It started with the TV in the bedroom. While I’d been watching it the evening before, in the morning I got a Directv screen that said, “No connection.” I tried the usual tricks, checking the remote, turning it off and on, disconnecting it, all to no avail. That meant a visit from our geek squad, cost: $175.
Before I called them, I checked the set in the TV room. It too was on the blink as was the internet router. To see if I could reset both, I had to open the doors in the back of the enclosure that held all the stuff, get down on my belly and squeeze into the 18” space where all the connections were, unplug both components and see if I could get them to restart. Dark and cramped, the experience is akin to cave diving, okay for a limber, younger person but not for an oldster like me. Unplugging the router and TV, I laid there in the gloom for thirty seconds waiting for the gizmos to reboot. Plugged them back in, struggled to my feet and hustled back into the TV room to see if I’d solved the problem, No go, the router and Directv lights refused to come on.
I tried calling Directv but just got an automated voice that kept telling me to do what I’d already done. I got so frustrated that I found myself yelling, “I tried that, I tried that.” Until I realized that there was little point in yelling at someone who wasn’t there. Then I tried Directv.com but it too stonewalled me. They instruct you to tell them what your problem is and then respond, “We don’t have any information on that.”
So I gave up and called the geek squad, well aware that three problems would now cost me $250 or more. And we’d just made a big investment in a new business venture so we were running thin financially. Plus I’d recently had oral surgery that cost me five grand so I was feeling really poor.
In the meantime, the pool guy had been opening our pool and I heard him knocking on the door.
“Got it going?” I asked him.
He shook his head and said, “Barely, it took me an hour to prime it. You’re going to need a new pump.” And then his face took on an ugly sneer and he snorted, “And I’m not coming back here unless you put in a variable speed pump, I’ve had it messing with that piece of crap.”
“How much is that going to cost me?”
“Fifteen hundred plus parts and labor.”
“Can’t you find me a used one? I’m getting a little short on funds.”
“I told you, I’m not messing with anything but a variable speed pump. You can find someone else if you want to.”
Here I was getting an ultimatum from a supplier, but what choice did I have?
It didn’t stop there. After the pool guy took off in a huff, my wife came out of the laundry room saying, “Goddamn washing machine won’t go through its cycle. We’re going to have to get the repairman out. I just hope he can fix it and we don’t have to get a new one.”
I’m totaling up the potential costs, $250 for the TVs, $2500 for the pool and possibly $600 for a new washing machine, thirty-five hundred bucks so far and counting and it isn’t even ten o’ciock. What else could go wrong?
I soon found out. Hopping in the Gator to start my weed-whacking, it would start but when I put it into gear, the engine cut off. Three times, four times…no go. The last time Chris had come out to fix the Gator it was eight hundred bucks. Now I’m over four grand in repair costs and headed for five.
Okay, I try to rationalize to myself. The house, Gator and washing machine are twenty years old. I guess I should expect things to go on the fritz, but five in one day? And the day’s still young yet.
I call the geek squad, they can’t get here for four days, Annie calls the repairman, he’s coming in three days. I decide to run into town and talk to John, the owner of Charlottesville Sanitary Supply, about my options for the pool. He’s the local pool genius, selling all kinds of pool stuff and he recommended the ornery pool guy. I tell him the story and he shakes his head and says, “You’re not the only one who’s complained about him.” He hands me a card, “Call Steven, you need a second opinion, he’s a straight shooter and maybe he can give you another option.”
Steven says he’s in the neighborhood and will be glad to stop by. “Be over in a half hour,” he tells me.
In the meantime, I return home, grousing about my predicament, to find Annie smiling at the front door. “I fixed it,” she says.
“The two TVs and the router.”
“How’d you do that?” I ask.
“They don’t call me Engineer Annie for nothing. Just had to flick a few switches and presto, they came back on.”
Steven shows up, I take him into the garage where the pool stuff is and point out the failed pump to him. He turns a few levers, flicks off the pump for a minute then turns it on again.
“Your pump’s fine, just needed to be backwashed. Your filter sand is dirty but that’s no big deal. I can take care of that easily.”
“Wow!” I’m thinking. The TVs and internet are fixed and the pool is no big deal. Things are looking up for Tony.
But it doesn’t stop there. Wendy, our housekeeper, takes a look at the wash machine and says, “I think I know what’s wrong.” And she fixes it.
This afternoon is turning out to be a symphony of positives and it isn’t even afternoon yet. Thinking I might have a Royal Straight Flush, I hop in the Gator and give it a try. Nope, I just end up with Four of a Kind.
But who cares? I’ve gone from being out five grand to somewhere under one and I get to watch the basketball semi-finals tonight. When George finally shows up, it only took him a half hour to get the Gator going.
Just goes to show that some days everything turns out right—who knew?