Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Never Buy a Refrigerator

Sometimes mole hills become mountains - even if you are not trying to make them into mountains.

A couple of weeks ago, I was thirsty and I decided that I wanted a glass of milk. I went to the fridge and took out the milk container and it was not cold like it should be. I did not think too much of it, until I started pouring the milk. The end result - let's just say that after checking the refrigerator, it was time to get a new one.

So the adventure of looking for a new fridge begins. The questions starting coming faster than I can even write them down.

  • What brand do I want?
  • What color do I want?
  • Do I want the freezer on the top or the bottom?
  • What store should I get it at?
  • How much money do I want to spend?
  • How do I get rid of my old refrigerator.
  • How big do I get it? (How tall and how wide?) This is the most important question above all other questions.
So, my wife (Yvonne) and I continue our adventure by checking out some web sites of brands that make refrigerators. Yvonne and decide on the type of fridge we want, now it is just a matter of how much we want to spend and how big of a space do we have for a big refrigerator.
We go into the kitchen to see our current refrigerator that is almost keeping things cool since we took out almost everything and found that we had lots of space between the wall and the counter. I take some rough measurements and now we are ready to see how big of a refrigerator we can get as our current refrigerator is almost large enough to be useful.

Yvonne is pretty sure of the make and model she wants and we take measurements to make sure the dimensions listed will fit in our space (There is a big lesson to be learned here).

It is all fine and dandy to look at pictures on the web, but it does nothing to give you the real look and feel of the item. After visiting a couple of stores to see other models to make sure that there is not something else we like better. We finally decide on the make and model Yvonne originally picked and went with store "A".

Store A was actually very helpful - they let us know there was a "big" sale starting in a about a week. We already emptied our old refrigerator, so it was not a big deal to wait a week. After waiting a week, we go to store A and make the big purchase. The fridge is supposed to be delivered on the following Saturday so we just have to hurry up and wait.

Saturday finally arrives and so do the delivery guys. They look at the entry door, the hallway and the turn it will take to get the refrigerator into the kitchen and into the corner where it belongs. Then they measure the area to put the refrigerator - note that earlier I said the measuring had a big lesson to be learned. They measure it a few times and say, "it won't fit. The space is not wide enough in the front of the cabinet, although there is plenty of space in the back. "

They gave me a couple of choices:
  1. I can take out the cabinet that is causing the space issue.
  2. They can leave the refrigerator and I can try to move it into the space myself.
  3. I can refuse the refrigerator and try to find a different model.
I did not like any of the options as we don't have a great deal of counter and storage space already and I don't want to damage the new refrigerator before we even get to use it.

After contemplating my options for a couple of minutes, I decide on option 1 - I will remove the offending cabinet - it is small and I figure I can make do.

So while I figure out how to take out the cabinet, the delivery guys go back to the truck to unpack and unload the new fridge. I empty the cabinet and find that there are only a couple of nails keeping the cabinet attached to the wall - so it is going to be really easy to remove the cabinet. I pull out the cabinet with relative ease; this is the last of the good things that happen this Saturday. After pulling out the cabinet, I find that the floor is not level where the cabinet used to be. There are a couple more layers of linoleum on the floor around where the cabinet was versus the hole that is left.

Just as Yvonne and I are agreeing that the floor is a mess, the delivery guy comes running into the house yelling "don't tear out the cabinet yet. Your refrigerator is damaged." We walk out to the truck to inspect the refrigerator to see how bad it is. We chose a black refrigerator that has an incredible shiny finish. The problem with the bright finish is you can see any and all dents in the doors. There are several dents at the top of the doors and by the handles.

Not only did I take option 1 on this Saturday, but I also took option 3 - refuse the refrigerator. We ask the delivery guys how long it will take to get another one out to our house. Remember when I said that taking out the cabinet was the last good thing to happen on Saturday - it was. The next new refrigerator needs to be ordered and can't be delivered until Thursday.

I refuse the refrigerator and Yvonne and head back into the house to examine the floor again.

Both Yvonne and I agreed that we could not handle looking at the disparity in the floor for a long period of time. So ... we need to get either new flooring or try to patch what is there. Did I mention, there is linoleum on the floor? To boot, my house was built during the mid 1970s - it is not pretty linoleum.

Neither Yvonne nor I like the linoleum that is on the floor - it does not match to what is in the hallway that passes next to the kitchen and also has linoleum nor does it match the linoleum that is in either of the bathrooms.

It's time to look for new flooring.

We decide to check out a couple of stores and call company "B" to have someone come out with some samples to show us.

Nothing at the stores looks like what we want and it can't get installed by the stores by the time the new fridge is supposed to arrive. So we wait the day for company "B" to come to our house.

The day comes for Company "B" to show up at the house. The sales guy brings samples of what we originally asked to look at as well as a couple of other alternatives. Yvonne and I view each of the samples and decide there are a couple that look like what we were thinking of for the floor and then place them down to view in the kitchen. The both look ok, but nothing that says, "man i gotta have that." So next the salesman brings out some alternative choices and there is both Yvonne and I spot the one sample and say that it is what we were really wanting. Next is the fun part - how much is it going to cost us for getting what we really like? Believe it or not, what we really wanted was actually cheaper than what we thought we wanted and about the price range that we expected to have to pay. So we finally have something go our way with getting this new refrigerator. And some even better news - the new floor can be installed prior to the delivery date of the new fridge. Mind you now, the refrigerator is now costing "X" plus the cost of the new flooring - this refrigerator is getting expensive. One of the silver linings - we finally get to get rid of the hideous 1970s linoleum.

Now that we are getting new floor, we have to clear out the kitchen, pantry and hall closet so the new flooring can be installed. We are moving stuff all over the house to get the kitchen ready for the flooring. In a little over a day, we went from organized, to chaotic and then we should be back to organized again in about another day or so.

The next day, the installer comes to install the floor and states that he should have no problem putting the new floor over the top of the old linoleum. Hold your horses there lulubell. That is not what I had in mind - we were supposed to have the old 1970s linoleum removed and the new floor installed. The installer says he needs to make a call to see what is supposed to happen versus what he had originally planned. While on the phone, the installer notes there are 3 layers of linoleum on the floor and asks when the house was built. I tell him in the mid-1970s and after notifying the other person on the floor, the next question is, "do you have anything in writing that says the linoleum is asbestos free?" I look at him and say, I have no real idea, I just bought the house last year and I have all the paperwork from that transaction. So far, things are not going overly well with this installation. I pull out all the paperwork and start searching - nothing in the home inspection and nothing in the main paperwork that says there is no asbestos in the house. The installer says that unless we have a "clean bill of health" the old linoleum cannot be taken out of the house; he is willing to work with us and he can still work with us and install the new floor over the old linoleum - he can build up the hole where the old cabinet was and the new floor will be fine - it is a "floating" floor, so technically, it would be fine. We have one major problem - we have a "BIG" new refrigerator coming the next day and with the new floor on top of the old linoleum, the refrigerator won't fit under the cabinet. In the meantime, the installer's boss calls and gives me the information about not being able to dispose of asbestos products and we would need to have a written document stating the linoleum was asbestos free. I asked her if she had any companies that she worked with in the past that could do this and how when the floor could be installed when/if the floor was asbestos free. She gave me a few numbers to call for companies that they have worked with in the past and said that she could have an installer out the next morning if all was good.

I call up one of the companies that was more local than the others and speak to one of the inspectors. He said that he could be out later that day, but the turn around time is normally about 48 to 72 hours. My day has definitely become more challenging.

One of my best friends IMs me and asks how things are going. I tell him that they could be a lot better and give him the lowdown on what has already occurred. He says that the cabinet is not a real problem - just raise the cabinet up and the new floor can be put on top of the linoleum and I won't have to worry about disposing of asbestos linoleum if the test comes back positive. Now I like this idea. I tell Yvonne about the idea of lifting the cabinets and she likes it as well. My only challenge is how do I do it.

Yvonne talks to our neighbor about the problem and she says that her husband can help do that - it should not be a problem. Later that evening, our neighbor comes over to look at the cabinets and formulate a plan. Less than 90 minutes later, the cabinets are lifted up and Yvonne is on the phone to the floor company and they will have an installer out the next morning. This is a good thing as our second round on delivering the new refrigerator is supposed to happen tomorrow as well.

We now have a minor problem. The cabinets are now 2" higher on the wall than before, and the paint color of those two inches does not match the rest of the wall. Yvonne says that she will paint the walls so they are all one uniform color tonight as it will be easier with everything out then after everything is moved back into the kitchen. A quick run to the paint store is in store. This is never a really cheap venture, especially when you want good paint that won't peel and will hold up to all the rigors that a kitchen has. The refrigerator just got more expensive.

Tomorrow comes and we actually get the same installer as the previous day. We explain to him what our choice was and what we did to come to this decision. The installer is a very hard worker and is doing a good job not to disturb us, as much as possible when there is hammering going on, and is friendly answering whatever questions we have when we ask. We tell him that the new fridge is supposed to be delivered sometime today, but we have not received a confirmation call yet stating when it will be delivered. He said that would not be a problem; he will move the refrigerator to where it needs to be when he is done. We only have one minor problem. When taking down the old 1970s coving that is supposed to pass for baseboard trim, parts of the drywall come off and the new baseboard, which is tremendously nicer, is not as tall as the old trim. Some more work is required by Yvonne and me to fix and paint the areas above the new baseboards when the floor is completely installed; this needs to be done before the fridge gets here, or it is going to be more work moving the fridge around some more.

When the day is done, the floor looks great, but there is no refrigerator. Then finally, we get an automated call stating the refrigerator will be delivered tomorrow. The silver lining to this is we have some more time to repair and paint the walls. The installer gave us his card and said that if we need his assistance with anything regarding the floor, give him a call -as lives in the area and wants to make sure we are happy.

The next day, towards the end of the time window provided for the delivery, the new refrigerator arrives. Yvonne calls me at work and tells me she has some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the new fridge arrived. The bad news, the fridge won't fit in the space where it is supposed to go - not because it is too tall, the raising of the cabinets actually worked correctly, is again too wide due to the baseboard trim and the upper cabinet. Yvonne calls the installer and he comes by and modifies the baseboard so that the refrigerator will fit in the space - mostly. Remember when I mentioned my house was built during the mid-1970s? The cabinet is not perfectly straight - part of it leans inwards towards the new refrigerator. The space now is just barely wide enough for the fridge to fit. Somewhere down the line, we are now going to have to get new cabinets so the cabinet and the new refrigerator are not so close. The good news is that going with company "A", the old refrigerator was removed as part of the installation of the new one, we get a rebate for buying an energy efficient refrigerator and get a credit on our taxes for the same reason.

We have our neighbors over to look at the new floor and the new refrigerator in the freshly painted kitchen. I ask the manly questions -what do you think of the new floor and the new refrigerator? Ooh. Ah. Very cool were the responses. Yvonne asks the womanly question - do you like the color of the kitchen and does it clash with the new floor. Being as dense as a brick like I am, I don't get the clue that Yvonne does not like the color of the kitchen any more. The silver lining is that we have not moved much back into the kitchen.

Yvonne is going to paint the kitchen the color we decided for the spare bedroom - it looks much nicer with the new floor. Cha-ching - that refrigerator just got more expensive.

The mole hill of getting a new refrigerator because the old one was going out, became a mountain with all of the obstacles that we encountered while trying to put it in the kitchen.

In the end though, we have the refrigerator we want, the floor that we want, and Yvonne has the kitchen the color she wants. :-)

My parting advice - Never buy a refrigerator.

Make someone's day and perfrom a random act of kindness. It could be small or as big as helping your neighbor raise their cabinets 2" higher in their kitchen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

At the End of the Day

The company that I work for, Fiserv, is truly a global company.

Headquarters is located in Wisconsin. We have offices, in NY, GA, OH, Oregon, Europe and India, to just name a few.

The reason that I mention this is because of come of the colloquialisms that I hear on a daily basis.

Don't worry about it.
No worries.
Forget 'bout it.
You're welcome.

All the above are responses you could get depending on who you are talking to when you tell them "thank you."

The phrase that I have been hearing frequently from people from Georgia is

At the end of the day ... yada yada.

Most of the time I state when all is said and done ...

The majority of the time I hear either phrase, it relates to how important or unimportant something is. For example, at the end of the day, does it really matter if I wear my brown shoes with my brown belt, or my black shoes with my black belt?

There are a lot of events that happen during a given day and very few of them really matter at the end of the day.

Don't let small things bother you all day because at the end of the day, they probably won't matter.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It could be as easy as reminding them at the end of the day, the small thing that was bothering them really does not make a difference.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


If 86,400 is the answer, what is the question?

How many seconds are there in a day?

You can always get more money, but what you can't do is get more time.

How well do you use your 86,400 seconds a day?

Do you find yourself spending your time wishing for the good 'ol days? Or being mad at someone for something they did to you in the past? Or waiting for something good to happen to you?

Make the most of the time you have and make the good things happen. One of the best ways to make good things happen for yourself to make good things happen for someone else.

Let the past be the past; don't carry around the burdens of the past with you today. Enjoy all the good blessings that are in store for you today.

Make the most of your 86,400 seconds starting right now.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It could be as simple as reminding them of how good today is.


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