Whirlpool Dishwasher

We just got one of the better Whirlpool dishwashers, model wdta50sahz.

Here’s a local copy of the user manual: Whirlpool UserGuide-W10901523-RevA(ECO)

It was so disappointing to see so many little things wrong, right out of the box.

(I’ve got a recommendation for another dishwasher at the bottom of this post)

Here’s my review after 1 day using it:
Starting out, it came with a short, fold-out user manual. It was stapled incorrectly which is pretty insulting. They’ve been at this dishwasher thing for like 100 years and I had to tear the staple out to open the manual? Not a good start.

The User Guide opens with “In an effort to conserve natural resources, this dishwasher includes a condensed User Guide.” That sounds a -lot- like, “Spending $800 on a dishwasher doesn’t get you a manual. Ha ha! Let’s blame ‘the environment’ for that!”

The manual didn’t describe how to use the dishwasher correctly. Most importantly, it doesn’t say how you need to push the Start button twice to start the cycle. Since the way to start the device isn’t intuitive, that is the MOST important thing the manual should describe! Another weird one: it firmly implies that you should add the rinse agent every time you add soap (step 3 is “add detergent”, step 4 is “add rinse aid”)… whaa?

How does the “Extended Dry” setting differ from the regular setting? No one knows!

After running it unsuccessfully 3 times, I finally came across the correct incantation to run it (push “Go” twice, slowly). I’m now trying to figure out the right amount of soap and settings so our dishes don’t get white crap on them. Ugh. I miss our dishwasher in Berkeley!

In conclusion, when I saw that the very first thing I had to do was tear open a poorly stapled manual, I got this very “this is so unprofessional” vibe and became negative. After a hundred years of making stuff, I hoped they’d be able to offer a better user experience.

A recommendation:

In our last apartment, we got a Bosch Ascenta Dishwasher (Model SHE3AR76UC/22) in 2017. It was the top-rated Consumer Reports model and it was an absolute dream! From start to end it was wonderful! I definitely recommend it!

In our new place in El Cerrito, we had to get a Whirlpool because that is what the building management company knows how to fix. Ugh.

Keep Your Fingers on the Keyboard with Gmail

I just noticed that Gmail has a new, wonderful feature. If you misspell a word, you can fix it without taking your fingers off the keyboard! This is so nice! Switching to use the mouse takes only a few moments of time but it takes a cognitive switch that sucks away momentum from my writing. This change will help!
Instead of lifting your fingers to the mouse, do this:
– Use the arrows to move the cursor over the red-underlined word
– Watch as a suggestion pops up
– Hit Tab to choose the suggestion
– Hit Enter to put the suggestion in place
– Done!!

Chemicals That Make Your Rugs Stain Resistant Are Bad For You And Your Children

I took note of this article because our preschool participated in the study and did the right thing. They replaced their carpets (and lots of other people should too!!) with natural wool because it’s been found that the chemicals that made rugs stain resistant have chemicals that are bad for people… especially people that crawl a lot!

The science: there are a lot of related chemicals that use flourine to make themselves stain resistant. The Teflon in pans, PFAS (poly-flouroalkyl substances), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and a bunch more. They put them in rugs to make them stain resistant but it’s bad stuff. It rubs off on kids hands, they lick their hands, and messes with their bodies in serious, long term ways.


Community Resources For Students With Disabilities in the Bay Area

Here are some community resources for students with disabilities in the bay area

SNAP swim program in Berkeley and Challenger baseball leagues

Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP)
Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center

Kids Gym, Berkeley
This 10,000-square-foot facility is the crème de la crème for indoor play when you’ve got a kid who needs to get moving! Their open gym is available for kids up at 11 years old (plus their caregivers) and offers swings, an indoor zip line, toys for fine motor skills development, crash mats, pillows and more. Kids will work on skills like balance, coordination and sharing without even knowing it! Need a break from all the stimulation? Head to the quiet room for some down time. Check the schedule for special events like circle time, kids yoga and everyone’s favorite—the dance party.
2920 Seventh Street
Berkeley, CA

Magical Bridge Playground, Palo Alto
Touted as one of the nation’s most inclusive playgrounds, the Magical Bridge opened its Palo Alto location in April 2015 to pleased children and parents alike. With five different “play zones” to choose from, kids can swing, sway, spin and slide to their heart’s content. The music zone was provided to motivate interaction, facilitate socialization and improve social skills among children. Pretend play is encouraged throughout the playground but especially in the two-story playhouse that is fully accessible to all children via ramps and bridges.
Mitchell Park
600 East Meadow Road
Palo Alto, CA

Grins ‘n’ Giggles Party Space
Established by Gatepath, a nonprofit serving individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for more than 98 years, Grins ‘n’ Giggles party space was designed with specialized indoor and outdoor play structures to accommodate children of all abilities and accessible for those with special needs and disabilities. Best of all, it’s available year-round, rain or shine. Grins ‘n’ Giggles is staffed by credentialed early childhood educators with experience in caring for children of all abilities, who will help parents plan a fun-filled day of activities, which could include face painting, art projects, bounce house jumping, parachute games and guided play.
Grins ‘n’ Giggles
McCarthy Center for Children & Families
1764 Marco Polo Way
Burlingame, CA

Rotary PlayGarden, San Jose
Donated by the Rotary of San Jose in 2015, this park aims to enable children with special needs to play alongside their siblings and friends. Right near the airport (with loads of planes flying overhead!), the park offers a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round (moved by kid power!), slides, swings and all sorts of kinetic art to get kids exploring. The entire play area is fenced for safety but there’s not a ton of shade there so go on a cloudy day. Read more about our visit here.

Guadalupe River Park
Coleman Avenue at Autumn Street
San Jose, CA

Sky High Sports, Special Needs Jump Time
Sky High Sports turns off the music, dims the lights and dials down the distractions on Tuesdays from 3-6 p.m. for the comfort of guests. Jump sessions for kids with special needs and their families is a passion project for Sky High founder Jerry Raymond. The father of a special needs son, Jerry has witnessed how jumping can help improve motor and sensory skills, social interaction and overall fitness for kids and young adults on the Autism spectrum as well as young people with Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and other disorders. During special jump sessions, each jumper is $5 from 3pm until 6pm with one parent or therapist free. Family members who jump are also just $5.

Sky High Sports
2880 Mead Ave.
Santa Clara, CA

Sensory-Friendly Movies at AMC
On the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, select AMC theaters offer a sensory-friendly screening of kid-friendly new releases. They turn the lights up and the sound down to make it more comfortable for kids. Everyone is free to sing, dance, shout and walk around as needed throughout the film. These theaters offer this amazing program so check their online schedule for upcoming showings:

San Francisco: AMC CLASSIC Deer Valley 16, AMC Showplace Manteca 16
Oakland: AMC Bay Street 16
San Jose: AMC Mercado 20

Swim and Gym Inclusion Program At the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, families with children with special needs are welcomed to participate in regular programming, but also catered to with tumbling and swimming classes for ages 2-6 and creative movement, games, and friendship building workshops for ages 4-12. Contact Rachel or Eden with questions about accommodations or these programs: 510.665.3280.

E-Sports includes several Bay Area community service programs: E-Soccer, E-Karate, E-Hoops, E-Fitness, and our newest, E-Dance. Each program specializes in inclusion, which partners kids with typical and special needs alongside each other in various athletic capacities. These programs have pioneered the inclusive sports philosophy and made an impact on families from California to Kenya.

E-Hoops Locations

E-Soccer Locations

Today’s Hopeful Quote

“Hope is a force of nature, don’t let anyone tell you different.”

– Jim Butcher from the book Changes

Today’s Quote

“You can’t manipulate someone with candor and truth. That is called enlightenment.”

– (slightly paraphrased) from the book Changes by Jim Butcher