Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

is increasingly disappointing to me.... so many of my neighbors are too freakin' lazy to even give out candy anymore, and since I live kind of on the outskirts of the neighborhood, we get very little traffic anymore.

Why am I ticked about this?? Because this year we went "all out" - I spent a small fortune (okay, so it wasn't really a fortune, but I DID spend hundreds of dollars) on decorations - we had the witch and her cauldron, complete with fogger; the apothecary of witch's brew ingredients; the rodents (rats) and birds (crows and owls); spiderwebs and spiders; the grim reaper with scythe, chain and lantern; the graveyard; severed limbs; the skeletons climbing the front tree; a dozen hand-carved Funkins with flickering lights; I was right proud!! I even bought myself a costume (I made a rather cute vampire, if I do say so myself... the teeth were totally bitchin'), bought the kids nice costumes, bought a bunch of decent candy, etc.

Well, the boys decided to go to a haunted house instead of trick-or-treating - and that's fine, they ARE getting older... I handed out candy to the few people that showed up (most of them don't even live in our neighborhood), then I got annoyed and set the candy on the front porch and shut the door.

Next year, I'm going to find a costume party to go to -- somewhere, anywhere.... I don't care if I have to go out of state to a friend's party!! LOL Damn! What a waste of time and energy Halloween was this year... such a shame!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My car is a huge P-O-S!!

Arrrgggghhhhh!!! I am SO done with my car!! The damned thing had yet another major problem.... this time it was lagging (seriously) when I pressed the accelerator and then jumping suddenly, and sometimes jerking when I was driving at a steady speed - it's hard for me to describe because I don't know the appropriate mechanical terms, but it felt like I was driving along and rhythmically letting up on the accelerator, causing the vehicle to slow briefly and then accelerating back to speed - only I wasn't making it happen... I took it to the dealership because it was driving erratically as described above, and because the "check engine" light had come on.

We left the car, then called that afternoon to find out what was wrong... their answer? "The "check engine" light isn't on and we the codes the computer is bringing up are nothing." Uh... okay... it's still f'ed up, even if you can't figure it out.

So we took it home, and I drove it for another 2 days until the "check engine" light came back on, because it always does... and we took it BACK to the dealership and this time left it running until the guy came out and saw it lit. They hooked it up to the computer again and this time supposedly got a whole different set of codes. The called Hyundai and decided that a "software upgrade" was required after the throttle body was replaced the 2nd time, and they had neglected to do this, and THAT'S why the car is jacked up now. The throttle body was last replaced over a year ago - wouldn't you think that, if it was a software incompatibility issue, it would have manifested a little sooner?? Especially given how much I drive in a year?? I guess not...

When we went to pick the car up, the service manager told B that Hyuandai told him that I apparently have one of three Veracruz's in the US that are totally jacked up... Hyundai keeps track of all of this in great detail it seems. Now, as much as I have bad-mouthed Hyundai in recent months, I don't truly believe that they are ALL pieces of crap; I have always believed that I was unfortunate enough to have gotten a real "lemon" of a vehicle - now I know that this is a fact. And while it might be nice to know that they are capable of manufacturing quality vehicles, it doesn't make it any easier to stroke that check each month, as I'm waiting for the next huge problem to rear it's ugly head!! My car cost just as much as any of the ones that are functioning properly!! I didn't get a discount because mine is f'ed up!

On a possibly positive note, the service manager also told B that he would go with us to the dealership owner to discuss cutting a "deal" to trade my car in for something new (I have to think that he's already broached this subject with the owner, as he would look incredibly stupid if he went in there with us and the guy said "hell, no"). I am very anxious to see if we can work this out - I figure that, at the rate I put miles on the car, I have less than a year left on my warranty (I currently have 65k miles on the car; the drive train warranty is to 100k) - this is the 4th major defect we've had to have repaired; thanks to the warranty, I haven't had to come out of pocket for any of them, but that will all change when the warranty runs out next year and I am NOT going to be happy about putting out hundreds, or possibly thousands, of dollars to fix a car that has been jacked up since the day we bought it. I imagine that Hyundai will make some sort of accomodation for the dealer should he cut us a deal, as they know that the car is dysfunctional.

Because I rolled the negative equity from the Envoy into this car, I'm currently upside-down in the loan,or I'd have already dumped the damned thing. I'm not totaly keen on getting a new Veracruz, though I doubt a new one would have these issues - so we're looking at what other options may be available. It has to be something that this guy has at one of his many dealerships, and we're not totally sure what lines that encompasses. B is supposed to call the service manager tomorrow to find out. I may end up with a Veracruz anyway, because that might be the best deal. B says if they offer to take the car and $5k for a new one, we're all over it.

We tried to look at some options today, but there are a pitifully small number of crossover vehicles in this area. The Hyundai place had ONE Veracruz in white (we wanted to see a black one - not a huge fan of black, but the Veracruz is not supposed to be a flat black, supposed to be metallic and dimensional, so I want to check it out); the Mazda place didn't have a single CX-9; they had several CR-7s, but those are smaller; the Buick place had one (used) eggplant colored Enclave (it really was a purple-brown color).

Now, as car's go, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the look of the Enclave... BUT -- it's an American car, which I am NOT a fan of... the pieces just don't "fit" together right - there are gaps and irregularities... and they are quite a bit more expensive than the Veracruz (start out at $5k more for the base model) - my car payment is currently just over $600/month; I really don't want to end up paying even more!! Now, since that one Enclave IS used, it might be more affordable, and I don't care about it being used.... but it's still an American car... so I just don't know.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My gripe about Hilton

We're staying at the Hilton in Springfield this weekend - it's a nice hotel, but... when we checked in, and went up to our room, the door was propped open and there was some plastic thingy lying on the floor. Guess they were doing some re-wiring and the plastic stuff is what they use to hold the wire against the wall. Anyway, they send one of the workers in to "fix" it, which was fine...

I get us all unpacked and B is entertaining Baby Girl in the window. We're on the 8th floor, facing the highway, so there is plenty for her to watch and she's loving it. She's standing on top of the air conditioner unit and I notice that there is a window there... walking over, I reach out and push and the damned thing slides open!!

So, I call down to the desk and explain the situation to them; the guy seems stunned but he finally says that he'll send maintenance to check it out. B went to buy some shoes for the wedding, and Baby Girl and I hung out waiting for the maintenance guy - 4 hours later, as we come back from dinner, and I'm trying to put Baby Girl to sleep... he slides the curtains open, makes a big show of putting in a screw with a power drill, and then closes the curtains and leaves. I think "problem solved" and go on about the business of settling our daughter for the night.

As is the norm for her, Baby Girl is up and about at 7am. She goes immediately to the window, reaches up and pulls out the screw because it's WAY too small for the hole!! I call the desk and report this; they promise to send someone to fix it correctly. As we leave the hotel for breakfast, we stop at the desk and reiterate the issue; again, they promise to correct it. We return to the hotel and Baby Girl takes her morning nap; I head to the "health center" for a run; we all shower and dress for the wedding, and no one comes to repair the window. We are gone from 2pm until nearly 9pm, and return to a room with a window that still opens! But, Baby Girl is exhausted and I don't want anyone screwing around in the room so we let it go for the night.

We check out of the hotel at 8am to head for home, again reminding the front desk that the window in room 805 is not secured. Wouldn't surprise me to find out it can STILL be opened! I sent an email to Hilton about it - wonder if I'll even hear anything back. From now on, we'll be staying elsewhere...

A Thai wedding

was this weekend - a LONG time coming, as I understand it. They've been together for 10 years!! It was nice, even if I was one of only a few falangs there... and even though it meant that we had to make another trip up to DC. Of course, I'm the one who gets to tend to Baby Girl for the 6 hour car trip each way. If she just didn't hate car rides so much!! I'm really hoping that things will improve once we can flip her seat around forwards next month!!

Anyway... they got married at some historic "mansion" in Maryland - about 45 minutes from Springfield. B was the officiant - he was SO nervous about it - but he did fine. They were already legally married - did that on 09/09/09 - so this was just for show. It was quite cool (a good 20 degrees cooler than just last weekend!!) and had rained cats and dogs on Saturday, so I wasn't too optimistic about it being outdoors, but the weather held and it actually wasn't all that miserable out there by the fountain.

They had a ton of hor d'oevres and then a buffet dinner - the Thai have a tight community and people seemed to be coming out of the woodwork to put this thing together! There were "guests" arriving left and right with trays of crackers and these strange gelled cubes rolled in coconut (which were pretty good, by the way). There was an open bar and I put it to good use! LOL Made chasing Baby Girl all over creation much more bearable!

We left right before they cut the cake; it was way past Baby Girl's bedtime and she was having a meltdown. I hated that we weren't able to stay, but it was just too late... the wedding didn't even start untiil 4:30. I know that many people don't understand why we can't just "keep her up a little later" but she is so regimented when it comes to naps and, even more so, for bedtime!! Just being up that extra 90 minutes tonight will make the rest of our night difficult - if she doesn't go to bed on time, she is up and down all night!!

We're up and out early tomorrow morning - I need to be back home to pick the boys up after school... I'm actually looking forward to just being at home for a while.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This weekend was the continuing education conference -

the ACVS (American College of Veterinary Surgeons) Symposium in Washington, DC. We drove up on Wednesday afternoon and checked into the brand new Residence Inn in Springfield, VA. It's about 1/2 a mile from the Springfield Metro Station (end of the blue line) which made it very easy for me to head into the city - I took the blue line to Metro Central, switched to the Red Line and took that to Woodley/National Zoo - come up from underground, and you're directly behind the hotel hosting the conference. Normally I prefer to stay AT the conference hotel, BUT the Marriott Wardman Hotel thinks very highly of their lodging and charges upwards of $250/night... more than I felt like coming out of pocket this time around!! We got a very nice place at a very new hotel for $75... $4.50 each way for subway fare, but we still came out on the very positive side in this equation, no matter how you spin it.

Of course, part of the rationale for staying in Springfield is that B's family lives there. We got to spend a bunch of time with D & S/D and S's family. It was a pretty nice visit, but poor Baby Girl did suffer a bit. We were ill prepared for her "normal" regimented napping schedule and she missed much sleep - making her cranky and downright unpleasant - but we couldn't do much complaining as WE created that monster! In more ways than one...

We left early this afternoon to head back home - of course, I have to go back to work tomorrow... *sigh* and then, lucky us, we head BACK to Springfield on Saturday for R & A's wedding which is Sunday afternoon. Hardly time to get unpacked and get the laundry done... but, family is family and this is a huge deal for them of course, so... whatcha gonna do??