As reported from the trenches last post, my week began with a broken dishwasher. First-world problem, I know. But I'm basically the slowest dish-washer ever, and when potty-training any additional aggravation is enough to push me over the edge. My dishwasher had broken on Tuesday of the week before, and I'd called a company called Brand Source to repair it. Their website claims "Fast same day service," but they weren't able to send a tech out until Friday, who spent about 20 minutes diagnosing the problem. He ordered a new control panel ($150), and assured me that it would arrive on Monday, when I would get a call to schedule a repair time for Tuesday.
Monday came and went—no call. That night I stayed up until 3:30 finishing my book club book—The Language of Flowers—which was absolutely lovely, but left me ill-equipped to handle what would be an awful Tuesday. I called first thing that morning to find out my appointment window, and was told that the part will not be in until the 25th! That would mean and additional SIX DAYS with no dishwasher, certainly not something I would have agreed to. I called around and found a company that would do the repair within a couple hours. I called BS again to cancel my order and was told that I would be charged a $67 restocking fee. I told them that was ridiculous, and after a long and heated argument was told that this was "non-negotiable." Shortly thereafter, our other repair man came and fixed the dishwasher.
A few hours later, I got another call from BS informing me that the part was in, and they were ready to schedule my appointment. Apparently, they were not only confused about when the part would come in (either six days from then or that day), but they didn't have any record of my call a few hours earlier. I told them that the dishwasher was already fixed by someone else because they weren't going to fix it for another week. Then BS changed the story to me owing them $67 for the technician diagnosing the problem, AND $41 for the restocking (I don't understanding the shifting numbers). Again a heated argument followed, in which I pointed out that I would not have gone with someone else had I known that the part would be in that day, nor would I have agreed to the service the previous Friday if I had been told it would take 10 days to get the part in. BS simply said, "It seems we've reached an impasse. We will send you a bill soon."
I was so incredibly angry, I was shaking. I've never lost my cool like that with a customer service rep, but I've never been treated with so little regard, or observed such incompetence. I was sick at the thought of having to pay $108 to a company that had done nothing for me, in addition to the $380 I'd paid to get my dishwasher fixed. I might as well have bought a new dishwasher. Surely, any reasonable person could see the mistakes their company had made, apologize, and in the very least rescind the restocking fee. One of the reps actually told me, "Well I didn't tell you that the part would be in today!" All part of their "Fast same day service!" Ha! If the part had not come in until the 25th as they projected, it would have taken a full 14 days, minimum, to get my dishwasher running again.
The consequences of my outrage began to manifest themselves within hours. The very kind and capable owner of By Choice Appliance Repair (Rob) had recently left, my friend Sarah and I had worked out and got some endorphins going, and I was just starting to prepare lunch for my boys. Then the familiar blind spots appeared. Or, rather, bits of my visual field disappeared. I put together the equation: Intense stress —> Intense exercise —> migraine. The blood vessels in my brain constrict when I'm under stress, then swell suddenly when I exercise, stretching the nerve fibers which wrap around them. Invariably I begin with migrating blind spots, then strange clusters or streaks of flashing light, which then dissipate to be replaced by a throbbing headache. Occasionally there's some nausea or numbness in my lips or fingers to make things interesting. The headache can usually be tempered quite a bit by ibuprofen if I take it at the first onset of the aura, but the whole thing is hugely unsettling and temporarily disabling just the same.
So, there I was with vision a mess, Finn on my hip, making a sandwich, when Asher starts yelling behind me, "Where the comb go?" I had seen him out of the corner of my eye a minute ago pushing the comb against the dishwasher door, but saw no reason for concern. Yet somehow, the comb suddenly seemed lost inside the door. I felt the hollow space under the brand new control panel, where my hand clasps the grip to open the door. Except instead of a grip, there was nothing but a hole. And when a fumbled around in my semi-blindness for the comb, I felt a nasty shock. I screamed, wondered if Finn had been shocked too, and sat down on the floor bawling. I cried, Finn cried, Asher cried. I was sure Asher had busted the dishwasher again, and we were probably going to have to drop another $380 for a second new control panel.
I pulled myself together, put Finn down for his nap, and called my sister to vent. Once my vision returned, I took apart the door to find the comb and see if Asher had somehow pushed the grip inside the door, exposing the wires. I found the comb, and it was soon apparent that the grip piece was missing. I called By Choice again, and the very kind receptionist (the owner's wife) sent her husband back to my house within 20 minutes. He apologized profusely, explaining that typically the grip is already installed in the control panel, but he had overlooked its omission this time. Within five minutes he fixed the problem and was on his way.
The next day looked more promising. I attended my book group, but soon after I arrived the blind spots ate their way through my vision yet again. I quietly asked the host for some ibuprofen and stalled my departure until I felt safe to drive. That night I tried running my dishwasher again, and was frustrated almost to the point of hysterics when the thing would not start. I couldn't believe I would have to call the repairman again. Dave took Asher swimming at the rec center, and was mildly horrified to realize that he was arriving just in time for our ward's Young Women swim night. He said he felt like a creeper. I thought it was hilarious.
Thursday began with a nasty surprise. Let me remind you that on top of everything else, I am still potty training Asher. That morning I opened Asher's bedroom door to find him naked from the waist down, which was a sure indication of an accident. Immediately I turned to see his box of wipes on the dresser, a turd smashed under the lid. I can only assume that he pooped his diaper before I came down, and was afraid of me finding it. So he stashed in a place that he thought I wouldn't see.(?!?)
Then, with what was beginning to feel like my new morning routine I again called the repair man. Rob was over within 20 minutes, and I gave him my baffled explanation: "I know you got it to work when you were here, but when I tried it, it wouldn't start. The button just blinks and the cycle never starts. Maybe my son broke something else when he shoved the comb in there?" Within five minutes, he had the dishwasher humming again. Apparently some electric piece that registers when the door is closed was loose. He snapped it firmly in place and finally, after more than a week, I was running a load of dishes again. I was astounded at the quality of service offered by Rob and his sweet wife, and how starkly it contrasted with what felt like theft by Brand Source.
I mulled over my options in my mind. 1) Pay Brand Source despite serious objections against their ethics and competence. 2) Take them to small claims court and see if I can get a little extra out of them. It was no exaggeration to say that they had caused me pain and suffering, given the days of migraines and the growing pain and stiffness in my neck that was then starting to become problematic. 3) Tell my bank to refuse the charge, then write BS a check only for the amount I thought fair. 4) Call in a third party like the Better Business Bureau or Tom Martino of AM radio fame. I weighed all the options. I quickly decided to file a claim with the BBB, but didn't have much faith in a company like BS caring enough about customer satisfaction to try to reach a resolution with me.
I hoped that BS would refund the $150 deposit that I'd foolishly made and then send me a bill, as their snotty customer rep had said he would. That would save me the difficulty of asking my bank to refuse the charge. But, after Dave called BS, he informed me that would not be the case. BS will take the $108 that they believed I owed them, and send me a refund for the remaining $42. Considering that I never authorized the restocking fee, I consider that theft. Lesson learned about paying for services not yet rendered. Now I have only to decide how aggressively I should pursue the company. Their online reviews are atrocious—a lot of people with similar experiences who feel that BS was hugely incompetent and dishonest. The same rep that made my blood boil hung up on Dave. It makes me desperately want to go after them, and yet there are risks. Obviously I have found the situation more stressful than I can handle, so I would have to keep a lid on my emotions. I'm also as yet unsure of the fees and risks of small claims litigation.
Friday brought with it a new wave of stress. My cake class had its final session for Course 3 (Fondant). Every week I stress about getting everything prepared, making sure the kids are taken care of, either by Dave or a babysitter, and getting out the door in good time. This week was especially bad, as I had to bake a cake, make it square, and ice it. As per usual, the cake came out way too late. The hot car did me no favors, and my cake was an oozing, lopsided mess by the time I reached Michael's. My disgruntled teacher helped me cajole it into workable shape, just in time to see my friend Kacy come in with an even more disheveled wreck. We were a sad pair, but I was past caring at that point. My neck was bordering on unbearable by then, and I had concluded that the muscles on one side were tensing from all the stress. I tried to focus on calming myself, and keeping my head above water.
Saturday, despite my reservations and agonizingly painful neck, I packed up the boys to go to the mountains. Dave and his friend Daven had left early in the morning to go hiking for shed antlers, and my friend Savanna and I were to bring lunch and come for a picnic. I gritted my teeth and worked around my near-inability to turn my head, trying to pack as quickly as possible. But by the time Savanna had pulled up, a streak of flashing lights had appeared, in the shape of a glittering hair plastered to my eyeball. I gave in and took some ibuprofen, which had the added benefit of reducing my neck pain. For the first time in days the pain was mild enough to ignore. We had a wonderful drive up, only slightly dampered by Finn's near-constant crying. Once there, we enjoyed a long lunch next to a slow river, a warm day under gray spring skies that eventually began to sprinkle. Asher thoroughly enjoyed running around with his very best friend Emery, the two of them chasing each other with sticks. At one point Emery threw her arms around Asher's neck and Asher responded with a heartfelt, "I love you Emery!" Yet again I missed out on riding our four-wheeler (two years we've had it and I've still never ridden it), but it was a fun little trip just the same. We had to leave as the rain moved in, but the departure was sweetened by the promise of discount sushi in the ski town of Dillon. (Gotte love the offseason.) Dave is listening to all the Harry Potters again, so we spent a good portion of our drive home immersed in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Once home, we packed the boys in, Dave turned vigilante, and I gave Asher a crummy haircut. It was after 10 o'clock before I got the boys in bed, and crazy girl that I am, I stayed up until 4:30 to decorate my cake I'd made the day before. My neck was inexplicably feeling better I was relishing feeling normal again.
Today our boys were absolute monsters in church. They were both exhausted from late bedtimes last night, and thus rambunctious, needy, and whiny. After church we had some friends over for dinner, which was lovely in that Dave did all the cooking, but still exhausting when I've stayed up so late. They have fours kids, so fortunately they seemed completely unfazed when Asher sneaked into the living room to pee copiously on the carpet. I was extremely annoyed to abandon my plate and feel around the room for the puddle, then mop the pee trail that he'd made throughout the house. I HATE POTTY TRAINING!!! It is inconceivably hard to remain calm every time he has an accident, when sometimes it takes me a half-hour to clean up. I am steam-cleaning the carpets once he is reliably trained.
Tonight ended with a bang. I was so eager to finally get the boys to bed, but as soon as I laid Finn in his crib he had a massive barf all over his mattress and rug. I am praying that he does not have a bug. The last thing I need is somebody else's bodily fluids to mop up. Surely this week cannot be as terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, as the last?