Monday, September 23, 2013

Hung out to dry

Our dryer is not working right.

It has one of those settings where you can set it for "more dry/normal dry/less dry" and it either buzzes or turns the heat off once a sensor picks up that the clothes are dry. Only....the sensor doesn't work anymore, and neither does the timer. When it reaches the end of that cycle, it automatically kicks over to the timed dry, which runs for an additional hour. And THAT kicks over into air dry, which runs an additional 40 minutes. In all, it's a very long time for a dryer to be running - it's a waste of energy, a waste of money, and it's a fire hazard.

I'm debating how to handle this situation.

One, we could turn the buzzer on, and just run down and turn it off (which entails leaving the door open to make sure it doesn't restart itself) whenever it buzzes. The problem with that is that it's LOUD, and it doesn't stop buzzing like it used to - it just goes and goes and goes until you get there, or it kicks itself over to the next cycle. The volume is enough to wake Baby M up from her nap, which, you know, is usually when I have a moment to do laundry. So, that sucks.

The second option, which I've been doing lately, is to set it to about the 25-minute mark on the timed dry, which then kicks into air dry, giving the clothes just over an hour to tumble, mostly without heat. It works pretty well, but, you know, the dryer's still broken.

Option three is to find someone to repair it. $$$

Option four is to replace it. $$$$$ and not necessary - I think it's still got plenty of life in it.

Option five is to try to repair it myself. The Frugal Girl did this with her dryer (different problem) which is inspiring. I'm nervous because we're pretty sure what's wrong with it (the dryer timer motor is bad, and needs to be replaced) and the part is about $100. What if it doesn't work and we have to go with option three or four anyway? What if I mess it up worse than it already is? What if, what if, what if? (I guess we could always line dry, but it is coming up on winter here in Minnesota....)

Have you ever fixed an appliance and lived to tell the tale? What should we do?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hand me that....whatever that thing is called

So, back in June, our basement flooded, and we had to rip out the drywall and carpet. Luckily, insurance covered the damage, but we haven't got around to getting it fixed until recently. And because it's a relatively small space, and it's in the basement, we decided to do the work ourselves.

Yup. We are becoming DIY home owners. Fun!

Peanut and I have hung most of the drywall already, and we did so without throwing tools at each other or anything. Next up is mudding and taping, and sanding, and more mudding and more sanding and apparently that goes on for like eight years and then we get to paint. And then we get to do the carpet. (We might have that professionally installed, though, since there's a flight of stairs involved.)

We're saving some money by doing it ourselves. Not a ton, probably, because it's a fairly small space and we happen to know a number of people in some part of the remodeling industry, and we've had to buy or borrow a lot of equipment that we didn't already own. I think it's enough to make it worth the effort, though, especially because we're finding the process rather fun. We're nerds, and we like learning - and there's a lot of learning that goes into home repair. YouTube videos - how did anyone ever get anything done before they existed?

Anyway, my hope is that by the time we're all done with the work and the final reimbursement (we were paid out for the damage, but if we return it to previous condition we get an additional payment), we'll have broke even with our deductible, or even come out ahead financially. I don't think it's a stretch, especially if I can get a really good deal on the carpet installation. I just won't ever figure out our hourly wage for the work, because I'm sure it would make me want to throw a hammer--right through our new drywall.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


It's hard to believe, but Baby M is one year old! How'd that happen?! It seems like just yesterday I was surprised to announce her birth, and here I am reporting on her first birthday party.

We've survived 134 days in the hospital, three subsequent re-admissions, surgery, the witching hour, sleep regressions, projectile pooping, projectile puking, smiling, laughing, babbling, learning to sit up and waving bye-bye. We're working on eating food and drinking from cups and learning to crawl or scoot. We're running on next to no sleep (I remember fondly the last time I got more than two consecutive hours of sleep...I think about it every day. Every hour, maybe.) and we're having a ball. Parenthood is equal parts fun and not sleeping, in my experience.

The not sleeping isn't conducive to thinking or writing coherently about personal finance, or anything else, really. But besides that, once I left the workforce, money started to really play less of a role in my life. I don't make much, and I don't spend much. I focus on saving on the things that we need to buy and making do without the things we don't, and there's not so much to be said about those things. Or maybe there is, and I'm just too tired to find the words.

I've missed writing goal posts for months, because making goals is kind of futile when there's a tiny tyrant governing your life. I've been trying to make one (1! ONE!) phone call for about three weeks now, and I just can't get it done between her nap times and their hold times. So that makes the goals I used to set pretty useless as a benchmark, and it's no fun to feel like a failure when I know I've accomplished a lot of patty-cake, little bunny foo foo, and walks to the playground.

But. BUT. We've passed the one-year mark. We've beat the odds in so many ways, and I am determined to do the same in order to get some of my old life - like blogging - back. If I could just figure out how to get more sleep.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Three Thing Thursday

Thing the First: There are some great ideas for reusing things around the house (don't forget the comments!) in this Reader Tip Tuesday post from The Simple Dollar.
Thing the Second: The Non-Consumer Advocate talks about the sweat equity of the frugal lifestyle. It's true, and it feels much better than not working for it!
Thing the Third: I love Katie's idea - always have two reasons for not spending money.