We are all dependent on modern technology. All of us in the contemporary world just assume the lights will come on when we flip a switch, and the car will start up and take us where we wish to go. And all is well — until it ain’t. Lately it ain’t. Boy, is it ever.
The real adventure started I believe in early November — new furnace. About three grand. Yuk! Okay, so then the water heater died. Again. Another $1200 or so. Then, today’s excitement. But, wait, I am getting ahead of myself here.
Our next-to-latest little go-around started up some time back when The Fabulous Little Wife and I parked at the YMCA for our morning exercise. Just another day, like any other. We are lucky enough to have an automated setup on our van. Just a press of a button and the sliding door opens, the ramp deploys and she can drive her big fancy wheelchair down the ramp and zoom on into the Y. I shut off the engine, pushed the button and — zip. Nothing.
“Hit it again,” she said.
“I did already,” I said, “twice.” Okay. So I walked around and opened the door by hand and pulled the ramp out by hand. She moved off at high speed and this time the button worked — the motor put the ramp away. Still had to close the door by hand. No big deal.
Since then we have had the use of the van, pretty much, but I have to open the door and move the ramp in and out by hand, manually. A little irritating when it used to work mechanically but, hey, not a huge burden.
Anyway, that first day we called up for service on our way home. The dealership where we bought the van, a collision shop and the conversion shop that dealt with the ramp and other modifications for the wheelchair have all done some kind of work on the van since.
Here’s the short version of what has happened: the dealership wanted to replace the entire sliding door. Yes. Thousands of dollars. Yow! So we went to a good collision repair shop and they did some repairs for a few hundred dollars. Then other problems with the door, so more fixits for more money. Then it had to go to the wheelchair van conversion shop for tweaking. More money. That has gone on for about five weeks now, and the door repairs have cost about $1500 so far. Our money of course, no insurance or other help.
Punch line: and it STILL does not work.
I am still opening and closing the door and the ramp by hand. Every time something gets repaired, it exposes another problem that must be addressed. On and on. Normally by this point Diane and I are yelling at somebody and getting some kind of redress. Not this time. I really do not think the shops are misleading us; they all seem sincere. It appears to be a baffling problem, seems to be authentic.
And now we hear the NEXT fixit will be another $800 or so. Just for labor. And nobody can promise that will be the end of it.
Deep breath, deep breath, relax, relax… Whew!
Yeah, I got a little worked up there.
This van, with the conversion, was around sixty thousand bucks, a few years back. Okay, more than a few. A new one is at least sixty-five thousand. So we are trying to make this one last a bit longer of course. And these expenses are a lot cheaper than payments. Sure. Sure thing…
But… will this be the end of this? Nobody really seems to know. Each step has been the answer, until it wasn’t. Just one more thing and we’re done here, right? Right?
So as I write this we have yet to make that last leap but likely we will have to do so. Another eight hundred bucks out the door. JUST to get the power door and power ramp back, working correctly. Is it worth that? Man, it is hard to say.
Then — today! As usual, we were at the YMCA, the wife in the pool doing part of her 11-hours-a-week water aerobics while I worked out in the gym. As I moved from one machine to the next, my phone rang. Our housekeeper, frantic. “We have a major problem here!” she said. The washer had overflowed and half the house was flooded. Aaaakkkk!
That was a few hours ago. The various fixit guys have been here, been paid and are gone. We will have new carpet put in three bedrooms and a hallway perhaps and apparently will have to get a new washer as well.
The Fabulous Little Wife found the whole experience hilarious. Better to laugh than to cry, eh?
So what’s next?? I shudder to think….