Recently in Home Sweet Home Category

New Oven


Last weekend my boyfriend and I went appliance shopping.  Specifically, we were looking for a new oven and over the range microwave.  We scoped it out the week before, with the help of my parents when they were visiting, and did some additional research online.  We were informed when the particular items we were looking at were going to be discounted even further (Sunday evening) so when the time came around, we headed out.

We decided not to spend a fortune and settled for something without all the bells and whistles.  It's still nice, it's just not fancy.  It does everything we need it to do, and it has a few upgrades from the old one. 

  1. The heating element on the bottom is hidden rather than exposed. 
  2. It is self-cleaning (to be fair the old oven was self-cleaning as well, it just didn't work).
  3. Dual burner on the front right.  It can be switched to be either 6 in. or 9 in.

Like I said, not fancy.  We aren't spectacular cooks so decided we'd rather save our money and not get all the extras that we wouldn't use or would use so rarely they wouldn't be worth it.  In all honesty I could have been easily convinced to buy a much fancier, higher-end one, but my boyfriend wasn't making any sort of attempt at convincing me to upgrade.

It was delivered Wednesday afternoon.  Tuesday night I received an automated call saying it would be delivered the next day between 1:15p and 3:15p.  So I ran home from work and arrived just after 1:00.  The delivery men pulled up at 1:18p.  Now, I don't know what your experience has been like, but whenever I get a window like that, they either come at the very end of the window, or they blow by the window completely and come hours later.  Anyway, they came, they laughed at the old oven, they installed the new one, and hauled the old one away.  Seriously, I wish I had taken a picture of the old oven before it went so you could have gotten a hearty chuckle as well.  A joke was made about it likely being older than I am.  It probably wasn't much of an exaggeration.  It was a leftover from the previous owners which I amended to the contract and technically paid $1 for, so I am just pleased it lasted this long and I was able to put off buying a new one this long.

I am sure you are dying to know what we cooked as the inaugural meal in the new oven.  Right?  Well, I'll tell you.  We made london broil, marinated the night before, and cooked up some veggies on the stove top.  We read the manual (yes, I have a boyfriend that actually reads directions) and were excited about using the brand new oven.  We read what we were supposed to do and everything was going great.  We were broiling away.  And then we were really broiling away.  And then we started to notice a lot of smoke.  And then....

*beeep beeep beep*

*short pause*

*beeep beeep beeep*

Shit.  We set the smoke alarm off.  We opened all windows in the vicinity and tried to direct the smoke away from the alarm (I was waving the black and gray knit hat I made, since it was handy).  I sent a text message to my sister who knew we were cooking:  Lots of smoke!  Alarm is going off!  She texted me back a little bit later asking what the status was, but I didn't see it.  So then quite a while after that I get another message, "hello?"  I finally replied at that point, but since I hadn't replied earlier she had been worried that we burned the house down.  Luckily, that was not the case.  And, as it turns out, the london broil turned out better than it ever had before.  Cooked to perfection, despite a little drama.

I am happy to report that last night we made pizzas in the new oven and there were no smoke issues.  Or any other issues for that matter.  Our little make-your-own pizzas came out tasting great.    

There is still one little problem with the oven though.  Now my kitchen counters look even crappier and more out-dated than they did with the old antique oven. 



DIY - Electrical

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Wednesday night my lights and television flickered.  They stayed out for about 15 seconds.  Then came back on.  Then back off for another 5-10 seconds.  Then they were fine.  I thought that was a little weird, since only some of the lights went out, but kind of shrugged my shoulders and was content with the fact that the lights and t.v. were back on.  Our regularly scheduled Olympics watching could resume.

Thursday night they went out again.  First for a few seconds, and then permanently.  Shit.  We (my boyfriend and I) spent quite a while that night trying to fix it.  We checked the fuse box and nothing looked blown.  I learned my lesson the hard way the last time I had an electical issue, so we did a thorough check.  We switched out every single one with no luck.  We made sure everything was unplugged from all outlets and made sure all lights were switched off and tried again.  We tried to determine which fuse(s) controlled the areas of the house that were out.  We didn't really know what else to do after that.  So my boyfriend called his dad and he offered to come over to take a look.  I told him not to come because it was getting late and I didn't want him to have to run over on a moments notice.  It wasn't an emergency.  At least some outlets in each room were working, except the upstairs bathroom.  The garage wasn't working either but we could just open and close it manually for the next day.  We had heat and hot water so I decided it could wait.  

I should mention that I come from a family that is not very handy.  My parents hire someone for even the most trivial of home improvemnent projects/fixes.  That's just what they choose to do.  As someone who grew up in a household with this mentatlity I also am not very handy, and know next to nothing about how to fix things around the house.  Had my parents been handy I think I would have been fairly handy as well.  I am interested in learning new things, and I love feeling a sense of accomplishment when I can do something myself.  For my boyfriend, it is a very different story.  His father, as well as all of his uncles and even some cousins, are some of the most handy people around.  They seem to know how to fix anything and own every tool known to man.  They know all about electrical systems, how to finish basements, plumbing, just about anything you can think of.  A little over a year ago the tracking system on my garage door broke and my boyfriend's dad ran over to home depot to get the necessary parts (without even looking at my garage) and had it fixed in an hour or so.  My boyfriend had a perfect opportunity to learn from his dad and become super handy as well, but didn't have a huge interest in it.  

Anyway, Friday night his dad came over with his bucket of tools and equipment and went to work diagnosing the problem.  We tore apart half the light sockets and fixtures in my house and we learned a lot and figured out what the overall problem was, but we couldn't pinpoint exactly where it was.  After several hours we called it a night.  Early Saturday afternoon we went at it again.  We were more systematic in our approach going light socket by light socket determinging exactly how the house was wired and essentially put on our x-ray glasses to see through the wall to see where the wires were coming from and going to.  After a couple of hours we found the culprit.  An outlet in the master bedroom and overloaded, and actually looked burned.  I am very lucky there wasn't an electrical fire. 

Once we found the culprit my boyfriend's dad knew exactly what to do.  We ran to home depot to get a knew outlet and re-wired it.  We also re-wired another outlet in the living room -- changed the 2-prong outlet to a 3-prong one and added a ground wire.  In about 10 minutes we were back in business. 

I learned so much through this experience.  I am much less intimidated by electrical work now.  I have plans to go through and switch over some of the other remaining 2-prong outlets and ground them (something I had no idea was so easy to do) and switch out one of the light fixtures in the kitchen. 

It was certainly a satisfying experience, and I am incredibly grateful that I don't have to worry about calling an electrician on Monday, missing work so that I'd be home when someone came, and paying someone what I would guess would be at least a few hundred dollars.  I feel satisfaction, relief, and I feel smater.  Also gratitude to my boyfriend's father for all his help.  To show my appreciation I took everyone out for a nice dinner.  It doesn't really cover my debt for hijacking his Friday night and Saturday afternoon, but it was the best I could come up with.  I also plan on baking some brownies from scratch this week and sending those over.  He said the dinner wasn't necessary, but really, it was.

Organizing Your Bedroom

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I am one of those people that has entirely too many clothes.  One thing I compromised on when buying my house was having a huge walk-in closet in my bedroom.  I really, really wanted a large walk-in closet.  Since I have a lot of clothes, and not a lot of closet space, my bedroom is a little bit of a mess.  My closet is full (it is meant for 2 people and holds only my clothing) and I have started taking over the closet in the guest bedroom.

So here is a picture of one half of my closet:

bedroom organization 011.JPG


As you can see, it is exploding, just a little bit.  And I have other clothes strewn about my room because they just don't fit.  I pretty much can't cram things any tighter to fit more in.  I saw a commercial for these platinum wonder hangers and decided they might significantly help, or even solve, my exploding closet problem.  So yesterday we (my boyfriend and I) did some shopping and made a stop at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I didn't get the platinum ones but ended up buying a cheaper plastic version instead.


First, a little background for anyone who is not yet familiar with the wonder hangers...


1.  When I first opened the package this is what the pieces inside looked like:

bedroom organization 012.JPG


2.  You put the hooks through the two holes at each end and put it up in the closet by placing the two hooks on the bar in the closet and hang the clothes:

  003 closet organizer.JPG

3.  Pull one hook off and let it fall so that it is only being held up by one hook.  El Fin.

005 closet organizer.JPG


This afternoon I spent some time putting them together and re-organzing the closet.  After removing some things, and putting 40 shirts on the 8 sets, the closet does feel a bit improved and more organized.   

bedroom organization 022.JPG

If I squish, you can see there is a fair amount of new-found space:

002 closet organizer.JPG 

What I like: 

  • You can organize things in groups:  tank tops in one set, dressy blouses in another set, etc.

  • It seems to work with all different types of hangers
  • Very easy to put together and use


What I don't like: 

  • It did not triple the space in my closet as advertised.
  • It's a little bit bulky.  Maybe the platinum one would be better?


Overall verdict?  Pretty good.  I am content enough that I'm not going to return them, but they weren't quite as spectacular as I was hoping.


The other product that I bought to help organize my bedroom was a Diamond Drawer Organizer.  My underwear drawer and sock drawer were about as bad as the closet.  I didn't get a before picture, but here is the sock drawer after putting in the organizer. 

bedroom organization 007.JPG

I actually really like this thing.  Not all my socks are in there (many are sitting in the laundry basket waiting to be washed) but this thing neatly holds 32 pair of socks or underwear or whatever you want.  I am definitely going to buy another one of these for the underwear drawer.

The total price for both purchases came to $12.94 so I think it was a pretty good deal.  I used a $5 off coupon and a 20% off coupon that seem to show up in my mailbox almost daily.


How organized or disorganized is your master bedroom?  What type of products do you use to help organize your bedroom?


Related articles:

Tips for Decluttering Your Home, and Keeping it That Way

Not My Finest Moment

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I am feeling incredibly dumb.  And incredibly taken advantage of.  Not a good combo!

It's all related to that dryer issue I posted about on Thursday.  The repair guy came Friday afternoon around 2:00pm (he was supposed to be here between 8 and 12), stayed 5 minutes, did next to nothing, and charged me $140 for his "services".

First of all, shouldn't you get a discount if they can't even make the convenient 4 HOUR WINDOW they provide?  And shouldn't they have some sort of discounted rate if they, you know, don't actually do anything?  I understand their time is valuable, and should charge for the time it takes for them to come out to my house.  But seriously, I don't see how the guy or his company can feel good about what they did to me today, even if there was a lot of stupidity/ignorance on my part.

To cut to the chase, a fuse had blown and that's what caused the dryer to stop working.  The dryer itself was fine.  My boyfriend and I were at least smart enough to think of this previously and did check the fuses before having someone come.  We just didn't know the right place to look, apparently.

Here is my electrical panel:

fuses 001.JPG
















And here is where the fuses are, the ones we looked at and tried replacing:


But wait... what's this?  An extra little "hidden" panel thingy?  Apparently THIS is where the fuses to the dryer are:

fuses 006.JPG



fuses 001 edited.JPG


The guy took a really quick look, said it looked ok to him, I had some sort of electrical problem, needed an electrician, and that I better start saving my money.  So after he left I looked at the two fuses again, and noticed one definitely looked blown.  I switched it out and lo and behold, the dryer started making the lovely humming noise again!


Do you have a not so finest moment to share?  It might make me feel a little bit better to know I'm not alone.  :)

The House (a.k.a. The Money Pit)

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Two house-related things popped up over the last week...

Thing #1

The night before we were set to go to Boston this past week I threw in a load of laundry.  About 30 minutes after putting in the wash, I headed down and put everything in the dryer.  Maybe an hour and a half later I went down to check on things. I had sort of forgotten about it and never heard the buzzer go off signaling it was done.  I went down, pulled open the door, and discovered damp clothing.  I figured there were some heavier towels and things in there and maybe I didn't put in on for long enough so I went to add more time and run it again.  That's when I noticed there were still 20 minutes left on the buzzer.  The stupid thing had stopped in the middle of a load.  I ended up hanging everything up and would worry about it when we got back.  So Tuesday I called to have someone come.  After a phone call that took way too long, I got an appointment for Friday.  Sometime between 8a and 12p.  So I have to work from home in teh morning.  I am hoping they'll be able to fix it quickly and it won't be too expensive.  The stupid thing isn't even two years old yet.  And of course there was only a 1 yr warranty. 

Thing # 2

A while back I got a flyer in the mail for various outdoor housing jobs -- things like power washing, gutters, and various roof repairs.  I wanted to have my gutters done so I held on to the flyer.  I moved into my house nearly 2 years ago and I have not had the house power washed or the gutters cleaned out once.  I have a lot of trees (a LOT of trees) in my yard which means there are a lot of leaves and other crap that get in the gutters and make the siding on the house dirty.  The gutters really needed to be done so I finally called yesterday to get a quote.  The guy headed over to my house shortly after I called and called me back at work and gave me a price.   $65.  Nice, that's a little less than I was expecting.  And then he started the up-sell.  "The house could use a good power washing," he said.  "I'll through in the gutters for free!"  Now I figured the house was somewhat dirty, but really the though of paying to have it washed hadn't crossed my mind.  He said $225 for the power wash and the gutters.  Hmmm.  $225 is an awful lot more than $65.  I talked it over with my boyfriend, another friend, and my mom to see what they thought.  I decided to just bite the bullet and have him do it.  From what I could tell, $225 was a decent deal.  And company is coming this weekend so what the hell, right?  He said he could come the next day.  Awesome.  So he called me early this afternoon saying the job was done.  And by the way, did I want him to install gutter guards too?  You know, because of all the trees.  Only $600!  Yeah.  I passed.  I was expecting to just get my gutters cleaned for like $75, not spend $825 to have a bunch of extra things done.  He said fine and he'd stop over at 6:00 after I was home from work for payment.  He came on time which was great and then had yet another off for me.  He offered to take $85 off the $600 for the guards if I changed my mind.  Geez!  No thank you, but gotta give him credit for perisitence.

If you want to get an idea what the tree/leaf situation is in my yard you can click on the following previous entries from early spring and last fall with pics:


 I don't want to jinx myself, but I'm kind of waiting for what Thing # 3 is going to be.


About This Blog

Stories, advice, and random thoughts from a thirty-something female.

Many people in their thirties are dealing with common issues and concerns. Some of these include buying a home, establishing a career, starting a family, and dealing with aging parents. I will blog about all these things as well as other every day stuff as I make my way through this third decade of life.

You can read more about the author behind thirty-something blog on the About Me page.





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