“Misogynistic MINI Mechanics” or “WHOA…Them Dudes Make a Shit-ton of Dough!

After 3 weeks, I leave the Great Frozen North (a.k.a. The Northeast Kingdom) Friday, on the journey south to reclaim Mini Me and head home to Virginia on Saturday.

The hotel room near the dealership is booked so I can arrive at the service door bright and early Saturday morning to pick her up.

Speaking of the dealership…I was in contact with them today, as I had asked them to do an ‘extended’ test drive to make sure she was sound, knowing I was leaving for Virginia directly from picking her up.

Word back from the Wrench Wench was…

“The test drive went really well, the Mini’s purring, but one of her high beams is out.”

“Which one?” I ask

“Driver’s side high beam” she replies

“Really? I had that replaced in July” I remind her, since she has all the service records.

“Maybe the other dealership used an aftermarket bulb” suggested she.

“Not sure what you mean by aftermarket bulb Marissa. Last I checked, the bulbs were not MINI specific. As far as I can tell from the receipt, they installed a Sylvania 9008, which seems to be the standard.”

“Do you want us to fix it? If you do, I can order the bulb today and it will be here tomorrow.”

“Order it?  You don’t HAVE one?  What would that cost me Marissa?”

“$78.96”

“To replace a bulb????”

“The cost of the bulb is $13.96 plus tax. Labor to install is $69.13. And, if you had it replaced at a dealership last time, maybe they would offer a warranty on the bulb?”

“Marissa, the cost to replace that same bulb in July was $36 complete. I think charging $69 just to install a bulb is MORE than UNREASONABLE! I’m not sure why your quote is so high, but would appreciate if you could work with me on the price (not to mention, between me and the warranty company, you just got paid 8,600 bucks!”

” I can’t really speak for other dealer’s pricing. All dealerships vary around the country usually because of state differences.”

“Well, I think I’ll pass on your installing a replacement bulb and I’ll take care of it when I get home.”


Sing along with me?

I dream of Mini with the bright gold lights

Yeah, you’d think so wouldn’t you?

I’m really not convinced this entire scenario would have played out the same way had I, been a bloke and not a sheila.

Even a sheila as mouthy as me.

Who’s to know for sure.

All I do know, is that come Saturday morning…I’m back behind the wheel, headed home.

And depending on how fast I dare to drive until I know Mini Me is with me or against me…

14 or so hours later (I’m taking the road less traveled home), I’ll be in my own bed, snugglin’ with my Sadie, and scratching my husband.

Really?

Really?

Oh wait…In my own bed, scratching my Sadie and snugglin’ my husband.

Either way…I’ll be at a Ford dealership the day after.

Depend on it!

I’ll let ya know how it goes.

🙂

And Now…Something Completely Un-Original!

2014 – The Year in Review

I had the title typed before I saw the email with the gift from the WP helper monkeys that I assume we all got.

And I know this is a bit longer than usual, but if the ultimate goal is to kill a baby (the new years baby silly people…calm down) one can’t skimp on the details 😉

At first, I thought I’d just make the WP Review public and call it a day, rather than come up with a review of my own.

It does, after all, highlight our most popular posts, our busiest days, how many views, and how many countries.

It also…
Reminds us that this year has been spent like yesterday’s paycheck!
Proves in black and white that 2014 has slipped right through our fingers.
Shows us that we blinked and there it was….G O N E!

None of which are bad or surprising. Just not a true enough picture. At least not for me.

Can I say there’s something that makes me think it has been “The Best Year Ever”?

Not even close

(Though, I AM content knowing there were a couple events that will be remembered fondly. One of which was welcoming a beautiful new friend named Sadie into our hearts and our home and the landscape changed for the better)

If you are, or know, A Mama of Mayhem, A Deb of Destruction, or A Brittany of Breakage like me…then you understand!

Being a title holder of all three…this year is one for the books.
I actually shutter a little writing this ‘pre-midnight 12/31/14’ little tale, as it scares the SHITE outta me a bit!  Lord knows, a LOT can happen in the 36 hours that remain!

For example…I sit here writing in a room that houses nothing that could hurt me, yet I still feel as if I am in a militarized zone. I almost want to ensconce myself in the bathroom, where, if I manage to not fall into something wet and drown, I’ll be good to go.

There will be no daily, weekly, or monthly, blow by blow review of the past year here. Not even a highlight reel.  You’ve heard all of that before. No need to rehash old shit storms.

However, it appears this almost year-old ‘baby 14’ is not done with me.

He did, yet again, set his sights on my ample bottom, reared back his infantile, yet strangely fat and hairy leg, let loose, and kicked me in the ass.

Yup, this over-grown, tantrum throwing, troll doll, is still flinging the contents of his dirty diaper my way, and frankly, I’m sick to death of the little shit!

I Am, in fact, celebrating the fact that in 36 hours, this mini monster will be
D E A D

D O N E

H I S T O R Y

W O R M F O O D

But, before his happy demise, the little bastard thought it would be funny to inflict a bit more madness and mayhem into my life.

How you wonder? Ooooh, he’s nothing if not imaginative, the little Attila.

(cue dreamy, going back in time music now…)

Saturday, 12/27/14
2:30am
I left Virginia in Mini Me, primed and ready for my 700 mile trip to the frozen north to spend time with Superman and Lois

Well prepared, reasonably rested, I hit the nearly empty highway in good form

350 miles in, I was awed by the mile long caravan of flashing lights; cruisers, suvs, vans, and buses, of law enforcement vehicles from all over the south, headed to New York City for the funeral service of two fallen comrades

I cruised through NYC (okay, the Bronx) in record time
(Guess everyone had the same thought…no troopers on the road)

I reached the interchange of Interstates 95/91 in New Haven at 11:30am

Considering I’d stopped for breakfast and a fill-up, I was making good time

The GPS said I’d be there by 2:45pm, just a bit over a 12 hour trip

Right on schedule (Lobster dinner tonight!)

Then…that big, bad, baby decided to wake up

With a shitty diaper

And he reached into that shitty diaper

Grabbed a handful

And flung it in my direction

It was a direct hit!

Round I

At 75 miles per hour
Traveling in the left lane
Interstate 91 Northbound
Exit 5 (I can’t get away from details)
Mini Me died
Foot on gas pedal…nothing
I was surrounded by flying traffic by this time of the day, and just north of New Haven, CT
No where to go that didn’t already have a vehicle occupying that same space
There was no left shoulder
I had no choice
One look over my shoulder resulted in a “FUCK” and prayer to God that I had enough forward momentum to reach the right shoulder alive
I shut my eyes and turned the wheel
I drifted…just drifted…amid honks and screeches which I had no choice but to ignore in an effort to get to safety, but sick to my stomach and shaky with fear of being Johnny Hot Rod’s New Year’s Roasted Road Kill
When I opened my eyes, I realized, had I waited to do that one second later, I’d have landed in the middle of the entrance/exit ramp and been no better off, and just as likely to be creamed
But, as it happened, I opened my eyes just in time to two-foot the brake and stop right before the shoulder/guard rail ended

Round II

After regaining the ability to breathe and pick up my phone without dropping it from shaking, I realized I only had 27% left on my battery with no power to re-charge
Panic set in, knowing I had to have my phone to get out of this mess

I tried to call my husband at his job in Virginia
I didn’t have the damned number in my phone as he’d just been transferred
SHIT  (not that he could have done anything, but I needed to hear something, anything, besides whizzing traffic)
I called Lois…hoping she answered and not Supe, because I didn’t want him to worry. She was gone, he answered
SHIT
He reminded me his best friend lived about an hour away, was a mechanic, and calmed me a bit.  (so much for me worrying about him eh?)
I called this friend, but he knew nothing about good ol’ Mini Me, but would pick me up if I needed
All I knew was I needed off the road but was not willing to leave the car sitting there
I called my insurance company thinking I had roadside assistance coverage
NOT (but she offered to sell it to me, the bitch)

After a Google search, found the number to hubby’s new location, called him and cried all the way through that conversation (ugh, what IS that anyway?)
He too reminded me (needed a lot of reminding that day) that I had an extended warranty that included roadside assistance (duh)

So, I called them and after a lengthy discussion, was relieved to hear that by 12:50, there would be a tow truck there to take us to a service location.
PHEW because I was down to about 12% on the phone and sweatin’ bullets

Round III

12:53pm
Tow truck arrives
Mini Me quickly and expertly man handled onto the flat bed
Passenger (moi) rudely told “IN. Don’t Smoke. Don’t Eat”
Passenger (moi) just as rudely yelled (in my head of course) Fuck You. Drive.

1:30pm
Reach our destination
Driver takes Mini Me off the rig, gets her safely into a parking spot behind the dealership
Waves me off and drives away
I go into the dealership to seek guidance
(after noticing the service department was closed baby closed)

Information desk girly pages the manager who informs me they don’t service Minis, so even if they had been open, they could not have helped me
Water works begin in earnest

To say anyone within spitting distance was a tad uncomfortable with this 54 year old lady, blubbering in the middle of a BMW dealership would be an understatement
(and worse still-they were having an ‘event’ and the place was packed!)
To say I gave a shit would be a lie

Round IV

After being herded off by the dealership manager
(to a padded, all but sound proof, cubby hole)
Where I was to sit and get things figured out
(offering to keep me in coffee and food, a power outlet, and a phone at my disposal)
I called the warranty eeeedjit back

One point five hours later, having listened to this dickhead tell me it was my fault I’d landed in “A place no Mini has gone before” (really?)
I told him to shut it…get me a new tow to somewhere that could actually SERVICE my car, and I’d deal with his incompetence later

Got a text ten minutes later that the tow truck would be there at 3:50pm to tow me 45 miles further north, to Hartford, where there was a Mini dealership whose service department was closed, but they were open until 5 and I could get my car checked in and arrange for a rental to continue the 300 miles I had left on my journey north
That left me about 10 minutes to spare, provided the tow truck arrived on time

The truck did NOT arrive on on time, and I knew I needed a new plan
I couldn’t be stuck at an empty dealership in Hartford, CT with no way out

Lois to the rescue…she calls my cousin in Massachusetts and arranges for her and to pick me up in Hartford and drive me to Brattleboro, Vermont where my visiting brother would drive to and pick me up to take me the rest of the way home

All told, cousin Shari and brother Allan would spend 3 hours and 4 hours respectively, driving on my behalf, all because a warranty roadside assistance representative didn’t think it was necessary to find out if the destination HE chose to have me towed to, actually serviced my vehicle

(I’m lucky to have the family I do…at least there IS that)

Round V
4:30pm
The second tow truck finally arrives
Getting to Hartford in time to talk to a person was already completely out the window
A talker
Good God, they sent me a fucking jaw bones!
(In an antique truck to boot)

5:00pm
The driver (Randy) finally gets to doing what he’s there to do
While he’s putting her on the truck, I notice the driver’s side window slowly inching down
And of course, there’s no power to raise it back up
OMFG…wanna guess the forecast for that night and the next day?
Yeah…like that
Oh well, another phone call to Shari to let her know I wouldn’t be in Hartford by 5 and to go ahead and get something to eat in the meantime

Sometime after 5:00 but before 6:00
Arrive at dealership in Hartford
Hugs and kisses for Shari and Jimmy
Off load Mini Me to spend the night, the next day and night, and the next morning exposed to the elements
Transfer all my shit to Shari’s car
Pay Randy (a.k.a. driver jaw bones)
(and I hugged him actually…he turned out to be good company and a much needed source of laughter and companionship on the drive to Hartford. He told me I was his ‘best tow ever‘ and I told him that’s only because I like to use the F word, tell raunchy jokes, and smoke (so he could smoke and he was good with that!)
🙂

Round VI

We meet up with Brother in Brattleboro Burger King
I got a drink while he sat staring at what he dubbed his “ass burger”
After a few minutes of visiting for the brother and the cousin, the eventual garbage can burial for his ass burger, we hit the road for our 2 hour trip home
ps…My brother is a genius! He brought me a bottle of wine and a plastic cup for the ride home. Does he know me or what? Update:  I’ve been informed that it was brother number 2 who told brother number 3 to bring the wine!
Could they both be geniuses?

Round VII

It is now Tuesday, 12/30/14
I know absolutely nothing more today than I knew Saturday about the state of Mini Me
All I know is she’s there and I’m here
I’m already $260 bucks in the hole for which they called me to authorize, yet they’ve not even looked at her
Unsure if any or all or none of her ailments are covered by the warranty or if it’s gonna cost me an arm or maybe the one good leg I got left

So…let’s try this again:

2014 – The Neverending Story?

2014 – The Worst Story Ever Told?

2014 – It’s A Wonderful Life For Somebody Else?

2014 – Kill Me Now and Get it the Fuck Over With?

Sure…they all could work

But, since the little cuss ‘Atill-ito de Hun-o’ seems to like it when I get upset or angry or depressed when he slings his excrement my way…I’ve decided to take his poo and make poo-ade

I’m looking for and looking at, the positives that came out of this.

1. I’m alive
2. I’ve got great family
3. I made a tow truck driver’s year
4. That same driver made my fucked up day not so fucked up
5. I still made it up north to be with Superman and Lois
6. Mini Me is where she needs to be – in a Mini Hospital where she’ll get the care she needs

So, little baby butthead, go ahead ya filthy animal
You’ve got 36 hours to do your worst

But remember…
I’ve got a hell of a lot more time than you do, so there IS that, right?

In a little while, the world will be celebrating YOUR demise and your REPLACEMENTS arrival

How does that feel?

new_years_baby_crying

For me…it’s p r i c e l e s s

Happy New Year to all of you

As for you Baby 2.0.1.5.

Good friends?
Maybe, maybe not

But I’ll tell you what I’ve told your predecessor…

“I’ll be around a lot longer than you (God willing), so go ahead…

Bring. It. On!

Laboriously Laboring and Languidly Lingering this Loathingly Liquid Labor Day

Labor Day.

The last holiday before the official end of summer.

And this is a steamy one for sure.

Humidity levels are through the roof so if you venture into the sun, you’ll braise…not bake  🙄

It is a day to celebrate the working person.

A day to ‘not’ work [as long as you don’t work in retail, then it’s a day to go Christmas shopping].

I know, right?

Anyway, since I don’t work outside the home, it is just another laundry day, with the added bonus of baking turtle brownies. (turtle brownies:  nuts and caramel in the brownies, um yeah mama)

Baking?  Today?  In this heat?

Ummm, my indoor thermostat says 68, and as he knows me well…he knows that should his digits read below 68, I shall haul off and punch him in the face!

So yeah, it’s a baking day  🙂

brownies

As happens in the summer, more bloggers are out living life rather than inside writing about it, hence, less blogging more jogging. At least it seems so to me.

And while I wasn’t out there jogging (God forbid!) I was ‘out there’.

So Labor Day does tend to remind me that it’s time to come in once in a while and ease back into the fall yarns (get it?) so when winter comes, I’ll be knitting stories with the best of ya!

I don’t have any particular “What I did on my summer vacation” tales to weave, but I do have a snap or two that do paint (crafty eh?) a pretty picture of some of the fun we had.

Like…the time Matty spent back in the lower 48. Three weeks of sun and disc golf and beachin and boozin (ahem) and cousins and Grandfolks and…well, you get the idea

labor day collage

For myself…most of my time was spent in the same places as the boys…I just had my hands on something other than a beer bottle.

[Ah shit, that’s a lie. I had one hand on a bottle and the other on the camera.]

Okay? Geesh! Can’t get away with crap around here!

So my time was spent catching mountains and moonlight…

labor day collage 2

then rivers, lakes, and lilly pads, roads and bridges too.

labor day collage 3

I had a couple days where the pickens were slim; a tree and some deer, and an old car pullin in. A whirlygiggly butterfly and dead people’s ground; a downpour and a pond sign for an absconded pond.

labor day collage 4

But you all know what I’m like, always a barn or two; then Supe with his sidekick, and a damsel lunching, eew eew…

labor day w Collage 5

This is a glimpse of what I’ve been laboring with. And if I do say…
Life is Good!

Hope you all had an enjoyable, relaxing, family and fun filled summer.
I look forward to seeing more regular attendance now that Blog U is back in session.

🙂 R

It’s all in a name

Ah…the good ol’ summertime.

A time for beaches and bicycles and picnics and bbqs and vacations and staycations and more likely than not… family.

Whether you’re a nut from a towering oak, have a touch of sweetness like the magnificent sugar maple, are tart and tangy like the bounty that falls from the fruit trees, or run more to the quiet strength of the whispering pine…we are all branches of our family trees.

IMG_0632

As it will, nature steps in to prune our branches. Our leaves fall through the natural process of age and death, or in times of storm and disease, we sadly lose precious limbs way before their time.

Nature will…have its way.

But because our roots are so deep, we continue on…new saplings sprout from new seeds and new blood.
Often, we are stronger and more resilient for it. Having richer hues and sweeter fruit.

Or, as is common enough in my family to be the rule and not the exception, (leaves fall too close or too far, whichever the case may be) we end up with nuttier nuts and fruitier fruits.

Which leads me to:

“The Family Reunion”

For the good folk up here in the extreme north, the best thing to be said about summer is …NO SHOVELING!
Next to that…there is reunion season, which in my case, consists of the following:

Mother’s Mother’s side
Mother’s Father’s side
Two distinct and unique trunks of my maternal grandparent’s tree.
Let’s say it’s where the Spruce meets the Elm.

Now, the Spruce and the Elm don’t share the same patch of ground. Perhaps because the Spruce is pretty rigid and doesn’t change much, and the Elm, while close when push comes to shove, has a history of infection and being hard to find (much loved all the same).
But…two distinct and separate genus with two distinct and separate reunions.

Which brings me to the other half of my tree:

Father’s Mother’s side
Father’s Father’s side
Or, as is our case…
ONE trunk for my paternal grandparent’s tree
(It’s a damned big tree!)

This is where the mighty Oak meets the Sugar Maple and rather than remaining as such…they became a whole new tree.

The Maple Nut Tree (Don’t Google it…no sucha thang)

Here’s the roots…
The George boys had a thing for the Smith girls…
Brothers marrying sisters…
(No, not their own sisters…we may be hilly people, but we don’t all play the banjo!)

Anyway…because more than one George married more than one Smith, the reunions are Smith/George amalgamations rather than just Smith or just George.
We even have Smiths who married other Smiths and those Smiths married Morrisons who in turn married other Morrisons…

EEE GAD, it’s enough to make you dizzy!

Anyway, the reason I started this, besides having just attended above mentioned gathering of Maple Nuts, is to do with names.
😆
It really is about names.
But not just any names.
Old names.

One would think, with sir names like Smith and George, the given names would be rather vanilla, wouldn’t you?
Tom, Dick, and Harry kind of names. But no.
And it just tickles the shit out of me to sit around listening to the older folk talk about their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, bandying around some names not heard 100 years from here.

Kids my age, and those after, hear these names and think
“What the hell were they thinking?”
But I disagree. I think there is something strong, and connective in these old names.
It speaks of family more than the color of our eyes or the shape of our nose.
Names that are passed down in an obvious attempt to keep a loved one alive are beautiful names.

Shall I?
Okay, I shall.
Just a tiny sample.
Promise.

Great Grandfather Smith (ok…the next part is a sing along)

M.U.R.D.O. M.U.R.D.O. M.U.R.D.O. and M U R D O was his nameo!

Now, farmer Murdo Angus Smith married the lovely Rose La Brecque. They had 11 children (that’s Family #1).

Norman George, Mary Ethel, Eva Maude, Christie Rose, Margaret Leona, Clara Esther, Gladys Irene, Pauline Mae, Paul Angus, Walter Robert, and Baby Girl.

These names that don’t quite rrrrrrrrrrrroll off the tongue like names do today, but, it was all about continuity.

The lovely Rose died at the tender age of 36 (she needed a rest I think), whereby farmer Murdo married Marion who had another 5 children (that’s Family #2).

Murdo Harold, Joyce Ann, Fred Donald, Gerald Lloyd, and Virginia Maggie.

Again, these names don’t effortlessly fall off the tongue, but suggest a ‘reason’ behind them.
Nothing trendy here.

Great Grandfather George
Elmer Eugene George
(The only other Elmer I know lives in Cartoonland!)
Now, Elmer married Sophi (pronounced so-feye) Laundry and they had two sons
Raleigh Royal Eugene George and Morton Guy George
(So much packed into two little boys right? Oh, and a side note on Sophi~she had sisters…Mary, Maude, and Mert. LOL. Great huh?)

Both these George boys married Smith sisters:

Raleigh Royal Eugene George married Mary Ethel Smith (my grandparents) and had two children
Roy Eugene and Betty Rose

Morton Guy George married Christie Rose and had four children
Stanley Morton, Philip Dale, Beverly Ruth, and Harvey Elmer

Sadly, after my parents’ generation, the names became more normal(?)
Gone are the Murdos, Elmers, Mortons, and Raleighs.
No more Claras, Maudes, and Gladyses (Gladi?)

I’m as guilty as the next gal. I named my kids rather trendy names, but I think if I’d spent more time sitting under that big ol’ Maple Nut tree, I’d have found the courage to be different in the pride I feel when I’m sitting in that big pile of leaves.

Had that been the case, perhaps I would be the proud mother of Raleigh Murdo Elmer Roy?
Or if I’d had a girl…Mary Clara Maggie Rose?
Perhaps…

And the groaning you hear in the background is my husband who has NO room to talk…he is the son of ELBO.
But THAT is another mango tree altogether!

I hope you’re enjoying the summer, and hoping too, that you’re gathering round the base of your own magnificent family trees. There’s nothing quite like it.

And for those nuts that are part of my Maple Nut Tree…here’s a reminder of the beautiful day spent reminiscing about the old times and creating new ones. (Thanks Debbie and Henry)

-Click on a circle to bring up the full size photos-


The whole gang

The Eye of the Human Storm

Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Life
It hurts
Our first breath
Born in and out of
Pain
Our last breath
Born in and out of the fear of
Death
Beginning to end
The human struggle to keep moving
Beyond the current pain so we may
Endure the next
To begin again
The circle, the cycle
Of life, of pain
To reach our destination
Death
So
What is the point?
When one ends where one begins?
What is the point?
The middle
Is the point
To feel the heart beat
Of a lover
To hear the laughter
Of a child
To know the touch of another
The touch that completes
Our circle
Ones who will rejoice with us
And for us
And those who will mourn us
But more
Remember
That we were here
That we mattered
That we made the difference
That we closed a part of their own circle
And that they too
Closed a part of ours
To gather
At the end of the day
To hear the sounds of silence
The human sounds
We make without knowing
The sounds of love
And life
The middle
Those sounds our ears miss,
But that our hearts hear
These are the sounds of silence
So loud we are compelled to
Listen
Struggle to keep moving
From one pain to another
For in the end
It is not the pain
We Remember
It is
Love
Our circles have no true beginning
They meld
With our ending
We only have what is in
The middle
Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Take an umbrella if you must
Wear your raincoat
Wear galoshes if you have to
But
Prepare more for getting swept
Into the middle
‘Cause that’s where life happens
In the middle
Never be afraid to get wet
So
Put the fear aside
Go beyond the tropical storm of prologue
Fear not the hurricane of the epilogue
Walk into the wind
Get pummeled by the rain
Get to the eye
The middle
Where the calm allows us to hear
The human sounds of silence

The sounds of Love

For My Father

My First Love ~ My Only Hero

R.I.P. Superman