Charlottes Web Blog







December 2, 2007

I went new car shopping Yesterday. I left at 9:00 a.m. and I got home around 5:00 p.m.

Not NEW new car shopping, though the salesperson (Erin) was expecting (hoping) it to be NEW new… (don't you just love bursting a salesperson's bubble?). She started off pushing the VUE, but I told her that I wasn't particularly thrilled with the way my VUE handled, so then she pushed the Aura. Now, I love the Aura and would have happily driven one home — except my loan was for a maximum of $22,000 and the Aura begins right around $21,000, and I wasn't planning on forking out extra money, so…

Big bummer for me too, and because they're so new, they didn't even have any pre-owned available. Mostly, all they had were the VUE, and the larger SUV they have, and a few Sky's.

But! They did have a nice 2006 black ION 2, with only 13,000 miles and it had never been owned by anyone except Saturn; it had been their demo car and… it was beautiful. It sure was — strange — to drive it after driving my VUE for nearly three years. I'm used to manual transmission and sitting up high. But the car ran smooth.

The other used cars they had were all non-Saturn's and in fact another couple were considering the ION, so… I wrote a check for $500 to hold it while I thought about it.

What I really considered, was holding off and going to another Saturn dealer, such as the one close to my job. But I wasn't impressed with them when I went to buy a car part, and their lot is considerably smaller. I had done searches online, and Erin was not joking when she said pre-owned Auras were non-existent (and if they were, they'd be snapped up in a heartbeat), and IONs were hot cars too, and were grabbed up quickly as well.

I know everyone at the Saturn in New Jersey; the finance manager, Jim, is the fellow who sold me the VUE nearly 3 years ago and still remembered me, the service department manager, Nick and the head mechanic, Joey. They're — family!

Tony didn't go with me as he said it was my car, my deal, and it's probably a good thing because patience was the key, and he's not incredible patient. It was rather relaxing anyway, while I waited for the finance manager to finangle me a deal I'd be happy with. It was so quiet, that one of the sales associates who had perched himself in front of one of the large windows, fell asleep! That was rather amusing watching him…

Decision time. It wasn't an easy decision, because of the situation with the trade-in of the VUE, but… I drove home in my ION.

Afterwards, I enjoyed the drive home; the new car definitely has a lot of power, compared to the VUE. I'll miss my electric blue baby though; it was a good car while it lasted, and perhaps had I gone elsewhere to buy tires and the idiot not have bashed in the front in, I'd still be happy driving it without worries…

Tony loved the car. He can drive this one since it's automatic. Of course, the first thing he said, was the first thing I told Erin — the radio's got to go! My Christmas gift from Tony is a new stereo from Circuit City; the sort that you remove the face and thusly prevents having the panel ripped out of the car to steal even a cheapie factory installed radio.

It snowed this morning. Our first snow of the season. Not much, just a little, but enough to make things slippery outside. It sucks I can't enjoy the new car today.



December 11, 2007

I hate blackberries.

No, not the edible kind; the kind that serves as a cell phone.

My boss had a perfectly good PDA. Well, at least I thought it was a good phone. Plug into my computer, download Outlook addresses and things no problem. Then he went and got a Blackberry…

So… they picked up my Saturn VUE this morning. At 6:25 in fact. It was that or midnight the night before; I wouldn't have made it. I crawled into bed promptly around 10:00 and was out for the count. It was rather sad to say goodbye to my buddy…

Before he arrived, I removed the (license) plates to surrender to the DMV; a new thing to me. I'm used to states like California, who assign a plate to the vehicle rather than to a person.

For example, in California, you buy a new car; DMV assigns it a license plate number; if the plate gets lost or stolen, you have to have the DMV order you new plates (with the same plate number). When you sell the car (and buy another), the plates stay with the car, and the registration information is the only thing changed; you get new plates for the new car.

In New York, you buy a new car; the DMV assigns YOU, the buyer, with a license plate number; if one of the plate(s) get lost or stolen, you go to DMV with whatever plate you have left, and exchange it for new plates. When you sell the car, you take the plates from the car; the buyer has to supply his or her own plates. You either surrender the plates to the DMV, or you transfer them to the car you just bought.

What a headache. Anyway, since I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the VUE when I bought the ION, I let new plates be ordered for the new car; the VUE plates I'll mail to DMV to surrender them.

So, there I was then after removing the plates, and making sure I didn't leave anything in the VUE that was mine, I sat in my car to wait for the guy, listening to the radio. The station I listen to most, WPLJ 95.5, has their own musical group, The Elves. They do Weird Al-type remakes of songs. Like…

(sung to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas):
"The first thing at Christmas that really annoys me… finding a Christmas tree…" The best verse though is #5; "The fifth thing at Christmas that really annoys me… five months of bills!"

Anyway, so my boss has been trying to get a Wii — and quite unsuccessful in his hunt. Of course, you know that this particular gaming system is the Cabbage Patch Kid of Christmas 2007 (remember that year that the Cabbage Patch Kids were limited in production — and ALL those fights at the stores?!). This morning, while in the car, the Elves come on and sing: I Want a Wii. It was great. Kid crying in the background doing the chorus "… but I WANT A Wii!" amongst the lyrics of frantic calls to all the stores, and the guy on the street selling one for three times the price… The "kid" has to be either Scott or Todd from the morning show. Hmm, now I have to research that at their site.

Since I was awake, dressed and the car already packed to head off to work, I decided to go ahead and leave then; if I went back inside home, I would have gotten sleepy… cozy… I decided to try out the diner about two blocks from my office and have breakfast; bacon and eggs just sounded so good. Considering that they gave me a half of a pig, the $5.00 spent was more than well worth it; it was clean, quiet, nice people…

Then afterwards, before arriving at my office, I had to stop at the deli and grab my gallon-size cup of java to get me through the morning. Breakfast always makes me sleepy!

So, tongues are still wagging about Helio and Julianna; people have no lives. Seriously. Pretty girl, good looking guy, dancing hours upon hours wiggling next to each other; go figure. Next!

It seems good ol' Simon will be on American Idol this year after all; he had mentioned at the finale last year that it was also his finale. Yeah. Right. Personally, it wouldn't be the same without him.

I'm looking forward Dance War — the contest between choreographers Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba. It looks to be a cross between So You Think You Can Dance (the emotional artists) and American Idol (the drama-queen diva artists).

The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox TV looks interesting, but like most TV shows on Fox, it will die after 3 episodes, leaving you hanging.

We haven't had any major snow as yet *shifting eyes and finding something wooden to knock on* but have had a couple of nice snows that melted quick and disappeared. As much as is expected to come in over the next week, perhaps we may even have a white Christmas this year. Not that we plan to go anywhere, but it would be nice all the same. Last year was far too warm and reminiscent of Christmas in Los Angeles.

My brain hurts. Have a good night.



December 17, 2007

I love my new car. It handles well in the snow, too, which is a major plus. Especially since Old Man Winter has arrived. I read a couple of reviews on the car, and the big complaint was the noise. I got to that part and thought, Noise? Maybe I got one of the rare quiet ones… and then I read further. The noise in the complaint was the vrrrrrrrrooooooooom! sound of the engine. Good thing these critics never drove the Chevy Nova I had! Headers… heh.

So far, the weather has been pretty kind. What snow we've gotten in Manhattan hasn't amounted to more than an inch, maybe two, at one time. Even the sleet that was mixed in with the snow hasn't been too terrible; not like last year. I took that day off at the disgruntlement of my boss. I value my life and lack of broken bones. Upstate where I work, we had a good amount of snow a couple of weeks ago; nice n' fluffy n' purdy, and no ice. However, last Thursday; everyone in the building went home early due to the expected heavy snow and sleet. I think everyone in the world did; I hit a ton of traffic. It was pretty messy but I got home just fine and parked in the garage; I felt $18 was a good price to pay to not have to shovel out the car the next morning. Then the storm didn't exactly do what was anticipated, though it did make things a bit messy.

This morning, however, I had to shovel out my car. I was less than pleased! Saturday night to Sunday morning, we had been pelted with sleet and snow, and I had gone out in the afternoon to clean off my car. There wasn't a whole lot to clean off and I scooped out the snow that the super in the building next door has shoved under my car when cleaning off the sidewalk; too, the small mountain next to my car to the point I couldn't open the door. *grumbles* So, when I walked out this morning, the little bit more sleet we had last night had left a sheet of ice on my car. It wasn't a biggie; a bit of pressure and CRACK! the pieces broke away. But… I had to re-shovel out my car; seems the super decided the snow was best shoved under my car and again another mountain to block my entry into the car.

If it were just snow, it would be one thing, but this was piled up snow with a sheet of ice left by the sleetstorm. I was not a happy person, however, I didn't have to clear much away, and it wasn't too bad, because the ice was pretty brittle and broke away easily enough. It was the vicious wind (up to 30mph gusts) that was the harshest. The little trooper that my car is climbed over all the ice and snow like it was nothing and I actually made it to work on time.

Black ice on the road was a bit of a problem, and of course, there were those who were in such a hurry… Okay, I wasn't exactly poking along (and *gasp* even speeding myself), but these noodleheads… I did get to laugh heartily though as I passed one in particular as he was being handing a ticket to the policeman's ball. Tsk.

Tony and I picked up our new HDTV on Saturday. It's awesome.



December 21, 2007

Some people can be such noodleheads.

Take for example, those I've had to deal with at the Saturn dealership. It's totally blown me away because I've never had any particular problems with them before; and definitey nothing to the extent which has escalated into a major mass of chaos.

When I purchased my ION, I had not gotten rid of the VUE yet, and as far as the dealership went, all they knew is that I left with both the ION -and- the VUE. And naturally, they would take care of the registration of the ION.

Herein lies the problem.

In the meanwhile, I had gotten rid of the VUE, and here in New York, when you get rid of a car, you surrender the plates, etc., as I had mentioned earlier this month in this blog. The DMV confirmed they had received them. All was good.

I get a call from the Saturn dealership: "Good news! We have your registration!" I asked if they could send them to me, and she said I had to talk to Mork (not his real name of course!) about that. Well Mork wasn't in until the next day. I left my number. Mork never called, so I called him. "Oh no! It's against the law to mail the registration! We've had a problem with customers claiming they never got them... blah blah blah." Well, dummy, if you send it say, Fed-Ex, or certified with signature required, you'd have your proof. No, he had to speak with his boss; he promised a call back. Of course he didn't call me back that day, or the next (being yesterday). Today, my temporary tags expire. Sooooo… I was quite unhappy by this time, and contacted via the website, Saturn's main office to let them know I was not a happy customer, and rated my experience down to a minus zero. I get a call, and she conferences in Mork, "I never said I couldn't send them, but you have to accept responsibility if you don't receive it!" *Counting to 25* I won't bore you with the conversation, but the gist of it was, that I had no plates, and the temporary expired the next day and — I needed the plates! He would overnight them.

Of course, I had nightmares all night about FedEx messing up the delivery, and lo and behold this morning on the news, some FedEx driver in Manhattan had his truck car-jacked and it was now in impound — along with all the letters and packages! Yes, of course, NOW I was terrified that mine would be on that truck…

At 10:00 this morning, in walks the DHL guy — WHEW! I have never been so happy to see a Fatty Arbuckle twin in my life! But… the envelope was awfully flimsy. I open it up and just a small envelope was inside; no plates! I open the envelope and there is my registration and window sticker — showing my old plates! I called: "Well in New York, you turn in your old plates to register with your new car…" to which I promptly replied to Morko-Dorko, "But HOW did you know I wasn't going to KEEP my old vehicle?" DOH!

So, I wrote my friendly helpful person at the main Saturn office, after spending a few minutes with the DMV; they were confounded as much as I was. She asked if I had spoken to Jim, and I told her that I had, but, about all I got out of it was nothing helpful.

So, I had to shovel my lunch down and not enjoy the casual gathering of friends at the MetLife office, and leave work early to zoom my way to the DMV to get new plates for my car. *whimpers* Thankfully, there's an office near my job. I prayed all my way there, because of lack of having to fight the gridlock of traffic totally caused me grief (where was everyone?), and once near the mall that harbors the DMV, various signs pointing the way to the alternate parking lots for Wal-Mart gave me greater grief. But, all my fears eased when I got a parking spot and walked in and didn't have to wait in line at all to get the paperwork and my number. There were only 8 people in front of me, so I thought it would be a breeze. Well, it seemed that everyone was moving in slow motion; all those office parties no doubt. When I had one of my plates stolen off the VUE, I was in and out of there in ten minutes; it was not to be so today. Forty minutes it too for me to walk in and walk out.

Gotta love the noodlesheads; or at least pray for them.

On my way home, I decided to stop at the Saturn dealership nearby to get a copy of my car key and alarm fob. They were all busy in their Christmas party, but I could make an appointment for the next day. What the heck; I said fine.

The best part of the day? Tony got off work early and brought home — chocolate…



December 22, 2007

Fighting whatever it is that's been keeping me from sleeping at night, I sleep-walked my way out this morning to begin my day of errands, errands and more errands.

First stop, White Plains and the Saturn dealership. I got there a bit early, so I stopped next door to get my car washed; the layer of road salt was causing havoc on the ability to see out my windows. In front me? A crotchety old man who took forever to pay his ticket with a zillion questions for the cashier, purchasing prepaid carwash passes, using some older ones in various combinations to pay his bill and yeah, it set precedence for the day…

At the Saturn dealership, the have these sofas; you know, those big black fluffy fake leather sorts that are oh-so-soft. Yeah… I sank into one and promptly fell asleep while reading my book while waiting. I hadn't yet had my safety inspection done for my car, and the service manager inquired why I had a New York registration and a New Jersey inspection sticker. She asked if I wanted to have the inspection, heard her say something about ten bucks, and said go ahead. Later, waking from the nap a bit thirsty, I grumbled because I wondered what the inspection was going to cost me compared to the guy I normally go to, but oh well, too late! I bought a soda and wandered around. I found a black ION like mine, only 2 years older; they were selling it for the price I paid for mine. Apparently when I was wandering around, they called my name because when I came back, the service manager said I was all done. Cool. I went to the cashier to pay the bill and she was dealing with some nimrod on the phone who wanted someone who spoke Spanish (erm, she was speaking in Spanish to him when I walked up). Mentally, I ticked off — two in a row! Then got a pleasant surprise when I saw that they only charged me ten dollars total for the inspection; the guy I normally go to charges $35. BIG difference.

The last two errands on the list were groceries and dog food. The parking lot was packed at the supermarket but inside wasn't nearly so bad. The same was true at Petco (they share a lot with Kohl's); it made my mind up that I would not go boots shopping at Kohls today.

Three more days until Christmas. We haven't even put up our tree this year.

Bah. Humbug.



December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I have enjoyed a nice four-day weekend; a pleasant one though busy for most of it all. The day is warm, pleasant … and thoughts simply drift to having to return to work tomorrow.

It sucks.



December 31, 2007

I'm in the midst of another four-day weekend. This time, the weekend has gone at a smooth slower pace. I could get spoiled to having every weekend like this one.

Tension at home has increased to the point that it constricts breathing.


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