Molt Be Blog

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Washer Saga Comes to a Close

If you remember the whole washer saga from this post you can skip the little summary of the situation here:

The only other thing happening around here besides work is some standard condo association turmoil. I'll see if I can summarize it all in ninety-nine words or less:
On October 17th 2006, washer of current stackable starts making horrible noise. Repair man says that bearing are shot, $700 to fix. Condo has meeting and, after much communication on the message board and answering of questions about fitting new stackable, connecting, cost, delivery, removal, etc. fifth unit finally votes and puts us above 66% for the 6 units in the building on November 23rd. One unit, #5, votes to repair instead of replace. Unfortunately, the last unit caveats her vote with the fact that she only wants to replace the washer when it is "really" broken. This seems to make sense and the vote passes.
Fast forward to March 12th when another unit finally complains that the noise has gotten too loud. Three other units (including me) agree that the washer is finally "broken" and I start to move towards replacing. Sudden emails regarding questions about the same matters "will it fit?", "who will install it?", "what if it doesn't fit?" start flooding in from the remaining two units that were hesitant. The unit that originally voted to repair and raised such a stink starts insisting that any replacement stackable washer "must separate into two pieces, otherwise it won't fit through the doorway." I measure doorways, call to confirm that we can return it the same day if it doesn't fit, etc. It doesn't help. The last unit still keeps insisting that if it can't separate into two pieces, it won't fit. I call. It can't separate. We have the 66% to go ahead and get it anyway and we already voted on the model... so I think I'm just going to order this week. This will cause a HUGE problem with the asshole unit.

We went ahead and ordered the new washer and had it delivered on Saturday, but before I tell you how it went, I thought I'd let you read some of the emails (names changed to protect the innocent/non-innocent) that were going around before its delivery.
It all started when Unit 4 sent this email saying that the old machine had become too loud and that it needed to be replaced.

Date: March 10, 2007
From: [Unit 4]
To: [Condo Assoc]
Subject: Screeech!!!

Dear neighbors,

I request the washer be replaced. The high-pitched screeching noise
as the washer runs, has been entering my apartment for months and
getting louder, longer, and higher-pitched with time. We have the
capital to correct this condo problem, so I am not seeing other
barriers as to why we cannot replace the washer at this time. Please,
please, I urge that we just do it.

[Unit 4]

Despite multiple attempts and written walk-throughs that I've sent her, Unit 6 doesn't have the technical/mental prowess to sign up for the Yahoo! group that we use as our list serv. Thus, we have to remember to CC her on any message to the condo association because otherwise she can't see it. As you can see above, Unit 4 forgot to CC her. Units 2, 3 and my unit (1) agreed with unit 4 that it was replacement time in reply to the original email, thus leaving unit 6 off of the chain. Then I got this:

Date: March 12, 2007
From: [Unit 6]
To: [Greg]
Subject: Not Funny At All

Hi Guys,

I am highly surprised because I have never gotten any of these emails about coordinating for the new washer and already there is a plan to replace the old one. ( everyone knows that for some crazy reason I can not get any condo emails and I need to be cced at my personal email.)

First at all I do not appreciate the fact that no one REMEMBER or worse did not have the courtesy of being political correct ( style in this city..I am so surprised) to ask me about MY CONDITIONAL VOTE in regards of the washer.

We all acknowledge in our Condo meeting past January 2007 that my vote was contingent if the washer breaks. The washer is NOT broken just have a hideous noise.

If you guys want a NEW WASHER because it is hideous looking , smells , makes noise, does not wash properly you just have to ask- that simple.

I have some questions :

1.- Is it costing the same?

2.-It is the washer going to fit trough our main door/back door?

3.- Are the pipes from the new washer the right measure for the water heater pipe? if it doesn't fit then and the old one is already hauled then we won't have a washer to use!! and then we need a plumber to fix it! and NO WASHER..

I might come across as obnoxious rising these questions but I want to remind you that we live in a weird building with weird measures for doors, closets, corners, stairs, fixtures and room temperatures... and I do not even know how the builder put the washer and dryer in the laundry room in first place. We must be careful.

Thanks for your attention.

[Unit 6].

All of the questions that Unit 6 asked in this email were addressed back when we were choosing the right model for the room. Measurements were taken, arguments made, etc. Being the patient soul that I am, the next time I ran into her on the street, I apologized for her not having been CCed and repeated what she should have already known if she'd bothered showing up, reading meeting minutes or reading any of the 100 messages that are posted to the message board on this topic. The day after I explained things to Unit 6 in person, she wrote me to say that unit #5 also wanted to hear what the answers were to her questions. So I wrote this email:

Date: March 15th, 2007 6:49pm
From: Greg
To: [Condo Assoc]
Subject: Re: Message from [Unit 6]


I talked these concerns over with [unit 6], but she said that unit 5 also
wanted the answers to the questions so that we're all on the same

As far as the cost of the washer, it should still be the same price as
the model that we voted on a few months ago. I checked the website
last week and it was the same.

As far as being able to fit the washer into the room, it's the same
size as the old one within a quarter of an inch, so it should fit.
Obviously I can't promise anything, but trust me when I say that we'll
return the friggin thing if it doesn't fit in the basement. Given that
Sears is delivering and installing, we can just have them take it back

As far as connecting the pipes, Sears will do that as well (it's
really just two hoses and a plug, which I'll be disconnecting before
delivery and are easily reconnectable if the thing doesn't fit).

I haven't ordered the new one yet as I was waiting to see if there
were any objections to [unit 4]'s request. Given the level of noise
being created by this thing, I'd really like to get a new one ordered
this week.


It only took resident A of unit 5 an hour and and twenty minutes to respond to my answers:

Date: March 15th, 2007 8:07pm
From: [Unit 5 - resident A]
To: [Condo Assoc]
Subject: Re: Message from [Unit 6]

[Unit 6] raises some very valid concerns.

1. The big question is can the new washer be installed in two separate pieces (like the current one), or only in one piece ? The new washer is a half inch higher and about 3 inches deeper, and it won't fit through the door unless it can be separated in two pieces.

2. Does the 75 and a half inch height measurement of the proposed new washer/dryer include the little rubber feet it stands on?
If yes, the top of the unit will just barely brush up against...(.or if we are lucky just barely fit under)..... the copper pipe running to the water heater. But if the height measurement does not include the little feet it stands on, then installation will be obstructed by that pipe. The water heater pipe would have to be moved by a plumber using a saw torch and joint. This is not the job of the washer installation guy, and would be an extra expense and delay to us. The current washer is one half inch shorter and the copper pipe only clears it by one half an inch. We need to account for the uneveness of the floor, the feet the proposed new washer stands on, and its extra half inch in height.

These two questions need to be answered before proceeding with a new purchase and installation..

As you recall, #5 and 6 supported repairing the existing washer last fall while it was still under warranty. This would have cost half as much, there would be no noise now, and we wouldn't be facing these installation problems.

Thank you, and I hope the answers are favorable.

[Unit 5 - resident A]

So Unit #5 is already saying "I told you so" before there ever really is an "installation problem". Ridiculous. I read this email as a stalling tactic or just bitterness on their part at having not won the initial vote. My argument was that we'd already voted on the exact model of washer after a long discussion about sizes. In fact, unit #5 and I went to the basement and measured the current washer/dryertogether to make sure a 75 1/2" unit would fit in the space!

Lucky for me, before I could reply to this riduculousness, Unit #6 wrote to agree that it was time to replace and we had 5 of 6 units in agreement. I forwarded her email along to the group on March 16th, but unit #5 still wasn't satisfied:

Date: March 16, 2007
From: [Unit 5 - resident A]
To: [Condo Assoc]
Subject: Re: a message from [unit 6]

I have not yet seen the answers to my questions about whether the washer and dryer can be separated for installation and how the height of the new washer will affect the copper water heater pipe above . I am confident Greg is checking on it with Sears, so Greg, please let us know when you have the answers. We don't want to run into any of these extra expenses [unit 6] is talking about, and a new washer won't do us any good if it doesn't fit, so let's be sure beforehand.
[Unit 5 - resident A]

I took a couple of days to scream and bitch about how these questions were just being posed because of sour grapes. I firmly believed that, having measured all the spaces and doorways, the washer would fit even if it couldn't be separated into two parts. Answering the question posed by unit #5 regarding separation would give the question itself too much merit, which I refused to do. So I called Sears, but just confirmed with them that if the washer didn't fit through the door, we could return it immediately and have all charges refunded. I also went and disconnected and reconnected the existing washer completely to confirm that it was something I could do again if the new one didn't fit. Then I sent this email:

Date: March 19, 2007 12:41pm
From: Greg
To: [Condo Assoc]
Subject: Re: A message from [unit 6]

Hi everyone,

I called Sears yesterday and confirmed that delivery includes putting the new washer into the laundry room. As we discussed during the washer vote, they will also remove the old unit for ten dollars extra. In addition, I confirmed that, if the washer does not fit into the laundry room, we can "refuse delivery", have them take it back on the truck that day and be credited back the entire amount. While I admit it might seem a waste of time to have something delivered and taken back, I do not believe we can be sure of whether or not a new washer will fit until we try getting it down there (when I suggested they send someone out to take measurements, the guy laughed and asked why I didn't just have them come try and the refuse delivery).

As far as the splitting the washer into two pieces, I did not inquire with Sears once I had learned that we could refuse it if it doesn't fit. Since we've already voted on the machine itself, whether or not it splits into two parts is now moot.

Given the fact that we can return the washer if it does not fit, and given that all but one unit have agreed they are OK to go ahead with replacement, I plan to order the unit this week. I will come back to the board with any problems that pop up (like, if, say, they no longer carry the model we voted on half a year ago).

In other news: I met with [redacted] from [the trash company] this morning and gave him the new key to the back, so that problem should be resolved.

Also, I inquired with [redacted] regarding the back wall and getting a second quote. He responded regarding the necessity of all the items mentioned in the first quote, but failed to address my request for a second quote from a different contractor. I will ping him again this week.

In addition, in the future, please do not assume that I will personally answer any question that is posed about the various issues in front of the board. I devote a significant amount of my time to these issues and to worrying about them, but it should not be assumed that I have all the time in the world to satisfy every request. If you have an urgent question that you feel you could answer yourself, please feel free to do so and then report back to the group.


This time it took unit #5 over five hours to respond, but it was just as infuriating as ever:

Date: March 19, 2007 5:54pm
From: [Unit 5 - resident B]
To: [Condo Assoc]
Subject: Re: A message from Unit 6

Again, Greg, your message did not answer the simple key question posed by [unit 5 - resident A]: is the washer separable from the dryer.
Please read the following attentively:

The proposed washer/dryer's measurements do not fit the parameters of the building. It's a simple fact and I do not need to try to fit the washer or ask a salesman (!) about it. No matter how you tweak it -- it does not work if the washer is unseparable! Before we enbark on another slopily executed project please get these facts straight.

I'm concerned that we may wind up with an uninstalled old washer and no new washer at all. Can you imagine this mess? So it's not really the question of refused delivery, but common sense and practicality.

I feel a lot of resentment in your message, but [unit 5 - resident A] raised very valid points and nothing personal. As President, please keep your mind open to his points as well.

Best regards,

[Unit 5 - resident B]

At this point, I was completely livid and had to write one of those emails that I'll never send and would later delete. Let's just say that it explained in mostly four letter words why I had so much "resentment". I'm 100% positive that Unit 5 had already called Sears and confirmed what I had also found out: that the washer does not split into two separate pieces for delivery. They were just trying to make me say it to the condo board so that they could then say "I told you so" a few more times and try to have a re-vote to get it repaired instead of replaced (like they'd wanted to since the year before). All this stress for a stackable laundry unit? Seriously? I finally came around, thanks in large part to R, and realized that I couldn't let these people get to me any more than they already had. I laughed off the "parameters" email as being the insane ramblings of a disgruntled and sexually frustrated freak and told the treasurer to just go ahead and order the washer. Once we'd found out the delivery date, I waited a few days to let unit 5 squirm (bad karma for me) and then sent around this email:

Date: April 2, 2007
To: [Condo Assoc]
Subject: New Washer

Sorry for not updating everyone earlier. Yes the washer/dryer has been ordered. It's scheduled to be delivered on Saturday, April 14th. I plan on being home to disconnect our unit, determine if the delivered unit will fit and reconnect the old one if need be. Sears "requires" that the old one be disconnected by us for removal, but I'll wait until the delivery guy gets there to see if he'll let us wait to disconnect until we know that the new one fits in the room. If it doesn't, we'll get to have lots more fun discussions on what to do next!

On the morning of Saturday, April 14th, the Sears delivery guys pulled up in front of the house and loaded the unit off the back of the truck. I asked the delivery guy if he could take a look at the laundry room situation and tell me if he thought it would fit.
As soon as we got down to the laundry room, his eyes widened a little, but not a lot. Then he said, "Oh, your old one is gas."
"Yeah, I know," I said. "Isn't the one we ordered gas as well?"
"Well, yes. But we're not allowed to install gas."
"Because of regulations, you have to have a plumber install the gas line. Didn't they tell you that?"
"Well, no." I said, "but isn't that the kind of thing I can really do myself with two wrenches? Could you walk me through it?"
He agreed to walk me through, then busted out a tape measure and started measuring all the angles. My plan was to have them try to get the new unit in the room first and, if it didn't fit, just hook the old one back up. I thought I explained this pretty well, but the delivery guy and his partner started removing the old unit anyway, explaining that they would have too much trouble trying to get it out with another washer in the room. I figured this would still work as long as they could just bring the old one back in if the new one didn't fit. This would all have been fine and good, until partner guy decided that instead of unplugging the old washer from the wall, he would just cut the cord. I saw this and gasped.
"I thought you said the washer was broken?" the delivery guy said.
"Well, it still kind of worked. I guess the new one reallyspan> has to fit now."
"It will fit. Don't worry."
With a little pushing and shoving and some attention to angles, delivery guy was right. The old unit was taken out (in two pieces, ironically) and the new one was placed in. I was left to hook up all the venting and tubes and such, but I had a pretty good handle on it thanks to my dad being Captain DIY and having forced me to hook up no less than three washers when it was raining too hard to be roofing.
So that's it. The new washer is in. The old one is out. The new one never separated into two pieces to be installed, despite claims that "no matter how you tweak it -- it does not work if the washer is unseparable". I'm not going to say "I told you so" in a personal email to Unit 5 or in an email to the condo association because I think karma would catch up to me if I did. I might not even say it here. I'll just imply it by talking about how much I want to say it. Instead, I sent a passive aggressive email announcing the installation:

Date: April 14, 2007
From: Greg
To:[ Condo Assoc]
Subject: New Washer

The new washer is installed and ready for use. R and I are running a load of towels just to make sure that both the washer and dryer are working correctly (i.e. that the hot and cold aren't mixed up and that the gas is working). I'll put a note on it if we notice anything funny, but otherwise please use the machine as you normally would.

Like the old machine, the new one is a High Efficiency washer and it is recommended that you use High Efficiency (HE) detergent in the machine to extend its life. If you use regular detergent, it is recommended that you only use 1/4 of the regular amount as high efficiency washers use less water and therefore require less detergent (oversudsing from too much is also what kills the bearings).

Thanks for making this happen, everyone!


Well, that's it. The whole story. Unless the new one breaks.


fabulous fabs said...

i have a headache. can i ask why you volunteered to be the condo assoc. president?? hey at lesat your neighbor doesn't have vicodin-and-family-holiday-induced benders causing you to be up til 3 am listening to "i will survive." on repeat.

Greg said...

And it's my second year of this crap. Next year? Not so much.

Erik said...

I can't belive that I read the WHOLE post...why would one subject himself to that....and what the hell.....they can't get on a list serve? They must be using the vicodin, but not haveing the fun extras!

bad apologies said...

Wow. So long, it required a jump.