Mostly about my amusement

Author: Lily Dembowski (page 1 of 1)

Funny how things turn out

We picked the pool company (again) and finally signed the contract last night to build a pool in the yard.

It’s funny how this worked out.  We were ready to sign the contract with a different pool company on Monday then something happened… I was ticked and didn’t want to use this company.  You see, we picked this first company because the day before we discussed with them and agreed on a price with discount.  Being a finance person, I put all the numbers onto a spreadsheet and expect the total to be X.  The guy started to put all the numbers down on his contract sheet but didn’t bother with the discount that we agreed to the day before.    When I pointed out to him that he missed the discount, he started by telling me ‘but I included this and that for free’ and wanted to see what the other company is giving me in the pool package.  He also made a math mistake by somehow tagging on an extra 10K to the total price.  He did realize his own mistake and fixed it.  By then, I was soooo ticked that I didn’t want to deal with this anymore.  So we called it a day.

Then, I called the other company and spoke to the sales guy and asked him to give me a better price and throw in some of the options that the first company was giving for “free”.  Of course nothing is free, you are paying for it one way or the other.  It’s included in the price.  Free is when you don’t need to pay anything and they still give it to you.

That was Monday Columbus day where we were all taking a day off.  My plan was to sign a contract on Monday so we can start the process of getting a permit from the town while I am away for 10 days starting on Wednesday.  Well, things didn’t quite work out on Monday so it leaves only Tuesday.

Tuesday morning before 8:30, the first guy called a few times but I was still upset and didn’t want to talk to him.  Work was busy and didn’t get to speak to the second guy until afternoon.  Finally got the numbers and they looked OK but 10% more than the first guy.  The truth is we can’t really compare the two companies solely base on the total cost because they are providing two different options.  Since our house is on a slope, we need to have retaining wall built for the pool.  The first company suggested using a lot of boulders for retaining wall (turns out the guy bought a lot of them and need to use them somehow) so the price is cheaper by more than 10% for the wall.  The second company suggests building retaining wall using interlocking block system and won’t even suggest using boulders.

From the beginning, I was not comfortable with boulders and kept asking if they may roll down the hill.  I am also not too crazy about the natural unfinished look of using boulders.  I much prefer retaining wall with the finished look.  So I got what I wanted (as always).

The funny thing was I got what I wanted only because the first guy didn’t give me the discount (it was less than 5% of the total price).  I ended up paying 10% more but got what I wanted.

The Mercedes Experience

Our Mercedes experience is less than perfect. In fact, a lot less than perfect. It is not an experience one wants to have if one can avoid it.

We have the 2000 year model of ML320, the Mercedes SUV. Granted, it is a 7-year old car. But still, it is a Mercedes. It is supposed to be a premium luxury car, not a Honda.

We have issues with this SUV since day one. In the first year, we had trouble with the running board. Then not until when we had to replace the side mirrors did we realized that we did not get the auto dimming feature on the mirrors that we paid for as part of the premium package. Then, there was the recall on the steering wheel fuel connector. Early this year the muffler had a hole and was making such a loud noise that I was embarrassed to be driving in it. Then came the last incident on July 30th.

It was Jan’s first day at work and I volunteered to drive us to the train station. I forgot to turn off the light after I parked the car. The car did beep but I thought it was the seatbelt and ignored it. I thought about it after we got on the train and rationalized that the car will turn off automatically so didn’t bother to ask Jan. When we got back to the train station on the evening, the battery was dead and we needed to jump start the car. At first Jan called his dad but then I came up with a great idea. Why don’t we ask the taxi driver at the station and see if he can help us to jump start the car. Great idea….. only if we can open the hood! We got the taxi to come with us to our car only to find out that the hood of this POS (Piece of Sh*#) wouldn’t open. I called AAA and they promised to send a tow truck in an hour. We waited over an hour and finally the tow truck came. He couldn’t open the hood either so we had to have it put on a flatbed to our house.

The next day my father-in-law came up with an idea by using the cigarette lighter charger port to charge the batter. At least we didn’t have to flatbed the car to the dealer. Jan made an appointment with the dealer for Saturday morning at 7:30.

So we went to the dealer Saturday morning and guess what they told us! There is no secret way to open the hood other than to break the perfectly OK grill, open the hood, replace the mechanism and replace the grill! I have never ever heard of such an absurd way of opening the hood but we had no other option. It would take a couple of days to get the car back because they have to order the parts. Total cost, over $1,100 to open hood. What kind of car the hood won’t open! Well, a Mercedes!

We love the Mercedes experience so much (NOT) that we decided to get a BMW X3 or Lexus for our next car which we are hoping to get in a few months. I want the 2008 model and BMW’s 2008 model year is not out yet.

CPA License

It is always part of my plan that one day I will be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I finally did it. I just received my CPA license from the state of Colorado.

For most people, it is not too difficult (relatively speaking) to be a CPA. All you have to do is to get an undergraduate degree in Accounting, pass the CPA exam (very hard), and work for a public accounting firm for a couple of years.

For me, I did it the difficult way. I got my accounting undergraduate degree from Baruch and passed the CPA exam many years ago. But since I didn’t and will not work for a public accounting firm, I didn’t have the qualification the traditional way.

So I got my MBA in Finance from Fordham. Then, went back and got an advance certificate in Accounting this year. Now I have all the qualifications to be a CPA in the state of Colorado. They have something call the “education in lieu of experience” qualification for CPA in Colorado. So I did it. Another step on my life plan is complete.

Check back to find out what my life plan is soon.