What They Don’t Tell You

userpic=plumbingI hate water. Well, to be more specific, I hate dealing with water problems in a house. What’s the latest? Ah, there’s a story….

Way back in 2004, in our old house, we bought one of the first top-loading high efficiency washers. It was a Kenmore Elite, that Sears-branded Whirlpool Calypso system. These were problematic machines, but somehow we figured out how to keep it running and together. After a recent incident where my daughter washed a sandy towel without shaking it out first, the Sears repaircritter told us that if it acted up again, given that parts were no longer made, we should replace it. Last week, that happened. We were getting an “LD” indication — long drain — on the rinse cycle. This likely meant that one of the boards was dying, as the wash drained just fine (if it was the pump, it would have shown up on the first drain).

Pulling out the latest Consumers, we decided on an LG model that was a best buy. I toddled over to Lowes last week, ordered it, and it was delivered on Sunday. We start it up… and on the first drain, water back up the drain pipe. Thinking it might be a clog, we snake the line… but no luck. We got a plumber out here today. The problem isn’t the washer. The problem isn’t a clog in the line.

The problem, dear friends, is the pipe. We have a 1″ standpipe drain. The old washer had a 1/2″ drain line that fit in the pipe, allowing air flow. The new washer drain hose fits snugly in the pipe, allowing no airflow. Further, the new high-efficiency washer pushes water down the narrow standpipe so fast it backs up. Our house was built in 1962 with a 1″ standpipe. Post 1990 construction has a 2″ standpipe.

Thus, our $700 washer has just gotten more expensive — we’re going to need to open the wall and replace the standpipe with something larger. This is something they don’t tell you when you buy a new high-efficiency machine. It is just one of the reasons that I’m pissed at pipes today.

(Another reason: Time Warner’s Internet service was also down most of the day. Grrrr. Pipes.)


What? Me Stressed?

There is an interesting online debate in today’s NY Times, which explores the question: “Do high school students have too much stress?” It features six debaters from a variety of viewpoints, and makes an interesting read.

Of course, I’m seeing this stress close up. My daughter is in 11th grade, and this is finals week. Are we dealing with stress? What a silly question. She’s taking four APs (US History, English, Art History, and Chemistry), plus Honors Math Analysis and Advanced Dance (plus Independent Study French II through BYU and Confirmation Class at synagogue). Of course she’s stressed, studying her tush off, getting 4-5 hours of sleep, and subsisting on (from what she tells me Jolt and Red Bull).

I certainly don’t remember that stress when I was in high school.

But then again, how much of this is preparation for the real world. We all have lulls and peaks in our jobs, and at time life is stressful. I’m of the belief that public schools teach all sorts of coping mechanism that aren’t formal curriculum, and dealing with stress and time management is one of them. Another is learning not to take on too much. So how much of the fault is the public schools, and how much is the college system for stressing the need for perfect grades and tons of extracurricular activities.

Still, I’d love to hear your opinions on the debate.


Grrr… DirecTV

At our old house (about 5 miles to the east), we had DirecTV with no problems. At our new house, it is a different story. Let me count the ways:

  • Way the first: Our premium channels (either Showtime or HBO) are spotty. In the evening, we often lose about half the channels (for example, HBO Signature). We also tend to lose Fox Movie Channel. This happens on all the boxes.
  • Way the second: We have 3 RCA boxes and one DirecTV. Two of the RCAs that have seen the most use are requiring continual reboots.
  • Way the third: Now, the RCA box in the bedroom has gone to continue “Searching for Satellite…”, and won’t reboot and load the guide.
  • Way the fourth: Part of this is transponders. All of our even transponders are weak, right now, at least according to the two troublesome boxes.

DirecTV is coming our for the third time tomorrow to fix the problem; this will be their fourth visit if you include the reinstall. This time they are suspecting the cabling. M’self, I think I need to elevate this to customer retention if it doesn’t fix the problem: I’m starting to suspect those RCA boxes.