Saturday, September 16, 2006

My struggle with technology, old and new

First of all -- thank you to everyone for the well wishes in my new position! Tomorrow, I get to preach my first children's sermon!!

There were two battles raging this past week; one against my car and the other against my computer, both waged by proxy with the institutions that were supposed to be servicing each. One was a victory, while one was a lost.

The victory first: Dell finally consented that yes, something was wrong with my motherboard and yes, they will send a technician over. This technician came over on Thursday (after we played phone tag for a bit) and replaced the motherboard. And....I have no more internet connection issues! Quel shock. I can now put the ethernet cable in and the computer recognizes that a cable is there each and every time. Yay!

The loss: the car. I don't know how long I want to draw this out, but it started last Thursday, when I was supposed to go up to meet with my pastor to talk with him about what I would be doing on my first Sunday. I didn't get two miles before the check engine light came on and I had to drop it off at the dealership a few towns away. Since my car was undriveable (for the most part), a fellow seminary friend drove me to church that Sunday (for which I will be forever grateful!). I took the car in this past Monday...waited three hours...and found out that in addition to the check engine light stuff, I had $3500 of work to do on it. Including the brakes and the radiator. I took it to Midas to do the brakes (because they were cheaper and they do a better job), and then dropped the car of on Thursday to do selected items like the check engine light stuff and the CV boot (it's cheaper to do the radiator stuff in Maine).

I picked the car up on Friday and.....the alignment is OMGsh bad. Not slightly bad. But "steering-wheel-at-thirty-degrees-below-vertical-to-go-straight" bad. I called them from the road (which is illegal in New Jersey, but oh well) and told them it was their fault, and they said there was nothing they could do; the place was already closed for service and on Saturday they didn't have anybody in who could do it. The guy couldn't even figure out why I would have any alignment problems. Grr. So I called my parents, and got in touch with them this morning about how to proceed. I called the dealership back because I feel very unsafe driving this car and didn't want to spend an hour-and-a-half on the road getting to church and back tomorrow. I couldn't get a loaner because the company they use closed at 12 (I was calling, no joke, at 12:03), and their other loaner cars hadn't returned yet. I asked if there was another company they could refer me to to get a rental, and the guy said he didn't have the authorization to do that.

After much angst and calling the parents and venting to Ben and Ben calling his parents, we decided to go to the dealership prepared to leave the car there, ask for a manager who could authorize a rental from another company and if they wouldn't, to ask for the number of their district managing office to register a complaint. We drove to the place (in separate cars), and I got there without any incident.

However, I think it's a state law or something that in New Jersey, no driveway can be at the same level as the road. I swear it's illegal or something. So I was making a left turn into the dealership on one of these lousy raised driveways with a bumb, and something on the front end of my car drops and starts scraping up against the road. I mean, loud screechy scraping. Definitely unsafe to drive. By this point, I was enraged. Very, very enraged. I pulled into a parking spot, shut the door of the car, and started swearing that they better fix the car. I was mad. I pretty much stormed into the office (which was open still, thank goodness), and when the guy asked me how I was, I said "not good" in a tone that implied that he wasn't going to be feeling very good either if I didn't get some service. To make a long story short, one of their loaner cars had come in and I was able to get it. Ben said the expression on the guy's face was one of "please let the loaner car be in" because the guy knew that I was ready to make his life miserable if it wasn't.

So, the car is at the dealership again, and they better gosh darn fix it for free, else I'm going to register a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. What an awful way to spend my Sabbath day. But it's over, and I have transportation so I can get to church tomorrow. And right now, that's all I really care about.


Anonymous said...

That is freaking hilarous. It didn't happen to me, therefore I will LOL the rest of today. God bless you.
Rob C.

Melissa said...

Haha -- Thanks Rob. :-)