Freya written up in Reader’s Digest

Check out the  November issue of Reader’s Digest: Creative Ways People Used The Internet for Buyer’s Revenge. Thanks, Sam Boykin and Michelle Crouch for the article and Lori Stoll for the photo shoot.

12 cautious days… so far so good.

It’s now been 12 days without any incidents. My Volvo XC70 is running well — there are no leaks & nothing is smoking. I am feeling quite optimistic. Perhaps the repairs will stick, this time around. May I say… it’s running almost as well as my 1965 Volvo 122 I used to have in college.


I had to go to Beverly Hills the other day, which is an hour away from my house. I filled the reservoir up with coolant, stowed the leftovers in the back, and got on the road. 10 minutes later the “Low Coolant” light came on again and I landed with a screeching halt at Mezian Motors in Los Angeles. They took me in like a stray dog. After cracking my hood, and doing a quick pressure test, it was painfully clear that my Upper Radiator hose was bust. It was just old and had a large crack in it. The coolant was just pouring out. Luckily they just happened to have an extra hose laying around. 20 minutes & $130 later I was back on the road. Surreal. One would think Rusnak would have replaced the Upper and Lower Radiator Hoses when they replaced the radiator. But what do I know. I’d recommend Mezian in a heartbeat. Good peoples.

Mezian Motors
1015 South La Brea Ave
Los Angeles CA 90019
(323) 937-2568

The mystery thickens.

According to Bill Casey, my car was towed to Volvo of LA because the field engineer was there working on another car. He would not have time to go ALL the way from Downtown LA to Pasadena (20 mins), so they brought the car to him. Kind of them. Volvo of LA kept the car for 3 weeks. Apparently, the engineer could not make it there any earlier, and my car was the only one he was working on once he arrived. Gotcha!
They were able to locate the oil leak right away — it was the angle gear again! It had to be re-re-sealed. My service guy — Gene — told me that the guys who did it before [Rusnak] “didn’t do a very good job.” (Aoch!)  It took them a little while longer to figure out why the engine light kept coming on. They updated software, ran diagnostics, and finally pinpointed it to the Mass Air Flow Sensor. They replaced that, and the car has been running fine ever since. Until today, when the low coolant light came on again. What now? Will the radiator re-fail next?

And the tow goes to… Volvo of LA!

I spoke to Bill Casey at Volvo yesterday, and he asked me not to drive my car until they can check it out. So, yesterday afternoon, a flat bed tow truck pulled up and took my car away. This time they brought it to Volvo of LA (16 miles away), not Rusnak Volvo in Pasadena (3.5 miles away). Apparently, the field engineer from Volvo is tied up at Volvo of LA for a few weeks, and since he wants to do the work, the car had to come to him. I am eagerly awaiting his diagnosis.

“Happily ever after” only lasts for 26 days, apparently.

How long has it been? I got my Volvo back on January 27th, so that is 26 days all together. Sigh! To recap: 3 month ordeal of getting my car repaired resulted in:
– new long block
– new valve body (rebuilt transmission)
– new radiator
– resealed angle gear
– new front right axle.
Volvo Cars of North America & Rusnak Volvo has sunk about an estimated $15,000 ($9,000 for parts + my guestimate on labor of about $6,000) into my car to get it up and running as it should. I have paid about $1,000 + $500 for rental car out of my own pocket.

This afternoon when I drove home from work, the CHECK ENGINE light came on, and the car is smelling like something is baking under the hood… not sure what it is, but it ain’t no croissants. I have also noticed spots on my drive way lately indicating that something is leaking from the engine compartment.

I’ve emailed Bill Casey at Volvo asking how I should proceed at this point.

Freya on YouTube – Episode 7 – The Volvo is back.

It’s been three months since this all started and I finally have my Volvo back. And it is running like new. Life is good, I tell you.

Freya mentioned on Consumerist

Poor Amy is having trouble with her VW. Amy, email me and we can share war-stories. Thanks for the mention, Ben Popken.

Wrapping up…!?

Apparently, Rusnak is finalizing the work on my car today. If they find no error codes or leaks they will release the car. Oh, mother of all creatures… Could it be true? It’s been a while since I drove in my own car. It feels like being on a really long business trip and longing for your own bed. No offense, KIA, it’s been fun, but I really would like to get my old ride back. Here are some things that I learned along the way:

– Assume everyone is your equal, and expect others to treat you the same. If they aren’t, find someone who is.
– If you can’t get anywhere, assume you are falling through the cracks — get yourself out of there.
– Light, continuous poking with a smile will get you much farther than yelling with your fists clinched.
– Having friends that encourage you is worth at least 10 Volvos.
– Crowd sourcing is the the new Village.
– Have fun, whatever you do.

On a completely different note

Nuisance Freewaya

I started this consumer activism campaign on October 30. The day after that Halloween rolled around, and it was nothing less than obvious that I was going to dress up as the Viking Goddess Freya. I rummaged through the house to find items for my costume — a sheep skin here, a helmet there, some old jewelry from the hay-days of the 80’s (sigh!) from the back of my closet, and a wooden sword from my son’s toy box. However, to complete my outfit I was determined to find a cat, as Freya is known in Norse mythology to ride a chariot pulled by two cats. In a house where my kids’ toys sometime overpower my sanity, I was baffled by the fact that I was unable to locate one single fluffy, cuddly, stuffed cat toy. I ran through the house  yelling: “I need a cat! Find me a cat!” No luck. I had to settle for a stuffed Lynx. Whatever.

One week later, I was driving through downtown LA on the 110 freeway, lugging my kids from one early Saturday soccer game to another, when traffic came to a screeching halt. All of a sudden I felt a paralyzing and bone-chilling horror, as I see a tiny little kitten — joyful and oblivious — skipping out from between the tires of a large RV right in front of me. Without really thinking, my motherly instincts kicked in faster than you could say schfifty-five, and I stepped out among the cars and grabbed the kitten with fierce authority and determination. There I was, standing in the middle of traffic (albeit at a stand-still), with a tiny cat in my arms. All I can say is, be careful what you ask for.

As for the kitten, I’d be a bit anxious if I were her. My chariot is planned to return home soon, and that’s when pulling-practice will start.