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But seriously, how many times in your life have you had occasion to refer to the fact that someone was lying down at some point in the past? And of those occasions, how many times have you just used the perfectly acceptable "was lying" rather than "lay"?
I contend that most of us need to use the past tense of "lie" so rarely that we should act as if we never have to. You will almost never go wrong using "lie" when you're not sure about which verb to use.* And if you're like most people, you'll almost certainly make fewer mistakes using "lie" as your go-to verb than you're making now.
* I'm not worried about people suddenly starting to say "lie" when they should say "lay": "Lie down your arms!" Most people don't have trouble using the transitive verb "lay" correctly.
So, here's the background. In May we bought a new Whirlpool refrigerator, and it was delivered on May 30th. It's mostly been great, but there are a couple of problems. I addressed one of these in a review I submitted to Home Depot's site--where we'd bought the refrigerator. About a week ago, I got an email from Whirlpool inviting me to review my recent appliance purchase, so I dusted off the Home Depot review and updated it with remarks about the second issue. I submitted the review on the site and that was that. Or, that would have been that if I hadn't just received another email from them:
Our staff has read your review and values your contribution even though it did not meet all our website guidelines. Thanks for sharing, and we hope to publish next time!
Perplexing. I went to the site to see what these mysterious website guidelines might be, but I didn't see anything. Specifically, when I clicked through as though to write a new review there was no link to any guidelines that I could see. Then I clicked the "contact customer service with questions or concerns" link at the bottom of the email, but it just led me to Whirlpool's main site. There's a support form there, but I didn't feel like filling it out (again; see below), in part because I suspect they would be unlikely to provide any meaningful information about the status of my review. Their operators are likely primed to deal with questions about the refrigerator's operation rather than the website's operation.
So why was it rejected? I jumped to the conclusion that it's because my review is somewhat negative, but I saw at least one negative review on the site while looking for guidelines. If it's not that--and that sort of selectivity would make me angry--I can't imagine what the problem is.
At any rate, I am of course posting my review below, with a photo, because information wants to be free, and I take it ill when my voice is muted.
Great features, but buyer beware
Overall, the refrigerator is great. It's roomy and the layout is great. The shelves both in the fridge and in the doors are nicely designed. The freezer is big and easy to access. I'm really very happy with the purchase. However, be very careful if you decide to buy this with a stainless steel surface. Seventeen days into my purchase I noticed that the left door was very scratched up. No, no one had been scraping it with anything. What happened was I had two refrigerator magnets on the door holding up an envelope. They weren't being moved or scraped across the surface by anyone, but they must have moved around a bit when the door was opened and closed.
As you can imagine, I was quite upset when I discovered this. What bothers me particularly is that there was no warning anywhere in the packet of materials we get that magnets shouldn't be used on this surface. I actually wrote to Whirlpool about this to complain, but got nowhere. I can't believe that they can sell something that will be damaged by the slightest use of magnets--which everybody uses--and not provide a warning to customers. This thing wouldn't survive a day in a house with young kids. Basically, if you buy the stainless steel version, you can never hang anything up on the front. (Happily, the surface on the side is different, so we're able to hang stuff up there.)
So, consider yourself warned. If I'd known this prior to buying I would have stuck with white.
UPDATE: There's an issue we've experienced in which the freezer sometimes loses cold. Ice cream starts to melt, for example. It's not clear what's going on, whether it's because a lot of food has recently been added or if this is somehow related to the appliance's self-defrosting mechanism. It eventually seems to correct itself, but it's troubling.
I've got a new book out in Kindle and paperback versions! Announcing:
It Was a Dark and Stormy Tweet
Five Hundred 1st Lines in 140 Characters or Less
Debra Hamel has been tweeting the first lines of books since 2007. To date, she has posted more than 7000 first lines on her Twitter accounts @TwitrLit and @KidderLit. IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET is a collection of 500 of the best of these. The first lines in this collection are culled from a wide variety of genres and from children’s books as well as books written for adults. Some of the titles excerpted will be familiar to readers. The first lines of Fahrenheit 451 and Slaughterhouse Five are included, for example, and Jane Austen and Charles Dickens both merit mentions. But readers will find a lot here that’s unfamiliar. The book is intended to introduce readers to new books and authors, so that they’ll come away from the collection itching to get their hands on an armful of new titles. Here’s a sample:
"Benny Rhodes loved his own bald head more than anything else in the world he could think of." (John A. Miller, Coyote Moon)
"I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday." (John Scalzi, Old Man's War)
"A dead man fell from the sky, landing at my feet with a thud." (Gary Corby, The Pericles Commission)
The lines included in this collection are grouped into different categories, with chapters such as “Once Upon a Time,” “Dead People,” and “Pregnant Amish Men and Other Surprises.” The book also includes three quizzes so that readers can test their first-line savvy.
I've been using a Fitbit to track my walking for years now. If you're unfamiliar with Fitbit, it's a small, wearable device that tracks your walks, stairs climbed, activity level, and even sleep patterns. All the data is backed up onto a web site, so you can see your stats going back as long as you've had the device. Here's my public profile. And here are my steps walked in October:
As you can see, I consistently met my goal of 13,000 steps per day.
I don't pay a lot of attention to stairs climbed, so they jump around wildly:
The most flights climbed in October was 26. (Fitbit tells me that I've climbed 25 flights of stairs a total of 36 times.) Climbing 24 flights, Fitbit says, is the equivalent of climbing the La Dante Pyramid in Guatemala.
I've been yearning for a charging station of late to make some order out of the chaos of cords and plugs in my kitchen. After looking around on the web for ideas I decided to try making one myself. There were a few limitations. I have minimal skill, for one thing, and minimal tools. Importantly, I didn't want to go into the scary part of the basement to get my jig saw, so everything would have to be done pretty much with a power drill. Plus, I didn't want to spend too much money.
The result isn't too bad. Certainly serviceable. Here's a breakdown of the cost:
TOTAL COST: $28.90
Of course, if I hadn't needed to buy a surge protector, it would have been cheaper yet.
And here's what I did.
1. I bought a wooden craft box (with lid) at Michael's craft store. It's a bit wider and taller than your average shoe box, but not by much. I would have preferred a longer box, to accomodate a larger surge protector, but this was the best I found.
2. I wanted to put the cover on upside down, both to make an edged platform and to make it look like something more than just a box. Because of this, I needed to insert something into the lid that would hold it in place when put atop the box. I initially tried using some metal shelf supports, then settled on the aforementioned plastic doohickeys. I drilled at each of the corners and pushed them in.
3. Then, I drilled a big hole in the side toward the rear, and a bunch in the top. Afterwards, lots of sanding to make things look reasonably decent.
4. Then it was time to pack in the cords and put on the top, feeding the wires through the holes in the lid. I also printed out labels to attach to the end of the cords to make their identification easier. Not shown here, I added felt feet to the bottom of the station to raise it off the counter a little bit in case there's ever any spillage.
Here's the charging station in situ!
From a random review: