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Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I'm not discouraged, but I don't like being without my car. I could have a rental if I wanted it, but I want my new Saturn back. It looks as if it'll be next week some time at the earliest, though. If it's any longer, I'll give in and let them rent me a car.

The service manager called this morning. I didn't like the sound of his voice. I didn't care for his words, either. "I wish I had better news for you." Before I even knew for sure, I got the sinking feeling that comes when you hear something like "We have to talk," or "The boss wants to see you." I didn't clap my hands over my ears and sing "Stars and Stripes Forever," the way I used to, but I felt like it.

Part of the deal when you buy a new Saturn is you can return it within 30 days, no questions asked. I wouldn't do that anyway, but my 30 days were up last Friday, so that isn't one of my options. I suppose I could hold out for a new car, and I will if they can't fix Kermit. But I want my baby back, in good condition and ready to run.

They don't know what the problem is, but at least this time they're acknowledging that there is a problem. In fact, they're so sure of it that they're tearing the engine apart and putting it back together the way it's supposed to be. I guess in one way this is a good thing. I'll have a hand-built car that's probably better than the ones that roll off the assembly line. I know for sure my car will be better than the way it came off the line.

Something was installed wrong at the factory. That's the overview. I reminded the service manager that I'd had the car in for the same problem a week after I got it, when it had just 140 miles on it. It still has less than 600, so it wasn't exactly due for major service yet.

One thing I'm convinced of is that they want to make me happy. I have no doubt that they'll do whatever it takes to satisfy me, now and in the future. It's not just the money, either, but the reputation that they're so proud of. When I took Kermit in yesterday, the service rep asked me, "Other than that, how do you like the car?" Then she gave me a sort of sheepish look.

As soon as she said it, she realized that a problem like this overwhelms whatever love you have for your car. The dealer wants me to love my car, and love Saturn, and I want that just as much. I'm pretty patient, I think, but I won't give them enough rope to hang me. I don't expect to have to fight back, but I'm capable if it's necessary.


Puffy clouds in the east.

It's probably selfish of me not to want a free rental car. If I didn't work at home, I'd take advantage, but I'd rather let my family cart me around for a few days. At their convenience, of course. I won't make any demands, but there's something in it for me that's even more selfish than it sounds. I figure that if I let them help me, they won't hesitate to ask me for help the next time they need it. That's what's in it for me.

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Under my new system, I work until I run into a roadblock. That usually means I need information from someone else, and it's almost always something I've already asked for at least once. I stop working and ask for whatever it is I need, and then go on to something else until I get it. That's how I got several chapters of my book read this afternoon.

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One year ago: Down to Basics
"You don't have the same ten couples in the same position in the standings from beginning to end if it's a real competition."

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In the long run it will make you cry,
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