The Challenge of Buying Appliances

For those who think island living is just one, long beach holiday, we've got some news for you. Paradise doesn't happen every day. 

First, even heading to the beach or mountains or going on some island adventure always takes a bit of planning, prep, and work. It's certainly fun to travel around and experience life in Puerto Rico, but it's not always smooth sailing.

Second, real life gets in the way almost every day! And by real life, I mean all the varied aspects of 'adulting' ...
  • buying groceries (at least a 60 to 90 minute trudge to Walmart, and we go at 6 AM!)
  • paying bills (water bill isn't too bad, but we have yet to receive an accurate electric bill!)
  • managing our schedule (taking 1 or 2 days off each week from our part-time work)
  • navigating the system (there's always more paperwork to fill out, it's never ending)
  • making decisions... 
Ooof. Making decisions. This is the part of being an adult that I really don't like. It's also never ending, especially when it comes to home ownership. Or in our case, condominium ownership. And with every decision comes some fallout or challenges.

Let me tell you a story. First, some background. We live in a condo community (called apartamentos) and the apartments are very nice. I mean, look at this view from our balcony. To the right is the beach, which we can see from our windows, but this is just straight west. 

View from our balcony at Chalets de la Playa.

The complex here at Chalets de la Playa is very well kept. The grounds are beautiful, the paint job is nice, the security is great. We found a good place to land in our semi-retirement, so no real complaints about our beach community.

Naturally, there are HOA fees, but they are actually quite reasonable (about $150 a month). Gives us access to the beach and beach showers, two pools, a gym, half a dozen cabanas (picnic areas), a duck and turtle pond, excellent security (as mentioned), and emergency services if/when there's a storm. 

The Home Owner Association rules, however, are a bit complicated (the document is all in Spanish, which is fine, it just takes time to translate and read). Like any association there are some dos and don'ts to follow. Fine. We're good with almost everything once we figure out what the document is saying!

One reasonable rule is that we put down a $300 deposit against possible damages if we have outside contractors come to do any work in our condo. We have insurance to cover any costs beyond that. You probably already know where I'm going with this...

The delivery guys had no tools with them to remove the slats on our new fridge.

When we first moved into our condo, we bought it "as is" knowing there were a few things that needed attention. A new kitchen for one! The cabinets were old and there had been some water damage. So we budgeted for some new cabinets and countertops. And a new stove and refrigerator; the big fridge that was left behind was not functional. 

Well, as we researched replacing the appliances, places like Home Depot said they would only deliver to ground floor apartments. We're on the third floor. Plus, we couldn't pay them to remove the old items. So that was a bummer. (In retrospect, I now understand their policy!)

That meant we had to go local. Which works. Lots of good local businesses around. We found an appliance store that sold slightly damaged goods at a reasonable price. Saw a fridge and stove with no visible dents and told the owner all about our situation. Third floor, outer stairwell. A huge refrigerator that would be a bear to remove, along with an old stove. They had to be careful because of the damage deposit, security inspects before and after, etc. Could he handle all that? Yes, for a fee. Fine.

We paid cash on Thursday (saved a bit on some charges, if  you know what I mean, wink wink) and he'd deliver on Friday. When I saw two high school kids arrive in a small pickup truck with our two appliances, I started having some doubts. First, they had no special moving equipment other than a hand truck. Second, they had no tools. An hour later they'd scraped their way up the stairs with my new fridge and stove.

But as you can see in the above picture, they left the wooden slats on the bottom of the refrigerator due to lack of tools! Sadly, it took them longer to bang their way down the stairs with the old fridge - chipping a couple of tiles, gouging the stairwell in a few places, and scraping paint off the handrails. 

I won't post any pictures of the damages. But the crazy part is, they took so long, Chalet's security talked to them and told them they had to stop working (HOA Rule #whoknows - no outside contractors can work after 5:30 PM).

So guess what? The old stove that they didn't have time to remove is sitting in our living room until  this Wednesday! That's when the owner of the store returns from the states. A different company is supposed to arrive this week to start on the new cabinets. I'm hoping this experience goes better and will be crossing my fingers the whole time they're here. 

Bottom line, decisions have ramifications. The challenge of buying appliances is one of those adulting issues that I thought I was done with. And depending on how the HOA handles the damages, we may be experiencing some fallout for quite a little while. Sigh.

One good decision we made in our move to PR was to bring Charlie with us. He's adjusted pretty well and as you can tell from this picture, wonders what all that racket was that was going on in the kitchen last week. Charlie, you don't want to know. Just be glad you're a cat and not an adult human.


  1. Wow, what a pain! We need a new fridge and dishwasher and Home Depot just flat out didn't have the ones we wanted! We don't even know about delivery.

    1. It could change from store to store, so check anyway. Not a lot of consistent rules here lol.

  2. Sad story, Lyn. Does remind me of my error to use my men's swim team to move my wife and me to our first house...lost some possessions flying off one of the pickups when they took a turn at high speed!!

    1. Don't trust swimmers. Well, don't trust 18 to 22 year olds who think work is play! lol


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