Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fantastic Buying Experience at Best Buy

If you didn't see the previous post about Circuit City, you should take a look. After my last update having purchased the TV from BestBuy, I was extremely pleased and we watched some movies and TV last night and today. It fits right in with my new Vista Media Center, and looked great watching Heros in 720p.

Today, I saw BestBuy was having a sale for $899 + a $100 rebate. I called, they said I was eligible for the new price, and sure enough I walk away with an extra $119.32 more than I did last night. This has been a wonderful experience. I know there are folks out there who hate Best Buy, but I must say that my experience was absolutely fantastic. Thank you Best Buy Puyallup for making our Holidays bright.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Terrible Experience with Circuit City

I ordered a Samsung 50" 720p DLP TV on 11/23/07 for $799. Throughout the buying process, it said it was available. Upon completing checkout, I was informed that I would have to use the home delivery option for an additional price of $54.99. I agreed. I received a webpage confirmation that I would be contacted within 1-3 days to schedule home delivery.

On 11/24/07, I received an e-mail stating the following:

The product you ordered will require us to transport it to your local delivery center. This transport time usually takes between 3-7 days. When it arrives we will send you a follow-up e-mail to let you know how to schedule your product for Home Delivery. Unfortunately, we are not able to schedule your Home Delivery appointment until your product has arrived at your local delivery center.

I called 1-800-843-2489 which was listed next to my order information online. I was told that the call center was open from 9 AM until 10 PM and that I would have to call back later. It was 8:00 PM.

Ah - e-mail! That will ensure I will receive some information. I type out my story and submit it. 7 days later I received a generic response:

Dear Preston Gallwas,

Thank you for contacting regarding home delivery of your product. If you have not already done so, please call us at 1-800-843-2489, option 3, to schedule your delivery date.

If you are not at home to accept this delivery, our team will leave a card notifying you of the delivery attempt. Should this occur, our delivery department will contact you, or you can contact us to reschedule your appointment. An adult 18 years or older must be present at your home at the time of delivery.

If you have further questions about our delivery services, please don't hesitate to call us!


Alex H.
Customer Support Coordinator
Contact ID #353500

During the time I was waiting for that e-mail, I called the 800 number several times. They put me through to the Delivery department, who put me through to the South Center Circuit city, who said I would need to call the 800 number.

After a few days of that, I finally asked for a supervisor at the South Center location. They said that they had 12 on back order and they are filling them as they come in. I asked for any sort of estimate and got no where. They said that trucks come in on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I decided I'd call back Wednesday the 12th. Another call to the 800 number lead no where.

On December 11, I was reading online and someone said that BestBuy did price matches. I called BestBuy and they confirmed that they do this and to come on in with my receipt. The very helpful rep started the process immediately, found that they had hundreds of the TVs in stock, and 4 in the store. I was giddy. He began the process to match the price, then asked about why it had taken so long. I made the mistake of using the "Black Friday" words...when he informed me they were unable to match those prices. I totally understood, but asked if I could 'take it back'. He chuckled (in fun) and brought me to his manager and she empathized, but said they couldn't do it. They did offer that if Circuit City didn't resolve my issue to come back for a "good deal". They recommended I go to the local Circuit City to resolve this issue in person.

So I did. I spent an hour with their local store manager, who had someone call the 800 number at 8:45. They received the message that they are open from 8 AM until 12:00 AM, and were now closed. With a confused look on their face, they basically got no where. The TV was still on display in the store, but they had none in stock.

On Wednesday, 12/12 I called the South Center Circuit City again and spoke with a manager by the name of Benjamin. He was very defensive at first when I told him I was calling about the 50" Samsung 5075s TV. He said 12 were on backorder and he had no information on when they'd be in. After using a bit of a disarming tactic on him, I asked if I could receive a refund for the home delivery and a free warranty. He said "to be frank, no. There will be no give and take." I politely acknowledged that and said I'd take it up with the folks at the 800 number. After a few more minutes on the phone he explained that he was going to contact the corporate office to see if this could be resolved, either by offering a substitute TV or fulfilling the order(s). I remained adamant that I did not want to cancel my order.

On Saturday, 12/15/07, I called Circuit City's 800 number again and went to customer service to speak with a supervisor. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was put through to the home delivery people. The home delivery people said that the TV was not available and they'd transfer me to the local store. I stopped them and asked to be transfered back to the customer service people. They did, but with all the two transfers the phone quality was sucking so I called back.

Upon calling back, I explained the situation and she tried to put me through to the home delivery people. I objected and politely asked to speak a supervisor. She told me none were available so I politely said, "That is okay, I'll hold." After about 20 minutes of saying "That is okay, I'll hold." she came back and said that she could transfer me to the home delivery people or refund my money. I objected, and politely said that I would wait for the next available supervisor. At that point, I asked for her rep # and the case number. I also requested a copy of the phone recording. She said she could not guarantee that I'd receive the recording, but she would note it in the case. She asked if there was anything else I wanted noted in the case. I said that I would like to note that my call was 15 min on the first one and 24 minutes on the second. She added the notes, then asked if I could be placed on hold. I agreed. A few minutes later (about 7-8) she came back and said she could now transfer me to a supervisor.

I waited on hold a few minutes during the transfer and reached someone at the Circuit City corporate office call center. I asked if they were a supervisor, they said no and asked why I was asking. I put the story into context and the lady seemed very empathetic. She asked for the South Center number, I provided it, and she called while placing me on hold. She came back and said the store recording said they were closed (despite the clear notice on the store info page at saying they were open 8am - 11 pm, and it was 9:47 am, obviously local time). She tried again and received the same message. She said she'd continue to try calling them and give me a call back. At that point, I asked for her direct number which she provided. Feeling satisfied I reached someone competent, I let her go for the time being. We'll see how this goes.


She never called me back. I called back several times more and got hung up on. I finally asked for someone's supervisor at the "corporate" number, and got transferred back to the South Center store. The guy I got a hold of said that thats how it works - you go in a loop between the store and the 800 number. He said even if I file a complaint, they're just going to send me back to the store, which will send me to the 800 number. Frustrated, I hung up and went to BestBuy. They had the TV for $1079.99. I asked if they could do $1000 after tax (showing them the CircuitCity receipt) and they said the margin is too small. I then asked for $1100 after tax (so the TV would be about $1,009) and they agreed. Its now in the family room and looks great.

All in all, all I have to say is


Saturday, October 6, 2007


It's been awhile. As expected, having a baby and a new job can really take some time to manage. Speaking of that: The new job is going well. The commute is longer, but the price is right.

Today (in about an hour in fact) I have a local furnace business coming out to give me an estimate on replacing our old clunky flame-thrower-gas-oil-conversion that is about 45 years old. I'm thinking about a heat pump, but we'll see.

Finally, I haven't mowed the weeds in almost 4 weeks since we chopped up the fallen tree. Its sad because I've been so busy, the weeds have grown (luckily they appear to have stopped growing), but it still looks really bad all around. To make matters worse, the local mole population discovered that I now had less time to be bothersome and have taken up residence in my front yard (and probably out back too). Today, when I finally had time to mow: Rain. Go figure.

We did get some new games for the Wii - DDR Hottest Party, and Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition. Both seem rather cool, but we haven't put more than 20 minutes into them collectively since we got them last week.

I did order a laptop for my computer consulting business, so that should be here around the 17th-19th (says Dell). Hopefully this way I'll be able to get in about 1.5 hrs of consulting work done per day on the train ride, and it will pay for itself (yeah, right). Oh well, at least its a tax write off for the business.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Our Son Has Arrived

On Thursday, 9/6/07, our son Peter Alexander arrived. My wife did wonderful. She only had to push for 17 minutes!

Rebecca in labor. We came in at 9 cm. The nurses and midwife couldn't believe how controlled she was, especially being all natural birth.

Shortly after birth

After coming home

After Peter's meal.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Changes Afoot

On the brink of the birth of our son, I have also accepted a new job with King County. Although I enjoy what I do greatly, I feel that it is a going to be a great step in my career. Working for the School District has been a wonderful experience and there are a lot of hardworking individuals. Today my coworkers threw Rebecca and I a baby shower, and what fun it was to have everyone together as a group. We hadn't done that in quite some time. It was very, very special.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

4 down, 3 to go (for now)

Here is a picture of one of the doors. I have 4 in (in the bedrooms). I have the 2 special closet doors I need to order, as well as the bathroom door to do (I need to get a floor transition and cut a new floor piece for that area), then I'm done until I get the floor done in the in the family room / laundry room. Woo!

I'll slap some trim on when we get a few extra bucks. Now that Rebecca is home, it might be one board at a time for awhile ;-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Dors - er - Doors

After some help from our gracious neighbor Mitch, the kitchen sink fiasco ended with success. Bless his heart for coming to spend his evening helping us. We are so very thankful to have such wonderful friends and neighbors.

Additionally, I got the new interior door on the nursery - and the closet door is half-shimmed. Half way because it was far too hot this week(to work in doors anyway without AC). Pictures to come, as soon as I hook the camera up (yea, yea...soon!).

I also told my boss today that I had an interview somewhere else. I think it sort of blind sided him, as he is just got promoted to director. It's not like I'm in a rush to leave, but, it could be a good thing for our family. We'll see if an offer is made and weigh the two.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

That Kitchen Sink

Arr. Once again facing draining problems. Liquid plumber and a pipe snake haven't had much success. At least it isn't the main line this time - but it is beyond the sink trap, somewhere between the wall and the main line. So annoying.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beginnings of a Nursery

Last Friday, in the slow times before the actual moving of our furniture at work, I decided to take a half day off to go pick up and put together our crib. With the help of my step father Randy, we successfully picked up the crib and changing table from Babies R' Us.

I got it home, opened the monstrous box, and got to work. After some minor verbal slips due to the difficulty of assembly for the changing table, they were complete.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Smooth moves

Thanks to our superb effort, meticulous planning, and hard work, we have successfully moved our data center for the Puyallup School District from the downtown Puyallup site to the Central Kitchen / Warehouse / New Information technology Center location. It was a long, hard weekend, but we did it. Phew, now I'll find out what sleep is again!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Life Changes

Fate is funny, really. Things happen that can radically alter your life all at once. After vaguely remembering a reference to what might have been me having a half sister, I got an urge to find her two weeks ago. After some searches on my last name, I came up empty handed and asked my Dad for some info. Using her mothers name and her birth name I was able to track her down in under 45 minutes! How cool is that?! I love what you can do with the internet!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

What can I say? I started work at 8AM today. Its 11:37 and I'm still at it...dang this datacenter move!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Happy Birthday, to me!

I'm 21 today, sitting down and having my first (legal) beer in the USA. Its not a big deal for me, really, as I'm not a 'drinker', and having been to Europe 3 times I give it a big "whoopdie-do", but suffice it to say: I'll drink the beer a coworker bought for me ;-).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Expert Plumbing Repair

Today after work I decided to take a nap after work. I was quite fatigued, so laying down and falling asleep felt extremely good. Please note that I very rarely take a nap, especially a nap of my own volition. I was awakened during a very peaceful resting time by my wife, who was going to cook dinner and do the dishes. She informed me in a very sweet peaceful tone that water was leaking from the bottom of the sink.


I thought the kitchen was flooding, so I jumped out of bed to investigate. Upon examination, I saw that the water was simply overflowing into the garbage can when a large flow was passing through the piping. Big whoop. No flood. It can wait until after dinner.

So come 8 PM I puff out my chest, lower my voice and proclaimed to my wife, "I'm going to fix the sink now." Upon reaching the kitchen, placing a bucket under the sink pipes to catch any water that were to drain from it, I began my examination.

It appears my kitchen plumbing was recently redone (I say recently because the house is over 40 years old and this is clearly fairly new PVC pipe) and it has very nice hand threadable piping. I reach to the top part of the pipe (connected to the sink) to see if I can remove it by hand or if I need to get a wrench.

To my surprise, I noticed the pipe wasn't connected to the sink at all! I loosened the grip of the clamp mechanism , pushed the pipe up into place where it should attach, then tightened it down. No more leak.

Apparently gravity can exact its toll on a system that doesn't actually connect - however I think it has to do more with us bumping the system with the garbage and recycling cans when we change bags.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Yard work

Wow - Spring is definitely here! This morning I began the hefty process of cleaning up the yard which has been neglected by the previous owner (by no fault of his own - he had nearly an acre of land and was in a wheel chair). At any rate, after mowing the lawn, trimming back weeds (with some help from the neighbor) with the weed-eater, and removing old, rotting garden equipment and pipes, the yard has really opened up! Pictures to follow. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Send Off

I live next door to my best friend - Brandon. He is preparing to leave on a mission to Guatemala on Tuesday for two years. It is a little sad that he'll be gone, but I know that he'll do good things and come back with all sorts of great stories. I am glad for that.

Additionally, with Rebecca and our baby due in September, it should be a pretty good adventure. He'll get back and have a new friend.

I'm glad things really haven't broken around here in the past few weeks. I have used the time to recuperate and rest. I've also been exercising (or trying to) every night for 45 mnutes. I was 5 for 7 this week. It beats 0 for 7, for sure.

I'm a bit down on the weather, though. I don't mind the rain usually but I'd like to get out side and get my yard in order. We've still got a large tree out back thats really throwing off my groove for mowing the lawn. As a matter of fact, I can't get out to the woodshop without tracking in a bunch of wet footprints and possibly getting the remaining 5-6 pieces of floor wet. Yuck. I'd like to get this finished so I can start on the interior doors and trim, then do the main living room floor.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Daylight Saving Time

Let me start off by saying that I enjoy DST more than Standard time because the sun more closely resembles my ideal sleep pattern.

Apart from that, it has been hectic for some people where I work. Dealing with computers that weren't updated, interacting with those that were, have caused some headaches for people. I find it interesting that our group got everything up to date but others fell short on just 2 days notice that things wouldn't perform as advertised because of the change over.

I guess I'm proud to be thorough at what I do.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

An Update

Well, things haven't exactly been chaotic, but it was nice to get a little break. Since my last post, I finished about 350 sq ft in a 12 hour work day. Between that and picking up the slack on the house work, I've been pretty exhausted. The closets still need to be finished, and the trim transitions installed. Additionally, I've just had other stuff going on. Stuff at work is heating up as I've been assigned to a large project that seemed to be spiraling out of control. Luckily, we have a path set now (though I do not necessarily agree that it is the best one), and we have forward motion, which is much less frustrating than being at a standstill.

Last weekend was pretty much a bust as my 3 day weekend was turned into a 1 day weekend from overtime. Additionally, I've been doing a few side jobs on computers. Rebecca has gotten sick and is on the couch now trying to rest and recover. I'm hoping this weekend to get the stuff I need from Home Depot and finish out the floor. After that, I'm hoping to conscript a coworker to help with the new interior doors installation. After that its trim/molding for the majority of the house, and we'll have a "home" (hopefully).

With any luck, it will lead us into Spring and I'll finally have a chance to take a saw to the huge tree debris in the back yard, to prepare for the planting of crops that we can harvest.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A little progress

So, Saturday we started in on our laminate floors. My wife went to the movies after working (it is tax season again) with her grandma while my brother once again came over to offer assistance. Joining us as well was my best friend Brandon. He also happens to be my next door neighbor!

Here we're working hard

The first few rows are complete

We're always having fun.

My brother got a little aggressive. Thats why you plan for waste.

After we stopped on Saturday (completing most of the living room) I continued to work Monday and Tuesday (today) on the floor and extended it into the bedroom from the hallway. Challenges included the 45 degree wall for where the door is, and various gaps where the wall isn't quite straight. All in all, it is coming along nicely. Tomorrow I think will be more of a "cleanup" and prep day, where Thursday I'll get into laying flooring again.

Looking into the computer (and soon to be baby's) room

Looking out to the hall area

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Little Elbow Grease

Last Sunday, as well as today, my brother Justin and I worked diligently around my house. He is a general handyman so I decided to use his reasonable labor rates and put him to work. The result was fantastic! Last Sunday we finalized the wall patches where oddly placed electrical outlets were located prior to our electrical renovation, then painted the room a stunning "Rapture Blue" that looks very nice. Justin did have a minor encounter with about a quart of paint.

Today we tackled the hideously overgrown bushes out front. We did not particularly care for them, they were too large and all around pretty nasty. The result is a wonderfully revealed front of the house. A little more pruning and finessing is all the yard needs to look fantastic. If you need a handyman, drop a note in the form of a comment with contact info such as an e-mail address and I'll put you in touch with Justin.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: The contractor guy finally showed up to get an idea for price for the laminate installation we purchased last week.

The Bad: He tried to reschedule a second time. Thursday, I got a call from someone else saying that he wouldn't be able to make it - 20 minutes before he was scheduled to arrive. Friday I rescheduled for Saturday, to call him at noon to firm up the plans. Today (Saturday) I call, he says no big deal, he has to go out to Federal Way then will be up to Puyallup after a "quick measuring job" there. Worst case, I expect him about 2 PM. 5 PM rolls around and I am getting agitated, and I try to call. About 6:30 he calls back and says "Oh well will you be around tomorrow?"

Technically, yes - seeing as I live here. Unfortunately, for you, no I will not. I told him to come over and he did. 5 minutes after he arrived he walked out and let me know I should have a firm estimate by 3 PM Sunday.

The Ugly:
No matter how you slice it, we're going to have to chop off the bottom 2-4 inches of all the interior door jams to make the floor look right. It really isn't a big deal, as I was going to have them replaced later, just it will look ugly(ier) for awhile until I get some new doors to hang.

Now we wait. If anyone knows a place where I can get a good price on some basic 4-6 panel pre-hung interior doors (white) please let me know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Thanks to my awesome neighbor and best friend Brandon, we now have a Wii! He picked one up in the middle of the work day on a tip that BestBuy had 3!!!! AWESOME!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Floor Plan

Creative title, eh?

Today we went down to Stone Mountain Flooring Outlet in Auburn, WA to purchase our flooring. We settled on a Washington Cherry laminate. At the current time we're going to cover the approximately 700 sq ft of the house that needs the flooring the most (see the drawing in a previous post. We will cover the large room, the two bedrooms, hallway, and closet).

Other than that, I've just paid our first water bill (phew. I was worried it wouldn't come.) and met with Washington Energy Services this morning to discuss a more efficient furnace solution.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Master Plan

Today I spent the day on call, so I had some free time. Since there is still a ton of snow outside, I decided to figure out exactly what it is going to cost to put down flooring in the remaining rooms. After a few sheets of paper and realizing that even with a straight edge I suck at drawing straight lines, I downloaded the trial version of AutoCAD (30 day trial) and got to work. It was like being in Mr. Showacy's class all over again (A wonderful teacher, by the way). A lot of measuring and a few hours later, and I have a complete drawing. To top off the day, someone called about the stove that is for sale and will be picking it up Thursday. Weee :-)

(Click the picture for a bigger view)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Home maintenance - Leaky Faucet - Ch1 Video Blog

Breaking the habit? No. Breaking the faucet. Arg, pirate treasure!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


What a wonderful looking floor! Our friend and tile contractor has finished today (mostly - the final sealing will be done in a few days) but the floor looks amazing. All we have to do is scrape the crap off the wall so we can install new baseboard and wha-lah!



Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Empire Never

"Eight-hundred five eight eight, two three-hundred, Em-pire!"

Yeah, right. I called Empire Today thinking how nice it would be to go with a larger company with a history rather than a local contractor (knowing I'd pay a bit more in overhead than with [insert anyone else here]) and have it financed as opposed to paying it off now. After all, we'd had a few estimates already for the same rooms that ran in the $2200-$4400 range so we had a rough idea of what the prices we wanted would be. Since the kitchen was no longer an issue I was shooting for more around $2000-$2500 estimate.

I set up an appointment for someone to come by between 7 and 9 PM. At approximately 8:15 he showed up as advertised, with 4 samples of laminate as I requested (although no hardwood samples). As my wife and I were looking over the samples, he drew out a floor plan and took measurements of each room. For the two bedrooms and living room, he told me to sit down. So I did.

$17500. After smiling (I had to hold back not laughing - this was worse than the first time I laughed at Amway's vitamin prices [which, by the way the retail price is like $80 for a 30 day supply of the Double X multivitamin]) and nodding, he explained to me that was the "retail" price, but since 'Empire' doesn't do "retail", it will be cheaper. He used his vis-a-via marker on a laminated piece of paper to mark out a few things, said that with the "reduction" and the "coupon" he had in his bag *tap tap* on the calculator *tap tap* it would be $12300. And he might have room to wiggle with his boss.

I politely reminded him (we had talked while he was measuring) that we have a baby on the way and will need the rock bottom price he could work out of his boss.

Final answer, Regis? $9855.00..."maybe" if he can talk his boss into it.

No thanks.

After he leaves I was so floored (ha!) I went online to do a little reading and I found others with similar experiences - $38000 quotes that were magically reduced to $19000 if they'd just do this or that. Not to mention the horror stories of "suitable substitutes" or poorly installed carpet by slime ball subcontractors.

I'm just happy the tile is looking good (although it is still not done. Grr.)

Monday, January 8, 2007

A Man's Guide to Pregnancy

I highly recommend this book to any - uh - man, who now or in the future may be, is living with a woman who is pregnant.

Book highlights:

Unbelievable things that you’d
better believe
1) Your wife’s feet are going to grow to roughly the size
of an elephant’s.
2) No matter how well you plan, you’re going to forget a
whole bunch of things.
3) A human being the size of a small watermelon is going
to burst out of a spot the size of walnut.
4) You’re going to talk to a stomach.
5) Everybody you meet is going to know more about
being pregnant than you.

Handy Saying Chart
The following is a guide you can carry with you so you always know
the right thing to say—or not.
Don't SayDo Say
Man, your feet look like elephant's.Would you like a foot rub?
Yes, you're fat.You've never looked better
Of course I'm scared to death about having this babyOf course this baby will be a change in our lives.  But working together we can make it a change for the better
I'm not doing diapers!I'll do diapers.
Lamaze class was sure stupid tonightLamaze class was sure informative tonight
I'm going out, see you when I get backI'm going out, what do you need?
What's for dinner?Let's go out for dinner.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Our First Baby - Chapter 1

My first attempt at a "video log". I assure you not all posts will go to this format, but do let me know what you think.


Well...the project continues (how a two day tile job got stretched into a week is beyond me)...but here is an update.

I must say though, we're still getting a deal. And to top it off, we've had good luck with the contractors we didn't know. Major props to Immaculate Construction out of Tacoma/Lakewood and Edgewood Electric out of Edgewood WA for their wonderful jobs they did earlier in the fall. If you're in the area and you need some work done look these guys up!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

A New Year

This new year is starting off great as an unexpected but very welcomed gift is given to us for the Christmas season.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


The rest of the durock under layer and the tile should be going in tomorrow. In the mean time, here are some pictures of this work-in-progress (Yes, I already took care of the dust on the lens).

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

I Demand a Refund!

I want my $6.99 back, as you can clearly see Glad ForceFlex bag has failed under minimal load.

The bag you see which appears 'full' is a second bag of trash containing mostly paper-like products that could not be recycled.