What happened to the service industry?

Our condo building has a video entry system that allows people to ring the doorbell out front and get buzzed in by the unit they’re visiting. It’s a pretty cool system. Except that it stopped working a few days ago. We suspect it was during the big lightning storm. So I’ve been trying to get someone to come take care of it. First, I called the electrician who’s done some work here. He’s hard to get a hold of because his worthless Nextel phone tells me “The Nextel subscriber you are trying to reach is unavailable at this time” every time I try to call. After I hang up, I think it says, “If I had a soul, I’d send you to his voicemail. But because I’m a cold, unfeeling machine, I won’t help you at all. Ha ha ha ha ha!” When I finally got him, he said to call the company that put it in. He apparently works for them, but is willing to do freelance on the side, probably against their wishes. But whatever. So I called C&A; Electric. They said they’d call back to set up a time to come by. They did not. That was Tuesday. I was in NYC on Wednesday, so I called them Thursday. They were apologetic. They said they’d call to schedule an appointment. This time, they actually did, 8AM Friday. Then they called back to ask about the problem, and decided to send someone else, not the guy I talked to. I thought, “whatever, as long as someone shows up.” At 8:45AM Friday, no one had arrived. So I called. They were again apologetic. But they didn’t know when anyone would arrive. They promised to call back with an update. They actually did call, and pretty quickly, and told me that someone would be here at 10. They made good on that appointment, but didn’t fix the problem. The two guys looked at the unit, and complained about some stuff, and fixed nothing. They think one of the three modules that makes up the portion of the system that is outside has gone bad. Since they are unable to fix this, they suggested I contact the manufacturer. So I contacted Aiphone. I talked to a tech support guy via their little web chat interface. He was (shockingly) unhelpful. He wanted to know if I’d verified power to the unit. Now, I assume the electricians did that. I mean, wouldn’t you assume that would be the first thing they’d try? But I don’t actually know if they did or not. When he found that out, he pushed me off onto the dealer who sold us the unit. I have no idea who that is, so I tried to contact the developer. He’s not answering his cell phone. Not that he ever does. So, I have now spent the last three hours getting absolutely nothing accomplished. Hooray! Is it too much to ask for a company to actually stand behind the goods or services that they sell?

Waiting for the blinds guy

No, not the blind guy. Someone from Next Day Blinds is coming out to measure the windows in the bedroom so we can replace the temporary blinds with real ones.

I have to say, while some may think that a DC resident going out to Virginia for window blinds is ridiculous, or even blasphemous, I have good reason.

First, I bought from Next Day Blinds in Bailey’s Crossroads when I was living in Falls Church and working less than a mile from the store. It was convenient then.

Second, and probably more importantly, Clinton, the manager at NDB Bailey’s Crossroads, is fantastic. He’s efficient and friendly. He sold us blinds without trying to talk us up to something more expensive or feed us a lot of marketing junk. When we were in on Saturday, they didn’t have an open slot to come measure this week, so he scheduled one for next week, but told us he’d call the install people Monday and see what he could do, and call us back.

Sure enough, on Monday he called and told us that he had a slot for us on Wednesday.

I’m not really hard to please when it comes to customer service. Don’t treat me like an idiot or an ATM, do what you say you’re going to do, and I should be fine.

Anyway, looking forward to getting our blinds installed next week. The temporary paper ones from Home Depot certainly do keep the construction workers next door from having a clear view into our bedroom, and even look pretty good for $10 folded paper. But they aren’t a permanent solution.

Edit:  Blinds guy came.  He was very pleasant, as well.  Took him all of five minutes.

Looking at houses today

We’re finally going out looking at new places today.  We’ve decided to see if we can keep the place I own now, rent it out, and still manage to buy a new place.  If it works, it will be great, because eventually we’ll have rental income from this place, and it will always be sort of a savings account.  And if it turns out we can’t afford it (We can’t rent it right now for the amount of the mortgage), we can sell as investors rather than residents, and the taxes work out much more nicely.

So, anyone looking to rent a lovely two-bedroom condo, conveniently located in beautiful Falls Church, Virginia?  Near Metro, 66, 495, Tyson’s Corner . . .  We’ll probably be advertising on Craigslist soon.

Social shopping app?

Cribcandy – the household shopping blog. Daily picks of the best designed or most unusual finds, for your home link via BoingBoing This site probably requires a little more browsing before I understand where they’re going, but they seem to be trying to create a social web app for shopping. I’m not sure what value they expect to add, but the stuff they find for around the house is awesome. And it doesn’t seem to be all super expensive, unlike many sites that aggregate cool stuff.

Im very dusty

Dusty hallwayWhen I moved in to my condo, the seller swore that we could easily paint over the ugly venetian plaster he’d had put up. “But, of course, you’d never want to”, he said. I beg to differ. Brown bamboo floors and brown walls just don’t do it for me. So the wife and I painted over the walls, and it just peels right off. Now that we’re trying to sell, we’re sanding the stupid walls so we can paint them. We tested a little spot, and sanding actually makes the primer stick.

Unfortunately, sanding also makes a horrific mess. I’m at work now, and my hands still feel like they have plaster dust on them. And I haven’t sanded anything since last night. I’ve taken TWO showers since I touched a sander.

Oh, well.  I think we can finish sanding tonight or tomorrow, then we’ll paint, and forget this horrible dusty mess.  The cat will no doubt appreciate that, as well, so she can go back to being black again.