The Cautious Tale of Beacon Plumbing

This is a really long post. TL;DR – Beacon plumbing wont provide a quality dishwasher install, and the customer service/social media manager had such poor communications with me over the whole ordeal, I’m sharing the experience for other customers. In summary – you will never be freakin’ enough to need to call Beacon (as the local jingle implies “stop freakin’, call Beacon!”)

****

My house is a super cute 1947 cottage in the North Seattle area. She has beautiful crown molding, French doors, original oak floors, and terrible plumbing. I mean, when I’m 70 I’ll have a few leaks too. But it feels like as soon as we pay off one plumbing bill, another one rears up. We hired Beacon Plumbing to install a dishwasher in our kitchen that never had a dishwasher in it before. While we consider ourselves handy homeowners, we knew this was a big project and it was right after I hurt my left knee so I was hobbling around in a knee brace at this time – we hired a professional. We bought the GE dishwasher from Lowes, had it delivered, and Beacon showed up a week later while I knocked out the cabinet next to the sink.

$1,500+ later my dishwasher was installed along with a new garbage disposal because during install the plumber convinced us that ours was inadequate. But during the install when I pointed out that there was a big gap between the counter and the dishwasher, the tech said that he couldn’t find any feet for my dishwasher so that model may not have them. FYI for those not in the know as I was – dishwasher feet are important primarily because they elevate the guts of the dishwasher (pumps/hoses/electrical cords) off of the ground so they aren’t smooshed. So one of the black rubber gasket strip things was wedged between the dishwasher and the counter and we were happy that as newly cohabitating adults washing the dishes would be one less chore to weasel out of.

One year later almost to the day, our dishwasher floods the kitchen. We maintain the dishwasher by scraping and rinsing dishes before loading, we keep the filter clean, we use the manufacturer recommended detergents for crying out loud. But ha-ha! I found my paperwork and called Beacon! Beacon said they don’t work on dishwashers, they only install them. They said they stand behind the pipes they touched only and only for a year. If they came out and saw it was a broken dishwasher and not broken pipes it’d be a $75 service fee, and to call who we bought it from.

A GE tech comes out, fixes the pump, and points out some issues with the install for me to get Beacon to fix.

July 27

I didn’t hear anything back for a few days so I called Beacon on August 1st and they said that I needed to not use the form on their website under “contact us” but that I needed to email Kasen. At this point in your reading I’d suggest you get cozy, grab a snack, empty your bladder, and enjoy the show. In the interest of me not manipulating the words, I’m gonna do screenshots of the conversation.

img_6119img_6120img_6121

img_6122.png

ΔΔ

img_6123img_6124

img_6126

img_6141

 

img_6132

img_6133

img_6136

img_6140

 

img_6138img_6139

 

 

I’m from the south so I like to do analogies. It’s like going to the doctor for a sprained wrist and during vitals she mentions your blood pressure is high and recommends a follow up with a cardiologist. Or say you got a new siding installed on your house last year but when you got new windows put on this year the workers point out a gap in the siding by the chimney that’s causing a leak AND YOU GET FRUSTRATED BECAUSE YOU POINTED THAT OUT DURING SIDING INSTALL AND THE WORKER BRUSHED YOU OFF. Also, I want to point out that Kasen is not only the customer service manager for Beacon, but he is also the social media manager. Lets go to yelp and see what I’m working with, eh?

yelp
Two stars out of 193 reviews? Why am I not surprised.
Ellen T
*slathers on sarcasm thick as peanut butter* Oh Ellen, surely Kasen wouldn’t be so condescending! I mean he’s the CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER!
Joel
I read Kasen’s response as a “well, if you would have complained about it longer and not called someone ELSE back out to fix what we didn’t do, maybe it would have delayed this yelp review.”

It goes on and on and on and on….. but this is MY story not theirs. So what do I want to happen? Well fine reader who is smart, funny, and good looking – I want my god damned dishwasher to not break. I want the feet installed on my dishwasher so my dishwasher doesn’t die in two years. I want the top of my dishwasher flush with my counter tops so there isn’t a big gap. I want to pull the racks out of the dishwasher and not have it topple over. I want a plumber from Beacon to come into my house and explain to me why the pipe configuration under the sink is the way that it is. As a working class citizen who is paycheck to paycheck, home ownership is expensive. This plumbing bill was expensive. And I expect to be satisfied with the install for $1,500 later.

Kasen, if you are reading this (as you should because I’m gonna post this ALL over social media) please recognize that your tone and wording is condescending and as the customer service manager, you are not doing your job. I’m not naïve, I understand that the customer is not always right. The reason the GE tech left my dishwasher unsecured is because even he thought that it would be absolutely within my bounds as a customer to have Beacon come back out to put on feet and screw it into the counter properly even though it was a year later. The GE tech didn’t remount the dishwasher to make it easier for you to come in and do the work. And yes, your response implies that I’m trying to get Beacon out here to do work that another plumber or myself flubbed up. Its the principle of the matter. And I don’t want my dishwasher to crap out on me. That’s a big part of it too.

Thoughts? Please feel free to share for other Seattle area folks who may use Beacon because they are one of the largest emergency plumbers in this area.

No Spend Challenge – deep thoughts

On 8 July, I declared on Facebook that I’d be doing a “30-day no spend challenge”. The guidelines of my personal challenge were that I would buy with better intention. Looking at my online banking I consistently had more money going out each month that I did coming in, I’ve been on short term disability for the better part of this year, I live in Seattle, I own a home, and I’ve got two kiddos. I needed to have a better relationship with my money so I felt more like spending was a thing I choose to do as opposed to being the rope with which I hang myself every month. I know, its a gruesome analogy but its truly what I feel like. I’m feeling very into lists right now so here were the rules I started out with:

  1. Pay all the bills. Mortgage, child care, car, utilities, groceries, all the essentials.
    1. a. Apply for financial aid for medical bills.
  2. List out my spend temptations on Facebook so I can establish a pattern of temptations, so I can be better prepared to avoid money traps.
  3. Research the best deals so when I do spend, I spend wisely.

I’d say the biggest money hole I found was impulse buying food. While going to the grocery store is essential spending, and even having a mid-week top up to get eggs/milk/bread isn’t a big deal, I wasn’t making the most out of my grocery shopping. I found myself frequently stopping myself from grabbing some snacks at the local 7-eleven, or ordering takeout, or getting a lot of crappy food at the grocery store. It’d time to cook dinner and all I’d have were protein bars and coffee ice cream — it was an eye opener to me on how unhealthy my eating and spending habits were and how conjoined they were. While perfectly acceptable to eat and buy food like that for a younger single person, it doesn’t exactly bode well to a family of four. I also recognized that I need to buy snacks at the grocery store. I’m gonna want chocolate. I’m gonna want a popsicle. So budget for it instead of making a special trip to the store “so I don’t keep temptations in the house”. Y’all, the devil himself can’t stop me from eating a Hershey’s with almonds when I’m on my period.

Another thing is having a better understanding of my monthly squish fund. So many things pop up each month that while I don’t necessarily expect them, it seems like every freaking month they happen. This month it was things like two copays for the kids at the doctor, a friend had an unexpected death in the family so I bought some leggings from her to give her some financial support, its our anniversary so we are having a cookout, we had to call a plumber to fix a clog in our kitchen, its time for back to school clothes shopping for my super tall and super thin 7-year old and while I’m a hard core thrifter I do like to take him to the mall to pick out a brand new outfit for back to school. I  legit need to have $300 a month in a “fuck me” fund which would be essential yet unplanned things.

I also need to recognize that once a week I’m going to throw my hands up and say I’m not cooking. I work full time, I’m dealing with a chronic pain condition, two of the people in my house are ridiculously picky eaters and it melts my brain trying to cook a balanced healthy meal that everyone will actually eat, and sometimes getting a $5 little ceasers pizza or a $10 taco box from taco bell is just how the night goes down. And that’s okay.

There is a lot of anxiety around clutter in my house (this article REALLY resonates with me besides being raised by a single mom but as someone who was a single mom for a while hoooooooo-boy) and I also had a bit of a revelation that I don’t necessarily need to buy more organization solutions, I need to get rid of shit. There are currently four humans and two canines living in 1,000 square feet. When we combined our households we got rid of half our stuff each, but still came in with twice as much stuff as we should have (ps. this kind of math is why I dislike math!!). I do A LOT of yelling when it comes to cleaning with the boys, and I always feel so guilty when I raise my voice in frustration, and it’s not fair to expect a four and seven year old to keep their room clean enough to take a picture for an MLS listing most of the time. So we’ve been downsizing to smaller furniture, not allowing an excess of toys during gift giving events, and doing a balance of letting the boys choose which toys to get rid of and me making executive decisions while they aren’t home to see a belovedly broken robot go into the goodwill pile.

This month I’ve also practiced a lot of sweat equity type of things. Even though we ended up calling a plumber, when my kitchen sink got clogged I literally spent an entire day on the floor with the stiches in my knee protected snaking lines, flushing pipes with boiling water, and diagnosing the issue before calling the plumber out. I’m a big canner (not quite Mormon mom level but I do stock my pantry every year with home made preserves) and I’ve gleaned a lot of fruit to make jam for my family. I cleaned out my early summer crops from the garden and planted an end of season patch of kale, rainbow chard, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and I’m trying to figure out how to grow some winter squash in the greenhouse. I may even throw in some potatoes for a Thanksgiving harvest! We are doing a better job of eating leftovers and being more responsible with food waste, and the better we are at that, the better I feel about spending my money on bulk organic produce and grains because I’m not tossing something in the compost every evening.  I learned that sometimes you can make your yard look like you landscaped it just by pulling weeds and refreshing the mulch in the flower beds. And that dying your own hair at home with supplies from Sally’s will still get you lots of compliments. And that I can do a damn fine little boys hair cut in the back yard. And if I utilize my neighborhood buy nothing board I can get awesome household things like paint and storage boxes and flowers as long as I go say hello to a neighbor.

Its been lovely having a bit of a shift of social activities without spending money too. Maybe if I want to visit a friend we can put on a pot of coffee as opposed to going out for a latte. Or if the kids are getting too wiggly we just go to the park or visit a splash pad or chase in the back yard instead of going to a movie or mall stalking for the AC. I’ve also slowed down a bunch which is a great thing because I was doing way too much. One day in the future I may look back on 2017 as a year of big mental changes for me and how I approach my life and social activities. I turn 32 next month and I’m realizing its unreasonable for me to act like I’m still in my 20’s with my social life. I don’t have to visit with a friend every week, I can enjoy quiet time at home alone or hanging out with my family.

Something completely unexpected that came from this month, is that it has really illustrated how paycheck to paycheck I personally am. I make a living wage but having a family in Seattle is so cost prohibitive and its only getting worse. Even though we own our home in Shoreline/North Seattle living in this geographical area is expensive and rising. I never understood how people said they were being priced out of their neighborhood after they owned a home until now. If all the Amazon/Google/Microsoft/Boeing folks move to my area and inflate the price of housing, it also inflates everything else. My property taxes, childcare expenses, increased commute times because these folks definitely aren’t riding the bus like I am, and a general feeling of not relating to my neighbors.

Using more public spaces in my living area this year makes me happy to see so much diversity on the playgrounds and parks and greenways but the people making the decisions are so white and financially secure. And I feel its a safe statement to say many people in my neighborhood are financially insecure but not necessarily “poor enough” to qualify for income based services. So passing taxes for things like civil infrastructure and access to programs are disproportionally paid for by my fellow working class neighbors. I love taxes, I’m a pretty damn red socialist. But these big businesses that are moving into Seattle and widening the wage gap between the working class and the upper class with zero consequences need to pay their taxes or otherwise work to amend the disparity they are creating by simply residing here.

It has really planted the seed for me and the hubby that Seattle probably is not a long term home for us. Even though we love the city, the constant background stress of finances and honestly this weird white entitled passive aggressiveness is like a fly buzzing around our head. Some days we can mostly tune it out. Other days we are ripping the house apart trying to smash the fucker. We’ve all had a lot of difficult things happen to us in life, and the idea of moving out to a more rural area with more opportunities for quiet and simple living is a really peaceful thought, and something I’d like to spend a bit more time planning out how to get there in the next five years.

Cleaning out the house

This morning I woke up early, brought my binder outside with my coffee to make a to-do list, and realized my garden was mostly dead. Seattle summers are glorious besides the major drought that happens during our non-wet season. With my recent surgery we haven’t tended to the garden like good tenders should, so I watered everything for about 30 minutes and watched the bugs dancing in the sprinkler mist. Then I realized the bird feeders haven’t been filled either so I ran out and filled all of those again, and I felt very Snow White while the crows and robins voiced their anger that they starved FOR DAYS without my assistance.

I started thinking about my house and how much I love it and realized things have kinda gone to crap since moving in here. I try to avoid woo woo stuff too much but I’m also quite superstitious and it brings me a sense of wellbeing when I “focus my energy” on things. This house was built in 1947 and has been a rental for much of that tenure, the yard was completely ignored so we’ve been working on that as much as possible, and we both dragged energies with us from old dwellings into this new one. I also collect quack medicine, death culture momentos, and oddities. There could be all sorts of bad juju hanging out in the crap I drag home.

So with a burst of motivation after being stuck to the couch with food poisoning a short 72 hours after surgery (beats a blood clot I suppose), I did some good old fashioned cleaning. I tidied up the house, did the dishes, and then I walked through the house room by room talking to the house and smoking the general room, and then I went through and swept it all out (from the ceiling to floor) and pushed it out the front and back doors. I was happy in the sunshine and tried to focus getting any bad or stale juju out and keeping the good stuff in. Focusing that intention to make my home the happiest and healthiest it could be.

My sink is still backed up with water so it’s not like I found some great wiccan power inside of me, or the house appreciates my efforts but still has serious plumbing issues. Whatever, other people have kitchen plungers too, right?

 

 

Second knee surgery COMPLETE

Surgery nest

 

I tried to do a comic! Post op! On drugs! I am enjoying my new bamboo stylus but I gotta figure out how to have my hand on the screen for stability without having my wrist drawing squiggles on the screen. Surely there is a setting for my screen, I just have to find it.

So, another day another surgery done. Nutshell from last post tore ACL in Feb playing roller derby, had surgery in March for a full ACL replacement, got a blood clot a week later, head on collision where they totaled my car a month later, and due to my shitty recovery my knee was full of scar tissue. After lots of PT and tears and walking like a goober for five months it was time. I tried having surgery last week but due to a family emergency I was unable to register because I was having an emotional meltdown. Yesterday was far more successful and I am finally in a good mental place for my knee.

I’ve had to learn how to walk four times now. Once when I was a wee one, then when I was 14 I was burned in a fire and had a big surgery on my left shin and it took me about four months to walk normally again. May 2016 I had this really weird knee injury in my left leg from a goofy fall in roller derby called a posterior lateral corner injury (fancy way to say all the ligaments in my outer knee got fucked up) but I didn’t need any surgery on that thank the stars, and on my right knee with this injury I’m STILL not walking solidly. If you ever hear me say I want to take the stairs or walk somewhere instead of drive, its because I have a sincere appreciation for self propelled mobility. I think it’s safe to say I’ve had almost two years of my adult life where I’ve been unable to properly walk. Which is significant for an otherwise healthy and dare I say athletic adult!

Yesterday my surgeon took the scar tissue out of my right knee that had completely exploded in my knee capsule. When your leg is all the way locked straight it has a 0 degree bend and when its all nicely folded and bent you’ve got about a 130 degree bend. I was stuck at 15 degrees extension after my PT would wail on it and it felt like I was giving birth through my freaking knee, and my bend was barely at 100 degrees. My leg is most comfortable hanging out between 30-90 degrees. That meant when I would walk my right leg was constantly bent so I had a really awesome wobble, all my cups have lids on them now. After surgery I came home, took one pain pill, and am walking without crutches. My head is absolutely swarming with the concept that my surgeon literally cut open my knee, scraped a significant amount of scar tissue out of my knee, did what’s called manipulation under anesthesia where they twist and pop me all over the table to get range of motion established, and sewed me up. And this feels far better than the daily pain I’ve been managing since March.

I feel like a fucking X-Men mutant. Pain tolerance is my super power.

It doesn’t feel good when I force it straight by pushing my knee down and lifting my heel but it didn’t before surgery either so meh. I literally sent a snapchat to my friend Michelle last night of me dancing in the bedroom high on life and relief. Now I want to plan hikes and camping and bike trips and all the bendy and straighty knee things!!!

Lets do this blog thing?

2017 has been a really hard fucking year. Maybe hard isn’t a good word. It’s been overwhelming. Lots of really good things and lots of really bad things have happened in the short span of seven months and it’s not like 2016 was idyllic either.

Nutshell version for me personally is that in February while playing roller derby I fell wrong and completely tore my ACL in my right knee (and in May 2016 I blew out my left knee but was able to recover without surgery). I had surgery in early March, got a sizable blood clot post-op, and then one day shy of one month post-op when my recovery was finally taking a turn for the better my car got hit head on and totaled. And I went through the glove box as the passenger. Knees first.

I also work a high stress job doing worksite inspections (think OSHA), I’m a newlywed, I own a house that is 70 years old and the plumbing shows, I have two little boys, and am working through abuse that happened in my first marriage. I’m starting to feel like 2017 is the year for me to finally crawl into the basement of my psyche and clear shit out. Toss shit I don’t need to store anymore, repack memories and experiences in plastic storage bins because the cardboard box I had initially stored them in is deteriorating, and getting some help with professionals for the corners that are infested with rats and snakes and spiders and creepy porcelain clowns. No one can tackle those corners by themselves *shudders*.

Especially now that I’m not skating and trying to redefine my physical experiences of being in this current state body, I have a lot of energy I’m trying to channel into healthy ways. When I was in high school and college, I played a lot of music (hello fellow singer songwriters who grew up in Nashville!) and did a lot of self published comics. I’ve found myself doodling a lot more and thinking “I should draw that in a comic”. I’m also hearing songs and wanting to play them and sing them on my guitar again, maybe I’ll even write a new song soon. But for now, I’d like a place where I can draw comics and get thoughts out in a healthy way. So, welcome to my blog thing. Lets see how this goes.