An epic quest for a stand mixer

My friend Rebecca posted a contest for a KitchenAid stand mixer on her blog recently (sorry, it’s now closed!) and I shared the post on the Karen’s Chronicles Facebook page (hint: if you missed it, you should like me so you don’t next time!) with a note that I was fine with not winning - the contest was just fun! Besides, I have a stand mixer with a crazy epic story that’s been going strong for about six or seven years now. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since we got it! Becky was curious about the story, so here it is:

My stand mixer isn’t one you’ll find on store shelves anymore. Shortly after we bought it (on eBay) we found out that the entire line of small appliances from this particular company was being discontinued. Initially, we were surprised, but then we thought about what had happened with our purchase and it made sense.

Gorgeous, aren’t they!? I would have bought the matching blender, but I was scared to. (Image Source)

It’s a shame, because the products are really gorgeous. In truth, the look puts even KitchenAid’s latest (incredible) colours to shame because the design is so beautiful. I am not overly concerned with how my small appliances look, but these stand mixers were too pretty to pass up. And they were from Jenn-Air - a high-end maker of appliances.

It just goes to show that the outside can be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but if it’s not well-made inside, it’s not worth the materials used to make it.

This little beauty came to us from a Maytag store down in Arizona. It is one heavy beast, but even with $75 shipping, it was still less expensive than buying retail in Canada.

The day it arrived, we unpacked and immediately tried it out. Fortunately, I tried it without actually attempting to make anything because after turning it on and off once, then turning it back on, it wouldn’t work. Then a little piece of metal fell out of the stand mixer. Clearly it was broken. 

Matt contacted the seller and they told us it was under warranty, so we could contact Maytag Canada to have it fixed or get a new one. What neither of us knew yet was that shipping it across the border voided the warranty.

Yes, somehow having that thing go from Arizona to Ontario made it no longer okay to fix. That is seriously wrong, but you know what the guy in Arizona did? He sent us a new stand on his dime. Yep - $75 more in shipping. We unpacked it and there was no bowl or accessories (understandable - they were all fine) and we asked if we should ship the old one back. He said no.

Stand #2 didn’t work and something was wrong with the elbow. It wasn’t lining up correctly and it was really obvious. That’s not good when you’re going to have high speed spinning happening. So, we contacted the seller again, who was once again very gracious and sent us a third stand - and no, we didn’t have to send either of the first two back or pay for shipping.

Stand #3 still had problems. I don’t even remember what it was, but Matt’s pretty handy and we felt terrible about how this had all gone down for the poor guy down in Arizona. So, Matt cracked open those stands and figured out how to scavenge parts from them to make one of the stands operable.

It worked! We have been using that same mixer for the last 6 or 7 years we’ve had it. We also moved all three heavy beasts from our apartment to our new home so that we could continue scavenging for parts as required. So far, it hasn’t been required.

I still feel so bad for and grateful for the seller down in Arizona. He was wonderful and I doubt he made any money on that sale, but he sure went the extra mile for us. 

So, I can see why Jenn-Air took their small appliances off the market. They weren’t up to the Jenn-Air standard of quality and that’s not worth affecting your reputation on your main line of business, large appliances. I still really enjoy my stand mixer and I love that it has the gorgeous red bowl. I hope it lasts for a few more decades!

But if it doesn’t, I will have no problem with buying a KitchenAid stand mixer. :)

Burps, farts and belly laughs

I don’t know why, but the child absolutely loves being stuffed in buckets and buried in toys.When I was a teenager and started babysitting, I realized very quickly that boys were fun in a totally different, slightly more amusing way than girls. The girls in my babysitting days were fairly quiet and reserved. They didn’t do outlandish things that made me want to laugh at the same time I feared they would break their necks. (That wouldn’t look too good - me laughing as I tell parents their son is broken.) Those boys that were so much fun to babysit made me hope a little boy would be in my future as a mother. Nearly four years later, I’m having so much fun with my funny little guy.

One of the things that I adore about Brandon is his love of laughter. He likes to laugh, but he also gets such a kick out of making others laugh that it’s hard not to give him what he so desperately wants. The thing about being in a house filled with a bunch of boys (even the cat is a boy) is that they also think burps and farts are funny. Despite how quickly the latter will clear a room, I never fail to react in a way that makes my husband laugh at my nose’s thoroughly offended sense of smell.

Burping, on the other hand, is something that - when well-timed - I am ashamed to admit I think is quite funny. For example, if you watch the video below, you’ll see a scene from Wallace and Gromit that starts at about 1:20 that Brandon is currently watching over and over and over again. 

Seriously, that’s funny! Though it is funnier if you’re watching the whole movie, especially if Brandon’s sitting beside you. When he gets tickled by it, you can’t help but join in and laugh too.

One of these days I’ll have to teach him how to have proper manners. Thankfully he hasn’t figured out how to induce burping or farting on cue so it’s not a concern…yet. Until then, I’m just going to laugh.

Chats with Matt Episode 2: Spiders

This week’s episode of Chats with Matt started when a friend of mine came over to my house for lunch a few days ago and, as I was giving her the tour of the basement, she noticed a spider on the stairs. I didn’t really move to do anything about it, but she grabbed a tissue as I stood and watched her dispose of the spider.

I was fine with her take-charge attitude. I don’t like spiders, though I’ll deal with them if I absolutely have to. It would require a handful of tissues, rather than the single one my friend used - or preferably a ten-foot pole. Creepy crawly critters give me the creepy crawlies. The whole time I was thinking that if she hadn’t taken care of it, that spider would have been Matt’s first job when he walked through the door.

Later that night, I told Matt about it and he got this smirk on his face, shook his head and said, “You really need to get over your fear of spiders.”

Me: No, I don’t.

Matt: I got over my fear of commitment. You need to get over your fear of spiders.

Me: It’s not the same thing.

Matt: It’s exactly the same thing. You’re afraid of blood-sucking leeches and so was I.

Me: I’m going upstairs. (In my head, I’m thinking: Good one, but what do blood-sucking leeches have to do with spiders?!!!)

Matt: What are you going to do?

Me: Blog about you.

365 Photo Challenge: Week 1

The first week was a mish mash, which included one picture taken with my iPhone because I didn’t have my DSLR with me. I’m still not completely used to making a conscious effort to look for photo opportunities and some of these photos are lame, and I knew this when I took them. I’m just going to try to get better every week. 

There were several cloudy days in a row with some amazing formations I was dying to shoot, but missed because I didn’t have my camera. These weren’t the best, but they were still pretty cool looking. I like that ominous gray cloud right next to a patch of clear blue sky.

Brandon signing “soap” while watching Baby Signing Time.

This is my favorite picture of the week. It was a gorgeous day and this was also my very first shot of the day. Day 3 was good.

I have mixed feelings about this shot. I like the focus on the tower and Brandon blurred in the background, but it’s also kind of strange. Motion is something I have to work on for sure.

My least favorite of the week. It was 11:00pm and I hadn’t had time to take a single picture the whole day. Boo.

I was glad to see this at Starbucks when I was there. (This is the iPhone shot. Probably wouldn’t have taken it with the DSLR anyway.)

My new exercise equipment that Brandon was thrilled to claim as his new toy. His face looks as if he’s stunned that they aren’t his. :)Matt’s been telling me forever that I should stop using the flash on the camera so much. So, I’m finally listening to him. (It doesn’t happen often; just ask him.) Some pictures definitely turn out better, but others are rough with or without the flash. 

I’m glad I finally got started and I’m hoping week 2 gets just a tad better.

Chats with Matt Episode 1: Shoes

On the way home from work yesterday, we stopped to buy new tennis shoes for Brandon now that the weather is starting to cool off. We knew it was going to be a battle to get him to wear them, because he’s so attached to his sandals.

The shoe transition from season to season is almost worse than trying to get him into a snowsuit. And, unless by some miracle he happens to learn to adjust more easily, we’ll be going through this again in the spring when we try to get him to give up his snow boots. Every attempt we made to put those new shoes anywhere near his feet ended in screaming and crying fits, and we eventually gave up and just left the shoes on the floor. 


Later in the evening, Matt told me that Brandon tried to put his new shoes on.

Me: When?

Matt: When you were off doing whatever it was you were doing earlier - the bathroom or something.

Me: Oh, you mean when I left you all alone to raise him?

Matt: Yes.

Me: It’s hard raising a child on your own.

Matt: It is, but you know about that from all the times you’ve had to do it.

Me: No, I’ve always had help.

Matt: Really? Who?

Me: This awesome guy I know.

Matt: Now I know you’re cheating on me, because you sure aren’t talking about me.