Sunday, July 26, 2015

On Home-owner challenges and changing times

Our daughter, son-in-law, and two adorable grandchildren stayed with us a few days this month. On their last full day with us, my daughter said, "The washing machine is making a funny noise." I listened to the noise and wrote it off as simply part of the cycle, clicking off time until the next part of the cycle. It wasn't until they left that I figured out it was clicking off time instead of agitating the clothes. Oops.

On the day they left, they said, "By the way, the drains backed up in your guest bathroom and shower. We have mopped up the floor, but there seems to be a problem."

Why does a house wait until there are guests in residence to set loose the demons???

In response to all this, we shut off the water, closed up the house, and left for a week. (Our plans were already made.) I scheduled a service call two weeks out with Sears for the washer and tried to get hold of a plumber. But when we got home the drain seemed fine, so I canceled that appointment. And Sears pointed out that the washer is thirteen years old and I remembered it has other problems, so I canceled that appointment, as well.

Well, of course, the drain didn't actually heal itself. When I called again, our favorite contractor came out, looked at the 25-foot shrub at the corner of the house and said, "There's your culprit!" The next day, he brought out equipment to dig up the drain lines and, sure enough, the thirsty shrub had managed to worm a root system into the drain exactly like he said. (We had a drought three years ago and he said he's seen a lot of that sort of thing since.)

And, of course, the washer didn't heal itself either so I went shopping. I had an appointment close to a city shopping area that week so I went and stood in Best Buy and looked at washers and said, "Yep, those are washers all right." Then I stood in Sears and looked at washers and said, "Yep, those are washers all right." And I couldn't figure out why I drove all that way to stand there and look at them. How was I planning to choose one? How would I know if they even have the model I really want?

So I came home and did research on washers and compared features and read Consumer Reports and read user reviews and compared prices at stores in multiple cities at various points of the compass and then ordered a washer from Sears online. I did that Thursday evening and it's scheduled to arrive and be installed tomorrow morning.  That's three days earlier than the repair was scheduled.

It seems that we used to go shopping at stores when we needed new stuff, but that whole experience felt a bit foreign to me last week. I realized I go months, maybe even a year or more between visits to the mall. What's the point? As I walked past all the cool stuff in Best Buy to get to the appliances in the back of the store, I noticed there was a lot of cool stuff, but I wasn't sure why I would want to buy any of it there.

Changing times of life and changing times.