Saturday, July 28, 2012

A.J. Who?

Eleven days now since we left home, and we have little knowledge of what's been going on in Forest Glen.  We do know that our recessed lights have gone in, although only because after having worn Abby down and convincing her that we should get LED lighting, I emailed Mark and Rory to tell them... and they replied that they had just installed the regular stuff.  Oh well.  (FYI, it wasn't really me who wore Abby down; it was the fact that we have LED lighting in our hotel room here in London, and she was finally convinced that all LED lighting doesn't make you look dead.)  We know that they're working on "electrical and mechanical" at the house, but that's really it.  Hoping we'll get some pics or something from Mark and Rory to update us soon.

However, while no news is flowing from Maryland, there has been progress in Mayfair.  (That's where we're staying.)  We have ordered our kitchen appliances!  Okay, so that doesn't sound so monumental, but really it is.  We had been planning our kitchen cabinetry, as you know, and were told that Home Depot is pretty insistent (understandably) that appliances be purchased prior to finalizing cabinetry decisions.  That kinda caught us dumbfounded, so we fumbled around looking for appliances in our last days in the States, each of us in different states, and me without a car.  Nothing, and really, just confusion added to the pile.  Then we got here, and you'd think the last thing you'd want to do on a work-vacation to London when your kids are still across the Pond is look for appliances, right?  Well... we do walk an awful lot during the days (when I'm not working), and sometimes all we want to do is grab some food at the grocery store, and eat it on our bed while watching TV.  So why not channel that desire to have your feet up into online shopping?

That's just what we did, and we actually were finding that most of the best deals were at Sears, of all places. Home Depot had 10% off all appliances over $400, and so did Lowe's, but Sears had all sorts of stuff, and when we saw a sale pop up that was 20% off all Kenmore appliances, plus an additional 15% off if you open a Sears charge account, we were hooked.  We picked out a bunch of stuff-- although not everything -- and tried to buy.  But we couldn't.  There was a dishwasher with all the bells and whistles, originally over a thousand bucks but on clearance for more than 50% off, that just wouldn't go through.  So I called Sears, trying to understand what was going on.  Seems as if there may have been one dishwasher like that in all of the country, or something, and it just wasn't shippable.  It was late, so we went to sleep without buying.

Next day, we were wishy washy about what to do, so I said Listen, we've gotta do this, and took the initiative to march us back home to buy appliances.  Sears still had the sale, Home Depot and Lowe's couldn't match it, and searches on Google and Amazon were fruitless.  We had everything we needed, but still couldn't find a built-in microwave, which Abby really really wanted.  I don't want to pay $1000 for a microwave, and we couldn't find anything under $600-- and that was an IKEA microwave that I still think may have had to have been assembled at home.  Okay, Abby, just one more search for a microwave... and then...

Ever hear of AJ Madison?  I know I had at some point, but I am pretty sure I thought it was AJ Wright, which is a store that sells Thomas the Tank Engine toys and scrapbooking crap.  Well, what do you know: AJ Madison has a Frigidare microwave that fits the bill without breaking the bank.  Hmm... what about its other appliances?  Within 15 minutes, we were sold, as were just under $3000 worth of appliances from AJ Wright-- no-- AJ Madison.  And best of all, all of our appliances are the same brand, which is something I had really wanted, but was afraid we weren't going to be able to find (because of the microwave issue).  Now their handles will match, and they won't have differently colored stainless steel.  Plus, while I'm perfectly fine with having a Whirlpool fridge and a GE stove at our current house, I think that's because of our galley kitchen, where you never really see more than two appliances at a time.  The kitchen in the bungalow is much more traditional, so matchy-matchy is much more important.  So, here's what we got:

The Fridge:  Our requirements: At least 20 cubic feet of space, stainless steel front, automatic ice-maker, top freezer (because I don't like to stoop over and search for my ice cream), energy star, and right-side hinge.  The winner: "Frigidaire Professional Series 20.6 cu. ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator with 4 Half-Width SpillSafe Shelves, 2 Humidity Controlled Crispers, Quiet Design and Energy Star Rated: Right Hinge."
The Microwave: Our requirements: Built-in to save counter space and allow for a hood over the range, not compact but not enormous, stainless steel front, decent wattage, no hidden controls (so we don't have to open the thing if we want to add time).  The winner: "Frigidaire Professional Series 2.0 cu. ft. Built-In Microwave Oven with 1200 Cooking Watts, 3 Auto Cook Options, Sensor Cook, 7 User Preference Options and One-Touch Options."
The Range: Our requirements: Electric with a ceramic cooktop (we're not foodies, so please no hate mail from the gas crowd!), self-cleaning, stainless steel.  Abby really wanted one with flat controls, but that wasn't worth the extra cost to her.  The winner: Frigidaire 30" Freestanding Electric Range with 4 Radiant Elements, 5.4 cu. ft. Quick Bake Convection Oven, Self-Clean, Auto Oven Shutoff and Storage Drawer in Stainless Steel"
The Range Hood: Our requirements: Okay, let's say "Abby's requirements," because I didn't really care if we had one or not; I'd rather have had an over-the-range microwave, which is cheaper than the microwave we got and takes the place of a range hood.  But alas, my wife is the decorator and assures me the kitchen will look much better with a hood, so there you go.  Abby's requirements: stainless steel, 30" wide to match the range, no supermod glass stuff.  The winner: "Frigidaire 30" Wall Mount Chimney Range Hood with 400 CFM Internal Blower, 3-Speed Centrifugal Fan, Halogen Lighting and Convertible to Recirculating"  Plus, we bought the convertible part so we can filter the air back into the kitchen, rather than installing an exhaust vent through the roof.
The Dishwasher: Our requirements: White.  Wha?  Yeah, Abby wants white because it is down with the white base cabinets and she wants a nice, straight white line down there.  Other requirements: quiet (or relatively quiet) with a stainless steel tub, lots of room inside, and controls on top so you can't see buttons when the door's closed.  The winner: "Frigidaire Gallery Series Fully Integrated Dishwasher with 5 Wash Cycles, 5 Wash Levels, 14 Place Settings, SilentDesign Sound Package, Effortless Dry System and DishSense Technology: White"
So there you have it-- our kitchen suite.  We've forwarded the info to John, our cabinet designer at Home Depot, and hopefully we'll be able to finalize our cabinets over the next couple days.  But for now, when we're giving our feet a rest at night, at least we can watch the Olympics instead of poring over home-improvement websites.

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