December 30th, 2014


That New Car Smell

Christmas Eve our dishwasher started making some alarming noises -- gears not meshing right or tearing themselves apart in the transmission? Who knows? But the RCA dishwasher was new in the summer of 1993, so after twenty-plus years of service, there was no incentive to put a dime into its maintenance.

Besides, it was terribly noisy.

It came with the house when we bought it -- who buys an RCA dishwasher? -- and I figured we'd probably replace it in ten years or so with a nicer unit. But other than being REALLY LOUD, it worked fine.

Funny thing, we never bought a dishwasher before. Oh the new duplex we rented when we came down in 1991 had a nice brand new Panasonic dishwasher. And the newly built house had the new RCA, so technically we bought it, but didn't shop for it. But we have a lovely appliance store in Grand Haven -- Bekins -- who've done repairs and sales on our washer and drier.

Christmas in Chicago, Christmas Dinner II on Friday. It was Saturday at noon when we drove out to Grand Haven. We were the only customers. There were at least a dozen models to choose from. We went over our rough estimate for cost, based on Lowes prices and models, but got the machine we wanted. And it was in stock. And, after saying they couldn't deliver until Tuesday or Wednesday, when they found out it was Allendale, they had a crew that could come Monday morning -- 9:30 or so.

They came at 9:05, which was a good thing, because it was noon before they left. You'd think kitchens would be standard, but Oh No...

The 1993 RCA still did two more loads for us on Saturday and Sunday. So it didn't die on us. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Two decades of well water stained it a bit, but it did a good job and the racks weren't stupidly laid out. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Unfortunately, when we bought the house, we had the basement finished. But they'd run the piping under the floor and now above the ceiling, and it seemed they clamped the two lines together. So you couldn't pull it out. They had to cut a hole in the floor just to disconnect the old dishwasher. But it's under the counter so who cares. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The water line was copper, so they used that. Put in a new drain line and we had them snake it through the utility cupboard on the other side of the island. The old drain line was capped at both ends and left in place. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And here's our shiny new KitchenAid dishwasher. Note 1: There must be steel behind the stainless, because our magnet that says Clean/Dirty still works. Note 2: After fighting with the recessed grip on the RCA for 20+ years, I wanted a handle -- the KitchenAid was available without or with a really nice curved handle. Note 3: Um, the drawers to the right? And that handle? Mrs. Dr. Phil swapped the two top drawers -- the Baggies/Ziplock drawer doesn't need to be pulled out far to work. Note 4: The rose came from Bekins. Aw-www. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Stainless steel interior. Energy saving -- also means longer cycles and probably won't last twenty years. The controls are along the top edge of the door. Lots of adjustments on the two main drawers -- plus a third silverware drawer on top. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And yes, that interior really did have that new car smell.

And it is SO quiet, you can hear the blower fan on the Rinnai inline water heater running in the basement.

Why did we wait twenty years to replace the old one? (grin)

Dr. Phil
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Crossposted on LiveJournal

The Adrian College Guarantee

Now this is interesting.

Adrian College in Michigan is guaranteeing their education, if you don't make at least $37,000/year after graduation. Huh. I occasionally have heard of things like that. One college allowed you to take additional courses for free to make yourself more marketable or to reinvent yourself.

In this case, Adrian bought an insurance policy.
College President Jeffrey Docking said in an interview that the college took out an insurance plan on all of the school’s incoming Freshmen that will pay all or part of the student loans for any who make less than the $37K benchmark after graduation.

The plan requires that students work at least 30 hours per week after they leave school. Graduates earning less than $20K per year will have all of their loans paid while those making between $20-$37K will have their loans paid on a sliding scale...

At a cost of $550,000, the school needed to bring in thirty new students for the program to work. Docking said they’ve brought in fifty new students, a fantastic return on the investment.
Of course the article doesn't mention the most salient point -- what does it cost to go to Adrian College. For that, I Googled "tuition at Adrian college" and the first hit was on the college's financial aid page:
Undergraduate 2014-15 Total Costs

Full-time Tuition (12-17 credits)   $31,870
Technology Fee                         $400
Activity Fee                           $200
Double Room                          $4,680
14-meal Plan                         $5,060
Facilities Fee                         $190
Total Charges for Tuition, Fees, 
Room, and Board                     $42,400
Over four years that's $169,600, though I don't know how many get loans for the full ride. And excluding interest, over say twenty years, that works out to repaying $8480/year. That's 23% of a $37,000/year income -- so it's not quite the panacea at first blush, but it's a start.

We need to have a real dialogue about college costs. Just getting rid of Pell grants and sending people to much higher interest rate private bank loans than Mrs. Dr. Phil and I had 30-35 years ago, isn't the answer. And state schools are much more expensive than they used to be.

Should everyone go to college? No. But we have also decimated job training, trade schools and apprenticeships, so the path to becoming a productive taxpaying and consumer buying member of society, supposedly what the same people cutting support want, is equally difficult.

When we start considering our youth in the country as a valuable resource, like copper, packages of widgets or AA Wall Street bonds, then maybe we'll do a better job of investing in this resource for the future.

Until then, at least Adrian College is making a start.

Dr. Phil