Not feeling the love

A Valentine’s Day Crush

1594 1594_ () 1594 1594

I’m in love with my new washer and dryer. As I’ve had a few requests from friends and loved ones to write more about my sweeties, which I’ve been twittering about (as an aside, twittering is fun! Check it out!) but not really mentioning here.

A while back, I did ask for some opinions on front loaders. I got a lot of positive feedback about these new high efficiency machines. At that point, way back when, it was really just a pipe dream. My washer and dryer were both working just fine and while I knew I’d enjoy a larger machine (and probably could justify getting one) there were other items on my list of “stuff to do with my money,” including going to Europe with my husband. Yes, those front loaders aren’t cheap.

So a few weeks ago, my washing machine died. I’ll spare you all the details (only because I wrote about it for my column, which I’ll post here on Friday!) except that my dad and I really discussed at length whether it was time to actually just get a new one. My dad is one of those uber-handy fellows who can fix anything. And when he had looked into all the reasonable solutions for the washer — and none were the problem — he said he would recommend getting a new one. As much as it pained him, we had crossed the line into it costing more to fix the machine than it was really worth.

So after much research and a little luck, we bought the Whirlpool Cabrio Washer and the Bosch Nexxt Dryer.

We had been looking at each of these sets — the Cabrio set and the Bosch, but of course hadn’t planned on buying one of each. I wanted a matching set, just wasn’t sure which one.

I liked the Cabrio because it is a top-loader machine with the large capacity of the front loaders. It doesn’t have an agitator and is high efficiency. It’s basically a front loader that you load on top. To me, best of both worlds. However, the price was $1,000 for the washer, which was a bit higher than I wanted to pay. When I saw it at the store (we shopped at Lowe’s) it really sang to me — just totally cool looking, but also I liked that I wouldn’t have to “re-learn” my system, in terms of where I loaded the clothes (I know, pathetic creature of habit). And it’s huge.

But I mainly had my eye on the Bosch pair. Bosch is just really heavy duty. I have a Bosch oven and a Bosch dishwasher and I just like the way they look and feel — and they work well too. I have several friends who have the Bosch washer/dryer and they all said the same thing about it — takes a while to wash, unless you set it on quick wash, and sometimes it’s hard to get a mildew smell out of the washer. But the dryer was great, no problems. So I was all set to get this set.

We went to Lowe’s one Saturday afternoon and there, right as we walked in, was a newly discounted Cabrio washer. It was under warranty but had been returned. So I loved it but wasn’t planning on paying the still-high asking price. There was also a platinum-colored Bosch dryer which we loved. But it didn’t have a washer with it, and I thought, we can’t afford to wait for a special order washer. We were on Laundry Watch, Day Five. Dangerous territory.

So in the end we bought the Cabrio washer and the Bosch dryer. I didn’t want an unmatched pair, but guess what? They sold them to us for $700. For the PAIR. Yes, that’s $350 each. And when we got them home, they look great together because (for those who need this sort of thing in their life) the Cabrio has a strip of “platinum” that ties in with the Bosch perfectly.

I would recommend both. I love the top loader, and it handles at least three times the amount of laundry of my old machine. And the dryer works great.

I’m ending quick here because Henry needs me, so I’ll open up comments if anyone has anything else to add. I’m one of those people who likes to do consumer reports type research, but I think it’s at least as helpful (if not moreso) to talk to someone who actually has what I’m interested in getting.

So ask away — or put in your two cents as well.

Washer holds this many clothes!
Sweet, sweet platinum.

1594″>

1594

Lame!

1593 1593_ () 1593 1593 I just clicked over here to verify that yes, my blog is gathering cobwebs.

And I was right! I’m sorry, blog. I do love you. It’s just, I’m busy! The whole having five boys, plus one is a toddler, plus that pesky detail of a book — it’s keeping me busy. I got another book deadline in today, which is exciting for me, but leaves you feeling lonely, doesn’t it blog?

Well, I’m just here to say I’ll be back soon, that I love you, little blog, and that we’ll be together again. I promise. 1593″ .

1593

Lessons at the Derby

1592 1592_ () 1592 1592 Weekly column
It is a few days before my boys will participate in their Boy Scout Troop’s annual Pinewood Derby, and pretty much everything in this house is focused on getting ready for the Big Race.

A few weeks ago, I came home to find four wooden rectangles baking in my oven. My oldest son had been doing research and discovered this is a good way to rid the wood of excess moisture. If we somehow manage to take home a trophy this year, baking the wood might be the reason.

Over the past several days, there has been cutting and sanding, painting and sanding, some drilling, weighing and a lot more sanding. Further research from our eldest has pointed to a need for excessive sanding.

Paul and I were marveling recently that we have become professionals at this particular scouting event. That’s not to say we are winners, certainly not in the traditional sense. We are heading into our sixth year of competing in the derby, and so far the only major award anyone has brought home was for “Most Fuel Efficient Car.”

Adding multiple years and multiple boys, Paul has been Chief Engineer on over a dozen derby cars. It’s a lot of hard work and, really, a lot of fun. We’ve learned about dealing with the thrill of victory, but mostly the agony of defeat. It’s a challenging but important lesson to learn.

The first year we participated in the Derby, it was our oldest son racing his very first effort. Before that year, Paul and I had barely heard of the Pinewood Derby. We certainly knew nothing about the need to bring extra graphite or the importance of sanding the axels, and it occurred to none of us to paint the car before attaching the wheels.

That year, I watched my son deal with a rickety car and sticky, bumpy wheels. We had no idea about any of it, and as I stood there in the school cafeteria and watched all the other cars zoom by, heat after heat, I wanted to grab my little boy and go home.

“Let’s just leave,” I remember telling my husband, mostly joking. I thought about going home, packing up the house and moving to an undisclosed location where we didn’t need to deal with disappointments ever again. We could just stay together, our little family, and I could protect my children from all the hurts of the world.

An older friend overheard my frustrations and offered encouragement.

“You can’t go put your head under a rock,” he said.

He was right of course. That day, I pushed through and saw the bigger picture of the race. This wasn’t just about winning, or even about losing. It was about learning to be gracious in either situation. It was about building character and having life experiences – and having fun in the process. My son certainly had a lot of fun that day, despite the setbacks with his car.

Here we are, several years later. I look back on that first Pinewood Derby and realize it was mostly a teachable moment for me. At that point in my mothering journey, I was still hoping I could shield my boys from any of life’s potentially painful experiences. Back then I might have even thought that was part of my job, that no problem should be bigger than my mothering capabilities.

Now I realize that while it is my heart’s desire to protect my children, there will be moments in this journey of life when I cannot. There will be times when they will experience hurt or sadness, maybe even times when they must shoulder a burden that Paul and I won’t be able to take from them.

In those moments, the problems will be bigger than a rickety wooden car, and maybe even bigger than me. But they will never be bigger than God. Our hope is in him. 1592″>

1592