My new used dishwasher is sitting in my carport. My other dishwasher is installed in my kitchen. Neither works, but my dishes are clean. Things don’t always work out the way we expect, but somehow they work out. Maybe it is as simple as making sure we take care of what’s important.
My dishwasher died about three years ago. Four years ago it started making a lot of noise. Being the frugal guy I am, I tried to repair it, but didn’t succeed. So, I called in an expert. About $150 later it was working again – for a while. Then it groaned and stopped. About $100 later it was proclaimed dead, unless I wanted to spend over $150 more on a new motor. I decided to wash dishes by hand for a while.
I hoped to soon have enough set aside for a kitchen remodel anyway, and I could upgrade everything at once. I waited. I waited. DNDN climbed. I almost made the move but wanted a little bit more – and DNDN dropped by a bit, and then DNDN dropped by a lot. As my portfolio shrank with the misfortunes of DNDN, AMSC, and others, my remodel was scaled back to repair, which was scaled back to waiting for sales, which was scaled back to seeing what popped up on drewslist (see my previous post for a description) and craigslist. Drewslist almost provided. The drewslist emails come out late at night. I happened to be up at 3AM, and saw a free, yep, a free mini-dishwasher available to the first contact. I immediately sent an email and got a quick reply. I was the second in line. I didn’t get it.
It has to be a small dishwasher because my kitchen is old, and appliances were smaller then. That also meant that new dishwashers were more expensive than normal because they don’t make as many that fit. Living outside the mainstream has its costs.
Two weeks ago I found an RV dishwasher for $75. It had been used twice. I drove 40 miles, bought it, and watched as the courteous previous owner dropped it on the way to my car. When I got it home I set it up in the carport to see if it would work or leak. It doesn’t leak, and it almost works; but it doesn’t drain. It is now a project. I try something. Run it. And then turn it upside down to drain it after it beeps and dies.
There are times when re-use, repair, and other eco-conscious efforts are not as effective as discarding and replacing. I’ve spent enough that I could have a new and efficient dishwasher and have more free time, use less water, and have cleaner dishes. In the meantime, I’ve taken care of things by washing dishes by hand. Hand washing works, but I suspect that a dishwasher is more sanitary than a dishrag.
Of course, some people look at my portfolio and tell me that I should’ve replaced DNDN, AMSC, MVIS, and the rest long ago. They see them as broken. But I remember my investing history (Keeping AAPLs). My style and strategy has been Long Term Buy and Hold, and such a strategy does not suggest jumping in and out because of short term situations. Okay, I’ll admit that this recent short term situation is taking longer to pass than I expected. Luckily, except for two, all of the companies behind my stocks are making more money than ever. This is the equivalent of the dishwasher repairing itself while I leave it alone. In the meantime, I’ve been selling stocks, but I’ve also switched to a more hands-on approach.
I can be very hands-on with my own company. My business keeps me busy, too busy sometimes, but I am glad that I have worked on it for years, even when I didn’t have to. It is something that I have control over. It may not work as well as a portfolio that grows faster than my expenses, but it helps, and may someday provide those funds. Now would be a good time for that.
A lot of things are acting dodgy. That also means there is a lot of coping going on. Major institutions stumbled. Corporations dramatically curtailed hiring. Convention and entrenched habits are being challenged. I am encouraged, however, because many aspects of life are progressing. The Occupy movement will probably sprout several new institutions, or at least invigorate existing advocacies. Corporations are hiring again, and yes, I’ll include a link to my resume. People are downsizing and aiming to live with less debt. We’re taking care of what matters whether it is activism, a return to productivity, or an awareness of the appeal of new lifestyles.
I don’t expect my old dishwasher to suddenly work, but I think there’s a good chance that I can get the new used one to work. My business is improving, or at least the activity level is increasing, hopefully with profits to soon follow. My portfolio is showing slow signs of recovery. Measuring the companies against where they were and against where they may go would probably be a better tactic than evaluating them against whisper numbers and speculations. That will be the sign of a return to rational markets. And societally, many people are heading towards sustainable lifestyles, which I find encouraging.
I’d like to wash myself clean of the stresses I’ve experienced, and I’d like to see society wash itself of it’s recent fears and paranoias. I’d like to see the world washed clean of environmental damage. Care of self, each other, and the planet can get us there.
And if my portfolio appreciates appropriately, it will fund a new kitchen and of course I’ll start with a new dishwasher. Anyone need a Haier HDT18PA that’s been used twice, dropped once, and has been tried many times? Maybe with a bit of care it can work.