Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Home improvement projects always seem to take longer than I expect.

After months of living with paint swatches all over the bedroom walls, we're finally putting our final color up in the master bedroom. Before we painted, we pulled off all the baseboards to re-route the cable tv jack. Jenn and I started together and got two walls done early last week, and Jenn continued while I was in New York. While Jenn was away this past weekend, I got the last walls' two coats on. We still have to paint & replace the trim, and do some touch ups, but I can see the beginning of the end.

Friday, July 11, 2008

HMS Home Warranty is a Rip Off

I'm extremely disappointed with our first home warranty call.

We got a home warranty when we bought our house. Last month when our Ritetemp programmable thermostat broke, I mistakenly thought our HMS home warranty would cover the repair. Instead, when the repairman arrived, he told us that our warranty would not cover replacing our programmable thermostat with another programmable model. We would have to use a plain replacement model, or pay an additional $325 for a new programmable one.

I thought this sounded fishy, so I called HMS and spoke to Quan in their Customer Service Department. She assured me that that was not the way it was supposed to work, and to have the repairman call the authorization department. After half an hour passed, I called home and my wife told me that sure enough, the authorization department would not pay for a new one.

I called again, and spoke to Karina, who told me that it was HMS' policy to replace the defective unit with one with comparable features. At this point, I tried to clarify that a programmable thermostat and a regular thermostat did not have the same features, and that's why they had different names. The different name, I stressed was due to the central nature of the programmability. She continued to refer to their offer of 'replacement' that I had to remind her that what she meant was a downgrade. But this is apparently the same to HMS.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I think it will be five more years before we go back to Davis, WV

Jenn and I spent the Fourth of July weekend camping with our friends in Davis, West Virginia. It rained every day.

After dropping Sam off at the kennel in Frederick, we arrived and set up in a light rain. Vin, Mike, Tris, Jonathan and Jessica had arrived earlier, and set up two pop up canopies, connected by a tarp. the tarp provided a lighter, dry area in the middle that we referred to as the 'atrium.' After dinner, we played cards all evening.


After a late start, we scrapped our scheduled river trip to try to get a ride in. We rode the Plantation Trail, which has been a wet mess every time we try to ride it. Think of it as riding upstream through waterfalls, and across mud bogs and you'll have a pretty good idea of what the trail was like. Jenn bailed out early and Jonathan and I rode the Allegheny trail to take her back to camp. Jenn drove Wheaton and I to rejoin the group at the Blackwater Falls campground, and we set off for the Dobbin House Trail. It seemed really short, with not much to it. After Dobbin House, we had a short road ride back to the end of Allegheny, and a long 2 miles uphill back to camp. During the second trip up Allegheny, the sky opened up and poured rain on us.

Sunday was departure day for everyone but Jenn and I, so after breakfast, they set about packing up, and getting ready for another ride. Sundays ride was the Leadmine trail, a steep, 3 mile climb followed by a sweet rolling, off camber downhill. Once we got to the trailhead, It was raining hard enough that Jenn and I decided not to ride. Instead, we went back to camp to try to make an alternate plan for the day. We had lunch in the rain and waited till about 4 before giving up on the idea of getting another ride in.

Instead we decided to explore the Canaan Loop Road in the CRV, and saw some impressive waterfalls and streams. We would our way around to the Table Rock trailhead and set out for a hike. What was supposed to be a 15 minute hike stretched into 45 one-way before we gave up. The trail was more of the mud bog from the day before, and we decided to call it a day. We went back to camp to make dinner, and I noted on the ride back that there was no one else camping there Sunday night. After dinner, we tried to ignore how much creepier the woods were without all our friends around.

Monday we were packing the car up when some Canadian mountain bikers rode by and asked us to describe some of the area trails. We told them about our trials on Plantation and Allegheny. They asked about an area called 'State Champion' or 'State Championship' that supposedly drained well, but it was the first time I'd heard of it and couldn't offer any help. The drive home seemed to take forever, and we spent hours drying everything out in the back yard.