Thursday, November 29, 2007
The tale I’m about to relate is a lengthy one, I fear, but I just have to get it off my chest.
Last Saturday, while I was out doing a bit of Christmas shopping, the “service engine” light came on. It was still early, so I stopped by the service department at the dealership where I bought the car to make an appointment to have it checked over and to make sure it was okay to drive until I could get the car serviced.
So, bright and early Monday morning, I dropped the car off at the dealership – the service engine light was still glowing bright yellow. They were going to change the oil, rotate the tires, do a “general maintenance” check and see if they could determine the reason for the glowing yellow light. Anything related to the engine would be covered under the warranty.
I feel compelled to explain that this is the week before the audit…the big fat freakin’ audit…that SBA will be conducting next week, so I have been waist deep in files all week long and putting in twelve hour days trying to get ready for the auditors. Suffice to say, I did not need the added exasperation of dealing with a malfunctioning car and…more to the point…car mechanics.
Now, there are few times over the course of my life when I have lamented the fact that I am on my own with no man to rely on. Call me old fashioned, sexist, stereotypical, or what have you, but in a “perfect world” there are some things for which the man should always be responsible; i.e., take out the trash, squash the bugs, rid the house of rodents, and deal with car problems. But in my world…reality world…I get to do it all. Sigh.
There’s not a woman in the land who is unfamiliar with what I’m about to describe. The feeling washes over you the instant you step tremulously inside the door of the car repair shop…that nauseatingly sick feeling that begins to churn in the pit of your stomach and bubbles upward to constrict your throat. You see the mechanic’s eyes light up with huge neon flashing $$$$$ signs as he rubs his hands together gleefully...metaphorically if not actually...and he crooks his finger at you and says, "Don't be afraid. Step into my parlor..." And that is when you “just know” that...before it’s all over...you’re going to be screwed six ways to Sunday, and it is not going to be a pleasant experience. You may as well open up your wallet and say, “Here, take it all. Just leave me a bit for food and gas money.” This is when the sadistic mechanic -- aka -- Simon Legree, gives that black mustache an evil twist, laughs maniacally, and snarls, "No, it's mine...all mine."
Anyway, about three o’clock, the mechanic called. Now, I had been buried in files all day…no lunch break…reviewing legal documents, tax returns, financial statements, etc., so I am more than a bit bleary-eyed and a trifle brain dead when I picked up the phone. The guy was pleasant enough as he patiently explained that he was unable to rotate the tires because, according to him, the previous owner had never had the car properly aligned and the tires…though they looked good on the outside…on the inside…they were completely bald. Cutting to the chase…they will align the car for free…if I purchase the tires from them. To top it off, they could not get the tires until the next morning, so I had to leave the car there overnight. They did, however, generously provide me with a loaner car…a loaner car, mind you, that had about two drops of gas in the tank. Yep, I was on the hook for gas for the crappy loaner car.
Here’s my grievance. I bought the car on August 24th. Since it was a “pre-owned” car and I purchased an extended warranty, the dealership had to “certify” that the car passed GM’s inspection before I could take ownership. Plus, I’m thinking, would they not have done some sort of basic maintenance like…oh, I don’t know…an alignment or at least "kick" the tires before selling it to some unsuspecting dupe. (That would be...well...me.) I mean, I haven’t put 3,000 miles on the car since I bought it. To my way of thinking, either they did not do their due diligence before the sale, or they were trying to sell me four tires I did not truly need. Either way…I'm screwed.
Tuesday morning, I went into the office at 6:00a.m. I thought about the situation overnight and decided…if I truly needed new tires...and since this was not a warranty-related issue…I’d go fetch my car and take it to the auto shop that has taken care of me ever since I moved to Cincinnati. So, a little after 7:00a.m., I called the dealership, and that is when I first had the "pleasure" of speaking with Jack. Jack was a slow talker, and that is the nicest thing I have to say about him.
When I explained what I intended to do, Jack informed me that, since they had already ordered the tires, I had to buy them. Okay, this is when I went into a full-fledged rant. I never used to do this sort of thing, but ever since I came full into my 50’s, I finally realized that no one else was going to speak up for me, so it was up to me to stand up for myself. So, I calmly -- but firmly -- told Jack that if that was the case, then FINE, I guess I was stuck. I then told him that I wouldn’t be bringing my car back to their crummy dealership and, furthermore, I would be telling anyone and everyone I know to never, ever buy a car from Mark Sweeney Pontiac GMC Buick and I hung up the phone. Jack called me back a few minutes later and told me that the service manager said, since they hadn’t installed the tires, I didn’t have to buy them. Okay, one teensy-weensy victory for me. I told Jack I would call him back and let him know my decision.
Whew! Still with me?
Next, I called Donovan’s…where I used to take my old car for mechanical stuff and basic maintenance. The price they quoted me was about $50 less than Sweeney’s…unless…the tires were 17” instead of 16”…then the price would be…give or take…$150 more. With that info in hand, I called the dealership back. This time I got Paul. Paul was much more amenable than Jack…which is to say, Paul actually had a personality. I explained the situation, and he checked the tire size, and – of course – they are the larger size. (Did you truly expect otherwise? Have you met me?) As it turned out, they could do the work more cheaply after all. So, I told Paul to go ahead and do the alignment, install the tires and call me when the car was ready.
The plot thickens.
About 1:30, I was thinking it’s odd I hadn't heard about my car. I mean…come on…how long does it take to install four tires? (I was about to find out.) So, I called the service department again, and they connected me to Jack…again. (I've never been one who "suffers fools gladly," but this guy took the proverbial cake.) I asked if my car was ready, and he said – hand to God – they had not done anything yet because I had not called back to tell him my decision. To which, I promptly and brusquely informed him that, “Oh, yes I mostly certainly had called.” Granted, I did not speak to him specifically, but I called back – within 30 minutes of talking to him – and gave them the “go ahead.”
Then I asked him when my car would be ready, and he told me – are you ready – it would be the next afternoon…meaning Wednesday. Three days…THREE BLEEPIN’ DAYS…to install four lousy tires on a car. (God created the entire universe in six.) Now, I’m a big ol’ fat girl with a bad back and cranky knees, but I think that even I could somehow contrive to wrestle four tires onto a car in less than three days. As you might imagine, by this time, I was at my wit’s end…I was beyond frustrated. I asked Jack, who I have now dubbed, Jack the MoeRon…not moron…he’s a bona fide MoeRon…if my original tires were still on the car. (Not that it would have truly mattered. At this point, I was willing to chance driving it on the rims.) He told me they were, and I told him (translation…SCREAMED at him) to not do anything to my car; I was coming to get it.
It took me all of ten minutes to drive from my office to the dealership. I started out calm, but when Jack walked up to me, I looked him squarely in the eye and informed him that I wasn’t talking to him. While he scurried off to…I thought…fetch my car, I told the young man who had set up the appointment on Saturday that, “All evidence to the contrary, I’m not usually a bitch, but this has been the most frustrating experience over…TIRES!”
About this time, Jack skulked back inside to tell me they were – at that very moment – installing the tires on my car. And it was then that I realized what was happening; i.e., my car was being held hostage...in some sort of bizarre Pontiac GM Twi-Light Zone. Folks, this is precisely the reason I don’t own a gun. ‘Cuz I sooooo wanted to go all Rambo on this little wuss of a man. “When will my car be ready?” I asked between tightly clenched teeth. "Four-thirty," replied the Moeron. It was 2:00 then. Two and a half hours for four tires. I don’t get it. I’ll never get it. The only conceivable explanation had to be that there was a whole passel of MoeRons working – in the loosest possible sense of the word – on my poor little car. At this point, I was speechless…mainly because I was so outraged that no coherent words would form in my brain. I walked numbly back to my loaner car and went back to work to await further instructions as to when and where I should bring the ransom for my car.
Well, I finally managed to liberate my car around 4:30. As I was paying the $630 ransom, I noticed a statement on the invoice regarding a survey. I perked up then and asked the cashier if there was a survey attached, and she replied that GM would send me one. Trust me, that is one survey I am awaiting with great anticipation. In fact, I'm fixin' to write letters to everybody...the district GM office, the national office...anyone related to GM. (You've already got yours.)
Oh, and the reason for this whole ordeal…the check engine light…they were never able to determine the cause behind that; the light never came on when they cranked the engine. Welcome to my world, folks…my big fat freakin’ world.
One last thing before I end this long-winded tirade. When I arrived home from work this evening, there was a message on my answering machine…from Toni. Toni cheerfully informed me that she was with Mark Sweeney Pontiac GMC Buick, and she noticed I had just had my Grand Prix serviced at their dealership. She was calling to thank me and to follow-up to make sure I was “completely satisfied” with my experience. Oh, Toni...Toni, do I have a story for you?
This is my "almost" new baby. Well, I got the photo from the Internet...it isn't exactly like mine; mine has a moon roof and, as of yesterday, some really snazzy tires. It's a 2005, Pontiac Grand Prix...fully loaded, including remote start and a supercharged engine. The car is going to get me in some serious trouble and is way smarter than I...obviously.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Silver bells on string
If I wrote a letter to Santa Claus
I would ask for just one thing…
I don't need sleigh rides in the snow
Don't want a Christmas that's blue
Take back the tinsel, stockings, and bows
'Cuz all I want for Christmas is you…
Friday, November 23, 2007
There was a time, back in the day, when I had both less sense and…ironically…money than I do now, that I, too, would don my shopping armor and…fortified with a fistful of credit cards…venture out on this day. My friend, Linda, and I would get up early (not 4:00a.m. early, but early) and head up to the Huntington Mall to embark upon our day after Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza.
By noon, we would be so loaded down with shopping bags that we would trudge out to the parking lot where we stowed our bounty in the trunk of my car. We were the recipients of many angry looks and – probably – crude hand gestures from would-be shoppers when…instead of getting into the car and driving away…thereby, relinquishing that most coveted piece of real estate during peak shopping times known as the "parking space," we turned back toward the mall instead.
Ah, those were the days, my friends. And now, when I pause to reflect upon those distant times, I have to pause and ask myself, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” Someone asked me the other day if I was going shopping the day after Thanksgiving and, without missing a beat or giving it a moment’s thought, I blurted, “I fell out of love with that a long time ago.” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bargain or a sale as much as the next person, but I figure if I can’t afford to pay full price for something, then I don’t need it.
Besides, I love technology. I mean, if I take a notion that I “have to have” something, I simply go to QVC.com or Amazon.com or “whatever” dot com, place my order and a few days later some kind soul delivers it to my door. I tell ya, if I didn’t have to work or occasionally venture out to forage for food, I’d never leave the apartment. The older I get, the more reclusive and agoraphobic I’m becoming.
So, today, instead of crawling out of bed in the wee small hours of the morning to go stand in line in the shivering cold with a bunch of over-aggressive shoppers who would think nothing of shoving me or anyone else out of their way in order to get to the object of their overweening desires, I slept in. In a moment or two, I’ll probably wander over to QVC, eBay, or Amazon and see what "must have" treasures I might be able to find. But for now, I'm happily snuggled under the covers, tip-tapping away on my laptop and watching the LOCI marathon on USA. Now, if I could just finagle a way to get a certain dashing detective delivered to my door, my life would be AUX QUAIS!!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Allow me to present little Miss Mallory Paige. She came into the world this past May, and I finally got to officially meet her in August when I made a trip home…a costly trip as it turned out, but that’s for another post.
I don’t have any cute, funny stories to impart about Mallory as of yet because she is at that age where pretty much all she does is eat, sleep, and poop. She does have a great smile, and she can giggle and coo with the best of ‘em. And I have it on good authority that she turns over all by herself on a regular basis now to the delight and entertainment of her parents. I suspect, however, that she will very soon be giving her older sister a run for her money.
The following pictures were taken when Mallory was three months old.
Ah, yes…pie. No other dessert is quite so satisfying as a slice of mouth-wateringly good, homemade pie. It’s good old fashioned, homemade “comfort” all wrapped up in a buttery, flakey crust. Mmm Mmm. Ah, yes…pie.
Andie MacDowell paid homage to the scrumptious pastry in the movie, “Michael” by singing the following little ditty:
Me oh my,
Nothing tastes sweet, wet, salty and dry
All at once,
Oh well, it’s pie.
An’ wet bottom.
Come to your place everyday if you’ve got ‘em.
Me oh my,
I love pie.
Not sure about the minced pie, but I’m good with all the others...and then some. Add pecan and cherry to the list and – oh yeh – that’s good eats. Well, it’s Thanksgiving Day and, as you might have deduced, I haven’t indulged in dessert yet. An oversight that shall be rectified shortly, I promise you. Pumpkin, of course; it is after all the “traditional” pie of the day here in the States.
Just remember…the best pies are runny pies…like kisses…the good ones are never dry.
I do realize, of course, that not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving today, but warm wishes for a happy day are extended to everyone who might stumble upon this blog. I am presently sitting up in bed with my laptop, working on this entry, growing hungrier by the second as the delicious aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven wafts down the hallway to tickle my nose, and watching my favorite Thanksgiving movie – of sorts – “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”
Steve Martin (as Neal Page) and John Candy (as Del Griffith) at their funniest…at least for me. One of my favorite scenes just happened. It’s freezing cold and Owen arrives in a pickup truck to take
Later today, there will be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football, an abundance of good food (all the typical Thanksgiving fixins’ my mom used to prepare…and then some) and since the USA Network has most thoughtfully decided to show a combination LOCI/SVU marathon, my day will be intermittently filled with a healthy helping of a certain sweet, loveable, quirky, and delectable detective. Can you spell d-e-s-s-e-r-t? (With a little chocolate sauce, please.) Boy howdy, can it get any better than this?
Hardly the sort of Thanksgiving our forefathers envisioned all those many, many years ago, I fancy, but it’s how I’m going to celebrate the day.
Well, it wouldn’t be a proper Thanksgiving if I didn’t pause for a moment to give thanks for those things that mean the most to me and for which I am truly thankful. So, I did a quick search of the Internet and found the following by Ralph Waldo Emerson. With the exception of my family, which tops the list, this little prayer of Thanksgiving just about covers it all.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
A "traditional" wish for the day.
And for the quirky, slightly perverse among us...that would be me...this is for you.
Images courtesy of Google.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
- My earliest memory
- How old I was
- Pass it on
Well, I’m here, so I guess I have elected to participate. Actually, I have two memories from early-on and they both happened when I was “five-ish.” I cannot recall which came first, so I guess I’ll share both. Oh, and I suppose I should explain that I have never, ever shared the first reminiscence with anyone, so see just how "freeing" this blogging can be.
The first remembrance I have occurred at night in my parents’ bedroom. You see, we lived in a two bedroom house…that my daddy built…and my three brothers shared one bedroom, so I slept in my parents’ room. I had my own bed…just not my own room. I have to admit I have thought about this particular memory many times over the years…mainly because it was such a frightening nightmare…I wonder what could have precipitated such a terrifying dream in one so young.
Anyway, I can remember laying in bed on my back and looking up and there were all these bright lights in all different colors, flashing and dipping and darting all about, and there was this “ thing”... this...“being.” I don’t know what it was or how to describe it, but I can still see it in my mind's eye. It was very scary and it kept grabbing at me as it floated in the air above me at the foot of my bed.
I remember crying and screaming – hysterically – at the top of my lungs. My mom, of course, came to comfort me, but I would no sooner settle down and go back to sleep than it would start all over again. This went on most of the night and my poor daddy quickly tired of the whole drama. He didn’t spank me or anything, but…bless his heart…he worked the early shift and had to be at work by 6:00a.m. So a screaming, out of control child in the middle of the night sufficed to wreak havoc with his sleep time. (P.S. It wasn’t too long after this incident that Dad added another room onto the house, thus giving me my own bedroom.)
The other early memory I have is of my brother, Tom, taking me to school with him on his last day of 6th grade…as a sort of “show and tell” I suppose. They used to do this sort of thing “back in the day.” Basically, the principal invited the students to bring a younger sibling with them on the final day of the school year, so my mom let Tom take me. That was the first time I got to ride in the big yellow bus that carried my brothers off everyday, and I got to see where my classroom was going to be when I started first grade the following fall. I have a vague recollection of being momentarily separated from my bubby…a few tears…but we were happily reunited for the bus ride home.
So, there you have it…for what it’s worth…my earliest memories. As for “tagging” someone else…I don’t “know” any other fellow bloggers who haven’t already been nominated. I would tag my friend – StarChild – but I don’t think she’s started her blog yet. Perhaps this could serve as the perfect catalyst. What say you, StarChild?
Monday, November 19, 2007
Today I received an email announcing the arrival of Logan Paul Gwynn.
Considering the subject matter of my previous post, I thought it would be a happier change of pace to introduce everyone to the little guy. Master Logan made his entrance into this crazy, mixed-up world of ours this past Sunday morning at 5:32a.m. He weighed in at a respectable 7lbs. 4oz. and is 20¼ inches long.
Pictured below…from left to right…are Daddy Matthew, Grandma Crystal, and Grandpa David and, of course, the reason for this post…Baby Logan.
What a cutie. I foresee a lot of broken hearts in his future.
In fact, the first thing I do every morning upon waking is turn on the TV to catch the weather report for the day. Of course, before Larry Handley on Channel 9 can tell me whether I need my umbrella or a warm jacket, I have to listen to the litany of shootings, stabbings, robberies, murders, rapes, and/or home invasions that occurred in the city while I slept. It makes one want to pull the covers back up over one’s head and remain in bed…forever.
Last night, Channel 9 reported on a young man who was shot multiple times during a holdup at the clothing store where he worked. This happened Saturday afternoon after 3:00p.m. The police have not figured it out yet, but they think the robber shot him because he was not complying with his demands fast enough. The young man died Sunday morning at 1:00a.m. It was supposed to be his day off. His shift at the store was to have ended at 4:00p.m. He was twenty-three years old and his name was Christopher Spencer.
The reason I’m taking the time to relate this is because I could not believe how peaceful his mother appeared to be when she was interviewed on the news last night. I’ll never forget her serene expression as she calmly told the reporter, “You know, God doesn’t make any mistakes.” What profound, unshakable, unwavering faith this woman must have.
Well, Channel 9 repeated the story this morning, so it was on my mind when I arrived at the office. I had not been at my desk very long before Angie, one of the loan officers...and my friend...came into my office and sat down. She asked me if I had heard about the shooting and – to shorten an already lengthy story – it turns out that Christopher was the son of her best friend, Sheree.
The newspaper article I later read described a young man who was “well-loved” and the things that Angie proceeded to tell me about him only confirmed that. Christopher lived with his grandmother, so he could take care of her and he took her to church every Sunday morning. He was working so he could save money to start his own business with a friend. He helped look after his younger brothers and sisters. And…even in death…Christopher continued helping others. During this horrific ordeal, his mother had the presence of mind to donate his organs, so that something "positive" could come from this tragic, senseless act.
I so wanted to attach a picture of Christopher, so you could see for yourself what his family and the world has lost. The one they showed on the news last night was so striking. He had a smile that beamed from ear to ear…he looked so full of life. He had, in fact, his whole life ahead of him. I guess it’s true what they say, “the good die young” – especially in this town.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Back in 1944, when many regular players from the Reds and other major league teams were unavailable due to military service in World War II, Joe – at the age of 15 – became the youngest player to ever play professional baseball. He was a pitcher…a southpaw…or lefty, for those of you unfamiliar with baseball expressions.
On June 10, the Reds were playing the Cardinals and trailing by a whopping 13-0 in the ninth inning when young Joe was called into the game from the bull pen. He started off by retiring two of the first three batters he faced, but ended up allowing five walks, two hits, one wild pitch and five runs before being taken out of the game. Hardly a stellar performance. Joe spent the rest of that season and several others in the minors before returning to major league baseball and the Reds in 1952…the year I was born.
Now, I have seen my fair share of Reds games. My parents started taking me (and my brothers) to ball games at a very young age…so young, in fact, that I could sit on my daddy’s knee. Consequently, I don’t remember those very early years and, though I probably saw Joe pitch, I don’t have any active recollection of seeing him. I do, however, have many happy memories of hearing him and his broadcast partner, Marty Brennaman, “call” a game...or two.
You see, after Joe retired from major league baseball and the Reds in 1967, he moved directly into the broadcast booth. His signature phrase when signing off after a game was, “This is the ol’ lefthander, rounding third and heading for home.” To say that Joe was a little “rough around the edges” and that he could butcher the English language with the best of ‘em, would be a bit of an understatement. But then, who among us has not split an infinitive, dangled a participle, or ended a sentence with a preposition now and again?
Back in the day, I used to “score” the games as I listened along to the “play by play.” I can recall many times when I would throw up my hands in frustration when a Reds player would get a hit and Joe would say excitedly, “That’s a hit to right…left field.” “Which one, Joe?” I would scream at the radio. God bless him. He would get so caught up in the action that he’d "forget" which was left and which was right. The older I get…the more I can identify with that.
Joe officially retired in 2004…some 60 years after his debut on the pitching rubber in a Reds uniform. He was the genuine article…a man who believed in giving back to the community that had loved and revered him most of his life. He was good to kids...all kids...and he believed in education. His charities and foundations will live on long after his passing.
Joe was the kind of person I would describe as “what you see, is what you get.” He didn’t put on airs or pretend to be anything he wasn’t. He was...just Joe. And, sadly, at 10:55p.m., Thursday, November 15, 2007, Joseph Henry Nuxhall...for the very last time on this earth...rounded third and headed for home.
I'm thinking this is Joe when he was only fifteen.
Joe, pitching for the Reds.
Joe with his broadcast partner, and longtime friend, Marty Brennaman.
Joe with Ken Griffey, Jr.
Joe at his special tribute night at Great American Ball Park in 2004.
Photos from the "Cincinnati Enquirer" and Google.
One of these days, I'll figure out how to do "fancy" slideshows and such like Val, Eliza, Tess & Diane; et. al., but until then, these will have to do. (Sorry, I didn't take the time to crop these and I see at least one repeat from the first post...guess I really liked that one, huh?)