Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pawn Shop Purchases

Today I was checking our bank statement and noticed a transaction at our local pawn shop. I, personally, am not a fan of pawn shopping, but Blondie finds it thrilling. I have issues with germs and grime, so pawn shops aren't my ideal shopping environment. Wherever we go, if we have time to kill and run across a pawn shop he wants to stop and browse. I've never actually seen him purchase anything at a pawn shop, but I know he has.

As I was perusing our bank statement today, I thought it was a pretty safe bet that Blondie had bought something he didn't tell me about. It was only $30, and I spend $30 without telling him all the time, so it really wasn't a big deal. However, I don't want some stranger spending our $30 at the pawn shop. I decided it was prudent to call Blondie about this transaction.

I caught him at the best possible time. He had just gotten in the shower when the phone rang, so when he answered, he was dripping all over the floor which means he was making a little mess. I casually asked about the pawn shop purchase and he immediately said, "I knew I should have paid cash!" Blondie was the culprit! Now he was going to be in trouble for two things: making a little mess and buying stuff at the pawn shop.

Now, I didn't want to ruin some special surprise. I mean, what if his pawn shop purchase had been a present for me! However, I know Blondie is aware of my opinion of pawn shops, so it was a pretty safe bet that the item in question wasn't for me.

I asked him what it was and he reluctantly told me that he had bought an Xbox game. Two Xbox games, actually. Two Xbox games for $30 sounds like a pretty good deal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Broken Oven

Blondie and I are looking for a new oven. One recent evening I had just put a casserole in the oven for dinner and went on about my business. Suddenly, we heard a loud crackle and then the smoke detector started beeping. We couldn't figure out what it was until we saw the smoke in the kitchen. We opened the oven door and saw a small flame on the element. Needless to say, our dinner was ruined. The status of the oven remained to be seen.

Blondie removed the charred element and I took it to our local appliance store to see if they could get a replacement. We didn't have a model number, so they had to guess which one to order. It came in and Blondie installed it. No luck. Apparently it was more than just a bad element.

He called his dad for backup and they still couldn't find the problem. His grandpa came over to help and they determined that there was a bad switch that needed to be replaced. Without a model number, it was pretty much impossible to find a replacement switch. They searched high and low and couldn't find it anywhere. Finally, Blondie fiddled with it enough to find a model number under the cooktop.

Like any good researcher, he entered it in Google and when he came up with four results, he knew he was in trouble. The most helpful article was a scanned newspaper clipping from 1971. Apparently, this Michigan newspaper had archived their articles, and he found an ad promoting a big appliance sale. Our oven was the "Imperial" model, which featured an oven window, oven light, aluminum foil liner, and an optional panoramic full glass door and Teflon back panel. It was pretty fancy in its day. Regularly $289, on sale for $179!

He called the store where we had purchased the new element and they laughed when he told them he was looking for a part for an oven from 1971. The lady said that he was pretty much out of luck on anything older than 25 years.

Let me tell you, you can't get an oven for $289 these days. Not even a cheap one. We've been considering all of our options. Blondie did a ton of online research and learned that there are basically three options to choose from when selecting a new oven/range combination: drop in, slide in, and freestanding. Drop ins only come in electric, the sides aren't finished, don't have a bottom drawer, don't have feet, and is the most expensive option. No, thanks. Slide ins are similar. Their sides aren't finished, but they do have a bottom drawer and feet. Free standing is exactly what it sounds like: a completely self contained unit that stands on its own four feet and has finished sides. It's the cheapest.

We currently have a drop in and would like to replace it with a gas or induction range. Since drop ins are the most expensive and don't come in gas, we're probably going with a different style this time. We would like to just buy a free standing oven and set it in the hole where our drop in was. However, it's not quite that simple. A drop in is a little smaller, so we'll have to cut out a 4"x30" strip of cabinet at the back and the little platform that the current oven sits on. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but the little platform under the oven contains a drawer and there's a tile kickplate on the front of the cabinetry. Those won't be easy to remove without ruining something.

Also, drop ins are generally hard wired in, so there's no plug behind the oven. If we buy a gas range, we'll have to get a plumber to run a gas line. And, of course, anything new has electronic controls, so we'll still have to plug in our gas oven. Fortunately, there is already an outlet directly above the stove.

In the meantime, we've been improvising. The electric range part of this unit still works, so we've been using that like normal. I have a pretty fancy toaster oven that I can use to bake small casseroles and even full size frozen pizzas. However, it's not so good for a 9"x13" cake pan or a bunch of cookies. One day I decided to bake a cake for dessert and got halfway through mixing it up before I realized I had no way to bake it. I ended up putting it in two 8" round pans and baking them separately. That worked fine. However, when I volunteered to bake cookies for Vacation Bible School, I didn't consider how long it would take to bake them, six at a time, in my toaster oven. I mixed them up at home and then baked them at my mother-in-law's house.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Together or Separate?

Blondie and I went shopping for a new oven on Saturday, and while we were in Oklahoma City, we met one of his old friends for lunch. Blondie and Josh went to high school together and went to the same college for two years. When they both went to graduate school at OSU, they lived together until Josh got married.

Here's a photo of Art, Josh, and Blondie from their high school days:

Blondie called Josh on Saturday morning to see if he and his wife, Katherine, were free for lunch. We agreed to meet at an unnamed Bricktown restaurant at 12:30. Blondie and I got there first and looked at the menu. Blondie determined that if we ate there, he would definitely need a snack right after lunch. We decided to ditch that plan and go somewhere else.

When Josh and Katherine arrived, we decided on a different restaurant. Our server was very quiet, and possibly new to this line of work. No one ordered anything complicated, but the waiter didn't offer soup or salad, which was supposed to come with our meal.

Blondie really likes salad, so when our food arrived, he asked about it. There were other waiters carrying around salad, so it seemed pretty normal to us. Our server acted really confused, like it was unusual for a customer to request salad. Especially this late in the game. Nonetheless, he brought our salad. He brought enough salad for one hungry person or two skinny ladies in a giant bowl with four smaller bowls and no serving utensils. It came with standard Italian dressing, which Blondie doesn't like, so he asked for some ranch. The waiter brought one small container of it, and said he would be right back with another. Apparently there was a supply chain issue with the ranch dressing.

Blondie took his share of the salad, and politely left some for the rest of us. None of us were really interested in salad at this point, but Josh ate some just because we all felt guilty for requesting salad and not eating it.

When the time came to pay our bill, the waiter asked if the check was to be together or separate, and we told him it was separate. He returned with four separate checks. In his defense, we did, say "separate," but it was pretty obvious that we were two couples. Josh and Katherine were sitting on one side of the table and we were on the other side. We just laughed and paid our four separate checks. Blondie said that next time he will use more definitive hand gestures to indicate that the checks should only be partially separate.

Overall, our lunch was a potentially awkward experience that turned out to be funny. I was so glad that Josh and Katherine were flexible about the restaurant we chose and tolerant of the inexperienced waiter. When meeting new people, you never know how they will react to such situations and I tend to feel responsible if things don't go exactly right.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


My friend posted something on Facebook yesterday about not being able to tell the difference between her 9 year old son's socks and her husband's. I feel for her. I have laundry issues too.

We wash all of our whites together and I'm very particular about matching socks. I like the socks on both feet to be equally fluffy, so I try to pair socks at similar stages of deterioration. I put crisp white socks with other new socks and I put the dingy gray socks with the other worn ones. Blondie is satisfied with any matchup, just as long as short socks are together and long socks are together. He doesn't care if there's a black stripe on one and a gray heel on the other. You can't see that part anyway. That would drive me crazy.

When we got married, I warned Blondie that I don't sort laundry. I don't think it makes sense to dig through your dirty clothes looking for dirty items that go together. I think laudry should be pre-sorted. Whites go in the white basket, colors go in the blue basket, jeans go in the gray basket, and towels go in the bathroom basket.

I also don't un-wad socks. Since things should be pre-sorted, I just stuff everything into the washer without going through each item. I'm not handling Blondie's stinky socks any more than necessary. This results in pulling wet sock balls out of the dryer when the laundry is done. Those soggy socks can't be clean!

I threatened Blondie and told him that I wasn't un-wadding his nasty socks. I told him I would just throw them away. He said that was fine. He doesn't need me to do his laundry anyway. He'll just do it himself.

That's what I get for marrying a guy who can take care of himself.

P.S. Blondie and I have different tolerance thresholds where laundry piles are concerned. Yes, he's perfectly willing to do his laundry himself, but only after the pile is waist high. I can't let it sit that long. When it starts spilling out of the closet, I have to do something about it. Thus, I end up doing Blondie's laundry, even though he's perfectly capable and willing to do it himself. And I haven't thrown away any socks yet.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Introducing Pinky

This is Pinky, Yogi's baby sister. We have had her for a couple of weeks and have grown quite attached to her. She might even be just a tad bit spoiled.

Pinky and Yogi love to play together all day long. Pinky is the typical little sister. She was the runt of her litter, so she's quite a bit smaller than her four brothers. Her favorite trick is to go bite everyone's tails to start fights and then hide and watch the action. She does the same thing with Yogi, but he's much more tolerant than the other puppies. He's very good at sharing his toys and playing gently with Pinky.

I vacuumed the carpet yesterday and picked up all of the toys beforehand. When Pinky came inside a few minutes later, she immediately dragged all of her toys out of the basket. She loves to play. In fact, her favorite toy is that brown hedgehog that is 2/3 her size.

People have given her petite toys more appropriate for a puppy her size, but she's more interested in Yogi's big dog toys. She also likes big dog treats and big dog food. Unfortunately, she's just not going to be a big dog. Yogi is about 20 pounds and 15 inches tall, which is normal for a Miniature Australian Shepherd. However, we expect Pinky to be much smaller. Pinky and Yogi have a sister from another litter that is toy sized and we think Pinky will look a lot like her as an adult.