Monday, September 7, 2009

The Economy Has Recovered!

Based on the lines at every store this weekend, and the amount of money we spent on the house, I think we can officially declare that the recession in the U.S. ended as of September 7, 2009.

If only that were true....

Over the past few months, we had shopped around for a while at various retailers for appliances. Andreas's boss, Tim, suggested we look at Lowes, since he found them to have the best prices overall. We had a good sense of what the appliances for our house would cost, and then, as it turned out, Lowes had a 20% off all Energy Star appliances sale this past weekend. Ka-ching! It was great. Each appliance we could buy with an Energy Star rating has now been purchased: Washing machine; dishwasher; refrigerator. The dryer and the slide-in range are not available as Energy Star approved. Except in Winter months, we likely won't use the dryer that often anyway, as a clothes line in the backyard will dry the clothes and add a fresh smell that will remind me of home when I was growing up. The range was our splurge - an Electrolux with great features. Our refrigerator/freezer (with the freezer drawer on the bottom) is Samsung. The washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher all are Bosch.

Now it's time to brag and talk bucks. Or savings of bucks, to be more precise. Andreas and I picked out an efficient Bosch washing machine and dryer. We were excited about the quality, but not thrilled with the price. The washing machine alone cost $1,098. That's more than I had ever spent before on an appliance in my entire life. But it was really quality, and really efficient. While we were waiting our turn for assistance, we wandered the showroom floor and came across three floor model Bosch washers - the exact same model as we picked out - marked down several times. All had a few scratches on them, but they still were brand-new, and everything seemed in order. We wondered why these floor models were so cheap. When a sales rep (Zony was his name) was available, we asked him why it was marked down so much. He said people usually don't want to buy them when they learn that they have to buy an $1,100 dryer to go with it. But since we already planned to buy that dryer, this was quite a deal for us. Zony helped us with all of our other appliance questions and the order, then it came time to buy the floor model Bosch washer. He needed an override for the discounted price, so he asked his manager to enter that. While asking his manager for the code, Zony asked him to give us an even greater discount on the washing machine, to which he agreed. Are you sitting down? The $1098 washing machine cost $200. We bought an extended warranty....just in case.

While our appliance brands don't all match, we're excited about the quality we got - best in class (well, best within our budget) for each appliance type. The only appliance left to buy is the range hood, which we'll order tomorrow. We've already picked it out.

While we were on a shopping roll this weekend, we decided to go to IKEA to get our kitchen cabinets. We will have only base cabinets, not upper cabinets. The cabinets we selected are very warm, yet contemporary in style. Fortunately, IKEA had everything in stock, so we took our new cabinets with us. They're ready for assembly! People who like to dismiss the thought of IKEA cabinets either are a bit uppity about name brands, or they don't know the significant increase in IKEA kitchen cabinet product quality over the past several years. My father and I made the cabinets in the kitchen in my condo, and they're beautiful. The IKEA cabinets look almost as good, but for a lot less money.

On a completely separate note, I saw yesterday the work of the siding crew and I am glad that Aaron fired them. Again, and again, and again, I emphasized to Aaron how important it was that his siding crew nailed every board of cedar in a straight, vertical line. I even sent photographs to of other buildings to show exactly what I meant. However, his crew's nailing, which does not show up on the photo we posted the other day, looks horrific! It's like they were on drugs and zig-zagged everywhere with the nail gun. I think all of the siding needs to come off and Aaron will have to replace any boards that are damaged. He had clear instructions, and in writing, so it's his responsibility to make it right.