Blah, Blah, Blog

Yesterday (Tuesday) my husband and I awakened to a large puddle of water atop our cork kitchen floor. Yep, cork! You know…the material that absorbs water and then expands. While hubby dried the floor first with towels and then a shop vac, I sought a service technician for the dishwasher—our suspected culprit.  I called my local Lowe’s store and they referred me to the Advantage number for the extended warranty. I called Advantage, explained my situation and was promised an appointment between noon and five yesterday. At 4:40 I called Advantage back and was told the repairman got behind and now the next available appointment would be Saturday. I blew a gasket. The rep transferred me to her supervisor who suggested I call their local vendor who missed the appointment to see if I could work something out. (Not my job…but I called.)  Local company said Saturday was the best they could do, but asked why Advantage didn’t use another company. So I called Advantage back, went through the 6 prompts to get to a “live person” (yes, I written the prompts down by then), and asked if they could use another company. I was told, “Sure, but it’s after 5 so I can’t promise they’ll get there tomorrow.” Very unhappy, I wrote Lowe’s customer service and copied the CEO – it’s amazing the e-mail addresses one can fine online. This morning I was awakened (more on that in a minute) by the 2nd service provider who said she had an e-mail saying Advantage had given me an appointment for today (they hadn’t). She said she didn’t know how that had happened…they had not shown any appointment slots available. She apologized and asked if she could reschedule for tomorrow. I told her tomorrow was fine and went back to sleep. BTW, I got an e-mail from customer service and a phone call from the CEO’s office.

I needed my sleep because my security alarm monitor started “chirping” at 12:20 this morning. “Chirp, chirp….chirp, chirp….chirp chirp…. I got up, reset it and climbed back into bed. As I reentered my dream world, it started chirping again. I repeated this process several times: chirp, reset, sleep, chirp and finally, around 3 a.m., decided to look for the alarm manual. It appeared I had a telephone problem. Hey, I worked in telecommunications for ten years. This I could handle. I called Comcast and the very nice phone tech had me unplug and check every phone—all five of them. One involved scaling the top of a bookcase to reach the wall jack behind it.  We tried every troubleshooting trick she knew without success so she set up a same day appointment.

I then called the security company, got their answering service who paged the technician on call. A few minutes later a sleepy voice phoned me on my cell. He sent me to the alarm system’s keypad in our bedroom and had me enter a complicated series of numbers and symbols. The chirping stopped. Why hadn’t I done this first? My only excuse is a sleepy brain isn’t always a logical brain. Of course, hubby slept through all of this!

Finally, I needed to run an errand this afternoon. When I opened my garage door I found my driveway guy had just sealed all of the access points to the front of my house. He’d carefully set barriers up to keep anyone from walking or driving on it. Luckily my car was parked on the street…and who cares if I have a couple of footprints in the driveway sealant? Kids leave hand prints in concrete all the time. We’ll just consider any footprints my mark. I wonder if I should go back out and write my name and the date under them.

Driveway Drama, etc.

A couple of weeks ago we noticed our driveway seemed to have “sunk.” While one of our cars had always scraped a little when pulled into the garage, it had gotten worse since Nashville’s “Flood of 2010.” We asked a concrete professional to check it out and he said there appeared to be a lack of support under the aggregate. What did that mean? We had no idea, but we knew we didn’t want to drive across it one day and have it cave in…so we authorized the replacement of it.

It started with a bulldozer that “popped a hose” and spewed something on our front lawn that killed a section of grass.  It progressed to jack-hammers that were so loud I heard them for two days after they finished.   When all of the old driveway was in dumpsters (delivered just for this project) the foreman called me out and suggested I take pictures of the knee-deep holes we’d been driving over.  It seems there was a design flaw with our house and one of the gutters that should have drained over the driveway now drained under it—but without a pipe! Of course it hasn’t helped that we’re closing in on 35 inches of rain so far this year—almost 10 inches above normal.

They brought in two loads of dirt, followed by two loads of gravel. They blocked it and poured a new driveway that’s level with our garage. It is beautiful and probably the only one in our neighborhood with no cracks. So now we’re waiting for it to settle so they can seal it. All’s well that ends well… or not.

With all this rain, the yard is also saturated and now our lawn is about 6” lower than the driveway—a safety and liability concern. So I had the landscape guy come out to see what he thought. He confirmed the “gassed” grass was dead. He suggested we plow up our whole front yard, bring in enough dirt to make it level with the driveway and then re-sod the grass. Of course with Tennessee’s heat (yesterday was the 26th consecutive “above normal” day) the project has to wait until fall. His “oh, by the way,” when he was leaving was that we needed to do something with our large Bradford pear tree in the front yard before it split and fell. He said, if we wanted to keep it, to wait until the leaves had fallen off, probably November, then top it way down to about 10’ high. The other option, and the one he recommended, was to get rid of it and replace it with something else…perhaps a red or silver maple.

Sunday we had a sudden but intense summer storm with lots of wind. Yep! The tree split and fell…right across our driveway. It missed our car, which was parked on the street because we still weren’t driving on the driveway, but damaged our gas lamp. The tree was too big and heavy to move so we called an arborist who sent a crew out to remove the section that fell. They then cut the rest of it down and are coming back to remove the stump. I stood at the door and cried as our beautiful tree was eradicated.

Sunday night I had nightmares about floods—something I’m sure many of my fellow Nashvillians have had for the last six weeks.  Intellectually I know we are lucky this is the only damage we had from the flood (I hope). But emotionally I mourn the loss of this magnificent tree. I know I will especially miss it in the spring when it sprouted silvery green leaves and ornamental white blossoms and in the fall when its splendid red, orange and maroon leaves brightened the whole neighborhood. Farewell, my tree, farewell.