archive for August, 2006

ApeJet Spanish

I’ve been wanting to learn more Spanish for a while now. I’ve picked up a book through BookMooch, and I’ve started working on a little web application to help with memorizing vocabulary. Feel free to check out the early draft version on the ApeJet Learn Spanish page.

The application is an automated flash card system that notes which words/phrases you’ve gotten wrong and returns to them until you’ve gotten everything right. The Esperanto site,, has a similar tool that I found particularly useful when I was learning Esperanto.

My current application only has two sets of words available so far: Numbers 0-10, and 11-20. I should be able to quickly add more sets for colors, common nouns, common verbs, animals, foods, body parts, pronouns, travel phrases, greetings, etc… I still have some technical problems to solve (like dealing with accented characters in a nice why), but I don’t see any major hurdles. It’s just a matter of finding the time now.

I just signed up for BookMooch — an online book trading site. The cool thing is that you don’t have to directly trade books with other people. You just list the books that you own and are willing to give away, and the system finds someone that’s looking for your books. For every book that you give to someone, you’re allowed to take a book from someone else. The only cost is sending your books out (maybe with Media Mail?).

Anyway, if you like to read and have a bunch of old books hanging around, you might want to check out BookMooch. Here’s my profile page. If you live near me, then maybe we can trade books without spending anything!

One Month Dishwasher

One month ago today we bought a dishwasher from Home Depot. Today, it was finally installed. I should have taken notes on all of the hassle we went through (especially Jesse), but here’s what I remember most:

On July 3rd we wandered in to Home Depot, looked around and picked out the dishwasher that we liked. We checked a couple other stores, but their price was a little better. When we purchased it, we arranged to have it delivered and installed on Sat., July 15th. That was the earliest available weekend date.

I got a call from the delivery company on Tuesday the 11th saying they would be there the next day. I explained the problem of them having the wrong date, but the lady said that we either had to be there on the 12th, or reschedule for another week and a half out. That should have been a clue as to what we were in for.

I couldn’t make it, but Jesse was able to swing the time off work. The dishwasher was delivered, but they didn’t even try to install it. They said that it was too far away from the water valve and that we needed a longer hose. We were left with our new dishwasher taking up about a third of our kitchen and the old one still in place.

The next day (July 13), we went back to Home Depot to ask what to do. They didn’t have any ideas, but when we asked if we could connect two hoses together, they said it would work. We bought an extra hose and a fitting to join the two together.

Jesse tried to reschedule the installation (she was told that it wouldn’t be a problem at the time of install), but had a hard time finding out who to call. Eventually she got a hold of GE (I think) and they figured out what was wrong. Somehow several different orders had all been mixed together under the same order number. That’s probably why our delivery was on the wrong date. We were told we were lucky to have gotten anything delivered at all. Eventually she was able to reschedule for Friday the 21st. It wasn’t ideal, but we were desperate to get it over with.

Somehow between making the appointment and the day before the appointment, we vanished from the system. We expected a call on Thursday but nothing came. When Jes called about it, they said that they didn’t know what she was talking about and that we weren’t in their books. That was the last straw.

Jesse called Home Depot back to complain about the delivery company. They said that it was GE’s contractors and that they were notoriously bad. She got them to (unofficially) give her the number of a good company — Mike’s Plumbing Service.

She called last weekend and set up an appointment for July 2nd. At 7:30 am they let us know that they’d be by between 2 and 4. I came home from work early to meet them, but only found a voice mail saying that they got held up on another job and wouldn’t be able to make it. At least they apologized. I went ahead and called them back and scheduled for this morning.

Jesse took the morning off to wait for the plumbers. This time, it paid off. They showed up on time and installed the dishwasher without a problem.

We still have to figure out how to get our installation fee back from Home Depot, but at least it’s installed. I’m astonished at the lack of customer service we received. I don’t know who was at fault: Home Depot, GE, or the delivery company, but I’m blaming Home Depot. They’re who sold us the dishwasher (including delivery and installation), so it’s their responsibility to make sure that we’re happy. The next time I need and appliance, I’ll be shopping at Best Buy, Sears, or somewhere else before I’ll even consider Home Depot.