Tag Archives: appliances

Taking the Microwave Oven for Granted

I don’t think we realize how much we appreciate an appliance until it isn’t there for us.

And when the option to replace it quickly is not there either because microwave ovens are backordered everywhere due to supply chain issues resulting from Covid-19, that is when the reality check sets in.

A few months after we arrived in our new place, we were sitting in the living room, watching TV, when we heard the microwave making beeping noises. We weren’t cooking anything, we hadn’t left anything in it, and frankly there was no reason for it to be beeping, but it was. We dismissed it as just a random incident and didn’t think much of it.

But in the days that followed, it happened again and again. Not just one or two beeps, but a series of beeps like our microwave oven was receiving Morse code from somewhere, and for prolonged durations. Even in the quiet of the night, from our bedroom we could sometimes hear the beeping competing with our cat’s nightly choir practice.

We just chalked it up to another one of our house’s “stories of the unexplained”.

A few weeks later, without being asked, the microwave’s screen started showing us random recipe instructions and maintenance instructions, or going into “demonstration mode”. We started wondering if the microwave was slightly haunted. But we took the scientific approach and unplugged the microwave, waited one minute, and then plugged it back in. It seemed to work fine… for a while. Continue reading

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When the House Makes Me Jump

One of the pitfalls of having very good hearing (as I do) is the process of getting familiar with a house’s noises.

In my last house, after almost 20 years, I knew exactly what “normal” sounded like for each individual appliance, sink and toilet as well as for the furnace, the air conditioner and the hot water tank.

I knew that dramatic drops or increases in temperature outside would make the house pop as the building materials contracted or expanded. I was also familiar with the specific creaking noises that tree branches outside would make in heavy winds.

Each sound had a distinct fingerprint, and after 20 years, whenever the house made noise, I could usually pick out the cause and not worry about it.

But in having my radar on like a bat and the ability to filter out common “normal” noises, it goes without saying that noises that weren’t so common and didn’t match the usual patterns, could sometimes make me jump higher than I would when watching most horror flicks.

I wouldn’t chalk up that reaction to perhaps being a little over-caffeinated or being a nervous person by nature. I think it stems from a pride of ownership in my home and any noises that aren’t considered “normal” should be investigated right away to ensure they aren’t a sign or a more serious problem.

When that happened, Ivy the Wonder Cat and I would turn into Scooby and Shaggy (respectively), slowly walking through the house, flashlight in hand, waiting for the noise to happen again to be able to figure out where it is coming from, what it is, how to stop it and if a professional noise-eradicator needed to be called. Continue reading

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It’s 7:00 P.M., Start Your Engines!

SevenOclockAt the best of times, household chores can be a challenge, given the busy pace of life, the many activities in which families engage, and frankly, interest and energy after a hard day’s work. But factor in “time of use” electricity rates and it’s a wonder I ever get anything done.

For a few years now, electricity rates here have been determined by the time of day at which they are consumed. At peak demand times, the rates are higher. When demand is low, electricity rates are cheaper. In a nutshell, the lowest rates are on Saturdays, Sundays and evenings after 7:00 p.m.

Has this changed the pattern in which I use electricity? You bet it did!

When inspiration and energy are there, from the time I get home until 7:00 p.m., I find myself in preparation mode: sorting laundry, loading the dishwasher, prepping ingredients, cleaning bathrooms, scooping or cleaning the litter box and doing chores that don’t consume much electricity. But at 7:01, the rubber gloves are off, the running shoes are on and as if a starter’s pistol was shot, I run around the house, turning on the electrical appliances.

Not only is this multi-tasking at its best, but it is also how I keep my cardio up in the running off-season.

I sometimes imagine myself causing a neighbourhood-wide brown-out by flicking on the dryer, the washer, the oven, the dishwasher and anything else that happens to be on, all within the same minute. It hasn’t happened yet, but wow, what power that would be!

I admit that there are times that I wish we could turn back time, and be able to run the appliances whenever we feel like it and not face the jolting experience of an inflated electricity bill. Continue reading

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