The Day Murphy Came To My House

Here it is…19 days before Thanksgiving.  14 days until my parents arrive for their visit (yay!).  I should be working on my list of Christmas gifts that I need to buy and/or make so I can send them home with them when they come visit.  So, what am I actually doing?  Watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” on Netflix and mopping the floors.  Makes sense, right.  Oh…and I want to tell you about the past month.

Around the first of October, something happened to my hubby and I that has never happened since we’ve been married.  For the first time in 14 years, we are DEBT FREE (except the house)!!!!  This is huge for us people…huge.  I mean, how many people in America can say this?  We don’t even have a credit card anymore.  Thanks to our friend, Dave Ramsey, we are (by other people’s standards), officially “weird”.

I say this all to set the stage.  This all happened on a Friday afternoon.  We were sooooo excited.  I think we might have celebrated by going out to eat, most likely with a coupon…that’s how we roll.  Before I went to bed, I do what I always do, set the timer on the dishwasher to start a couple of hours after we go to bed.  The way I figure it, it might be cheaper (in electricity) and I don’t have to listen to it.

Saturday morning, I wake up.  The “clean” light isn’t on.  Which is weird, because all the dishes look clean.  I unload the dishwasher and don’t think too much about it until I’m unloading the bottom rack and there it is.  Standing water.  The dishwasher is broken!!  The day after we became debt free.  Thank you Murphy’s Law…

Well, my hubby and I had the typical discussion. Do we call someone?  If so, who?  Do we just get a new dishwasher?  This one was only about 4 years old, so it seemed kind of silly to toss it to the curb.  Plus, we just got rid of a lot of debt…the DAY BEFORE!   We didn’t exactly want to spend more big bucks.

So, I did the next best thing.  I Googled.  Isn’t it amazing that “google” is now a verb?  I mean, did the founder of Google ever think that people would be googling one day?  Anyway, I hopped on the internet and low & behold, my dishwasher wasn’t the only one to quit working!  And then, I found my new best friend.  A website called Appliance Parts Pros.  I had never heard of this website before, but what I found was a wealth of knowledge.  They have a phone number you can call 24/7 or you can just hop on their “live chat” and talk to a very helpful person.  Well, after some troubleshooting, I found the problem was a fuse.  The prices on their website weren’t too bad, but here’s a secret…I ordered it off of Amazon!  I found the same fuse for a lot cheaper.

Once the part came in, my hubby used the install video on the website and in about 15 minutes (if that long) had our dishwasher fixed!!  Yay!  I was getting soooo tired of washing dishes by hand.  I know…I’m spoiled.

Well, we didn’t exactly kick Murphy out of the house yet.  More like we moved him into the garage.  About a week later, the dryer quit!  This time, I knew exactly where to go, and within about 30 minutes figured out what the problem was and we had the part ordered.

The dryer was a little harder to figure out what was wrong, but once we did, it was an easy (and fairly cheap) fix.  Now, we walk on eggshells and can’t help but think, “What’s next?”

So, this all got me to thinking.  It was very tempting to just say, “you know, we should just get a new one.”  After all, there were no guarantees that the parts we replaced would be the right ones.  And, we were putting all this money & time into it, when it would just be much easier to go to Lowe’s and get a new one.  Then, I thought about all the money would we have been out.  Possibly $1,000 or more!  Who knows!

Our society is a throw away society.  Our cell phones get upgraded every 2 minutes.  When something breaks, we just go out and get a new one.  Very rarely do we put time and effort into fixing something.  Even our relationships.

How many marriages have been “broken” and instead of trying to fix them, people just throw them away and get new ones? Now, I know that sometimes marriages are truly broken and are a lost cause.   But, how many out there need a part or two, some elbow grease and viola…fixed!  It’s not easy.  And sometimes, you replace a “part” and another one breaks (like our dryer…we fixed it & then something else broke on it).  But, can you imagine how I felt when we fixed our dishwasher & dryer?  I was so excited and proud that we had worked together and did something that a lot of people wouldn’t do.

God did not intend for marriages to be thrown away.  In Genesis 2:24, the Bible says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”.  Some versions say “cleave” instead of united.  I kind of like that a little more.  I can picture cleaving.  My daughter “cleaves” to her daddy when she doesn’t want him to leave the house for work in the mornings.  Cleaving is desperately holding on to something…never letting go.  No matter what.  Even if you fix one part and the next day something else breaks.  You fix it too.  It’s not easy and sometimes it might seem to be easier to just give up.  I want to encourage you to keep going.  Do whatever it takes.  Don’t give up.

So, as I sit here, procrastinating over my Christmas list, admiring my clean floors and wondering what on earth will break next, I know…no matter what it is…I will fix it.

Saturday

I Didn’t Start The Fire…

I know…I know.  It’s been a while.  Let’s see if I can remember how to do this.  Today, we had a snow day.  It’s March.  More specifically, March 3rd.  Now, around here, everyone says “We get our biggest snows in March”.  Gotcha.  I’ve lived in Virginia for over 6 years now.  I still can’t get used to that.  In Oklahoma, 2 weeks of March is “spring” and then it’s break out the shorts weather.   Thank you March snows.  My son will now be going to school during the summer.  

About 5 1/2 years ago, we started house shopping.  One thing my hubby was adamant about was getting a house with a secondary heat source, i.e. a wood stove.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first.  Wood was messy.  It made your house smell like smoke.  It could be dangerous around kids.  I had a list of reasons.  However, logic won out and we got a house with a wood stove.

Fast forward 4 1/2 years later…I wouldn’t trade our stove if you paid me.  Well, maybe if you paid me…but it would have to be a lot!  The type of heat you get from a wood stove is amazing.  It’s really hard to describe, but it’s warmer than any other type of heat source, if that makes sense.  If you have one, you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, with our winter being what I would consider unusually long, our wood supply is getting dangerously low.  Even scarier…the fire starters we use to, well, start our fires are not being sold.  They”re seasonal items and in most parts of the country, it’s not that season.  So, where do you turn when Walmart runs out of your fire starters?  Pinterest, of course!

I found this link for DIY fire starters.  I had my doubts that they would work.  It seemed a little too simplistic.  Lint, egg cartons, string and wax.  Really?

The guy (I suppose it’s a guy who posted it…I could be wrong) mentions using Belgium Beer.  Nowhere in the tutorial could I find him using the beer in the fire starter.  Maybe he used it to celebrate with…who knows!

Other than eliminating the beer, I followed the tutorial verbatim.  I let them dry overnight, because I started making them around 10:30 at night.  As promised, when they dried, they were hard as a rock.  The tutorial said his starter lasted about 15 minutes.  Me, being the skeptic timed it.  Sure enough…the starter lasted 15 minutes on the dot & by the time it burned out, my fire was blazing.

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How does it compare to purchasing the fire starters pre-made?  Well, cost wise, it’s about half to make them.  The wax was about $4 for me.  I used about  1/4 of the box.  So, I figured it cost $1 to make 12.  If I have old candle wax that I can’t burn anymore, I can use that and the starters will cost me zilch.

It took me about 1 hour to make them, from start to finish.  One thing I’ll do differently is to cut the wax into much smaller pieces.  That was the most time consuming part of the project…waiting for the wax to melt.

My hubby was very impressed.  I figure if I make up a dozen or so each week during the summer, we’ll have plenty to use during the winter.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I need to throw another log on the fire.