The score is Dad, 1 - Brent Brown Toyota, 0.
When we last left the poor, limping minivan, the driver side sliding door was not closing all the way and the dealership told me it was going to require replacing the entire door. The screws that hold the latch assembly to the door had broken through the metal and apparently it was un-fixable. The dealership told me to go to its affiliated auto body shop.
I consulted with my dad, who was convinced, even though the broken piece in question was many thousands of miles away, that the problem was the screws and that it would not be such a big deal after all. At the risk of boosting my dad's ego to the point where he is now sure that he can fix anything that ever breaks, he was right.
I took my dad's advice and went to a different auto body shop, ostensibly to get an estimate, and then I was going to go to the dealer recommended place. Zack, Darcey, and I piled in the car and unloaded at the auto body shop. I explained to the receptionist what was wrong and she sent someone out to look at the van. About 4 minutes later, the repairman came back and said that he knew what the problem was and that he would be done with it in a minute.
I accompanied him out to look at the van and he said, "Your problem is, you're missing a screw." (If he had said, You've got a screw loose, I wouldn't have disagreed.) I have the screw, I told him, because I was there when it fell out and hit the garage floor. He pops that screw in, and then points to the other two screws. He tells me that they have broken through the metal, and that he was going to get a washer larger than the new hole and that should solve the whole thing. I was still a little skeptical, but smart enough to keep my mouth shut.
A minute later, he screws the last screw back in, and slams the door shut. Shut. As in all the way closed. I could barely believe it! It was fixed! I gushed my thanks to this man, and said, "The dealership told me that I would need a whole new door!" He said that eventually I will, as the metal around the washer was weaker and would eventually give way, but in the meantime I had saved over a thousand dollars.
So the "saga" is over, I have a fixed car door and a new auto body shop if I ever need one. And it was all so much less painful than I expected it to be. But lest you fear, I did have some painful moments:
1. Darcey cried the whole way home.
2. The waiting room at the shop didn't have air conditioning.
3. Zack didn't want to sit in his car seat and needed some strong-arming.
And worst of all:
4. My tape adapter for listening to the ipod in the car broke, and I had to listen to the RADIO like some MERE MORTAL! A mere mortal who doesn't particularly care to hear old Tears for Fears songs! And who had to listen, instead, to Zack asking to hear the song "Bad Day" which of course we couldn't because the thing is broken, but he doesn't get that and instead says, over and over, "Please!" "Please!" "Please!" And if that's not a saga, I don't know what is.
Oh, and for the record, I did learn some things from the whole experience:
1. My dad is, in fact, the right person to ask about fixing things. Now if only he would move to the same continent so that he could actually fix the things he diagnoses.
2. Don't necessarily trust the dealership to look out for your best interests financially. (I probably knew that one already.)
3. Keep a back-up tape adapter for my ipod in the glove compartment. Because there's nothing worse than being without an ipod. It's almost worse than being without a closing car door. No, it is actually worse, because I'll go out today and buy a new adapter, but I let the door problem fester for two weeks.
4. If I blow some minor problem out of proportion, I can get not one, but TWO whole blog entries about it!