Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Chance Meeting???

With the loss of our best friend and confidant Bogie, Zoie and I have been a little off balance for the past 2 weeks or so. Although we knew it was coming, it's never easy to say goodbye to a loved one and one expression that best describes our feeling towards my "Baby Boy" was "loved one". Zoie has been suffering from depression of late and has been having a great deal of difficulty holding food down, while I suffered in my own way. For the past 2 days or so, Zoie has been feeling a little better and The Lovely Jules thought it was time for Zoie to get out into the world and start dating. Let's face it at almost 10, Zoie's not getting any younger. It was suggested that we introduce the Widow Zoie to Pawpaw, Julie's $5 dog, although we went to great measures not to let Zoie know he was only 5 bucks, as Zoie is a Scottsdale girl and image is everything to her. We also kept it from her that Pawpaw is a wonderful 16 years old and still very much the "Horn Dog"!

So as not to introduce Paws to Zoie on his turf, as dogs are very territorial, we struck upon a plan to have Zoie walking casually in front of Paws house, so he is under the impression that it was a chance meeting. I called and arranged for Julie to be walking Paws by their favorite portion of the golf course that he fertilizes nightly and Zoie and I would casually be walking by, minding our own business. One sniff and it was a HIT! Paws taking a liking to Zoie was an understatement, but Paws needs to brush up on his manners. After it was determined that Paws genuinely liked the smell, shape and gender of Zoie, we felt comfortable that there wasn't going to be a dog fight anytime soon. We were invited into their house and more importantly, into their yard, where Paws does all of his deep thinking. After Paws intentionally pushed Zoie into their pool, we dried her off and explained that Paws was only joking around, however Zoie thinks it was an attempt on her life. That's when Paws launched his attack of romance on Zoie, with moans and an ever gyrating pelvis that was going nowhere. Paws was star struck and forgot all of his manners. Here is a situation where Emily Post would have been helpful. Paws has known Zoie for a whopping 5 minutes by now and is launching the most direct attack of feelings and emotions in her direction ever known to K-9s anywhere. He's moaning and humping and biting on her neck and licking her everywhere. No flowers, dinner, movie, or even conversation, he was all about business! Julie got so concerned that she started holding Paws back and of course that made him try even harder. What we had here was a three ringed circus and Zoie was locked in the center ring!

Frankly, this is the first time I've ever played the opposite role. Usually it was me pursuing the female and for the first time, I am experiencing the opposite side of the coin and it's pretty uncomfortable. Here it is about 16 hour later and I just asked Zoie if she wants to go and see Pawpaw again and she went and hid under the bed! Well, maybe later.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Own Personal Rainbow...

Well, I'm the proud owner of two, count them, two 2004 Kia Sedona EX vans. I got a call last week from an old friend that said I'd like them, they're for sale at the Kia dealer in Peoria. After hearing him describe them and the fact that I've never owned a Kia before, I agreed to buy the pair of vans. One was blue and the other was green, I was told, but in reality the blue one was blue and the green one was gray, a common mistake amongst color blind men. The lovely Jules went with me to pick them up and informed me of the color error in my favor. Green is poison and gray is good. I took home the blue one and was able to leave the gray one at LJ's house, as my house was full slam up with automobiles. As luck would have it, a gentleman named Tim bought my Ford Contour and that made room for the gray one to live at my house until it gets sold too. As a side note, the blue one has a little lower on mileage, with 69,000 miles, but was a little on the rough side too. I've already replaced the inside driver's door handle and it has an oil leak to boot. The gray one is just flat perfect, with 76,000 miles and virtually unscathed. I've been doing this long enough to recognize a nice vehicle and this one is as close to showroom condition as I've seen a vehicle. I advertised the blue one because of the lower miles, knowing full well I could switch the buyer to the gray one in a heartbeat. A little trick of the trade.

Late Friday night I got a call from a lady about the van, hooray! She started asking questions and then started acting foolishly by saying things like, what's a CD player? Then she giggled and said I must excuse her ignorance, but she's a woman. What? Now that offended me! Picture me calling Walgreen's and asking the clerk what a tampon is, that he should excuse my ignorance because I'm a man? Anyway, she finally asked for my address and told me she has a GPS and she'll call me in the morning to make an appointment. The following morning around 9:30 she did in fact call and I told her I was just thinking of her, as I was. She acted like I was getting personal and explained that she was married. Whoa, hold on there Silver. I decided to keep this strictly business, if you know what I mean? She said she'd be here between 12:30 and 1 PM and we hung up. I was working on my yard when she pulled up in her Chevy HHR with flames on it and Ontario license plates. When she got out of the car and approached me, Zoie was out with me, as I try to keep her occupied as much as possible currently. Zoie approached the woman as I looked on in disbelief. The woman, who never did tell me her name, looked like Bozo the clown! She had red dyed hair and it was a color that God didn't intend for humans and she had bright royal blue eye brows. She asked if Zoie bites and I almost answered, only when you look like a clown. What is it with people asking if dogs bite when they're loose in front of your house? Do you think I'd have a ferocious man eater running loose to bite people at his leisure on my property? Turns out that Boze wasn't a dog fan, so I scooted her into the house, Zoie, not Bozo. Then Bozo opens the door to this beautiful van and asks, don't you detail them? What???

She asked if she could drive it and of course I said yes. She pulled out onto the road and asked if I heard that noise. God only knows what noise she heard, but more likely than not, it was those men in the white jackets right on her trail! She had told me that her husband and she lived in Canada, but wanted a van to leave down here, for when they visited. Then she said her husband was working today and plays golf tomorrow and she'll try to get back to me when he's available. That's when I heard the bells chime and the NO SALE sign appear over her head. I'll bet if she were a REAL buyer, that van would be gone!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Great American Smoke Out Day...

Quite a few years ago, I worked with a guy name Jim Berone. Jim was a somber individual with his most notable trait being his cheapness. Is that a word? Jim was so cheap it made things very difficult to even be around him. He always had a pocket full of coupons and knew which dry cleaners had a special going on. This was before the Internet and if you wanted to know something about a place that concerned saving money, you just asked Jim. Jim came from a long line of thrifty people and he tells stories of how his father made a fortune returning soda bottles and putting himself through school with no job, but a knack for knowing where he could find soda bottles in the Philadelphia area.

One day we were driving around when we ran out of gas. One minute we were driving down the road and the next minute we were pushing that same car. Fortunately we were close to a gas station when we ran out and we pushed his heavy Buick up to the pump. As I leaned on the heavy car in 110 degree temperatures, I wiped my forehead with a paper towel and watched Jim pump $2 worth of fuel into his gas guzzling Buick. With my mouth agape, I looked at him in shock and said, "What are you doing, $2 won't even get us home"? Confidently, he replied, "No, but it will get us to the Super Pumper where I can get gas 4 cents cheaper a gallon"! My face fell and I recited the words, "Why me, Lord"?

Jim and I used to have a ritual everyday and we'd eat breakfast at Perkins Restaurant. As we pulled up to Perkins, Jim said you go in and I'll be there is few minutes, I need to buy cigarettes. A light bulb lit over my head as I recalled that today was the Great American Smoke Out Day. I had heard it on my way to Jim's house. I said wait just a minute! Today is the Great American Smoke Out Day and in honor of this day, Perkins is giving a free breakfast for every breakfast you buy, if you smoke and don't smoke today. I watched Jim's face light up as he pictured keeping half of his money in his pocket, since it was his turn to buy. We entered and were seated and had our usual breakfast and let's say the bill came to $20. Jim looked at me and commented that they didn't reduce the price of our breakfast for the Great American Smoke Out Day. I assured him that they will take it off at the register. As we approached the cashier and it was the old grim manager that was working the register. We knew him from previous visits and he had no personality whatsoever. Jim handed him the check and a twenty dollar bill. The old sour puss looked over his glasses as he looked at Jim and said, with tax it comes to $21.72. Jim replies, we're here for the Great American Smoke Out Day and I usually smoke, but didn't today and smiled waiting for his great discount. As the manager began to look confused, I couldn't hold it anymore and burst out laughing, holding my already full stomach! As the manager mouthed the words, "What are you talking about"? I left them both there to discuss it. I wished that they had the all too popular camera phones then to capture Jim's look on his face as he walked out of the restaurant's door $21.72 lighter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday, the 12th of January

I devoted today to taking care of a few things that I had lurking over my head. I was out of food for my beloved Bogie, which required visits to the pet supply store, as well as the grocery store. His diet of late is Science Diet, Macaroni and cheese, with a couple of table spoons of pumpkin pie filling for fiber. That, along with about 8 slices of white bread has been keeping him going for the past 4 or 5 months. Sadly, he cannot digest any fat and has lost an amazing 100 LB. It's always interesting watching the face of the check out girl, as she notes that I not only have 5 rather large cans of pumpkin pie filling, but at least 20 boxes of Macaroni and cheese with it. Last week they had white bread on sale for 10 for $10, so I took my fill. She finally had to ask what I did with all of this stuff and naturally I replied that I owned a Meth Lab. She acted like she understood and I left.

My next stop was the lab where they draw my blood. I literally HATE going there because of the inadequate personnel, along with the low class drug addicts that frequent that place. It is the place that the state has contracted to test the urine of drug offenders and trust me, there are a lot of them. I had the misfortune of seating myself next to a woman from another country that chose that moment to try to enter a new name in her cell phone and it chirped and played musical notes every couple of seconds or whenever she hit a key. In addition to that, her fragrance was au naturale' and I was just about gagging. I brought a book along with me to read, but couldn't concentrate long enough to read and absorb much. I finally gave up and noticed I had been sitting there an hour and 10 minutes, when my name was finally called. I went to the desk prepared to enter the inner sanctum of the office, but was stopped and told that "standing order" had expired 6 months earlier and they wouldn't be able to accommodate me today. As my blood pressure rose to a new high, my hat flew off my head and I thought I heard a train whistle, but it was just the blood boiling out of every orifice on my body! All I said was, that they might have checked that an hour and 10 minutes ago, when I arrived! As I turned to leave, I heard a series of "Yeah buts......... I'll have to work on that another day...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stooopid is as Sooopid Does...

A few days ago, when I awoke it was pretty damned cold in this house and I suspected there was a heating and/or air conditioning problem. We here in the Southwest use heat pumps for furnaces, a rather primitive/advanced way of heating our homes. It's ineffective, but adequate for our usually less than extreme winter season. A few days ago I noticed that the fan on my compressor was making one hell of a racket and knew from experience, it was the bearings in the fan motor were going out. The night before I noticed it had quieted down, never a good sign for something that was bad, as they about never correct themselves, but just cease. The 67 degree temperature inside my house was a damned good indication that a little ceasing had taken place and as much as I hate spending more money on this old house of 16, I really had no choice.

I was speaking with LJ on the phone and she suggested a heating and a/c company that she had used in the past when without notice, an actual light bulb lit over my head and I said, I think I've got this handled. I suddenly remembered Paul, my trusty mechanic telling me that if I ever had a heating or a/c problems, his new brother-in-law Bill was in that business and was currently, like so many of us in financial straits. He was also on the verge of having his truck repossessed, creating a need for ambition. I'll bet that Bill would really appreciate a new customer about now. I looked for the card that Paul had given me and found it without too much trouble and called Bill. He answered with a friendly hello. I told him who I was and he said he could help me, even when I asked if this is a pretty small job and can I do it myself? He said it was easy enough, but buying the correct motor was going to be the problem. I needed to get it from a Rheem licensed dealer and they weren't available to the public. He asked me what model I had and I went out to the unit and read him a number off of the id sticker on the frame. He said he would pick one up and bring it over as soon as he finished the little job he was on.

About 4 hours later, he called and said he was about 10 minutes away, was I home? An hour later he pulled up in front of the house as I was coming out of the backyard and waved him in, although he sat in his truck for about 10 minutes talking on the phone. As he got out of his truck, I heard him say, "Okay Dude" to the caller and hung up, indicating a personal call that kept me waiting. Without any introduction, Bill pointed to my gate and said, "this way?" As we entered my yard, my 2 large Great Danes greeted us and that didn't create any mention either. I guess Bill was just all business. Carrying my new motor, Bill looked at the unit that I had and asked if I'd told him it was a Rheem on the phone and of course I said yes. Then, under his breath he said the words, Dumb-ass. Puzzled I looked at him and asked, you or me? Occupied, he said "me", meaning him. It seems that Rheem had a side mounted motor and he bought a back mounted motor, supposedly to save me money. (I doubted that I was going to reap any benefit from Bills shopping abilities. I was beginning to understand why Bill was in financial trouble. A little background on Bill and his lovely wife, Paul's sister. I met Paul some 20 years ago and he had a younger sister who I met shortly after meeting Paul. The most noticeable thing about Paul's younger sister, was the Harley Davidson tattoo that spanned her entire back, from neck to butt and shoulder to shoulder. If I were making the choice to get a tattoo, I might have chosen something a little more feminine, like two ninjas battling. That's just me. She was also young enough to have been Bill's daughter as bill was older than me and his wife Suzy was in her late 30's, yet apparently a match made in heaven.

Bill disappeared without saying anything for about an hour and returned proudly with the correct motor and another phone call as he entered my yard and again without a greeting. He went right to work, talking to a buddy as he worked. The job consisted of removing the old motor, showing me it had ceased and screwing in the new one, after a couple of modifications. That gave Bill the time to tell me the story of the time he was doing a similar job and caught the customers house on fire, but because of Bills quick reaction time, he grabbed a garden hose and put it out without too much expense to the customer. Suddenly, I was in fear for my life!

Bill finished the job and told me to turn on the heater to see that it worked. I suggested he turn the power back on to insure smooth running. With a slap to his already fattened forehead, he said the inevitable, oh yeah! With a click of the breaker, we had a heater working and my gratitude.

Bill went to his truck and was back on the phone. I wanted to catch him before he wrote up the bill. I stopped him in front of the house and heard him say, hold on Dude, as he looked up and told him what I wanted. I told him that if he wanted to kept this on a cash basis, I could do without a receipt as long as he guaranteed his work. he said cool. Bill came into my house, without knocking and told me the job was going to be $250 and that he was able to save me 100 bucks because of my cash agreement. I wasn't born yesterday and had also replaced that motor before, and by a total stranger and he didn't charge me anywhere near that much. Less than a hundred bucks jumped to mind. Shocked and surprised, I asked Bill with a highly pitched voice, "How much was that motor?" Stumbling and not making any eye contact he started saying 50 some dollars when he caught himself and said $225. I almost laughed out loud! Shaking my head, I handed him 13 twenty dollar bills and asked for $10 change. Confused, he looked through my money and said there wasn' t a 10 in here, then handed me back 20, saying he was giving me another discount. In other words, he wanted me to believe he was doing the job for $15. Right!

So, what do we have here? A guy that could have had a new customer, that could have referred his friends to him, that also needs a new a/c system probably pretty soon, that is never going to call Bill again. I wonder why he's having his truck repossessed!

Monday, January 5, 2009

No More Stinking Smelt.........or Sardines...

I'm supposed to create some new years resolutions, but the fact is, if I give up anything else you might as well bury me. I'm already the most boring guy in captivity, but just to keep everyone thinking, I've decided to give up smelt, the little fish. I've never tasted one, but the only food on the planet that my deceased father wouldn't eat was smelt. Assuming it's hereditary and looking at the little bastards, I just know I won't like them. So I'm officially giving them up, along with sardines, for 2009..

Well, the Jeep is gone. I lost my ass on it, but it was one of the catalysts that made me realize that the car business and I should part company. I bought it at the auction in May and it had a "check engine" light on as well as a miss in the engine. I paid a lot of money for it since it was a 1997 with only 68,000 miles on it and it was a Limited model too. I've experienced dozens of cars that had the "check engine" light on and it's usually the O2 sensor or, in view of the miss in the engine, a plug or a wire. Not this time. In all of the years I've been doing this, I never had to do a valve job on a vehicle until the Jeep. So, it got a valve job and it needed brakes and when the noise in the tires didn't go away when it was driving on a lift, we realized the rear end was bad to boot. So mechanically, the Jeep was a nightmare and then I made things worse by trying to dye the cracked leather driver's seat with the wrong color dye. So it got a brand new velvet interior, because if I were to sell this recently reconditioned vehicle, I had to make it pretty. It got a pretty expensive interior and along came Mike, looking for a first car for his 16 year old daughter and this velvety Jeep evidently had her name written all over it. I paid $4000 for the Jeep and another $2000 making it right and sold it for $5000. Happy 16th Birthday Miss Moore. That was a pretty nice "SWEET SIXTEEN" gift, from her folks and me.