fridge mojo


The Husband will hate that I am yet again complaining about my ongoing refrigerator dilemmas, but so be it.

We have only been in The Dump since 2005. The first fridge I bought for there was a small Kenmore...perfect size for close quarters...never worked right from day 1. After some battling with Sears and a complaint to the Better Business Bureau and some more battling with Sears, I finally got my money back AND had them come to haul it away. Thank you, Sears, for your cooperation.

I took some heat from the Hub because I purchased that one online. As he always says "What have we learned from this?" I ordered the new one, in September 2006, from a local dealer that someone recommended. I spent twice what I did on the small (12 cu ft) Kenmore, and got a bigger (15 cu ft) Frigidaire...with a promise from the salesman that they sell a lot of these and no one ever has a problem...

Same problem: after using from September to November, we shut it off and left in the frozen trailer until we came back in the spring. When we come back, it doesn't work, just like the Kenmore. The crazy repairman from the appliance store comes out and tells us his whole life history. Literally 3 hours of talk for a 10-minute repair. Now, after 3 years and 5 more 3-hour repairs, not cooling again.

This time I am giving up and accepting the 50% rebate (thank you, Electrolux!) for a replacement fridge. But it has to be another Frigidaire. So I am saying a little prayer that this doesn't just prolong this fridge fiasco for another 5 years.

I also have to pray that there is just enough wiggle room to put this even bigger (18 cu ft) fridge in the hole that was designed for the current one. The smaller ones are only available in white, and my new handsome kitchen demands black or stainless. If it doesn't fit, you will hear my sobbing from wherever you are. And if it doesn't work? I will sign up for the extra insurance to cover my bad-mouthing some of the perps here on my little blog

I apologize to my readers, but the Hub doesn't want to hear any more fridge stories. I know, you don't either...but I have to vent somewhere!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A glorious cobalt blue!



After so much drama and suspense I got to see my blue vanity top...I even got to use it. There are still some problems to be worked out (the top pushes the vanity about 4" away from the wall) but I am mostly very pleased. And I am glad that I held out for the widespread faucet. I think I would have been very disappointed with the other one.

The other photo is of the island (covered with stuff as I was packing to go home yesterday). Gary Foster also made the 2 stools. I had been looking for some nice ones for the counter, because it is the first thing you see when you come in the front door, but the only ones I liked were too expensive. Gary gave me these 2 for a really good price. Hey world—keep this guy in business, he does really nice work!

Well, I promised to post all the great photos I took last week, and then I left them on my computer in NY. I blame it on a fuzzy head from a head cold (thanks Barb!). At least I remembered to bring home the big job I am working on.

These are the few photos that are still on my camera. You'll have to wait until I go back up next week for the rest.

Fuzzy Head also left there without the remaining trees to be planted. I left them in a bucket outside the newly installed dog fence. Luckily I was only about 10 miles away when I remembered, and I went back.

We should be nearing the completion of Lester's Flat. Jim the Builder promised me an end-of-April finish line. But then he started taking on other jobs. I think it's just because he likes working on my house. He doesn't really want it to be done...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lots of new photos, not enough time

Plenty of photos to upload, but so much to do outside on a nice day. To start with, I have to try to plant 60 tree seedlings before I leave tomorrow!

OK, back from planting. To be honest, it was 50 trees and 10 blackberry bushes—much easier to dig holes for the blackberries than the trees. I finished all of those and only 5 black cherry trees.

Then I had to come back in to feed the dogs, and myself. I made the grilled pizza that intended to have last night. Still working on the perfect crust, but otherwise very tasty.

In these photos, starting at the top: finally the first parts of the porch brackets were installed, but they look too small to me. I should have taken Susan the Architect's advice and mocked up a version and stuck it out there. I will find out how difficult (expensive) it will be to make new heftier ones.

Then the infamous soapstone sink which caused so much trouble (stone dust everywhere!). The dishwasher (on the right) still needs to be attached somehow, but the faucet and cabinet knobs are looking good.

Then, the downstairs bath with the vanity installed. The broken sink is repaired. Those are the same cabinet knobs as the kitchen (from Med the Blacksmith). My $8 mirror from Anna in Richfield Springs still needs to be hung up, it's just leaning on the sink. Her shop is where I also got the upstairs oak vanity for $40, and where I always buy my fresh eggs.

And finally, the new (old) deacon's bench that we bought a few weeks ago in Oneonta. It used to reside in the law office of the former mayor of Oneonta. Me likes things with history.

Going back home tomorrow. I probably will not post again until Monday, but I will try to take all the pics I need for several more posts. Coming up here again in 2 weeks to have the iron filter and water softener installed. Maybe I will get the rest of those trees planted...


Thursday, April 22, 2010

My own private island


It took four guys to transport the island to Lester's Flat—huge thanks to the 2 Jims, Gary and Dave McG. It was impressive in Gary's shop, and even more impressive once it landed in my kitchen. The Husband hasn't seen it yet, but I think he will be impressed as well.

As you might notice, Lester gives a big thumbs up! (Do dogs have thumbs?) Last night Friend Jane and I tested out the island with my new stools (also from Gary) —lots of good conversation over a few glasses of wine.

I have to give Gary Foster, Farm Table Guy, all the credit for making this island something I really like. I wasn't convinced I wanted a kitchen island, but the architect and kitchen designer insisted that I would love it more than the simple farm table I thought I wanted. I am glad I listened to them, but it is mostly because Gary did such a fine job that now I feel I have the best of both versions.

You can see some of Gary's other fine work here:

http://www.garyfosterfurniture.com
Phone/Fax: (607) 282-4108
Email: gfoster11@stny.rr.com

Now I just have to work on getting rid of the again-not-working-well Frigidaire piece-of-junk ugly white refrigerator. Going for something new and black, and hopefully a brand that will work for longer than 3 months. Suggestions anyone?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Now I just need a spring pic of the new house...

...so that I can compare.

The old homestead in NJ is looking good, but then it always does in spring! The dogwood is blooming out front, the azaleas are almost ready to open, the lilacs are smelling great, and the tulips and daffodils are pretty much done. All of this is very early blooming for mid-April, giving some cred to climate change.

Headed up to NY tomorrow as we are just on the brink of finishing this project. I know my kitchen island is being delivered at the end of the week. That I am most eager to see! I hear it's a beauty. And the blue vanity top should magically appear...FINALLY!

I am meeting with a water purification specialist on Thursday morning. He came highly recommended by friends Jane and Mac. After a short conversation on the phone, he suspects that I need the expensive water softener in addition to an iron filter. If it clears up my orange water, it will be worth every penny, and I won't have to keep bringing up my NJ tap water for drinking. Jim the Builder gave me a pretty hard time about that, but my iron water tastes pretty awful. It's not dangerous, it just tastes like your drinking out of a rusty cup.

New pics to follow later in the week. Even after 2 days worth of showing her off in Petco, the little monster is still with us. I am sure she will be gracing us with her adorable face in the photos, whether I want her to or not.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sinks are solved. It's Spring! Shout out to Jersey Girl!

Got word that the blue glass sink is finally done right. Jim the Builder will pick it up and install by the time I come up next week (I hope!). The other sink is repairable and should also be hooked up.

Even more exciting: Gary the Farm Table Guy says that the kitchen island will also be finished by next week. The base is done and as of yesterday he was working on the cherry plank top. I am just a tiny bit nervous that it will be too big for the space. Or that the buttermilk (plus marigold) milk paint won't be the right color. Or that the pendant lights won't be centered over it. Or that they won't be able to get it through the front door. Too many things too worry about, so I think I will worry about none of them.

Richie is working on installing the stair treads (stained to match the cabinets) and painting the risers (to match the kitchen and dining room). Maybe even the iron balusters will be installed by next week. And my wrought iron (by Med the Blacksmith) cabinet knobs should finally be installed too.

It is difficult to be patient about seeing all these things in place. I am one of those people who has to unwrap and install or use whatever I buy as soon as I get it home. I have had most of these things for months, and the suspense is killing me! Alright, not really killing me...

It's all coming together in the next few weeks and I think it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, the weather here in the south country has been just perfect. Spring is finally here to stay...for awhile.

Shout out to Little Sister on her birthday yesterday (that's her in the stroller with Middle Sis).

And yes, we still have dog number three. She'll be joining us for Spring in NY next week.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Door locks, spring and old vinyl

Chose a new version of the Schlage lockset for the front door. The cheapy doorknob from brother Bill's bedroom is helpful no more. Jim had to replace it with another temporary one until he could get the pretty new one.

It is very much spring here in NJ. It was up to 90° on Wednesday, but back to 57° today. All of the trees are getting leaves, daffodils and tulips are blooming, and even lilacs are ready to open.

My favorite cardiologist (hi Dr. W!) is stopping by to pick up some old record albums tomorrow. We saw him at a house concert a few weeks ago, and met his teenage son who collects old vinyl. Boy can we hook him up! Between the duplicates and rejects from our 2 separate collections, and the boxes more that I cleared out of brother Bill's room (see above), young Mr. W is going to have to cart away a few hundred "classics". I might have to photograph a few before they leave...

And just found out that 2 more applications for the foster monster were rejected. This is likely to go on forever! That's OK with me, she is adorable after all.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Home again, home again, lickety split

We had a great week in the north country where I think the temps did actually reach 80°. Dogs did a lot of running around and playing in the creek, even though the water is still mighty cold. Lester even ventured in for a full swim several times, once trying his best to swim upstream, but the creek won and he had to turn around and come back. Good exercise for the old man with hip dysplasia! He looked like he was in a wave pool. He had his annual check-up yesterday, and passed with flying colors...even Dr. Wolf, our favorite vet, found him amazingly healthy for 12 years old.

The house is still only "almost done", but really very close. I talked to Richie the New Guy, and he said they aren't even out there this week, because Jim the Builder has them finishing up a siding job in Fly Creek. Gary the Farm Table guy is making good progress on the kitchen island. I expect it will be done by the time I come up in a week and a half. And, I also expect that both bathroom sinks will finally be done by then.

I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked, but here's the last few from this trip. If I could just find this foster puppy a home before I come back up! She takes up a lot of my free time...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Moving right along

We took a little ride to Mohawk to check out a 1940-something Ford tractor (with brush hog), but the old man selling it seemed firm on the $3500 price tag, so we'll have to think about it a bit longer. It will probably last forever and work just fine for our needs, but funds are a bit low right now as we near the end of our project.

Layout of the house and kitchen is just right. We will be very happy here...and the animals will too.

It feels like summer more than spring with temps in the 80s. Have to go back up to The Dump to retrieve my grill for some barbecued turkey legs tonight. Leg of lamb in the new oven on Thursday night came out just perfect, even without a meat thermometer. Did a fish fry with friends Jane and Mac last night at the VFW. Had to pass a crime scene to get there—sleepy little Cooperstown had some rowdy teenagers acting like cowboys and shooting up the place—right inside the police station!

Sophie and Ruby say they have no idea who put all those muddy footprints on the new black slate floor in the living room...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Finally some photos

The disappointing sinks are still disappointing. The bath showroom does not want to take credit for the chipped $50 showroom sample, so Bruce the Plumber is going to have to make it work. I really thought after spending a few thousand $$$ there, that they would give me a $50 credit toward a new $110 sink.

I also thought that I could return the disappointing $145 handheld shower, but they are putting it "on consignment" so I just have to hope that they can sell it for that amount...we'll see...

But, as I have said all along, if these are the worst issues I have to deal with when building a whole house, I still think I am pretty lucky.

After a few days of heavy rain, the weather has been positively spring-like, possibly even reaching 80° tomorrow. Three Dog Night all think they got a pretty good deal as well, although the creek is running a bit too fast for any early swimming.

The Husband has been out there pruning trees and cleaning up lots of brush from previous prunings, while I have been putting shelves in the kitchen cabinets and trying to organize the few things I have to put in them. Even though the cleaning lady cleaned everything, including the inside of the cabinets, the dust is still settling. I am hoping that having the windows all open for a few days will help blow away some of that persistent stone dust.

If you click on the 3 photos here, in the larger version you will see the bamboo floor and new light fixtures in the kitchen, the black slate tiles in the entry and living room, and the cork floor in the bedroom. You might also notice the little black Ruby on my bed, and the porch brackets on the living room floor by the windows...