Chen Yang Li — Service at its best!

We decided to do dinner and a movie for Valentine’s Day and dinner was Bejing Duck at the Chen Yang Li in Bow. We usually go their two or three times a month for sushi, but occasionally opt for the duck for a change of pace.

When we arrived, there was a line at the door and the table’s were full. We were a little worried because we only had 90 minutes to eat and drive to the movie theatre in Hookset. I walked up to the hostess and asked how long the wait was. When she asked if we had a reservation, one of our favorite managers leaned over her shoulder and said “they always have a reservation”. What a nice way to make your repeat customers feel special!

Remember the good ‘ole days?

You know… the days when life was simple? When the stuff you used every day was simple?

About five years ago, my washer broke. It was a 15-year old Maytag that never gave me a minute of trouble, but I wasn’t about to spend good money to fix an old washer so we bought a new one — another Maytag because we thought we were getting the best money could buy.

One day, the Neptune started taking twice as long to do a cold load. Then three times as long. Then the cold setting stopped working altogether. We switched to warm/warm, but had to restart it three or four times to clear the NF (no fill) codes. The repair guy came and first thing he says is that everybody’s having trouble with the Neptunes. Several hundred dollars later, we have a new circuit board and it’s still not working. At this point we assume it’s the water valve… but after reading about the customer complaints and class action suits, I’m not about to spend more than $50 trying to fix it again.

After we order a new water valve for 40-something, Tom gets this bright idea that if the cold water wasn’t working, he could flip the valve connectors and the water hoses and I could have a normal cold/cold cycle. It worked! For five minutes. With no water coming through the cold water pipe for months, turns out there was a bunch of crud in the shut-off valve and that was restricting the water flow.

So maybe the washer wasn’t broken… but if it hadn’t been for the law suit and all the bad reviews from hundreds of unhappy customers and a design that’s way more complicated than it needs to be, we might have attempted to fix it ourselves for 30 minutes of sweat equity.

Before we figured out the problem, I went online to research washers. There’s no such thing as a basic washing machine anymore. There’s actually one model that has fifteen different cycles. Fifteen! I remember my grandma’s washer. I suppose you could say it had multiple speeds depending on how fast you could crank the wringer. I don’t remember her ever complaining. I also don’t remember it ever breaking, but if it did I’m sure grandpa was able to fix it himself.

Maytag no longer makes Neptunes. They’ve replaced it with another model in order to eliminate the issues. Its customer reviews aren’t any better. The reviews on other washers are about the same except for the really high end models. I’m going to assume the only reason they don’t get bad reviews is because nobody can afford them at $1500 to $2000. Two thousand bucks to do a freakin’ load of laundry!


So my brother sends me this email this week with a subject line of “One for the ladies”. It contained several great one-liners, but this one was my favorite:

Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your email?
A: Rename the mail folder “Instruction Manual”.


When You’re Happy, It Shows

So Tom and I went to Chen Yang Li in Bow for dinner. We usually go there at least twice a month — they have the best Beijing duck, a great sushi bar and very friendly staff who always make us feel like we’re their most important customers.

Between sushi and dessert, the waitress stopped to chat and asked us if we were dating. When we told her we’d been married for twelve years, she asked us what we did to keep our marriage so fresh.

We’ve always known that our relationship isn’t quite normal… when we celebrated our anniversary a few weeks ago, we talked about how easy those twelve years have been… how unusual it is for two people to spend that much time living under the same roof without ever having had a fight.

Tonight, our waitress went on and on about how we’re always talking… and smiling… and how she hoped that when she’d been married for twelve years, she and her husband would be as happy.

What a thrill it was to learn that other people see what we feel.