Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A new chapter – part II

Saturday: Rise and shine around 6:30am thanks to the little alarm clock named Aiden next to my bed. My parents whipped up some breakfast for everyone so we could be energized for the full day of moving we had in front of us. We decided to leave Scarlett at their house for the day so we could freely move things in without having to make sure she didn’t run off. Mommy B and I took the kids over to the new house to get to work and so they could begin getting transitioned to the new place. A neighborhood friend from the old ‘hood came over to help me move the rest of the larger items in. It only took us an hour or so, but that was just to get the truck emptied. Mommy B and I knew we were still going to have to shuffle things around and decide how certain furniture was going to be arranged but at least the heavy lifting was over with. Good thing too, my back was screaming at me already. Around lunch time, my parents came over to help with the kids while we got things organized and put away. It was quite the feeling driving that empty truck back to the U-haul office and tossing them the keys. We had successfully moved our entire lives from one place to another, and even though it wasn’t that far of a move, it still felt like mission accomplished.

On Friday, we had noticed that the HVAC system hadn’t really done a great job of warming the place throughout the day. We just chalked it up to the fact that we had had the door open all day moving stuff in, so didn’t think too much of it. But just to be safe, I called the company that had done the last servicing for the inspection since they would be familiar with it and booked an appointment to come take a look at it on Monday. In the meantime, we had set the system when we left on Friday night figuring that when we came back on Saturday morning the house would be the correct temperature. Yeah, not so much. That’s when I knew something was amiss and it had to get looked at. Luckily the temperature that weekend had been mild, so we weren’t all that uncomfortable.

Aunt Bacon and her boyfriend “Cap” came over to help out as well, even helping with the kids and putting beds together for us while we moved stuff around. Alli skipped her nap that day since she had a birthday party to go to, but Mr. Light Switch went down without a fight and zonked out for a couple hours. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting as much put away and set up as we could before everyone passed out. Oh, and my parents brought Scarlett over so she could begin sniffing her new home. It had been a long, busy day but at least we knew everything was moved in and that was a great feeling. As night #1 in our new house began, we were tired yet excited to slowly begin making it our home.

Sunday: We spent the day doing more of the same – unpacking and organizing. Mommy B and I joked about how many times we would ask each other, “Hey, do you know where such-and-such is?” The answer was always, “No.” One of the big issues that we quickly realized we needed to address ASAP was the lack of shelf space in the master bedroom closet. After filling up the few wire shelves that were in place, we still had half our clothes sitting on the floor in our bedroom… some still in trash bags since we ran out of boxes towards the end of packing. Pops came over that day and took measurements on the closet and began drafting up some designs for us so we could maximize the available space. The first floor has 9’ ceilings; you’d think the builder would have installed more than one row of shelving. Anyway, we tried to make the most of it and took plenty of breaks to play with the kids that day. We figured that since they were in a new house and all it probably wouldn’t go over well if we ignored them completely while we unpacked. It took some wrangling that night, but we eventually got them both in bed and had our first Sunday Night Family Dinner at the new house with the rest of the family. We thanked them all for everything they had done for us during this transition, and hopefully they understood how much of a burden they had lifted in taking care of the kids for us while we packed, closed, moved, and unpacked. I honestly don’t know if we could have done it without their help. Well, we could have… but I’m confident that a nervous breakdown for each of us would have likely resulted.

Monday: Aiden didn’t sleep well the night before, so we decided it was time to take him to the doctor. Having an RN for a mom basically means that our kids don’t go to the doctor unless they are on the verge of death. Well, Aiden wasn’t that bad, but he was having major sinus issues (just like his daddy used to) and couldn’t sleep well because he couldn’t breathe well. Thankfully my mom was able to take him to the doctor while I took Alli to school and went to back to work. The doctor agreed that he was having some bad allergies (typical for this time of year) and gave us a few things to relieve his suffering.

Also coming to the house that day was AT&T to reconnect our cable and Internet as well as the HVAC guys to see what was going on with our heat problems. The issue we were experiencing was that the thermostat on the first floor would kick on to get heat flowing down there, but I could feel it coming out of the vents on the second floor. This resulted in not enough heat getting to the first floor to turn the thermostat off and the second floor feeling like a sauna. Everything went well as far as we were told – the AT&T service was connected and the HVAC guy said he reset the damper motor in the air handler so we could get proper air flow to each floor of the house. He only charged us a $65 “diagnostic fee” since they had been out to service the house a few weeks ago. Well, when I got home from work that evening, I noticed that things felt better in the house, but not quite where they should have been. But again, we dealt with it and luckily the temperature outside cooperated.

Tuesday: I called the after-hours line for the HVAC service and told them that whatever they “fixed” on Monday hadn’t worked and that we were still having issues. They informed me that they could have a guy come out that day and I agreed since Mommy B was off work. After spending a couple of hours in the attic fiddling with the system, this new “technician” informed us that the damper was broken and the damper motor was worn out from improper functioning – both of which should be replaced to the tune of $350 plus labor. Well, I had already put a call into our agent informing him of this whole issue and telling him that this should have been something that was addressed prior to closing and should be the seller’s expense. He agreed (somewhat) and informed us that we needed to get a claim in with American Home Shield warranty that we had purchased at closing before any work be done. Unfortunately the service that had now been out to the house three times was not included in their list of preferred vendors, so yet someone else was going to have to come take a look at the system. Furthermore, the rep at AHS had informed our agent that technically dampers are not covered by their warranty. To make matters worse, the seller’s agent was telling our agent that since this was a “new issue” with the HVAC system, the seller’s wouldn’t be liable for compensation. Well, our agent raised holy hell (finally) and pulled some strings and was able to schedule an appointment the next day with a trusted vendor he had used in the past who was covered by the warranty. He advised that we hold off on the financial part of the issue and just focus on getting things properly diagnosed and fixed.

Wednesday: I get a call from the new HVAC guy, Chris, about noon stating he had talked to our agent and would be out at the house sometime that day. He warned that since it was late notice he would have to try to squeeze us in sometime, but at that point I didn’t care if it was 10 o’clock at night, I just wanted the darn thing fixed. So about 6pm Chris rolls in and I give him the rundown. He also looked over the stack of invoices from the previous “technicians” to see what they had done already. He said, “Bottom line, we’ll figure it out. And if we do in fact have to get replacement parts, I’ll force something so that y’all are comfortable in the meantime.” After about 20 minutes of adjustments and another 5-10 minutes of testing, he had the system running completely normal. He informed us that the damper and the motor were just fine and didn’t need to be replaced. In fact, he said the damper motor was brand new and appeared to have been just replaced a few months ago. The issue was that the damper motor hadn’t been set properly – likely the result of a bunk installation – and the previous technicians were just telling us things to get into our wallets. This was causing the damper to not open and close properly which was resulting in the incorrect heat distribution to the entire house… no new parts needed, at all. I gladly paid him the $75 co-pay for the warranty service fee, and thanked him not only for his proper diagnosis and repair work, but also his honesty and transparency. We all slept much better that night with proper temperatures in both floors of the house – what a concept, right?

Thursday: I gathered up my invoices and work summaries and scanned them all to send to my agent. I informed him that I was now out $140 (and a few nights of decent sleep thanks to the kids being uncomfortable in the second-floor sauna) to correct an issue that should have been addressed by the original HVAC company before the house was sold. It was their shoddy installation that botched this job in the first place, and I would not be paying them a penny for their “work” and I didn’t appreciate them trying to take me to the cleaners saying things needed to be replaced when they clearly did not. He promptly contacted the seller’s agent and the previous HVAC company and informed them of our findings. The seller’s agent finally got back to us and said that the company would not charge us the $65 and that the seller’s would cut us a check for the $75 co-pay. Well thank god for small favors. Things finally seemed like they were falling into place for us.

Friday: Pops came over that night after the kids were in bed and showed us the master bedroom closet designs he had drawn up for us during the week. I had removed the clothes and ripped the wire shelves off the walls already, so he did a quick spackle job to patch the holes. That way we could hit the ground running the next morning with sanding, painting, and installing the new shelving.

Weekend: I spent the majority of both days in the closet with Pops, doing what we do best – remodeling. I sanded while he nailed, then I cut in while he rolled the paint. At the end of the first day I felt like I had been in a casino – no windows, only artificial light; people only popping in every couple of hours to see if you need anything; and before you know it, it’s night time and you haven’t seen daylight at all. We wrapped things up on Sunday morning and I slapped a little more paint on a few areas that needed it. We let it dry for a few hours while taking the kids out to play in the nice weather. It was tiring work, but well worth it in the end. By Sunday night, Mommy B and I were finally able to get all of our clothes off the bedroom floor and into a closet we could only have dreamed of. There is plenty of hanging space now and more shelf space than we know what to do with. Except for a shoe rack (or two) that we’re debating installing next, we’ve utilized just about every square inch of space in that closet. Not only is the closet itself a sight to behold, but we finally have a bedroom floor again! This means that we can begin organizing our room to look the way we want it – rearranging furniture and hanging things on the wall. And who knows, maybe even a little more painting could be in order. I’m very happy how things turned out, and I know it will become a major selling point of the house years from now when we decide to move again. But now that things are looking up after a rocky start to the week, I’m hoping that doesn’t happen for many, many years.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Those are some nasty HVAC issues you got there. Getting a second opinion was the right course of action. It turns out they were using your ignorance of these things (who really knows these things, really?) to charge you an extra buck. It's good you found a reliable technician that can be trusted. I hope everything's warming up nicely now, and take care!
    Dennis Day @