I've become one of those people...

Last week I was heading to the post office from the opposite side of town, so I was in neighborhoods I rarely visit. On a side street I saw a beautiful bungalow with its top torn off. I wish I'd have had my camera, but it was a sad, sad sight. There was nobody around, and a dumpster full of houseparts, so I did what any old house whore lover would have done: I got out for a peek around.

The dumpster was full of beautiful red oak trim, tongue and groove flooring, and windows!

I wanted so badly to root through it, but I was right off a main street and I didn't need the police called on me. Technically, since it's in a dumpster it could be considered trash, and I would be free to root through it, but I don't need any trouble. Instead, I left a note on the door (next to the building department's tag stating they did have a permit for demo!), and asked them to PLEASE call me.

Our house is pine, not oak, but if I could get it cheap enough I'd just donate it to the ReStore. Then at least it wouldn't end up in the dump...


Shiny! New! Clean!

These three words generally don't describe my house. Some things may be shiny, but it's generally from wear, not because they are new and/or clean. But our gorgeous front-loading washer is all this and more.

We decided on a Whirlpool Duet Sport. I had a bit of a hard time settling on it, since they all looked so pretty sitting there in the store. But we really don't need 17 water temperatures and 28 pre-set load types. Everything we wash is either with warm or cold, and on permenant press unless it's towels. The Sport (makes it sound like a car, doesn't it?) has 3 temperatures, 3 spin speeds, and 5 load settings. Water level is automatic, so I don't have to guess. Simple is good. And significantly cheaper, too!

I've been washing clothes like a woman possessed since last night after work. I had to go inside a VERY unsanitary house, so I changed clothes in the laundry room as soon as I walked in the door. Since then, I'm almost an addict. What amazes me most is how quiet the washer is. Unless it's spining, you can't hardly hear it. Until it leveled itself as well as it could on our notably un-level back porch, I thought it would shake the house apart when it spun. But it seems to have settled into a sweet spot, and you can't feel the vibrations inside the house now. I can't say the same for the porch. Out there it still feels like a minor earthquake...

But overall I'm thrilled. It uses so little water I'm sure we'll notice a difference in our bills, and it's Energy Star on top of that. I can't wait to get the dryer and stack the two. The porch will be less cluttered and awkward to navigate, and then maybe we'll have room for a little coat locker to stash some of our outerwear in.


My appliances hate me

I'm starting to get concerned that they're staging a revolt. Or maybe they feel that they're overworked and underpaid. Either way, I'd prefer a nice sit-down conversation instead of this passive resistance. Can't we just talk about this like rational adults?

Probably not. Yesterday afternoon, in the middle of a load of dirty sheets and towels, my washing machine broke. Granted, it's about 20 years old and spent several months sitting outside, so it's a little rusty and abused, so it was probably time for it to go. Still, I'd been hoping to get a few more months out of it. Like maybe until tax returns got here? Nah, that would be too easy.

So we spent last night looking at shiny new HE washers at Sears and Best Buy. We can't afford a dryer right now, plus we want to move the gas hook-up so we can stack them and drastically increase the space in our back porch/laundry/mudroom. The gas line currently runs along the outside of the porch (classy, huh?), so we need to wait until it warms up so we can properly move it under the porch, then insulate it. This might involve pulling up the floor back there (we have no idea how to access the crawlspace), so this is a spring project.

Then this morning, my toaster oven broke. Not a huge deal, but I use that little guy for everything from toast to heating leftovers. The top heating element no longer heats, and to compensate, the bottom elements go on full blast, scorching whatever you're trying to cook. It just bummed me out a bit.

And the furnace... Last year, we had a problem with one of the burner heads not igniting, causing the furnace to shut down before the cycle really got started. This caused the furnace to reset itself and go on standby for 3 hours before trying again. Needless to say, this resulted in a cold house! The nice furnace guy came out, cleaned it up, and charged us an arm and a leg. It's happening again this year. Not to the same extent, but I've had to reset the breaker 3 times in the past 6 weeks.

I'm just feeling very discouraged about the house and how much everything costs. As we've started to look at bathroom fixtures, I'm amazed at just how much they cost. Is it just me, or is $1200 for a bathtub ridiculous? $500 for a sink, $500 for faucets for both... Can you guess who's going to be scouring ebay, the ReStore and craigslist?