Friday, June 14, 2013

Rough Day and Back to One Car

Talk about a rough day, though for the record, it was not filled with despondence and despair. I consider this to be a good sign.

I needed to return some supplies to LaValleys thanks to SH and his planning. I can’t say it’s completely his fault, but our shift in plans was largely due to his needs, and this change required the return of hundreds of dollars worth of insulation. I’ve noticed that contractors are pretty relaxed about ordering too much stuff with the assumption that it’s easy enough to return, but returning it is not always so simple and clear cut.

This time around, we used less than half the insulation, and it wasn’t cheap. The stuff came in bundles of 5 sheets, and each bundle weighed well over 100lbs. more like 150. Too heavy to lift. I called LaValleys and said I’d like to bring it back, and the first thing the guy said was, “No way!” I got the stuff in December, so it had been 6 months. He said 30 days or less, or tough luck. I couldn’t believe it, but from past experience knew that you have to get second and even third opinions because the first person you talk to doesn’t always know what they’re talking about.

This was the case in this instance. I asked the guy if I could talk to the manager, and he put me on hold only to come back and say that I could return them as long as they were in re-sellable condition, which they were. There was also a 10% re-stocking fee. Good enough for me. He just mentioned that we should bring it in as soon as possible, and I couldn’t agree more. Now that there was some doubt about returning it, I just wanted to get the stuff out of my hands.

Now the big question was, how to get it there. I had three bundles, and each weighed a lot, so that ruled out any vehicle that we owned. The easiest thing to have done was to call my Mentor, who is in town, to help me out, but I haven’t spoken to him in awhile, and I don’t think it’s right to call him first thing with a favor. Bear in mind, that hasn’t stopped me from doing exactly that, but I might as well try to avoid it.

That meant I had to locate a truck, which is easy in these parts, but I needed one that I could use for a few hours. Most guys need their trucks for work, but I do have some friends that have an extra vehicle. Enter GG, my hero. I’ve borrowed his truck in the past to buy drywall (with the Amazing PR Man, no less), and he’s really cool about lending it out. This time was no different, though his wife JG needed it around noon, so I had to spring into action.

I drove over to their house, chatted with JG for a few, then headed to LaValleys. I returned the insulation, and then stopped in the parking lot to secure some things in the bed, but then the truck wouldn’t re-start. I couldn’t believe it, and thought maybe there was a kill-switch somewhere. GG runs a plow on that thing and there are buttons and switches all over the place. Nothing worked. I called JG to explain the situation, and GG to see if he had some insight.

Now luckily enough, GG worked nearby, and actually came over to help out. He said something like this has happened once before, and after some investigation, he isolated the problem. We did not, however, have the means to solve it, so he said not to stop until I got back to his house. The problem was one of the battery connections is loose, and can’t be tightened anymore. The contact is being made, but every now and then, it slips enough to kill the power. It’s would probably be easy enough to fix with some washers.

I got back to their house just as JG was pulling in, and I explained the situation. I started the truck again and it worked, but I think the whole situation weighed a little on her mind. Can’t say I blame her. I thanked her profusely and then headed home, which is when the fun really started.

I drove down the hill and into town, and as I was about to enter the main section I heard this loud rattling sound from the back wheel. It didn’t sound good, like metal pieces clanking around. I pulled to the side and had a look but couldn’t see anything. I kept driving and the sound didn’t go away, so I pulled into Mac’s and had a closer look, putting the back end on the jack. The first thing I noticed was the wheel seemed somewhat loose, and when I grabbed it, I could shake the thing. Not good. Reaching into the wheel well, I could shake the shock absorber/strut, so it seemed that the wheel mount had dislodged from the frame. This is the same wheel that had a flat last weekend (a sign?) and needless to say, I wasn’t about to drive the thing anymore.

I called R and she came to get me, and we decided to have the car towed to Meuniers, our trusty mechanic. AAA sent a truck over and we had him make the trek over the hill. The driver said he could hear what I had heard, and he thought it might be a broken strut. When we got to Meuniers, RM took one quick look at it and said he can’t believe how much more rust damage it had sustained since he last saw it. He did say that this would be the last year it would pass inspection, and he was right. I was hoping for one more year, but no such luck.

We left the car for him to check out, and then came home with the knowledge that we really need to get a new car. This is a complete bummer when for a million and one reason, but especially if you had any idea what we went through buying our last car. To make matters worse, one of us is sick in bed, so it just keeps getting more interesting. At least the insulation is taken care of.

Now we go shopping for a new car. We knew this day was coming, just not quite so abruptly, but sometimes that’s the only way that things happen. You have to be forced into action. R and I are both glad for one thing - the strut/shock didn’t snap off when we were driving at high speed with the kids in the car. Thank goodness for that.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Daizy Smith and BlazerMan for the pics.

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