Wednesday, November 25, 2009


As most of you know we are 99% done with the kitchen. I thought I would share some thoughts regarding all the research I've done for our dishwasher purchase. I had certain criteria, some just my fetishes, some very logical criteria and some selfish. My criteria is listed below. Some interesting things to note. There are rebates for almost every appliance right now. Check google and your local power and electric company's website, make sure you get your rebate money! One of the things that make dishwashers really quiet now is the lack of a built in little garbage disposal. Most have this basket you have to clean out every couple weeks depending on if or how much you rinse your plates.
My criteria:
  • Quiet - ultra quiet
  • wine glass holders in top shelf
  • adjustable top shelf to accommodate large platters in bottom drawer
  • heating element (more on that later)
  • delay start
  • no stupid little drawer for silver ware (see picture)
Heating element, why was that a criteria? Well, some dishwashers, like the Bosch do not come with a heating element inside anymore. This saves energy. It makes the Bosch the most energy efficient dishwasher out there, but do you really want wet dishes? I like my dishes nice and warm and DRY when I pull them out of the dishwasher. Quiet? Why did I want a quiet one, well we run our dishwasher at around 2 am usually and I don't want to hear it spraying and clunking away in the kitchen. So delay start and quiet go hand in hand. Our new Kenmore Elite is so quiet it's a little hard to tell it's on.

Adjustable top shelf. Some of these are cheap and just scream, "I'm going to break soon!" so try it out over and over again. I think it's a great feature as Dena and I entertain frequently and use large platters to serve food. It would be nice not to have the middle swinging spray arm hit all the plates and pots on the lower level. Bad for the arm and bad for the dishes.

Silverware - there is nothing I hate more than having to work hard to put dishes and silverware in the dishwasher. Isn't a dishwasher supposed to save time? This new feature of having a silverware drawer is the stupidest thing I ever saw. It takes too much time. Who has time to place every single knife and fork in its own little slot. Just throw them all in a basket and be done with it. For those of you that say they don't get clean, well, if you don't wipe the peanut butter off the knife and leave it sit for 4 days then no, it probably won't get clean.

Other things we learned - positioning and understanding of your controls. Dishwashers nowadays in order to qualify for energy star compliance have certain features that you must turn on when you wash. We have to push the Hot Dry button to get it. Where are your controls? Are they on the front? Do you want to see that or do you want them hidden in the door? We have this turbo wash thing in the back. If you put dirty pots in there like a roast pan, you can pick the turbo wash cycle and they'll blast the pan. Pretty cool.

So, do your homework and you'll be happy. We consulted consumer reports and all sorts of online reviews before our purchase. The nice lady at Sears was extremely helpful and we learned a ton.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Friday is Changing

I'm pretty proud of myself this morning. I have been looking at flyers and doing some online shopping for a good quality, inexpensive camera for Chanukah for my niece. I found one, Fuji with free 2 Gig memory card and case. $79.99, free shipping and no 10% California sales tax, final price = $ 79.99! W00t!

How has Black Friday changed? Instead of getting up at 4am (not that I ever did this) and running down to Best Buy, Walmart and/or Target for "door crasher" specials there are now "lightning" online only Black Friday week specials. I love it. I can sit in the comfort of my own home and shop and the stuff magically appears on my doorstep. Sometimes change is good. Now, buyer beware. You have to know what you are buying. Don't forget to check out the reviews since you cannot touch and feel these items like in a traditional brick & mortar store.

So the moral of the story. Comparison shopping pays as does doing your homework. I feel like I won the lottery today, I got a good quality camera for an excellent price. There are cheaper point and shoots out there but the reviews hammer them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Train Notes

I'm on the Amtrak train to San Luis Obispo. I've not been on a passenger train since I was about 12. That's 35 years ago or so. Currently, I'm sitting in the Sightseeing car's upper deck going through Simi Valley. We've had one train malfunction and 4 stops already and we've been travelling for almost 2 hours. Surely we will be late. Apparently, you get what you pay for. No WiFi, no power outlets, no nothing. I'm pretty sure this train car was around 35 years ago the last time I was riding the rails....

Just up from me in the car is an older white guy wearing all black, a red tie and wearing aviators. He's with his African American girlfriend. He apparently only dates black women and they've been drinking since the train started rolling. First beer, now they've switched to wine. Does that set the stage for you? He was complaining that this bottle of wine was $13 because normally he brings his own bottle (probably jack LOL). He's already made the couple across from me uncomfortable because of the F bombs but he's a G-D fearing man as is his squeeze. He's been a limousine driver, had offers to swing with another couple in a sleeper car on a previous train, is currently pulling unemployment and has an opinion about everything. Do I know too much about the guy....yes. Where is my Ipod????!!!

On the train we have young college kids going up UCSB, Cal Poly SLO and the like, retirees just travelling about and a strange mixed bag of riff raff that obviously don't drive because they either cannot afford a car or have long ago lost their driver's licenses. I worry about the conductors and what they probably have to put up when the bar closes. All this and I have just made it out of LA County. What is to come?

Scroll down for my blog about my mom.....

A tribute to my Mom

I spoke with my mom last night. She informed me that she couldn't talk too long on the phone because she had 20 boxes of Avon she had to process. My mom has been an Avon lady for as long as I can remember. She always makes President's club for her region for highest sales. Her 20 boxes consisted of these Angel fundraising gift sets. If you sell an angel christmas set, Avon will donate 5 dollars to your local food bank. My mom had raised $500 for the Edmonton food bank which means she sold 100 Angel gift sets. That also means that she has to deliver them and collect the money, all on her own time and her own dime.

This type of selfless giving is something that is hard to find nowadays. Mom, I'm proud of you. Your energy, drive, compassion and selflessness inspire me. That picture above is one I've posted before of her, but is one of my favorites. It was taken this April in chinatown in San Francisco.

I miss you mom.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Had a Dream

You ever have a weird dream where your spouse pissed you off and you wake up really mad at them? I have. I've also been on the other end of it. It is a little bizarre how it's difficult to get over it. Your anger is real as if your dream was just as real. The brain is an amazing thing.

I woke up this morning very anger and disturbed at my current employer. I am so angry I don't want to go to work. I had this bizarre dream that when I came in Monday morning the entire place was changed. They had sold a 9% stake in the company to a big high pressure sales company. I cannot remember the name now. I walked into the executive area and all the lights were off and there were many, many people milling about moving into their new desks. Most of the offices were gone, the desks were all very open and quite tiny. There was a brand new red Maserati sitting there, I assume some sales incentive. People were loud and horsing around and I was wondering how any actual work was going to get done.

My server room was gone, my locked storage closet was gone and we had all new computers with Windows 7 on them. As an IT person that is the biggest insult of all. To have your organization change all the computers out and not clue you in. They had hired some simple techs to do it. I cannot name the name of the company here but I was stunned and very hurt. I will probably be in a funk all day. Oh, and by the way. I no longer had an office, I had a little desk across from some sales manager that played the radio all the time and loved shaving creme jokes.