More car drama

Waaaaaaayyy back in May, like a WHOLE month ago now, I sent the application for a duplicate title for the Tucson to the DMV (after we discovered we’re unorganized losers).  I sent it after multiple phone calls to their title office to make sure that I was including everything they needed.  I was assured that, despite the very clear instructions on the form, I do not need to include the lien release (because we never had a loan on the car in this state), and I do not need to get the application notarized (because of the virus and the shutdown).  They told me the turnaround time is 2 to 3 weeks.

Two weeks after I mailed the application, I got my self-addressed envelope returned in the mail.  For a minute, I was impressed at how quickly they sent us the title.  That lasted until I opened the envelope.

No, they returned my application and check with a letter listing what was wrong with it.  What was wrong with it?  It wasn’t notarized.

Something else weird: the letter was dated 5/6/20.  I signed my application on 5/14/20.  That’s probably just an oversight – it’s a form letter.  But still.

I called the DMV again and sat on hold for half an hour waiting for someone in the title office.  Then I spoke to Rosa, dear wonderful SUPER helpful Rosa, who was appalled, APPALLED I SAY, to hear that someone returned my application saying it had to be notarized.  Of COURSE we’re not requiring docs to be notarized right now!  How awful that I have to go through this delay!  Whose initials are on that letter?  When I told her there were no initials on the letter, she was practically sputtering with outrage.  “I will CERTAINLY be speaking with my manager about this!”

I certainly appreciated her outrage, over the top though it felt.  Of course, if we hadn’t already gotten rid of the car, I might have been right there with her.  She apologized all over the place and asked me to send it all back in, including the form letter, to her attention, and she would take care of it.  So maybe MAYBE we’ll actually get the duplicate title so we can actually sign it over to the mechanic so we can actually no longer be responsible if it were to turn out the car wasn’t junked and is evidence in a murder or something.

Car salesmen are the WORST

We did NOT buy a car today.  We could have.  We found the car with all the stuff at a price slightly below the one at CarMax.  We got there, we test-drove the black one, looked it over – all good.  Then we drove the silver one.  Well, John did.  The salesman tried to convince us it just smelled faintly of dog, but it 100% smelled like smoke, so that was a big no.  But the first one was great.  Let’s do it.

And that’s when the sales game started.  FOR NO GOOD REASON.  We were prepared to buy the car for the price they advertised.  John told the salesman that, and then he went off to “run the numbers”.  What numbers?  Here’s the price, you know the fees, the taxes are easy to calculate – what else?  UGH.

“Since you’re not financing with us, it’ll actually be an additional $450.  That’s a rebate that won’t apply to you since you have outside financing.  That’s all on the website – we believe in being up-front about our pricing.”  (It’s not on the website.)

“Oh, that 3-year maintenance package only applies when you’re financing with us.  That’s all on the website – we believe in being up-front about our deals.”  (It’s not on the website.)

“Since this car is Nissan-certified, you get the warranty for only an additional $1295.  No, it’s not optional, but let me talk to my sales manager about it.  Okay, he says we can’t remove the warranty but we can split the cost with you.  You can have it for only $647.50.”

There was more in that vein, so we decided not to buy the car.  The sales manager got really pissy with me, which was completely unnecessary, and we walked, listening to him mutter at us as we left.  I ordered the transfer of the EXACT CAR from another CarMax from my phone five minutes later.  Hopefully this one will work out.

NO MORE CAR SALESMEN.

Buying a car always sucks, but now it sucks harder

The solution to our car problem is to junk it and buy a new (used) car.  We’ve decided to use CarMax because they’re less hassle than other dealerships and that’s worth a lot to us.  They’re open during these trying times (UGH – can’t believe I wrote that unironically), but you can’t just walk onto the lot and pick out cars to test drive.  You can still test drive a car, but you have to pick the one you want online and then make an appointment specifically to see that car.  I get it – they’re short-staffed and they are cleaning the cars before appointments – but you can only see one car per appointment, and it is really hard to schedule appointments.  I called early Friday, and I could only get two appointments for Saturday, at 5pm and at 6pm.  One car each.  They tell me that they’re expecting people to pick out the car they want to buy, test drive it, and then buy it (or not).  But how can you be sure which car you want until you test drive it?  And then, when we got there on Saturday, the salesperson seemed truly annoyed that we wanted to see two cars, even though we had separate appointments for each so how is that any different than seeing two different customers?  Is she trying to tell me that I can only test drive one car a day?

We got there, parked in the designated space, and called the number.  She came out, got our licenses, I emailed our proof of insurance, we had this really confusing conversation about how we’re not supposed to test drive more than one car but she’ll let us get away with it, and then we didn’t see her again for 20 minutes.  Why?  I don’t know.  Car buying sucks.

So she finally called me again and told us we could see the first car.  John went first – if he’s not comfortable in whatever car we pick, there is no point in continuing with it.  It was a Chevy Equinox (2017, I think), and it’s BIG.  John was pretty comfortable, and we both liked it pretty well.  Not enough to buy THAT one, but enough to find one with the features we want and that doesn’t make a weird noise when we brake.

The second car was a Subaru Forester (also 2017), which I was pretty excited about, and guys, I liked it.  John did, too, EXCEPT he had to lower the seat all the way down and slouch quite a bit to be able to not hit his head.  Also, the backseat doesn’t have any more room than the Tuscon did (which is not much).  But it drove SO much better than the Equinox.  So I’m a little bummed, but John hasn’t completely given up on it. He’d like to have a little more time to sit in a Forester and figure out if he could fully adjust the seat to where he’d be comfortable.  We were feeling pretty rushed on Saturday.

And if the Equinox isn’t the right car (although it could have been, if we hadn’t followed it with the Forester, so maybe we need to cut it some slack), and if John doesn’t fit in the Forester, then we’re back to square one, and HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO PICK A CAR IF WE CAN’T TEST DRIVE MORE THAN ONE?

Regular dealerships are so IRRITATING.  But I will probably call the Subaru dealer to find out if they have any used Foresters.  I think the Outback is off the list because it’s supposed to smaller in every dimension.

UGH.

I Googled myself

Dad mentioned something about being careful who I write about here because what if they find my blog, and I assured him that this person doesn’t know I have a blog, doesn’t know my last name, and even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to find my blog by googling me.

Hours later, I thought I’d verify the googling me part.  The first hit by googling my first and last name is  my LinkedIn profile, which is pretty out of date.  All other results are for someone else with my name.  The next hit that’s actually me is at the bottom of page 2.  The next one is on page 5, and none of those lead to this website.

Maybe it’s not foolproof, maybe she could find me here, but it’s unlikely.  I’m not worried.

I can be kind of a jerk

A mom I don’t know very well contacted me the other morning and asked if she could call me.  She had something she wanted to talk to me about.  ON THE PHONE.  Who does that?  To an acquaintance?!

Judging her.

Her message (via WhatsApp) was FULL of typos.  Like, so many typos.  (SO MANY TYPOS.)

Judging her.

She didn’t give me any indication of what it was about.  John was convinced she was going to try to sell me something, maybe try to involve me in a pyramid scheme.  I told her I was free all day EXCEPT for between 3 and 4 pm.

A few hours later, she replied and said she’d call me around 3pm.

Judging her.

I responded right away and said no, that’s when I CAN’T talk. Let’s aim for 4:30.  She said okay.  More typos.

Judging her.

She called me at 4:33. I was prepared to be all annoyed that she was late, but I’m not a monster.  No judging on that one.

Are you ready for the anti-climax of your life?

The conversation was perfectly pleasant, she was perfectly nice, and she was calling to tell me she’s offering a free fitness class over Zoom Saturday morning and wanted to know if a) I was interested, and b) do I think it’s okay if she tells the mom group we have on WhatsApp about it.  The answers were yes, and of course, I think they’d be excited about it, and hey, it was really nice to talk to you.

I feel like I should apologize, even though I didn’t express any of those terrible things to her.

A moment of reflection

I had another frustrating run-in with a coworker, and as I walked to CVS, I mapped out an imaginary conversation with her where I tried to find a way for us to get past this stupid thing we keep butting heads about, and I got angrier and angrier because I feel like she’s taking this personally and getting emotional about it and that’s why we’re not able to work through it –

And then I realized how angry was getting and maybe I’m taking it personally.  Of course, the part I’m taking personally is her reaction to my very reasonable request for her opinion on something because it feels like a personal attack, but still.  It’s work.  It’s not personal.  Or maybe it is for her, but that’s not my problem, and it doesn’t have to be for me.

It’s work.  It’s not my life.


BUT I’M GOING TO THE OFFICE FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS AND I’LL HAVE TO WORK WITH HER IN PERSON!

 

Mortality

A Twitter friend and occasional pen pal died yesterday.  It was sudden – he was fine the day before Thanksgiving but then that night, his family rushed him to the hospital.  He’d had a brain aneurysm.  After several surgeries over the course of the weekend, the doctors determined that too much brain tissue had died for him to survive, even with another surgery.  His wife took him off the ventilator Sunday afternoon.

He was unconscious the whole time.  She didn’t even get to talk to him again.  He was around my age, had two kids.

I only knew him through Twitter and a couple of postcards – he was funny, supportive, and kind.  I feel awful for his wife and kids, and I’m trying to help in small ways.

I keep crying, but I know my emotional response is not about him.  It’s not about his family.  (I’d be a better person if it were.)  It’s about my fear.  There were no warnings.  This could happen to anyone.  What if it had happened to John? She didn’t even get to talk to him again.  I think about what his wife is going through and I break down again, and then I feel guilty about it because it’s not about me.  It didn’t happen to me.  And I’m so glad it didn’t happen to me, and whoops there goes the guilt again.

I’ll be fine.  I’ll do what I can to help his wife and family be fine.  And tomorrow I’ll go back to our regular inane programming.

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

I met our mailman today.  Well, I waylaid him.  Once I saw that his truck was parked outside (he always parks his truck on the opposite side of the street from our house and then walks the block delivering the mail), I spent much of my afternoon peering up and down the street trying to find him so I could meet him at our door.

We keep getting other people’s mail.  I don’t mean previous tenants – I mean people whose addresses are not even on our street.  We try to return it, or in some cases, deliver it ourselves, but now I’m worried that we’re not getting all of our mail.  We have no guarantee that whoever IS getting it is making any effort to get it to us.  They might just be throwing it away!

I wasn’t going to accuse him of anything.  I just wanted to hand him the three pieces of mail we got yesterday for someone on the next block over (different street) so he could deliver it correctly, so I lurked by the windows, and I STILL almost missed him.

He is the nicest man!  Super chatty, a bit too much of a sharer, but very nice and quite happy I gave him the mail so he could redeliver it.  Turns out he was off yesterday, and he has been correcting delivery mistakes all day long.  I guess yesterday’s substitute isn’t very good at his job.  I didn’t tell him about the other times we’ve gotten the wrong mail – it didn’t seem like a good time because it turns out he was off yesterday because he was recovering from Monday’s colonoscopy, which he woke up during but was unable to alert the doctors, so he could feel it, and THEN when he woke up yesterday, the left side of his face was droopy and basically paralyzed.  Turns out he has Bell’s palsy, which he had once on the OTHER side of his face about seven years ago, and it’ll get better over the next few weeks.

His name is Ed.  He has a white brushy walrus-type mustache, and I like him.

Thanks, but no thanks

I had my free session with a personal trainer tonight, and, uh, yeah.  I won’t be doing that again.  The workout was fine, but she totally ignored my requests about what I wanted her to show me.  When we were done, she gave me the hard sell to work with her regularly, in the MOST annoying way.  Maybe this works on your other clients, lady, but I CAN meet my goals without your help, and I can certainly do it for less than $400 a month.  You don’t know me.  Don’t assume I need outside motivation just because I’m taking advantage of a free session.

I’ve been home for an hour and a half, and I’m still super irritated.  Must let go.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Oh hell, I’ll probably see her at the gym again sometime.

Breathe out.

Maybe she doesn’t come in early in the morning.  She didn’t look familiar.

Breathe in.

I really don’t want to have to keep telling her no.

Breathe out.

The pushy personal trainer can shove it.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

All better.

Let’s be honest – my mood was already fine

It’s a rainy, kind of dank, dark day, but two things just happened that brightened my mood.  First, I got this ridiculous, totally incomprehensible email from a customer:

“It looks like we do not have production turned on. So I need to get your metadata chicken figure production”

Total autocorrect fail, and it’s making me laugh.  Metadata Chicken Figure is the name of my new band.

I responded with, “I can provide my metadata chicken figure production, but not until I receive your grounded sailboat muppet configuration.  I’ll need to make sure they match.”  (No, I didn’t.  But Grounded Sailboat Muppet is the name of my autobiography.)

THEN I saw this picture on Tom and Lorenzo.  It’s the hipsteriest hipster picture that ever hipstered.

Let us count the hipster ways…I get to 7 without even trying.  I am amused.

Authors, authors, everywhere

I met ANOTHER actual published author today.  I met her months ago, actually, but I found out she’s an author today.  She works (or maybe volunteers for riding time?) at the farm, so I see her once or twice a week.  We exchange hellos, we know each other’s name, but we haven’t said more than a few words to each other before today.  She seems shy.  Today, she was walking with me as I took Tigger to the indoor arena, and she mentioned going somewhere for book research.  Book research?  I pounced.  A little.  Nicely.

Turns out she wrote three historical romance novels for Harlequin in the early 2000s, at least one of which did pretty darn well.  She said she’s had writer’s block for a decade (writing stopped being fun and became stressful instead), and she wants to branch out of romance.

Anyway, I’m super curious, and I will be reading the first of her books soon.  By Tuesday, I expect to have a signed copy of Beauchamp Besieged by Elaine Knighton.  Exciting!

Please use your inside voice

What is it with people being loud in public spaces?  I’ve written about loud yoga breathers and sighers before.  Today, it was a girl in the gym, grunting like crazy while lifting weights and then WOO-ing and breathing loudly and heavily when she switched to the treadmill to run.  I’m happy for her – she’s pushing herself hard and she seems to be enjoying it – but I couldn’t help but notice it and compare it to my own behavior.  I spend a lot of time trying to make sure I’m not bothering anyone.  I don’t want to notice other people most of the time, and I don’t want them to notice me.  I assume that other people want the same thing, but maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe these loud people want to be noticed, or maybe, and possibly more likely, they just don’t care.

But what’s that about?  Is it carelessness?  Callousness?  “I don’t care about other people being comfortable, so I’m going to be loud and take up space.”  Or is it self-confidence?  “I am me, and I need to make these sounds and be obtrusive, and I’m not hurting anyone, and it’s okay with me if other people do the same thing.”  She certainly wasn’t keeping me from my workout, and while it was a little distracting, it’s not like I need total silence to get anything done.

I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not.  Yoga, talking through a movie, being loud in a library – those are different.  Those are quiet spaces for everyone.  When you’re at the gym, outside, in a store, at a mall, be loud, whatever.  I’ll notice, and I may judge (in my head only), but I don’t really care.  What’s to be bothered about?  I just don’t understand it.  I’m trying to think of times I’m cool with being loud in public.

  • Roller coasters.  I will scream my head off, on purpose, on a roller coaster.
  • Concerts.*  I sing and shout and WOO and whatever.

Honestly, I can’t think of any other public space where I’m comfortable just being LOUD and not trying to consider others.  I’m not trying to say I’m super-considerate of others all the time.  I’m just aware that other people are around, and I feel like I act that way.  Most of the time.  I have accidentally hit people while gesturing.  I’m not so good at noticing when people are close behind me.  So maybe I gesture loudly and I should just shut up now because I’m just like that girl in the gym.  We are one.

*Of the rock variety, of course.  Can you imagine?  “WOOO! Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: Allegro! WOOOOOO!!!”

Hush please

You know the noise you make when you’re relieved and you sigh?  Or maybe you feel refreshed and you sigh audibly?  Vocally.  You know?

DON’T DO IT IN YOGA CLASS.

And that other noise you make when you stretch really long first thing in the morning or after sitting in one position too long?  A sort of pleased moan or groan?

DON’T DO IT IN YOGA CLASS.

I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying yourself, and I agree, yoga DOES feel good, BUT KEEP IT TO YOURSELF, PLEASE.  This is my quiet time.  Except for the instructor’s guidance, I can pretend I’m all alone.  Your happy noises make that difficult.

That is all.

Two surprises

Something happened to me that has never happened to me before in Eugene, and has only rarely happened to me in other places we’ve lived.

I saw someone I know out in the wild.

And on top of that, she came over to me first!  My facial person was just leaving the dog park, and she saw me stretching, so she came over to say hi.  And I met her dog.  I’ve said this before, but I almost NEVER run into people I know when I’m just out, and in a year, I’ve never seen anyone I know in Eugene.  I suppose that could be because I hardly know anyone in Eugene, so the odds are against it.  But it was nice!  And only mildly awkward!

So that was surprise #1.  Surprise #2 was this gadget I saw on my way home, one whose inventor was BRILLIANT and should win prizes.

Look, Ma, no training wheels!  The dad was riding slowly ahead on his bike, the little kid was teetering along on his, and the mom was walking behind the kid, ready to grab the handle (which she did a couple of times).

I never liked training wheels.  Too unsteady.  And this is way handier than grabbing the back of the seat, right?  So yeah, I am overcome by the brilliance of this simple idea.

I could tour as Sting’s backup singer

The Sting show Thursday night was…okay.  I might go so far as to say it was pretty good.  He sounded great, and his opening act (The Last Bandoleros, a high-energy Tex-Mex rock band from San Antonio) was really good, but the energy of the crowd was off.  Mostly non-existent, really, and that affected how I felt about the night.  The people on either side of us sat like lumps in their seats the WHOLE TIME.  No clapping, no singing along, and they were hardly alone.  If they were enjoying themselves, I couldn’t tell.  Why come at all?

That was disappointing, but Sting wasn’t.  He stuck to his rock stuff, heavy on Police hits (but he didn’t play “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”, sadly), and we were pretty happy with it.  He did change up the typical concert format in a way that I think more big-name bands should do.

At 8pm, right when the tickets said the show would start, the lights went down and Sting came out on stage.  It was maybe the second most excited the crowd got that night (first most excited was during his detour to Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” in the middle of “Roxanne”).  He came out, said hello, and essentially warmed up the crowd for the Last Bandoleros by playing a song from his new album.  He sang backup on the last song they played, introduced his son (who looks and sounds JUST LIKE HIM), and then when it was time for Sting and his band to get started, his son and all of the Last Bandoleros sang backup for him the entire rest of the show.  They looked like they were having such a good time, better than a lot of the crowd.  Even the people standing in the floor section weren’t moving.  What is wrong with people?

Read like the wind

I saw a flyer today for a book club called Eugene Book Talk that meets once a month.  The flyer was old (the books were for October and November), but I’ve read one of them (The Snow Child) and liked it, so that’s a good sign.  On impulse, I emailed them right then and there, and the person running the account (no name except for the name of the book club) responded right away. S/He said they’re still active, and since they couldn’t meet in December, they’re meeting this Tuesday to discuss The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

I looked it up, downloaded the sample, enjoyed the first couple of pages, and now I have a mission.  I put aside the book I’m in the middle of (again – I put it aside for Temeraire book 8 when the library e-book became available), and now I have 49.5 hours (from right now) to read the whole thing.

It’s a good thing I don’t have to work tomorrow.  If it’s interesting enough, I think I’ll make it.  THEN we’ll see how I feel about joining a book club again.

Making friends

Today, I played a short game of tag with an 8-year-old who guessed I was 44.

I beat him.

Of course, I mean that I took no pity on him during this game of tag and outraced him handily even though he kept trying to live on the gravel pile that was home base.

His second guess at my age was 29 (27? upper 20s), and his third guess was 19, so he either realized his mistake at guessing 44 in the first place and was trying to fix it the best way he knew how or he’s just really really bad at guessing.

Last week, we discussed dogs.  Maybe next week I’ll get his name.

Flash mob!

Apparently, Thriller flash mobs the Saturday before Halloween are a thing, and they’re a thing in Eugene.  We saw them two Saturdays ago when we were out for Will’s birthday, and they’re gathering people to do it on October 29th.  It was a lot of fun to watch that night, and it looks like it would be a lot of fun to join.  The night we saw them, there was no doubt that I was going to join them.  (I was quite enthusiastic.)  Now…well, I get lazy.  They’re practicing in the evenings once a week, and I would have to leave the house…  Who wants to leave the house at night?  So, I’m lazy.  This week.  Maybe next week.