2.19.2013

And the idiocy continues

Just when I think I've reached a low of brain capacity, I amaze myself with my own stupidity.

Example:

When we bought our house, the previous owners left, well, a bunch of stuff. Some useful, some not. One of the more useful things was a treadmill (and yes, they asked if we wanted it). They had used the downstairs bedroom as a home gym and left all the equipment for us.

That was great, except that we wanted it all in the garage so that the room could be used as a play room. The night we closed on the house, we moved everything down to the garage except the treadmill as it wouldn't fit out the bedroom door. It lived in the play room for several months where I occasionally used it and the kids abused it. They pulled all the decals/stickers/labels off, tried using the cord as a rope swing, and hid small toys in and around it.

I tried figuring out how to take it apart so as to move it out of the room, but all my efforts were to no avail.

Christmas Eve, we mentioned this dilemma and Tom's brother (who is quite mechanically-minded) offered to take a look. After looking over the treadmill, he suggested removing the door, as it should fit (without even an inch to spare). They pulled the hinge pins out, shimmied the treadmill through and relocated it to the garage. I was thrilled!

Naturally, we didn't try it out immediately, and the first time I got myself up early to try it out, it would not turn on. I tried multiple outlets and multiple extension cords, tried wiggling the "key" around, and nothing. Nothing at all.

Once again, I tried taking it apart a little to see if the cord had been pulled loose what with the kids swinging on it and all, but I was unsuccessful.

So it sat there.

And sat there.

And sat there.

And I looked online and some helpful website suggested using a multi-blabbity-whatsit and measuring the electricity from the wall along the cord and internal components to see where the problem was, but I still couldn't even get the cover off to see the inside workings. Not to mention I don't own or know how to use a multi-blabbity-whatsit. But I figured I would cross that bridge when I got there.

So I tried AGAIN.

After breaking it (only a little) I realized I would need to tip it back to access a screw from the bottom. I was out of time and figured that would be a better two-man job anyway.

Several weeks later (yesterday), Tom was cleaning out the garage, and I mentioned my thought that I could possibly get the cover off if he would tip it back for me. He did so quite obligingly, and after grabbing a screwdriver, I noticed a switch.

As in, a power switch.

And it was turned off.

So I turned it on, and magically, the treadmill worked fine.

Now I just have to get myself down there to use it regularly!

{Also, in case you are wondering, my dad and I fixed the fuel filler door on the van. He got a part from the junkyard (I would have gone too, but I had to be home to meet the bus) and I (we) installed it. So my van does not look all ghetto anymore. Thanks Dad!}


2.07.2013

Hello, I am an idiot.

Growing up, we parked in the driveway. The garage was for things like pool tables, ping pong tables, large saws, ridiculous amounts of scrap wood, and such like.

Tom grew up parking in the garage.

Now that we have a garage, he convinced me of the wisdom of garage parking without much difficulty. Now, I LOVE parking in the garage.

The kids can climb in the car without messing with shoes when we're just running to drop off/pick up kids from the bus stop. I never have to scrape ice off the windshield. And no matter how hard it's raining, we don't get wet when loading into the car.

Pretty much it's genius.

But I'm not.

Yesterday I parked a little too far over. I knew I was close, but when I pulled out in a bit of a hurry this morning I scraped the side of the van on the door jamb of the garage. I got a lovely purple stripe about 18 inches long on the side of my silver van.

Clearly not a genius.

To make matters worse, it was the side with the gas tank, the cover of which as one of those handy dandy finger pulls so that you can open it.

It caught on the side of the house and ripped the little door clean off. Well, not clean off, because the gas cap is attached to it, so the whole way to school and back it just dangled there, banging around and looking all white-trash-ish. Because I'm classy like that.

I'm hoping I can glue it back on.

Please, oh please, let it glue back on.

And just so you can visualize how cool I am, the door:


Where it's supposed to go:


Like this:



Yep. I'm pretty much the coolest.

2.06.2013

Redfin

Let me start by saying, I know I just wrote a review post. But, I figure posting a review is better than not posting at all, and I promise I'll be back soon(ish) with something more interesting to the general population that reads this blog (aka: Mom and Dad).

(In the interest of full disclosure, Redfin recently rolled out their "Refer a Friend" program, but I was already planning on writing this post.)

When we bought our first home, we went with a realtor we found through a program with Tom's work. They promised to credit a small portion (10%, maybe?) of their commission back to us at closing, and not knowing any real estate agents, we picked a name and called it good.

And she was fine. Ish.

At least that's what we thought at the time.

This time around though, I had heard about Redfin. Their website is the very best I've found for looking at real estate, and their rebate program is in a class by itself. They don't have agents everywhere, but if they have them in your area, (and you're in the market to buy or sell a home,) you should seriously check them out.

But even without those extras, our agent knocked our last one out of the water. She was super nice. She never made us feel like we were wasting her time when we wanted to look at more houses (or at the same ones again). And she never pressured us in any way. Even when we were super wishy-washy and kept changing our minds. At one point, mid-purchase, we were considering backing out of the deal for a couple of reasons. I felt horrible telling her, since she had spent so much time and effort on our behalf, but not only did she reassure me that she was totally supportive of whatever decision we made, she ended up giving us a great work-around for our main problem.

My favorite comparison between the two agents, though, is the way they handled the inspection. At our inspection for our first house, the inspector brought several things to our attention: old water heater, deteriorating siding, aging roof, etc. that would need work sooner than later. Our agent encouraged us not to request any repairs because "that would bring us back to negotiation." Not knowing anything, we agreed, and bought the house "as is." And I would say we regretted that.

Our Redfin agent, on the other hand, encouraged us to ask for repairs, with the logic that, "the worst they can do is say no." While the sellers didn't agree to everything we requested, they did (among other things) have the furnace serviced, and subsequently repaired to the tune $2500. Needless to say, were were so glad we didn't gloss over the inspection!

I think the best part, though, is the attitude of the agents. Our first realtor seemed to be in a hurry to get us into a house. The sooner, the better. And, quite frankly, the closer to the top of our price (tiny) range, the better. But Redfin agents are paid based on customer satisfaction, not commission, so there is never any pressure to pay more than you want or to move faster than you want. And though they only had a few agents in our area, they also have "field agents" whose sole job it is to take you out to look at houses. And they get paid for it, so you don't feel like you're wasting anyone's time looking at MORE houses. (Believe me, we looked at TONS.)

Add to all of that the fact that we got nearly a full percent of the purchase price back (nearly 1/3 of the commission), and we were fans for life.

So, if you are looking to buy or sell a home, I would highly recommend checking Redfin out. And if you use my referral link, you get an extra $200 on your rebate, just for being referred. (And I get a $25 amazon giftcard, or something. But I would seriously be telling you about Redfin anyway.)