On the Conspiracy of Material Objects

The other day, the world conspired against us, as discussed in the previous blog entry.

Our car was stolen. A few days later, I lost my keys (car, bike lock, and home). A feather down pillow sprung a leak in the washer and exploded in the dryer. Running the clothes repeatedly through clothes-washer and dryer to get rid of the fluff and feathers ultimately clogged the hard-to-reach filter. Tried to clean the filter and found I needed a specialized tool, even though I'd fixed it before. The dishwasher started to leak. The toaster seemed to disobey me.

The world was out of joint. Then it slowly righted itself.

The clothes were finally mostly down-free, and I ordered (for $20) a set of tools that would let me reattach the filter hose. Our car was recovered three weeks after it was stolen, apparently left in a supermarket parking lot for most of that time, not trashed nor in need of many repairs. My keys were found. The toaster listened to reason. The dishwasher — well, we stopped using it, talked about repairing it, and decided to replace it.

A few years ago, our upstairs toilet started to leak, and, being installed about 25 years before, we called a repairman who said it could be reconditioned for about $250 in labor, but would still use a large amount of water. For $600, he would haul off the old one, and install a new, low-flow toilet. We agreed, and, good gravy, we were wasting a lot of water. I believe we're saving $60 a year in water, two years in.

The same seems like the right course for the dishwasher. While it's only 14 years old, it cost $400 new, and the repair outfit we called mostly talked us out of repair: it's at the end of its life already, apparently! We believe them, as why would they try to not make money fixing it? (They would if we asked.)

We're going to pay $800 to replace it based on our toilet experience, using a recommendation from The Sweet Home. (We won't wash dishes in the toilet.) The new dishwasher will use less water, and its better internal design means we will run it 25% to 50% less. Between electricity and water, I figure we can pick up $30 to $40 a year in savings.

It's not the best time in our life to buy a new dishwasher, but it doesn't makes sense to put $150 to $300 into the old one. And, fortunately, we haven't had to replace a piece of our kitchen or home for years.

Conspiracy continues, updated August 29th: Installers came with the new dishwasher and discovered that our dying one was crammed into the space, and a standard height (roughly 34-inch) model will not fit into the space no-how. Calling around and checking, it looks impossible to find an affordable model that is also low-enough to fit. Punting to repair.

And the repair didn't work: The dishwasher is truly effed, but it only cost us $55 to get a looksee, a temporary fix, and a diagnosis. We're hiring a contractor we trust who will replumb, move the shutoff valve, fix the electrical, and install a different dishwasher (about the same price) that will actually fit. Ah, the joys.