coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Repair Estimate Limbo

Aaack!  I'm a bit traumatized by taking my car in for a look see. They ran a diagnostic and came up with 12 things they wanted to do for a total of $2,928.96.  

The interaction with service people is automated. I received a boiler plate text from"Service Advisor" Blaine, telling me to click on a link to get the estimate. I did. Holy cow! As my eyes were rolling towards the back of my head, I was supposed to click on what I wanted done. 

My husband said to check the two cheapest things, replacing a couple of filters, because If I paid more that $89 for repairs they wouldn't charged me the $89 for the diagnostic. Fast thinking, Tom! We could then get a second opinion on the rest.  

Still, I wanted to talk to Blaine to determine how critical he thought the expensive things were. I immediately called and had to leave a message for him to return my call. He never did. The next day I sent him 2 texts and tried to call but no one answered. The third day I sent an email, and then tried calling again. Another service person answered and said "Blaine" was busy with a customer. I urged him to get Blaine anyway, as I wanted my car back. The service person returned and told me Blaine said I could come and get the car.

When we went there, I was finally able to speak to Blaine. He was super nice, smarmy almost, and obviously feeling guilty. He admitted nothing on that list was critical. What the heck?  

We are taking the car in elsewhere (with no advance information about the first estimate) on Friday. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Salesmen, sheesh!

We've been having issues with our old sliding glass door, to the point where we haven't been able to open it. We thought maybe it was time to replace it? Tom arranged for two companies to come and give us quotes. I try to avoid salespeople if I can. In fact, I make Tom answer the door because 9 times out of 10 it IS a salesperson.  

The first salesman talked non-stop for an hour. I couldn't believe it! I was on my computer in another room while he yammered on and on to Tom. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer. I went in, sat down across from him and looked deep into his eyes. He stopped talking. Good thing because I'm adept at interrupting motor mouthed men. 

I was going to use my best old lady smile and say all friendly like "Darn, you sure talk a lot!" But my superpower was not needed because he clearly didn't want to talk to me. He got busy "figuring" and gave us a quote of $6,700. After Tom told him it was too much, he then came down to $5,500. As if!

The second salesman was more straight forward. He was here less than 15 minutes and gave us a quote of $3,800. Better, maybe even almost fair - it included a $675 permit required.  The first salesman's quote did not. Still, a mind-blowing amount for retired folks on a fixed income. 

Next, Tom called a repairman. The guy was here for less than an hour replacing this and that. Our angel-with-a-truck fixed that door as good as new for $200. You should have seen Tom's happy face when he came in to get the checkbook from me.  

Tomorrow we are taking our car in to get fixed. Can we get lucky two days in a row? Probably not, but for today I'm a happy old lady with a very real, big smile.

Friday, August 18, 2023


Living conditions were not hard for my mother's family during the Great Depression. The family was large, but Grandpa's job as a railroad inspector was steady. Their lifestyle was comfortable, though simple by modern standards. Their house was close the railroad tracks, so depression-era hoboes (jobless and homeless men who rode the rails) would often stop by their house looking for a handout. Some would ask for food, others would ask if they could chop wood or wash windows in exchange for food. 

In those days, the hoboes had their own written sign language that they used to leave messages for others who were "riding the rails". They would mark or draw the signs on telephone polls and light posts. One particular mark was used to signify if a house was a good place to get a bite to eat. 

Once my grandparents went out and left the children in the care of an older sibling. They heard a knock at the door, and when they looked out the window, they saw what my mother described as "a large, hairy man", a hobo with long hair and a long scraggly beard. When he realized the children were home alone he laughed out loud and attempted to come in through the door. My mother ran into the kitchen and grabbed the first thing she could find, an iron skillet. She ran back to the front room, brandishing the skillet in her upraised arm and chased the intruder back out the door and off the porch. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

We remember what we lived

I was sitting at the breakfast table one Saturday morning with my mother and my brother, Freddie. I'm not sure of the year, but it would have been between 1965 and 1967. We were concerned because my father had not come home the night before.  We didn't know what to expect.

He busted in as we were eating breakfast, like a force of nature. It took my breath away. He pushed open the door and stumbled in to the kitchen, bruised and bleeding from his nose and ears.  It was quite an entrance.  My Mom took one look at him and said “I guess someone really worked you over good.”  He snarled back, “You’d like that, wouldn’t you!”  As he headed up stairs to sleep it off he ordered, “Go out and check the trunk for a body.”  

I am not kidding, this is exactly what he said.  My Mom and brother went out to check the car trunk.  There was nothing in it.  Dad had been in a barroom brawl the night before, helping the bar owner (a friend and neighbor) get rid of some thugs who were menacing the bar.  Dad suffered a concussion and had passed out in his parked car afterwards. He could not remember the outcome of the fight, but it must have been a doozy. 

No, he didn't go to the doctor.   

Life is so strange, sometimes it's best to laugh.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Do some really like it hot?

This morning when I checked at 8:39 am, it was already 83 degrees F (a little over 28 degrees C), with 97% humidity.  Right now (12:36 pm) it is 93 with 60% humidity, but the high is supposed to be 96.  Real feel is 103.  You all know what I'm talking about, it's been the hottest summer in memory all over.  

I realize it is even hotter in other places.  I care.  

I know I have a brand new heat pump system that is keeping the inside of my house at a relatively cool 78 degrees. We have a pool. We're lucky and I am so very grateful for those luxuries.  

Still and all, it's hot, and it's going to get worse. Is this how we're all going to end our climate ruined lives and planet, burning up in the freaking heat? 

Here's a thought, instead of buying flowers for a birthday or death, consider donating to an organization that plants trees in areas deforested by fires. Any other ideas?

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Keeping warm in the 1950s

In 1949, my parents moved out of my paternal grandparent’s house in South Bend, Indiana, where they had lived since my father returned from WWII. They moved to a post-World War II housing development for young veteran’s families on what were then the outskirts of the city’s west side, between the Studebaker and Bendix industrial complexes. South Bend was an industrial town back then, a company town, and these were two of the biggest employers. Our house was a small, 2 bedroom, wood-frame house with a breezeway connecting the house and the one car garage. As more children arrived, my parents eventually turned the breezeway into a third bedroom. 

We had a coal burning furnace throughout the 1950s. I'm relying on my memory here, which is always a crap shoot, but I remember it as large and imposing. In my mind's eye it is taller than my father. The furnace lived in the middle of the basement, and I could see the red hot coals when my parents fed it. We had cast iron pokers and shovels, and scoops my parents used to replenish the coal. 

There was a small room in the basement that we called the coal bin. Up at ground level there was an opening big enough for a coal chute door that was opened from the outside for the "coal man" to deliver the coal from a truck once a year. When that happened, it was loud, dirty, and disruptive of normal routine. Of course that was very exciting for young children! 

A world away now. Funny the things that come to mind as we age.