Friday, November 14, 2008

Dang, a non-working dryer makes a mess

This is a consumer warning - my LG DLG3788W gas dryer, owned for under 3 years, has stopped working again. This is the 6th time in under 3 years. With a young and large family, its obvious that the washer/dryer is a key appliance. Living without a microwave is easy, but losing the dryer makes a real mess.

So - what are the probable causes of this poor performance:
1. LG Dryers are poorly built
2. My LG Dryer is poorly built
3. The service technicians do not expedite parts to ensure rapid repair.

I don't know if it's all LG Gas dryers - I know that I won't buy another one. And a message to GE Extended Warranty - poor service from the technician (in our case, South Bay Appliance in San Jose, CA) reflects upon you. The South Bay Technician was on time, polite and knowledgeable. But his company doesn't order parts same day and doesn't expedite parts. And all their parts go to Modesto (two hours away from my home) and have to be driven by the owner to the tech in San Jose. And this is the only option from GE...

I appreciate that South Bay Appliance has to run their business - but I paid for the dryer and the warranty to expect to be able to DRY CLOTHES. When a part arrived broken and South Bay Appliance re-ordered it - even then it wasn't expedited. My Kenmore dryer held up much better and if this LG fails again - it's getting tossed (and GE is willing to replace it, they say, if it fails again - apparently 5 failures in 3 years constitutes general failure).

Check out my review....

Thanks for listening - avoid LG!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Harvest Day

Turns out that our garden grows mutant large produce. And lots of it. Our first clue was the sugar snap peas that took over the fence. The next clue was the sunflowers...

We grew the sunflowers from seed. We started half indoors and half in the bed. We bought a breed that grows to 10-12 feet because we thought that would be cool. The seeds created seedlings and we transferred them to the garden. Around the same time, we planted corn, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, lettuce and artichokes. We were ambitious and experimenting. My husband had prepared the soil with 50% compost. I built an automated drip irrigation system to ensure that we didn't have to think about the garden.

The sunflowers began to grow - looking pretty normal. By the third week, they were three feet tall. We began to wonder what was happening as they sprouted to 5 feet during a week of vacation. At eight feet, the zucchini started to be edible (and continued for a month). Still no flowers. At twelve feet, we decided to brace them so they didn't fall on the tomatoes. Still no flowers. At eighteen feet, we saw blossoms. Truly - enormous flowers enjoying the sun. And when they were done, we let them dry out. We'll revisit them on harvest day.

On the vacation where the sunflowers grew 2-3 feet, the zucchini were inspired. We returned home and noticed that one of the zucchini had grown beyond a foot in length and 6 inches in diameter. check it out. Even more impressive was that a week later - there were three more giant zucchini. Trying to keep up with the sunflowers.

On harvest day, we chopped down the sunflowers (after all, the artichokes and tomatoes need some room). We realized that we could harvest the seeds that the birds had left us and had a couple of thousand seeds when we were done. Now I need to roast them...

The sweetest part was how much the kids enjoyed our backyard gardening. They ate the lettuce, enjoyed the sweet corn, experimented and liked artichokes and zucchini - and are pretty psyched about sunflower seeds. Over dinner on Monday, we ate our last corn and had some zucchini (every day) with steak. Benjamin remarked that we grew everything we ate except the meat.

"Mommy, can we grow meat?"
"No honey, meat needs too much room."
"Meat walks around...and this meat on your plate used to say 'Moo'".

Laughter and discussion of other things to grow and where food comes from ensued. Good fun.


Marvelous Marbles

We are the proud owners of an Imaginarium Deluxe Marble Race. Tonight, my boys (and the girl, although not directly) asked me to help them build a big Marble Race,following the plans in the instructions.

We built it and as we were doing it, Benjamin pointed out things that he thought wouldn't work. But we kept building. When it was done, we tested it - and a few things didn't work right. They were the ones he mentioned during construction.

He then told me that if we reversed two pieces in the middle, the whole thing would function. We carefully isolated the pieces and reversed them - and now it worked perfectly. I have to marvel at his spacial reasoning and mechanical/civil engineering capabilities - I couldn't see the mistake and I wouldn't have been able to fix it.

Here's the marble race...and yes, we keep the marbles themselves up high and watch Ariel when we race them. She likes to put Marbles on the track and we let her do that - supervised. Let me know what you are amazed by with your kids.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ode to School/Camp Busing

Here in California, we don't really have busing for school or camp. So - we all drive our kids to school and camp. It's not like California isn't congested or ostensibly "green". Today I drove 15 miles to one camp (with an 8:45 - 9:10 drop off zone) and back tracked 10 miles to another camp (this child isn't old enough for the first camp) with a 9 - 9:10 drop off zone. Arg!

Suffice to say - tonight I figured out carpools since teleportation hasn't been invented and I believe I tested the limits of the CHP with today's adventure.

I remember being picked up around 7:00 am for the bus to camp every day - we were usually the first stop. We drove for 90 minutes picking up campers and working our way to camp. We arrived between 8:30 - 8:50 for a full day of camp and started the trek home at 3:30 (arriving around 5:30 - usually after sleeping on the bus). It was a little boring, but that's part of the learning - making do during the down time. And for school, with sun, rain, snow - we waited on the corner for the bus. Mom only drove when we were running late and, gulp, missed the bus. It made getting my driver's license truly sweet - no more buses. But man,20 years later, I really wish there were buses for my kids.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The sweetest new dad story

Last night, I had drinks with a colleague and we wondered out loud what the impact of having a baby was going to have on our young, brilliant, and outspoken President (of our company). My colleague looked at me and said that he was changed in the first hour with his baby daughter – who is now five.

Because his wife was induced and the process was exhausting, she needed to sleep after the baby was born. So Jordan sat holding his new daughter and described the sunrise and Kenmore Field (he’s a Sox fan and they could see it from the hospital window). As he spoke to her, he noticed she had long fingernails. So he sat her in his lap and calmly cut her nails while talking to her. Her very first manicure was from her Dad.

His revelation – that this was the most amazing experience in the world and he wished he had met the love of his life, his wife and mother of his child twenty years earlier so he could have had more and more of it. It is an unmatched experience of true love.

My boy discovers summer and needs sleep

This is the first week of summer in California and the boys have discovered that camp is a lot more fun than school. This week, it’s soccer camp. For Jammer, that’s 9-3 – six hours of soccer camp. Running, kicking, drills and games for 5 hours (time for water, food and bathroom breaks). And we’re still doing jujitsu on Monday and Wednesday, piano on Tuesday and swimming on Thursday.

Taylor is going from 9 – 10:30 and literally cries when he has to leave. Benjamin even held him and told Karlla that Taylor was welcome to stay. It’s great when Jammer wants to share his experiences with Taylor. Taylor loves it too. You cannot teach big brothering, but it’s great to cultivate what’s there naturally.

The smiles are huge and at 7:15 at night, the two boys literally collapse into bed until 6:30 the next morning. Wonder if Camp Galileo will be as exhausting next week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Benevolent Big Brothering

Benjamin is an athletic, competitive kid. He's played little-league this spring for the first time and enjoys being on the field or at bat - and his only complaint is that the league isn't competitive this year - no scoring, no outs. Because it's not competitive, he doesn't really get the point and sometimes doesn't want to play. Interesting how young they figure out that if you don't keep score, the game is probably not a whole lot of fun. Great for learning skills - but that's called practice. We're big fans of practice, but the reward is a game.

On this Saturday, Benjamin's team was down 3-4 players - left with only 7 kids. Benjamin asked his coach if his younger brother, Taylor, could join the team for the game. Taylor naturally had his glove and was ready to play. The coach welcomed him and Taylor enthusiastically joined the team. In the first inning, he fielded a grounder that was fast and off to the left - it was a diving stop. His at bats, from a pitch, headed for the outfield (although there were plenty of strikes, had we been counting). In the third inning, he caught a fly ball. Parents and coaches were pretty amazed at the ball-play instincts of this four-year old.

We realize Taylor is a gifted athlete and we're glad he enjoys the game so much. What's amazing is that Benjamin realizes that Taylor is a gifted athlete and invited him to play knowing that he would garner much of the attention during the game. Benjamin was proud of his brother and while sometimes he's envious of Taylor's natural gift, we were very proud of Benjamin for welcoming him, sharing in his gifts and playing ball well himself.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Breaking the Bank

No matter how many ways I try to coach and cajole my kids with the wisdom of my years, nothing trumps personal experience. Benjamin is still a lego and K'Nex fanatic. Ariel likes to climb. And Taylor likes sports and money. He outgrew his baby "money bunny" and for his graduation present, we helped him find the perfect bank for his allowance savings. Great site - banks, banks, banks gave him a bounty of choices. He chose the baseball on a pedestal.

Every day for three days - "did my bank come yet?". On Wednesday, it arrived. It really was beautiful - about 5 inches in diameter and a perfect tribute to Taylor's two passions. He wanted to touch it, hold it and fill it with his allowance savings. He wanted to toss it - like a ball. Naturally, I was specific that this was a bad idea.

On Thursday, we had friends who are moving into the Bay Area over with their three boys. Mostly, they played outside. But after dinner, they played in the boys room. As we parents enjoyed the end our dinner, we heard a crash and a wail. Taylor had slipped on his brother's bed and dropped his bank. Which shattered. It took a few minutes to learn if the wail was physical pain or mental anguish. Turns out it was mental anguish. We clearly had the saddest four and a half year old in the area. He wanted to run to the computer and order a new bank. But that's not much of a lesson.

So - we asked him if he would contribute to buying his replacement bank with money from his allowance. He agreed to underwrite his replacement. We won't ask him for more than 10-20%, but hopefully when the second bank arrives it will be gently placed on the mantle and touched only for the purpose of adding or subtracting funds. Looks like a ball...doesn't act like one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Proud of Pre-K Graduation?

We decided that our Nov 2003 son would start Kindergarden this fall - and be the youngest in his class. So, last week, he graduated Pre-K.

And I am really proud of him. You'd never know that he's young - he's articulate, bring and mischevious. This weekend, while waiting for my elder son to return home on the train from a Giants game, another Mom was mentioning that first grade hadn't challenged her son. Of course, her son has an October birthday and is almost 51 weeks older than my eldest - and in the same class. He's not going to be challenged until Junior High School because he's so old to grade. We know we're forcing the kids to reach up - but we think they can handle it. So far so good.

Congrats Taylor and good luck in Kindergarten. You're going to do great!