*on a non-rainy day
A 12′ wide x 12′ long piece of carpet gets brought home easily from Home Depot.
And, believe it or not, Donna was able to ride home comfortably in the passenger seat as well.
*on a non-rainy day
A 12′ wide x 12′ long piece of carpet gets brought home easily from Home Depot.
And, believe it or not, Donna was able to ride home comfortably in the passenger seat as well.
The day after the tardy, sans writing utensil, carpet estimator showed up to measure the room, I received a call from Lowe?s, my estimate was ready. $445 and change.
Huh? Mentally doing some math in my head, carpet 144 sq/ft at $1.28 per plus 52 cents a sq/ft to install is around $250. With tax I should still be under $300. So I asked the girl on the other end could she break it down for me. There was 156 sq/ft of carpet (I asked for this so we could cover a little step going into the kitchen) so that is and additional twenty bucks. There was an additional $47 for the extra labor of covering said step. That seems a little high for amount of work, but that still leaves us in the middle $300 range. Then there was an additional 35 dollars for floor leveling compound and $45 for adhesive. I told her that my floor didn?t need leveling and she said she would have a Mr. Howard from the installation company call me.
So Donna and I started whittling away at some of the costs to get the price down to a manageable level. Forget the extra foot of carpet, I’ll just paint the step. No leveling and a favorably installation date & time and we would go for it. And WTF, the installation cost didn?t already include the glue? For the 52 cents a sq/ft they were basically trimming 5? off two sides and laying it down in the room? I?m betting the installation cost you see advertised in the store for wall to wall carpet doesn?t include the tack strips either.
Mr. Howard never called me, but the Lowe’s girl left a message on my work phone the next day to the effect that she had spoken to him and he said if the floor wasn?t leveled we ran the risk of seeing or feeling the joints in between the flag stones of the existing floor through the carpet.
Because I never got to speak to Mr. Howard I never got to explain to him that it is not real flagstone, it is some sort of hard vinyl outdoor flooring from the fifties that is a fairly convincing simulation. There is a difference in height between the ?stone? and the ?grout?, but it is measured in thousandths of an inch and in no way would be felt through even the thinnest carpet applied over it. And had the mental midget who measured, looked down at something besides his tape measure, he would have noticed the swirly glue residue left behind from when we had pulled up the previous carpet and maybe realized that the floor didn?t need leveling.
So what now? We are into Lowe’s for $51 for the measurement visit, but thirty-five of which we would get off the install charge if they did it. The other $16 was for an asbestos check that was spent on our estimation guy using his Jedi mind powers to look for this problematic material. Either that or he can smell it because we didn’t see him do anything except unfurl his tape measure twice.
So we did the smart thing, cut our loses with Lowe’s, found some commercial carpet we liked at Home Depot for 85¢ a sq/ft, bought a tub of glue and some fresh blades for my box cutter. Total cost, is under $200 because my labor is free and that even includes the $51 we threw away.
(coming soon: Home Depot carpet buying experience & Lowe’s Ship to Store fun)
We had breakfast at Fatz. The restaurant itself doesn’t do breakfast, but they do allow worthy causes to use the building, with their guidance, to raise money by holding pancake breakfasts. A coworker’s church was raising fund’s for missionary work, so we bought a couple tickets.
Afterwards we did our weekly grocery shopping. As Donna put away our purchases, I went to start painting the computer room, but I didn’t have a paint tray… I had tossed it out after the gray wall paint because I was going to buy a new larger one to match the larger liners I had accidentally bought and never did. Donna said while you are out, you might as well get some milk too because we forgot to get that on this morning’s shopping.
When I got home she greeted me at the door and said, “The kitchen sink isn’t draining.” We spent the next 15 minutes looking for the plunger we just knew we had. After checking everyplace we could think of, I was preparing to go to the store for the third time this morning, when Donna found it in an unexpected place in the garage.
After five minutes of upper body workout with the plunger with no success I got a bucket and loosened the waste line from the garbage disposal. It, along with the trap, were full of water, but no clog. I tried using my little barbed snake thing, but it only went in the line into the wall a little way before running into the 90 degree bend and stopping ineffectively. I then knew I was going to the store for the third time. Needed some Liquid Plumr. Put the waste line back together and grabbed the car keys.
I poured half a bottle of pungent viscous goo down the drain. Waited 15 minutes and the water level hadn’t moved down. So the other half of the bottle went in and another 15 minutes later, same results. Time to call in the other kind of liquid plumber (the human body being approximately 70% water.)
We first called our usual plumber and their on the phone estimate scared us off. Plumber #2 was an answering machine and plumber #3 spent 3 minutes explaining to me how expensive it would be for him to come out on a weekend. We bit the bullet, called plumber #1 and said come on out.
He spent the first hour on the roof running his mini-snake down the kitchen vent to no avail. Then he crawled under the house to see if there was a solution down there. And when I say crawl, I mean crawl. When you first go under our house there is about 4 feet of room from the dirt to the floor joists, but it shrinks quickly. By the time you get to the kitchen is is about a foot and a half and there is all that HVAC dust work to squeeze over or under to get there. The only option left was digging a hole. The kitchen drain is a separate line that goes out from the house and then it drops down and joins the main line, this is here the problem was. After 55 years this junction had become totally plugged. I guess because of the distance from the sink and the size of the pipe it could hold quite a bit of water so that we didn’t notice that gunk was building up and narrowing the opening.
It did cost us a chunk of change to have him come out, but we got our money’s worth. He spent almost 4 solid hours working on this fix and it was raining on him the whole time.
While reading Google News this morning, my eye caught an interesting headline, “Ripple Effect After Fiery Crash Takes Out Only Place To Get Gas…“, so I clicked on it.
Wait a minute. That name sounds familiar. Chugwater, WY. I’ve been there! It was our first geocache find in Wyoming back in 2009 when we took a vacation out west.
The next closest town that the article mentions, Wheatland, where residents go to get gas was geocache #2.
When it came time to buy the microwave for the remodeled kitchen, Amazon had it available for $130 with free shipping, but Wal-Mart online had it for $100. If I had the microwave shipped to me it would have cost $15 and then I would have to worry about the UPS man leaving the package on the doorstep at home or having it come to work and then toting it home. I could save that shipping cost by having it delivered to the Wal-Mart just down the street and get it at my convenience.
When the microwave got to the store I received an email letting me know I could pick it up. So after dinner one night Donna and I made the short trip. When I walked in I was unsure exactly where to go to pick it up, so I started at the Service Desk. Of course I was first in line, but both CSRs were helping people. They were already helping them when I walked up and they were still helping them after 3 or 4 minutes. Finally the one closest to me has to page a supervisor, so when she puts down the phone to wait for a response, I butt in, “Excuse me. I’m here to pick up an internet order. Is this where I should be?” “No,” she says, “It is in the back of the store.”
As we walk to the back of the store we see the giant lettering on the back wall “e-Store” or something like that. There is a big alcove back there that looks like it used to be used for Layaway. Unfortunately it also looks like it used to be used for the “e-Store” as well, as it is vacant. Attached to one of the cash registers is an 8-1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper with the phrase “Pick Up Internet Orders In Electronics” hand lettered on it.
When we get to Electronics there is no one manning the desk, so we hover for a minute or so when we notice a lady just standing there. Eye contact is made and she offers up, “He’s in the back checking on something for me.” After a minute or so the store employee shows back up and when his short conversation with the women is over, turns to us and asks how he can help. We’re here to pick up an internet order.
“What’s the order number?” I hand him the email. “I don’t see the order number on here. What’s your phone number?” I give him our home phone number. “I still don’t see anything.” I volunteer my work phone, still nothing. “What’s your last name?” I spell it for him. “Email address?” I’m not sure if he found anything or not, because he asks what size box is he looking for. I say, “Small microwave,” and off he goes.
We wait for his return. We wait. And we wait. Finally after about 5 minutes (which seems like 15) he comes back with our box.
Donna likes this one style of pants from a certain label for use at work and always has at least 4 pair hanging in her closet. They are permanent press of some sort of polyester that wears like iron, so it is usually 4 or 5 years before she needs to replace them. This year was the year. They’re sold at JC Penny and Belk, so it is usually a simple matter of going to the mall, trying on a pair or two until the right fit is achieved and we are out the door.
But this was the year that we couldn’t find any in Belk and only find 2 pair in JC Penny. So we took the info off the tag of one of the pairs of pants and went looking online. JC Penny had them in stock. Placed the order, selected ship to store to save a few bucks and waited.
The invoice said to expect delivery in 5 to 7 working days, so weekends and Good Friday were out. On working day 8 Donna called the store to see where her pants were. They should be here in a couple days came the response. Sure enough, on working day 10 (calendar day 15), we received an email saying her order was ready for pick up.
At least in this email we are told where to go to get the order: See any Associate (this is helpful as I’m sure we would have first tried the area where you used to pick up catalog orders.) When we get to the store we go to the check out in the ladies department where there are 2 people working. Donna hands the printed email to the first lady and says, “I’m here to pick up an internet order.” She says, “I’ve never done one of these before.” Lady #2 says, “It’s easy you just go in the back and it is on those shelves.”
We follow Lady #1 as she heads to a different part of the store. As she is passing through the shoe department Lady #3 asks what she is doing. “Getting an internet order.” Lady #3 says, “Ooh, can I come with you? I’ve never been able to find one of those.” Donna and I settle in some chairs in the shoe department expecting a prolonged wait. But in less time than it took for the guy in Wal-Mart to find our microwave, the ladies returned with Donna’s pants.
When we get home there is a message on our answering machine. JC Penny called to let us know Donna’s order was available for pick up.
As part of the kitchen remodel that spread out over nearly the whole house we needed some new living room curtains. We shopped online and found some we like at Lowes. We went to the store and they had them on the shelf, but only in the 84″ length and we needed 95″. To make sure these were what we wanted we bought one panel in 84″ to take home and hang.
We like ’em. I go to Lowes.com to order 6 panels (its a big window) and there are 3 delivery methods, Store Pickup, Lowe’s Truck Delivery & Parcel Shipping. Store Pickup is free. Parcel Delivery is for whatever reason grayed out and listed as unavailable. Truck Delivery is $79!, roughly half the total cost of the 6 panels themselves. Guess which one we “chose?”
A week or so later when we get home from work there are 2 messages on the answering machine. Both are from Lowes, 2 different voices, letting us know our order can be picked up. It was the night of the monthly MMC meeting and this month it was in Aiken, so we decided to leave a little early and pick up our curtains beforehand.
We go right to the service desk as that was how it worked last time. I tell the woman behind the counter, “I’m here to pick up an internet order.” She asks for my phone number and she enters it in the register. She then looks behind her into the cage on the wall. She looks back at the register. She glances at the phone. Back at the cage. The register. The phone. She sighs. She picks up the phone and pages a Mrs. Someone. We wait. She takes a couple steps back and glances at the cage again. A guy shows up behind the counter. She looks at him. She looks at the register. She looks at the phone. Donna corners the second individual and wants to know what is taking so long to retrieve our order. He says he’ll check and off he goes. We wait some more.
The person who was paged finally makes an appearance and we let her know that this is unacceptable. We had two separate calls telling us our order was in, but no one can seem to find it. She apologizes and says, “I’ll go see what is happening.” We wait. The original woman behind the service desk is looking nowhere and especially not at us. I’m so mad at this point if they showed up with the curtains now I might just walk back around to the other side of the service desk that is marked RETURNS and get my money back. Instead we leave the store, leaving who knows how many people looking for our curtains, so we can make the Miata Club meeting.
An hour and a half later we return to Lowes and the woman behind the counter recognizes us and picks up the phone right away. She says someone will be bringing our curtains right out. We wait. Every minute, minute and a half, we would hear a conversation coming down an aisle our way and each time it wouldn’t be our curtains. It took over 5 minutes before they finally arrived. We left very disappointed in the experience vowing to shop at Home Depot from now on. And swearing we won’t ever do the ship to store thing ever again.
The only radio we listen to in the Miata is from RadioParadise.com. OK, occasionally on a Saturday morning I’ll tune to an NPR station to catch some classic Click & Clack, but 99.9% is an MP3 ripped from an internet stream and burned to a CD. Ten of those CDs sit inside a cartridge housed inside a Sony Disc Changer that is tucked into one corner of the trunk. It has been that way for the 9-1/2 years the Emperor has been in the family. This same changer even predates the Emperor for a couple years prior it sat inside the spare tire of the trunk of our previous Miata With No Name.
Recently this unit has been randomly powering off leaving nothing but static emanating from the speakers. I’ve checked all the connections and they all seem sound, wiggling any of them (especially the power cable to the changer) will not make it hiccup, once or twice a ride it will cut out for anywhere from a few seconds to around a minute. Annoying to say the least. Last week I decided to do something about it.
I ordered a GROM AUX-IN Adapter that that allows the use of an iPod and plugs into the back of the Miata’s head unit where the OEM Mazda disc changer would have went. We happen to have a 4Gig Nano that only gets used one or twice a year when Donna and I fly in an airplane, the rest of time it sits in a charger waiting patiently, this will give it reason to get excited for each new day.
The adapter arrived in the mailbox on Monday, so naturally the rest of the day was spent ripping out the Sony Disc Changer, reclaiming 5% of the Miata’s tiny trunk space. Then I needed to remove the OEM radio to get at the connector on the back. Using instructions found in the Miata.net Garage I made my removal tools from a coat hanger, but no amount of pushing/pulling/squeezing/ wiggling would get it to come out. After 20 minutes, a couple of cuts, several bruises and a blood blister on my left index finger I gave up. I guess I might have to breakdown and buy 2 sets of the official removal tools. I had disconnected the battery to take out the CD Changer, so I hooked it back up and set the time on the clock and even loaded a couple of the local radio stations as presets.
Tuesday morning when I got in the car to drive it to work the radio didn’t come on! Pushed the power button and it just bounced back at me, no click. The display didn’t even light up with the clock. There wasn’t any faceplate illumination either. Didn’t have time to do any troubleshooting, so we took the Sonata to work.
At work I called a couple auto parts stores to see if they had any of the removal tools and struck out. Then I tried a local car audio place and the guy there said just bring in the car and I’ll pop it out for you. After work I went there and lickity split he had the unit loose. Amazing what the proper tool for the proper job will do. I thanked him and came home. The radio fuse was fine. I pulled the head unit out and disconnected the harness. Got out my trusty Radio Shack Multimeter and with with the pin out diagram for connecter (thanks again m.net garage) checked for 12 volts. Unfortunately I had the correct voltage at the correct pins. I say unfortunately because that meant the radio was dead.
Hooked the radio back up, slid it back into the dash, buttoned it up so the interior looks good and wishfully tried the power button again (still didn’t work.) Now comes decision time, try and locate a very scarce used Miata Bose head unit keeping AUX-IN box or return the AUX-IN box and just buy a new aftermarket head unit with the iPod function already built in. Until a decision is made it’ll be kind of quiet in the Emperor’s cockpit.
The sound of silence will not be as hard to get used to as it will be to not see the time on the radio display…
We took the afternoon off work today and on the way home we ran a couple errands. Paid the water bill and stood in line for a long time at the Post Office so I could mail back the no longer needed GROM AUX-IN Adapter. Because of the time of day and our unusual route home we ran smack into some nearly standstill type traffic on Whiskey Road. I zipped a quick left in a brief traffic gap so we could come home along a couple of Aiken’s on purpose dirt roads through the horse district. That meant that I needed to wash the Miata this evening because it needs to look its best tomorrow because Donna and I are organizing the MMC’s monthly breakfast.
It sure is nice to have the garage back, really keeps the top transitions to a minimum. That and only driving on days it is not going to rain. I had to go all the way back to April 22nd to find the last time the top changed status.
Been awhile since we did any geocaching, but that is going to change tomorrow as we are at least going to go hide a cache. Might even look for one.
It is also been a while since we’ve been for a walk in Hitchcock Woods, but that is due to change on Tuesday when Donna and I take some company visitors for a stroll in there.
‘There were 5 people for the MMC breakfast and after eating Donna and I drove over to the Club’s Tech Day just to see if we could pop the non-working radio out of the dash. Donna was hoping to have someone magically heal it by laying on of hands, didn’t happen. Turns out, between two of us, Rudy and I, we could only get the right half of the head unit loose from its mounting. The left side would not budge. Of course we only had the bent into U shaped coat hanger pieces to work with, yeah, that’s it, and we didn’t have the proper tools. I did manage to get an additional blood blister on my left hand when I pinched the web between the thumb and forefinger cutting the coat hanger.
After scouring the interwebs for hours looking for solutions to my radio issue I settled on buying a new aftermarket radio. Because we like to be able to walk away from the Miata in a shopping center parking lot with top down and not have to worry any, I was looking for the least flashy looking head unit. I found it, a Jensen MP1524. It’s a veritable wallflower, but it has an inner beauty that includes all the modern bells and whistles. The downside is that the unit isn’t even shipping from the manufacturer yet. Crutchfield lists it as not being available until 6/15, so now we wait.
I drove the Emperor and Donna drove the Purple Whale to Augusta this morning. We both came back in the Miata. We left the Sonata at the Whale Doctor for it’s 30,000 mile service.
On the way over driving the Interstate I set the Miata’s cruise control to 75 and that was fine for the first half of the trip. Then for no reason it surged a few MPH up and coasted back down. Then surged back up again and coasted down again. Then it seemed fine, but it was kind rainy, so I shut it off for the rest of the trip. On the way back I tried again and this time it wouldn’t engage. The on/off switch would turn on and light, but when I tried to set the speed the cruise light would flash on and right back off, without engaging the cruise control.
So what do these two things have in common? I don’t know, but maybe a search of the Miata.net garage will tell me.
When I called to set up the service appointment for the Purple Whale I had to emphasize that I wanted just the manufacturer’s recommended service. The dealer has its own “recommendations” which include everything Hyundai calls for plus, balancing all 4 wheels, lube hinges and steering stops, multi-point inspection OEM recommended and somethings called BG Battery Service, BG Oil & Fuel Service Additives and BG Transmission Fluid Exchange Synthetic, that are mostly snake oil and jack up the cost considerably. I ask the service adviser how much my 30k service is going to cost me and he replies, “$237,” and he proceeds to read me back what I’m going to get for my money. I almost stop him because I’m looking at the dealer’s web site and he is reading the same thing I’m looking at, but I’m glad I don’t. As he gets to the bottom of the list he adds, “Because we are seeing a lot of problems from ethanol in the gas we put in…” I stop him there and say, “I don’t want that. How much is the service without it?” After a brief pause, “$206.”
So when we get to the Service Desk at Taylor Hyundai over in Augusta yesterday to pick up the car I am fully expecting to have to battle to get that extra $31 worth of worthless additive off the bill. The key and my invoice are right on top and I can see the total right there – $174.83. WTF?
When I got home from work there was an email from Crutchfield, the Emperor’s New Radio that was supposed to ship on June 15th, shipped today.
The folks at Taylor Hyundai do a really nice little thing when ever you bring them your car in for service, before they give it back they vacuum the interior and wash the exterior. The Purple Whale looked really good each time we walked by it on our 3 daily walks during breaks, but the 30% chance of rain predicted for the CSRA today fell 100% on it later this afternoon.
Last Sunday after I came back from Augusta with a non working cruise control I wondered if it was related to the non-working radio.
A search of the internet turned up a PDF of a 2003 Miata Wiring Diagram that I could use to help me trouble shoot my electronics woes Turns out that the radio and the cruise are related.
Attached is a segment of the cruise control wiring diagram and in the upper left hand side there is the Bose radio with a red/green wire connected to it at Pin I. This is the speed pulse coming from the PCM so that the radio knows to increase the volume as the car’s speed increases. It is also used by the cruise control module.
Even after seeing this tenuous connection I couldn’t believe that a dead radio could cause the demise of the cruise control, that is, until I replaced the head unit and the cruise started working again…
Yesterday afternoon I put the final touches on the new radio install and what better way to put it to the test that a pleasant summer evening drive. Donna had the idea of what to see, a rare grouping of 3 planets in the night sky and I had the perfect spot to see a nice unobstructed view of the west northwest sky, J. Strom Thurmond Dam at Clarks Hill.
We arrived just after sunset with the west sky a brilliant red to find the parking area pretty full. There were people fishing along the shore, people watching the sunset and a few folks there like us to see the celestial triangle in the sky formed by Mercury, Venus and Jupiter.
The middle third of this 75 mile journey is the best part, all rural and with some semblance of windiness to the roads, add to it our own soundtrack and it made for a perfect evening drive.
A quiet Memorial Day was spent doing a little shopping and then a little yard work. Finally washed the coating of pine pollen off screened porch on Sunday, so Monday I did the last bit of outdoor “spring” cleaning that needed done, blowing the oak pollen clusters off the roof.
Normally I do this kind of job in the early morning, but today I waited until mid-afternoon and I won’t do that again. Dark green asphalt shingles that have spent several hours with the sun beating down on them get quite hot. When I put my hand down on the roof to step off the ladder I swear I heard a faint sizzle.
Hopping off the ladder I only needed to place one hand down for a short while, but going down required balancing on both hands for a bit longer. I think I ended up with 1/2 degree burns. =:-O
We are currently 2/3 of the way thru a free trial of SuriusXM. There are only a limited number of channels available, but fortunately for me my favorite channel is of of those. But I’m not listening to it much though. Maybe it is my memory, but I think I’m getting a lot more signal dropouts than I did back during the initial 6 month trial and the couple other previous 2 week trials. They have been happening almost every time I pass by a bunch of trees on the west side of the car. Maybe as a way to cut cost they have dialed back the signal strength a notch.
Today in the mail was their letter telling me that if I have enjoyed my free trial I should consider signing up for the next 6 months at low price of $25. I ain’t buying.