Thursday, August 26, 2021
West Oakland, CA
About one month ago, I wrote a list of to-do’s for my House Project (https://victorwyee.com/personal/journal-20210729/).
But since then, I’ve lived in my house for only a week. In fact, despite coming home a week early from my vantrip, tonight is only my 15th night in this house (since I almost immediately went backpacking right after returning home).
From the previous list, things I’ve gotten done:
- Got home Internet.
- Found my missing garage door openers. This meant I didn’t need to replace them, yay! Also programmed the garage door for remote access and logging.
- Got and filled spray bottles with 1:10 Dr. Bronner’s for all-surface cleaning. Also got a Swiffer mop. I’ll be replacing Swiffer pads with my reusable/washable bamboo paper towels, when the starter ones are completely used.
- Initialized the dishwasher. Got tablets. Haven’t actually used the dishwasher yet though (handwashing has been sufficient so far).
- Programmed my front door with access codes.
My first “big” appliance will arrive tomorrow. I finally bought a Whirlpool WRF555SDFZ. Previously I thought I’d get the WRF535SWHZ, per Wirecutter’s recommendation and tons of good reviews. But it turns out that having an external water and ice dispenser is important to me (which the 555 variant has, and the 535 doesn’t).
I also debated whether I needed 25 cubic feet of fridge space. During my research, I preferred the look of counter-depth fridges (which sit flush with the counter instead of sticking several inches out, but have some 25% less space). In the end, I decided that (1) having extra fridge space would be nice if I rent out a room, and (2) more fridge space will encourage me to eat more fresh food.
Color was also an issue, interestingly. I would’ve preferred a black-colored fridge (instead of a stainless steel color). But I found that at every store, black cost at least $200 more. It’s not that much compared to the overall cost, but it’s still $200 + tax. In the end, I found that every store that included home delivery and installation sold this fridge at least $300 more than Costco. It’s $1800 at Costco, $2100 at Best Buy, $2100 at Home Depot, and $2300 at Lowes! Because Costco doesn’t carry this fridge in black, this meant that if I realllllly wanted black, I’d pay at least $500, or over 25%, more for the color — more than I care to pay for a e s t h e t i c. 🤷
My next big appliances are the washing and drying machines.
In that last post, I wrote that I’d gotten a portable washing machine for up to 9 pounds of clothes. Since then, I’ve also gotten a foldable drying rack. The great thing about them is that they work, and I’m liable to bring them on my next vantrip. The not-so-great thing about them is that using it requires much more supervision than a “normal,” full-sized appliance. For example, when I first got it, I managed to overheat the motor after trying to wash some 3-4 batches of clothes in a row. It obviously also requires manual filling and draining of water for washing and rinsing, and the spin dryer only works well with at most 2-3 pieces of clothing inside.
It’s also not as nice-looking or high-capacity as the one I got my mom last year. I strongly preferred to get the same model, but maybe because it works so well (or at least reviewed very well) and maybe because of supply chain issues, it’s much, much more expensive now (and not worth it to me).
All that said, it works well, and I’ll be using it for at least the next month. I’ve decided on my washer/dryer combo (which will be a stacked electric LG WM4200HWA and DLEX4200W), which I’ll also get from Costco (because, again, other big-box retailers are selling them at weirdly higher cost, and without professional installation). But the combo will only be available next month, when I’m away for a couple weddings, with no option to reschedule online for a later time when I’m back. My thought now is to wait for the delivery/installation window to move to when I’m back in Oakland… but now that I write this, it’d make more sense for me to just call to reschedule.
Apart from all that, I also have a SunPower technician visiting tomorrow. For some reason, though I’ve gotten Permission to Operate from PG&E, my solar system isn’t working; it doesn’t communicate data to SunPower and therefore doesn’t communicate to PG&E or me. Instead of a green light on the monitoring device, it only shows purple. Don’t know what that’s about, but I’m eager to reduce my power bill (which interestingly enough matches with my power usage in my old apartment, though my house is much bigger).
All the remaining to-do items from last time that I haven’t mentioned this time still exist. These include
- Registering all the damn warranties.
- Setting up all my “smart” devices.
- All those freakin’ maintenance tasks.
These may have to wait, though, because I still have one more “appliance” to order and install: “window treatments.”
I didn’t know it until recently, but the whole category of furniture encompassing curtains, shades, blinds, shutters, etc. are called “window treatments”, and right now all my windows are “untreated.”
I’ll leave elaborating about this for another time, but researching what I want and where to buy treatments has been both fascinating and frustrating. At this point, I think I want 2-inch composite or faux wood blinds, in some kind of off-white, cream color for all recessed windows in my house, a shade for the balcony door window, and possibly blackout curtains (in addition to blinds) for the 3rd-floor bedrooms.
In terms of vendors, it doesn’t seem like Costco (which subcontracts out to local Graber and Bali vendors) is a clear winner yet. In fact, the market seems fairly competitive, contentious even.
I originally thought I might want to install solar panels on the blinds themselves — but there’s only one real proven vendor for that, and they’re hella expensive.
Anyway, I’ve been measuring window dimensions in my spare time today. Not exactly the most fun, but eh, another adulting experience, I suppose.