The "best place to spend Christmas" turned out to not be, actually. Of course, I want to preface all of this by saying that, even considering I'm paying for all of it, this trip has still been a great, rare opportunity that I do not regret. And most of it has been a lot of fun. Anyway...
The day after Christmas the wife and I went out to the car to go do some requisite maintenance on supplies. The battery was dead, or almost completely dead. Couldn't find anything left on or plugged in. Called a cab, took a $60 cab ride to Wal*Mart for a new battery ($100). The engine will now cheerfully turn over, but will not catch. In addition, I notice the oil is low. Not dangerously low, just low enough to be worrisome...this car has never used or leaked oil. The trip up was difficult, though; so maybe that explains it. The dash lights are acting funny, randomly flashing and flickering. This includes the anti-theft warning, and I know from experience that if that circuit (or whatever) is being tripped, the car won't start. I start calling around for repair services. No one can come to the car; no one will promise to work on it if I tow it except for the local Ford dealership; but even they say they only have one mechanic available and they can't order parts right now. Shit.
So I have the car towed to Ford ($100). This Ford shop does not fill me with confidence. The service manager doesn't recognize my Ford Owner Advantage card; he thinks it must be something only Texas does. Right. Three hours later, I notice the car is running, but they spend another hour under the dash. Finally, the mechanic comes to me and tells me the windshield is leaking (it's been raining since Christmas Day) and water is getting into the fusebox and possibly other things. He dried out the fusebox and it all works now, but we'll need to get the windshield re-sealed or replaced. In the meantime, cover it up or park with the driver's side uphill. ($120). I pay the bill, go to the car. It won't start. Same thing. Mechanic says it will probably take a few days to clear out. Just wait a bit and the theft code will clear, allowing me to start the car. Sure enough, a minute later everything goes back to normal and I can start the car. Oh, and the reason the battery was dead is because the water is shorting something in the theft thingy or the ignition. This happens whether the key is in or not. Boom. Dead battery.
Since that's still happening, I have to disconnect the battery whenever I leave the car sitting for more than a few minutes.
The night before we left, my younger daughter slipped on the stairs, but thankfully wasn't hurt. The morning we left, my wife slipped on the stairs and severely jammed a toe, which hurts like hell and makes walking difficult. But, we were finally out of the place. The car was buggy but working; the front heater, which had started acting up the day before we arrived, still wasn't blowing "hot" air, but was hot enough. And, unfortunately, we just never really liked the house or the location after we spent a day or so there. This feeling was reinforced as we headed south down the Coast Highway. My wife and I had really fallen in love with the southern Oregon/Northern California coast, and the central Oregon coast really isn't the same. It's dirty and smelly; a working town's coastline. It's not nearly as pretty, either.
As for the house itself, I should have been even more worried than I was when we encountered three laminated signs regarding correct and incorrect usage of various bits of the beach house BEFORE WE OPENED THE FRONT DOOR. In the entryway were three more signs, which were generally worded like: "Please remove your shoes before entering. If our carpet is ruined because you're too lazy, YOU WILL PAY TO REPLACE IT." Almost everything had a sign like that. There were specifications for what wood to use in the fireplace (You WILL PAY FOR DAMAGES.) There were instructions for how much laundry soap to use (YOU WILL PAY FOR DAMAGES.) Needless to say, this raised our stress levels a bit. Look, I understand the owner doesn't want the house trashed, obviously. But if you're going to be THAT picky, why rent it out? We spent five hours cleaning the house before we left, which put us behind schedule, and in the end the effort didn't really matter. An hour after we had left, the management agency called and told us the owner claimed we had damaged the property, he had already done the repairs, and he would be sending us a bill. Without going into detail, just in case, we damaged a piece of furniture by using it the way it was intending to be used...if it was anything other than special variety of that particular piece of furniture. It was not damaged in any way that we were even aware it COULD be damaged. Ironically, this was one of the few things that DIDN'T have a warning sign on it or near it. The conversation with the management rep basically went like this: "Did you use the *****?" Me: "Yes." Them: "Did you do ***** when you used it?" Me: "Yes, why?" Them: "The owner says you ruined it when you did that. He had to throw it away, and is going to bill you for a new one." Me: "???"
So that really capped off the trip.
That evening, my Check Card bank emailed and called to say they had security concerns and had limited my account. At first I thought I had been hacked, then I got angry because we had already had to straighten out the bank on allowing charges out-of-state, and I was afraid that had become and issue again. So on top of everything else, I was afraid our main money source had been cut off. Thankfully, it was just something incredibly stupid. I had accessed the bank's website from a new IP number, which flagged my account for a security "concern". Fair enough, really. The newest wrinkle is that the windshield wipers have started to malfunction. I'm sure this is tied to all of the other electrical problems, but remember, it's been raining since Christmas Day. Today was better, it just sprinkled off and on all day. We'll see of the rain keeps chasing us.
The good part is, except for the week in Oregon, this really has been a fun trip. Even in Oregon there were good times...I just would have skipped that part looking back.
In case I'm not blogging tomorrow night, Happy New Year everyone!
We did. It was pretty good, the customer service was great, and value-for-money is phenomenal. Taste-wise the burgers were similar to Wendy's, although I like Wendy's better. I didn't like the fries very much, honestly. The shakes were good. For non-McDonalds, I would rather have Wendy's or Burger King, but In-n-Out was half the price of Wendy's and 75% the cost of Burger King.
I haven't had a Wendy's burger in probably 20 years or more, so I can't really compare the tastes, except that In-n-Out is definitely <i>fresher</i>. As for the fries... they're a good alternative to the usual salty-fare other franchises have, but I would definitely say they aren't the best. Of course, you can't get anyone else's fries Animal Style, so there that is
The value is great, though - before the economy took a hit, as well as the prices of tomatoes and lettuce rising, it was really awesome.