Tuesday, 14 March 2017

10:31 – The blizzard finally showed up overnight. When I took Colin out around 0730 this morning it was freezing with a slight breeze (versus the 600 MPH/960 KPH gusts that had been forecast, or something like that), and with at least a quarter inch (6 mm) of accumulated snow.

Like all of the built-in appliances that were in this house when we bought it, the dishwasher was a Frigidaire. Hawk, spit. It never did a very good job, and the internal layout was crappy. I’d been running it on the 93-minute Ultimate Scrub cycle until a couple months ago, when that button just stopped working. I fell back to the Normal Wash cycle with the Sanitize option. The other day, that button stopped working as well, so yesterday Barbara and I headed over to Blevin’s Hardware to buy a new dishwasher.

Consumer Reports says Bosch and Whirlpool models are the most reliable. When we moved into our house in Winston in 1987, the Whirlpool dishwasher that was there was probably original with the house, which made it 18 years or so old. It still worked fine, although it was definitely showing its age. We replaced it several years later with another Whirlpool, which was still working perfectly when we moved out of that house in late 2015. Our experience with other Whirlpool appliances like washers and driers had also been excellent, so we were pleased to see that of the 10 or so dishwashers Blevin’s had on display, more than half were Whirlpool. Russ said they carried only Whirlpool and Amana (a cheaper Whirlpool-made brand), and I believe GE. The Consumer Reports article said that pretty much any model that sold for around $600 or more would do the job well, but to avoid the $300 and $400 ones. So we picked out a $600 Whirlpool and told them to deliver it.

When I mentioned installation, Russ said they couldn’t do that because of insurance/liability issues. I was surprised because we’d bought our new washer and drier from Blevin’s, who’d installed it. He said they could do washing machines because the water connections were exposed and simply screwed on, while a dishwasher connection was concealed and could do a lot of damage if it leaked.

So we called Shaw Brothers, our usual plumber, and arranged to have Herschel come out later this week to do the installation. While I was talking to Elaine, I mentioned that it might be a bit awkward to co-ordinate delivery of the new one and hauling off the old one with Herschel actually getting the installation done. Elaine said that was no problem. Herschel would just pick up the new one at Blevin’s on his way over here, install it, and haul off the old one.

We got another eight forensic science kits built yesterday, which was all we could build with the subassemblies we had on hand. One of those shipped this morning, but seven forensic kits is a comfortable level for this time of year.

Barbara may or may not be volunteering at the Friends of the Library bookstore this afternoon, depending on weather. They aren’t likely to get much traffic today anyway, so if she decides not to go in there won’t be many people disappointed that it’s closed.

Otherwise, we’ll just keep working on science kit stuff.

* * * * *

64 thoughts on “Tuesday, 14 March 2017”

  1. “Consumer Reports says…”

    Is it worth it to get a CR subscription? We’re looking down the road this year at a new washer and dryer, minimum, and I’d like to replace our fridge and dishwasher. In the possibly badly mistaken belief that we’ll still have juice for the next few years.

    We now have a “Blizzard Warning” for this zipcode and although the flakes are small, they’re coming down fast and steadily by the zillions. I’ll get out there with the snowblower when I can’t see the grass anymore. Temp is at 19/20 currently and we’re looking at anywhere from one to two feet, allegedly. Town offices/town hall closed at noon, so no Planning Commission meeting tonight. I assume the schools have either not opened at all or are closing or closed by now.

    Happy Pi Day everybody!

  2. We actually just dropped our CR subscription. I think Barbara’s parents bought it for us and when it finally expired we decided not to renew. The only data they provide that I find useful is their frequency of repair information.

  3. CR is designed to appeal to a certain type of person, just as the “Big Book of Hidden Information” is. It does not appear to be designed to do what most people would assume from the name.

    Whenever I’ve looked, there is damn little actual actionable information in an issue, and all of it is available elsewhere.

    Like many things in life, waiting for CR is a good way to avoid a decision and procrastinate while feeling like you are actually doing something.

    n

  4. We dropped CR years ago. IM(not so)HO, it was fine for typical household appliances, but wrong allocation of relative importance of characteristics for hobby, enthusiast items. For example, stressing fuel mileage and comfort for soccer mom minivan is appropriate; however, not for serious 4WD, off-road rigs.

  5. OK, got it; CR not a good investment of time or $.

    Key Lime Pie, is, however. I love it! With real limes, that is.

    And the snow continues.

    How y’all doin’ down there in MA, the Capital District, NC, TN, and FL?

  6. I still take CR and refer to it on any large purchase above $500. I like it more for trending than anything specific. And I do like the car trending on repairs, I find it to be very interesting even though we have not bought a new car or truck in 12 years. I am still trying to buy the wife a new RAV4 or Forrester but the rebuild of her 2005 Civic engine in 2015 has proven to give that car a second life.

  7. apropos of nothing

    I’m getting really tired of seeing “woman” or “women” used when grammatically and logically “female” should be used. “Women owned business” being the most common. Misusing and creating ‘private’ definitions for words robs them of value and diminishes communication. Often found in conjunction with other tortured language, eg this nugget from Fortune Magazine “[participated in well-meaning but patronizing programs to help those poor womminz] and have effectively applied these learnings to their businesses.” FFS, even firefox underlines “learnings”…

    There’s another trend building that drops “to be” in sentences like “this thing needs [to be] fixed.” or “That wall needs painted.” Currently more common in spoken rather than written, it’s sweeping through youtube instructional videos.

    /curmudgeon

    n

  8. At least a foot of snow here. I think. The wind is blowing it into drifts of wildly varying height so it’s hard to be sure. We’ll take care of it this afternoon; I’m working from home today, and everyone else has the day off. My wife was not happy when I informed her she’d be doing something to help, but as I pointed out, I can work from home tomorrow and Thursday, so I have no need at all for the driveway to be cleared. If she wants to get her and her friends’ cars out for tomorrow, she’d better be out there helping.

    As for Pi Day, and other days, I want Keystone Pi Pline.

  9. Dropping “to be” comes from western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and thereabouts. You can’t really blame the residents of that area for the linguistic atrocity, given that many of them had parents who were related before their marriages, but it’s unfortunate that it has spread to the general population, much like a disease contracted through intimate relations with sheep.

  10. @Nick

    I speak WesternPennsylvania-ese natively, so I naturally say, “This car needs washed”, but that’s not grammatically correct, strictly speaking. It should be “This car needs to be washed” or “This car needs washing”, both of which are grammatically correct but needlessly wordy in my WesternPennsylvaniaOpinion.

    As to “female” versus “woman”, female is an adjective, not a noun. A woman is a female human. Similarly, a man is male human. References to, e.g., a “white male” are illiterate. My question is always, “a white male what?”

  11. Oh, yeah, “female-owned” is marginally acceptable because our society allows only humans to own things. Well, humans and corporations. I say “marginally” because there’s some ambiguity in “female-owned”. Does it mean “owned by a female human” or “owned by a female corporation”?

  12. And the redundancies: “…close proximity….”

    Bureaucratic puffery: “….prepositioned…”, who would admit to “postpositioned”?
    also my credit card offers: preselected, prequalified…..
    who has ever claimed ownership of: ” ….I have a plan of INaction…”?

    Oh yeah, a bureaucrat yapping on TV news: “…. 24/7/365/…”, is that not seven years?

  13. “Dropping “to be” comes from western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and thereabouts.”

    Who knew? I guess it’s possible I’ve just found youtubers from that region lately, but it does seem to be spreading.

    Female is a noun as well as adjective, whereas woman is always a noun. (and I think the plural women is even worse when used as an adjective.)

    But then I’m a 50-something (which is a usage popularized by a movie that is 30years old itself) white male, so who am I to judge usage of females? I’m just oppressing them with my grammar.

    n

  14. No, using “female” as a noun is illiterate. It’s an example of those shifts in usage that you were bitching about.

    ““…. 24/7/365/…”, is that not seven years?”

    I’d read that as 0.009393346

  15. Regarding modifiers, …eat healthy or healthily? adverb or adjective?

    Or, watching COPS on TV, “…step out of the car real quick….”, why not quickly?

  16. “Eat healthy” is missing an article. It should be “eat the healthy”. Which only makes sense. You wouldn’t want to eat the sickly, not unless you were desperate.

  17. Work Safe.

    There is a general use of adjectives when adverbs are called for.

    And female is a noun, not just an adjective. Although the usage may be relatively recent, it’s not controversial.

    ” noun
    1.
    a person bearing two X chromosomes in the cell nuclei and normally having a vagina, a uterus and ovaries, and developing at puberty a relatively rounded body and enlarged breasts, and retaining a beardless face; a girl or woman.
    2.
    an organism of the sex or sexual phase that normally produces egg cells.
    3.
    Botany. a pistillate plant. “

  18. I think using “a male” came about 40 years ago because of people who were intimidated by or outright frightened of men. And masculinity. And that pokey rapey thing they have. No, much better to change the vocabulary to get some distance from the scary things.

  19. I gotta say, this is some scary chit right here; buncha dam gearheads and geeks obsessing over English usage. Shazammm!

    It’s so gobsmacking I gotta run out now and do some more snowblowing and shoveling and get that stuff outta my head ASAP.

    The driveway needs cleared.

  20. I was planning on doing the driveway, but I can’t help but notice the 30MPH wind out there, as well as the continuing snowfall. I’m not sure there’d be any point to working on it.

  21. @OFD said: “Is it worth it to get a CR subscription?”

    I have been a CR subscriber for more than 4 decades. IMHO the print magazine is worthless, there is no depth to the reviews. You have to go to the website to really get the information so I would recommend just getting the website subscription.

    I mentioned yesterday or the day before that our Bosch dishwasher, about 20-years old, died. So we went to our local go to store for appliances, Bunch-Finnigan, and bought a new Bosch that is almost exactly like our old one except that the switches are “contact/touch” verses mechanical. While we were there I mentioned we were going to replace our washer and dryer. I mentioned LG and Samsung and had them all rolling on the floor. They know me well and said I needed to get the last real washing machine and dryer, a Speed Queen. The gooberment has ruined all appliances, except for commercial ones but that goes away this year. Mr. Bunch recently bought 2 trailer loads of the the last non-gooberment regulated washers and dryers. He said they will all be sold by April. So we bought a top load washer and dryer set too. Absolutely no electronics, full control of water lever and temperature, and full control of cycles. He said he has sold a bunch to preppers and a few of them bought 2 and an extra motor, transmission, and the mechanical controls. You will not find Speed Queen in CR as it is a commercial product. The washer, dryer, and dishwasher will be here in an hour and installed. A licensed plumber who works with Bunch-Finnigan (he was a warehouse-boy there while going to plumber’s school and doing his apprenticship) will do the dishwasher install.

    There’s the door bell, they are early.

  22. “Speed Queen Washers Built to Last
    And at those prices they should be. Here’s why consumers love their Speed Queens.”
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/washingmachines/speed-queen-washers-built-to-last

    Never buy front loader washing machines. Dryers, sure.

    I like the fact that their top loader has an agitator. That is the only downside that I know of for our LG top loader. I’ll bet the top loader SQ with agitator does not require HE liquid.
    https://www.amazon.com/LG-WT5680HWA-TurboWash-White-Washer/dp/B00EE85HWK/

  23. Well dadgum it all to hell, Mr. DadCooks, you’ve hit the Trifecta! Local guys who tell you da troot, hand you a hot and accurate tip of intel, and arrive early with a squared-away installer dude. Shazzzzzzammmm! And it sounds like you’re feeling a lot better, too. Outstanding!

    “I’m not sure there’d be any point to working on it.”

    Pretty much the same deal here, too, but I kinda have no choice; I have a dinky electric snowblower and doing 4-6 inches is not too bad; any more than that and it will seize up. So I gotta get out there several times with it, use the shovel a bit, and husband my energy and movements carefully due to back issues. It gon be a long night and day tomorrow, I’m thinking. Most likely one of my kindly neighbors who take pity on an old crippled veteran will plow the end of the driveway after the plows have been through a few times. Actually one of them is himself an old crippled war veteran but he has a plow.

    My clever game plan is to find a manly snowblower on sale this summah, so maybe I’ll take a look at CR’s website subscription deal, for that, and also the other damn appliances, which came with the house and are one by one falling by the wayside now.

  24. Consumer Reports says Bosch and Whirlpool models are the most reliable.

    We have a Bosch and it works well. Quiet. From what I was told if you want quiet get a dishwasher with a stainless steel interior. It will cost you more but will be much quieter. Thus is my experience with the Bosch. Unless you are standing next to it you cannot hear it running. Does an excellent job of cleaning dishes but most of our dishes have been prewashed by the dog.

    No, circumference divided by diameter, or 3.1417.

    Or 355/113 for a better approximation, which is all PI is, you just choose your level of approximation.

    How y’all doin’ down there in MA, the Capital District, NC, TN, and FL?

    Freezing now, will drop to 20 tonight. Had to drain the outside faucets and set up the space heater in the garage which kicks in if the temperature drops below 45. Need to keep the pipes warm. Also reactivated the boat heater. Light snow flurries, nothing significant.

    Went to the VA office to send in the forms to have my disability increased. Will require a trip to Nashville, may take a cane with me on this trip. Also need to get my medical ID. But the Knoxville office cannot do it as they are on a different system. Made a trip to Harriman which is the clinic I use. They don’t do medical IDs. Thus need to go to Murfreesboro (3 hours), Nashville (3 hours), Chattanooga (2 hours) or Athens (1.5 hours). Why Knoxville is in a different system and still part of the VA is beyond me.

    Also had my TN driver’s license changed to include a VETERAN endorsement. Many places will give a 10% to 15% discount, one of the bigger players being Home Depot. Did not know that until about a month ago. Would have saved a lot of money on my last major purchases. Worth checking into OFD and the other vets that frequent.

  25. “doing 4-6 inches is not too bad; any more than that and it will seize up.”

    doing 4-6 inches is not too bad; any more than that and I will seize up.

    FIFY.

  26. Just did most of the driveway, or at least the part not covered by cars*. Took about half an hour with a small snowblower and considerable exertion on my part. Couldn’t help but notice that the street hasn’t been plowed**, so it doesn’t matter how good a job I do with freeing up the cars, no one’s going anywhere until the 15″ or so (and still coming down) is cleared.***

    My wife, by the way, did not lift a finger to help. No one’s going to tell her what she has to do. So be it. She’s made her choice. I don’t need to go anywhere tomorrow, so she can do whatever is needed in the morning to get her and her friends’ cars out.

    * Not to play up stereotypes or anything, but Chinese women sure can’t drive or park. If the cars had been put in place by someone other than half-blind halfwits, I’d have been able to clear more of the snow and would have had less trouble doing it.

    ** That’s not a complaint. We’re at the end of a residential dead-end and definitely should be third-priority at best.

    *** In theory the SUV would be able to muscle through to the plowed roads, but it has all weather tires and except in an emergency would be driven by its owner, a Chinese woman who is a piss-poor driver.

  27. I’ll bet the top loader SQ with agitator does not require HE liquid.

    High Explosive? Damn, you don’t take any guff from your dirty clothes, do you?

  28. “Went to the VA office to send in the forms to have my disability increased. Will require a trip to Nashville, may take a cane with me on this trip.”

    I dunno what % you have for your rating and it’s none of my beeswax but you wanna consider, if not actually crying, just a bit of whimpering from the pain and discomfort. Might also mention other stuff that occurs to you or Mrs. Ray, and quite often in my experience, the missus remembers a bunch of chit that you don’t.

    Home Depot, eh? I dunno if Vermont does a vets endorsement on our drivers’ licenses; I don’t think so, though. We can obviously get vet plates but I’ve decided against that for several reasons. I will check with HD, however. And that reminds me; I gotta get to the Town Hall when they open again and see about that property tax break for disabled vets; you may wanna look into that yourselves, Mssrs. Ray, SteveF, DadCooks, et. al. and any other nasty, violent and dangerous veterans lurking here.

    “…any more than that and I will seize up.”

    No chit! I’m being very careful and taking breaks. Not gonna keel over in my own effin driveway if I can help it. Made it this far….

  29. Sounds like someone in the Northeast has a problem with Chinese women drivers. We don’t get many Chinese women up here. Not familiar with that. We DO have a problem, though, with women drivers in general, and that’s been true since the government, in its infinite wisdom, gave them licenses, shortly after giving them the vote. And the age is not a factor, either. Could be sixteen or ninety; I consider them all a potential menace.

    Now how’s that for not playing up to stereotypes?

    “…you don’t take any guff from your dirty clothes, do you?”

    Innernet laff of the day, thanks much!

  30. you may wanna look into that yourselves, Mssrs. Ray, SteveF, DadCooks, et. al. and any other nasty, violent and dangerous veterans lurking here.

    Yes, there’s a 10% (I think) property tax reduction for vets in this county; came into effect just a year or so ago. There’s a delay in getting any benefit from it, but we should see a reduction for the tax year starting Oct 2017 or April 2018, or some asinine thing like that.

    Though I dispute the “nasty” part of your statement. Yes, I’m a bit ripe between the body odor from exertion and the 2-stroke exhaust fumes and the smell of flatulence which goes everywhere I go for no reason I can discern, but that’s not the same as being nasty.

    (Did anyone notice the fart joke in there? Probably not, because I slipped it in so subtly.)

  31. Well I think it’s bloody grand of the government to cut us a break on our taxes and I am ever so grateful and of course, obedient and compliant in all matters.

    Fart jokes? Always a crowd pleaser! The farts themselves, not so much.

  32. doing 4-6 inches is not too bad; any more than that and I will seize up.

    Somehow that just does not sound right without the reference to snow.

  33. Not to play up stereotypes or anything, but Chinese women sure can’t drive or park.

    I swear Asian women get their DL in Vegas and immediately start driving like it’s a turd world shithole. You are not even safe on the curb walking.

  34. I will check with HD, however.

    Only applies on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and some other day that escapes me unless you have a medical ID card that specifies you are disabled and it is service connected. That gets you the discount (10%) every day.

    I dunno what % you have for your rating and it’s none of my beeswax

    You are right it is none of your beeswax but I really don’t care. We are all in the same sinking raft. My rating is 20% and I want to get to at least 50%. Going much higher will be difficult without experiences that match yours.

    if not actually crying, just a bit of whimpering from the pain and discomfort.

    Indeed I might just try that approach. I need to remember to not turn my neck as far as I possibly can just to impress. I need to stop at the point of pain and/or discomfort. Also when called be slow to get up out of the chair, wince while doing so, as I found out they watch you while doing this. Lesson learned.

    Since I am already in the system, have been for about 10 years now, it is easier to get appointments to be re-evaluated. Last time I went from 10% to 20%, this time I am hoping for 50% but may have to settle for 30% and work my up with subsequent appointments. Multiple times of complaining and bugging them may help.

    Yes, there’s a 10% (I think) property tax reduction for vets in this county;

    There is here also but you have be at 100% to get the reduction, and freeze on increases. In San Antonio TX 100% disability gets you to 100% reduction on property taxes, as in pay nothing.

    smell of flatulence which goes everywhere I go for no reason

    Go furniture shopping. Sit on a couch, soft one, fluffy, with lots of foam. Let one rip just as you are getting up so the foam absorbs the gas as the foam expands. Next person to sit on the couch is greeted with a gift. Also works in any place you can sit on a couch or foam chair. Not so good on the wooden benches at Outback Steakhouse.

  35. “”Absolutely no electronics, full control of water lever and temperature, and full control of cycles.””

    My electronic clothes washer overflowed (endlessly?) due to a power blink during the fill cycle!

  36. The soft touch controls on my washer/ dryer/ and fridge all cracked and peeled. The plasticizers are not compatible with skin oils would be my guess.

    Got rid of the fridge, but I’ll probably use my vinyl cutter to make something for the dryer and washer.

    Slow cooker did the same thing.

    n

  37. “I dunno what % you have for your rating and it’s none of my beeswax but you wanna consider, if not actually crying, just a bit of whimpering from the pain and discomfort.”

    10-4, like when the Compton rapper Suge Knight went to court charged with murder. His lawyer pushed him up to the table in a wheelchair where Suge performed the basketball type flopperoo.

    Big steel knee braces must be available from eBay.

  38. “…but may have to settle for 30% and work my up with subsequent appointments. Multiple times of complaining and bugging them may help.”

    That is correct. Keep showing up, keep whining, leave a little piss on the floor for them (trouble controlling whatever mechanism does that), etc. Discuss all this with your state’s veterans service office, assuming TN has one, and take one of them with you to your next VA appointments; any of them worth their salt will OFFER to accompany you to said appointment. This has an impact on otherwise bored and disinterested staff, who may also have some kind of bureaucratic inventive to keep denying people and save the gummint money. Well fuck that, because the gummint had/has no trouble blowing money on new crappy weapons systems and wasting billions every year on bullshit. They can take care of us poor deluded people who signed up during their endless wars. (“deluded” in the sense that THEY deceived us as to the nature and vulnerabilities of our service).

    And this is just evil:

    “Go furniture shopping. Sit on a couch, soft one, fluffy, with lots of foam.”

    Shame.

  39. Back in again from snow removal operations.

    Which are a total joke.

    I had cleared a sizable area of the driveway; on coming out again it was buried. So I hit that and created another sizable cleared area. Turned around a half-hour later and another four inches had fallen. The weather liars weren’t kidding when they said “heavy at times.” Shit. Eight inches an hour and no sign of stopping. Again, according to their timetable, this storm is not even half over yet. The two neighbors went out and did the same thing with their machines and one of them even cleared a space across the street so one of the denizens could get his car up that incline. After that, even they gave up for now. No point. Might as well dig ourselves out all friggin’ day tomorrow in daylight.

    I’m guessing we had 15 inches down an hour ago when I was out there and another six to eight inches have fallen in the meantime. Wife’s Saab is already buried, thanks to northeast wind gusts of 20-30 MPH. I wonder how peeps on the New England and Maritimes coasts are doing. Typically they get tremendous wave action crashing into shore and lots of ice, plus the power outages. I’ve heard reports that power is out in parts of CT already. Drudge sez Mordor and Babylon skated.

  40. And this is just evil:

    Evil? Maybe, maybe…

    Or perhaps it’s just plain awesome!

  41. Well now; blizzard warning in effect until noon tomorrow, with blowing snow and wind chill temps tonight near zero. I’m guessing we’ll end up with at least two feet of snow, and drifts much higher. Ain’t seen this kinda storm in ages. We used to get three or four like this every winta.

    OFD is gonna call it a night for outdoor stuff, as looks to be the case for the neighbors as well. Not much we can do right now except wait it out and hope the power stays on. But if it does not, I’m okey-dokey here with FLASHLIGHTS, batteries, food, wotta, radios, candles, lanterns, lamps, matches, books and a TOILET.

  42. Hunker down. Should be some good scanner listening as the wallyhogs run out of smokes and drinks……

    n

  43. The dumbass cow next door who stands out there smoking at 2 AM every night, hacking and coughing and choking, waddled clumsily through the knee-high snow in the road out front earlier to her FIL’s house, dragging her toddler daughter with her. As FIL was busily moving back and forth in his tractor w/plow attachments trying to help the bozo across the street who was spinning out and couldn’t make it up the inclined driveway there. Right through them as they were moving. Then, ten minutes later, she did it again, going the other way. No thought in her fat head how easy it is for heavy vehicles to slide in this stuff with no warning. Puffing on a ciggie each way, too.

    Not any traffic outside for a while now, but earlier I heard the same assholes revving their noisy truck engines and racing around in this stuff. I always hope they roll ’em over a guardrail and into a deep ditch.

    Scanners with the usual accidents, disabled motor vehicles, domestics, noise complaints, etc. Same old small town shit I dealt with nearly forty years ago in southern New England.

    Hunkering down now with another episode of Ripper Street on Netflix.

  44. And from the Bad Consequences for Decreasing Ball Juice Department:

    https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/what-are-the-consequences-of-multigenerational-low-testosterone/

    I laughed so hard I thought I’d have a haht attack or stroke and then some of the comments did me in again. Too bad it’s mostly all true.

    Enjoy with your late-night latte or early morning tea and crumpets.

    And as always, pax vobiscum, fratres; gonna be a fun day here with the continuing snow removal ops, but the power and heat stayed up throughout, praise be to Jesus and Tommy Edison and whoever the guy was, probably a nasty cis-hetero Caucasian male, that invented the extraction of oil and its subsequent use to provide heat, given that our woodpile and stacked firewood is currently buried.

  45. Lynn wrote:

    “Never buy front loader washing machines. Dryers, sure.”

    Why didn’t you tell me that three years ago?

  46. Since the topic of farting came up…

    I was in a lift once which had grooved walls, kinda like a CD I guess. A woman gets in with her handbag over her shoulder, the handbag has metal protectors on the corners. She’s a bt careless and the handbag rubs against the lift wall, producing a most accurate fart-like sound. I didn’t laugh but she went quite red… 🙂

  47. Gotta get younger son to fill out his tax stuff. First time he’s had to file US taxes. We’re having them done, since filing as an expat is such an incredible nightmare – but even then, the forms to fill out seem unending. What fun…not.

    Since I still have some (pathetic) oil royalties in the US, I also get to file. Thankfully, no longer being a citizen, it’s gotten a lot easier. I can do everything online, including the Oklahoma return. Still costs 60 bucks, but the online stuff works surprisingly well. I use TaxAct, if anyone is interested.

    I’m trying to find some cousin or other to take the mineral rights off of my hands. They’ve been splintered over three generations, so a bit of consolidation would be a good thing. I own fractions of fractions on various scattered fields that were themselves split up amongst various family members. What a nightmare for the oil companies that have to figure out who to pay how much. And from my side, I have absolutely no way to verify that they pay me whatever I am actually due.

  48. Oh, also fun at the moment: The Swiss railway system has started boring the tunnel that will go nearly directly underneath our house. They’re still 500 meters away with the machine, and the house is already vibrating nicely. Dunno if that’s normal, or if our house is especially well-grounded on the bedrock. Sent them a polite little inquiry today.

    I need to make sure I have good pics of all the cracks the house has (it does have several), in case several weeks of continuous low-level earthquake makes things worse.

  49. Consumer Reports says Bosch and Whirlpool models are the most reliable.

    We left a Bosch in our house in FL. If an issue ever comes up with our current house’s Frigidare, we would get another Bosch in a heartbeat.

    All of the dishwashers face the same issue, however — removal of phosphates from the detergents by law. Not every state mandates it, but Costco forced the issue on manufacturers back when WA State implemented such a ban. You can add a little TSP by hand to see if it will extend the useful life of the old washer, but, anymore, you need a model designed to work without phosphates. As usual, the EU manufacturers are way ahead of the US in dealing with the nanny state.

  50. Hi Bob,

    As far as CR goes, check your library library’s website, as our library gives free full online access to consumerreports.org to cardholders via the Library website. There’s online access to other magazines and to auto and outdoor equipment repair manuals too.

    I’m glad you got the $600 one, as we replaced our $400 Whirlpool two years ago, which was well rated by CR for cleaning but was loud and simply awful durability-wise. We replaced it with a Bosch, which we are extremely happy with…

  51. Since I still have some (pathetic) oil royalties in the US, I also get to file.

    Tell you what, you can assign those royalties to me and your tax issues with the US and Oklahoma will be gone.

  52. Hi Brad: We were ex-pats for many years (UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand) then made the mistake of leaving New Zealand to give our granddaughter a taste of the US. Now we can’t go back. I am hearing from my Ex-pat friends that the IRS FCTA regulations have made their lives very dificult and several have given up citizenship to escape the hassles. Have you seen the same? How in the world did you get Swiss Residency? When I was running IT out of the UK the Swiss refused to let our technicians visist our Swiss data center more than twice in one year. They seemed terrified that working even a few weeks in country might give them ideas they could immigrate.
    BTW: I see you too have oil/gas royalties from Oklahoma wells. Mine used to produce a nice $500+ monthly but then dropped to less than $100. This months check was back up to $185 so I’m not complaining.

  53. Naw, Brad should assign his oil shares to the Harvard Trust. They have a trillion dollars under management, so you can be sure they’ll know what to do with the shares.

  54. Oh, also fun at the moment: The Swiss railway system has started boring the tunnel that will go nearly directly underneath our house. They’re still 500 meters away with the machine, and the house is already vibrating nicely. Dunno if that’s normal, or if our house is especially well-grounded on the bedrock. Sent them a polite little inquiry today.

    Uh, dude, you will know every time the train goes under you. This is not a good thing. How far is it going to beneath you ?

    Shades of “My Cousin Vinny” movie: “Does that train go by the hotel at 5am every morning ? No.” Next day, “I thought you said the train does not go by at 5am ? No, usually it goes by at 4am.”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Cousin_Vinny

  55. you will know every time the train goes under you

    I doubt that. My experience with European trains is that they are much quieter than the US trains. Generally electric, better rails, shorter trains as mostly passenger, etc. Probably will never notice. A machine grinding through rock on which your house sits probably transmits lots of vibrations whereas the train will have some measure of cushioning.

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