My Advice on Moving

I'm playing catch up after this year's Gala season... In all the madness I managed to write a post for Chicago Parent about moving with little kids. Our move was not smooth (read: NOT AT ALL). We underestimated the time it would take, ran out of boxes countless times, forgot about entire parts of the house, and Matt and I weren't really communicating well.

So, my advice comes from what we did right (color code boxes) and what I learned from what we did very, very wrong.

Hope you enjoy it!


Dear GE, Your Cafe Series Range Has Been Leaking Gas Into My House

Below you'll find a message to GE. I'm posting this to warn people about the Cafe Series (CGS985SET5SS) range I purchased and also about (what I think is) GE's lack of responsiveness to a very dangerous hazard. Please share with anyone who has this range or is considering buying a new range. I don't care about page count, publicity, or anything like that, I care about what COULD have happened to my kids and COULD happen to someone else...

Hey, GE, remember me? The lady who called about the two ranges of yours that were leaking gas into her house? Of course you don’t, because you never took the time to call me back and learn about it.

So, let me back track. I was dazzled by your Café series (CGS985SET5SS). The bells and whistles, the beautiful, sleek, professional look all attached to the name GE with a big red ribbon on it. I was creating my dream kitchen under high stress (hours notice), so I chose your products (range, fridge, dishwasher, and convection microwave) and built the rest of the kitchen around it. It was love at first sight when the appliances were delivered in late October.

And then I used the oven. The first time I actually cooked something in the kitchen the smell of gas was so strong you could smell it outside. How do I know this? Because I was hosting family for dinner and they smelled it on the driveway. So, I called our gas company whose tech arrived immediately. His meter went nuts and he turned off gas to the range. Yikes. I called our retailer who insisted this was the first issue they’d had with this unit and offered to send us a replacement. I agreed, figuring I was just the unlucky person who received the defective stove.

Then I used the new stove and I smelled gas… again. And again. And again. The gas company came out twice. They couldn’t figure out what the problem was, as their meters weren’t showing anything. They suggested I open the windows, that since they were new there wasn’t enough air flow. It was getting increasingly worse, so I started avoiding using the stove. Except for Thanksgiving when I made a full meal and had to open the windows to air out the kitchen (as had been advised by a confused gas company technician). My mom called me at work one day and told me she had tried making the kids dinner and it got so bad she could taste gas and we had no choice but to address it... AGAIN.

So, the next day my husband and I decided to figure it out on our own. We started the oven… No gas smell. It heated to 350, we both walked into the kitchen, and – BAM – hit a wall of gas. We turned it off. Then set it to 325 and tried again. Nothing. So, we opened the windows and called the gas company.

The gas company showed up and the two of us explained everything we knew about the problem, including our suspicion that gas leaks when the oven tries to maintain temperature at 350 or higher. He turned on the oven. Nothing. And then it hit 350 and within a few minutes his little meter starting beeping, went red, and basically did all of the things to alert us to the fact that we had a big gas issue in our kitchen.

“You've got a major problem here. This is crazy. You’re lucky you didn’t blow up your house,” he said. Hear that, GE? Because the “customer care” guy I spoke with yesterday morning didn’t seem to think it was a big enough deal to put me on with his supervisor. He told me I was now in a cue, which I apparently remain in as I await a call 24+ hours later.

But I digress... The guy from the gas company was shocked. We were shocked. The reality is: we were putting ourselves and the kids in an incredible amount of danger when we used that stove. Our retailer gets it. Apparently I’m not the only person who has complained about this very issue. And I have been assured they REMOVED THE RANGE FROM THEIR FLOOR until you figure it out, GE. But no recall yet. Both the gas company technician and my retailer confirmed that the range “spews gas” (their words, actually, not mine). Yet, you haven't put anything out there to warn people, GE. Why?

My retailer asked their GE specialist to call me A WEEK AGO. I have not heard from him. I called your customer support line yesterday to see what your recommendation on my next steps should be and to learn of any plans of addressing this hazard. Because, you know, I’m hoping other families who have this stove have a keen sense of smell. And, you know, I’d like to make Christmas cookies with my kids at some point this year. But, GE, you haven't called me back. In your defense, you did warn me it could take up to 48 hours. (By the way, GE, this is not a busted knob… THIS IS A SERIOUS ISSUE. And I was totally open to staying with GE yesterday and finding a different model if you could have assured me it was not a safety hazard, but guess what?!?! Too late.) You're apparently more than happy to send out one of your technicians, but I can’t speak with someone who can actually answer questions.

I'll be waiting by the phone, GE. You just get back to me when you have a chance.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion, based on what I experienced with two ranges, information obtained from GE, my retailer, our gas company (four technicians), and lots of internet searching for answers. Clearly, I was not compensated in any way for this post. And - luckily - there have been no physical injuries, just mental and emotional distress to me and Matt -- and the two grandmothers who have been in tears over what could have happened.