Second Time’s a Charm

In a manner of speaking, the second walk through of our new DeNova Homes, should have been finished to this level of quality. If it were, chances are there would have been few complaints on our part and no phone calls to directors and people above those we have had to deal with. That still does not take away from the fact the master bathroom is unacceptable. The level of craftsmanship is no better than poor I would like to think that anyone who didn’t upgrade their master bathroom to tile would stick to their guns like we have in hopes of resolving this problem.

As we did a few days ago, we met Kevin, the Warranty Manager at our new home at Emerson Ranch, in Oakley. As an aside, I still won’t recommend anyone to purchase a home from this at this point until I see them follow through with our home, which might possible change my opinion of them. But currently, they really don’t rank much higher than KB Homes and the snafu we have had with broken pipes in the last two homes we have owned in Oakley.

With Kevin in tow, we began walking the home again, it was amazing to see many of the original issues dealt with. You could tell new paint had been laid, as we walked up our “upgraded” front door was being painted. I really only had two issues, both of which I considered major in nature and I knew neither had been taken care of correctly. The only way the master bathroom becomes satisfactory is to tile the walls, anything less, at this point is unacceptable.

The newel post at the top of the stairs had been worked on again, but the post is still not straight some more bondo and another coat of paint. Maybe, as our realtor said a few days ago, if we would have see it we would have been okay with it. But knowing what it looked like originally and the work they have done, a new post is the only way I will be happy with the banister. Maybe that makes me an asshole for not giving in on these two items alone, but with the price we are spending and the quality of the house, things need to be up to a standard before the house is presented to us, the buyer. It wasn’t, so we got out the fine toothed comb and went through the remainder of the house nothing every little discrepancy. Why not?

While there were still many imperfections, mostly in the paint my wife was more pleased today than she was two days ago. Still Kevin was madly taking notes of items to pass along that required attention. The list was nowhere near as long, but still some items were left outstanding that my wife and I agreed upon needed attention. When you start throwing around not closing and withholding funds, along with phone calls to the higher level people at DeNova shit started to get done. But did it ever need to come to this?

I am very thankful we retained a realtor through this entire process, with John Canning of Canning Dream Homes, I am not sure we would have been as tenacious as he was. He wanted to make things right and in my opinion has gone above an beyond as our realtor to get us what we want and more importantly to see us happy in our new “dream home.” We had a good realtor when we purchased our first home, but this time around I believe we have gained a friend based solely on John’s dedication to make things right.

As the walk through continued my wife pointed out areas that were still unacceptable, meaning someone pulled the blue paint tape and never fix that item, as there were quite a few of those. I am thankful I took pictures of all the tape, as I was walking room to room, mobile phone in hand comparing the picture to the home. While I won’t say I was 100% pleased, the finishing was an improvement. If and when we close, there will still be walls to touch up with paint or even window sills that went unpainted, believe it or not. How this gets past quality control is beyond me.

There is still a considerable amount of work to be done IF we plan on closing escrow on Friday and picking up keys to our new home. Even after that, we will still have 90 days to report items that don’t meet our standards and we will be dealing with Kevin again to make it right. With any luck we will be moved in by the middle of next week and will start tagging items on that warranty list.

MicrofuXored Again!

It was bitter sweet coming home last night, knowing I my XBox360 had arrived via UPS from being repaired a second time. This on top of having to return three consoles when I bought the damn thing because they did not work. So I get home, and read the paperwork that I pulled from the box telling me this is a brand new console with new identification number, but not to worry all the warranty and paperwork would be done without my intervention.

I connected the hard drive, the wireless network card (which is a POS!) and the video and power cables. I start the machine and get three flashing red lights. Needless to say this nearly sent me over the edge. I shut down the console and restarted, twice and after setting a few options my LIVE! profile comes up and I am good to go…or so I thought.

I load up FIFA 2008 and things are going well until I select a game and it loads. Upon starting the actual game, I notice the sound is not as it is supposed to be. The volume is low and the commentators voices are intermittent, as well as the game sounds. I knocked it off to the game, so I shut down and loaded up The Orange Box.

Initially when the game loads, the sounds work in the menu. I started TF2 and all be damned if the game plays fine, but the sound is just like FIFA was. I can already hear the barrage of questions when I call XBox support, including, “Well maybe it is your TV or sound system.” Eh, sorry champ, it’s not my TV, nor any component of my audio/video system. It is a bad XBox. AGAIN!

Seriously, I cannot be the only consumer having this sort of luck with a bad MS product, can I? Okay, Vista aside, since we know they release beta operating systems. But this is getting ridiculous, I will phone them tomorrow and demand (because the consumer is ALWAYS right) a new XBox. I don’t want this supposed new one they sent me fix, I want a new one.

Oh yeah and for my trouble, I received another 1 month free LIVE card. LOL. You jackholes!

XBusted 360

Why I continue to buy and support Microsoft and it’s hardware and software products is beyond me. So I received my state and federal tax returns and at the convincing [which didn’t take much] of my wife, I decided to purchase an Xbox360, in order to replace the original Xbox. One note on that, YES MICROSOFT I DID MOD THAT XBOX AND COPY GAMES AND IT FELT GOOD! Last Friday, we stopped by Toys ‘R Us and I picked up a premium system [includes the wireless controller, headset, Ethernet cable and HDD) for $399. I also picked up Ghost Recon Advanced Warrior and FIFA 2006. The total bill was about $650. Not cheap by any means.

So I get it home, unpack it and connect it up to the Internet, build myself a profile and Gamertag [itgOSWALD] if anyone cares] so I can play online. I spend a few hours playing FIFA 2006 and run through a few practice sessions on Ghost Recon. The following day I go to play FIFA 2006 and the Xbox 360 locked up…just freezes, sort of like other Microsoft operating systems. So I reset the system and go to load my game up. I then get an error message saying the disk is not readable. WTF? I was just playing it 10 minutes ago.

Upon further inspection, I pull the disk from the drive and there is a circular ring, like it had been scratched on the disk. This scratch was not on the disk when I purchased the game. I did not physically put it there, so the only logical conclusion is somehow it got scratched while in the system. No big deal really, my wife returned it and got a new FIFA 2006 and I was off for a few games of footie.

Unfortunately it did not last long before the 360 locked up again [no, not a heat issue either], so I decided to pack it all back up and return the piece of shit and try my luck again. Wouldn’t you know it, I return it where I bought it at and they are out and can’t tell me when they will get more in. So I drive 30 miles southeast to Pleasant Hill and go in for an exchange. Same story, they don’t have any and can’t tell me when they will get any in.

Yesterday, I decided to drive some 55 miles east to Stockton. Thankfully I had a few other errands to run in that direction, so I stopped by Toys ‘R Us. Guess what? Yup, they don’t have any. Beginning to get more and more frustrated, I decided to call it a day and just wait it out until next week. That’s when my wife decides she wants to go to Babies ‘R Us down in Dublin, about 60 miles south of where we live.

Before lugging that box with me again, I called and they confirmed they had the premium systems in stock, so I was halfway to my return. The exchange when smooth, the salesperson was a pleasure to work with, unlike the usual gang of pimply teens or white trash women working at Toys ‘R Us. Foreseeing future problems, I also purchased a 1 year warranty for the Xbox 360, which covers damn near everything after Microsoft’s runs out. $40 bucks, thought it would come in handy seeing as I had trouble from the get go.

Fast forward to 3:30am this morning, I can’t sleep so I get up, come downstairs and fire up the system for a bit of footie. I play for about an hour, win a few games and I decide to go back to bed. I shut the system down and think nothing of possible problems, as all had gone well up to this point.After feeding our son Zachary I start up the 360 for some gaming. That is when the problems started, the 360 can not find my profile to log me in to Xbox LIVE. Further examination and an error message pops up saying, you need a hard drive to store profiles and games in progress on. WTF? More issues, so going against my better judgment I go online for “support” and here is how the conversation went down:

Me: I have already returned one Xbox 360 due to the console locking up during game play. I now have the new Xbox 360 hooked up, I recovered my Gamertag and was playing a few hours ago. Just recently I go to play and the console tells me that I do not have a HDD, which I do since I did get the premium system. Am I out of luck and do I go return a second system or is there something I can try to resolve this issue?

Jonathan: I’m sorry for the inconvenience Stephen.

Jonathan: I strongly suggest that you call our phone support for this issue so they can make arrangements for you.

Me: Arrangements for…

Jonathan: Repairs or exchange.

Me Ill take the POS back to where I bought it from, quicker…thanks*sigh* So it looks like I am back to step one…AGAIN! Stuck with a non-functioning Xbox 360. I know these consoles had issues, but what the hell are the chances that two of them are bad? Well, it is Microsoft. Guess I will give it one more chances, that is, when I find a store that actually had them in stock that does not take me 60+ miles away from home.