If anyone needs a mechanic in the Aurora, CO area, may I heartily *NOT* recommend Smith Automotive. I thought Cory, the shop owner, was doing a good job on my car. It always seemed like the jobs came in at a few more bucks than he had quoted me, but I just guessed that he was quoting me prices off the top of his head. Last August, I took my Jeep Cherokee in because it was leaking everything everywhere, and the 4WD was thumping something crazy. I told them I wanted the leaks fixed, and if the 4WD got fixed in the process, great (since the transfer case was part of what was leaking), and that I only had $1000 to spend, NO MORE, explaining that I was not working, etc. After keeping my car for almost two weeks, with repeated phone calls telling me "We don't know yet, we won't know how much until we get it fixed", I got a bill for TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS and change for rebuilding the transfer case. And it still was leaking everything all over everything.
And before you tell me, yes, I know that's illegal. Just the week before I took my car into the shop for the whole transfer case mess, I had served a summons for my neighbor the attorney on a mechanic who did the same thing. I'm generally not the type to get lawyers involved, and at the time I thought it was just a big math slip-up, and decided I wasn't going to take my Jeep there again.
I took my Jeep into another shop this week because it's thumping (but not quite in the same way as it was thumping before). Not only does the transfer case need to be rebuilt AGAIN because the chain is slipping and it's leaking all over the place, but the heater core valve which I had them replace less than two years ago is shot (and the mechanic says it looks like a very old part), and two of the transmission fluid control lines are leaking (those were replaced too). So instead of having a few leaks and some body work left to fix on my Jeep (the grand total of which would have been about $1100), the only parts of my car really worth salvaging are the engine, the transmission, and my MP3 player.
And just to tie this into something remotely techy - I cleaned his computer for free after someone let it get infected with all kinds of goodies last year. If I had known this was coming, I wouldn't have bothered getting it quite so clean.
And more stuff:
We live in a housing development with a homeowners' association. Probably the only people who will understand what a pain this is are people who live in Colorado and understand how truly freaking out of control HOAs are.
We had a high-definition antenna installed last August so that we could see local channels in high-def on our new TV (DirecTV doesn't have local channels in high-def yet). My husband did a little research and asked our neighbor (the attorney) and our wiring guy (who also has dealt with HOAs numerous times) and got the same answers everywhere he looked:
- HOAs can't require a design review for installing an antenna, because that could result in a delay in being able to install.
- HOAs can't impose requirements on installation that result in additional cost to the homeowner, or that cause a decrease in signal quality.
- Installing an antenna in our attic would result in a decrease in signal quality (this is especially so with high-definition signal) and would be more expensive to have installed.
- The only way that an HOA can impose a restriction is for historical preservation or safety purposes.
Last September (about a month after installing the antenna), we got a letter from the HOA's management company saying we were in violation of community standards and needed to take the antenna down within ten days. I sent the following email to the HOA:
My husband, R***, and I received a letter from your office demanding the removal of an antenna installed at our home. The installed antenna is for broadcast television reception. Because of FCC Regulation 47 CFR 1.4000, the homeowner's association is not permitted to impair the homeowner's installation or maintenance of such an antenna - meaning that the association cannot require the removal of the antenna and cannot delay the installation by requiring design committee approval.
Permits and approval can be required for safety purposes and reasonable restrictions for historical purposes that do not cause signal interference can be imposed. We assure you that the antenna was professionally installed and poses no safety risk. At our request, the installer made a substantial effort to place the antenna as unobtrusively as possible instead of placing it on the apex of the roof at the front of the house where signal strength would be optimal. In fact, the placement currently causes interference on one of the major broadcast channels. Other locations such as in the attic would not provide an acceptable signal quality.
Reviewing the FCC fact sheet regarding placement of antennas may provide some insight into the applicable regulations.
If you wish to discuss this please do not hesitate to call us.
We didn't hear anything back until the beginning of February, when we got a letter requesting (more nicely this time) that we "be neighborly" and remove the antenna, and stating that we should have been able to place the antenna in our attic. Before I had a chance to respond (family members with walking pneumonia and funerals out-of-state tend to eat up some time), we got ANOTHER letter stating that "The Board has communicated with you on several times regarding this matter without a response", even though their February letter mentioned receiving our email. This letter once again demanded we take down the antenna.
So, of course, my response was to send another copy of the same email I sent last September to the HOA's management company, and copy the HOA board of directors since I'm not sure they realize how stupid the management company is being.
I've sent two design review requests since August (one to put a shed up on our property, another to plant flowerbeds in the back yard) and have not gotten an answer for either of them. My neighbor who lives directly behind me said that it took him over six months of calling the management company once a month to get a permit to install a swingset for his kids. Another neighbor has mailed them a copy of the cancelled check for her dues but keeps getting letters saying she needs to dispute her late fees for the payment (which was on time) in writing.
And more stuff, on a lighter note:
When my son wakes up at 2 a.m. and needs attention, I try to remind myself that soon he won't want cuddles in the middle of the night, not from mommy, anyway...