Friday, February 05, 2010

Nightmares Revealed

I keep telling myself that if I just get my feet underneath me, than I'll go back to blogging.

Well, as it turns out, January was not that month.

The first thing that happened was unrelenting cold and snow. We could not get into the backyard...literally. There was 2+ feet of snow against the back door and the only way to get in the fenced yard was to scale the fence as we couldn't get move the fence.

Then, the washing machine died.

Yes, our 2 1/2 year old, as precious as my children, front-load machine stopped doing the high speed spin cycle. Well, I panicked and lamentably called a repairman. While I waited the cosmically-obligatory 24 hours for him to come out, I consulted the Google-repairman, and came up with the suggestion that my problem was, in fact, a faulty door latch (**foreshadowing** this will be important later). You can imagine, the door latch in any way begins to degrade, and the machine stops doing things like the high speed spin which would cause the door to flop open and spew water and bubbles all over your floor.
So, the very nice man came out and delivered the bad news: it was a faulty circuit board which with labor and parts would begin to approach the cost of replacing the machine with a new one.

My 2 1/2 year old washer.

I thanked him, deliberated with Jason, and we decided to fix the machine.

This is where we enter the land of Opera.

In a fit of frustration, I emailed Frigidaire (the maker of said washer) with my unhappiness that my 2 1/2 year old washer needed such a costly repair. I made it clear that I didn't expect anything of them--we are obviously far out of warranty--but that I thought it was unreasonable that this was necessary. I expected to hear back the corporate customer relations equivalent of a pat on the head and a don't let the door hit you on the way out. But, I was very pleasantly surprised when I got an offer back by email to send us the board which the repairman said I needed. I jumped on this, confirmed with the man that he was ok with doing this (he's not a Frigidaire authorized repairman), and waited for my new board.
Well, it came via FedEx four days later, the repairman was scheduled to come out the next week, I settled in to scrounging up clothes for the kids.
On Monday the repairman came out, took one look at the part and said, "they sent you the wrong part."
So, I emailed Frigidaire, yet again, waited half a week to hear from them, finally heard from them and was told to call a number with the part number of what was specifically needed and of course they would send it out. So, I call the repairman and wait for him to get the exact part number from his supplier. By the time he calls me back it is Monday, and the end of week two of No Washing Machine. I call Frigidaire, order the part, arrange pickup of the other part, and sit down to wait.
This time the part (the correct one!) comes within three days. On Thursday I call said repairman, we arrange for him to come out the next day, on Friday, and I think that all is right with the world as I will get to spend the weekend doing laundry.
On Friday, after about 1 hour and 45 minutes into the 2 hour window the repairman gave that he would be coming, the repairman calls to tell me that he can't make it this particular Friday, that he can come on Monday, instead. After swallowing my need to freak out, we scheduled for Monday, and I contemplated dressing the kids in kulats and Hawaiian shirts.
On Monday, as the repairman has needed to schedule smack dab in the middle of library story time, Jason is the ultimate hero and comes home to work from home to babysit the house while the repairman comes. When I get home, grateful that I will be able to start laundry as I have put on clothes that morning that I wore in the Clinton years, I discover the repairman is there, he is done, and THE MACHINE STILL DOES NOT WORK.
He explains that the short in the board must have fried the motor ("but it still turns on wash cycles" "well, the next thing to try would be the motor"), which the cost will supersede the cost of a new machine. In a fit of frustration--because I have really kept my cool with the repairman and Frigidaire during all of this--I explain that, while I know nothing, when I consulted Repairman Google, he said it could be a faulty door latch that is not being picked up by the normal front door latch light and needs to be diagnosed differently. The repairman looks at me blankly, gestures toward the light that I just told him would not be accurate, and says the door is fine.
At this point, we quickly usher him out of the house, thankfully only out the original service fee call as he demurred from charging labor for the later part of this charade. I call Frigidaire and beg the guy on the phone to just tell me what to do next with my poor 2 1/2 year old machine, and I will do it. Because, at this point, I am just very frustrated that we didn't move next to running water as I was ready to go down to the stream and start beating the clothes on the rocks.
After expressing some personal disappointment in me that I hadn't used an authorized service technician (hey, you and me both, buddy!), he said that if we consulted with one, paying the call out fee and labor, Frigidaire would happily supply the part needed to fix whatever was wrong for no charge (this in addition to the part that they have also provided gratis). I thank him (genuinely grateful), call the nearest authorized company, and plead with the woman on the phone to send someone out today. She assures me she will do her best.
At this point, Jason chases me out of the house, tells me to go take the afternoon off (something new we're trying on Mondays), that he will deal with it. I disappear for about 3 hours until I can't stand it anymore, I have to return home to find out what's going on.
When I get here, the repair man's truck is in the driveway, he is cleaning up as I enter the house.
He has fixed it.

It was the Door Latch. He had the part on his truck.

So for 3 weeks, my washer was broken and for 3 weeks this guy has been driving around Overland Park with the part to fix my washer on his truck.


Ah, all's well that ends well, I suppose. I have learned to always call an authorized technician on such a new machine and that, for all of the hullabaloo, I will buy Frigidaire again. In the end the thing that needed fixed could have been deteriorated by our move (I know I felt a little deteriorated after our move), and was a quick and minor (read: cheap) repair, even if we had had to pay for the part, which I didn't, so bonus, and they obviously bent over backwards to help us out and stand by their product.

So on Monday evening I set about sorting our laundry which had started to look like this:
Our Laundry
So here I am on Friday, with more laundry to do from the week and I am reminding myself that I am grateful to be able to do it in my pajamas.