Sunday, December 22, 2013

Almost done

All the presents that needed mailing have gone out, including the one with dry ice.  That's a whole 'nother saga but I don't want the recipient to know about it yet.  One present yet to finish knitting (we are not discussing wrapping).  Had some tea and energy and just boogied along until I got to end of the instructions last night to find it said, "Using a flat seam, join sole and back seams." arghhhhhh

I hate seams.  I am no good at seams.  They look lousy when I do them.  As a result I design without them or use live stitch kitchener grafting instead.   However this is a pattern I chose for Fondle This 2014 so I wanted to test it out and what better way than to use some of Jim's chunky handspun and make a nice present.  The pattern is Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura.

What's eerie is that Debbie, at Knit Knite, was working on a pair.  There must be hundreds of slipper patterns on Ravelry, yet we both chose the same one. Great minds.  vbg    I was so pleased to see how hers were turning out.  That spurred me on to finishing, wrapping and mailing the big knitted present so I actually could.

I wrote an email to my Knit Knite group bemoaning the fact that Ruth was no longer with us to do my seams up for me.  Becki suggested lots of chocolate but I don't think there is enoough.  Woe is me.  Ruth made extra money finishing knitted garments for folks and always  did any seams I needed doing. I was verily spoiled.  Now that she has passed I guess I either have to learn how or completely avoid them.  My preference is avoidance.

So while I was in the avoidance mode I decided that I would start the next slipper with a provisional cast on so I could kitchener it together at the end [and here I was just going to follow along and not do any changing.  Sheesh. I must be constitutionally not able to do that.] Kitchenering seems way easier.  Those ideas led me to thinking about picking up the cast-on stitches and kitchenering it anyway instead of flat seaming.  So I got out some US 4's (slippers are done on US9's) and picked up edge stitches, lots of edge stitches.
And this morning, with a fresh mind, I slowly worked the picked up stitches off the two small needles, realizing as I went along that a provisional would have been way faster and easier but that this cobbled method was infinitely better than my seaming.
One done, one to go folks!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Saga Part III

We got a call on Monday from a driver for New England Motor Freight (NEMF) telling us that they put our replacement stove on his truck but that particular truck did not have a lift gate.  Manually downloading a 375 pound item was not feasible.  While he was on the phone I checked about whether or not he had received instructions to deliver the stove down to our basement level.  Nope.  Just curbside delivery and he would be back probably the next morning to drop the stove.

So my next move was to call Colina at Home Depot Resolution and tell her that NEMF had not gotten the delivery memo.  I also checked with NEMF dispatch in Binghamton and she said she had to get those instructions from the manufacturer.  Just in case, the next morning we had our wonderful roofing guys out anyway to remove the beautiful but nonfunctional #^$#^%^$ so called pellet stove. Alas no call came so we called dispatch around 11.  Sherry said the driver was having snow problems and would be here about 1:30.
1:30 came and went and we knew our guys were busy later in the afternoon so resigned ourselves to spending big bucks on propane for another day.  About 3pm the driver called saying he could not get up our hill.  He had tried 3 times to no avail and would try again on Friday.  arghhhhhhh  Friday it's supposed to rain.  Our road will be an icy bobsled run.   So I called Jim to let him know and Jim called dispatch and the driver.  Seems they sent him out in a 53 foot semi that has problems with steep hills but only upwards.  Jim told him how to go around through Spencer and then Langford Creek Road to the top of Tupper and down.
About 4 he arrived in his huge semi, but again by himself.  Jim helped him lug the stove onto a dolly and down our driveway to park overnight behind my car.
Alas, another day on propane.  This is getting mighty expensive.  I called Colina to let her know the guy refused to bring the stove down and that we had hired a couple of guys for the next day to do that for us.  She said she had given delivery instructions but for whatever reason they were not forwarded.  She immediately said she would give us a very nice credit on my Home Depot card to offset this latest expense.  All told we have received quite a bit in Home Depot credit.  So even though this has been a major pain and Jim has spent an enormous amount of his time trying to fix the old stove instead of doing shop work we are coming out OK.

Morning Report:  The new pellet stove worked all night with no problems.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Amazing, after all these years

I've always avoided sleeves on sweaters.  Well not always, as I do make sweaters, but the sleeves are the worst part for me.  I don't care if the sweater is top down, or bottom up or steeked, the sleeves are the fiddliest parts and are about a third of the knitting too.  This may be why I tend toward short sleeved cardis and sweaters, especially with a top down one as once you move the sleeve stitches to waste yarn there is very little left to do on them.

I really dislike sewing them onto an armhole opening so usually do them in the round once the body of the sweater is completed.  This necessitates lifting the entire sweater and twisting it all around about every 20 stitches so that it doesn't become tangled and hard to knit. Think about it, *knit 20 stitches, lift the entire sweater, do not get it on the table, twist it all while hanging onto the sleeve end and not getting the yarn tangled, then put it down again, avoiding the coffee/tea cup*, knit 20 stitches....and repeat ad infinitum between the asterisks.  I find myself avoiding this part big time,  which really messes with Holiday Knitting deadlines.

So there I was grousing at the fact that I soon had to do this with sleeve #2 when I finally decreased the first sleeve to the cuff area and switched to 2 circs.  I think in the past I may have used dpns as the revelation seemed new to me, not something I forgot.  So I am busy ribbing and noticed that all I need do is turn the sleeve first one way, then the other when I pick up the second set of circs.  Delightfully I needn't lift the entire sweater. I did that several times until it finally dawned on me that I could do the entire sleeve on 2 circs and avoid all that sweater lifting and twisting.

This old dog just learned a new trick!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Two Sagas, Part II

Part II is the ROOF - first installment

Saturday night we heard a loud crashing on the roof.  Looked outside but didn't see anything unusual so decided it was ice letting loose and crashing down to the next roof level as we have several levels of rooves.  In the morning this is what I found when I opened my closet door.

aiyyyyyyyyyyyy and this is what the roof looks like.

We called State Farm and within 2 hours a guy from Service Master was here.  Meanwhile Joanne helped me to empty most of the closet in preparation. Once he was here we decided that a tarp would not last the winter as metal rooves are notoriously difficult to nail things to so he took down all the shelves and insulation and put up heavy plastic to funnel the melted snow into what he called a bucket.

Alas, I am realizing just how much 'stuff' one can pile into a closet as it is now all over the bedroom.

On Wednesday the adjuster came and spent quite a bit of time looking over the damage, although because of the ice and snow he did not go up to the roof.  We all agreed that a patch of some kind was needed ASAP or more damage would occur when it rained or in a snowstorm.  BTW he also gave us a very nice check even after our $1000 deductible was taken out.  Jim called some guys and they are due today.
Well the guys got here and said that this was the third roof this week they were working on.  Alas it is so cold nothing is sticking so our idea of using Black Jack and a patch would not work.  Jim is buying the metal panel this weekend and the guys will be back Monday to actually replace the panel.  Of course we are having a snow storm this weekend so the 'bucket' may get rather filled but there is light at the end of this tunnel too.
This picture is sideways for some reason but shows the part of the tree still standing and the snow coming down.  Don't know how I did the animation and the snow is sideways too.  :^)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Two Sagas. Part I

I haven't written in months.  Life just got in the way I guess.
I'm not going to try to fill in the gaps, just get going.

Saga I the Pellet Stove
Last year our 8 year old pellet stove started smoking and bit the dust.  We decided that it worked really well for 6 years and to get a new one remembering that they don't last forever.  We researched and chose a US Stove that seemed to have more modern features like an internal ash pan and a circuit board that controlled the feed and air.  We bought it in July on purpose.  We wanted to be ahead of the game.  Get the stove installed before the fall rains and winter snows.  Get pellets into the basement in the same time frame.  We did all that and felt good.

Then fall came and the heating season started in October.  Nothing serious, just night time heating. We'd put in one 40# bag of pellets and let the stove work through them on low.  It heated the house very well and we felt good.

Then November came and with it more cold.  The first time we called customer service was 11/5 as the motor stopped working. Jim was very good about trying to fix it but it took a lot of his time and was frustrating.  By that afternoon the stove company decided they would send us a new auger motor.  They refused to ship it expedited unless we paid $89.  Instead we paid for 6 days of propane usage.
Then Jim had a lot of problems installing the motor as it is located someplace a monkey might be able to reach.  Plus the pin kept shearing.  By now it was 11/12 and I was over this but Jim continued to talk with many Customer Service reps.  I wanted them to replace the whole stove but Jim is more laid back than I.  I did not feel good.

Well he called 6 times on 11/13 and they decided it was the micro switch and needed resetting.
That worked until 11/25 when the auger stopped feeding.  But that was a holiday so we had another 4 days of propane usage. He made 2 more calls on 12/2, the one on 12/3, then another on 12/4.  The thing worked sort of until 12/9. On 12/10 Jim said he had finally had it.  I blew up.  How long did he wait  before doing anything serious?  Why hadn't he yet spoken to a manager?  Why did he wait over a  month yet had not yet even asked for a replacement stove?

Meanwhile I had written a review on the Home Depot web site but just then got a rejection email saying that review should not discuss customer service.  That Home Depot should be contacted if there was a problem like that.  OK I thought, let's put it in their hands.

I called Customer Service and was really listed to.  Joyce asked me if I would agree to be on hold for 5 minutes while she contacted Customer Resolution.  She came back telling me they had picked out another stove for us and if we agreed with their choice to call Colina and let her know..  They would replace the US Stove with this one and deliver it to us.  We looked over the choices and agreed.  When I next spoke to Colina we talked about the problems we had and the fact that we used a whole lot of propane as well.  She not only sent the stove to be delivered right to where it will be installed, but also gave us a $450 credit on our Home Depot card plus an eGift card for $75 for more pellets. We both felt good.

We've concluded that since no one at Home Depot wanted proof of our problems that this was not the first time they had heard complaints about this stove.   Sure enough, the reviews from this fall are horrible and if we had waited we would never have purchased anything from US Stove.
We need to live with the existing malfunctioning one for another week and then the new one should be here.  Oh yes, and once it is here and installed we call Home Depot again and they will have someone come take out the old one and junk it.
 Soon the house will be toasty instead of 62 degrees and we will feel very good and warm.