After more than a week, R19 000 and numerous phone calls I finally got my car back yesterday. They did the service which included a new cambelt, replaced the clutch and had to replace wheel bearings at the back. Why this needs to take 6 days is completely beyond me. My car has an automatic handbrake which has never given a moment’s trouble. A few weeks ago I received a letter from Renault telling me that I must take the car to the nearest dealer to have it checked. As part of the service they had to reload/load new software for the automatic hand brake and guess what??? Yes, quite right, it isn’t working. Not every time but at least 3 times while I was driving around this morning, when I stopped the car the brake didn’t come on. There is also an ABS light showing on the dashboard which WAS NOT showing when I dropped my car off. They say it’s just a problem with the warning light and it needs replacing (R800 or more) but my argument is that it wasn’t doing that when I dropped it off. The lady kept saying that the wiring is in tact and they could not have damaged it. Perhaps they didn’t damage it like they “fixed” the hand brake that was working perfectly before they got their expert hands on it. What else?

They said the car would be ready at 9 and I think I got there at about 9.15am and then had to wait over 30 minutes for the car to be brought to me. When it arrived there was still a panel loose in the passenger footwell which they had to come and sort out. She asked me if I wanted the old parts and I said no but then they left all the empty boxes in my boot.

Chris has a Mini Cooper S which is quite a sporty car so the suspension is stiff and everything is far more racy/sporty than my car. I’ve been driving it for over a week now and so when I drove my car for the first time everything felt very “pap” especially the new clutch. It honestly felt rather like it had just before it packed up. I kind of thought it was because I’d been driving Chris’s car but then yesterday he took the girls and the dogs to the field in my car and he said it felt like they’ve put in a 2nd hand clutch. I was actually glad he’d driven it as I was almost doubting myself.

He phoned Renault this morning and spoke to the workshop manager and they said we need to bring the car back. I am angry, very angry. They’ve had my bl*&dy car for over a week, why couldn’t they have made sure everything that they replaced/fixed was working properly? Why must I be without my car again? I don’t like driving Chris’s car when I have to get 2 kids in and out of a 2 door car and fit 2 big dogs in the “boot” as I don’t like the dogs to be at our house all the time with the builders here and the gate open a lot of the time. I want my car, I’ve paid them a huge amount of money in my opinion and I shouldn’t still be having problems.

It goes without saying that I will never buy a Renault again. I just don’t know how much longer I can put up with it and that’s a problem. I almost think the car’s luck has run out. I went shopping this morning and my car has never been bumped by a trolley or another car or anything in the 4 years that I’ve had it (oh, nearly forgot Chris’s little oopsy with Nina earlier in the year which must be what started all this bad luck). As I was unpacking the parcels in the garage I walked passed the front bumper and noticed a fresh gouge out of it. I certainly didn’t bump anything and it’s in a strange place as it’s almost on the top of the bumper. Quite possibly it happened while it was in the expert hands of the Renault technicians or maybe it was done by someone at the shops. It’s definitely recent and as I said I think we need to get rid of it as I’m starting to get a bad feeling about it. The timing is really not good. We’ve taken on way more of the renovations than we’d originally planned (and there’s even more that I’m keen to do but Chris is digging in his heels).

We both know there will be lots of hidden costs (building-wise) mostly related to the garden and upgrading our security and so it’s probably best to stop while we’ve still got some money left. The thing that makes me want to get it done is

A) my Type A personality (probably the biggest motivator) and Investec very kindly offered to give us extra money if we need it (such a pity one has to give it back)

B) the fact that I get to spend my days in the company of the builders who it must be said are the nicest builders I’ve ever had to deal with but they are making a huge mess of my garden (and now home) and I’m sick of it now and I’m not keen to let them back into MY space for a good few years, so the more we get done now, the better for my sanity

C) Chris is very busy at work and so there’s lots of money coming in and it’s tempting to spend it and also tempting to think it’s always going to be like this but at the end of the day cosmetic surgery does slow down in the winter months and so it would be foolish to think it will carry on

D) I do seriously need to get a new car and I’m afraid due to the timing the Fortuner might have to be a consideration again although I did see that there is now a 4X4 Automatic Diesel model which they told us was coming soon so I guess it’s time to do some more test driving.

It is now Saturday evening, India have won the World Cup (Yay I was supporting them after we crashed out so disgracefully) and my car is a bit better. The workshop manager did tell Chris that air can get into the clutch’s hydraulic system when they replace it and that I should pump the clutch a few times before driving and it is definitely stiffer. The parking brake still gave some trouble later yesterday afternoon but is better today, although I hardly drove today so who knows. I’m just so not keen for the hassle of taking it back, my parents are away (as well as Joyce) so I’ve got 3 dogs, 2 kids (Zoe on school holidays), a house full of builders and no help.

Oh and the kids are both sick. I knew saying that they haven’t been sick for months would come back to bite me. Zoe started getting sick on Monday when we went to Addo with my brother and his family – I really hope she didn’t pass it on to them as we were all in a Kombi together and they’ve got a massively long trip back to the USA starting tonight and I’d hate for the children to be sick. Zoe really wasn’t well as even when she is sick she never acts sick but she really looked terrible and was coughing a lot. Ava kind of started the other day but got worse today although she’s still chirpy and her usual naughty self. Fingers crossed she won’t get miserable or any worse as then she’ll probably want to be carried around all the time and that’s not on my Top 10 list of things I enjoy doing.

Today was really windy and after a lovely party this morning at a farmyard place we kind of spent the rest of the day indoors watching the cricket and they did start to suffer from cabin fever. Neither of them like watching TV and both prefer to be outdoors so an inside day (afternoon for that matter) definitely doesn’t go down well. Thank goodness we live in PE and can generally spend time outside every day of the year.

Where are we building-wise? All the stacking doors are in and they’ve broken through between the diningroom and patio which is great but now things have got messy. They have not yet tiled the patio and the back garden is pretty much sand and rock so all that sand and cement is now coming into the house in a big way. The laundry roof (as well as the guest room, it’s en-suite and lounge/kitchenette) is no more so the washing machine, tumble-drier, extra fridge and other bits from the laundry and guest room are now on the patio. I feel like I’ve lost control of the chaos and it’s starting to really get to me in a big way. The end is definitely not nearly in site, they only start with the pool on Monday. I really, really hope that the pool will go fairly quickly and they’ll finish with the patio and then move onto the side of the house. Once those bits are done, we can get the irrigation guy back to redo the garden and then get the garden people (our gardener works for a landscaper that happens to be my mom’s neighbour) to level everything as much as possible and lay the grass which will improve my state of mind 200%. I can just not cope with staring at a huge (and I mean huge) pile of stones/rocks/rubble that used to be our back garden. The only snag with this plan is that the patio is currently housing all the stuff from the laundry and to get rid of all that, the side of the house needs a new roof. Catch 22??? Our initial plan was to just replace the roof and ceilings of that section but we are now going to enlarge the en-suite a bit, enlarge the bedroom quite a bit and then add on a maid’s room and bathroom. I really, really, really want to redo the guest room’s en-suite nicely but this is where Chris is digging in his heels. We still don’t actually have an exact price from the builder but hopefully now that he has the plans from the architect (we only got them on Wednesday) he can give us the final cost of all the many minor and major extras and we’ll know exactly where we stand. This is when that R19 000 that I had to hand over to Renault would have come in rather handy. ARGHHHH. I’ll get Chris to take some photos of the chaos tomorrow and then you can all feel sorry for me especially considering the worst of the mess started on Friday just as I gained an extra oversized labrador and lost Joyce for the week.

On an entirely different note, Chris was supposed to do a really big op today that was postponed until next week as another plastic surgeon was coming up from Cape Town to assist him but he was on holiday in Thailand and they got stranded on an island with all the flooding there. The upside of this is that he could do the 40km training run this morning and he did really well and I think we may actaully be able to run Two Oceans together and I’m really excited about that as it’s so much nicer to run with him.


One Response to “Unimpressed”

  1. darylfaure Says:

    Shew what a lot you have going on! Can imagine the renovating is driving you batty. Hang in there friend.

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