Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So, where was I?

Sorry for not getting things caught up for awhile here. Life has been hurtling me around from place to place, this past couple of weeks. That dratted flu bug keeps walloping me every few days, too, so my energy has been sapped to nil on most evenings, when I have time to blog. Weird flu bug - it's like some sort of time release crap that hits every couple of days... just when it feels like I'm getting well and it hits again. Stupid bug.

Anyway, what's gone on since my last update:

Spouse is at the nursing home, now, surprising everyone by gaining enough strength and is able to walk around with his walker, more often than scooting around in his wheelchair. Pretty amazing, seeing as he was bedridden and barely able to lift his head from the pillow when the VA hospital transferred him to the facility! I believe the biggest difference here is that he had people around who he liked to visit & they visited him. First off, he had a girlfriend at the nursing home. Yep, a sweet, lovely little old lady who came by his room to chat every day. I met her & loved her immediately. Unfortunately, she went home recently, so there are no more of her cheerful visits to lift Spouse's spirit. He also has had a couple of old buddies of his come to visit from Washington, which really cheered him up. A couple of other friends of his, from years waaaaay back are due to come visit this week, so hopefully, this will help him try to continue to fight for life.

Yesterday, I could tell he was getting tired again, however, so it may just be a matter of time before he begins the final downhill stretch. I think, these past couple of weeks, he sort of was giving it his last "hurrah" of sorts. Trying to get all the paperwork in order, close certain chapters of his life, before he gives in and gives out. Since I am not a psychic, nor a god, only time will tell if this is so. Hence, we wait and watch, trying to enjoy each day, as much as possible.

This past week, I finally gave in to Spouse's urging to trade the Toylet in for something else. He was wanting me to buy a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ, but I checked them out & the cheapest I could find one at was around $27K & it was a bare-bones package. No thanks. So, when I went to Sioux Falls on Wednesday of last week, to get my tat finished *yeah!*, I stopped at several dealerships, to see what was on the lots & what the pricetags vs. gas milage said. This eventually led me to a dealership on the main drag, where a nice salesman met me at the door.

Now, bear in mind, please, the fact I carry an abhoration for most auto dealers & salespersons. I absolutley loathe salespeople who have that "dead, wet fish" style of handshake, high pressure sales tactics and who won't listen to what I say I want/need. Earlier that day, that's about the only types of sales personnel that I had met, so this new one was rather refreshing. First off, he had a real handshake... not too hard a grip, but firm and sincere. He asked me what I was looking for, really listened and then asked if I wanted him to crunch some numbers. I gave him the go-ahead, with warning that my (tattoo) appointment was at 3 and I did not want to be late.

To begin with, I was amazed he was able to give me more than the payoff value for the Toylet, which needed brakes, a new exhaust system and a heat sensor. Armed with that info, I asked him to show me what vehicles they had on the lot that would fulfill me needs & wants. He led me to the first vehicle, which he said was the best bet for me. At first glance, I thought it was rather large, considering the small size of the Toylet (which is actually a Chevy Tracker - a decent vehicle, if one is curious about it). Once I climbed into the driver's seat, however, it was love at first sit. Heated seats! *drool* Now, if I pee my pants in Watertown, they would be dry by the time I get to Sioux Falls! ;)

Nice interior - leather, all around. Gold Infinity surround sound system. 10-pack CD changer. Moon roof. Power seats, with memory set. Auto locks and alarm system on the doors. Separate zone temp controls. Did I mention heated seats? Plus, fairly low milage and a decent price. It's a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, 2001 model. Pretty Inferno Red color with taupe leather interior. Niiiiiiicccceeee!

So, I went ahead and signed the papers on it, hoping I hadn't made a huge mistake. This is the first time I've ever purchased a vehicle through a dealership, without my husband along. A scary experience, since almost everyone knows how women are "duped" by car salesmen. I felt fairly confident, however, since this salesman seemed genuine and said the dealership stands behind it's vehicles *why not in front, with the throttle to the floor?* Anyway, I left the dealership, delighted with my comfy new rig and headed for the tat appointment.

Got the tat finished and then began the trek homeward. It was a lovely ride, with the Jeep holding it's ground against the buffetting winds that are common on the prairies, here. No gargoyles clenching my shoulder blades like they did when I drove the Toylet! Lovely!! Then, about 30ish miles south of Watertown, the car began shifting weird and a check engine light came on. Uh oh! Big freakout uh oh!

I drove directly to the dealership business that was in Watertown and called my salesman. Once I told him what happened, he told me to go ahead and go home, since the place was already closed for the day. I should take it in the next day and he said his business would handle everything. So I did. Got an appointment the next day, with time to go pick up Spouse first, so he could be with me. We made it there, got the thing looked at and the service manager told me the part would cost $190 & the labor charge would be $70. My heart sank, but he then got on the phone to the Sioux Falls dealership (both business are related - Billion Automotive) and left messages on the voicemail. The part had to be ordered, so we left and I took Spouse back to the nursing home. He thinks it's a good vehicle, despite the malfunctioning sensor, so I felt better about my choice.

The next day, I was able to get an appointment for Saturday, to get the sensor replaced and was informed the dealership in Sioux Falls was taking care of the cost. They expressed their sincere apologies about any inconvenience I might have experienced due to that malfunction, wanting to be sure I am a happy & satisfied customer. Dang straight, I was really happy to know they were standing behind their good reputation and covering that problem. :D

So, I took the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday off, due to the flu bug that won't go away and slept most of the time. Yesterday, I went to visit Spouse again and was, once again, disappointed in my vehicle. Yes, silly me had to go and wear my flip-flops, thinking my feet would stay nice and cozy once the Jeep heated up. It's been raining here the past couple of days, cold and foggy in places. I wore a light jacket, again, thinking I'd be warm enough in the vehicle. Guess what does not put out any heat, even though the fan will blow non-stop? Even with both temp controls set to 80*F on both sides? Yeppers - the heater is not working, for some reason. *sighs* I called the salesman again, thanking him for taking care of that sensor problem and asked if he'd take care of one more little detail. He told me to take it in, so I have an appointment for this afternoon to get the heater fixed. Dang - when I really want to be at my husband's side, all of these blasted car problems!

Hopefully, once the heater is fixed, there won't be any more car woes for awhile. I'm going to have them (the mechanics) go over the vehicle and do any of the maintenance that is suggested in the owner's manual, so the warranty I purchased will remain in effect. Not that I planned on spending that kind of money so soon, but better to do it now, than to be stuck on the side of a muddy road in the mid-winter storms.

Anyway - that's what has been keeping me away from here the past couple of weeks. Driving Spouse's friends around & to the nursing home, the flu bug, and this new used car challenge. It's usually fairly late in the day, by the time I get home from visiting Spouse, so I'm lucky if I have the energy to visit a couple of blogs (man, am I waaaay behind in reading my faves!), let alone blog or check emails. Bear with me, folks... I miss ya'll madly, but will be back, eventually. Until then - I'll check in when I can. So be good, or don't get caught.


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