Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Isn't it Ironic?

I was stopped in traffic at the center of town, on my way home from work. Six days from the day I picked Allia up, I was still basking in the euphoria of her newness. It was 4:30 sunny and hot, but her A/C kept me comfortable. Then it happened. BUMP! The car rocked at impact. It took me a moment to realize what had happened. I checked the rearview and saw the car behind me backing up.

No, you did not just hit me! My new car and you hit me?! I was pissed.

I threw her into park and got out. The other driver got out. He was about 4' 10". "Did I give you a lil love tap?" I looked at my bumper. There was a damage. "You dented my bumper!" I couldn't believe it. "I don't see it." He said. Yea, just like you didn't see my car! Right in front of you! "Well, I see a dent, and I want to exchange papers. I haven't even had the fucking thing a week!" The vehemence of my profanity showed in his startled wide eyed look. That's right dumbass, be very afraid. I just might be a psycho chick that will go postal on you. He raised his hands, as if telling me to calm down. "Okay, okay" As he was backing away. "Pull into the parking lot." I ordered.

Emotions and adrenaline were coursing through my veins. I hadn't been in an accident that required the exchanging of papers in 23 years. I finally have a pristine vehicle that I care about and this happens? My mind fumbled for what information I was supposed to give. As my nerves calmed a bit, I realized the man bore a resemblance to two brothers I remembered from my highschool days. We pulled into the parking lot of a limousine service off the main road. I quickly grabbed my registration, pen and paper. He tossed his license on the hood of my car and went to retrieve his registration. I looked at the name and confirmed my suspicions. He was the older of the two brothers I had recalled. His younger brother was in my class, until he dropped out. They were almost like twins. Both very short of stature, with bad attitudes and a penchant for getting into trouble. There was a passenger in his vehicle too. He had an alcohol aged look about him. I could see that not much had changed over the years with this man.

After I had gotten my license and we were documenting the information, I started to calm down. "I went to highschool with your brother". "Yea?" He wasn't impressed. I imagine he was dealing with his own stupidity of the accident and thoughts of increased insurance premiums, not to mention the fact I was making such a big deal out of such minor damage. Too bad, so sad. The righteous bitch in me had taken control.

I asked him what had happened as he was going back to his car. "I fell asleep. " He said matter of factly. "You try working construction 9 hours in this heat and get into an air conditioned car". He was actually trying to justify it! "I worked at UPS for 9 years, loading and unloading 130 degree trailers in the summer, I never fell asleep at the wheel". But then again, I didn't stop for a sixpack on the way home either. I cannot say for certain this was the case. I didn't get close enough to smell any alcohol, but I know the type. I was married to one for 8 years. Perhaps that's part of the reason why he didn't argue the damage. After all, if I had called the cops, things could have been a bit worse for him.

I had to sit and gather my wits for a few minutes. How ironic that this couldn't have happened when I was driving Old Reliable? I'm supposed to have the luck of the Irish, not this Murphy's Law crap! Okay...Relax....You were lucky, the damage was minor, probably just cosmetic. But it's my brand new baby! Chill, it could have been a lot worse. You were very lucky. Now it's out of the way. Done. What you were most afraid of happening has happened, get over it.

I had to share the incredulity I felt, so I called Darlene. "You'll never guess who just ran into me, literally". She didn't get it. I explained what happened and she gave me the sympathy I was seeking. I eventually got a hold of Dad and told him my story. Always the optimist, Dad confirmed that it could have been a lot worse. "The dents & dings are going to happen, you just got it out of the way early."

I went to the insurance appraiser today. No appointment necessary, just show up between 12 & 4 on Mon, Wed or Fri. I entered the back basement door of a fairly new building. The only indication of the appraiser's office was a paper printout taped to the door. I knocked and entered.

The odor of stale cigarettes permeated the air. The detritus ( I finally get to use the word detritus) on the worn gray carpet indicated that the space had not been vacuumed in ages. The office contained a couple file cabinets beneath the open window, a computer sat on a lone desk with two half empty sodas and a Dunkin Donuts bag, a threadbare black cardigan hung sadly on the chair. An oversized and outdated copy machine took up the remainder of space. This was my appraisers office? This looked more like the office of a B movie gumshoe.

I sat in one of the two, stained with God only knows what, chairs that appeared to be a waiting area. The screen of the PC went into standby mode. I noticed a worn leather bag and a cell phone sitting on the desk. Someone had to show up eventually, so I waited.

20 Minutes later, the door opened. It was comical. We both surprised each other. He was dressed in beige dockers and a grey & black print golf shirt that was 2 sizes too big. The baggy pants were held up too high by a pair of black suspenders. The lines on his forehead were accentuated by the coke bottle bottom glasses and butt hanging from his mouth. He was the white, senior version of Steve Erkle, and I imagined I had shown up at the precise time of his afternoon newspaper reading on the thrown.

His appearance contradicted his efficiency. Once I pointed out the damage, he snapped several digital photographs at different angles. At a glance, he took down all the pertinent information to gathering an estimate of damages: 4x4, cruise control, no sunroof, automatic, 6 cylinder, A/C. He informed me that I would receive a letter in a couple days and I was on my way. I left, wondering at the seedy, lonely appearance of his job. A job I would not want in a million years.

Now, I wait for the letter, estimate of damages and hopefully a check. If I do receive anything, I'll put it towards the insurance premium instead of getting it repaired. I pray to the Powers That Be that this is the extent of the dues I will pay for the kindness they have shown in granting me the blessing of owning a new vehicle.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

For sale: 91 Plymouth Acclaim

Start having A...Great life.

I wish I knew how to add the music from the commercial here. No copyright infringement is intended of course. I just want to brag about my new baby, and I keep hearing the commercial in my head every time I get in her.

I call her, Allia the Kia. I know - not that great - but you find something that rhymes with Kia. Wasn't there a song called Alliah? Gonna have to Google that.

Dad drove us up Thursday, the 16th to pick her up. I want to give a big shout out to Shawn at Peter's Kia in Nashua, NH. He did a great job getting the car ready, all spiffed up and with a full tank. The paperwork was a breeze and he answered all my questions about maintenance and breaking her in. He was a pleasure to work with. If you live in the area and are in the market for a new vehicle and are considering a Kia, E-mail me. I'll hook you up with my man Shawn, the "referral incentive" has nothing to do with it of course. Wink. Honestly, I love my vehicle and would strongly recommend checking out Kia to anyone considering buying new.

Ahhhh - the smell of a new car. Nothing like it.

I read the manual cover to cover. I want to stay on top of all the maintenance and take good care of her. Do you know that I only have to get the oil changed every 7,000 miles? I had never heard of such a thing. I thought it was always 3,000 - 3,500 miles, no matter what. Just goes to show how much I know about new cars.

Freedom. Freedom to drive wherever I want, whenever I want, without the worry of breaking down and having to call Dad for help. Quiet. No rattling or creaking. I roll up the window and all the noise goes away. Smooth ride. My fillings are finally safe from potholes. The premium stereo rocks, I hear nuances in music I never heard before. My son is the one turning it down, for once.

I've done some research on SUV tents. They have a sock on them that attaches right to the back of the SUV. Throw an air mattress in the back and you've got a high & dry bed. I see a camping vacation in our near future. A real vacation where we get away from the house, first one in 7 years.

I know, I'm prattling on like a new parent.

I want to thank izchan, mydogischelsea, kfarmer, cicibug and of course, Magazine Man for your support and encouragement.

Most of all, I want to thank my Dad, for his unconditional love and guidance. Finally, he doesn't have to worry about me driving around in a shitbox anymore.

If you know anyone looking for a '91 Acclaim that needs work, I've put Old Reliable on Craig's List.

Who Knows Best?

Later that day I received another E-mail with an attachment:

XXX Federal Credit Union

Hello Member, Your auto loan application has been approved! Here is a list of following documents needed to finalize your loan:

If purchasing from a dealer:

Thank you,

Marie Matthews
Lending Representative
XXX Federal Credit Union

Do you believe it?
"Your auto loan application has been approved"

How fucking awesome is that?

I stared at the screen. I previously thought I would scream and yell my yahoos to the world if I got it. But no, I sat, I stared, I reread it, and I started to cry. I couldn't help it. The last few years have been so financially tough. This meant that part of my life was over. All my hard work, all the going without, the emotional stress, the feeling less was over. A load I had carried for years had been lifted from my shoulders. I had found my way back to a credit worthy grown up. Those years of hardship streamed down my face, washing away so much more than I can convey here. I felt 100 pounds lighter (if only that were true), I started holding my head a little higher & smiled a lot wider.

It took me a few minutes to compose myself. Then I called Dad.

"Hi, I just got an E-mail from the Credit Union......(in my saddest voice ever)"...."Yea?"......"I got the loan". My voice was almost a whisper......Dead silence. "You got the loan?" " Yea." "But you sounded were trying to make me think...arrrrgh...youuuuuuuuu!"

A little bit of payback only sweetened the pot. I could pick up the check the next day, Thursday.

Then I did my happy dance and told Dad, "You really do know best".

Monday, June 27, 2005

I just remembered

I just thought of something. Today would have been my 19th wedding anniversary.

Usually, it's a few days after before I realize it. It's a passing thought though.

I wonder which asylum I would be at if I had remained married?

Hey, it's either that or which cemetery would hold my headstone!

Of Slumlords, Greaseballs, Lackeys and Lawyers

I called my parents as soon as we got home. I was finally excited at the possiblilty of owning a new vehicle, one I had picked out, something I had always wanted to have.

I got the E-mail Monday morning:


Your loan has been placed on hold. Please show proof that your civil judgment is paid and then your loan will be re-submitted to the loan officer.

Thank you,

Thank you? Are you kidding, Thank you?

How can I give them something I don't have? I did the only thing I could do, I E-mailed my lawyer. Yes, I actually have a lawyer for this particular credit problem.

I had to get a lawyer, the landlord served me with eviction papers. Things went like this: In September '03 I sent a letter to my landlord asking what he had on his records for the total arrears I owed. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. I never got a response from him. I sent another letter in February '04. I finally got a response in April '04. I had a meeting with them and the number they had was almost $6,000 more than my record. "Well, you have to figure in the 18% interest" the slick landlord smirked. I almost shit a twinkie. When did they start charging me interest? I was never told they were going to start charging interest. That's why I paid off the high interest credit cards first! I kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to blurt out or agree to anything without thinking about it first. Plus, I think I was in shock. You also should know I had not missed a rent payment in over two years.

The Greaseball (I really started hating this man at this point) and his lackey manager had a great idea to help me out. They would knock a couple grand off the total and I could refinance! They gave me the name and number of a broker that could help me out. How kind of them. I agreed to pay double rent in the meantime. I needed to make some home repairs and clean up my credit report before I could apply for refinancing. I set up automatic payments with the bank and got busy on the rest.

Come October I had still not applied for refinancing. I just wasn't comfortable with it. There was no way I would get it with the judgment on my report anyway. I had gotten a two E-mails from the manager throughout the summer - checking on my progress. Jeez - They couldn't be bothered to respond when I contacted them, but the opportunity to grab a large lump sum of change lit a fire under their asses. I wasn't worried, I hadn't missed a rent payment in 30 months, plus I'd paid $2k more in 5 months towards the arrears. That should keep them quiet for a bit, or so I thought.

A couple weeks later I received an eviction notice - come up with the full amount (which was now $2000 more than the original amount, despite what I had paid!) within 30 days or go to court an face eviction. I hit rock bottom at that point and sought out Mom & Dad's help. Mom gave me the money to retain a lawyer.

The lawyer contacted Mr. Greaseball. Mr Greaseball wasn't too happy, he thought he had an easy mark, he thought he had me over a barrel and I would give in without a fight.

He thought wrong.

I was sent their payment records to compare with my own. I had set up a spreadsheet with dates, amounts and check numbers so it only took an hour to reconcile that the payments matched. My record was sent off to Mr. Greaseball for him to do the same.........3 months later my lawyer had to re-contact him, because he never responded. "I got busy with other problems" was his only justification of inattentiveness. Hmmm.......I thought this was important enough to try and have me evicted over? He was going to fax out another record for me to compare to my own. "But we already did that" Was my response to my lawyer. He understood my feelings and assured me all was in control. I was making regular payments, it had gotten to a point where they would have to refile if they wanted me evicted, and he totally questioned the legality of their interest charges. They would have a hard time explaining their actions in court. He recommended I just continue making payments as I was. So I did.

Cut to June '05 and my E-mail to the lawyer. He contacted my credit union and sent them a copy of the judgment (which, by the way is $20,000 lower than what was on my credit report). He also told them how much I had already paid and what my current balance was (about $2500). I would have to show them my records of payment and something from the autopay department showing proof of payments. I E-mailed the credit union contact letting her know that I had everything. She told me to hold onto it until I heard back from her - the loan officer was reviewing what the lawyer had sent them.

I didn't know if that was good or bad.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Father Knows Best

I was sitting around the pool with my Mom and Dad on a hot presummer Saturday the 11th of June. My son was with his Father, a rare occasion. All I had to do was drop him off locally to a graduation party of a friends son. It was 3 o'clock and the ex was already inebriated, lovely. Only child was driving me up the wall and, when pressed, the ex informed me his wife would be driving and she was sober. "Drop him off and he'll be out of your hair. We'll keep him overnight and drop him off in the morning". "Fine". Geez, can you help it? It's only been over a month since you've seen your son! You talk like you're doing me some kind of big favor! He's your son too! My actual thoughts ran on the more profane and insulting track - but you get the point.

I told Dad that I had filled out an online auto loan application with the credit union. It was incomplete because I didn't have the actual vehicle cost, make/model or VIN # to fill in. I would head to the dealership tomorrow to shop. I expressed my doubts at a loan approval due to my bad credit.

I had run up considerable debt on credit cards. At the time it happened, I was salaried once a month and making $21,000 a year. My daycare costs ended up being close to 50% of my salary and the ex wasn't paying his support. I had to pay for daycare, I had to put food on the table.....So I would get cash advances on my credit cards. Eventually it got ahead of me and I couldn't even pay the minimum anymore. I was too ashamed to ask for help. I should be able to support my son after all. I made $87 a month too much for any kind of assistance such as food stamps. I also couldn't afford to pay my rent. I own my home but rent the property. So, I blew off rent as well. I got in deep.

Just when I was about to file bankruptcy, I got my present job. It was considerably more money than I had been making. The commute was much further - but worth it. Long story short - I paid off all the credit card debt, and the balance of the rent debt will be paid off in November. But my credit report still looks like hell because of it all.

"You'll get the loan, Father knows best. You've paid off all the credit cards, you've been making double rent payments for over a year. You'll get the loan". Said Dad. "And I suppose I'm going to have to admit you were right and I was wrong if I do?" "No, just tell me Father knows best, and stop being so negative". He chuckled.

Son was dropped off at 10:30 AM Sunday morning. He informed me that they had actually spent the night at the party and slept in a camper. "Daddy was so drunk he fell out of the bed". Wonderful. What the hell was I thinking when I married him? "I stayed up till 12:30. " Great, now you're going to be tired & cranky" "Did you have a good time?" I asked, belying my inner turmoil. "Yea, they had a live band! First one I've ever seen..It was so cool!" He was home safe and sound, he had a good time and his Stepmother watched out for him. I didn't want to probe any further into his Father's behavior and have him pick up on my anger, so I let it drop. I walk a fine line with my son and his father's relationship.

We headed north to Nashua, NH.

I had researched out a Kia Sportage online. It's what I wanted. Affordable, great warranty and quality product at a reasonable price.

There were only a few Sportages on the lot, many more Sedona's. A Steel Silver one caught my eye - 4x4, and lower than what I saw priced on line. It had everything I wanted - A/C, power everything, 4x4, and they would give it to me for $170 over dealer invoice. "Let's do it" I said to the very nice & helpful salesman, Shawn. One thing that was great about my experience was that I wasn't stomped upon by an overenthusiastic salesman as soon as I hit the lot. There was no pressure.

The paperwork was drawn up and signed. Now, I just had to cross my fingers and pray that Father really did know best.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The seed is planted

I did some looking around online at used cars. I want something that will last and be much newer than my 14 year old vehicle. I showed a few printouts of what I was interested in to my Dad. "If you're going to spend that kind of money, you might as well go for new". He is right.

I've only owned one new car, a 1987 Dodge Charger. It was a fun car to drive, 5 speed, but I had some issues with it from day one. I swore I would never buy a new vehicle again. Granted, in 1987 they built it as a disposable car - not really built to last a lot of years. Nowadays it's different, when you can get a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty, you know the vehicle is built to last.

I have become tired of driving vehicles that I don't trust to take on long trips or too far from home. I'm sick of feeling like a loser having to call Daddy every time something goes wrong with my car, I'm not a 17 year old kid after all. Buying an older vehicle may be a lot cheaper than new but, it's not going to last anywhere near as long before you have to start dumping money into it for repairs.

The seed had been planted, I convinced myself new was the way to go. The thought of actually owning a shiny new vehicle that I actually got to pick out sparked a Christmas morning feeling in me.

Back to the internet to research..........I'm thinking a mid-sized SUV, I've always wanted an SUV.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Poor Old Reliable

She is feeling her age. Arthritis has settled into her CV joints and her struts can no longer withstand the abuse of a 75 mile a day drive. I was hoping she could hang on until November when I would be in a much better position to replace her, it wasn't meant to be.
Her front end does funky things around corners and over bumps. I can no longer trust her to transport me and my most valuable possession safely.
I am forced to borrow my Grandfather's Honda wagon in the interim. Oh the humanity! A wagon!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Fathers Day

Today started off like no other. It was 7:15 and I was awoken to the sound of the screeching smoke alarm. I was instantly awake, although not fully conscious. I threw off the covers and leapt from the bed in one move, arriving to a smoke filled kitchen and living room. Darling son had decided to cook himself some Oodles of Noodles for breakfast. No problem. Just boil the water, add the noodles and go back in his room and forget about it. The water boils out of the pan and the noodles start burning, leave it long enough and you've got enough smoke to set off the alarm. Done.

I was very disoriented when I entered the kitchen. It took me a moment to grasp what was happening. My brain had not yet started to fully function, at least I had enough sense to remove the pan and turn off the burner, then I went to try and disarm the alarm. It stopped sounding briefly but then started wailing again, both the main alarm and the hallway. Then my cell phone started ringing. It was the alarm company..."Yes, I know the smoke alarm is going off....Yes, I tried to shut it off, but the house is filled with smoke from a pan burning on the stove so it keeps reactivating...No, no need to call the fire department.....My password? Lemme think......" It took me a minute to gather my wits. Once the alarm company was satisfied the house wasn't burning down, I turned my attention to getting rid of the smoke.

The ceiling fan went on high and I set up box fans while opening the outside doors. The windows were already open, great...probably woke up the entire neighborhood. It finally dispersed enough to stop setting off the alarm. The only comment from my son, "Great - that was the last package of noodles".

Are you kidding me? I wake up and go from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds and all you care about is your "breakfast"? Luckily, the rest of the day was better than the start. (Not much of a segway).

My son and I finished painting the 5 birdhouses we bought for my Dad. He had said he wanted to mount birdhouses along the fence posts surrounding the pool. I'm glad he told me it's what he wanted, it's a lot better than golf balls...Again.

We went to the craft store yesterday and bought 5 different styles of unfinished birdhouses, paints, stickers and little wooden add ons. My sons creative side really came out. He painted an octagonal house navy blue, and added red, white & blue flag stickers. He then glue gunned a wooden welcome sign on it. It was finished off with a couple coats of acrylic sealer. It was the best one of the bunch. It was so good, there could be a birdhouse business in my sons future.

I had a 24x56 inch poster printed up with a picture of Robert Young and bold print saying "Father Knows Best" that I signed as my Fathers Day card. This is relevant for more than one reason, which will be revealed soon.

Dad loved his presents, and the poster. It seems such a small token for everything my Dad has done for, and been to me.

Thank you Daddy, for being exactly who you are. I love you.

Son, don't think I will forget this morning. I will wait until you grow up and use it as often as necessary to embarrass you.

Friday, June 17, 2005


First off, my apologies for not posting in a while. I've been busy. Doing what? I'll share that over the next couple days.

I was going to do a second post about installing the fridge and moving the cabinet with my son. I will forego the gritty details and say that we bickered like an old married couple doing home renovation. We finally did get the cabinet moved and the fridge in, after a few heated exchanges. It may not have been a smooth process, but we got it done.

It feels good to purchase a quality appliance. I've only had to do it one other time - with the ex, when we bought a fridge, but that wasn't like this. Any other appliance, washer & dryer, dishwasher and car for that matter, I had received as gifts. I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful and giving family. They take care of me. And I've carried a lot of guilt because of that.

Don't get me wrong - I'm very very grateful, but I also feel embarrassed that I received those items because I couldn't afford to buy them myself. I'm a single parent adult, I should be able to support myself and my son on my own. This is tough for me to admit. I'm a proud person that does not like to ask for help. That pride got me into a lot of trouble that has taken me a long time to get out of. That's a long story. One I may post about sometime, but not today.

That being said, it was an extra sweetly satisfying moment to personally purchase and install a brand new side by side refrigerator and, I got a great deal to boot! It's difficult to describe my feelings: satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, giddiness, independence and yes, even a sense of pride.

Picture it:
I open the doors to this pristine, white, energy efficient icebox. The light shines on my smiling face, and I hear the Angels singing.

Isn't it funny that buying a new refrigerator might be nothing more than a pain in the butt necessity to one person and a joyous accomplishment to another?

I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Measure Twice

My son and I went shopping for a new fridge last Saturday. I bought the old one with my home 11 years ago, I have no idea how long the previous residents owned it. It was on it's way out for a while. Water would leak into the fruit & veggie drawers from the freezer defrosting. The door wouldn't swing shut on it's own anymore and one night my son left it open so long a hole burned right through the lightbulb glass & filled with water from the freezer. Not exactly safe. It was small - only 19 cubic feet I think. When you are feeding a rapidly growing 15 year old boy - the more you can stock up on the better. It had a tiny freezer on top too, hated that. I understand the mechanics of why refrigerators were originally made with the freezer on top - heat rising and all that. Now they have very efficient side by sides or freezers on the bottom. It makes so much more sense to me to have the door you open most on the top.

A flyer from one of the big name construction/appliance/garden centers came in the mail and I saw a great deal on a side by side fridge. I took measurements of the space twice, wrote it down and of course, forgot it at home. I had memorized height and width though - so I was confident of choosing something that would fit. It turned out that the particular model in the flier was way too big for my space. Mr. I'm Sure He Works on Commission was very helpful and had a smaller model at an even lower price. I gave him my space allowance - 33 inches wide and 68 inches high, it should fit with no problem he said. "I'll take it" I said. I got talked into the extended warranty plan for an additional $99, I must have had sucker written all over me. At least I got free delivery and removal of the old fridge.

The earliest deliver was the following Friday, they would call on Thursday night to give me the delivery time. I planned on either going in late to work or leaving early, depending on the delivery time. I got the actual call at 7:45 Friday morning (I normally leave home at 6:30AM) Between 9 and 1 was the time they gave me. I was hoping for closer to 9 so I could get into work, if they came at 1 it wouldn't even be worth the hour drive to just turn around and leave at 3:30.

I got a call at 11 from the delivery driver....They were having trouble finding my home. The big truck finally pulled up around 11:45. After measuring the doorways and removing the door closing thingy on my storm door, the two young lads unpacked the fridge on the street and used a very cool dolly with straps to heave the behemoth carefully through the doorways. It was a lot bigger than I remembered. They carted away the worn out old fridge - I was not unhappy to see it go. I kept eyeing the space and the new fridge, comparing the two. "Um, how tall is this fridge?" The 6 foot 4 inch mover whipped out his tapemeasure in a flash..."68 and a 1/4 inches". Shit. "I don't think it's gonna fit, I measured twice and told the guy that sold me it that I had 68 inches in height" They wheeled it over and tried to slide it into the space. It went in two inches and that was it, the cabinet above was too low.

This was one of those embarrassing moments when I felt my face flush. Tall man just chuckled and said "It happens to me all the time, I have to take my son with me. He does that new math that totally confuses me and still comes out with the same answers I do". I felt slightly better at my stupidity. "Well, I'm not sending it back - I'll just have to move the cabinet".

I should note here that my son told me it wasn't going to fit when we got home from the store and remeasured. He was so going to love hearing that. It didn't look like I was going to make it to work either. I figured I'd wait until my son got home before trying to tackle the dozen or so screws holding the cabinet to the wall. That's when the fun began.