This is the time of year when I typically look out the window at the beautiful sunshine pouring down on my disastrous backyard and think, “Boy, that snow sure did a good job covering all the garbage.”

I have a list sitting in the back of my mind of all the things that I should be doing to make my house HOA approved. It pulses there, taunting me every time I have a free moment, every time I dare to step outside of my house. I really don’t want to do those projects, though. It’s not just the time it takes. These are the kind of projects that I find little satisfaction in having done and even less in the doing. Maybe someday I’ll pull a John Travola and have a Phenomenon experience, becoming virtually a different person overnight. For now, I have other things that keep pressing those projects down my priority list, right above donating major organs.

And speaking of neurological problems, Finley just had serious seizure number 2. I’m sitting in the hospital as I write this, fighting sleep as time drags on one clicking second at a time. There’s really no news, no updates to why it happened. Just another sickness to his stomach, followed by a grand mal that was cut down to “only” ten minutes thanks to a buttload of Valium (that Amy’s pun, by the way. Since the emergency meds are administered rectally).

By itself, the seizure is terrible. It dredges up questions we’d hoped had been dead and buried, such as if it’s okay to leave him with a babysitter, what do we do if it happens at night while we’re asleep, how will it affect school, can he ever swim, will we have to get new medicine, etc. The list goes on an on, a never ending downpour of worries. As if dealing with his autism weren’t enough by itself. But it’s never just one thing. That statement isn’t a scientific fact, but it is sure true for us this week.

Last Friday I got an e-mail from Hertz. I mentioned the car problems we had Ireland over a month ago, which consisted of driving the car less than 2 kilometers before the transmission flamed out. This was after the company double charged us for insurance, a frustration that I’d been meaning to complain about but decided to just let lie rather than diving back into that pile of crap. Anyway, in Hertz’s e-mail, they let me know that they’d charged my credit card for about a thousand Euro to cover the cost of the transmission.

Here’s a word of warning: when the people at the register tell you beforehand that your insurance covers everything except wheels and tires (or tyres, since we were in Ireland), and when they assure you afterwards that you wouldn’t have to pay anything extra for the clearly faulty transmission, THEY ARE LYING. Instead, they’ll wait until you’re a continent away to charge your card without your permission. That way if you want to verbally complain you’ll have to spend $2 a minute while navigating automated systems and waiting through hold lines, severely cutting down the cost/benefit of getting into an argument.

Of course I sent an e-mail in response, and Amy called the Hertz office in the US, and I called American Express. They all gave a similar response of “We’ll check into that when we feel like it.” In the meantime, I have to run on the assumption that I have to pay over a thousand dollars for being part of an elaborate game of Hot Potato. If only I had known I was playing beforehand.

I prefer my rental cars to go at least 5 km before breaking down

I prefer my rental cars to go at least 5 km before breaking down

Then there’s our washer. Our old washing machine died somewhere between two and three years ago. The repair bill was going to be a couple hundred dollars. Since the machine was about fifteen years old, we figured it was time to upgrade. Better to get a new one than wonder when our end-of-life model would finally bite the dust. A new model, we hoped, would give us at least five years without the worry of a hefty repair bill (if you can’t tell, we’re pretty risk averse). We did our research, looked up Consumer Reports, and finally settled on the Samsung WA422PRHDWR/AA, or this one. Have you ever seen such a well regarded name brand company with a product that has almost 100 Amazon reviews and a 95% 1 star rating? I hadn’t. If only the washer had received those negative ratings BEFORE I bought the washer, I wouldn’t be in this mess.

The Samsung is absolutely a lemon. The company knows it has serious flaws, issuing a memo stating as much. The company’s official repair provider in the Denver Metro even told me there’s a lawsuit against the company because this washer is so terrible. Two days ago, we had major malfunction #3. Since it’s out of warranty, even though the company admits it’s a known issue, they refuse to cover the repair bill this time. I’m ready to throw in the towel. Not in the Samsung, of course, since there’s about five gallons of water sitting at the bottom of it. But in the washer fight. I hear LGs are good. The most reliable brand on Consumer Reports. Just one point ahead of Samsung…


This is what everyone wants to see at the bottom of their washer, right? An undrainable pool of water?

Finally, that brings us to this morning. Amy somehow managed to get the car keys locked in the car. I still don’t know how. After that, she took my car, leaving me sitting in the garage wondering how I was supposed to get to work. My in-laws were, thankfully, able to take me. Which meant that when I got the call that Finley was seizing I could do absolutely nothing except sit and wait in my office.

Four big problems, all in one week. Only one of them has the hope of being resolved without robbing a bank (Toyota said they could make me a key that’ll open the door for $6.50).

A couple weeks ago, as part of my annual physical, I met with one of Kaiser’s counselors. After chatting for about 20 minutes, he suggested that I need to find a better way to manage stress. “Figure out what’s really important and focus on that. Push everything else out of your mind.” I might be able to push those yard projects aside, at least until the HOA sends another harassing letter. For everything else, I’m not quite sure which urgent matter to ignore.

On the plus side, we got a cat yesterday for Kella’s birthday. I hear they’re good for helping with stress. If only I weren’t allergic.