Tuesday, May 22, 2012

what more could go wrong?

What indeed! Where do I begin?  Let's start in Bend, OR. , where Mr. C and Alex got stranded on Sunday morning when Alex's car refused to start.  So it's Sunday and, of course, nothing is open, including the Subaru dealership.  They learned about a mechanic known as the Subaru Guru but he, too, was not around.

So they languished about, sight seeing and resting up from the long drive the day before.  At 7:30 Monday morning they were on the doorstep of the dealership, hoping for a quick fix to the mysterious problem.

Meanwhile, I got myself to the Sact'o airport for my 9:45 AM flight to Seattle.  I had tried several times to print off my boarding pass but the Alaska server was down.  The lines at the ticket kiosks was about 50 people long, those who had also tried to print off boarding passes without luck.  Finally made it to the front of the line and, naturally, their computers went down after printing only one boarding pass for me.  After a few minutes' wait, the system was back up and I headed for security, always an interesting experience.  I've learned to wear no jewelry, shoes I can slip off and on easily, socks to protect my feet from others' feet, and I take off my insulin pump and put it in my purse.  This time I went through one of those full-body scanners.  No problem.  At the gate after only 1 hr. 15 minute wait.  But no plane.  Twenty minutes later a plane arrived, let off its passengers, and the Seattle-bound group boarded.  But the computer system in Seattle was down so we sat on the tarmac for another 40 minutes before take-off.  I was afraid I'd miss the connection to Walla Walla.  But no, that plane was also 45 minutes late.  I had time to check in with the Bend group and was told that the problem was the car key was so worn it was not making contact in the ignition.  A new key had been made, the mechanic was reinstalling the ignition, and they'd be on their way soon.  It was then 1 o'clock PM.

I arrived in WW at 3 PM after a very bumpy ride during which a humorless, huffy flight attendant snatched from my hands a glass of complementary wine, local to the region, when things got a bit rough.  So much for the warm welcome.   I knew Mr. C and Alex would still be on the road as I landed so I took a cab to the rental I arranged for, The Bennington Bungalow.  When I walked in it reminded me immediately of my grandmother's house in Pasadena; same creaky floors, sash windows, sunny kitchen.  The weary travelers arrived about 7 o'clock, and weary is the operative word indeed.  Six hours of driving through pouring rain almost did them both in.  We had an early supper and went to bed.  Mr. C was up and out early to catch the 7 AM flight to CA, Alex went over to her new house to get the keys from the previous tenants and meet up with the people she had hired to help her unpack the truck, and I went back to bed and slept for another 3 hours.   Sounds like a good division of labor to me.

Alex came back to our little house in the early afternoon, depressed and in tears over the condition of the house she had rented, sight unseen.  It was smaller, shabbier, dirtier, more dismal than she had ever imagined.  I reminded her that she is one of the best  lemonade-from-lemons people I have ever known and that she'll be able to spiff it up in no time.  She dried her tears and we drove over so I could see what she was talking about.  Here it is from the outside.

We pulled up, got out, and for the next 15 minutes tried to unlock the back door with the key she had been given. The key to the front door was . . . well, inside, of course. I finally persuaded her to go to a neighbor to borrow a ladder so she could crawl through a window into the back bedroom. Fortunately such a neighbor just happened to exist and soon the back door was opened and I had my first look. I've seen worse. A LOT worse. It's really quite a cute little place; 2 bedrooms, 1 tiny bath, big kitchen with lots of storage space and a nice sunny spot for her dining table and chairs at one end. The living room is a good size, plenty of room for the furniture she brought. Full basement with laundry ~ although the plug to the dryer doesn't fit the outlet in the wall and must be replaced ~, a funky bathroom, furnace room, a space she refers to as the root cellar, lots of storage room, and an electric organ should she want to have a seance down there. We spent the next several hours moving furniture around, unpacking some things, deciding of what might go well here or there. It does have some serious problems, however. The garage door is broken and cannot be locked. There are light fixtures and switches that don't work. There are several sash windows that cannot be raised as the mechanism is broken, or are painted shut. Window frames are disintegrating from the damp and are mouldy. And it's clear that families of mice have been living in the kitchen cabinets.  Lots of families, in fact.  And, of course, the key issue.  This is the second time she has been thwarted in her progress. 

But most of this can be cleaned up, scrubbed,  sanitized, etc.  And that's on our program for later in the week.  Tomorrow we are going to drive to an area called Tri Cities ~ Kenniwick, Pasco and Richland ~ where there are large shopping areas and outlets like Target®, CostCo®, Lowes® and other such commercial emporia.  I have told Alex that I am only too happy to front the purchases necessary for setting up a new house, but here's the problem.  Mr. C told me that I had received a call from my credit card company and would I please contact them ASAP.  I did so and learned that the company that services my bank's ATM security system had been hacked and 10 million card holders ~ that's the number he quoted me and, of course, it's not only my bank but all companies who use that security company ~ have been compromised and their cards cancelled.  So here I am, ready to drop big bucks in the area, and I have no way to use a debit card.  That explains why, when we went shopping for dinner at the local Safeway and I tried to use my card, it was refused and I was forced to pay CASH!  I mean, who pays cash these days?  Although I'll have a new card awaiting me on my return on Saturday, that doesn't do me any good right now.

But tomorrow is another day and, as I said, what more could go wrong?

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