artaboutthoughtsjournalfun
Friday, December 22, 2006 9:19 PM

Put another log on the fire, babe*



As I type this, I'm toasting my toes in front of a modest but lovely wood fire.

But that almost didn't happen. We almost stuck one of the laptops in the space and watched the WPIX Yule Log.

September: Paul gets the bright idea to replace the fireplace parts, which are roughly five years old but have seen some hard use. This is one of the ways we heat our downstairs in winter, and we actually melted the grate the wood rests on. So he goes to the fireplace supply store after carefully measuring the fireplace, and orders new parts. The grate. And the parts that form the inside of the fireplace - there are three of them that fit together tightly like a puzzle. They tell us the parts will be ready in October.

October: The parts aren't ready.

Early November: The parts come in! Hooray! Paul picks them up and sets to work taking the old parts out of our fireplace.

The new ones, despite the fact that they have our name on them and the correct dimensions marked on them as per Paul's measurements, are in fact, the wrong size.

And Paul can't put the old pieces back in because they cracked when he took them out.

The company says, Oopsie! We'll have to order them again for you from the manufacturer! Should have them by Thanksgiving!

We do not have them by Thanksgiving.

December: The company is so sorry! Really! They won't give us any money off for our troubles, but they will let us cancel our order. Which only means that we would have to go to another store that will probably be using the same manufacturer. Just get us the parts, okay?

Paul calls a week later: are the parts in?

Ummm... yes, the parts are in and they're the right size, but.... they broke.

(Incoherent noises from Paul.)

So finally, three months after we initially ordered the parts, they agreed to let us keep the wrong-sized parts for free, put them together, and just make very small fires to keep on the safe side. So I am getting toasty in front of a very small fire, which I am still rather grateful for. I'm hoping that maybe by the kids' birthdays we will have real honest to goodness parts for the fireplace, but I'm not holding my breath. What I don't get is, what makes this kind of incompetence okay?

*Sophie loves to sing this song. With a twang, no less. (Okay, with modified lyrics.)


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