Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Honestly, there could be a dead body here.

In the previous post, I spoke of geocaching with Mike on the Snake River near Chief Timothy Park. I captioned one of the pictures, “Honestly, there could be a dead body here.” The place stunk (fish smell) and we saw a tennis shoe. I thought it was an eerie place.

Well . . . in today’s Lewiston Tribune is the headline, “Body found in Snake River near Chief Timothy Park.” No, it really wasn’t the exact spot where we were. The body was found a mile or two further west, but my experience still seemed a bit prophetic. 
The remains, badly decomposed, have not yet been identified. If they have an inkling of who it might have been, they aren't saying at this time. KW

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Honestly, there could be a body here.

Late Friday afternoon (March 17) Mike invited me to accompany him to pick up a geocache near Chief Timothy on the Snake River.

“Let’s see,” I asked myself, “should I go geocaching, or should I exercise?” So, I said I’d go with him. Bess and Nell went, too.)

It had commenced to sprinkle a bit, but I took the camera anyway. As Mike logged the cache, a train came along, adding a bit more interest to the available photo ops.

Keep looking -- you'll find it.
Friday morning I reported to Bob, the appliance repair guy, that our dishwasher was running smoothly but leaking. He ordered a new sleeve for the wash motor and came back Saturday morning to install it. The dishwasher is now running and not leaking. Mike wonders how long it will last.

I remarked to Mike that we didn’t do well with this go-round of appliance purchases. I’d wanted them for years, but in the end, we acted too quickly. Nevertheless, it used to be that when we bought something new, we could expect it to be relatively problem-free until it began to wear out. Appliance selection was a matter of styling, features, or brand preference, and manufacturers wanted to please the consumer. This is no longer true.

Down river
Actually, I began to notice this phenomenon in the ‘70s and ‘80s with my parents’ appliance purchases. In the late ‘70s, Mother replaced her GE built-in double ovens, which had been trouble-free for 15 years, with a Thermador unit. She and my dad both liked to cook, and she thought they would enjoy this “upgrade.” So, she had her cabinets remodeled to fit the new Thermador ovens. Friends were thrilled to get her old ovens for their remodeling project.

Train comes into view
But – those Thermador ovens were lemons from the beginning, and what’s worse, there was no one in our little town – or our region – who would work on them. I felt so badly for her. Sometimes I think you just have to be philosophical about these things and buy again, but Mother wasn’t about to do that – just as Mike isn’t. She limped along for the rest of her years in that house with the situation the way it was.

My parents also replaced the coal furnace with an electric one, which was a spur of the moment decision made in frustration. Naturally, it was bad news when the electricity bill arrived. In an effort to heat more efficiently and economically, they bought a heat pump to recirculate the air – or whatever heat pumps do.
Train headed down the Snake River

“The air from this vent is cold!” I remarked one winter day when I was visiting.

“No it’s not,” Mother replied as she pulled on her sweater. “It just feels cold. It’s really warmer than it feels.” Hmmmm. Now, I could be in real trouble if I argued with Mother, so I said nothing. But I felt sorry for both of my parents spending winters in that cold house. In fact, nothing could be done. Those heat pumps were lemons from the beginning and the consumer was stuck, though my dad tried valiantly to find a fix.

I used to blame my parents’ problems on their ages, but now I’m not so sure. Neither repairman said, “Well, you know, at your ages, you just can’t expect things to work right for you.” But Bob, who has been in business since 1977, said quite a bit about today’s decline in quality and service. 

As Mike says, “Why can’t anything work right?!” KW

Friday, March 17, 2017


Nellie & Bess are always willing to help with the dishes.

Nephew L.J. researched the relationship between the dishwasher detergent pacs, such as Cascade Complete, and dishwasher problems and shared the links.  He adds, "I have never had a problem in my washer, however, it is an older washer. Maybe the issue is with newer machines." 

I believe the issue IS with newer machines largely because of water efficiency. I think the packs need plenty of hot water and perhaps some agitation in order to dissolve properly. I plan to continue using the pacs but to place them in the basket rather than the soap receptacle. And I'll try to run the dishwasher when hot water is available at the kitchen tap, such as after our showers. It's true that it takes about 30 seconds for the water to come in hot, and in an efficient machine, that means the first cycle might run pretty cold. Then I'll check the filter regularly. I could also make a slit in the pack -- one of the tips that Mike also suggested.

You know, of course, that my dishes are "clean" when I put them in the dishwasher -- as clean as Bess and Nell can get them. No food chunks, no crumbs, no goo enters my dishwasher. The dishes just need to be washed for sanitation purposes. Bess and Nell are just pretty darn efficient.

Here are the links L.J. found.

Here is another one but is a little off topic:

And, finally my last contribution to the subject—

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Excavation has not begun

The dishes have to be washed whether or not you have an “automatic” dishwasher, so with our dishwasher on the fritz, I had to take over and do the work. The up side was that the dishes were clean and in the cupboard ready to be used again as opposed to dirty in the dishwasher. That appealed to my old-fashioned heart. The down side was dishpan hands. You hardly hear about that any more, but housewives fought it back in the day. Mother resorted to wearing Playtex gloves.

Bob, the second repair guy, came Monday morning, performed diagnostics, and determined the wash motor had failed. He ordered a new motor and today he returned to install it. And then we discussed the best way to run the dishwasher.

Don’t use those “pacs,” he said. He went so far as to say – and so did the first guy – that soap pacs might have caused the motor to fail – too much suds or something. Soap manufacturers love the pacs, said Bob, but the machine is designed for soap (powder or liquid), and that’s what you should use. But don’t use Kirkland’s product. It comes out of China where the formula includes some kind of clay in place of phosphorous, and that’s also hard on your machine.

My crocus corner
Well – hmm. I still have pacs on hand, both for the dishwasher and the washing machine, so I searched the internet for some sort of confirmation that they cause machine failure. I came up with soap comparisons but not the effect on the machine itself. The first repair guy suggested I put the pac in the silverware holder. I'll do that and gradually use up the pacs while alternating with powder.

What about the soap pacs in the washing machine, I asked. No, Bob said. Don’t use them.

With regard to environmental issues, there’s no question in my mind but that powder packed in cardboard is the most environmentally friendly product. However, maybe it’s my imagination, but it doesn’t seem like powder is what soap manufacturers are promoting.

Which wash cycle should I use, I wanted to know. (The manual recommended the efficiency cycle, which runs for three hours.) If your dishes aren’t very dirty, the one-hour cycle is adequate, Bob said.

Bob implied that using JetDry is a matter of preference. There is not an agreement between the dishwasher manufacturer and JetDry, he said.

Daffodils yet to bloom
Bottom line: it cost $250+ to repair this dishwasher, including parts and labor. (The first guy said he couldn’t fix it and did not charge us for the visit.)

So, it's fixed -- sorta. The new motor leaks, and maybe the old motor leaked, too. It just slips into a sleeve, and there's no way to clamp it in place. Bob said to run it several times, keeping a fresh towel under it. If it doesn't stop leaking, he may apply silicone. 

“I feel kinda shot down,” I remarked to Mike as Bob pulled out of the driveway.

“I know what you mean,” Mike agreed. KW

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


A March day in our 'hood -- Swallows' Nest Golf Course

Sunday, March 12, was a nice spring day. Mike went on a long afternoon ride with the cycling club. He had no sooner left, about 12:30, than the dogs insisted I take them for a walk.

“Okay,” I said, “but I’m taking the camera.”

“Again with the little black box,” said Bess.
“Let her take her toy,” replied Nellie. “While she fiddles with it, we get more time to explore.”
“She doesn’t let me take my ball,” Bess muttered.

County shop -- industrial clutter
I haven’t carried the camera much this winter because I was afraid of falling on the snow and ice. I can at least avoid taking chances with the camera. It’s hard enough to manage two dogs and a camera. And where we walk, it’s difficult to take interesting pictures anyway due to what I call “industrial” clutter.

Poles, poles, poles
I read an article a while back that discussed whether or not those big windmills are unsightly. The writer drew an analogy with utility poles, saying that we’re used to them now and no one thinks anything about it. “I beg to differ,” I screeched, to Mike’s amusement. “Many good vistas are ruined by utility poles.”

A good vista ruined by many power poles
Well, that’s today’s vent. It was good to have a pleasant day, but the rain has returned, resulting in regional flood watches. Clearwater County and now Latah County are requesting emergency status because of saturated ground issues and flooding. Mike remarked that he doesn’t even want to attempt to go into the farm. It’s mud season for sure. We could do more harm than good. 

Before I close, here's a photo taken on yesterday's walk. Bess saw them first -- a herd of mule deer. I estimated about 15. I kicked myself or leaving the camera behind, but I remembered I had my phone in my pocket. Yes, the deer are hard to see.

Coming soon -- another update on the dishwasher debacle. KW