Monday, September 30, 2013

When is a lemon not a lemon?

When it's a leaky dishwasher, on extended warranty.

As part of a kitchen renovation we did in 2008, we bought a raft of new appliances -- from a company we trusted, one that (for now at least) shall remain unnamed.

Included in those items was a dishwasher, made by a company whose slogan claims to be "Life's Good." I think they ought to change it to "Life's Glitchy" -- especially if you happened to buy Model LDS5811WW. For fun, click here to read some of the reviews posted by others who made the mistake of buying this particular machine.

Over the years, we've amassed a stack of papers from the many repairs we've had to get. Nearly all of them (6 of 8) have been about leaking. The last repair took place just the other day, on Friday, and wouldn't you know, when I next ran the dishwasher (after supper on Saturday), it leaked. Yet again. Only this time, it wasn't just the same old leak from the bottom of the door. Looking closely revealed it had sprung yet another spurt.

Because the floor underneath the machine was clearly wet, we knew we had to get the machine out to prevent greater damage. And sure enough, it's easy to see that, in addition to leaking from the bottom of the door (where it shows) it's also been leaking underneath there, quietly pissing itself, for quite a long while.

I feel almost as though I know the people in the repairs department -- not only the repair guy who visits our house so often, but also the intake workers, the management team, and even representatives from the insurance company that provided the extended warranty we purchased. I could name you a raft of them -- Julie, Chris, Shane, Jodie, Tina...

To give them credit, they've been patient as they've tried explaining the world of extended warranties, though I'll admit, by the time I've finished listening to some of their on-hold tunes and jingles, I'm not always the most patient listener.

So, finally, going back to my original question: What does it take to declare a machine a lemon -- so that it can be declared hopeless and be replaced? Three repairs.

But wait a minute. That's not quite right.

Declaring it a 'lemon' requires three repairs for the same problem.

Only, oops, that's not quite right either.

Three identical repairs for the same problem.

Only no, that's not quite right either.

Even though the 'vent' mechanism has been repaired three times, (this, besides door gaskets being replaced twice) we don't qualify for a 'lemon clause' replacement, because one of those repairs occurred while the machine was still under the manufacturer's warranty, and only two occurred on the extended warranty. Thus, the extended warranty won't cover replacement, as not all three occurred during the extended warranty.

And now, of course, the money in the extended warranty has pretty well run dry, so, in effect, no more coverage for the continuing wet spots in our kitchen.

As for the manufacturer, they kissed us off years ago. Basically told us "too bad" and to go away.

So, for now it looks as though I'm washing dishes in the sink. While that's not as bad as washing them in the bathtub was, I'm not happy about it.

It would sure be nice to think there might one thing in this world of ours where straightforward answers and plain dealing would be the case, rather than artful weaseling and dodging behind the guise of 4-point font legalese. But apparently, that's simply not the case.

Why did the chicken cross the kitchen? To get another towel to wipe up the water on the floor.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's official

Yesterday was officially the first day of autumn. For once, the calendar and the weather seemed to be in agreement.

Saturday was sunny, the perfect day for end-of-summer chores -- digging the last of the potatoes, tidying up the grape vines, pulling off the last of the berries for a fruity dessert.

But Sunday -- anything but a SUN day. The rains began in the night and lasted for most of the day, announcing with a kind of finality the end of summer.

Equinox, a time of balance, a time for change.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Silence is...

You can fill in the blank at the end of that sentence.

Chances are that 'golden' is the first word that pops into your mind. But that's become such a cliche, who even knows what it's supposed to mean anymore -- especially with the way the price of gold keeps flopping around.

One thing I can say about silence is that it is restorative. I know, because I spent the last week on retreat, again at the oh-so-quiet Bethlehem Retreat Centre on Vancouver Island. Our group observed silence throughout the day, and then shared what we'd accomplished (or not) in the evening.

The other thing I can say for silence is that it allowed me to be better able to 'hear' the words I needed to put onto paper during my retreat. After all, the goal of the time away was to accomplish more pages in a long-worked-on writing project.

It's a practice many spiritual seekers have relied upon to help achieve clarity and inner peace.

Take a chance (it doesn't even cost anything to be silent, the ultimate free trial) and see what a few hours of silence bring into your life.

Monday, September 09, 2013

A psychedelic anniversary

This week saw the 50th anniversary of the lava lamp. I had no idea anyone was keeping track. Most of the people who stared into them didn't seem very into making note of things like time.

But it must be part of a trend going on, as Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is currently featuring an exhibit called 'Hippie Chic' an exploration of fashion, and some of the changes that occurred in fashion, during the decade we call The Sixties (even though some of that decade apparently spilled over into the early '70s).

One oversight in the Boston exhibit -- or at least in the part accessible through the museum's link -- is the exclusion of dresses or fabrics by Peter Max. To me at least, his work epitomized the look that became known as psychedelia -- vibrant colours in surprising combinations -- patterns that often appeared to be moving.

It's hard to imagine I ever fit into the little dress in the pic, but lord knows, I did.

Oh, and if you want a view of a modern lava lamp in action, click on the video below. Maybe it's my sense of time that's awry, but I'm pretty sure the original lamps released their waxy globules much more slowly. One of the most hypnotic ways of watching it was to the accompaniment of Jeff Beck's instrumental, Beck's Bolero. For maximum viewing pleasure, we played our 45-rpm version of the Bolero on the stretched-out 33 1/3 speed. Long, drawn-out notes for extended pleasure. Probably some consciousness-raising inhalations as well.


Monday, September 02, 2013

Seasonal adjustment

Yesterday, the first day of September, meant a trip to one of the final days of this year’s PNE. Sure, we did the usual strolls and walked through the animal barns, marvelled at the farming displays, yawned over the same old blenders and sponge mops in the Marketplace. But mostly, it was a day for wandering among the crowds – plenty of opportunities for people-watching.

Weirdest thing I saw all day was while I was in the per-usual lonnng line-up for the women’s washroom. Some of us were chatting, considering what would happen if a crew of us were to barge into the men’s where, of course, there was NO line-up at all. But then, a guy waltzed in there, carrying a large drink of some sort as well as a huge slice of pizza! None of us could figure out exactly what he planned to do upon entry. Pee with no hands? Or??

It was also crazy to see how many people must ignore the signs (posted at a number of rides) with the warning to secure loose items. Hard to calculate how many dollars must lie in ruins in these bins.

The day ended with a beautiful sunset sky, light cast on the PNE’s grandest feature of all, the old wooden coaster. Happily, the coaster has just been granted special heritage status. If you click on the ‘heritage’ link, you’ll not only see an article about this news, you’ll find a video that offers a sample ride. Wheee!