Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome to Our Money Pit

I am this close to making a sign for our foyer that greets visitors with a cheery "Welcome to Our Money Pit!"  The only reason the plan remains in the works and not in reality is because I am still hammering out how to post the sign so that we can strategically place a donation box near it as well.  It's all in the details, folks.

In just over nine years of living in this almost forty-year-old house, we have replaced darned near everything.  We have replaced the old roof, water softener, water heater (twice), refrigerator, stove, furnace, some broken plumbing, and a toilet.  Those are just the things we have replaced due to breakage.  We have also replaced and remodeled a bathroom.  We have stripped wallpaper and replaced the flooring in almost the entire upstairs.  When we moved in, there was wallpaper in every single room and nine different types of flooring in the upstairs.  The kitchen, alone, had three different coordinating wallpapers.  Even worse is the fact that the different papers were not the kind of wallpaper a sane person would put in a kitchen.  Instead, it was a paper design made up of pink and blue flowery ribbons, something one might fight in an elderly woman's tacky bedroom.  We had wiring put in for overhead lighting in all the upstairs bedrooms and living room and installed ceiling fans and other lighting.  And by the way, what the heck was wrong with people building homes in the seventies?  By that time, I would have thought someone, somewhere along the way would have finally figured enough is enough and would have said something like "Wouldn't it make better sense to wire houses for lighting in all the rooms and not just the kitchen?"  Sometimes I am just plain embarrassed to admit I was born in that decade. 

All that work and I still look around and see that every window and door needs replacing.  The driveway is a cracked mess that can barely be called cement anymore. 

As usual, I digress...

On the agenda this week:  a heating and cooling specialist, a garage door technician, and dishwasher installers.

Thankfully, there will be no charge for the heating and cooling guy (call me presumptuous - I'm only assuming it will be someone of the male persuasion).  He is coming just to do a check-up.  Or, as I joke with my husband, a mid-morning break.  See, our furnace is located in the unfinished part of our basement and we do most of our living up on the main level.  So when the furnace guy is here only to check things out, I joke that he is down there rattling a few parts and banging a few panels and then using the remainder of his half-hour to text on his phone.  Or look through all our junk down there.  Who knows what he does down there.  This checkup, and another one this coming winter, came "free" with our new system we bought last year.  And by "free" I mean that we paid thousands of dollars for two visits from the people who installed the big metal box that heats and cools our house and for the big box itself. 

We also have a garage door guy coming out this week.  Again, I am just assuming here - it might end up being a lady (or a girl or a gal - whatevs!) who comes to doctor our door back to health.  Unfortunately, this call is not going to be free.  Our garage door, which has already been replaced, is not closing properly.  Hit the button and the whole ding-darn thing sounds like it is going to cave in on my SUV.  When I called to have the people come out, they told me to clean the lenses to make sure debris on them was not causing it to think something was in the way and change its mind about closing.  As ridiculous as that idea sounds, when I got off the phone I said a little prayer to the gods of garage doors and hoped for a miracle.  It did not work.  Of course it did not work because that would be too easy and it did not cost a penny except for the few spent on the paper towel I used for the task.  So the same people who installed our garage door a few years ago will be paying us a visit to tell us why our door that theoretically should not be having any issues yet, is indeed having issues.

We also have the dishwasher people coming out.  I am going to try to explain this one without my blood boiling but just in case I am not successful and have to get off here before blowing a gasket, suffice it to say that I do not advise and we, ourselves, will not being making any future purchases from Best Buy that store that was happy to wish Muslims a "Happy Eid Al-Adha!" a few years ago but could not find enough goodwill to extend a "Happy Thanksgiving!" to the rest of Americans that same year. 

Oh yes, Best Buy, I remember that incident and while it is not entirely why my family has avoided shopping at your stores the last several years, it has been there in the back of my mind. 

Up until a few weeks ago when we decided to give the big box store another chance, we had avoided them for quite some time for various reasons.  However, when our dishwasher went kaput three days before the Fourth of July, I called around and those people offered the most options for free.  Free delivery!  Free installation (if we bought a Bosch machine)!  Free haul-away of the old machine!  Free!  Free!  Free!  How could I logically go anywhere else?  Lowe's and Sears wanted to nickel and dime us for every little thing and Sears even wanted more than $200 for all of it.  Two-hundred dollars - part of which would have gone to them for taking our old dishwasher from us.  The $200 wasn't even counting whatever dishwasher we chose to purchase.  Call me stingy but I am not parting with more than $200 to pay for things someone else will give me for free.  I am so glad I called around before hauling two kids out to shop three different stores in the 100-degree heat that day.  Looking back though, I do wonder if it would have been worth the extra $200 to not to have dealt with Best Buy or not having a dishwasher for close to three weeks.

Last week when our gorgeous new stainless steel dishwasher was delivered, it was installed quickly.  I thought, great, no sitting around all day waiting for the rest of the installation.  Not so fast.  The installers ran test after test after test and our beautiful new machine was just that, beautiful, but not operable.  Was it a fluke?  I'm sure, but why us?

We - or rather, I should say I - had endured ten days of doing dishes by hand in a household with three kids where we cannot keep up even under normal circumstances with a dishwasher because one child has special needs, one child always feels the need to be the center of attention, and because another child is just an infant....and then our excitement of a new dishwasher was deflated.  I really, really, really did try to avoid the "why me?" pity party that followed but the situation got the best of me because I do feel so often anymore that the "flukes" always seem to find my family.

Getting a broken brand new dishwasher is not the end of the world but it is also not the end of my story.  When the store employee was supposed to reschedule a delivery and install of another new dishwasher last Saturday, he dropped the ball and we were not scheduled again until this week.  If my brand new dishwasher arrives tomorrow and does not work, I may have to summons the younger, more confrontational, me to have a chat with the Best Buy manager. 

Hopefully, I will not be on the news tomorrow evening.  


James said...

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Members include: Those living with Autism, parents of children with autism, their families, friends, support groups, etc.
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Articles, News, Photos, and Videos if you like.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you. I hope you consider sharing with us.
Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
The Autism Community: http://www.vorts.com/autism/
James Kaufman, Editor

Brandi W. said...

I love your blog. We just found out our two year Son probably has Autism. It didn't come as a surprise but it still hurt to hear it. He has been referred to a Neurologist and an Developmental Pedi. He is already in OT and ST. Your blog is SO honest and I love it. I would love to discuss the DAN dr's with you and pick your brain on other issues. I can be emailed at carsonandevansmommy@gmail.com

Thanks so much in advance. I am new to this and there is so much information out there that I don't know where to begin!

Libbie Olivas said...

I’m sorry about your garage door troubles! It sounds like what needs replacing is the motor, since cleaning the sensors didn’t work. Replacing the motor alone shouldn’t cost as much money as having to change everything, including the doors themselves. Have your garage door problems been solved by now? What ended up being the problem?

Libbie Olivas