Friday, September 9, 2011

Going Up?

This is one of those situations that is sort of embarrassing to complain about. But you know that won't stop me.

We are very fortunate to have equipment that allows us to get Maggie into and out of the house and the van. Without our outdoor lift or van adapted for her wheelchair, we would very likely not be able to keep her at home. Every day I thank my lucky stars that we put in that lift and that the van is in our lives. We press buttons and control these magic machines that give some quality to Maggie's life and ours.  Sometimes, though, the magic machines control us. Today is one of those days. Really, it's been one of those weeks.

As I write this the guy is here doing the semi annual maintenance to the lift. It actually works great and has been very dependable since we got it about 5 years ago. Lately the lift seems to groan as we ascend and I had to nudge the company to get out here and check it out. It's getting old. I can relate. I groan as I ascend too.  We made this appointment last week and I expect he will be done within the hour. That's a good thing, because the lift on the van is broken and I have to get it back to Berkeley as soon as this guy is done.

The van lift was acting strangely for the past month of so, but it was manageable. Once the lift fell to the ground hitting me in the back of the legs I decided we had to get it fixed, but I wanted to wait for Maggie to go back to school. I cannot be without the car when she's home all the time. As soon as she went back I called for an appointment to find out what was wrong. On my first trip they determined it needed a new motor, which came at a very hefty price (of course).They had to order the part so another trip was required. I asked that they fix the companion seat at the same time because they installed it  far too low. Whoever sits in that seat cannot even see out the window. It is also terribly uncomfortable because the seat is so low your knees are up around your ears. I scheduled another appointment for the work and brought it in Tuesday.

Taking a car across the bay for repairs is a pain in the rear. I drove it over there, left it, walked 1.5 miles to the BART station, came back to the city and hopped on a bus to get home. The schlep on public transit, including the walk to the station is about 90 minutes. I called Wednesday at noon to see if it was ready. Indeed it was. I had some stuff to do and had to make the long trek back and arrived there around three.  Motor is changed, seat has not been touched. One cannot help but wonder why they told me it was ready three hours earlier?

The guy removes the seat, gives me some excuse for why it wasn't done (they clearly forgot) and tells me they will call when it's ready. I am less than pleased. I drive home with my van minus one seat. Now I have to go back again to get it. As it turns out, however, another trip was going to be needed anyway. They did indeed put a new motor in, but apparently neglected to reattach the lift to one side of the mount. As I pressed the button today I noticed it was coming down at a very strange angle and reached the car in time prevent it from getting jammed into the door and wrestled it back into place. We were headed out to an appointment so I raised and lowered the lift manually to load, unload, load and unload Maggie. Let me tell you, that is one heavy sucker. My shoulder is killing me.

So I will finish this tome and head east over the San Francisco Bay Bridge, back to the flats of Berkeley and deal with all of this again for the third time this week. This time I'm not coming back into the City. I will forego the long walk to the train, the ride under the Bay and into the city and the lurching bus ride home. In stead I will sit in their greasy little waiting room with my book and make sure it is all done correctly.

At this point I feel like I am something of an elevator expert, but I really just want to get back to the place where I push a button and the magic machines do what they are supposed to do.. 

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