Sunday, September 29, 2013

How Sears Nearly Drove Us Crazy

Remember when we bought the patio furniture, dishwasher and fridge back in August?  We put the patio furniture on our balcony, we installed the dishwasher, and next we were going to get the fridge hooked up.  Except ... that never happened.  Let me explain.

We bought everything back on August 24th and we took the patio furniture with us.  We had the dishwasher and fridge delivered.  That ended up being the following Saturday, August 31st.  The delivery guys wouldn't bring the fridge into the kitchen because the doors had to be removed in order to fit it through the doorways.  That wasn't in their job description - they would void our warranty if they did that.  Ugh.  On the phone to Sears - they organized for a technician for the Tuesday ... except, they misunderstood and scheduled the delivery guys again.  So, another wait while they organized the technician along with the delivery guys because, of course, the technician doesn't move things, only takes them apart and puts them together.  The technician arrived early, got the doors off and suggested a re-schedule of his time to get the doors on once the delivery guys had moved the fridge into the kitchen!  I must have looked shell-shocked because the technician ended up helping Manuel move the fridge into the kitchen.  Just as they were placing the fridge in the kitchen the delivery guys arrived!  The technician put the doors back on, and we plugged it in.  BEEB-BEEB-BEEB!  A never-ending alarm sounded, and the fridge wouldn't chill.  The technician wasn't sure, but decided to order a new motherboard.  Another week and a half of waiting with a dud of a fridge taking up precious kitchen space while our old fridge sat in the garage.  Yes, that meant every time we needed something from the fridge we had to go through the garage ... and go back out to put things away.  The motherboard finally arrived ... no, wait, maybe not ... there was a mix-up ... the technician was booked ... we waited ... no one showed up ... oh, maybe the part hadn't arrived after all.  Finally, we couldn't take it anymore.  We called to have it taken away ... which resulted in more problems because, of course, the delivery guys who came wouldn't take the doors off!  Finally, Sears Outlet organized a private moving company that did take the doors off, and did remove the fridge for us.

We went from this:

To this:

And, finally, back to this:

We'll move the old fridge back ourselves.  Once we've recovered from the stress of experiencing Sears customer service.

Just in case you are wondering, we would still consider shopping at Sears in the future.  We've bought from them in the past without these kinds of problems and we're hopeful that future experiences will be better.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quick Tweak - Hidden In Plain Sight

I'm still getting up my nerve to re-cover my first dining room chair.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share a quick tweak I did that makes life easier while remaining stylish.

Please note that this tweak is really meant for the women reading this blog ... having said that, you gentlemen might find another use for this tweak ;)

When it's that time of the month I always find it a hassle to make sure I have things on-hand.  Then I came up with a great (dare I say, genius?!) idea.  While shopping at Ikea I came across these cute woven containers - three in a set with lids included (Fryken - $14.99 CAD).
I thought they were adorable, but at first wasn't sure what I could use them for.  Then it came to me - a decorative storage container to sit on the back of the toilet.

With the lid on you have no idea about what hides beneath ...

Handy, but discreet.

What have you got hiding in plain sight?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Finding a Cheap Solution to Recovering Chairs

Remember, in July, when I started to take the fabric off the seats of the dining room chairs?  Remember that?

Well, I didn't get any further.  Part of it was the daunting task of pulling out all those staples, part was the daunting task of stapling on new fabric.  But the biggest obstacle was fabric.  There are seven chairs.  That's a fair chunk of fabric.  I did have some different fabrics already ... but none of them really made me happy - they were either too flimsy for seats, not the right colour-pattern-style, or I just didn't have enough to do everything.  So, I put it on the back-burner while I thought of possible solutions.  Intermittently, throughout July and August, I checked out possible solutions ... I checked fabric stores - nothing caught my eye.  I even thought about using bed linen - but couldn't find something that just hit that sweet spot.  Then yesterday, while worshipping visiting Ikea I saw some curtains.  Funky pattern - check.  Two colour options (blue with white, or black with white) - check.  Fabric thick - check.  The best part of it?  They were marked down to $14.99 for two big panels.  More than enough to do all the chairs.  Check, check, check.  Happy girl here!

Kajsamia - funky, thick, and cheap - I think it will be perfect as a chair fabric.  It won't be just a plain, solid colour, yet the black base should make it work with almost any colour scheme we finally develop for the dining room.  The pattern of the trees echoes the forest view from the windows of this space, and at the same time provides a bit of whimsy.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Shopping For A and Bringing Back A, B and C

For several months now we've been debating what kind of patio furniture to get for the deck that leads off the living room (the deck is approximately 13'5" by 11'9").  All summer we went back and forth on a table with chairs or sofa with chairs.  I was leaning towards the later, but Manuel really wanted a place to sit outside to eat.  My thinking was within 20 feet of the patio we already had a large dining table in the formal dining room and a smaller family table in the kitchen/family room area - why have another eating area so close?

Then, a couple of weeks ago Sears Outlet had a sale on patio furniture and we decided we'd go check it out.  Within minutes of getting into the store we spied the perfect set - a loveseat, two chairs, and a coffee table.  The seats were really comfortable and the edges of the arms smooth - nothing to hurt a young child.  Although the frames looked like wood they were actually made of light weight metal which made them perfect for outside living.  Sold!

Of course, while we were in the store we looked around ... and spied some appliances that were hugely discounted.  We ended up buying a Kenmore Elite dishwasher (model #630.14003) which is actually made by Bosch, and a French-style refrigerator made by LG (model #LFX25978ST).  What started out as a simple patio furniture shopping trip ended up a tad higher in cost ;)  Still, we were happy with our purchases since the existing fridge and dishwasher that came with the house were fairly old and not running as efficiently as they could (the dishwasher sounded like a jet plane taking off when it was running!).

We had to wait a week for delivery, and naturally, when they arrived Manuel was out (getting a nail taken out of the truck tire).  We hadn't checked the width of our doors - the entry door was wide enough, but all the doors leading into the kitchen were only 28-29" ... too narrow for modern-day appliances to fit through without some work.  The delivery men said they didn't have the tools to do the work and they left everything in the garage.  When Manuel got home ten minutes later he was not a happy camper (as I expected).  Although he was OK with dealing with the dishwasher the fridge was another story.  The fridge came with a water/ice dispenser - LG places the mechanics in the door to save interior space.  This is a great idea, but it means that there is a fair chunk of electronics and hose going through the hinge areas.  When trying to get a fridge through a narrow doorway you usually end up taking the doors off ... but with this setup Manuel didn't want to chance damaging something and ruining the warranty.  So he called Sears to arrange help.  While on the phone he also mentioned that the water filter was missing and some of the hosing (when getting items from the Sears Outlet stores it's something you have to consider - that parts might be missing).  He arranged for a technician to come out ... four days later.  Thankfully, we hadn't sold the old fridge yet.  Of course, we had moved everything out and placed the old fridge in the garage.

In the meantime, Manuel got to work with the dishwasher.  Getting the old one out wasn't too difficult.  I took some photos before it was pulled so that I could place an ad on Craigslist.  It still works and someone can likely use it - perhaps for a secondary suite.  (For an old dishwasher it's incredibly well maintained and so pristine inside.)  Of course, once we pulled it we started to run into problems.  The new dishwasher came with a great setup for getting power and water to it, but the old kitchen setup wasn't a great fit to it.  We found a junction box behind the old dishwasher and old copper piping.  Manuel got that all cleaned up and leveled the floor area so that the dishwasher would be level in front and back.  When we tried to slide it in we realized that it wasn't going to fit - it was too tall!  Now, dishwashers come in pretty standard sizes so this was a bit puzzling.  However, we soon realized it was the floor in the kitchen that was causing the problems.  At some point they had put wood throughout the foyer, dining room, and family room, but not originally the kitchen.  They must have changed their minds and instead of pulling the lino they overlaid the wood floor ... which meant it was higher than the other floor.  This also meant the floor was higher than the floor underneath the lower cabinets.  Ugh.  Manuel was forced to shimmy the counter up enough so that we could slide the new dishwasher in.  Next, he hooked up the plumbing and electricity.  Oops ... water leakage.  What?  No, the dishwasher was fine.  It was the drain leading from the sink to the garbuerator.  A huge vertical crack almost the entire length of the pipe finally gave out.  It was a good thing it happened then instead of after everything was back in place since we likely wouldn't have noticed it for weeks (who looks under their sink on a daily basis?!).  Once Manuel got that replaced and everything hooked up we were able to run a load.  The quietest dishwashing load that had ever occurred in that house!

Now, all we have to do is put those doors back and put everything back where they belong.

You can see we also need to replace the stove at some point, but for now we'll leave it.  I'd like to paint the cabinets white to lighten up the room, but the major renovation of the kitchen won't happen for quite some time.  In the meantime, we have clean dishes ;)

Next up - installing that fridge.  I'll let you know how that goes once it's complete.