Sunday, December 26, 2010


I will fly from Cleveland to Chicago to Raleigh and one of my friends will pick me up in Raleigh and drive me back to No Man's Land, where I will wander my house and (hopefully) play in the studio.

Tuesday morning, the movers will arrive to pack up my stuff. Wednesday, they will load up my stuff. And then sometime between the third and the fifth, the movers will deliver my stuff to my new house. (Or so the theory goes...)

Ironically, my new house is only about 2 blocks from my old apartment. It's a bit smaller than I was hoping to find, but it's a 2 bedroom, 1 bath bungalow with a full basement (with an outside door) and a two car garage. So, it'll be okay I think. And it's walking distance to the train station and the library, so it's where I want to be.

It's also only the second house of the millions that I looked at that was even habitable. I wish now that I'd thought to take pictures of the bright orange counters, falling down ceilings, small dead mammals, inoperable bathrooms, sinks with no water, a garage with a body marked on the floor... seriously, it's been quite an adventure.

I've spent three weeks in an extended stay hotel, which was perfectly adequate... but omg am I glad to be out. One room living, camping out with a toaster, a microwave and 2 sparking burners is just not cool.

So, all's well here although even more nuts than usual. If you think of it, please send good karma my way - I could really use it this week!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Spirit Of Christmas

May the gods help me, I'm about to go brave the mall to finish (ahem, start, then finish) my Christmas shopping. This is the first time in years that I've had to deal with a real mass of humanity in a mall, so this should be exciting. And awful beyond words. But, what I did already get for people is in North Carolina and will be until after Christmas and I don't actually have an address for shipping so... it's off to brave the mall. *whimper*

This is exactly what I needed to get me into the right mood. I love Jenny. She's almost as insane as I am, but in a much more funny way. It started here, when Jenny offered up gift cards to the first 20 people who commented that they needed help. When she read the comment from #21 that needed help, her heart sank. And then, a few comments further, someone said that they'd handle assistance for #21. And then it snowballed. Comments on her blog have helped literally hundreds, and several of her readers have done the same on their blogs.

This is what it's all about - just reach out a hand if you can. Or give an hour. Or don't stab the bell-ringer. You know, do what you can. And today (at least until I start the war for a parking place at the mall) I can believe that maybe, just maybe, all humans don't suck.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hungover Owls

I'll bore you silly soon with my mis-adventures in moving. For today though, this site made me hoot with laughter. :-D

(Due to language - aka an INSANE number of f-bombs - I'd rate this NSFW.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Real Reason That I Love Tim Gunn...

Because in real life, he's C3PO!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The End...? (aka Jones Junction = Jones Nissan = Bel Air Nissan = Evil)

The story behind how I acquired Petunia is here, and here, and there.

On 11/23/10, Roxanne told me that the Garmin was on order and it would be delivered in 2 weeks or maybe 3 due to the holiday.

On 11/24/10, Steve Zell told me that he hadn't returned my calls because the service manager was supposed to be handling it, and they couldn't get the nav system or the cradle. Also on the 24th, I talked to the registration people and the title people in Ohio and they still hadn't received anything BUT I could bring in the bill of sale and some other paperwork and get a 30 day temp tag from Ohio. I talked to Tracy and she said that she'd fedex copies of the papers that they'd sent to Ohio so I'd have them and that they'd arrive at my parents' house on Friday.

On Friday, nothing happened.

On Saturday (11/27/10), I called Tracy's cell phone to demand to know where the fedex package was. She checked the tracking number, and it was never shipped. So she went into the office, scanned the papers and emailed them to me. I printed them out and kept them with me. (The theory was that if I did get pulled over, I'd have proof that the registration was in process.) Also on Saturday, I moved into the Extended Stay hotel in one of the Chicago suburbs.

On 11/29/10, Tracy told me that the courier company would have the paperwork from the state the next day and would fedex it directly to me. Later that day, I talked to Roxanne, who needed to know what county in Ohio. Also on the 29th, I left a message for the guy at the dealer license place to let him know that the situation was not resolved. And I got a message from my parents saying that the fedex from the dealership arrived at their house today. Also, I started my new job.

On 12/1/10, I left several messages for them but didn't hear anything.

On 12/2/10, I talked to the registration and title people in Ohio again and learned that the registration had been completed the day before. Yay! I also got a message from Roxanne with the fedex tracking number of the registration coming to me at my new place of work.

On 12/3/10 (the day after my 60 day temp tags expired), I received the package with my registration and Ohio temp tags, with the note that my plates were being manufactured and I'd get them via fedex in the next 2 weeks.

On 12/7/10, I talked to my dad, who told me that Petunia's tags are at their house. Success! Yay! I'll pick them up when I'm home for Christmas, and I have the temp tags (which are good until 12/29/10) until then.

Now I wait and see if the dealership has the nerve to call and try to collect the additional taxes... I have been keeping track of the hours that I've spent on the phone for this, and there's a lot of them. If they call me for the taxes, I will bill them for these hours and it will be substantially more than the tax difference, and if it comes to it, I will take them to court. I am so sick of businesses pulling shit like this because they know that they will get away with it because there isn't any way for you or I to do anything about it without a significant output of time, money and energy which most of us just can't afford. At this point, I'm almost hoping they do call - I need a target for all of the rage and stress, and they'd be a handy one.

Interesting Side Note:
I need a local Nissan dealership here so I started researching the Nissan dealerships around here. I found one that did the same thing to a guy buying the vehicle from Virginia. And a lady I talked to in North Carolina went through something very similar when buying a car in Florida. I have a hard time believing that this is a coincidence. So, if you are buying a car out of state, BEWARE.

Lessons Learned:
1. Get everything regarding pricing and available options in writing, preferably notarized, from someone with the authority to give it. Hint: sales guy probably doesn't have the authority.

2. Make sure writing is CLEAR. (Something scribbled on the side of the brochure = not clear.)

3. Eat BEFORE you go. Take snacks.

4. Read everything. Question anything that is not perfectly clear. (If you can't explain to someone else and have it make sense, it is not perfectly clear. Ask.)

5. Research the dealership carefully. This includes an address search! (I researched by Jones Nissan and Jones Junction, which is what all of the advertising says. The actual name of the dealership is Bel Air Nissan, and THAT is where the bad reviews live. Yes, they are operating under an alias to hide from their bad press. That never occurred to me. I will not forget in the future.)

6. Try to get something in writing from them before you leave stating that you have paid everything that you are responsible for - I don't know if this will work, but if it does, it will probably save you being called weeks later for additional fees.

7. Learned from a forum online: do not mention a lawyer unless you have one. Most dealerships will immediately stop talking to you and go straight to their lawyer. Don't try to bluff this one.

8. The Attorney General, the BBB, the corporate parent company (Nissan Corporate Customer Affairs), the finance company, the clerk of courts in Maryland and Ohio, AND the registration people in Maryland and Ohio were sympathetic, but useless to resolving the situation. I think my calling several times a day for several months helped, and I think I'd still be fighting with them had Agent Hubbart from the Maryland Dealers Licensing Department not called and snarled at them for me. So, don't forget the dealer licensing people if you have a problem.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Best Snackies EVER

My friends gave me their old dehydrator when they got a bigger one for Christmas last year. I have only used it a couple of times but this totally makes storing it worthwhile! Another kitchen tool that I have but seldom use is the mandolin. So making apple chips is awesome in many ways - I get to play with seldom-used kitchen gadgets AND I get super yummy and nutritious snacks out of it. Win win!

This "recipe" is from the same friends that gave me the dehydrator. We went to Sam's Club the other day and found big bags of Jonagold apples. We both squeaked with joy and pounced.

Apples (I prefer Jonagolds for this.)
Orange Juice

Pour orange juice in a bowl. Wash apples, quarter and core them. Use mandolin with thickest slicer attachment (mine is about 0.25 inches) to slice apples.

As each quarter is sliced, put slices in bowl of orange juice.

When the bowl is full, arrange slices on dehydrator trays.

Stack the trays, turn it on and let it go. (I use the middle of the fruit setting - 135 degrees.) After a couple of hours, I flip the chips over to keep them from sticking to the trays. I also restack the trays with the top on the bottom, front in the back to ensure even air flow.

They're done when the apples are dry to the touch. Or you can't wait anymore, whichever comes first. I store mine in freezer bags in the cupboard, but they never last long - it's an act of will to not snarf them all down as soon as I turn the dehydrator off.

If you don't have a dehydrator, you can probably use the oven on its lowest setting. You should try, 'cause these things are seriously delicious!