Thursday, June 1, 2023

new machines

A couple years ago our kitchen range fell apart and we got a new one. This week it was the turn of our dishwasher. Our disposition of chores is that I cook dinner (B. hates cooking) and B. does the dishes, so I rarely touch the dishwasher, but I was heavily involved in the purchase process, for which we replicated what we did for the range.

A library visit for Consumer Reports (whose annual Buying Guide is now the same shape and size as a regular issue) revealed that the top brand is something called Bosch. This was confirmed by the salesfolk at Best Buy, and fortunately we were able to get the least expensive version. You can pay $100 more for a different-shaped handle or for a stainless-steel surface, but we didn't.

Only problem was that the deliverers did not phone the previous day with a time window as the salesfolk had promised. 5 pm I phoned Best Buy customer support who told me to wait till they called the next morning; I said that wasn't good enough, and by employing heavy sarcasm ("Are you calling the salesperson a liar?") got them to check the schedule, which said we were the 6th customer on the day's list, probably early afternoon.

Next morning, still no call, but another call to support got a window of 1-4 pm. Fine. Showed up at 3, did the job, no trouble. Dishwasher works: less noise than the old one, no leaks on the floor, moderately good at drying the contents.

In less epic vein, we replaced the older of our two litter boxes. The cats weren't using it any more, and that must have been because the plastic had absorbed just too much odor over the years. They certainly like the new one.

The problem was that covered litter boxes now comes with the kind of bells and whistles we're all familiar with from computer shopping. There's a little swinging door over the entrance. And there's a sieve at the bottom. The idea is that you clean the box by lifting the sieve out; the poop comes with and the loose litter stays behind. Then you just dump the contents from the sieve into the wastebasket. Easy, no?

No. First, we're not putting the cat poop into a wastebasket to sit there smelly all week until trash day; it goes in a bag which is put directly in the outside bin. But I can't dump the sieve into the bag without three hands like the woman in the Charles Addams cartoon.

Second, the process of reassembly is far too complex. You don't just put the sieve back in, because then it would ride on top of the litter. So there's an extra bottom part. You put the sieve in that. You dump the litter from the other bottom into that one, on top of the sieve. Then you lift the now-full bottom and put it inside the now-empty bottom. Is that at all clear? I could not find words to explain it to B.

Way too much trouble. It's easier to use the scoop, the one the ads say you don't have to use any more.

As for the swinging door, the cats knocked it off on the first day. So the bells and whistles are all gone, and we're back to a normal covered litter box.

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