Notes, 15-16 July 2015

  • Draw 1 update. After weeks of delay, it looks like the wire transfer payment to Ranserve will take place 17 July, paid by the Leons from funds on deposit for this purpose at South Star Bank SSB — but only after a wire transfer of additional funds by the Leons into the account at South Star, as demanded requested by South Star. For months, Steven has made clear that the Leons are responsible for and will pay the difference between the contract price of the remodel, the funds on deposit at the bank, and the loan amount approved by the bank. South Star finally caught up with the math. Now that the payment gears are turning, we move on with getting the house remodeled, finished, and the Leons moved into it.
  • Draw 2. The irony is, Kathleen at Ranserve reports that the second draw paperwork is forthcoming, probably 17 July.
  • Medicine cabinets. The medicine cabinets with integrated LED lighting arrived via FedEx ground from Lighted Image. The LED-7 model — two for bath 2, Jadin’s bath, and one for the mudroom bath. The LED-12 model — two for the master bath.
  • Countertops. Steven and Jacquela approved the addition to the countertop quote from Austin Stone Works of a quartz backsplash at the kitchen sink to match the quartz countertop, and quartz shelving for use in the master bath in the shower and behind the vanity. Kathleen at Ranserve warns us that we have now busted the countertop budget by $8.68, plus some amount in “overhead & profit” to Ranserve for processing this change. Every dollar counts …
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Civic interruptis

Meanwhile, away from the remodel …

The international signal for distress is a flag flying upside down. Here’s the Honda logo, so positioned.

Jacquela’s beloved 2008 Honda Civic sits at First Texas Honda in Austin, prospects for recovery unknown.

Wednesday, 8 July, 12 hours before we were scheduled to depart to NY for the wedding of Amy and Justin, the engine “chunked” and the car died, instantly. AAA towed it to First Texas. We left a note and the keys in the overnight box.

Jay Jenk, service advisor, and a team of techs have since then been taking apart the car to figure out why.

Jay and Steven have now been talking almost daily for a week, every step of the way, as Jay and the mechanics worked the component forensics and computer codes — even as Steven and Jacquela traveled, even on days when, technically, Jay was supposed to be out of the shop on personal time off.

As best they can determine at this point, a bolt under the valve cover broke, rattled around, found its way into the timing chain, stretching the chain, which snapped. The snap was the “chunk.”

It is a catastrophic failure.

Honda engines are not supposed to destroy themselves like this.

I have this mental image of motor parts laid out on a floor the way parts of planes are laid out in a warehouse as they are recovered after a crash, with engineers climbing under, over, around and through everything, tracking forensic clues.

They found the top of the bolt. They are examining the oil pan for shards of belt and bolt — and whatever other cascading failures sheared metal from metal. They do not know at this point whether they have to replace the top of the engine, the bottom, or the entire engine.

In today’s phone update with Jay, I made this point: If it is a partial replacement, I would not trust this car with my wife and daughter, because there is guaranteed some microscopic damage that humans will miss, which will come back to get us, sometime, somewhere. And, as a result, it is my request that Honda elect to replace the entire motor, not just part of it.

I also asked whether we should junk it. Jay advises it’s too soon to think that.

Jay says that “Honda will participate” in paying for the repairs/replacement. That is a preliminary statement. He does not know at this moment whether that will be 100 percent, 50 percent or something else. They need to continue the teardown, documenting everything, for Honda to decide what it will do.

“Whatever it turns out to be,” I said, “thank you, Honda.”

This is going to take at least into next week.

Jay and First Texas gave Jacquela a loaner to use through this process. Thank you, Honda.

Speaking as a customer, as the owner of multiple Hondas dating back to 1981, reserving final judgement to see how all this resolves, Jay especially and First Texas Honda are earning our loyalty.

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Naked house

Ranserve and the framers removed the cedar siding that is original to the house. After 50 years, it flaked and crumbled and split away from the framing. Ron Dahlke took these photos as the cedar peeled off and the new OSB sheathing nailed up.

The kitchen side of the house.
The kitchen side of the house.
The back of the house, looking up into what will be the master bath.
The back of the house, looking up into what will be the master bath.
The back of the house, at what will be bedroom 3 -- aka "the train room."
The back of the house, at what will be bedroom 3 — aka “the train room.”


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