With a new baby coming, we realized that family life will involve one last mini-van. So, we traded in the old gold Honda Odyssey....for a new slate green metallic Honday Odyssey. After years of nobly refusing features like a built-in DVD player or a navigation system, we went for the gusto this time: this mini-van is tricked out.
Imagine the girls' delight when I came home with the new van. (I'm the resident car wrangler around here.) They immediately raced in the house and grabbed the first DVD they could put their hands on. It happened to be "Akeelah and the Bee," a sweet little movie about perseverance and courage.
Now, imagine their dismay when we couldn't get the DVD to work.
Fast forward several hours. Mom has spent this time poring over the (thick and complicated) owner's manual for the new van. Mom, Dad and the girls are now sitting in the van, in the driveway, trying to figure out the complicated technology of the Rear Entertainment System. Question: How many master's degrees does it take to turn on a DVD player? Answer: Apparently more than two, because we couldn't figure it out.
I took the van back to Boulder the following week, where the problem was easily solved by tightening a fuse.
Fast forward again. We are again all sitting in the van, in the driveway, eagerly anticipating the thrill of watching "Akeelah and the Bee" in the car. Surprise! The problem wasn't solved after all. It still didn't work.
Back we went to the Honda dealer. Imagine this time, Lory, Allison, Abby and three or four Honda service guys ALL sitting in the van, in the service bay, pushing buttons, checking headphones and speakers, loading and re-loading "Akeelah and the Bee" and feverishly reading the owner's manual. For over an hour. It felt like car pool day! Finally, the guys in the service department asked if we could bring the van back in and leave it for a day. (They're all pretty young--I imagine they were having terrifying flashbacks about their moms and mini-vans and their own carpools.)
So Dave dropped the van off at the dealership on Wednesday morning. Later that day, Jason in the service department called to see if we would take a rental while they kept working on the system. It seems the whole thing was dismantled and laying in the van, while they waited for an overnighted part. Sure, no problem. I would love to drive a Chevy Malibu (insert grimace here).
The next day was Thursday. Chevy Malibu: day two. Dealer installed the overnighted part. The system still didn't work. Dealer replaced the DVD player. No go. Replaced the entire unit. Still no good. Dealer started working through the wiring system.
(I think the disassembly looked something like this...)
Yesterday was Friday. By now, we're really missing the van. (The only people who own mini-vans are people who need mini-vans. So, it makes more sense than one might think for a family to miss a mini-van.) It's day three for the Malibu.
I checked in with Jason in the service department. Turns out some of the guys had worked on the problem for several more hours. After many Howlett man/woman/girl hours in the driveway with the owner's manual, three trips to the dealer, uncounted service man hours in the service bay at the dealership, overnighted parts, whole system replacement, re-wiring re-works and three days with a Chevy Malibu......someone at the dealer thought perhaps they should check the DVD. Turns out, we would have never been able to watch "Akeelah and the Bee" from the comfort of our own mini-van. Because "Akeelah and the Bee" didn't work--we had a bad DVD.
So...the girls and I offered up some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Great Harvest when we picked up the van yesterday afternoon. I don't know who was more embarrassed: the highly-educated, yet clueless, Howlett Four---or the highly trained Honda service specialists. I'm sure this is among the most expensive non-repairs the dealer has ever undertaken.
The good news is, even though we're still waiting, WHEN Amelia comes home, she'll have a fully-functional rear entertainment system in her fancy new mini-van. The bad news is, she won't be able to watch "Akeelah and the Bee."