Quality concerns

Just over a year ago, in the midst of the bloated car prices and dearth of available vehicles, we were forced to purchase a car. We had been relying on a 17 year old car with enough mileage to be on it’s return trip from the moon for over a year and because we are very rural, a reliable car was a necessity. We ended up with a new hybrid, paying over $3000 more than the suggested retail price with a very half-assed excuse for why they were tacking it on and couldn’t negotiate it down. And we had to drive to the next state over, about an hour to even look at one, lured by an online advertised price on another car that they had also tacked on the $3000 and refused to honor the advertised price. As it came from a different state, we had to wait for the registration to come with the plates from our state to get it inspected in our state. Well, it has been a year since the inspection and the new one was needed, plus we required the one year service inspection and tire rotation.

We live 16 miles from a closer dealer and more than double that from where we purchased it. We tried to get an appointment at the closer dealer, where everything could be done, and they didn’t have one available for a full month, after the car inspection was past due, so we contacted the farther dealer and could get in within the week, which meant a second appointment elsewhere in our state for the inspection next week. Off we went this morning. Of course, they “found” two other recommended “needs” so the cost went from under $20 to over $100. We agreed to their recommendations, got back in the car and pulled out of their lot to a scraping noise and a noticeable shimmy or bumping sensation. A quick u-turn and back in the service line and a “whatever you did created a major problem.” It turns out that their mechanic failed to torque on one of the tires and it was rattling loose. This could have been a very expensive, even fatal accident if that tire had come off. Though they corrected their error and apologized, we no longer have any trust in that dealership’s service center. Since the car is a year old, and under warranty, we will make appointments closer to home with enough lead time to guarantee our inspection doesn’t expire before they can get to it.

Whatever happened to quality assurance and reliable service.

Time wasted and irritation

I don’t like going to the doctor, but who does. When I go, I have to psych myself up and feel like there is a real reason to do so. After all the bee and hornet stings, I was concerned that though my reaction to date has only been a headache, swelling, and subsequent itching, that a worse reaction could occur as allergies sometimes develop later in life. I have always reacted to insect bites and stings more than hubby. And I realized I was out of date of a routine screening that required his signature for scheduling and have recently developed a discomfort in one of my hips, so I scheduled an appointment.

Upon arriving, I was given a packet of 15 pages to fill out asking a medical history that they already had, with absolutely no questions regarding whether I smoked, drank alcohol, used drugs, or regularly exercised. Most of that packet I was told to hand to the doctor which I did. He had not read any of the nurses notes where I explained that I had not scheduled for a Medicare Wellness check, but to address my concerns. He did not even glance at the packet I had been asked to fill out. When I raised my concerns, he basically dismissed them telling me that if I have a reaction to stings to call 911. It is a volunteer organization and would not arrive fast enough if I had a bad reaction, and we live 20-25 minutes at least from either of the local hospitals. I asked about taking liquid Benedryl and what dose, which he did answer. The hip discomfort was dismissed as probably arthritis. The routine screening, I had managed to schedule on my own for them to send him the form to sign. Basically, the visit was a waste of my time, an unnecessary cost to Medicare and my supplemental insurance, and I really have no answers.

I am fortunate to have Medicare and a supplemental insurance, but it is no good if you don’t get answers. Perhaps it is time to look elsewhere.

On our walk today, I spotted this fungi covered log beside the trail. It fascinated the old Biology teacher in me and so I returned after the walk with my spindle to take a photo of it for the monthy challenge. The white patches are dappled sunlight that look like patches of snow on this 90 degree day.

Rural living

Our farm of about 30 acres sits in a hollow (holler up here) on the side of a 4000+ foot mountain. There is a large holding running cattle to the west, open hay and corn fields to the east with a home in a wooded lot between part of it and us. Wooded lots to the south, and a home in a wooded lot to the north. Our farm is mostly open, former grazing land and now hayfields maintained by local men who run cattle on other properties.

For the most part, everyone is respectful of other people’s land, asking permission to cross or look for an animal they wounded but not killed while hunting. Once in a while, there is total disrespect. Trash strewn along the gravel road that passes north of us, recently, a broken recliner dumped at the top of our property down a hillside to the creek. When we purchased this land, the sink hole near the top was full of appliances, glass, cans, tires, and part of a vehicle. With a neighbor’s help, we removed the large stuff and hubby and I spent many hours removing cans, more than 100 tires, and unbroken glass, leaving what we couldn’t get to be covered by composting leaves.

The first autumn I was in the house, alone for a weekend, I heard dogs, shouting, and gunfire entirely too close to the house late at night. Hunting raccoons, I guess, but rather unnerving. Last night, there were gunshots, some too close to the house, some farther off in the woods to the south, but they didn’t all sound like rifle shots, followed by a flashlight moving across in front of our house. It was probably coyote hunters, but we don’t allow hunting on our property after an incident a few years ago, not an accident, just disrespecting our rules. There is no way to know who it was to speak to them, but it is still alarming to have middle of the night gunshots near the house and seeing someone in your front yard.