Friday, July 25, 2008

This and That

I have a couple of web sites to share with all of you. Not really adoption related at all, but I found them today and thought someone else might like them.

First of all, I have always been drawn to photojournalism, was a longtime subscriber to Life magazine and love the portraits of Steve McCurry. I just stumbled upon a web site that has some of the best photojournalism shots I have seen in a long time, the ones that tell a story without words, which to me are the best. Check out . If you check out the archives which you can find in a drop down menu at the upper right you will find the last couple of month's collections, some of which are mind blowing in their "right there in the moment" sense or their simple ability to draw you in. This one is definitely bookmarked for me.

The next one is where you can receive a check 4 times a year for cash rebates for doing nothing more than ordering online as you probably already do from various companies. Target and Walmart are participants along with hundreds of others that you are likely to already order from. I do a ton of online shopping each year, especially at Christmas time. I have no idea how well this works, but am going to try it and if you have used it before let me know.

Today Dominick and I are in the middle of the Great Laundry Debate. Our clothes dryer went out on us for the 3rd time right before the boys went off to camp, and we are now limping through with the remnants of what we had washed up and dreading the laundromat trip we know is coming up tomorrow or Saturday. We have bounced back and forth over this for two days now and are no closer to coming to a decision than we were when we began. You see, we have talked about the need to upgrade our laundry equipment since realizing we will soon be doing laundry for 7. We are on a septic system where we also have a terrible problem with a high water table, so our water usage is a big concern. We have thought about going with one of those front loading fancy washers that uses 10-12 gallons of water each load versus our current one of 45 gallons per load, as that might help us as we increase our water usage due to more laundry and more showers. The cost of a $20,000 septic system replacement is not something to take lightly. However, we weren't planning on doing anything at all for awhile, until our dryer went kaput and now we feel as if we might need to make a move now rather than wait, since we can not repair the dryer again.

Can I tell you how it galls me to even consider buying a washer and dryer that cost as much as a used car? When did this all happen??? Now I know all the arguments in favor of doing this, the long term cost savings, energy savings, bigger loads, less soap, and on and on and on. But man, I expect to at least get cruise control and anti-lock brakes for the price of these babies. We did hours of research online today, and came away even more confused as epinions and Consumer Reports had reviews from users that were all over the map...some loved their front loaders, some hated them, and it appears there are serious issues and concerns with almost every major brand, even the ones that cost the most.

We really like the idea of a stacking set, as our laundry room is tiny and if we stacked a set it would leave us room to build in another pantry area. All we have right now is a small pantry cupboard which is one of those white, build it yourself cupboards from Home Depot, and we have been a little concerned about pantry space as well as our family is growing, so that might solve a problem.

So we have a lot of considerations here, all of which seem pretty minor to everyone else but to us make a big difference and the financial commitment is a big one as well. Especially when you feel like no matter how much you spend you are still going to bring home a unit that will almost be guaranteed to be problematic. I am almost beginning to agree with those who claim that manufacturers only design their appliances to last 4-5 years so we have to by new ones after reading all the negative online reviews about every unit we looked at. I usually don't have a problem in the world spending money :-), in fact, I am usually quite good at it! Hahahaha! But this purchase has both Dominick and I stumped. We might just throw in the towel and get a standard gas dryer and call it quits. But then again, I am afraid we might find ourselves "double buying" if we get our newest additions home and find ourselves swamped in dirty clothes.

A friend of mine tried to relate it to getting our minds switched over to the new technology when digital photography came along. It is more costly up front versus cheaper film cameras, but in the long run you are glad you made the change and end up saving much more money than you expected. I hate purchases like, hot water heaters, stoves and other know, the "must haves" but the unexciting purchases.

So if anyone out there would like to contribute their two cents to this decision making process, I'd love to hear from you.

We are taking a week of down time, haven't done much of anything for a change except the boys have played on their slip and slide every afternoon, slept in late, and we went to the Drive In movie last night where I managed to fall asleep before the end of the first feature which was Wall-e. Living in a small town, going to the Drive In is actually quite reminiscent of the "old days" as it is the place where you see friends and other families you know hanging outside their cars on a warm summer evening, kids run around down front under the screen (yes, ours too!), and the little snack bar overcharges terribly for popcorn. Our Drive In is the only one left in the United States that has been continually owned and operated by the original founding family. It's a cute little place and a lot of fun to visit and a cheap family night out.

I haven't even had the urge to blog much, although I have a couple of other topics tucked in the back of my mind to ramble on about. Nothing all that important, as it never really is, but things rolling around in my head.

But for now, it is off to bed where I will no doubt have visions of Maytags, Whirpools, and Kenmores dancing through my head.


Dee said...

I hate buying stuff like this, too. Do you have a Craigslist where you are? I'd buy a good used Maytag or Kenmore before I'd pay big bucks for something brand new. We went to a discount place nad got old-fashioned washer and dryer set a few years ago but they are large capacity, and they are WONDERFUL.

julievilardo said...

We just bit the bullet and bought the new stackable front loaders. It is amazing how much less water the washer uses. We have actually noticed the clothes being cleaner. You only need about a third of the detergent - so some financial savings there over time. Any scratch and dent stores near you that you could save a little that way?

I'll have to double check at home the brand and model.

Good luck.

Julie & John Wright said...

Cindy... here is a blog that you are going to love.... I have just convinced this young photojournelest from Kyrgyzstan to start posting the photos and stories of the homeless and addicts he works with in Bishkek... He is an amazing photographer and an amazing young man his blog sight is

Michelle said...

I totally love my front loader washer and dryer - but I probably wouldn't spend the money on it again if I had to buy a new set now. We have an awesome drive in about 10 minutes from our house and it is really the best in summer entertainment - especially with a 20 month little ball of babbling energy!

Tapsalteerie said...

Go for the front loader. We have Kenmore HE3 washer and dryer (about 5years old now) and have had no problems (other than having to replace a water pump but that was under warrenty so no cost to us). We still find the front loader entertaining... it's not uncommon to find one of the kids watching it do it's final spin. We haven't used the dryer all summer and it's been great :) We wash lots of clothes here (4 adults, 3 kids, farm animal stuff that invariably needs washing) so that's why we went for the front loader. My only complaint is that I can't wash fleeces in it.. but that's ok since I don't process many fleeces by hand anymore :)