Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Crazy Lady

Shouldn't have been on the street.

Shouldn't have made eye contact.

Shouldn't have responded when she said hello.

My coworkers say it's a symptom of Midwestern blood - my particular disease. All these shouldn't have dones led me to a few painful moments with the crazy lady on the corner.

She had a bad knee (and I got to see it).

She had a bag full of cards from mental health professionals (and I saw those too).

She had a room that wasn't ready, no clue where she was or where she was going and a diagnosis of suicidal tendencies that she dismissed because should hadn't yet walked into to traffic to be killed by passing cars.

Me...I had no exit strategy.

I lied - I'll call someone when I get inside.

I didn't.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Mysterious Case of the Whirlpool Dishwasher

Apparently Whirlpool has trouble hiring good help these days...

My new apartment has a new dishwasher. My happiness over this ended when I opened it after the first load to discover that my glasses weren't very clean. There was also a big clump of soap in the bottom of the machine. After a few loads and some happenstance I came to discover that the soap dispenser door wouldn't open because the rack was in the way.

I sent the following email to the people at Whirlpool:

model: DU810SWPU3
serial: FY1842524

product: Dishwasher,Built-in

The soap dispenser door does not open on my dishwasher. After some investigation, it appears that the rack blocks the door. No matter which direction the rack is placed into the dishwasher the rack would still block the door.

Is there some solution to this problem?
I received the following response:

We are sorry to learn about the concern you have experienced with your dishwasher.

As we are also consumers, we can certainly understand your frustration and disappointment regarding this matter. For your convenience, we have provided a few troubleshooting suggestions for you to check.

Was the dispenser cup wet when you added detergent?
Make sure the dispenser cup is dry before adding powdered detergent. If dispenser cup is wet, the detergent can clump.

Is the cycle incomplete?
If the previous cycle did not complete, the detergent can become caked in the dispenser cup if it is left sitting in the dishwasher.

Is the detergent old?
Older detergent exposed to air will clump and not dissolve well, which will cause the dispenser door to stick to the detergent. Replace detergent if necessary.

Is the water temperature too low?
For best washing and drying results, water should be 120F (49C) as it enters the dishwasher.

Were items blocking the dispenser that kept it from opening?
Items blocking the detergent dispenser will keep it from opening. Make sure water action can reach the dispenser.

Detergent guidelines
- Use automatic dishwashing detergent only.
- Other detergents can produce excessive suds that can overflow out of the dishwasher and reduce washing performance.
- Store tightly closed detergent in a cool, dry place.
- Fresh automatic dishwasher detergent results in better cleaning.
- Add detergents just before starting the cycle.

If you have checked these suggestions and are still experiencing your concern, we would advise contacting an authorized service provider for the most satisfactory addressing of any issues you may be experiencing.
My response:
The dispenser cup was dry. It was, in fact, the first time I had used this machine ever.

The cycle was complete and had been for several hours.

The detergent was new to me, but may not have been new to store. I cannot speak to its age, but it flows freely from the box.

The water temperature is a balmy 135 F.

There was an item blocking the dispenser from opening. As I pointed out in my question, the rack blocks the dispenser from opening. I suggested this in the email in a less than assertive way to be kind. I have attached a picture demonstrating my point. As can be seen in the picture, with the main dishwasher door opened slightly the door can clearly be seen against the rack. With the main door completely closed, the soap dispenser door does not open at all.

Following your response, I realized that the matter was best handled with a hacksaw. I have attached a picture of my solution. The door opens perfectly.

If you would be so kind, please share this solution with your design engineers. It may serve as a useful guideline as they draw up the next model.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Güero at the Market

I am the "güero". The gringo, if you prefer. The white guy...that's me. The one that sweats at the thought of jalapeño. This made my first trip to Northgate Market an experience in disorientation.

When I arrived in Los Angeles I settled in little corner of the city between the largely black community of Inglewood and largely white community of Culver City. My new community is neither of those and there isn't a Ralphs or a Vons within walking distance. Northgate Market is across the street. It is not for the güero.

Fortunately I can read Spanish well enough.

There were frijoles negro, pico de gallo, chiccarones, tubs of lard, tortillas stacked to the ceiling, an unrecognizable array of meats including chicken seasoned and with peppers to make fajitas, limes and avacodas in every corner. There was a tortilla making operation in the back. The bakery sold pan caliento. A women sat in a booth where you could send money to Mexico.

I stood out like a gringo thumb in a sea of ladies yelling in Spanish as they bumped and bruised their ways to the front of the butcher line. I nearly tripped on a lime that had tumbled out of the massive bins. I couldn't find a frozen pizza or a Pace Picante in jar (not that I would have bought it for fear of insulting those making fresh salsa at the other end of the store).

In the end, I quickly bought a bag of tortilla chips and a pint of pico de galle and zipped back across the street where I belonged.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Four Years

I stood in my old apartment one last time last week as I returned the keys.

The carpet was worn and torn. The walls marked by nails, scrapes and a few cobwebs up high in the loft space. The late evening sun poured in through the windows. Four years earlier it smelled of fresh paint and new carpet and the view of the Santa Monica mountains seemed breathtaking. As I stood in the renewed emptiness of that worn space I marveled at how quickly it had all gone.

Four years was a long time but passed like a thought. I felt that I should be doing something other than standing there in the silence.

Of course, in the end it was just a few walls and windows. It was the place I slept, watched TV and movies, played my computer games and occasionally entertained guests. I'll keep doing the same as I have done within so many other sets of walls and windows. On the flip side I've only lived in one other set of rooms for longer. Were I also leaving behind my job and my friends perhaps it would have meant more but as the door closed behind me it was relief I felt. Moving had been, as always before, a grueling ordeal. No wonder I had waited four years.