Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I am what I am...a trucker chic

Part 1: Of course you know, this means war! UPDATED

Part 2:
To be a trucker chic, the make is not all that matters. If it's a truck to be admired, then admire it. I am not a major Ford person, but this one caught my attention. Black with chrome package...NICE! but over 30 Grand/Stacks

This was the one that caused us much grief. Not as bold as the Ford, this Chevy Silverado met our needs. Our first truck was a 1993 Silverado. Pros: Price, Color hides dirt Con: Beige Cloth seats + 7 yr old boy = disaster

For some reason the GMC Sierra calls to me. Our previous ones (1996, 1999) served us well for years. The 1999 BIG DOG is no longer with us, but well remembered.

Son, Speed Racer enthusiast, named the Prelude "Mach 5". Years ago, it was exciting for him to see it being connected to a tow truck. It was cool following it to HI-FI Buys (alarm died). Once he realized that we were leaving it there, he boo-hoo'd all the way home. Glad it was a short trip.

Son's older now, but still having the attachment to the Mach 5, he was given the honors of naming the truck, the Prelude's replacement. So may I introduce you to BONE CRUSHER. Grandma is not trilled about the name but we gave him no naming limitations.

After finally depleting the first tank fill provided by the nice folks at Saturn Of Decatur, last evening was my turn. Yikes! can't wait till after Labor Day!

Although we had several rounds of negotiations, mainly hubby and General Sales Manager with me in the middle, all was well. They were respectful at every stage and were willing to "make the deal". We are greatly pleased.

P.S.: Key to financing negotiations: have a check in hand from one institution is a great bargaining tool when in negotiation with another.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Of course you know, this means war! UPDATED

If you've been visiting here for awhile you may be aware of my regular rants on customer service. Today was the first time since the early '90s that I've lost my cool. To think about it, today was the worst ever. Normally I am mild-mannered person and even under difficult situations, I have been known to not even raise my voice a decibel. But today was not the case.
If you've been following me on Twitter you might already know some of this, but for others, here's a little background. For the past few months, our '89 Prelude has been in the repair shop several times. After the last round and several hundred more dollars, the car began to overheat and expected to cost at least a hundred more to repair. We had to decide to sink more money into it and hope it lasts until the end of the year or purchase another vehicle.
Being under the impression that the vehicle would be taking it's last few breaths within a few days, we made a deal to purchase a truck with minor body damage. Great price, right age, and low miles. We made a deposit with good intentions, with the expectation that the warranty work would be done professionally in the told short turnaround. After a week passed with several delay excuses and without the work being completed, they provided us a rental vehicle last Friday with the expectation the truck would be ready Saturday or Monday. Well TODAY the paint job was finally completed. There's a latch also to be fix and the salesman was to get it checked out tomorrow.
This evening, during a discussion between Hubby and the Salesman this afternoon, there was a "misunderstanding" about who completed the paint job so Hubby called me to return the rental, get the Prelude and our deposit back. (Son and) I immediately left Kroger (without badly needed groceries) heading to dealership.

Being my normal calm and composed self, I spoke to the salesman and then the sales manager, the used sales manager was not on site. Within a few minutes, the "misunderstanding" was resolved and they brought out the truck for my inspection. Now prior, I had been given the "oh, it looks great!" snow job. On first look, the work seemed ok. But after further inspection, I noticed curvature where there not should have been and bulges that looked worse than the back of my thighs. Salesman talked to Hubby on my phone and was telling him how "GREAT" the truck looked and the "painter" wanted to do a second wet sand later to give it a better look. He then left to "talk" to someone. I finally had a chance to tell Hubby how really crappy it looked. He agreed with me to stop the deal.

Now before I went back inside to get the "men", I said a prayer on whether I should accept what they were dishing or continue to get out of it. I also prayed to my birth father too, he was the one to teach me how to deal with car salesmen. There were no signs, so I moved on ahead.

I got them outside to show them what I disliked. I can't remember every word of the conversation but I did not accept "song and dance" that the sales manager began giving to me. Had the nerve to say that I had to wait till Friday for the return of the Used Car sales manager since he was the one who made the deal. That didn't make sense. Someone had to be a decision maker in his absence. Would you believe it was HIM, but he said that he WOULDN'T make a decision without the other guy and I HAD to wait. I do recall next my hand flailing at the adjacent building and their Lexus lot across the street as I stated their should be SOMEONE else who could make a decision. He mentioned Mr. "Man" (who owns 11 dealerships). So I stated I should expect a call from Mr. Man in the morning. I guess that wasn't the response he expected and quickly stated that he doesn't know his schedule.

This "song and dance" went on for too long enough. I can't recall what was said, but I know I was loud, arms swinging back and forth. Eventually I told them that I was leaving and to give me my keys. They were in the car parked on the other side of the truck. Son and I went back in building to get my (work) things. It was then that I realized that probably EVERYONE was out there watching the scene unfold. There was so much "red and white shirts" around. (I don't plan to reveal the dealer manufacturer at this time.)
On the way to my Prelude I had to pass the truck. I did not look at them directly, but there were now several more men there, crowding the truck at the area of my dissatisfaction. Once in the car, son and I got situated. He quickly made me aware that I had used the "H-word" several times, I wholeheartedly apologized and had to explain to him what had me so upset. Before pulling off, the salesman came to my window and asked me to wait.
Being that this car SHOULDN'T be idled, I turned it off, we exited, and waited at its rear. I got back on the phone with Hubby. By this time, I was cool again but that quickly changed. Mr. Sales Manager, said he talked to the other manager and said they could TRY to work on the repair again. My response was "how could I expect a professional job the second time around if you couldn't do it the first time." NO DEAL. He also said that they wouldn't return my deposit since they had already done work and they paid for the rental. I lost it again. It wasn't my fault that THEY did a poor job, it took longer than expected, and they provided the rental as previously agreed on deal day. He talked all about "their" inconveniences. We ended it as he would talk to the General Manager in the morning and I would make "my calls".

Later I received a call from the salesman with his "I got your back" spill. I listened and responded as a "sista" to play along. He is supposed to talk to the GM in the morning too, they "tight". Uh-huh, we'll see.

Well, I'm tight with a different GM, I prayed and felt the strength to endure whatever was thrown at me. I still do. We'll see what happens tomorrow, but this was quite unexpected with this industry and this economy.

Victory Thru Hair Power: This new fro works.

UPDATE: Within an hour of calling Toyota Customer Service this morning, I received a call from the dealership's Customer Service department informing me that I would receive my deposit back. Those folks have been apologizing all day, even after the refund was applied to my card. The refund transaction hasn't appeared on my account yet, so until then...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

End Of Days is here

I had no idea of how well of a fictional writer I was until yesterday. Last week I wrote Brawl at Summer Camp not knowing that son would be involved in an altercation this week. The incident was not as involved as my imagination had portrayed, it was just him and an older girl. I can’t cite the details as I do not know yet the full story. Basically niece did not budge when she watched a portion of incident and she joined the defense of the girl.

Whether it was “divine intervention”, “Lord works in mysterious ways”, or just coincidence, as some may feel, but it was a blessing that Sis needed me to drop off niece to Mom’s on my way home. In the approximate 10 minutes drive, their incessant bickering pushed me to my “I’m turning the both of you over to Grandma” limit.

In a way, Mom was pleased we had the opportunity to get to the heart of the HATE portion of their LOVE/HATE relationship. It took some prying but we were able to force verbalization of their feelings for one another. Whether it’s called the “Devil”, “Satan”, or “Anti-Christ”, the name doesn’t matter, but what they had to understand is that they are following it instead of God and the teachings of Jesus. A person can’t follow both evil AND good as they are opposite.

It was emotional for me as for 7 ½ months, they lived in my home as siblings. Both agreed that their friction increased during that time. It should have been expected as both had prior lived as an “only” child in a household and then had to adjust to sharing time, space, and attention from “parent(s)”. In some aspect their relationship did grow as they had someone readily for playtime when indoors, even though they wouldn’t admit it.

Thankfully, after techniques of role-reversal and eye-contact communication, they both admitted that they loved the other, but frequently disliked each other. It was a start.

This situation applies to not just them but our society. There is so much hatred and no love for the fellow person. This hatred does not always personify as physical violence, there is ignorance of homeless, spread of sexual diseases, bigotry, envy, road-rage, and something simple as negative assumptions.

In reference to the “End of Days” as written in the Book of Revelation in the Holy Bible, some recant the time as the physical destruction of the world, but what about the destruction of Love. It would seem that this destruction should matter more as this physical world does not exist in Heaven.

We pray that ‘thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”, but can we ever expect “peace on Earth”?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Goal Complete: Garage

Even though I did not achieve this milestone in the planned one year anniversary date of living in our home, but having this complete is a great feeling. With the approaching switch of vehicles this week, it wouldn't be polite to dump my car to Hubby in it's current internal condition. This dictated my weekend goal to wash it externally and detail the interior (as much as possible). To do this right, the correct environment had to be in order.

Way back when before ipods and mp3 players, there were these huge bulking monstrosities that played music and had internal speakers for sharing the listening pleasure. Some provided music from radio stations, some from cassettes and others from CD players. They were called Boomboxes. If you had a combination boombox that had more than one feature, you were in hog heaven. I still have one of such, a JVC brand that has all three, AM/FM radio, cassette player and CD player. The chosen source was the radio fixed on a local radio station that claims to play classic soul hits from 60s, 70s, and 80s. Along with the boombox was need for a portable fan, nothing expensive required. A box or circular fan would do. Finalizing the setup, would be unlimited source of ice water. Having the proper environment, the work began.

The first part of this task was easy, especially with the recent paint jobs. Early Saturday morning, son and I began working, me on the body, him on the tires. After about an hour or so, we were done with the exterior.
Before moving on to the interior, reality set in. It was approaching mid-day and getting increasingly hotter by the minute. Heat index values in upper 90's, hence, the interior work had to be done in the shade, and the garage clearing had to be completed first.

As you can see, the initial state of this area was monumental. After a year of pecking away, only little remained, but enough to consume an afternoon of work. It was spent hours and hours, box after box, sorting, storing, and discarding, item after item until no more to be done by me. Some of Hubby's cabling supplies remained, but they are not on MY to do list. The evening ended with a much awaited, "AAAAHHHHHH, finally done".

The second part of this task, was harder than the first. Having the shade, music and ice water on hand helped but from being muscle-fatigued from the previous day's activities did not help the situation. After we removed of trash, mainly son's normal seating area, and thorough vacuum, the daunting task of cleaning the leather seat covers began. Leaving the worst for last, son's seating area, I began on the front seats. Being that this was required use of "adult" materials, son was released from cleaning duty.

Thankfully, Hubby woke from his slumber and volunteered his assistance. Under different circumstances I "might" have requested his assistance, but since he worked the night before, I left him to the Sandman. Hubby began on son's disaster area while I continued with the front seating. Hubby worked on the back carpets as I cleaned the floor rugs. Remembering the recently purchased carpet cleaner, I used it to finish the job.

By late afternoon, the two-for-one job was over. Garage neat and clean car. The three of us wound down in garage, sitting around the fan, devouring freeze-pops and admiring a family task well-done and began to think, "All we need now is a BBQ".

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chop, Chop, Chop

All the relaxed hair is gone and now natural fro.

Pics posted in my Task-Oriented Blog.

Next: complete other goals in list.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Goal Complete: Hair

Hair: transition hair from relaxed to natural

I couldn't take it any longer. I was loving the feel and texture of my natural more and more each day and disliking the feel an texture of my relaxed just as much.

The humidity here has destroyed many time-consuming and costly hairstyles.

So tonight at a visit to a salon to temporarily rid the gray that my son has given me (gray-rate increased rapidly after son was born), as soon as I walked in, I told my stylist to cut it off. I had been transitioning for 27 weeks, yesterday.

Surprisingly to "the me of 6 months ago", I had no hesitation and no regrets.

On the drive home, through thick fog, I had the sunroof open. Woohoo!

Here's some before shots:

It's scary to see how others view your hair from behind.

Doesn't seem much of a loss.

Initial "dry" cut, kinda crazy looking

Final back (still a little wet)

Final front (this forehead runs in dad's family line)

Mom's reaction
You look like your Aunt and Cousin J (dad's side)

Son's reaction (while he giggled)
What happened to your hair? Why did they do that?

In preparation for Hubby's reaction in the morning, I stopped by the Caribbean Restaurant next door to the salon to bring home Oxtails and Red Beans and Rice.

As a styling option, stylist said my hair has a natural curly pattern. If she texturized it, with the gel, I could have a curly fro. Since it's still chemicals, I plan to research other options.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Brawl at Summer Camp

After all my hard research in locating a Summer Camp for son and niece to attend, what do I get in their first week? You would figure that a place that "supposedly" certifiably teaches Character Choices, Abstinence until Marriage, and Conflict Resolution coupled with the Camp being held in the Family Life Center of a Missionary Baptist Church would be able to handle a group of 30 youngsters with the goal of 100 and capacity to handle 150.

It is still hard to believe what occurred when I arrived to pick them up this afternoon. Even before entering the main hall from its primary external door, I could hear incoherent, but unmistakable yells and calls of a fight. Mind you, I haven't heard such since high school over 20 years ago, but still recognizable. Rushing in, my first thoughts were "WHERE ARE MY KIDS?!!!".

Moving like a swarm of killer bees, the crowd moved around the room through the maze of circular tables and surrounding chairs, but constantly encircling the confrontation. Even now, I can see them in slow motion jeering and actually enjoying the carnage. As I made my way closer looking for my kids, and trying not to crush any onlookers, I could see glimpses of several instructors trying to separate the fight participants. I did not focus on them as I was still scanning the crowd.

Even though these events happened within a minute or two of my entrance into the hall, relatively it felt like hours. Eventually the center of the crowd moved in my direction, kids floated around me where the yelling and screaming being magnified in the spacious 20ft ceiling hall. All of a sudden I was in the eye of the storm. A hurricane because then I found my kids, with bloodied faces, on the floor entangled along with several adults and three or four other kids, my son being the smallest.

I don't know how loud I streaked but the entire room fell "pin drop" silent. Being in a Christian facility I hoped my language was appropriate, even now I still don't remember what I said and I'm too afraid to ask.

Then as a stone being skipped on a lake, the mob quickly rippled away. The sorting of kids and interviews began as the maintenance personnel attempted to restore order to the hall. I followed the director as he led my kids away to be interviewed. A woman from the kitchen staff arrived with wet cloths and began cleaning their faces that was beginning to swell. I couldn't do anything but look and listen.

Basically this was the story. A few boys began teasing my son about the amount of food he had been consuming for the past few days. This was no surprise to me because the boy can EAT. He has an extremely high metabolism and is constantly active. He began to get upset and then my belligerent niece stepped into the mix to defend him. Nudging began and converted to pushing and then strikes. Seeing her being struck, my son began to attack back. The rest is self-explanatory.

Being that it was the first week and the Camp management understood that there may be clashes in personalities, so they put all the kids on probation. At least that's one battle settled. As soon as they were excused, we left as quickly as possible through the repositioned tables and chairs not before me giving the "evil eye" to the other kids in the altercation.

Exiting the building, my thoughts were about my mom. My parents had always taught us to not physically fight, but to find alternate means of conflict resolution. Now I have the daunting task of informing her that her two oldest grandchildren were fighting.

Once we reached the car, I noticed the time. Hubby was waiting at home for our return so he could use my car to get to work. His car was at the repair shop. I already had left work late and was now an additional half-hour delayed. On the 30-minute ride home, I had to explain to him what I have told you. He wasn't happy that he would be extremely late for work, but surprisingly, he was pleased that they stood up for each other. Me too, actually. We've always wondered what they would do if a situation like that arose.

As I sit here, comfortably in my office chair, writing this post, I can envision the first image of them, on the floor, each pulling on a child's leg, like I'm pulling yours.

I hope you enjoyed this piece of fiction. Love Sista GP, LOL

Monday, June 1, 2009

Journal #1

Journal Entry 1 (draft)
Journal, I need to tell you what happened starting last night. I have to tell someone or I’ll just lose my mind. Well you know how I walk around talking to myself. So last night I was doing it again and complaining about how it was Friday night and all my girlfriends were out with their men and I was home alone, AGAIN, craving masculine companionship. Now I know my laments were exasperated by the second glass of White Merlot I was sipping, but it was true. I know I can’t compete with models but I’m well kept, I exercise, eat right, and dress decent too. So, why I don’t have man? Well other than being extremely selective in mates, highly opinionated and routine-oriented, I was thinking what was wrong with me, you know.

In order to better my mood, I was wearing my favorite white satin lace-trimmed nightie. You know the one I got from VS to match my finished bedroom. You should know what happened next, as I was pacing the room I began to admire it again. Not trying to be boastful, but I did an excellent job. My master suite is perfect, just like it’s inspiration in that d├ęcor magazine. Once I saw it, you know I had to have it. I’d been searching for months for the right look.

There was plenty of room to work with being 23 ft by 15 ft. There’s enough space for the master suite to have six feet of space beyond each antique cherry-stained nightstand adjacent to the matching king-sized 4-poster bed. A burgundy settee flanks one wall in that space as matching Victorian armless chairs flanks the opposing wall. The antique mahogany cedar chest inherited from my great-grandmother accentuates the foot of the bed. You know I had to sit down on the bed and swirl my fingertips along the white Egyptian linens and duvet.

Then he called. The ringing of the nightstand portable phone startled me back to reality. It was Mathias. You know, MrFlirt. I played it cool, as sober as possible, “Hello”.
He started laying on thick, “Hi, Scrumptious, how are you this fine evening?”
Still trying to sound sober, “I’m well Mathias, and you?”
“Glad you asked, Delicious, I’m real sleepy. I’m driving from Florida and too tired to make it home. I was wondering if I could rest tonight at your place and continue my journey tomorrow.”
My first thoughts were NO WAY, not tonight. I’m too buzzed to have a fine man in the house. But then how could I turn away a friend into a dangerous situation. I must have been gone to forget there were several motels at the interstate exit to my home because I said, “Sure, you can, the guest room is available. When will you get here?”
He laughed and said “Soon.”
Trying to stay focused, I asked, “How soon is soon?” He laughed again and then the doorbell rung. I almost screamed.
Calmy, I said “Oh you’re funny. Give me a sec.” And hung up the phone. I ran to my bathroom, checked my hair and face and grabbed the long matching robe to my nightie. I know, I know it wasn’t the best attire to be greeting guests, especially this one but I had no time to change.

Flipping on the porch light, before opening the door, I felt I was in trouble and in for a long night. I could see his gleaming seductive eyes through the arched glass panels in the door.

...okay blog fam, should I continue writing this story? I'm thinking of starting a collection of random fictional journal entries.

Note: everything in this blog is automatically copyrighted.

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