And it’s No Longer Funny…

29 03 2012

Surprisingly, my washing machine saga is NOT concluded today.

The repairman showed up at 8:20 (which I wasn’t expecting), and after a few minutes of tinkering declared that the washing machine had been repaired.

He came in with the timer, and after he left, I noticed that the timer in the box that he left behind looked awfully new. Hmm.

He also said to me “I’m surprised this wasn’t done already.” And I explained about the wrong timer being ordered – I think he was just trying to cover himself by pretending he didn’t know about that. I let it go.

So I was excited to get started on laundering all my clothes from traveling. I started with a cold wash with my jeans, and lo and behold, the washer leaked.

So do I believe that he “tested” the washing machine after “fixing” it? No, I do not.

I called them right away, and they’re sending someone out tomorrow morning. They had better think twice about charging me because I’m about thisclose to telling someone off. Not for nothing, but this has been an expensive process for me, and it should also have been a relatively simple one for them.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings…


The Never-ending Washing Machine Saga

28 03 2012

This has been one crazy month. I flew over 32,000 miles in 34 days, in 10 flights.

Needless to say, I’m EXHAUSTED.

I’m finally home for more than five minutes, and yet, my washing machine saga continues. When I last left you, the part for my washing machine was on order, and I was hopeful that I could get everything taken care of in between my travels. Despite feeling like total garbage after my first trip (the London-Italy-KL trip), I had to spend about six hours at my parents’ house doing laundry. It’s not as bad as it sounds, because they have a comfortable couch, so I set myself up with my laptop and the tv, and realized I didn’t have nudgy puppies bugging me like at home. So it was actually fairly restful.

But three weeks’ worth of laundry, which included virtually everything I own, meant that things were air drying everywhere. I left it all there late that night, and returned the following day to pick it up. Originally, my mom was supposed to be coming to my house to watch the pups, so I figured that she could be on hand to let the washing machine repairman in, so that everything would be right as rain when I returned from trip #2 to Dallas.

She decided it would be easier to watch them at her house instead, so after packing up the clothes I would need, I also packed up the dogs and all of their stuff and trucked them up to north Jersey. Then, it was off to five days in Dallas. The washing machine part had arrived just before I left.

So when I returned, I pretty much called them immediately to schedule my appointment. I’d gotten back to my house on a Sunday, and called Monday morning, saying that I could do any time in the following three days, even though I really wanted to leave by Wednesday afternoon to head BACK to my parents’ – we were leaving from there on Thursday for Germany.

But of course, they couldn’t fit me in until Wednesday. They said the appointment would be in the morning, but when I got the confirmation call, they said between 2-5. Super.

I knew I had to drop the dogs off that day, by four, and I also had to pick up my dry cleaning, which I’d talked the guy into rushing for me, since I needed it for my trip also. I ended up having to drop the dogs off by 1, just to keep that 2-5 window clear. The repairman arrived about two thirty, I gave him the part, and set about cleaning up my house (when the dogs are away, it’s the perfect time to clean!). The repairman sort of fussed about a bit, and then said he needed to check something in his truck…because he wasn’t sure it was the right part.

Yes, you read that right.

They ordered the WRONG part.

Because the appointment wasn’t until Wednesday, I’d already had to head back to my parents’ AGAIN to do more laundry, and now, he’s telling me that he doesn’t have the right part.

He apologized and said they would rush the part, but I pointed out that with me leaving the country, it wouldn’t exactly do me much good. I was super annoyed because here I was AGAIN with no working washing machine, and a few odds and ends to wash. I ended up going back and forth to my parents’ that afternoon/evening three times, finally leaving and locking the door after 11pm. So, not exactly a restful evening before my trip, plus, I’d missed relaxing the night before and spending some time with my pups before their trip to the kennel.


When I got home yesterday from trip #3, there was a message saying that the part had arrived to them this time – they didn’t even tell me where it was shipping, but at least they should check to make sure it’s the correct one. I called this morning AGAIN (after having to figure out that the number the girl left on my answering machine was one digit wrong) and finally booked another appointment for tomorrow. This darn thing better get fixed or someone is getting my wrath!

On the plus side, I am fully unpacked for a change (yay!) and ready to get back into the swing of life at home. My yard is a disaster area, with holes from a certain basset hound who is into digging, weeds taking over the front yard, and the grass high enough in the back to require mowing. We’ve got rain in the forecast for this weekend, but we’ll see if I can sneak in some work in the garden and get things in shape for spring!

The Washing Machine Saga Continues…

10 03 2012

So, as much as I wanted to put off dealing with my leaking washing machine, I decided to go ahead with contacting a repairman. I brought the bronchitis back with me from my trip, and have been steadily feeling worse, instead of better. So I had high hopes that I’d call the repairman, he’d immediately fix the washing machine, and I’d be able to do the loads upon loads of laundry that I brought back from my trip…in advance of the next trip I have. On Tuesday. Ugh.

But anyway.

I have a Maytag stackable washer/dryer. So while I pictured the Maytag man of the commercials (who never has to work because the machines are so well made), it occurred to me that I should go through them to get the machine serviced. And that was the easy part – I logged into their website, found the section I needed, plugged in my model and serial number and scheduled an appointment.

Unfortunately, the appointment wasn’t as rewarding – the repairman was great. He showed up dead on time (12pm in a 12-3pm window I’d been given by phone), and checked out the machine in a few minutes. Of course, just his being there cost me $150 (painful), and then he figured out what the problem was.

I had feared that it was my fault, because I’d washed my comforter in there recently, and maybe caused a clog or imbalance in the machine. But fortunately, it wasn’t me (phew) – the timer on the machine is busted. The timer is what tells the machine that it’s full of water and to stop filling the basin. Since mine wasn’t working, it wasn’t really telling the machine to stop filling with water. Hence, the leaking.

So a new timer is what’s needed. Unfortunately, it’s one of the more expensive parts (though cheaper than replacing the whole thing), and the repairman didn’t have one on his truck. So it has to be ordered, the part shipped directly to me, and then I call him to set up an appointment to replace it. Only then do I get my washer back.

So despite spending most of today in bed or on the couch, I’ll be pulling myself up by my bootstraps tomorrow to head over to my parents’ to wash all my clothes. Good thing I just left them in my suitcase. It could be worse, I know. But it could be better. First world problems, right?

My Favorite Photo from KL

7 03 2012

If you’d like to see a wider selection of my photos from Kuala Lumpur, I’ve got them over at my photography blog, here. However, I thought I’d share with you my favorite one – this was taken at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. And while these monkeys look sweet, darling and adorable, one of them did bite one of our delegates, without being provoked, so you want to stay far back from them! The telephoto lens helped!

Instagramming it

6 03 2012

I made a resolution this year to do another 365 project, but this time using the Instagram app on my phone. I haven’t stuck to it that well, but I’ve definitely been using it more often, and playing around with some of the features. I’m also using a neat little app called PictureFrames, which allows me to put multiple shots in one image for a collage-type look.

Here are some of the shots I took on my trip, using Instagram:

Flying to Innsbruck!

A look at Innsbruck's airport

Flying to London

San Vigilio in the Italian Alps

La Bercia - the B&B we stay in for our trip

More photos of San Vigilio from my afternoon walk

Silliness at lunch

Site visit in London at the Corinthia Hotel

More views of the Corinthia

The Corinthia

Still more of the Corinthia!

Another site visit - Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

And more Kensington Palace

The Orangery - also at Kensington Palace

Then, I got sick. It felt like the flu. I took this while resting up for our flights to Kuala Lumpur

We had a layover in Dubai. This is the airport.

The Westin Kuala Lumpur, our conference hotel.

So very glad to be flying home. 12 days away is a LONG time!

Back from my World Tour

5 03 2012

I had fully intended to arrange for posts to be published while I was globe trotting over the past twelve days, but the best laid plans, as they say…

I’m currently on the final flight of my journey for this trip – flight eight of eight in twelve days. And yes, that’s as exhausting as it sounds. We have been to England, Austria, Italy, Dubai (just the airport) and Malaysia, and I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed…for all of five minutes before I am off again.

It’s a busy month.

With only about 5 days home the entire month of March (yes, I’m serious), there isn’t much handy homeownering going on. But I can share with you a few photos from my recent travels, and you may want to know some of my tips for settling your house for a long trip away.

It’s gotten to the point now that I get so anxious and crazy about getting ready for a trip that when I recently was getting my house in shape for a guest and rushing about, Barney believed that we were going to be going in the car, and actually willingly put his leash on every day.

Boy, was he disappointed when we went for a walk instead.

But finally, all that rushing about did mean travel. And this was a big trip. 12 days, three destinations, three different climates.

I had picked up a new light suitcase, with four rolling wheels (my dream suitcase, by the way) using airline miles – same place I got my Keurig. I used Ollie’s crate as my suitcase tray, and started my packing early. Even when I give packing an extra day, I always find that it takes me a long time, stresses me out, and results in more running around and laundry, which means I don’t get the chance to relax and snuggle my boys before having to leave on a trip.

So this time, I was determined to give myself extra time. That’s my first tip – start preparing early. There is always something that will crop up when you’re getting ready to leave (like my washing machine difficulties, which I’m dreading coming home to) so you want to be prepared, so you have at least one night to veg out on the couch before you’re off.

The other thing I do, which may seem silly to a lot of people, is give the house a good cleaning. There’s nothing nicer than coming home to a clean house – it’s like coming to a freshly cleaned hotel room, but it’s your own home, which never feels so good than when you’ve been away for a long time.

This trip, I’d arranged to put my boys in their new puppy day camp for the day, and to get baths, before picking them up to drive up to my parents’ where they’d be staying with my mom while I was away. (This is another great tip by the way – the money spent to get them out of my hair while I packed up the car, did the final once over, and cleaned up a bit, as well as got them cleaned up, was well worth it!).

This gave me the chance to do a few last minute “tidies” – I used my swiffer mop to clean the doggie footprints from the floor (they are ALWAYS there!), put their toys away and made sure everything was straightened up. It makes me happy to think about coming home to my nice clean house.

The other two must-do’s before a long trip are running the dishwasher and taking out the garbage. I do a once-over of the refrigerator to make sure that anything that will expire while I’m away gets thrown out. Nothing like coming home to two week old milk when you’ve been away.

Along those lines, I also take out the recycling – the house will smell if you leave even a little bit of milk in the container (and there always is, no matter how well you rinse it), so it’s important to get that outside too. If you’re lucky like me, you might also have neighbors who put your trash and recycling out for you while you’re away, so you’re not coming home to overflowing garbage.

As for the dishwasher, as long as you’re comfortable that it’s not going to suddenly spring a leak, stick it on to come on once you’ve left. I ran mine the night before leaving because it was full, and then again with the dishes from that day – not exactly the most eco-friendly, but again, it cuts down on any food smells you may come home to if you left your dirty dishes for a couple of weeks.

Security is another concern. I lock my house up tight, shut the shades, and put on the alarm before I go, but it can look as if no one is home. I have lights set to come on using timers, and I keep these on even when I am home, so it’s not obvious that I’m not there (minus the always closed shades, of course). I also get help from my neighbors – my next door neighbor takes in my mail (if you don’t trust your neighbors to do this, you can put a hold on your mail through the post office) and parks his car in the driveway. This way, it looks like someone is home. My other neighbors of course know that it’s not my car, but anyone coming into the neighborhood who is unfamiliar with it wouldn’t.

Another tip is to turn down your heating or air conditioning, depending on the season. Although I have a programmable thermostat set up, it doesn’t make much sense to be heating the house when I’m not there. So I turn it down fairly low (above freezing to keep the pipes from freezing – that’s why you never just turn it off when you’re going away). Ideally, I would be able to control my heating and air conditioning from my phone, as you see in the commercials, so that I could get the house warm and toasty for our arrival, but that’s not in the budget right now!

And finally, sometimes, I’ll also stick in some new air fresheners before I leave. I tend to become de-sensitized to the existing ones, and leaving the house with new ones means I’ll come home to a lovely smelling house.

One final tip – online grocery shopping. When you get home from a long trip, the last thing you want to do is stop by the grocery store. But it can be rather depressing to eat yet another take-out/non-home-cooked meal the first night back, or even just looking in a bare fridge. I can order groceries and arrange delivery from my cell phone through Peapod the day before I come home, so that the food will arrive just after I do – convenient, worth the fee, and a nice way to stock up the house.

Since I’m gone a LOT this month, I may or may not order groceries for this return. Most likely, I’ll stop at the convenience store up the street to pick up milk and call it a day. I should warn my mom about that, since she’ll be staying at my house during my next business trip to watch my pumpkins.

What are your tips for what to do with your house when you’re traveling?