Sunday, September 25, 2016

How bad is my van? Let me count the ways

I want to start out by saying, this post is not to try to get sympathy or some grand "Go Fund Me" campaign or anything else. I am the type of person who likes to vent and I'd like to vent about this. We have been dealing with this van for over 3 years in its current condition and we expect to do so for several more years.

We have a 12-passenger 2003 GMC Savana (6.0l V8) and it's in sad shape. It has been since we bought it in 2006, pretty much. These are all the current problems with the van:
  • Stalling problem that we have diagnosed for 3 years now. At random times, the van decides it doesn't want to drive very well so it sputters and stalls if you don't drive two-footed to keep the vehicle alive.  You name something to fix it, we have tried it and it didn't work.
  • passenger front window drive is bad/crooked. It slides down and creates a whistle. We need to stop, get out, and use two hands and a second person to push it back up. a day later is has slid down again.
  • Driver's front window gets "tired" if we put the window down, we can't put it back up for several minutes because the motor won't "go".
  • Both visors are broken the passenger visor is not even there.
  • Front passenger seat belt broken where you have to reach WAY down to get the clip to clip it in.
  • CD player broken, tape cassette (who uses those?) busted
  • ABS Break sensor is bad so they kick in every time you break; pulled the fuse
  • missing all cup-holders in the back of the van
  • Back seat belts won't "pull" after the car is moving so if the kids "forget" to put their seatbelts on, we have to stop on the side of the road so they can buckle in.
  • Back panel-left panel on the rear door is completely off and we can't find clips that fit to put it back on.
  • Rear speaker on back door hanging on by a rivet.
  • There is this cover across the top rear of the van, it is falling off, it hangs and bounces which causes me to look in my rear view mirror because I think someone is about to hit us. It also squeaks when it bounces.
  • Passenger swing-out doors: Left one has a broken hinge so it has to be "fit" into place in order for the right door to fully close
  • Seal broken on the passenger swing-out doors so when we go through a car wash it rains inside.
  • All back seats stained to the point of always looking nasty
  • All rear windows are glued shut because all the clips that latch them shut are broken.
  • When filling up the van, we have to hold the gas pump hose at a certain angle so the fuel will slide down the tube into the tank easily and not back up and shut off the pump. many times we have to do that without locking the pump to fill which makes pumping 30 gallons very tiresome.
  • When we park on a hill facing down with a full tank we smell gas outside the van as if it's leaking out from the top of the tank.
  • Myriad of scratches and dents on the outside.
  • The back-left door latch comes off and causes us not to be able to open it until I set it again.
  • The hinge is broken on the right passenger swing-out door and so if it opens all the way, the front passenger cannot open their door.

Now for all the things we have done to fix the van:

  • Replaced all tubes leading from the front to the back so the rear could have air and heat.
  • replaced Water pump, twice
  • replaced Both O2 sensors
  • replaced Spark plugs & Wires (Wires twice)
  • replaced Two coil packs on the van
  • replaced Fan clutch
  • purchased new both driver's side and passenger side handles so we could grip something when opening and closing the doors.
  • replaced Idle Air Control Valve, twice
  • replaced Starter
  • replaced tube leading from gas port to the gas tank due to corruption
  • replaced fan speed thing that controls the speed of the air/heat.
  • Replaced the Pitman Arm and some other arm.
  • Replaced all 8 fuel injectors.
  • Front Passenger bearing went bad, replaced
  • Debugging Cylinder 8 misfire, replaced spark plug in there and wire. Probably the injector is the issue.
I am pretty sure that is all.  One may say, "Why not get a new van?!" Well, we don't have a car payment right now and we can't afford one, there is no room in the budget. So, we trudge along with our big grey van.

UPDATE: New Items that are going wrong with the van since this was originally posted:

  • The van now stalls out continuously. Driving two-footed is a regular thing now. 
  • There is a Cylinder 8 misfire that is most-likely the new fuel injector I put in since I have checked all other components of that failure.  
  • We clamped shut the passenger window, we don't use the driver's window at all lest it has to remain open all the time.
  • The cover across the rear of the van finally fell off. It's in my garage. 
  • The rear door is now doing a similar thing as the side doors. The left side won't close all the way.  
  • We also have bad seals on the side doors and on the driver's door so when we go through a car wash, it rains inside the van.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fun with Adobe Systems!

I have had one hell of a week with Adobe and their wonderful Adobe ID system.  Now I admit, some of the stuff below is my fault, but not all.  Here's how my last 8 days have gone...

  • I had an old account for many years, we're talking 2004 or so with Adobe. It was under an old e-mail address that I still have access to but I don't use it. From here this is called the Old Account
  • I wanted to rename my E-mail from the Old to the New e-mail address thus changing my Adobe ID. However, through some mis-clicks on my part, I created a second account instead. This will be called the New Account
  • I researched how to delete the New Account and it said I needed to get on Chat and request it to be deleted.
  • I got on chat, and they said that they COULDN'T delete the new account, but what they could do is transfer my old Adobe CS3 purchases from the Old Account to the New Account. The delete the Old Account. I told them go ahead. They confirmed the old account was deleted.
  • The next day, Friday, my browser was still logged into the Old Account when I purchased the Photography Creative Cloud Suite. I pre-paid for the entire year ($128).
  • I immediately realized my mistake that it was under the wrong account that I thought was deleted. So, I got on the chat support with Adobe.
  • I asked if the purchase could be transferred from my Old Account to the New Account. They told me that subscriptions can't be but they can cancel the purchase and I can re-order it. It would take 3-5 days to cancel and 5-7 to receive my refund. I gave authorization and then they told me it had to be "escalated" so they would get back to me and then closed the chat.
  • Within 10 minutes I was a little confused by what happened as to whether or not it was being escalated so I called on the phone.
  • After explaining to the guy everything on the phone he said to me: "Why not delete the New Account and simply rename your Old Account?"  WOW! What a novel idea! That's what I wanted to do in the first place!
  • I asked him what would happen to my purchase, is it still being canceled because in this case it shouldn't be canceled. He confirmed with me that my subscription was NOT in the process of being canceled, that I would be fine.
Side Note here: I have a big website project I'm working on here and I need these programs to do them. I deleted all my versions of Photoshop CS3 so I can't use those anymore. This is important that I have this subscription working.
  • Now come Monday morning. I login to my Old Account (which is now my New Account) and I have no subscription! What?!
  • I got on the chat, what happened? Well, it seems my subscription was canceled per my request. I simply had to re-buy it. Oh, and I'll get my money within 5-7 days. But I couldn't re-buy it because I want to purchase a full year in advance and I don't have an extra $128.
  • So I asked the question: Can I buy one-month and then convert to a year after one month? The answer was "I have escalated this problem and we'll get back to you in 2-5 days." I asked if he could just clarify that and he said the same thing. SHUT DOWN.
  • So, I googled it and saw a help document on how to convert your account to an annual pay so I went ahead and purchased one-month at $10.
  • Today, I noticed I couldn't work in Photoshop. I tried logging into my account and I got "Your account has been disabled, contact customer service."
  • What the heck!!!??
  • So, on chat this morning here is what I found out. It apparently takes 7-10 days to DELETE AN ACCOUNT. So, my Old Account was deleted as per my request 8 days ago!
  • Now, I have an ACTIVE Adobe CC subscription with a DEACTIVATED account so I can't use it.
  • Oh, my problem was escalated and I'll hear back from them in 2-5 days.  Meanwhile, I don't get to work on any of my projects that I am needing to work on.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

My Take on Google Inbox

For those of you who don't know, Google is coming out with a new E-mail Client for Gmail called "Google Inbox". Their promo video can be seen here. Right now it's invite-only.

I got my acceptance today and started working with it right away. It is certainly new. I am not opposed to new I understand this will take some getting used to.

It is as you would expect. Items are bundled on the screen, you can add new bundles if you like and set reminders to deal with e-mails later. You can pin e-mails as well, so when you're "done" with other e-mails those still show or you can switch to only pinned items.

Then there is this "Done" thing. When you swipe an e-mail to the right it is marked as "done". It isn't deleted, it's simply moved off your inbox. There is a section called Done that you can go to and see all the e-mails you're done with.  If you were to browse to your gmail on your computer, those e-mails are still in your inbox taking up space.  So, ultimately, this is the end of deleting e-mail. Your inbox will fill up to eternity unless you choose the e-mails, go to a sub-menu and choose to move them to the trash. For me, this is very inconvenient. I use "swipe to delete" all the the time on my mail program. I don't want my inbox or server mailbox to be filled with garbage that isn't needed anymore.  This is not yet a deal breaker but I don't look forward to having to visit my gmail and mass-deleting e-mails once a week.  Oh, and I looked in the Inbox settings to see if I can swipe to delete and there is no option.

All in all, it's pretty and fairly easy to use. I like the idea of setting a reminder to deal with something later or pinning it until it is dealt with. My method is to leave e-mails "unread" and right now I have 27 unread e-mails many of which I will probably never deal with.  Pinning them may force me to do something about them, or setting a reminder will allow me to kick the ball down the road a bit until I'm prepared to deal with it.

I am eager to see how it grows.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

So Mad at Time Warner Cable!

I am writing this post from my phone so bear with me. The reason why is that we have no internet.

I thought I was ahead of the game by scheduling my move for my internet service for the 31st early. I scheduled it around the 22nd of May. Everything was in place and I was even given a great rate change.

Then on the the evening of Memorial Day, our internet shut off; the 26th. I called to ask what was going on and the man said we were moving and it was turned up at the new house. I asked why they would do it 5 days early and he said someone got the days mixed up. I would have to talk to the move dept. who was off since it was memorial day.

Tuesday I called and he said the only way I could get service turned on at my old house was too cancel my appointment for the 31st. I asked him, how hard is it to hook up the equipment. He told me it was very easy all I had to do but plug it in. So I told him go ahead and cancel the appointment turn service back on at my old house and I would do it myself on the 31st.

That is when I got the surprise then I would lose my great rate that I was given before. He put me on hold for a long time and came back with the rate that was 7 dollars more per month and he said "well its almost what you had before." Yeah, thanks.

Now fast forward to yesterday. It was after 10 p.m. When I tried to plug everything in and nothing worked. So I called Time Warner and she said "Oh I will turn up your service now" and when she did still nothing worked. She told me that there had been no service at our house since 2010 and its very possible the lines have been cut. And that I should really have had a service tech come out to do the installation. Of course I was livid because I wanted a service tech to come out but I had to cancel that appointment.

So now, we have a service tech come out end the earliest date is this coming Thursday after I am going to be out of town. So the first possible time we can probably get everything up and running is Sunday when I get back. We are going to miss an entire week without our phone (VoIP) and television which we get online.

I would switch service to a new company but unfortunately Time Warner has the best service and speeds for this area.

I at least I am not paying for this week, so that is good. I wish I could get more credits but I don't think I can.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's been a while...

Sorry it's so long since I posted. We've been so busy with so many things. 8 kids can do that to you.

We recently closed on a new house and are moving in at the end of May. That's cool.

I'm considering posting my "book" that I started writing here in blog form since I may never publish it. I'll never have the time to write the rest of it.

Okay then, thanks for looking in.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Vlog is dying

So, I started this vlog (Video Blog) a few weeks ago. It was mostly for family but I didn't mind if other people watched it too.

I started out with like 20 viewers on each video but the last few are 10, 9, 6. So, I guess I'm getting pretty boring. I already know my life is uninteresting, is that it? Should I just quit? My mom likes my vlogs! (of course)

If you want to check them out, see it here.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Raining and Pouring

Just a quick note to enumerate the things we were hit with over the last few days. Funny how things can be going relatively well and then you get decimated.

  • My wife falls roller skating on Sunday. She needs an ambulance to get to the ER. Broken Forearm (both bones) and Cracked Tailbone. She has a massive knot on the back of her head but no concussion. Doctors estimate she'll be in a splint all summer. Pain may not go away for years.
  • Youngest of eight, our little girl, is sick with a fever. It's a bug that has slowly been going around the family. It's been a rough couple days with her.
  • My thirteen-year-old closed the door on my three-year-old's fingers causing massive deformation and swelling. We thought something was broken; spent another several hours in the ER Monday.
  • With my wife unable to do basic movements without pain, she is unable to do the things she does all day including taking children to the doctor, etc. (We have some help today for that.)
  • My 40th birthday is on Saturday, we were supposed to have a party. My wife insists we still will have it but we need to do massive amounts of cleaning before then. It sure looks bleak that we will get that done so that may not happen. Friends want us to postpone but with our busy lives, I don't imagine we could have it another time if we postponed. At least not for several months.
  • The way our insurance works, we pay out of pocket until we hit our $2,600 deductible. I am estimating that we probably hit that, however, that means I have to take money from our vacation fund to pay for it. We have been planning and saving to go to Washington, DC for three years. I am concerned we either won't make it or it will be severely cut short.
All in all, things could be worse they could always be worse. But living through it along with the lack of sleep of a sick child and wife. It's hard to see the light in this darkness that I'm in. Please pray for me, my wife (especially) and my family we most certainly need it.