South Shore Live-It Cozy Couch

We absolutely loved our IKEA Manstad couch. It fit perfectly in our little living room, folded out to a bed, and provided extra storage:

But alas, it’s discontinued. There are a number of knockoffs out there, but none with the same dimensions and, most important, full back along all three sides.

We thought we hit the jackpot with this sofa by a company called South Shore. They sell through Home Depot, among other outlets. Their “Live-It Cozy” couch fit the bill. But what we found was that it was, in a nutshell, “IKEA price without IKEA quality”. All of the materials throughout the couch are cheap.

What’s worse is that when we got the couch, one of the particleboard pieces was damaged:

When we notified the company, they said they’d ship a replacement part, but that took forever. And when it finally arrived, it was the wrong color!:

I seriously doubt this couch will last as long as our Manstad (10 years!). But only time will tell. (Is that a spring sticking in my butt already?)

Trick for Forgetful Cooks

Do you have a tendency to forget that the stove or oven is on? Here’s a trick: Get “Gym Boss”. It has an “interval timer” feature; it beeps at a set interval. I have mine set to beep every 60 seconds. Now, whenever I use the stove or oven, I click on my “Gym Boss” and when I hear that beep, my brain is trained to pay attention!

TIP: Paste a magnet to the back so that it can be attached directly above your stovetop.

Delta Kitchen Faucet, Loose Handle

Do you have a Delta kitchen faucet with loose handle? (Does the handle “wiggle”?) If you unscrew the handle, you’ll see that it sits on top of a cheap plastic nub. That plastic nub wears away over time. How did I fix he wiggle? I wrapped the plastic nub with a small piece of duct tape. That provided the right amount of material for a tighter fit.

UPDATE: This worked for about 6 months before I had to reapply more tape. Better than nothing!

Glade Plugins are wicked toxic

Watch out for those Glade Plugins. They smell nice, but I would definitely recommend using a drip tray under them in case they malfunction. I had my laptop sitting underneath one whose oils started leaking. Ate a hole in the plastic cover! Luckily it did not damage the screen. I’m actually glad my laptop was in the way because who knows what it would’ve done to my hardwood floors! SC Johnson sent me a $50 check for my trouble, so we’re even.

Fire Alarm Control Panel Replacement

We have fire sprinklers in our house. (Don’t ask, it’s a long story.) They were controlled by an ESL 1500 Series Fire Alarm Control Panel in the basement:

One zone on this panel was repeatedly misfiring. The alarm wasn’t going off, but every few weeks the “trouble” light would trip. That would cause the dreaded sounder to beep repeatedly.

I hired an electrician to check it out. Big mistake. Electricians who aren’t familiar with fire panels overcharge you for work that doesn’t need to get done. This particular electrician claimed that the problem was with the actual detectors throughout the house. He replaced every single one and promised that the problem was solved.

Old detectors.
New detectors.

But it wasn’t. The “beep beep beep” of the panel returned. What the electrician should have done is simply attached a resistor to the panel to pinpoint that the problem was with the panel, not the detectors, as shown in this video:

That was my mistake, hiring an electrician to do a job that an electrician was not required for. (I didn’t know this originally; fire panels can be serviced by alarm technicians, they do not require electricians.) Luckily, I heard about a great alarm technician in a nearby town. He came by and knew exactly how to diagnose the problem: the circuit boards were failing. For a 20-year-old panel, it’s not worth replacing the circuit boards. Just have them install a new panel. Of course, once they’re done, it’ll have to be inspected by your city. They only found one problem: The breaker that controls the panel must have a locking device attached so that it can’t be turned off:

Simple enough. All in all, this project cost thousands and required the work of 3 people:

  • The original electrician who installed the new detectors.
  • The alarm technician who installed the new panel.
  • A second electrician who installed the breaker lock.

What a mess, during the pandemic no less!

Oven Doesn’t Heat Up

Our old gas oven doesn’t heat up! Like, it’s not even warm…

The problem turned out to be the igniter. Here’s what it looks like:

If you order a new one, it’s fairly easy to install…

It attaches right under the bar that the gas emits from. You’re supposed to turn off the gas before installing a new one, but I didn’t.

The new one works great, but I notice that the oven temperature doesn’t match up with the dial anymore; it’s always hotter! So I bought an in-oven thermometer so that I can always get the temperature just right.

MyAdvo Legal Services

I contacted MyAdvo legal services in India with a simple request:

I had been pressured into being added to a trust in India and I now wanted to be removed from it. I wanted MyAdvo to contact the trust, send official notice that I was resigning, and follow through with the removal.

The original quote for this work was $50. Seemed reasonable for what I thought would be a few hours of work. It turned into a nightmare. Long story short, it took 6 months to follow through with this. The final total was several times the original amount quoted. I had to jump through several hoops, including getting my resignation certified by my state government (a.k.a. an “Apostille”).

Over the course of the 6 months, I found that communication with my MyAdvo case manager was very difficult, having to ask the same questions (or provide the same information) repeatedly in our e-mail threads.

I would not use their services again in the future.