Archive for June, 2014

Further saga of the washing machine (but a good weekend away from it all)

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Further saga of the washing machine (but a good weekend away from it all)

Thursday 6/19: I had to come home just slightly early so they could check to see if everything was still damp.

Friday 6/20: Arranged with ServPro to com out in the brief window at noon where we were home from work getting ready to leave for the weekend. (THat company was very good about setting appointments and showing up on time. Yay, everything was dry! That meant he could take the monster fans out, and we could leave the cats home alone for the weekend.

The weekend at the lake was very nice, more on that later.

Sunday: We gothome and hooked up the washer and dryer – they are standing on bare floor rather than linoleum in a room with no baseboards and there’s a hole cut in the ceiling of the powder room below, but at least we can do laundry.

Monday 6/23: The insurance people finally called to make an appointment, but they call when I’m in a meeting so I have to call back. Turns out the soonest they can come is Friday – and not even at the end of a workday, but Friday morning, which will make the fourth time one of us has had to miss work / work from home due to the stupid washing machine.

The weekend was great, though. We hosted three women from my local knitting group at our lake house, which is only a half hour from the Eugene fiber festival Black Sheep Gathering. We spent Saturday at the Gathering, of course, but there was lots of knitting on the deck, watching the trees and the lake, and I’m pretty sure everyone had a good time. We made the food easy – pizza on Friday night, hamburgers, veggie burgers and hotdogs on Saturday. We provided those plus wine, and people brought breakfast and dessert stuff, not to mention beer and hard lemonade. There had been plans for movie watching and such, but everyone seemed pretty happy just to hang out and knit, appreciating the lake and the perfect weather. There was a minor contretemps with an air mattress, so now we know to make the head end of the bed away from the dial that inflates and deflates the mattress. We may make this an annual thing; besides the three we had, we can sleep about two more people in comfort, or more if people share beds. We would need more chairs on the deck, but that’s doable – we want to upgrade our deck furniture, and if we haven’t done it by then, there’s always the stacable plastic variety.

(Also, Ted gets a hefty share of husbandly brownie points, for hosting a bunch of women he’d barely met, and being both social and active on the housework front. I think they were impressed, actually.)

the washing machine saga

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

I am recording this here mostly for my own reference but also to have a place where I can point people for details when I gripe about our washer issues.

Approx 5/15- 5/30/2014: Our Whirlpool Cabrio washing machine, bought new in February 2013, a top-loading HE model, was being weird – it kept leaving clothes wet at the end of a cycle, so I’d have to run an extra spin cycle.

Sunday: 6/1/2014: Washing machine died completely. When we turned it on, it would do the sensing, then stop and refuse to run. (This was right after Ted ran a few loads of laundry and before I did mine!)

Thursday: 6/5/2014: Repairman came and told us it needed a new transmission and ‘splutch’ (sic), which would cost about $500 to replace.

Saturday: 6/7/2014: At the lake house for the weekend. Did laundry there. Very helpful to have a backup!

Sunday, 6/8/2014 Came home, went and bought a new washer. (Still a top-loader HE but an LG this time.)

Saturday, 6/14/2014:
Noon: New washer installed. We run a cleaning cycle and a load of sheets.
6PM: Ted notices a dripping sound, then sees a few water drips from the ceiling of the powder room directly below the laundry room. Finds that the washer appears to have been dripping all day, because the inlet hose wasn’t properly connected. We mop up water, and he tightens the connection but turns off water to the washer just in case.
7PM: I call Best Buy store, who tell me to call Geek Squad, who tells me I have to physically go to the store and file a damage claim.
7:30-8:30: We stand around at Best Buy while the Geek Squad people fill in what is apparently very complex paperwork. They tell me someone will call on Monday to arrange a time to come out and check damage.

Monday, 6/16/2014: Nobody calls. Toward the end of the day I try calling the Geek Squad, who transfer me to a fulfillment center (?) who cannot help me because I don’t have the claim number with me at work and they can’t look it up any other way.

Tuesday, 6/17/2014: I bring the claim number with me and call the number the people at the store gave me for the fulfillment center. This time I get connected to a nice man who tells me the Best Buy people tend to be confused by the warranty process but he’ll have someone from the warehouse call me. Warehouse manager eventually does so, and wants to come to the house to look at it. I have an early afternoon meeting, so we arrange to meet at the house around 3.
3:40: I call the warehouse because no one has shown up. The person who answers me says that manager has already left but she left a note that she sent me an email. Apparently she didn’t want to call because I was in a meeting, so she emailed me to say that she doesn’t need to come out after all. But it was my personal mail – didn’t check it before leaving work, didn’t check it after getting home because I was working from home. As requested in the email I send pictures of the damage (two tiny paint bubbles in the powder room ceiling) plus a picture of the washing machine hoses where they were hooked up wrong.

Wednesday 6/18/2014 (today): Talk to warehouse manager again. She is very nice and apologizes. She promises to do what she can to have an insurance adjuster call today. She comments that the hose hookups are cross-threaded, probably due to the initial installation because Ted wouldn’t have been likely to tighten them that much. She also gives me the name of ServPro, a firm that deals with water damage, that they use a lot. I call them and they arrange to have someone come out at 3 today.
3:30: After looking around and using his dowsing rod (OK, it’s an infrared sensor that determines where the damp cooler areas are), ServPro guy tells me it will cost about $1500-$2500, but he can have a crew come out right away if I want – they’re on the way back from another job.
4:00: While talking to him the insurance adjuster calls. He makes it clear he can’t pay ServPro directly but that we will need to pay and he’ll reimburse us IF the assessment shows that they are liable. I have him talk directly to ServPro guy to get an idea of exactly what damage has occurred. He seems to think it will be OK, but reiterates that he can’t guarantee anything until they do their assessment, and that he can’t send anyone out to fix the damage after the moisture is dealt with.
4:30: ServPro crew arrives.
6:30: They’re still here, taking my house apart and sucking out water. (Did I mention that only about a couple cupfuls of water caused all this angst? But I can smell the moisture where they have the floor torn up, and they tell me that the flooring was wet enough that it pretty much just crumbled – they just took out a giant trashbag full of what I guess are flooring bits.)
7PM: They’re still here. And I’ve realized we can’t use the washer, dryer until Monday, and using the powder room means navigating around that huge fan and tubing.

Thursday 6/19: Came home a bit early so I could let the ServPro guys in to check the moisture levels – drying out nicely.

Friday 6/20: ServPro guys found everything had dried, so they were able to remove the giant monster fans. Huzzah!

Monday 6/23: Insurance people finally called to make an appointment – earliest available was Friday morning. I’ve had previous phone calls with the main adjust but he had to have someone else come out to see what needed to be repaired.

Tuesday 6/24: realized the washer connections are still leaking after all. Called insurance person to explain this, left message.

Wednesday, 6/25. Insurance person calls back, says she will talk to warehouse manager who needs to figure out how to deal with washing machine (not sure if it can be fixed or must be replaced). She and I both leave messages, but have not heard back by Friday.

Friday, 6/27: Insurance adjuster comes out and inspects damage. We try again to talk to warehouse manager but she’s not in yet. Leave a message with someone else there.

Sunday, 6/29: Insurance guy called back and sent estimate for repairs.

Monday, 6/30: Finally got hold of warehouse manager, was told to call the store where we bought the washer. Did so. They’re going to fill out a separate claim to repair the washer itself – luckily, they seem able to copy information from the original form, so I didn’t have to spend forever on the phone. Same day, guy came out from ServPro’s repair division to check out the fix. Tells me he’ll have someone call to scheduled repairs.

Tuesday, 7/1: Still no call to schedule. I check back. He says he’ll get them on it.

Thursday, July 4: Best Buy calls – somehow I don’t hear phone so they leave message that they’ve scheduled delivery of washer for Tuesday July 8. We do not want washer delivered until repairs have been made so I call back (cell phones, yay – we were 300 miles away at the time visiting family) and schedule delivery for Saturday July 19.

Monday, July 7: Receive email from ServPro – we have to sign an authorization form, then they can schedule repairs. I sign form, scna and send back. We also go to flooring place as instructed and pick out tile.

Tuesday, July 8: Receive email from Best Buy that they are delivering washer TODAY. Thunk head into desk repeatedly. Also call Best Buy but they are unable to reschedule. Nice man on the phone says if we just aren’t there, they can’t deliver and will call us to reschedule. We suspect instead that the washer will vanish and we’ll never get it. Called the main number of the repairs place, since the project manager wasn’t responding, and finally got them scheduled. Called Best Buy again, because I noticed washer hoses weren’t listed in delivery email, and this time talked to someone who put me on hold, called warehouse, and rescheduled delivery to Saturday (and told them to bring hoses). Bill arrived for repair work.

Thursday, July 10: Ted was able to stay home. ServPro people came and fixed hole in powder room ceiling, but not flooring in laundry room. I call them again to check. Project manager calls me back (and apologizes for not responding previously) and explains that flooring had to be ordered – in fact, he went with our second choice flooring, because out first choice would have taken two weeks to get here. Flooring scheduled to arrive Friday, when baseboards would also be put in place and they and powder room ceiling painted. Then Best Buy called – they were going to be delivering washer next day, Friday. WTF is wrong with these people’s calendars?? Told them to bring it Saturday, in case there’s any reason not to put washer on flooring right after installing it. (Adhesive that needs to dry?) Also spoke to insurance agent. We agreed I would call him when repairs were done to make sure it was all within the estimate, and he’d then cut us a check for the remediation plus repairs.

Friday, July 11: Flooring replaced, baseboards replaced, painting. Was supposed to take 2-3 hours, but only one guy showed up and it took from 1PM until – well, it’s after 7 and he’s still here. Did not get a time for washer delivery; the autmated system said it was now scheduled for 7/19 – the date I’d originally asked for!!! ONly now we’ve made plans for that weekend and it took me another half hour on the phone to get it rescheduled for the Friday before. Good grief.

Currently up to 17 separate days on which we had to either talk to someone on the phone or have them out at the house. Some days had multiple phone calls, or call + visit.

catching up some more

Friday, June 13th, 2014

There has been some happier stuff in the last month, though in a way I still feel like I’m waiting for Dad’s death to really hit me.

On Memorial Day weekend we bought kayaks, so now we have multiple ways to get out on our lake. I’ve really enjoyed paddling, because it’s such a different experience from rowing; it’s like the difference between hiking vs training for a running race; you’re just out there, paddling around, stopping whenever you feel like it to look around and appreciate the lake and the woods around it. There’s really no better way to appreciate how beautiful good weather in Oregon can be.

Last week I had another cool opportunity due to the book: I was invited to go out and speak to an executives’ group in Rhode Island. So I flew out Wednesday, spoke Thursday morning and flew right back. I’m still a bit mindboggled at how much they paid for my time, considering airfare, hotel, and a copy of my book for each of their members, but they seemed happy with me and they were a good participative audience. It was fun – all I need now are enough people who want me to speak or consult and I can have a new career!

Next weekend we are hosting a retreat; some of my local knitters are coming out to the lake house, which is nearby to Eugene’s Black Sheep Gathering. So we’ll knit during the day and hang out and drink wine in the evening. This is the first time we’ve done this, but we’d love to have houseparties or rowing workshops there, so we’re hoping it works out well.

And a brief commercial: when we were in Philly helping Mom get cleaned out, we used 1-800-GOT-JUNK to haul away the stuff that couldn’t be donated. They must just google periodically for their name, because they found where I’d written about it, and asked me to include a link. Since we really were pleased with their service, which was efficient and exactly as promised (and admittedly, I used the contact with their guy to plug my book to him!), you will see the direct link in the beginning of this paragraph. They are franchised in a bunch of cities.

catching up – the sad part

Friday, June 13th, 2014

I hadn’t realized how badly I’ve neglected this blog, so a few remedial entries. The most important one is a copy of one I wrote up elsewhere: it’s old news now but too important to leave out. As you might have seen on FB, we spent the second week in May on a very sad trip to Philadelphia. Originally, I was supposed to travel to see Dad from May 10-17, Saturday to Saturday. But my mom called the Wednesday before: his organs were starting to shut down and I needed to get there ASAP. I made sure later to go on Delta’s website to commend them; they had me on a flight that night, arriving at 9:30 the next morning. My brother met me at the airport and we went straight over to the medical center where Dad was in palliative care. We stayed there for several hours. My husband hadn’t been able to get on my flight, since he was in meetings and I couldn’t get hold of him while making my plans. He arrived at my parents’ home around midnight – just in time to be there when we got the call with the bad news at 3AM.

Normally, Jewish funerals are within a day or two of death, but Mom had decided to have Dad buried in a military cemetery (he was a Korea-era veteran of the US Air Force), so that dictated the timing. He died on early on a Friday morning and was buried the next Thursday; we had a religious ceremony at the funeral home followed by a military one at the cemetery. Then we returned to my parents’ house to sit shiva, meaning people came over, there was a short service at the house that night (would normally be one every night for 3 days (7 traditionally) but not on Shabbat) and way too much food. Mom had ordered trays of sandwiches but other people sent over dinners for us the day before and day after the funeral and lots of people brought still more food.

Mom and Dad had already been planning to move to an independent care community, so she’s proceeding with that – but they’d been in the house since just before I was born, and Mom is a packrat. There was stuff from all my grandparents and my uncle. My husband did yeoman duty in getting all that cleaned out, especially the basement and garage – I helped but did more on the upstairs (where he also worked) getting it ready to show to potential buyers as well as for all those visitors. I don’t think Mom even realizes how much stuff we cleared out, though of course we checked with her before getting rid of any of it. We filled one truck of trash as well as taking lots of better stuff to Goodwill.

But mostly we got to be there to support Mom, who has hated being alone in that house since February when Dad first went into the hospital, as well as to see Dad and be there at the funeral. So many people helped – in no particular order: Delta airline (just registered my compliment on their website), our cat-sitter, who was able to work at no notice; my company, who supported me in taking bereavement leave and sent flowers to the funeral home (still not sure how they got the information); the trash pickup company (1-800-GOT-JUNK, in several US cities – very professional);the medical center who cared for Dad in his last days; the rabbi at Mom’s synagogue; the funeral home who did everything well, and most of all all the people who wrote and visited. Nothing can ever make losing a parent easy, but I have rarely ever in my life felt so much like I was where I needed to be doing what I needed to do, or had so many people going out of their way to be kind and supportive.