Dealership Hell

I am in my 7o’s and have been driving since I was 15, so approaching 50 years. In that time, I have purchased a number of vehicles, one with my Dad, several on my own, a few with hubby. Most of those vehicles have been in my or our lives for only a few years before they had to be replaced or were replaced because they shouldn’t have been purchased in the first place. That changed 16 years ago. We purchased me a brand new Honda CRV not financed and it is still on the road with 252K miles on her. Three years later, we purchased a new Nissan Xterra which finally quit during the first wave of the pandemic with 250K miles on it. We have been using the 16 year old car solely since then and hoping that: 1) the pandemic would end; 2) the lack of computer chips for the vehicles would resolve, and we could seek a car and keep the old CRV as a sporadically used backup vehicle.

Two weeks ago when things took a tumble in our lives with daughter’s serious car totaling accident, me landing in the hospital for 5 days, Son 1 coming to the rescue, but having to put his car in the shop for a few days while here and being forced to rely on my old car to drive daughter around, drive hubby to the hospital, pick up groceries, pick me up from the hospital, etc., we realized that we shouldn’t count on the one aged vehicle as our sole transportation source. I have never liked the car buying experience. The least irritating was when we purchased hubby a new Saturn and they had a fixed sticker price and no negotiating games. Usually, the process is so very irksome. You test drive a car or two, perhaps decide you have found the one you are going to purchase, and then they sit you in a tiny office cubicle with a glass wall so they can make sure you don’t slip out and disappear to “work on the numbers.”

The process was no different yesterday. Hubby had done online research, had the cost of several vehicles noted, reached out to several dealers regarding availability, and off we went, an hour plus west into the adjacent state (where they actually had a few cars on the lot). We wanted a hybrid, all wheel drive, not white exterior or interior. They had 1. We test drove a non hybrid a bit smaller than the one they had, but it lacked most of the new safety features. We test drove a non hybrid the size of the hybrid, but the hybrid was only slightly more expensive and had a nicer add on package. BUT, the car had an additional sticker in the window that indicated a market upcharge of almost $3000 that wasn’t on the website. The manager, of course, apologized all over the place, said prices weren’t supposed to be on the website at all, and more bull shit. Then we were put in the cubicle to wear down our resistance. When the manager finally came in, he had “worked the numbers” and could take $100 off. Really! Oh horse patties. Then the upsale begins. We can knock off x if you buy the extended warranty (that by the way is owned by the dealership owner and cost $3000). No thank you.

Four and a half hours later, we drove off the lot with the hybrid, having been given a $500 reduction for hubby’s military service, but otherwise, the sticker price we saw going in. Such a frustrating business. I guess, this might be the last new car we buy since we are both aging like my old CRV. My CRV will be cleaned up, kept maintained, and driven a bit, but it will be our back up car, one to use when the new one is in the shop for maintenance or when we both have to be out in different directions.

Independent and Self Sufficient

My Dad taught me those traits and over the years, I have strived to DIY whenever possible. I have replaced toilets, sinks, and a garbage disposal. Installed deadbolts and ceiling fans. Replaced valve stems in dozens of faucets, but today I have met my match.

The cold water faucet to our tub (it is a double faucet variety) has slowed to a trickle, it isn’t leaking, just doesn’t let water pass. The shower on a separate valve does fine as does the hot water. It probably needs a new valve stem, but it is a 14-15 year old Kohler. It is a non standard size for a tub faucet. Getting the handle off was easy enough, but the valve stem is set down in a threaded ring that still extends high enough after the cover is removed to prevent getting a wrench or channel locks on it. So off to Lowes to buy a tub faucet socket set.

The smallest one in the set is too large, I needed a 5/8″ one and they don’t have those in the plumbing aisle. I called Ferguson where all the plumbing came from for help and Adam was the epitomy of patience and attempted help, having me text him pictures while he researched. That very lengthy call ended with a phone number to Kohler, but before trying that, we returned the tools to Lowes and I had the idea that a 5/8″ spark plug wrench would work. Well it fits in the space.

But even with a longer handle to try to turn it, I can’t budge it. I sprayed it with WD40 to try to loosen it up and still no go. I am afraid of breaking something.

Dad may have taught me to be independent and self sufficient, but he failed to tell me that as I age, the frustration level at not being able to do something would build exponentially. I guess we will have to call in a plumber, which seems excessive for a valve stem, but I don’t want to break it and have a major repair and whole new faucet set to buy.

“The End of an Error”

I suspect that if you are reading this, you are of like mind, or at least tolerant of differing opinions. The title was seen on a social media platform this morning and I think it says it all.

It distresses me that 45 has caused such division in this country that the inauguration of the President will be before fields of flag instead of people, behind high fences with armed National Guardsmen as the only “spectators.” He is out of Washington, lacking the class to politely and civilly transfer the power as has been done throughout history. But he isn’t out of office for another 2 1/4 hours. He abdicated his power months ago and the VP has had to try to pick up the reins.

On 45’s way out, pardoning his cronies and those wealthy who might give him a boost. Issuing executive orders to undermine the new administration, lifting travel restrictions to countries hard hit by COVID. All attempts to make the transition more difficult.

The events of the last two nights have been class acts, the lighting of the mall and the 200,000 flags, the memorial to those who have died of COVID that was so grossly mismanaged by 45 and his administration and the lighting of 400,000 lights along the reflecting pool in their memory.

I hope that Biden’s administration doesn’t discover too many disasters. I hope they will meet with a smooth transition, but am already seeing some of the same players in Congress who tried to block the certification of the Electoral College, trying to block Cabinet member certification. Players who obviously don’t take their oath to uphold the Constitution seriously, instead playing to their own political agenda.

The last 4 years have made me tired and stressed. I hope the next 4 are less so. I have lived through a lot of historical events, some to cheer for, some to stress over, some to mourn, but never did I think I would live through a President impeached twice in one term that has tried to removed rights of the citizens, block immigration, and tear our country apart.