What a month it’s been. But as the snow has settled all around and completely altered my literal landscape, so too I hope my figurative one. It begins with a new car…
The transmission gave out all of a sudden on I-80 as I headed home at 10 p.m.- with Sage in the back no less. Somehow I managed to coast from the fastlane to the breakdown lane. I was on autopilot. I went from 75mph to 0 in about 15 seconds. “Gotta go, Dad,” I exclaimed into my cell. “My engine’s shot.” I couldn’t even put my Santa Fe into PARK. It rolled backward. I had to use the E brake. 154k miles on it and yet another major issue. I had just replaced all brakes, pads and rotors and the left ball joint! I let Hyundai tow it off to the dealer while Ryan brought us home. I immediately went on the hunt for a replacement vehicle knowing it was time to retire the Santa Fe.
I vowed my next car would not be a first generation model like my 2001 Santa Fe was. I needed something with stellar consumer ratings, a V6 engine and all wheel drive for my steep driveway and no known mechanical issues. And my budget was set at $10k. HA! You find out quickly that it’s impossible to meet my criteria at that price. Even when you think you have, tack on $800 in taxes, $200 in reg fees and what Utah dealers call a “documentation fee” ($150-400). It’s basically a scam the state allows so car dealers can make some extra cash off the backend of the sale. Sure they’ll negotiate the sticker price because they get to automatically re-add that $400 they said they’d knock off.
I looked and looked. After a week of 24/7 emailing, researching and calling on cars I had about all I could take and was ready to suck it up and buy new out of pure frustration. One of the last cars I looked at (btw, I got a rental car to get around in because I was tired of making Ryan my chauffeur), the dealer swore (three times!) that it was clean- no accidents, no title issues, etc. I drive an hour away to check it out, and he tries to show me a CarFax on it to prove it’s never been in an accident, despite my noticing that the hood had been replaced. When I compare the VINs on the Carfax to the one on the Honda Pilot, they’re different! We call up the right VIN and sure enough both airbags had been deployed. Ba-Bye.
The next day I look at a Kia Sorento and have it inspected by Casey at PepBoys. Love you, Casey. He tells me that for a car with only 39k on it, it’s hammered. The boot was torn from the tierod and leaking. Something that shouldn’t happen that soon. He also says stay away from Hyundai and Kias. He recommends a Ford Escape, Nissan Xterra, maybe a Subaru. Sigh. My hunt and research continue.
That night, I bought a CarFax subscription to spare myself time and energy looking at unworthy cars. I became a quick decipher on junk. Like the Mazada xc90 with the transmission replaced at 27k and several other service records. Suddenly, there she was. A craigslist post for an ’06 Chevy Equinox, 22k and a 100k extended warranty on it. I called. Kristin was a sweetheart. She had bought the car outright but owed on a truck and needed to make her payments. Would she take less if I bought it tomorrow? Yes. We met and the car was exactly what I was looking for – ok, it was quite a bit bigger than my Hyundai but it got better gas mileage. She worked with me on a price and I left that night with my new car. And best of all, I LOVE IT! One battle down. I woke up the next morning with no hot water. After three hours with my plumber, I still couldn’t get my nearly new Noritz tankless water heater to produce hot water. As I sat on hold listening to their pitch about ‘hot water on demand’ and ‘never being without hot water’, I wanted to reach in and strangle someone. What a joke!
The tech was helpful in troubleshooting but in the end, the heater was shot. Three more days of nothing but freezing cold water until I could replace the entire unit. What Noritz fails to disclose is that if you live in an area with hard water, you should not even consider a tankless heater unless you have a water softener. If you don’t, the deposits get in there and wreck the heat regulator and you wind up with a $2000 hunk of useless junk. Had my plumber not replaced it for free I would have gone back to a tank system and suffered through a few cold showers every now and then. It did cost me an extra $800 for a water softener but it had to happen. Battle Two down.
With the car and heater things happening, it was impossible to help Ryan move in before Oct. 31. Luckily, his landlord gave him last weekend to clear out but boy was that a chore. His place was disgusting, not to mention needing a truck and storage unit to get his couch, TV and bed put away. I don’t have the space. Here’s the funniest: As he sorted through his clothes, we created this gigantic donation pile. The plan was to take it all to the shelter on the way to the storage place. I suggested we put it outside his apartment door first to see if any of the riffraff in his hood wanted it. Sure enough, not five minutes later did the garbage bags of clothes disappear! It kind of felt good knowing that the clothes went directly to someone in need.
By midnight, we were heading back up the canyon to home. Ryan in his Home Depot one-day rental truck and Sage and I in my new car. Which, by the way, Sage refers to as “new car!” every time we go for a ride. Battle Three down. Finally, Rocky Mountain Power shows up at my door to move a utility pole- SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF MY BACKYARD. Seems my neighbor wants to do some digging and the pole’s on his property. I have no problem moving the pole onto my property but I do have a problem with how far he thinks should will go. I put the stake where I want it and by the evening, the stake has been uprooted and placed 10 feet away. This back and forth continues for three days until RMP tells both of us to call them when we reach an agreement. That night, I took the stake and turned it into an appropriate marker for Halloween:
The next day, I got a call from a member of our homeowners association telling me that my neighbor has decided to move the pole back a few feet rather than fight me. Battle Four down. Now, it’s late and with everything back in its right order, I can rest better and focus on my future projects. Stay tuned….