Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Mirth and Mayhem of buying from one of those 'USED CAR DEALERS'!

You know, I had a friend say to me just the other day--'Showme', why is it that your life just happens to have all the makings for a GOOD BLOG POST in almost everything you do?

For once I couldn't come up with a clever answer--as I have NO IDEA how my life became so BLOGWORTHY. . . it just IS! Don't hate me because my life is filled with mirth, mayhem and near catastrophes. . .just sit back, relax, read and thank your lucky stars that it isn't happening to YOU!

Case in point:

Just yesterday dear hubby and I decided it was time to trade in our 9 year old car with some VERY clever and subtle 'issues'--for a newer, smaller car with even MORE clever and less subtle 'issues'. . .

I should say--that we were thinking about trading in our car for quite some time--it's just that yesterday became the culmination of much research and just the right amount of desperation for dear hubby to pack us off in said car and actually DO THE DEED!


And ALSO to be duly noted---dear hubby wanted me to make mention of the fact that he DID his research THOROUGHLY before we set off on our 'car buying adventure'


Because my dear hubby is indeed the VERY last of the big spenders, we decided that we would be very economical in our pursuits and get a fuel efficient, smaller car, USED but in good working condition (if there is such a thing) with low miles, and one that didn't look like something condemned for the wrecking yard if possible.


He had actually found 5 very good candidates off the internet (3 of them in a neighboring state) and we decided to make a day of it, by packing up our car with all kinds of talismans and good luck junk that we would need to ward off the 'used car salesman demons' as well as strength-sustaining snacks and other crap. (that we would end up having to clear out of the car anyway if we were going to end up trading it in to make the deal)

After crossing ourselves several times, putting garlic chains around our necks, and smelly bologna sandwiches in our pockets--we felt thoroughly prepared to set off for the neighboring state first in our quest for the PERFECT used car--and then, if necessary wend our way back home and take abuse from the nearest convenient dealership we could find.

May I just point out for your interest, that the reason there are stereotypes--is because they are ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON! When we were within just a few blocks of the 'used car lot' from the internet map, the street became seedier and seedier and the potholes in the road became bigger and bigger. . . and the signs for the lots themselves became smaller and harder to read and contained many spelling errors.

But we FOUND the used car lot we were looking for and of course, the most PERFECT used car salesman you could imagine came out to greet us with slicked back hair, huge underarm sweat stains on his shirt (which of course was unbuttoned and exposed his VERY hairy chest), too tight jeans and brown cowboy boots, the beadiest eyes you could EVER imagine and a smile that would make Donny and Marie Osmond blush.

Before we could get fully out of the car he was upon us like a vulture on carrion. And his voice was right out of the 'used car guy' TV commercial play book! (I was ecstatic--because I knew we were in for a real treat!)

I must explain, that when I find the PERFECT stereotype of ANYTHING, I become enthralled. . . For instance, a couple of years ago I was in New York City with my mother-in-law and her niece and it was my first time in 'the city' and I wanted in the WORST way to hail a cab to ANYWHERE--just so I could experience the 'New York Cab Driver' first hand. After emerging from Grand Central Station where we had just disembarked from the Amtrak train we had taken, I rush right out into the street and start signaling/yelling for one of those adorable yellow cabs!

Within seconds a sorry looking yellow cab pulls up and the driver yells at us to get in. The cab was filthy, the driver was extremely rude and wouldn't help us put our luggage into the trunk. The cab STUNK to high Heaven, it was muggy and hot (being mid June) and the air conditioning didn't work! THIS WAS FANTASTIC! I was truly having the New York Cab experience. PLUS the driver was Middle Eastern and we couldn't understand a single word he said! It was everything I had dreamed about and more. After much gesticulating and shouting, and salty language, we finally arrived at our destination and I popped right out of that cab--and went over to the driver, handed him a big tip and said: 'Thank you so much for making my New York Cab ride everything I dreamed it could be. You stink, your cab stinks, you are rude and hard to understand, and the prices you charge are OUTRAGEOUS!'

This guy laughed so hard I thought he would have a seizure--He got right out of the cab and actually helped us with our luggage and wished us well. I was told New Yorkers are notorious for being crude and telling it like it is--and apparently it worked with this man. . . But I digress. . . The point is those stereotypes are described as such for a REASON!

So back to the used car guy. . . He comes right over to us, as we are trying to extract ourselves from our car--sticks a big, greasy hand out to my dear hubby and says:

Used Car Guy: Hiya! I'm Sneaky Pete--but you can call me Pete!

Dear Hubby: (taking his hand and shaking it) How about if we just call you Sneaky?

Sneaky Pete: Suit yourself!

Dear Hubby: (starting to pull out printouts on cars that he got off the internet) Well, we are here to. . .

Sneaky Pete: (interrupting faster than a blocked-up man downing an entire bottle of Metamusil) I wanna get you in a car today. I'll do whatever it takes to do the deal. I've been here for 8 years straight with no days off. I've GOT to sell you a car. Any car--any price. Tell me what you like and I'll make sure you get the deal you want--even if I have to give it to you!

Dear Hubby: (looking hopeful) OK--well, we came to see these 3 cars in particular. . . (tries to hand Pete the printouts)

Sneaky Pete: (waving away the papers) Sure, sure. Which one would you like to see?

Dear Hubby: (reading the first advertisement) How about this smaller, modestly priced, unassuming model?

Sneaky Pete: Come with me. I got the key right here! (magically pulls a key out of his back pocket and hands it to Dear Hubby--as he walks us over to the first specimen)

Dear Hubby: (again beginning to show signs of being impressed) Thanks!

He takes the key from Pete and we begin to get into the first car. . .

Sneaky Pete: Now, I'm not gonna ride with ya.

Dear Hubby: (showing signs of disappointment) You're not?

Sneaky Pete: Nope! I trust you guys. I said to myself when I first saw you that you twos could be trusted.

Dear Hubby: Thanks!

Sneaky Pete: I just need your driver's license, your mother's maiden name, your social security and bank account number and a lock of hair from your first born son.

Me: (pulling out the items mentioned from the junk in the back seat of our own car and piping in) But shouldn't he keep his Driver's License if he's going to actually be DRIVING?

Dear Hubby: (smiling at my wisdom and looking at Pete) She's got a point there.

Sneaky Pete: (beaming insincerely) OK! You got me! Just give me the other stuff and you can be on your way. And Hey! There's a really cool pub down the highway where I took my first nosedive off the window ledge after I got plastered there one night and cracked my skull open. You guys should check it out. They've got some GREAT micro brews.

Me: (a bit alarmed) But, do you think we should actually stop and drink if. . .

Dear Hubby: (cutting me off) Just get in the car, and we'll figure it out!

So we fold ourselves up as small as possible and squeeze into the little car. Dear Hubby is so excited he can hardly contain himself. (Well actually, truth be told, he was containing himself QUITE well. The tiny car was doing it for him)

We take the car on a 'test drive' passing by the local pub and Dear Hubby is meticulous about listening for strange noises, checking under the hood, measuring the length of the trunk space, and testing the cup holder capacity ALL while DRIVING the car! I was very impressed.

As we get back to the lot he says to me. 'Don't act excited in front of the salesman, but I like this car.'

Me: I think that will be easy since it's only the FIRST one we've driven today.

Sneaky Pete is waiting for us with several papers and a bigger grin than the Cheshire Cat.

Sneaky Pete: So what'd ya think?

Dear Hubby: It seemed OK.

Sneaky Pete: I've got the papers all drawn up and ready and if you come right into my office we can 'get 'er done' as they say! You guys are SO GOOD! You picked the BEST DARN CAR on the lot!

Dear Hubby: We did?

Sneaky Pete: Oh yeah! None of 'em are as good as that car you just drove.

Me: But it's only the first car we've tested. I'd like to try out another car if you don't mind.

Sneaky Pete: What's the matter? Didn't you like the car? It was the best one!

Me: It was OK--but. . .

Dear Hubby: (looking resigned) I gotta do what the little woman wants. (winks at me)

Sneaky Pete: Ain't that the truth! Well, OK. What did you have in mind?

Dear Hubby (hands the guy the next advertisement on the list and asks): Do you still have this one?

Sneaky Pete: (looking over paper carefully) Oh YEAH! We just got that one in today! In fact, it's the best DARN CAR ON THE LOT! Lemme get the key for ya. (comes back in a hot flash with the key) I tell ya, you guys are TOO GOOD! You shore know how to pick 'em. This is yer lucky day. If you like this car--I can make you an even BETTER deal on it.

Dear Hubby: Sounds good.

Sneaky Pete: Shore! Shore! You guys have a good time--just be back before dark!

Dear Hubby takes the key from Pete and we don't have to fold ourselves up quite as small to get into the car and take off. Dear Hubby is going through his meticulous 'car checks' once again--and I am liking this car much better than the first one.

As we pull back into the used car lot, I lean over to Dear Hubby and say, 'Don't act surprised in front of the salesman, but I like this car.'

Dear Hubby: Got it! I think I'm getting the hang of this.

Me: Just you wait! It's gonna get even better. . .

Dear Hubby: I hope so.

Sneaky Pete: (greeting us as we pull up to the trailer office with some cold lemonade and plate of cookies) Well, I drew up the papers while you guys were out joy-ridin' and I think you're gonna really like what I can do for ya on the deal.

Dear Hubby: I have another car that I'd also like to drive. (Hands over the 3rd piece of paper)

Sneaky Pete: Oh my GOSH! This is undoubtedly the BEST DARN CAR on the lot! I was gonna show you this car even if you didn't want to see it! Here! I keep the key right on my belt for good luck, cuz I like this car so much. (he disengages the key from his sweaty belt loop)

Me: (leaning over to Dear Hubby and begging) YOU take the key and drive this car. I'm not touching that key.

Dear Hubby: No problem! (He actually was REALLY excited to drive this next car)

So we fold ourselves up smaller than humanly possible and after doing deep breathing exercises and taking off any unnecessary clothing we pack ourselves into the tiny car.

This time Dear Hubby is TRULY impressed. He is in a Zen state as he is going over every single economical feature with me and trying to sell ME the car and do Sneaky Pete's job for him. I got the idea that he REALLY wanted to buy this car. (especially since we didn't return with it until almost closing time)

We plotted our strategy for handling Sneaky Pete as we pulled back into the lot and there he was--waiting out on the stoop of the trailer/office like a loyal hound dog.

Sneaky Pete: Well, come on in!

Dear Hubby: Let me guess, you've got the papers all drawn up.

Sneaky Pete: Shore do! I can get you in this car today!

So we go in and sit down and before Pete lets us see the papers--he pulls out this photo of his dog and proceeds to tell us all about his beloved pet. Then he goes into the back to retrieve the dog's water dish for us to view to prove his point.

When he leaves the room to go get the water dish, I ask Dear Hubby, 'What's with the dog story? Why is he telling us about his dog?'

Dear Hubby: He's playing the 'lovable puppy card' don't worry about it.

Me: Does that mean he's up to something?

Dear Hubby: Yeah, but it's nothing we can't handle.

Sneaky Pete comes back and drops the water dish into the corner--and then proffers the first deal.

Dear Hubby makes a counter offer. Then ole' Pete goes to the back and talks to a 'mysterious someone' and comes back with his 8th grade report card and shows us what a model student he was--at least up until the 8th grade. He makes ANOTHER offer.

Dear Hubby makes a counter offer. Pete runs to the back again, to talk with the 'mystery man' and while he's gone I say to Dear Hubby, 'Let me guess. He just played the 'look at my 8th grade report card' ploy.

Dear Hubby: Yep! But don't worry about it. I think he's out of tricks. We've about worn him down.

Now for what came next, Dear Hubby and I had no words. This was one trick we didn't see coming (and probably never will again) After QUITE SOME TIME, Pete comes back into the room holding very carefully, the FINAL, ROCK BOTTOM, I NEED TO HAVE THE POWER SHUT OFF AND SELL OFF MY BASEBALL CARDS IF I GIVE THE CAR TO YOU AT THIS PRICE offer.

Sneaky Pete: Here it is. And I really can't go any lower--because my boss will dock my pay and make me work extra holidays if you buy it at this price. And LOOK! I wrote a bunch of smiley faces over the figures because, well, it's THAT good! You can see for yourself.

He thrusts the paper into my hands, and sure enough--there were smiley faces and bold letters and numbers all over it! (especially LOTS of smiley faces)

Sneaky Pete: I drew those smiley faces myself.

Me: Good for you! They're very nice.

Dear Hubby: But I thought you have worked here for 8 years straight without any days off already? (Oh, that Dear Hubby of mine is SUCH a CLEVER man!)

Sneaky Pete: Right! But the boss will put MORE days in the week and extra Holidays in the calendar for me to work if you don't take the car at this price.

Dear Hubby and I look over at each other and knew that now was the time to spring our own trap.

Me: Let's just say for the heck of it, because after all Father's Day is coming up--what if we we took your offer and gave you OUR car and you threw in that little tiny car that a chihuahua could barely fit into and we'll drive BOTH of these rattle traps off your lot right now?

Sneaky Pete: Lemme git this straight. . .You mean, you'd buy TWO cars? (he was starting to salivate)

Dear Hubby: That's right--TWO cars.

Me: But TWO cars for the price of one. And remember--you are getting a bonus to boot--our old car. What do you say? Do we have a deal?

Sneaky Pete: (Beginning to smile & sweat at the same time--not a pretty picture) Uh, yeah--that sounds great. Just a sec. You know I really need a cigarette--I haven't had one ALL DAY and I haven't sold any cars at all for a couple of weeks, and I really can't afford to buy any cigs--and if you guys will buy me some cigarettes, I'll even fill up your cars with gas and we can do this deal. What do you say?

We knew this guy was hyper and gittery for a reason--but we figured it was just to get our hard-earned money and make a sale. We never figured the nicotine angle into it. . .

Me: (sounding skeptical) You'll fill up both cars with gas if we buy you some cigarettes and we can get both cars for the price of just this one?

Sneaky Pete: (really thinking his offer over and now realizing how stupid it sounded) Well, actually since you are buying TWO cars--you have to buy me TWO packs of cigarettes. And make sure their the American Spirits ORGANIC kind, red or orange package--because all that other stuff is really BAD for ya and tastes crappy. I have to watch my health, ya know.

The idea that they now made 'organic' cigarettes started to give me the giggles. Meanwhile Dear Hubby was off and running with this latest offer.

Dear Hubby: (leaps out of his chair, offers Sneaky Pete his hand and shakes it vigorously and shouts) DONE!

We clear out all the old junk, talismans, and goop out of our car and throw them into the trunks of the smaller cars--go get gas for the cars and cigarettes for Pete and present them to him as he is drawing up the final papers.

We hand him our former car keys as we fold ourselves up and drive off the lot in our newer, SMALLER, fuel efficient cars. . . Meanwhile Sneaky Pete is trying like mad to get the car we just gave him started. . .

I guess I forgot to tell you that this story truly DID have a happy ending!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Results Are In!!!! (American Idol Winner)

Well, by now this is old news--but IT'S OFFICIAL! DAVID COOK is the American Idol Winner. . . and I am really happy for him. Last night's Idol Finale was the best one EVER! I loved all the talent, stars, and the former contestants who sang.

David Cook was very gracious and David Archuleta was in fine form too. Apparently the voting broke (nay, SMASHED) all previous records with a whopping 97+ million votes!


Here they are both singing 'Hero'

Here is Archuleta singing the song 'Apologize' with One Republic

And finally--here is the resident rocker, Cook, singing 'Sharped Dressed Man' with ZZ top!

GREAT night of performances all around!

Congratulations to the COOKSTER for taking first place!

And Congrats too, to little David Archuleta for doing so well. . . I absolutely LOVED this season!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Battle of the DAVIDS!

OK--I'm gonna say; 'I TOLD YOU SO. . . Na, na, na, na, NAY Na NAY na!' Because I called this one right from the beginning. . . (smugness is after all, one of my strong points)

But last night's Idol Competition came down to what I predicted from the top 20--that it would be a battle of the two 'Davids'. . . and it was a GREAT SHOW!

Personally, I thought that David Archuleta sang his GUTS out and out sang David Cook last night. (even though I like David Cook)

But based on last night's performance---I am thinking David A. just might pull off a complete win!

And I would be happy with EITHER of them winning--as I think they are both extremely talented. . . Little David has amazing vocals, and Big David is an amazing performer--so they BOTH have awesome careers ahead of them. . . and it couldn't happen to two nicer guys!

Here are my favorite performances from them from last night:

And THIS one has got to be my all-time favorite performance by 'Little David'. . . It blew me away when he sang it the very first time--and it blew me away when he sang it again last night. . . what a way to close the show!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What amazing talent!

OK. . . talk about finding GIFTS in unlikely places. . . This one is just ASTOUNDING!

Here is an ordinary, run-of-the-mill mobile phone warehouse guy. . . and he opens his mouth on 'Britain's Got Talent' and OH MY GOSH!

Well. . . take a listen for yourself---and see how amazing this guy is. . .
(and if you get 'watery eyes' when you hear beautiful music--well, then you need to have a tissue handy)


Oh, and just for the record--he DID end up winning!

What a humble man--and what an AMAZING VOICE! I will never look at mobile phone salesmen or warehouse guys in the same way again!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

And yet ANOTHER Idol update!

Oh my GOSH! It's getting down to the wire---(and I must admit I think I have been SPOT ON from the very beginning!) I predicted during the top 20 before they even cut down to the top 12 and finally the top 10 that in the END it would be the battle of the two Davids. . . and it looks like my predictions are about to come true.

Here are my Favorite performances by them from last night:

DRUMROLL. . . . . and they DID come true! It WILL be the battle of the two Davids!!!

So what the heck do ya'll think????? Who's gonna WIN?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I am going to leave off being funny, smarmy or sarcastic today in honor of the upcoming mother's day tomorrow.

Here is a beautiful mother's day story I thought I'd share with all the mom's out there. (might want to grab a Kleenex. . . because, yes, it's one of those tearjerkers!)

Just click on the words below--turn your speakers up a bit--and ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Under Construction. . .Part Deux


This 'home improvement' thingy we've started has become a REAL MONEY PIT and then some.

It was just supposed to be a simple getting rid of the sliding glass door in our family room and walling it in and replacing it with a door and window. . . and getting a new stove because the one I have been using for the past decade has only ONE reliable burner that works. . .

But after getting a BEAUTIFUL flat top stove and seeing how dismal my old oven looked next to it---that had to be replaced too! (besides the oven was VERY temperamental and would either burn everything to a crisp--or leave things ready for the frozen tundra). . .

With the new appliances going in. . . the kitchen cabinets somehow DID NOT look right--so those had to be replaced. . . and after seeing the cabinets. . .well, the counter tops were just PATHETIC! So of course, you can't have counter tops installed without getting a FABULOUS new sink to go along with them. . . and then, of course my back splash had to be retiled. . . and the windowsills redone to match. . . and the wainscoting had to ALSO match. . . and new window treatments put in. . . and now we can't have the same kitchen table and chairs after all that effort. . . and the lighting is inadequate---and well. . . the list keeps going on and on and on. . .

And of course, when stuff starts coming out and new stuff going in. . . (why didn't we just gut the entire thing and start from scratch? It would have been so much easier) anyway--when workmen start digging into the bowels and guts of your home--all kinds of problems seem to crop up that just HAVE to be addressed replaced, remodeled, refurbished and refinanced.

Case in point. . . after pulling out the old stove and oven and buying brand spankin' new ones to put in, my contractor tells me that he is going to have to call an electrician in because we just don't have enough 'juice' to run these newfangled models. . . (GREAT! How much is THAT gonna cost?)

So the electrician comes over and takes one look at our circuit breaker box in the garage and starts laughing hysterically for ten minutes straight. I had to hose him off and towel dry him--he wet himself laughing so hard.

Me: What's the problem?

Electrician: I haven't seen a breaker box like this since ole' Tommy Edison invented the light bulb. (Starts snickering again)

Me: I take it you are trying to tell me these 'circuits' are inadequate to power up my new cook top and oven?

Electrician: Ma'am, you are one circuit away from having an entire meltdown. And I don't wanna be around when she's gonna blow.

Me: (Resignedly) Is there anything you can do?

Electrician: They don't call me Electric Mike for nuthing!

Me: (Flabbergasted) They call you Electric Mike?

Electrician: Not really. That was kinda a joke.

Me: (not impressed) Fine. What is the problem, and what can you do about it.

Electrician: Well, see--this is an older home--and they didn't build many breaker switches back in them days. You have WAY too many things powering all on the same circuits. . . and there's no room to add anything else. They didn't count on folks adding a kiln in their storage room or a distillery in their tool shed and. . .

Me: (interrupting) Wait a minute! We don't have a kiln in our storage room or a distillery in our tool shed.

Electrician: Well--you COULD do that after I get through rewiring your electricity and putting in a new breaker box.

Me: (intrigued--thinking of the possibilities) Really?

Electrician: You betcha! They don't call me Lightning Bolt Electric Mike fer nuthin!

Me: They call you Lightning Bolt Electric Mike?

Electrician: Well, no---but I wish they would.

Me: Well aside from adding a kiln and a distillery---will I be able to work my new stove and oven?

Electrician: Shore thing!

Me: And if you put in new breaker switches, will that free up some of the space so I can do other things?

Electrician: Shore will. I'm gonna rewire a TON of stuff for you. What do you have in mind?

Me: Well. . . will I be able to work the space heater in my office while someone is blow-drying their hair upstairs in the bathroom?

Electrician: (Belly-laughing) You mean, you can't do that now?

Me: No--not without popping a circuit breaker.

Electrician: (Holding his heaving sides) I can fix that.

Me: And when I have the Christmas lights on--can I use the microwave?

Electrician: (about to go into convulsions) You can't do that either?

Me: No--I have to turn off the tree lights in the living room AND the outside lights before using the microwave or we end up in total darkness and a weird smell comes out of the electrical outlets. (but it's only seasonal--so we are used to it)

Electrician: (smiling like the Cheshire cat) I can certainly fix that.

Me: Can I have the patio lights on and run the dishwasher while my son is on the computer?

Electrician: (Falling on the floor and starting to roll around) What, are you kidding me? What the heck else can't you do? No, wait a minute. Don't tell me. I might go into shock. But I can fix ALL of that. You will be able to light every room in the house while drying your clothes, running the dishwasher, microwaving popcorn with BOTH TVs on, drying your hair next to the space heater, cooking and baking with a load of clothes going in the dryer if you want!

Me: (getting really excited) STOP! You had me at having the lights on while watching TV. I'm sold. I don't care how much it costs--just do it. DO IT NOW!

Electrician: (self-satisfied grin on his face) I knew it! And I'll get right on it as soon as I can. . . They don't call me Slippery eel Quick Silver Lightning Bolt Electric Mike fer nuthin!

Me: I bet they DO call you Slippery eel--so when can you start?

Electrician: Give me a couple of weeks and I'll call you and pencil you in. Meanwhile, I'll rig up some sort of beaut that will let you use your new appliances without incinerating the house.

Me: I'd appreciate that. . .

Ohhhhhhhhh. . . . Dear Hubby is gonna KILL ME for sure. (but hey! Maybe I can lure him with thoughts of a new kiln and distillery)

You never know when those are gonna come in handy!