Saturday, February 21, 2015

Office Space

Last Monday I leased office space for four hours at a rate of $350 per hour, and got my car fixed for free.  That’s how I like to look at it.

It all started last Saturday, when the Common Household Husband made the mistake of riding in my car. 

When I ride in his car, the conversation usually goes like this:

Me:  Your car is making a strange noise.

Husband:  Oh.  Let me turn up the radio. 
(He proceeds to ignore the noise for months until the axle breaks.  True story.  And let me tell you, when the car axle breaks, the car does not move.)

But when it’s MY car, this is the conversation:

Husband:    Your car is making a strange noise.

Me:   Oh?

Husband:  Yeah.  It’s much louder than it should be.

Me: It’s always that loud.

Husband:  And the floor is vibrating. 

Me:  It’s a moving vehicle.  Of course the floor is vibrating.

Husband:  You’d better take it in to be looked at.

I made an appointment with the dealer, with the nebulous symptom of “excess road noise,” to which the appointment-maker-person said, “How old are your tires?”

Monday afternoon I showed up at the dealer’s service area, walked toward the receptionist, and was immediately confronted with not one, but two Very Large Dogs (plus a person I presumed was their owner).  I panicked and walked into a different area, approaching a person whom I knew was not the receptionist.  I said, “I have an appointment to have my car looked at.”  The person said, “You want to go over there,” and pointed toward the dogs.  I said that I would wait until Those Dogs left, and why on earth would anyone bring their dogs to a car dealer?

Eventually the dogs entered the waiting area, so I carefully sidled over to the receptionist.  Soon I was standing before Service Advisor Mike.  I sheepishly said, “My car is louder than usual.” 

I bet if my husband were taking in the car, he would have said, “My wife says the car is louder than usual.” 

Mike, who was young enough to be my son, smiled congenially and promised expert mechanicsmanship.    He invited me to take a seat in the waiting area.  I said, “No way.  Not until those Two Very Large Dogs leave.  I can’t believe people bring dogs to the car repair place!”  Mike said, “Actually, a lot of people bring their dogs here.  But if you go past that area, and turn left, you will find an alcove with a table. You could wait there, far away from the dogs.” 

And so I did.  The alcove turned out to be blissfully quiet, with a table I had all to myself.  I got out my computer and started working on crop economics.  After a while Mike appeared. His mechaniscmanship was indeed thorough, as he found not one but four things wrong with the car.  Three of them were dire, as in, the engine will fall out, or the engine will have a nuclear meltdown, or the wheel will seize up.  All the suggested repairs came with dramatic prices.

I called the Common Household Husband, who told me to shop around for a better price. It is not easy to get a car repair quote over the phone, but after 45 minutes, I managed to get some information. Much to my surprise, for two of the repairs, the dealer’s price was competitive.  So I told Service Advisor Mike to do those two repairs, and I happily settled in to my new quiet, dogless office space to try and earn back a fraction of the car repair expenses. Several hours later I left with a new timing belt, water pump, wheel bearing, and some other car parts that sound made-up to deceive common housewives, like “tensioner” and “yaw rate sensor.”

I have decided in the future to follow my husband’s practice.  If I hear a strange noise in the car, I am just going to turn up the radio.

I am looking forward to getting a smaller car,
but we still need this large one for several more years,
for transporting college students and their stuff.
I also included this photo to remind us that
short-sleeve weather has occurred in our lifetime.


JJ said...

I really needed this right now! Bravo!

Cassi said...

You called around to compare prices? Good grief, that is truly going above and beyond. That would never have occurred to me, and if my husband had suggested it I would have turned up the radio.

I can use the reminder of short sleeves. We had our high at midnight --it's going to drop to negative temps again, with a windchill advisory. The older I get, the longer winter gets.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

At least you had office space! When I saw this pic on facebook, I thought you were actually loading up your car to move into a new office... your explanation here makes much more sense.
My husband's car is making some noise and the maintenance needed light is lit; I'm not sure if he's going to do anything about it or not. My car is also the teach-the-youngest-son-to-drive car but I'm hoping it will make it through our 4th teen driver and a few years more.
And I agree with Cassi -- calling around is above and beyond!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

at least you got a quiet space to work for the duration. Car noises can be ignored, but I think driving a car makes you intuitive about what you can and cannot ignore. I wouldn't know a weird noise in another person's ride, but I would in my own.

Andrea from Raising Peanut said...

That's funny. I almost flipped about your high rent for the office space until I saw that your car was fixed for free! Phew! But I think you might want to consider your lease option and move into a new office. The van/car perhaps? :)

The Crislers said...

First of all, that short-sleeve stuff is a myth. I see those things in my drawer, but I don't believe warm weather ever actually happened.

Ugh. I hate going in to the shop and trying to describe noises. "Well, when I turn left it makes this YYYRLCHOIAWAOEZ sound." I was not born with the natural ability to reproduce car and gunfire noises the way my boys were.

As for "calling around"? What is this "calling around"? I'm pretty sure I've heard my husband make that sound at my face before, but I wisely ignored it.

smalltownme said...

We're pretty good about getting things fixed before we have a catastrophe, because we had a breakdown once and don't care to repeat it: a blown up transmission 20 miles from nowhere, add to that no cell phone and a toddler with a poopy diaper (and no extra diapers)!

I agree with you about the dogs. Really, nowadays there need to be dog-free zones. Not everyone is a dog fancier.

Bob Scotney said...

Thank goodnes our days of loading a car up like that have long gone. No noises from our car I'm pleased to say.