Thanks to the loverly weather we’ve been having in Iowa, our house is having some plumbing issues. The subzero temperatures caused the supply line pipes to our downstairs tub to freeze, but fortunately not burst. Unfortunately, when they thawed a bit it freed up some of the years of lime/calcium/crud in the pipes. The build-up then broke a thingamadoodle inside the faucet causing the water to run without stopping.  Naturally this is in the tub which didn’t like to drain.

My wife found this out when she got home and started calling various plumbers. But none of them could get to the house right away and the tub was in danger of overflowing. Luckily one of the plumbers she talked to recommended a drain cleaning service which was able to get out to the house and within an hour got the tub draining better than I’ve ever seen it drain.  So one potential problem was solved but the running water was still going. For extra fun the drain guys convinced my wife that we had a busted pipe in the wall.

After they left, she was eventually able to get in touch with a plumber who could come out. But we had to agree to pay an after-hours fee of$175 to get him there and since we were concerned about the pipes, we agreed. When the plumber eventually got to the house, he confirmed what I thought when I got home (no busted pipes). He had to kill the water to the entire house to shutdown the water to the tub and then got to work.  He found the broken thingamadoodle, but didn’t have a replacement in his truck. He left to try getting one from a hardware store but that store did not have the part either.

He said the company he works for required him to charge us the $175 for coming out plus $119 for the work he already did plus $2.69 for an “environmental fee”. He then told us he would try tracking down the part and coming back the next day, on his own time so he wouldn’t have to charge us another $119 to complete the work.  Unfortunately he called us the next day to say nobody appears to have the part and we have to special order it.

*sigh* Ain’t home-ownership grand?

On Easter Sunday, my wife and I went to her sister’s for lunch1. While we were there, the relatives sprang a couple of broken computers on me asking me to fix them2. Since we were getting really good grub3, I figured I could at least take a look. Of course, neither person with a broken machine had any useful CDs with them, though one did run home to see if she had any there (nope). I ended up taking both machines home and working on them in my spare time. Today, I finally fixed one of them and I fixed it by following the instructions I found in this article: Windows XP Crashed? Here’s Help. That worked really well in helping me fix the XP laptop dumped on me, but the other machine is an older WinME desktop. I’m still working on that one, but fortunately there’s no rush on the WinME box. Still I’m thrilled that I’ve got one of them fixed and can relax a bit4.

1 We had an extremely yummy lamb roast.
2 For the record, I’m a database guy these days not a support tech. *sigh*
3 And free, never forget free! *grin*
4 Yes, I’m still reading those wretched fun Wheel of Time books.

Perhaps I am old-fashioned but I feel when you say you are going to do something, then you should do it. Case in point, this morning I dropped the car off at the dealership to get that shifting problem fixed. I dropped it off at approximately 7:45 AM CST (-06:00 GMT). My appointment to have them look at my car was for 9:30 AM CST (-06:00 GMT). When I dropped the car off, they told me they would call me back when the car was done or if it would require parts/maintenance not covered by the warranty.

It is now after 4:00 PM CST (-06:00 GMT) and have I heard one peep out of them? Nope. Feeling more than a little indignant at this turn of events, I tried calling them. I got a hold of a receptionist who asked me a couple of questions; presumably to route my call to the correct portion of their service dept. Then I was put on hold…

For all of 60 seconds. *Grrrr* After which I got transferred to some nameless persons voicemail. *Grrrr^2*

I was polite and left a message simply asking them to call me back with an update. I even went so far as to give them both my work and home numbers again. And to tell them when I would be leaving work, so they would have a better chance of catching me. Not that I have seen any sign that they’ve tried calling, but I am still trying to be nice and give them the benefit of the doubt. Now, I’m waiting again for them to call me back.

Update: About 10 minutes after I called the dealership, they called me back to say the car was fixed. All the repairs fell under the warranty, so I didn’t have to pay a dime. For those curious as to what was wrong:

  • The brake light switch (what they call the sensor for the ASL) was bad.
  • Additionally when they checked the car with their diagnostic software; it reported there was a problem with one of the engine coolant temperature sensors. So they replaced that as well (again this was under warranty).

Am I pleased with the customer service I received? Not especially but now that we have the car back (and particularly since they didn’t charge us for any of the parts/labor); I’m not quite as upset about it as I had been. Would I buy another VW from this dealer? It’s a bit too early to say. Their sales and finance departments are great, but the so-so treatment from the service department makes me feel hesistant to say yes.

My internet connection went down over the weekend and I ended up taking a half-day of vacation so I could be around for my appointment with the repair guy from 1-5. *grumpf* Why can’t they make appointments like normal people (e.g. 3-4)? Anyways, as you can see my internet connection has finally been fixed and I’ve been catching up on my email and reading the blogs that I do. The following quiz was found via AWelkin:

Normally given the choice, I will sleep blissfully through all of Saturday morning, arising from the depths of my slumber only when the morning has past. Unfortunately, I’d gotten stuck at work Friday night till nearly 7 and so I couldn’t get the rent paid the night before. Since rent must be paid within 3 days or you get hit with a late fee and since I’ve had problems before with dropping the rent off in the night deposit box around a holiday weekend; I really needed to get the rent paid while the bank was open. So my alarm was set and awaken in the wee hours of Saturday morning I did. Ariesna decided to go along with me; so went off to the bank and successfully paid the rent and then hit up the post office.

While I was waiting in line there, an old/odd friend of ours was there as well. Elf was farther up in line than I and was trying to be friendly, but I’m not at my best during the morning particularly not during the morning before I’ve gotten some caffeine in my blood. So, I apologize Elf; I wasn’t trying to be rude/mean, I just don’t do mornings. Finally it was my turn and I got my package mailed off1. The post office was kind of nice because my favorite worker waited on me. He’s an older guy who’s always nice and has a smile for everyone. Plus, he seems to take some real pride in his work and his appearance; as I’ve never seen him show up looking sloppy (like most of his co-workers do).