Maytag’s Run-around about My New Defective Refrigerator

Maytag knows they have a defective product and sell it anyway. Apparently there is a widespread problem with the foam insulation that oozes under the gaskests resulting in the doors not closing properly. Result in the freezer is snow all over everything and water on the floor.

Ten years ago, when we moved to St. Michaels, we bought all new appliances from Higgins and Spencer in St. Michaels. Competitive prices and other people told me they offered the best service.

Ten years later (almost to the day), our Maytag French door refrigerator died. We called Higgins and Spencer on a Saturday afternoon and within two hours had a loaner fridge/freezer so we didn’t lose our food. Talk about fantastic service.

We ordered a new Maytag French Door refrigerator and it took weeks to get it. Apparently it had to be special ordered because I wanted white and didn’t want ice and water in the door.

The fridge finally came and was installed. We were told to expect a life of 8-10 years on this expensive appliance. Planned obsolescence the service guy said. After all, those guys buy appliances, too, so they know. The refrigerator wasn’t as nice as the previous one. Cheap handles. Wire baskets in the freezer instead of the heavy plastic bins in the old fridge. It’s just kinda cheesy all around. That’s what you get for $1400.

Within a few days I noticed some water at base of the fridge. Higgins and Spencer came right away. The insulation in the bottom freezer door had oozed out of the gasket which now didn’t close properly and warm air was getting into the freezer. That had happened at the factory. They would have to order a replacement freezer door.

It’s now been almost six weeks that we’ve been waiting for the replacement door. I called Higgins and Spencer this morning. The replacement door has been ordered and it MAY be here in a couple of weeks. My guy at Higgins and Spencer was clearly frustrated. He told me he’d told Maytag that he would just get me a new fridge, but was told it would take longer to get a replacement fridge than waiting for the replacement door. He also told me that apparently this is a widespread problem and Maytag knows about it. Wouldn’t you think they would do a quality check on these freezer doors before installing them?

So I called the Maytag Customer Service line. Here’s what I learned.

  1. The registration for the appliance that I had done on line doesn’t show up on Maytag Customer Service records. That only happens if you call them on the phone.
  2. Maytag  Customer Service told me the appliances they had a record of me purchasing. They track customers by their phone numbers. Must have been the person who had our phone number before because the appliances they said we had didn’t correspond to what we bought 10 years ago. That was when I found out the warranty I’d filled out on line wasn’t in their system.
  3. When you buy a Maytag appliance from a retailer (is there any other way to buy one?) Maytag says the retailer is responsible for any problems.
  4. Maytag offered to send out a repair person to analyze the problem. A week from now. Good thing I didn’t have a dead fridge full of perishable food. I said we already knew what the problem was and a new door had been ordered. I was told I should have called Maytag and now that I had called someone else, they couldn’t do anything. Oh, didn’t they just tell me the retailer was responsible.
  5. I wanted to know why getting the new freezer door was taking so long. The answer was that the doors are custom made. Really! These refrigerators come off an assembly line. They have to have a supply of doors. Of course, if this is a widespread problem I wonder if a replacement door will be better than the original. I may just have to live with snow on my frozen food and a towel under the freezer door.
  6. Finally I was offered a two year free warranty. Good only if I used a person the Maytag Customer Service people sent. I couldn’t use my Higgins and Spencer guys. When I asked where this repair person would come from, they had no answer except to say they had people all over the United States. We live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Nobody from Salisbury or Annapolis is going to bring me a loaner fridge on a Saturday or Sunday. For that matter, Sears or Lowes in Easton isn’t going to either. And if my fridge or freezer quits I can’t wait a week or more for somebody to come and analyze the problem.

My Higgins and Spencer guy gives out his cellphone number to customers so if you have a fridge or freezer emergency you can call him. Anytime!

I told them the free warranty didn’t do me any good. Give me some money back. Okay, that was a long shot, but worth a try. They didn’t bite. Maytag doesn’t care. I bought my fridge from a retailer. They are no longer responsible for any problems.

A frustrating hour of my life. But I’ll FB, Twitter and blog about Maytag. They know they have a defective product and sell it anyway. #defectivemaytag

Now I’ll go sit on my meditation cushion, take calming breaths and try to get my blood pressure back to normal. I’m reminding myself I have electricity unlike so many American citizens in Puerto Rico a month after the hurricane hit.

Absence is a Play

Absence is a play, by Peter M. Floyd, about Alzheimers. It was part of a week long marketing effort by Integracare, parent corporation of Candle LIght Cove in Easton, MD, to bring awareness to their memory unit.  They want to have full occupancy which helps pay the bills and makes it possible for people with enough money to be able to have a safe place for those they love. That’s my cynical take. The week was also meant to be educational for professionals and families. All proceeds of the play ticket sales went to the Alzheimer’s Association

The play was heartbreaking, and difficult to watch. It made me want to cry. If I hadn’t been sitting in the middle of a row near the front with a friend, I would have left. I reminded myself that if you are caring for someone with dementia, you can’t leave. And quite possibly can’t afford the best residential care.

I suspect my cynicism was in part an emotional reaction to the play. As a playwright, I thought there were some problems with the structure and pacing of the play. Denial at work again? Maybe I was thinking about play structure so I didn’t start sobbing at what it must be like to lose the memories that make us who we are.

I wanted to go home and find a Doris Day movie on Netflix, lose myself in well-lit sets where beautiful people struggle with life, but always have a happy ending. As my friend and I walked into the parking lot, I was so absorbed that I almost tried to get in someone else’s car. I so hope that is not an early symptom of a downward slide.

Part of the week involved workshops and activities for professional care givers. A friend in my morning yoga class took part in a sensory deprivation exercise. She said it was extremely disorienting, but she was glad she’d done it. It gave her a better idea of what having dementia would be like. I think I’ll stick with denial for now.

It is estmated that 10% of people 65 and over have Alzheimers, and one-third of people age 85 and older (32 percent) have the disease. If other forms of dementia are added to that number it could be much higher. So kudos to all the people in the community who participated in bringing awareness to this issue. But the cynic in me wonders how the heck our country going to take care of all these people. I suppose women can quit their jobs and stay home to care for the elderly. Maybe lower income people without access to adequate healthcare won’t live long enough to develop dementia.

And then I wonder how the pharmaceutical industry is going to benefit. Would they really want to cure this disease? 10% of the increasing demographic of our aging population — that’s a lot of drug sales. What if the answer is less alcohol, less sugar and non GMO food? Or more good fat in our diets?  I’m cynical enough to think that profitability always seems to win. And that really makes me want to cry.

 

 

 

 

 

Introspection and Self Doubt

A number of the young women bloggers I follow write a lot about self doubt. Do I write well enough? Am I a failure if I give my kids pizza for dinner from time to time? If they don’t grow up to be good people, it’s all on me. I need to make the world a better place – today! How can I be a good mother and an interesting marital partner? And then, after awhile, they ask – What happened to me? Where did I go?

Those last two were things I used to think about. I married the first time when I was twenty and had two young children by the time I was twenty-three. This was well before the internet where I might have found help for how overwhelmed I felt. It was even before there were many self-help books. My husband probably was as overwhelmed as I was, but he turned his insecurity into verbal abuse and because I’d never lived on my own, had never earned a salary or paid my own bills, or really been responsible for my own life, it was easy for me to buy into his views of my worthlessness.

I felt like I had been erased. Where was the secure, smart, motivated person I’d been? The young teen who had thought about choosing between being a ballerina and a brain surgeon. Okay, the ballerina thing was delusional, but medical school not out of reach.

It took eleven years for me to get out of that first marriage. My two children were only part of the reason I stayed so long. I had a college degree but had never had a real job. If I left, how would I support myself and my kids?

I look back on 41 years of a second marriage to a lovely man who still thinks I’m smart and talented and beautiful. But it took me a long time to believe him. And it took him being injured in a catastrophic automobile accident thirty years ago for me to understand that I could make it on my own. The scared child inside me got pushed aside by the need to take care of my husband and our four children. It wasn’t easy, but at the end of six long years of his recovery, I no longer doubted my ability to take care of myself and my children. It put a lot of things in perspective.

Maybe it’s the process of aging, but my worries today are about our country and the world, not so focused on self. My kids are adults and make their own decisions and the consequences are theirs. They are good, responsible, caring people. The kind of people I hoped I would raise. The occasional pizza I fed them didn’t seem to inflict lasting harm.

A Trip to New York City

Last week my husband and I spent a couple of days in New York City. He was born in New York. As a young child his parents moved to the nearby suburbs so he visited often and knows his way around the city – unlike me who has no clue about uptown and downtown or in between.

We took the MegaBus. $40 for both of us round trip. That’s the upside. The downside is that we have to drive to White Marsh Mall outside of Baltimore to catch the bus and returning is a wait on the street near the Javits Convention Center. Our choices from the Eastern Shore of Maryland are 1) drive ourselves and pay astronomical parking fees in New York, 2) drive to Wilmington, DE and take the train ($100 – $200), or 3) take the MegaBus. Driving to Wilmington or White Marsh is a horse apiece so we chose MegaBus.

Going up was something of an ordeal. The bus we were supposed to be on was broken down and we had to wait for another bus. Fortunately we had “reserved” seats (an extra $2 per person per trip) and could wait out of the cold and wind in our car. Oh, I forgot to say it was raining. Another bus finally came and we started out – only to get off the highway at a rest stop because the windshield wipers had stopped working and the driver couldn’t see. We had a bathroom and snack break while we waited for another bus. That took another hour. So getting to the city – not so great. It was a good thing we didn’t have matinee tickets for a show. But coming home was terrific. Decent weather and they let us get in the bus while we were waiting to leave. The drive back to White Marsh was uneventful.

Before the trip Laura persuaded me to put Uber on my phone and that’s how we planned to get around the city. I had downloaded the app and my credit card information so no worries about having small bills and how much to tip, etc. You set that up ahead of time.

The MegaBus drops you off midtown – everybody on the bus exits and we got our bags from under the bus. I pulled out my smart phone and touched the Uber icon, feeling extremely proud of myself for using this new technology. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks.

What I didn’t know was that there are three options on Uber and I picked the worst one. It’s kind of a carpool option and it doesn’t pick you up exactly where you are, you have to walk to a location. So we did. Did I say it was raining and blowing so hard it blew my umbrella inside out?

The silver lining was that there was already a young woman in the Uber that picked us up and she explained to me the different categories. I should have picked UberX. That picks you up based on your location, although in NYC’s one way streets that might be on the other side of the road. But all in all, Uber was fantastic. They came fast, were good drivers, and since you’ve already set up your credit card info, no scrambling for bills at the end. You know what the ride will cost before you get in the car.  I’m a fan.

We had a couple of things we wanted to do in the city. We wanted to eat dinner at Il Grifone. We wanted to see a Broadway show. I wanted to go to Chelsea Market and the fabric store, Mood, which is featured on Project Runway. I needed some make-up refills so a stop at a department store was on the schedule. Other than that, we just wanted to poke around.

The city was beautiful as we walked to dinner.

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Grifone is a small Italian restaurant with white tablecloths and exceptional food.

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When I sent Laura this picture of my grilled octopus appetizer, she texted back it was the most pornographic food she’d ever seen. I’m still trying to figure that out.

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I’d never eaten octopus before, and it was delicious. Meaty and mild with a lobster-like texture. A fresh salad with some grilled shrimp was my dinner.

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When we strolled back to the hotel the rain had stopped and good weather was predicted for the next day.

My husband wanted to check out Tiffany’s first floor. We weren’t shopping for anything but it’s always fun to see all the glitz. Bergdorf Goodman was nearby and I thought that was as good a place as any to get my make-up refills. I went in and asked the first clerk I saw. He put me on a stool and before I knew it I was convinced I needed a new brand of foundation. Soon, Clif and I were on a first name basis. One thing led to another and I left with a bag full of goodies. That is me post Clif’s attentions.

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Then we ubered down to Chelsea Market where I knew I’d be able to find the elusive harissa. Nope!  It was still elusive, but I did find a container of 25 whole nutmegs for under four dollars. I won’t use that many in this lifetime so I’ve shared with some friends.

Then on to Mood where my husband found a seat (holding my bag from Bergdorf) and I walked around and patted fabric. He patted Swatch, the resident dog. I bought a Mood tote bag.

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I used to sew a lot and I love watching the designers on Project Runway. They always go to Mood for their materials.  There is now a new show called Project Runway Junior and these kids are truly amazing. Some are as young as twelve, none more than eighteen. Often they’ve taught themselves to sew watching YouTube videos – or they were lucky enough to have a seamstress mother or grandmother. I always sewed from a pattern and here they are patterning their own designs. Amazing talent.

That night we had tickets for “The Book of Mormon.” It was funny, irreverent and touching. No wonder it garnered so many Tony awards. However the seats in the section of the Eugene O’Neill theater where we were sitting had no leg room. My tall husband was miserable. It took his legs two days to unkink.

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It was nice to get away for a little while, but I always love coming home.

I Cook Calamari

I occasionally try new recipes, but the old stand-bys that I have in my head are now pared down to feed 4-6 so that there are leftovers. (When I was cooking for four hungry teens, I made lasagna in restaurant sized pans.) And the tried and true recipes have been modified for food sensitivities we have. I have several friends whose husbands won’t eat leftovers. If my husband ever started down that road, he’d have to fix himself a bowl of gluten-free cereal for dinner.

My writing partner, Laura Ambler, is an inventive cook and recently told me that she frequently makes Calamari. I often order calamari in restaurants, but didn’t even know where to find it in my supermarket. But recently, on a foray to our local big box store, BJ’s, I found it next to the frozen salmon. Turns out calamari is a fairly inexpensive protein. Be adventuresome, I told myself as I bought a box.

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I went on line to see how to fix it and was glad I did. High heat and short cooking times keep calamari from overcooking which leads to a rubber tire result. This recipe, which  I found on Chowhound.com) made a quick and tasty dinner. Cooking the jasmine rice for 18 minutes took the longest. This recipe will go into my rotation. And since what I usually order in a restaurant is fried calamari, I need to try that, too.

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Calamari with garlic and parsley

  • 1 lb squid, cleaned (it came that way in the package but I rinsed it), cut into 3/4″ thick rings, tentacles left whole
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley (I still had some in the garden)
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Instructions:

  • pat squid dry with paper towel
  • heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat until smoking. Carefully add squid in a single layer, then add butter, garlic, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, tossing frequently, until squid is opaque and cooked through – about 1 to 2 minutes (do not overcook). Season with additional salt and pepper and serve over rice.
  • garnish with lemon wedges

Have you pursued any cooking adventures recently? Successes or epic fails?

 

 

 

 

It’s Just a Shed

We have a cute shed in our back yard. It was here when we bought the house. The husband built window boxes for it and in the summer they are full of ivy and geraniums although it’s a little forlorn in the fall and winter.

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Like most sheds, things get put in it and don’t come out. One of our goals this fall was to see what was in the corners, so we started taking things out some of which were donated to ReStore. We found three boxes of stuff that had been put in the shed when we moved here eleven years ago. I had wondered where those cast iron garden birds had gotten to.

With the shed almost emptied I saw an opportunity. This was the time to install drywall. It would protect the insulation that someone had installed. I didn’t plan to paint the drywall.

You have to understand that I have done a fair amount of drywall in my life. I helped install it in several rooms of our old house and I was the mudder. I still have the tools to prove it. But the last time I did drywall I told myself I was never doing drywall again. However, the passing of years meant I’d forgotten what a pain in the butt it can be. I’d also forgotten about digging drywall dust out of my nose.

My husband handed me the jigsaw you use the cut out the bits where the electric sockets are. I’m sure I would have gotten better with more practice, but after my first cut, I told myself – IT’S JUST A SHED and handed the jigsaw to him.

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And since it’s JUST A SHED I’m not going to spackle the seams and screw holes. I did begin to think about paint, however. Not to make it pretty, but to protect the drywall. We have two sheets of drywall to finish the job and they are standing in front of the space in the garage where I store paint. I’ll have to see if I have any partial cans that would do the job. Or I might go to Lowe’s and see what they have on the “oops – that’s not the right color” shelf. I am not paying $30 a gallon for paint for the inside of the shed where the drywall seams haven’t been taped or mudded.

Update: On the Saturday after Thanksgiving I went to Lowe’s but they didn’t have any “oops” paint. I went around the corner to ReStore and got a never-opened gallon of white paint for $7. Two days later all the dry wall is painted (two coats) and now we can install hangers for tools and sort what has to live in the shed. Those unmudded seams and screw holes are a little bothersome to my perfectionist self, but my mantra is…It’s Just a Shed!

 

 

Parking Lot Rant

Like most people who blog, I have draft posts that were never published. I just found this one.

This post isn’t about writing. It’s just a rant. Couple of days ago I noticed that some bozo or bozette had cut his or her wheels while I was parked at Graul’s Supermarket (I’m gonna be gender neutral here, but I’m picturing a guy from Tilghman Island in a big honking truck) and left a big dent in the front side panel of my Honda Accord. It was on the passenger side so I didn’t notice it until I got home.

Did that person leave a note on my windshield? Of course not!  My car is only two years old and already had major body work because it was attacked by a deer last December 23rd on my home from the last performance of The Santa Diaries. That was mostly covered by insurance, but since there isn’t any other insurance company to go after with this claim, my rates will get jacked.

At least that’s what USAA told me when I asked why they raised my rates last year. All because I had a windshield replaced on my previous car. My USAA car insurance doesn’t cover windshield replacements so I paid out of pocket. Apparently Safelite sent in a claim and got paid twice. I never knew that until I got the notice of the rate hike. When I called the insurance company to find out why my rates had been raised I was told it was because there was nobody to go after when a stone breaks your windshield. Duh! Isn’t that why you have insurance. For accidents!  I was starting to feel like a Liberty Mutual ad so I hung up.

Since there’s nobody to go after in this instance, I figure my rates will get raised if I put in a claim. Mullikens in Easton told me $845 to fix the fender damage. $845. And that’s no new parts, just taking the old stuff off, pulling out the dent, repainting. Okay, I can see maybe how they get to $845. I know they are in business to make a profit, but seriously, I’m going to have to think about whether I’m going to have it repaired or not. It’s on the other side of the car so I don’t see it much.

However, I’m putting out a universal curse on parking lot people who damage other people’s cars and don’t leave their contact information. You ought to be ashamed.

Update two years later: I did get the car fixed. It’s as good as new, but just reading this makes me mad all over again. I have to remind myself that most people are responsible – just not the one who damaged my car.