Tuesday. Tuesday was going to be my day. My plan was high frustration, but high payoff. First, I had to drop my car off at the dealership for a diagnostic. Back in November 2018, I was finally able to trade in my (13 year old!) car for newer wheels. I’m now the owner of my third red car, a 2015 Chevy Equinox.
The 13 year old car was a silver 2005 Saturn Vue bought new when I was young and determined to prove that I had become a Real Adult. Obviously that whole ‘adult’ thing never happened and while buying new is kind of financially terrible, driving it to the very end of 13 years really does make it cost effective. And honestly, if Saturn hadn’t gone out of business and I could get parts more reliably I’d probably still be driving it. That Saturn lasted me through multiple accidents (none of which were my fault, thankyouverymuch), thousands of hours of commuting, buying my first (and only) house, and two babies and everything that comes with that.
Though it was sad to see him go, I love this new (to me) car. I love that the interior is chocolate and black with red stitching. I love that the air conditioner is not only functional, but efficient! I love that it can hold about three or four more gallons of gas than my old car so my low fuel light come on fractionally less. I especially love that when the hatch to the trunk is opened, it stays open—a luxury that I lived without for years in my previous vehicle. Bonus: auxiliary port for my cell phone, cup holder arm rest in the back, remote start which is borderline Kitt/Christine magic. I’M LIVING IN 2015!
However, used cars always have that hint of lemon freshness to them and this car has had electrical issues from day one. Issues with the information screen (it has an information screen!) having long delays connecting, speaker volume cutting in and out, collision alarm going off for absolutely no reason on a completely open stretch of road. The biggest and most annoying issue is the passenger seat belt alarm triggering regardless of what is in the seat. Groceries? ALARM. Cell phone? ALARM. Heavy backpack? ALARM. Oxygen molecules?
Earlier this year I scheduled an oil change and asked the service center to check on a very specific issue: my car creaks. Like, a 100 pound kid can hop in and the frame squeaks and creaks. If-this-car’s-a-rockin’ type squeaks. I also asked about the sensitivity of the passenger seat belt alarm and was immediately shut down about that one with the excuse that it’s “sensitive” and everyone complains about it.
The service people said there was nothing actually wrong with the frame or suspension and to just ignore the creaking. Again, okay, sure. But a few weeks ago my car died in the parking lot at Josh’s Korean class. This may come as a shock, but my car died because my battery died. Even more shocking? The shit battery was the biggest culprit of all of my electrical issues as it was completely past its life span when it was sold to me.
If they hadn’t blown off my concerns 6 months ago, I would not have been stuck dead in a parking lot in 100 degree heat because my battery would have already been replaced. For the record, the Chevy Equinox’s battery is completely stupid to replace and is under computer sensors and just generally more complicated than any other car I’ve had in the past.
Oh, the good ol’ days where you didn’t have to move heaven and earth just to get to your car battery. For the record, circled below is where you can jump start the battery, labeled 1 and 2 in the previous picture.
Also, car batteries have a life of about 3 years, depending on the battery. I purchased this car in November of 2018, to past the 3 year mark. It may seem like a small issue, but it obviously led to a real pain in the ass and I’m lucky it wasn’t a worse situation.
So now that all that backstory has been laid out, Tuesday was the first day I could get an appointment at the dealership for a diagnostic. I was still having sporadic electrical issues even after changing the battery. I was very specific:
- These issues are occurring even after the new battery was installed
- These issues are sporadic and unpredictable. Random. Arbitrary. Haphazard. Other synonyms.
Their initial diagnostic came from OnStar which gave a detail of all the electrical issues I’ve been having…but no date stamp? So maybe these issues were from yesterday, last month, or last year! What an amazing and useless service. Fact: OnStar is useless if your battery dies.
Also a fact: my dealership service center is useless. After all of the necessary detail and discussion, the Mr. still got a call asking if these issues happened before or after the battery change. They then proceeded to tell him that they couldn’t do anything unless they knew how these problems were being triggered because saying that the issues were sporadic and unpredictable wasn’t clear enough, I guess. They also kept my car overnight and didn’t bother to call and let me know. The service center closes at 6 PM and after multiple calls, the Mr. finally got a text saying they didn’t find anything wrong and would have to keep it all day Wednesday. No, they would not be offering a rental through our warranty plan as they were still unsure of the cause of the issues and therefore it couldn’t be determined if it was a warranty issue.
Hard pass, we said we’d pick it up on Wednesday because fuck it. Who needs a reliable electrical system?
Let me tell you, that $3,000 bumper to bumper warranty is just paying for itself.
Not having a vehicle in the midst of this whirlwind life was shit. I know this is absolutely a first world problem but fuck that, I live in this first world and suddenly not having access to something that I’ve had almost daily for 24 years is debilitating. Even if the car was going to be unavailable for most of the day, nothing indicated that it would be a full day/overnight/next day thing.
But if that were the only frustration on Tuesday I probably would not be writing about it. My stress about the new office and Robin’s birthday were still very raw and only exacerbated when I received my shipment in from Party City. Somehow, I only got one pack each of dinner plates, dessert plates, and dessert napkins. I also ordered balloons in error—we decided to ban helium balloons this year because my local Party City is shit.
Tangent: in college, there was a greasy spoon called Pancake City and everyone called it Pancake Shitty. Isn’t college is just the center of creativity and wit? Something I learned quickly: do not order anything except breakfast there or you’re gonna have a bad time.
So Party Shitty is thusly named because they never have balloons in stock. They always have something just off—no red star balloons, but they have heart balloons. Or they have two yellow balloons when you need a dozen. They also run out of helium a lot and then store use their disposable helium cans so you can’t buy those instead. Oh, this giant pyramid of helium tanks? Not for sale. This has added to birthday stress in the past and between that and the rising cost of mylar and latex, we cut out the balloons completely.
Honestly, I don’t know why I only got one of everything. I want to believe it’s a never-ending conspiracy of the universe to follow the old adage of when it rains, it pours. But more likely is that in my last-minute panic and hurry I just fucked up the order. I did go out to get additional plates, napkins and tchotchkes on Wednesday after I got my car back. I also stopped by Office Depot to pick up the printed copies of party games I made and submitted online the night before. How long could it possibly take to print out about 20 color pages?
Well, according to Office Depot, 24 hours. I read my paper wrong and thought 12 hours—7 AM the next day after submitting (and paying for) my order at 7 PM the night before. As Hitler once said, my bad. The lady was nice and said they could probably be done by noon or 1 and that they’d call me when it was done.
You know where this is going, right?
3 PM came and went. Since the order was placed under the Mr.’s account I had him call that evening to check on it. After talking to an obviously surprised and flustered print department employee, they assured us it would be done by 7 PM and they’d call us when it was ready.
You know how this story is going to turn out, right? I mean, I’m going to finish it, but I feel like I’m being painfully predictable here.
No call, no text, but miraculously, an email showed up notifying us that the order was ready for pick up. At 8:50 PM. Office Depot closes at 9 PM.
I haven’t even gotten to the cake yet.