The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Another Level of Control

Here a week or two back my mother-in-law's washing machine decided to quit. Guy came and looked at it, told her what it needed. He didn't charge her anything, and said he could replace the motor, but it's still an old machine, and it will break down again. He recommended she buy a new one. So, a couple of days later, she had this new washing machine that had some electronic gizmos on it that I had never seen or, actually, never heard of. And, please forgive me here, but I just thought that my dear mother-in-law had been taken for a ride by the appliance store. 

Well, let's jump ahead a couple of weeks. This Saturday my washing machine decided it was going to retire and it quit. I checked all of the usual. Yes, there was water pressure, it was not the circuit breaker and there was electricity at the outlet. Since it was a mechanical unit, I tried some thumping, poking and prodding here and there, but still no life. And, at this stage right now in my back recovery, I cannot bend over and do the research I would normally do on a piece of equipment. 

Having decided to join the realm of my classy neighbors, there is now a washing machine sitting out in the yard. Think it can be used as a giant planter? Oh well, that one will just have to wait for another time. This happened on a Saturday afternoon. Monday it was time to buy a brand new washing machine. And, do you know what? You can't buy a regular old washing machine anymore, that doesn't have multiple energy saving features, all those little electronic gizmos that I snickered at my mother-in-law about. Well, here is my apology. 

My question is, "Why can't clothes be washed in cold water if I want to?" Now, I bought the bottom of the line that meets my need, but, it has a sensor that automatically adds warm water if my cold water is too cold. It will not allow the tub to be filled up and just wash one pair of jeans, even if you want to. And here is the one that really gets me. If you fill the machine up and let it sit for too long, it will automatically empty the machine. Now, this is not a water saving feature, so it has to be a safety feature. Can somebody in our government please explain why having a tub full of water is a safety problem? You might ask why I didn't go to a different appliance dealer. Well, something strange happened that day. The person that sold us the washing machine, was extremely knowledgeable about the products she was selling. I'm not being facetious here, she was really very knowledgeable and competent. She assured me that any new machine available, would come with these types of features.

Now the government tells us how much water we can flush in our toilets. Tells us what kind of light bulbs we can't use. Will not allow us, if we're in New York City to buy a super large vessel of soda pop. Why is it any of their business how much water we use in our washing machines? Well, actually I can understand the cold water logic a little bit. Some detergents will not dissolve well in cold water. But, you know, I think I'm smart enough to add warm water to cold water and get my detergent to dissolve. I am sick and tired of government intrusion into my life. But it doesn't make any difference what I think. I'm not trying to sound calloused or cold here, but it doesn't make any difference what you think either. The government is going to do what it wants to, any time it wants to, and it doesn't care one bit what you, I or my mother-in-law think. Did anybody ask any of you how you wanted your washing machine regulated? I don't recall voting on that anywhere. Was that on some agenda I missed? That's right, I forgot, it's on the Socialist agenda. And again, I am not blaming the current administration for all of these problems, because I can feel the fingertips of an environmentalist, former Vice President of the United States all over this one. It's just one more way to control. We have no vote and nobody cares one way or the other what anybody thinks. 

But I fooled them. I have a thirty year old toilet. I nicknamed it my Flush Master 2000. And when I feel really, really defiant, I get up, run in the bathroom, and flush that thing. Stand way back folks, cause you don't want to get your tie caught in it. Gotta have a little humor, or we're all going to go insane.

So, what's it going to be next? I don't know what's going to be next. But we all know it's not going to be good. When is the last time our government did something good for working, middle class America? I've been watching this come for years and years and years, and folks, we all know that it ain't gonna get no better. Better be getting ready.
Go to some garage sale and find a Flush Master 2000. If the porcelain is not cracked, all the internal components are easily replaceable. It will give you the feeling of independence and power. Then when you get finished, go get a 64oz. Big Gulp, cause we don't live in New York City. Well, I hope to feel better for at least a little while. 

If I were you, I would keep a real close eye on what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri. The truth about that incident, which was tragic, is going to be real hard to come by. Summer is still hot. I would just be paying attention to that real close. Last year they tried to get the Trayvon Martin tragedy going and it just didn't catch on. My compliments to the people. But if this one in Missouri catches on, and I'm sure they will pour every bit of fuel on this fire they can, it would be a good time to know where you are, and your loved ones are. Keep your gas tanks full and don't be someplace where you shouldn't be. All it
takes is one match and this thing could light up every major city in this country. And I don't put it past our people in charge, to pull something off like this. It hurts me to see what our country has come to. Pay attention. Stay out of the Middle East. Avoid Africa and anybody just returning from there. Hug your kids, kiss your wife, or husband, and enjoy a Snickers on me.

We'll talk more later. Frank

26 comments:

  1. Hi Frank. it's that fellow from N.W. Illinois again. Actually it's become a good place to be from, but I was born here and I' m stubborn to the core. Funny you mention buying a washing machine I just purchased one recently myself. Talk about sticker shock! I thought I was gonna have to have two cosigners to buy one. Then the lady showed me one with no agitator, figured out how much water to put in for you! Had to have special soap, on and on. Time out lady I'm old school. I want a dial that I can turn, water temp I can select, and water level selection with an agitator. Believe it or not they had one, still locks the lid, don't know why I never planned on taking a bath in it. Any how the price on the simple one was about a fourth of the one she originally showed me. Turns out I didn't need a cosigner. Any way thanks for sharing Frank and say hello to the Missus.

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    1. Thank you for the comment. While at the appliance store they had a special going on that was sitting outside under their marque, that wasn't noticeable when I pulled in. The reason being, the sky was black, the lightening kept affecting my night vision, and I couldn't have seen it anyway for the rain. But while standing there, looking at low end washers, a guy drives the washer/dryer combination in the store from under the marque. And that washer, which was identical to the one I was looking at, was $50.00 less. The lady promptly told me she would sell the one I was looking at for the same price. But, it was a washer and dryer combination special. Not only did I get the washer for $50.00 less, but the matching dryer, which wasn't exactly needed, but I have repaired my dryer once now, was a price we just couldn't turn down. So, we got the washer we wanted and the matching dryer at a very good price. Plus, I got a couple hundred electronic sensors thrown in for free. But, if you do consider bathing in your washing machine, I would recommend the one without the agitator. Thanks for reading and that was a great comment.

      Frank

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  2. Yeeick's....the big thing is to talk about how our wonderful Military keeps us free by going to fight in all these rough, crude and primitive countries then they come home to a country that is becoming mired neck deep in ridiculous regulation and laws and government interference! It is so sad! We who take care of our belongings and don't opt for brand new every year get these horrible surprises!

    Hot summer days and people who feel entitled scare me. I was listening to the radio and a woman reporter was interviewing Jesse Jackson about Ferguson..she asked him why all the concern for one young man being shot [Yes it was terrible] when that same weekend 8 young black men were shot in Chicago? He {Jackson] called the actions in Chicago different. He called it the nature of "our" {black} culture.....

    People here are edgy and you just get a funny feeling of insecurity and lack of trust in the government. Ralph and I have noticed more people stocking up at the local grocery store with canned goods in bulk and survival items. It is an odd feeling to say the least.

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    1. Fiona, thank you for your comment. There still seems to be a lot of people that are not aware of anything. They notice the gasoline prices fluctuating, and the prices at the grocery store are still going up, but most don't notice anything. The ones that do notice, and are aware, they seem to all share a common tension. There is just something not right, and that not right feeling is either getting closer or bigger. There are folks that just can't put their finger on what is happening. This thing has been coming for a long time, but it seems to be accelerating in all arenas. Thank you for your comment.

      Frank

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  3. I'm right there with you Frank. We recognized it as soon as Ferguson hit the news. Looks like they have a good one here and will ride it as far as the American people let them. They have learned from Trayvon and will do a better job for their agenda this time.

    We are building a homestead in the country. Nearest town only two miles away only has 317 population.... nothing else closer than 15 miles. My husband is insisting on modern conveniences... I have been requesting traditional back ups.... so far... so good. Right now I'm looking for an old fashion, hand turned, wringer washer like the one I used to help my grandmother with on wash day.

    The ponds are being dug this week and if the Good Lord is willing, we will be living out there by end of October. yay!

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    1. Shannon, I hope we're both wrong about Ferguson. But that feeling that comes and stays is not going away. There is still a lot of hot summer left, I sure hope it doesn't happen this summer.

      It's a nice feeling, seeing a pond being dug. Water, fish, two of my favorite things. When Fern and I moved here, we had a pond dug promptly. Also had two water wells drilled, and put hand pumps on each one. Things take time. Time here soon may be a precious commodity. October is just around the corner. But, remember, that October is traditionally the month for financial failure.

      Wish you the best,

      Frank

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  4. We have a 15yr old washer sitting in the garage. Nothing wrong with it, works fine. Its in the garage because the folks we bought the house from left it behind, and when we moved in we decided we liked the set that we were bringing with us better (newer but not much fancier). But I can't bring myself to actually get rid of it, cause yah, when our current one dies I'm not looking forward to buying a new one........

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    1. Ruth, thank you for reading. It must be nice to have a back up washing machine. We try to have a back up for most things, but I've never considered having back ups for larger type appliances. If it comes to the point some day when I can't buy new, then I guess it won't make a whole lot of difference, since there won't be a lot of anything else to buy either. I guess I just don't like going into stores anymore. It was refreshing the other day having a knowledgeable sales person.

      A couple of days later I tried to buy a riding lawn mower for Fern on her birthday. I called the guy that morning to ask when he was going to deliver it and he didn't even remember who I was. It's too bad the grass has to be mowed. So, I guess in the next few days, I'll have to talk to another salesman somewhere. Most salesmen I meet now days, I have zero product knowledge, and if they don't know, they will just lie. Yea, that kind of bothered me about the lawnmower. But, I never thought the colors green and yellow went together well. I'll see if I can find one in, maybe, camo. So much for that.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Frank

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  5. Fern,

    You and Frank need to get a Speed Queen washer. We had an old Kenmore set my husband bought when he left the military, it was about 19 years old and he had replaced the motor at least once. We were moving and couldn't take it with us - it was a gas set and our new home was electric - so I did some research and found out about Speed Queen. Made in the USA. Non-electronic - all mechanical. Galvanized tubs in the washer and dryer. Multiple size loads, cold/warm/hot options, top loader with a NON-LOCKING lid (I have kids and you know how at the last minute you find something that should have gone in but somehow got dropped or lost or didn't make it into the laundry hamper), no electronic panel with buttons to press, and only two or three styles to choose from. It does have the agitator in the middle. I couldn't be happier with it and it cleans extremely well. I DO NOT WORK FOR SPEED QUEEN but have recommended this set to friends and family. They don't sell through Home Depot or similar large chains, only through independent appliance stores - you can look on their website and find a dealer in your area. If I were you I'd take back the ridiculously micro-managed unit you bought while it is still in good condition, and get a Speed Queen.

    BTW, I live in Oklahoma and found mine at Metro Appliances. The set was on sale when I bought it. Much cheaper than anything "smart" at the big box stores.

    We absolutely did not want anything with the issues you are dealing with. I wanted something that was stupid and would just do what I told it to do. "Smart" appliances make dumb people. Pamela in Oklahoma

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    1. Hi Pamela. I looked up the Speed Queen line and they do seem very well made and probably well worth the money. For some reason I thought that Speed Queen did not make home units any longer. Since, in my life, the average washing machine lasts about 5 years, and this electronic laden product will last even less than 5 years, when time rolls around I will certainly look into a Speed Queen. I checked out the closest dealer to me and it's about 50 miles away.

      Can you remember the old Speed Queen agitators? Most came with electric motors, but you could also buy them with gasoline motors. I know Speed Queen doesn't make these anymore, but I believe they sold the patent rights to a company in Saudi Arabia. My grandmother had one of those type. It had two agitators and a ringer in between the two. Her wringer was also electric. I remember as a kid sticking my finger in that wringer thing. I guess, it's kind of like the hot stove thing. But did you know that when the wringers get so far apart, like when your hand is stuck in it, that the gears don't make contact any longer? Always nice to know these little bits of trivia.

      Thanks for the information.

      Frank

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  6. I love a good rant with a side order of humor.

    The part about the toilet -- I laughed! When I had to replace our old toilet some years back, I was told I could only buy a low-flow 1.6 gallon. The old gushers weren't even being made anymore.

    I understand the desire to conserve clean water and all that, I said, but I already had one low-flow and it was useless.

    He directed my attention to a new Kohler. Still 1.6 gallons, but the valve is larger so the same gushing, "gone-in-one-big-swallow" is attained. It's awesome! GA-WHOOSH! Gone in one instantaneous, loud, massive 1.6-gallon gulp. Never thought it was possible.

    Hope I don't have to buy a new washer for a long time.

    Just Me

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    1. Just Me, thank you for the humor. I guess toilets, by the nature of their being, are just funny. They are interesting looking creatures, aren't they? I wouldn't be telling stories to little kids that are in the potty training age about big gulps, or they might have paranoid fears the rest of their lives. But I was serious about the garage sale. Fern, of course, will never let me do this. Some people put those big concrete type lions on either side of their driveway. I always wanted to put a toilet on each side and use it as a planter. For some peculiar reason, and I'll never know why, but Fern just does not see the humor in this. So, thanks for the laugh. Peace be with you.

      Frank

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  7. Interesting post. We don't like the new-fangled gadgets either! Ever try purchasing used appliances. In many towns and cities vendors will take older, no-frills washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc. and refurbish them. We've bought several this way and always have good luck. You are supporting the local economy when doing this and you can pay cash (instead of breaking the bank or credit card). Many times the used appliances come with warranties and delivery as well! There is definitely something to the concept of simplicity, and we could all afford to live a little more simply, that much is certain. Thanks for posting, keep up the good work!

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    1. Hello. Interesting comment. In our area, I'm not aware of a store that sells used appliances. We by no means live in a upper, middle class area, for the most part, it is quite the opposite. I did buy my appliances from local merchants. When we moved here 6 years ago, we had no appliances at all, and everyone of them came from local merchants, not big box stores. Both of the stores we bought from have been in business since before there were Wal-Mart and Lowe's. I priced Lowe's, and paid sharply more to buy from local merchants. That's just the way we do things.

      My father was an independent businessman. We, whenever possible, buy local. The last vehicle I bought, came from my neighborhood, small town dealer. All the tires on my vehicles come from local, small town merchants. Yes, I do shop at the big box stores. But I shop every chance I can at local merchants, and support the local economy.

      We have one gas station type convenience store about 5 miles away. His gasoline is about 15 cents a gallon higher than 20 gas stations that I pass by on a regular basis. And I buy my gasoline from the local guy, because his is non-ethanol. But the other places have non-ethanol too, sometimes. We also support our local church.

      I wish more people bought local. Thanks for the comment.

      Frank

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  8. Oh, forgot... I've thought of the old wringer washer too. My Grandma had one, very simple machine. She's stand next to it and while doing her wash, would sing hymns at the top of her lungs. I remember hearing her old lady voice singing words of praise. I've even thought that in a pinch, that a person could just use a wash tub and plunger... I know my clothing is not filthy---I don't work in grease, dirt, and I don't sweat much.... my clothing would be easily washed this way. My husband's clothing is different story.

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    1. Hi Joy. Well, actually, if and when the time comes, we have stocked up on wash tubs and plungers, and they are both for that purpose. Funny how some people think alike. But, beware. Some plungers, especially the black ones, will leave marks on clothing. So if you go to the store to buy some, wear a pair of old jeans or work pants, and rub the plunger on your pants to see if it leaves a mark. I have not used this technique yet, but I've read that even very dirty clothes can be cleaned with detergent and very hot water and let them soak. Like I said, I've never tried it. We bought a handful of galvanized wash tubs and plungers just for this purpose. You can always heat water on a wood cook stove or on an open fire. Boy, that sounds like work!

      What we don't have is a good, quality hand wringer. There are some out there that I don't think will stand up to the test of time. And I just don't know enough about wringers. It's not like there are a lot of places where you can find current reviews on hand wringers. Sure hope it doesn't get to that point.

      Take care.

      Frank

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  9. I second the vote for Speed Queen!! We bought a Maytag with all of the bells and whistles because we thought Maytag was a reliable brand. Then the control board went out a year later. And the next year. And the next year. At which point we threw it in the dump and replaced it with a Speed Queen. The Speed Queen has been going for several years with NO issues. It is SO much more user friendly! I can put a load of clothes in, then lift up the lid and leave it there to soak as long as I want. They can talk until they are blue in the face about being green with these new washing machines, but they will never convince me that it is environmentally friendly to throw a huge hunk of metal in the landfill simply becuase the electrical components they put in them are JUNK!

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    1. Machelle, we use propane at our house and it works great. We bought all new appliances when we moved here, and none of them work great. We have a new cook stove coming. It has been ordered and is on the way. It is propane, 4 burner and an oven. There is no electrical connection and the ignition works from a 9 volt battery. In the last five years I have changed the control panel on our current cook stove four times at $150.00 each time. This last time they recommended a surge protector, which, like a little puppet, I installed. This new control panel lasted, oh, maybe a week. You set the oven for 450 degrees, it might be 550, or it might be 350. It is a piece of junk. It is almost impossible to find a cook stove without some type of electronics, and if you think you're going to buy one like our new one, you can't. They have been discontinued.

      I wish I had known about the Speed Queen, because I hate change. But, life's a learning experience. I did not know about the Speed Queen and we did the best we could with the data we had. I'm going to miss soaking my clothes. Thank you for reading.

      Frank

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  10. Pamela again here...you know, government control is not limited to your new appliances. Where we used to live, the electric company installed Smart Meters on all the homes. (You could not opt out.) These meters track what times during the day any and all electric appliances in the home are being operated. Electricity is charged at a higher rate during certain times of the day - supposedly, when there is "greater demand". These meters also allow the electric company to shut off power to consumers if the grid is strained, for example during extreme hot spells when a lot of air conditioning is being used. People are put on "rolling blackout schedules" by area. As I said, we had no say in the matter when we lived there. But now, here in Oklahoma, we are being offered "Smart Thermostats" for our homes by our electric provider. We get a mailer about once a month offering us this "free service". This is currently optional here but...Tthe draw, of course is to "save money" by using one's appliances during "off-peak" hours. The catch is that there are no money savings if a consumer changes their power usage times UNLESS they also have a Smart Thermostat installed! The electric company will also send a "customized evaluation" of the usage in the home (showing you how invasively they are monitoring all your appliances and your day-to-day activities) with "suggestions" as to how to change your usage times to pay less. I believe it is totally unfair to charge some customers higher rates even when their electric usage is confined to "low-demand" times, simply because they refuse to allow the electric company to monitor (in detail) when each appliance is in use 24 hours a day. I have friends who tell me how pleased they are that their bill is so much lower with these thermostats. It doesn't seem to bother them that their privacy is compromised.

    If anyone files a class-action lawsuit charging price-gouging and discrimination against non-Smart Thermostat owning consumers, I'd love to get in on it.

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    1. Pamela, I'm afraid I would have issues with that, too. A number of years back, in a different location in Oklahoma, our electric co-op offered a similar style program where they would control when your hot water heater and the compressor on the air conditioner would be controlled at their convenience. This control only lasted for 15 minutes in an hour. So, everything wasn't shut off where we didn't have control, only the hot water heater and the air conditioner compressor. After awhile we opted out of this perceived convenience and paid the higher rate.

      But, let me share a funny with you. When we moved there, we could read our own meter and send the new reading with the last month's bill. Well, they decided that this was not acceptable and wanted a meter man to come out and start reading it. They also had meters that they could read electronically from the office and the meter reader would not have to come out. I was told I would need to leave my gates open and put my dogs away during this three to four day period when the meter reader might show up. And according to their by laws, I did not have a choice. They would not install the newer electronic version that could be read from their office. Well, I didn't want to leave my gates unlocked, and I wanted to leave my dogs out. Fern and I worked two full time jobs, the 8:00 to 5:00 type, 5 days a week. But, I found that their by laws cannot restrict livestock movement and I advised them that I had a 250 pound ram that could easily do damage to a meter reader. A short time later we had one of the new electronic meters that could be read from the office. Funny how things work. So, my dogs were out and my gates were locked.

      I don't think the control issues are going to get any better until after there is a major breakdown.

      Frank

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  11. Lehman's has a variety of wringers and wringer washers for sale. Not cheap but you can find one....here's a link to the page:

    http://non-electric.lehmans.com/search#w=What%20are%20you%20searching%20for%3Flaundry%20wringer

    Pamela in Oklahoma

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    1. Pamela, thank you for the link. We are long term customers of Lehman's. Yes, they are a little pricey, but they have things that no one else does. Lehman's is where we bought our treadle sewing machine. It's not the same version that they currently display, though. I will take a look at their wringers. Thank you.

      Frank

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  12. Luckily, we have a used appliance store in our little town. I'm not real wild about the new washers either. I'm about ready to go back to the old ringer washer. lol. Well, maybe not just yet.
    It scares me about how our country is doing. I try not to think about it all the time or I'll not go ANYWHERE. Just like you said, I guess I'll just have to be ready.

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    1. Thank you for the comment, SFG. I love and recognize the advances in technology. The advances in medicine are just amazing. While we were in Alaska, in the far out bush, a local medical aide could insert a lighted probe in a child's mouth and the doctor, hundreds of miles away, could see in live time what was happening in the child's mouth and throat. To me, this is just really amazing. So, I certainly respect technology.

      I don't understand why the government insists that all washing machines have multiple useless government controlled sensors. So much for my mini rant.

      We enjoyed your blog comments about the purge. It added some interesting research and reading in our house.

      It's always a good idea to be prepared. If you don't use what you stocked up on in the long term, then you won't have to buy that kind of food for a long time. And if the economy turns around, and the sky is clear, a fantasy story here, then you can give all of your supplies to your kids and grandkids some day.

      Thanks for reading,

      Frank

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  13. We have an old washer in our cottage we paid $125 for. Amazing. Superior to those newer washers that don't clean clothes well at all. The old wringer washer I had was the best of all, I actually liked using it and you could use the water again and again.

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    1. I think many of us are going to be setting up a system similar to your old wringer washer, Janet. The times, they are a changin'.

      Fern

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