Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Baby Girl is 1 today!!

OMGoodness! I can't believe that a year has gone by already!! Baby Girl has really grown up! She's gone from being a helpless newborn to a fiesty little toddler in the blink of an eye!

She's walking and babbling and signing - and she has 10 teeth now (4 top/bottom incisors and her top 1yr molars). She's eating "real" food and learning new things every day.

I am so blessed and grateful to have her, even if she does drive me nuts sometimes! LOL

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hyundai SUCKS!!

I'm about fed up with the crap about my car. Hyundai's attitude seems to be 'sucks to be you"! Nothing that I can do about it, really... they're too big for me to fight. We've been talking to the Consumer Affiars Rep for Hyundai Motor Corporation, and while he seemed to be helpful at first, it appears that he was "assigned" to scope out the situation, perhaps to insure they were prepared for any legal action that we might try to bring.

I don't really expect them to give me a new vehicle. I just think that they should "help" me get out of this one bacause I'm only getting rid of it because it's jacked up! I haven't owned it long enough to have any equity in it; I'm upside down because I just bought it 2 yrs ago! I think they should pony up some cash to help pay it off. We're going to continue to pursue that until they flat out tell us to screw off, and then we will wage a letter-writing campaign that will include a report to the NTSB. It may end up as nothing, but at least it will make them sit up and take notice because they WILL have to address the NTSB issue!!

Baby Girl has been sick... runny nose = ear infection; she's been running a fever, panting like a dog when it spikes. It finally broke today and we're thankful for that! She is such a bear to medicate though!! I have to hold her down and pry open her lips! Poor baby boo!! Sick babies are NO fun. She's up to 23# 4oz and is 30" tall!! What a big girl! She'll be 1 next week - I can't believe it! Where has the time gone??

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Now I'm going in a whole NEW direction...

Yesterday afternoon, B decided we all needed to "go for a ride" - we ended up in F'ville, car shopping. We stopped at the Toyota dealership to see if they had any Highlanders. They had a single Hybrid out front - I was hoping to locate a gas version to drive. The salesman, who had a wet-mop personality, drove us around back where I spotted a Limited non-Hybrid, but... he couldn't find the key. Oh, well...

We left there and headed over to Carmax. B's idea there was to look at different types of vehicles "side by side" instead of hopping around between dealerships. To be honest, I wasn't too excited about this idea; I went along to be nice, since he did drive all that way just to look for a new car for me. As I expected, they didn't have much that I was willing to consider, BUT they did have a Volva and an Audi. The Volvo - well, it was a Volvo - not exactly my style. The Audi, on the other hand... OMGoodness... I just loved it!! Not as "flashy" as the Highlander, but still had all the "bells and whistles" and as B pointed out, the "Krautmobiles" are built solidly and built to last!

We left there and B was even energized anew. He couldn't believe that I was willing to consider a used vehicle; he just assumed that I would insist on new. I let him now that I'd had plenty of used vehicles and had no beef with them; in fact, in I have my druthers, I'd rather buy a 1-2 year old version of a more reliable/higher end car than a brand new cheaper version. B agreed wholeheartedly.

We got the Baby Girl some lunch at her favorite place - McDonald's - she had a meltdown at the end of the Audi test drive - and then stopped by the Mercedes store. We were actually looking for an Audi dealership, but the closest one is in the Raleigh/Cary area. Anyway, the Mercedes place just happened to have one GL450 on the lot. Uh, WOW!! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous... an luxurious as can be! It just doesn't get any better!! These things go for $80+ new!!

Well, after much discussion, we decided that the Mercedes might be a bit of a stretch. I mean, I CAN afford one if it's what I truly choose to buy, BUT it's going to be a house payment and higher insurance, etc., etc. End result, it seems that the Q7 is the better choice for us at this time.

Once Baby Girl was settled for the night, we both pulled out our computers to see what we could find online. The Audi at Carmax had 47k miles and they were asking $33k for it (and the price is non-negotiable). B went to ebay (surprise, surprise) and I went to cars.com. I found a bunch of great deals!! Much better than B came across. He actually switched over to see what I was looking at!! LOL

At the end of the day, I found 4 very good possibilities... all of them are 2007 models; all of them have less than 18k miles (!!). My very favorite of them, by far, is pearl red, with black leather interior (I actually prefer the 2-tone beige leather, but... I guess in used cars, you have to make concessions); it has the auto start feature (button start) and the nicer rear seat accessories (seat heaters, 4 zone cooling, wood trim arm rest). It also has a back-up camera that comes on automatically when you switch into reverse! And, the steering wheel is heated! The panoramic moonroof is absolutely beyond compare and no one else has anything like it! I think it's the coolest thing I've ever seen in a car!! It extends over both the front and middle rows and has a retractable shade (powered); the front half of it also lifts up and slides back in varying degrees - there are a dozen or so levels that it can be opened. It can be operated from the front and from the 2nd row as well. There is a separate sunroof over the 3rd row seat, which pops up; it has its own sunshade, though it is manually opened/closed.

For all that's "right" with the car, it isn't perfect - the Nav system isn't activated, but that can be done by a dealer (needs a module installed, I believe); and it didn't have the DVD system like the one at Carmax did, but to be honest, in all of our searching, in the dozens of vehicles that we looked at, we only found TWO that DID have the DVD players. I spent some time online today looking at options, and will likely get that done after-market. For a couple thousand $$ I can get headrest DVD players installed so the kids can each watch their own movie!! B even suggested putting one in one of the 2nd row headrests so that the 3rd row passenger (the times that there IS one) would have his own screen. I LOVE that idea!! The other wicked cool thing we both loved was a wood steering wheel (and a matching shifter knob)... again, we only saw it on a couple of the vehicles we looked at. In fact, this isn't even offered as an option on the Audi website, so it seems to be after-market. But, it's something that I'll consider; I should be able to get it done for no more than $500 but it adds SO much to the "richness" of the vehicle!! B found a place that applies the matching wood to your own steering wheel - you have the dealer take it off and ship it to them; they revamp it and send it back to be reinstalled...

Of course, once I settled my mind on the Audi, B started pushing the Mercedes. WHAT?!? He's the one who kept saying "it's out of reach" and convinced me to be satisfied with the Audi!! The problem is, there are just too many to choose from, and they all have "cool" features... but I can only afford ONE vehicle!!

The Mercedes is, well, a Mercedes - and it has powered third row seats (push a button to sit them up or lay them down); but... it looks kinda like a Suburban (superficially speaking, 'cause a Mercedes will NEVER look like a freakin' Chevy!!). It's also quite a bit more expensive, and I really don't want to go older than 2 yrs or over about 25k miles.

The Audi is the most stylish, externally speaking. It has indoor/outdoor type carpet which is awesome because it doesn't show the wear like "regular" automobile carpeting. It also has the awesome and incredible panoramic moonroof, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOCE!!

The Acura MDX looks a lot like the Q7, but it's a rice-burner, and I think I've had enough of those for the time being. The Volvo is nice, but it's a Volvo - all boxy and hard angles; just not "me". The Lexus only has 2 rows; same with the Nissan Murano. The Mazda CX-9 is a bit "crude" - their attempt to keep it "sporty" rather than more luxurious leaves it feeling "cheap". The Hyundai... hahahahahahaha!! Like I'd get another one of those!!

So, where do we stand right now?? Early this coming week, the Hyundai people are supposed to get on the phone with the dealership and start figuring out what to do about this situation. I'm sure there are endless possible solutions they could offer... I can't see them doing nothing since we've already established that this is a "safety issue" - that would leave them WIDE open for legal ramifications! I suppose they could "fix" it, but we've been there, done that many, many times over the last 16 months, so there is NO way they will EVER convince me that that car is fixed for good. They could buy me out of the car, which would be fine; they could offer me a new Veracruz, which also would be fine, as long as they let me keep my existing loan - with a brand new car and only $24k owed, I'd trade that bitch in so fast, it would hardly have time to gather dust!! Offering me a new car with a new loan would NOT go over well, and I do believe that I'd have to veto that offer! Right now, the anguish is waiting for them to decide. I hope they'll be expedient as I'm without a vehicle, and they can't really give me mine back, for the aforementioned safety concerns.

Well, tomorrow is Monday; keep your fingers crossed that it brings GREAT news on this front!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Some potentially good news...

B got home late last night - actually, it was about 2am today - anyway, after we got up and got Baby Girl off to daycare, we picked up the green Jag then stopped by the dealership to drop off my car, AGAIN. We talked to the service manager who said that he was going to drive my car himself to see if he could replicate the problem. I told him a couple of things that I have noticed over the last week - (1) it doesn't happen when the car is cold; it works fine in the morning, but by the time I get to the boys' schools, it's lagging, so you have to drive it a good 20 mins before you can expect to experience the joy of my vehicle; and (2) you have to accelerate from a complete stop to get the lag. I got B to take a quick look at the Highlander; he's still very skeptical about the hybrid feature, but he likes the car a lot. He even liked the mossy green color of the one on the lot!!

We stopped by the Mazda dealership and they happened to have a CX-9 out front; it wasn't the top of the line model, but we drove it anyway. I thought it was okay - not fabulous, but consider what I've been driving... B wasn't much impressed; he says that you hear too much road noise, and that that will increase as the car ages; he thinks it's "cheap" even though it would be about $37k for the model that I like.

We decided to rule out the Buick Enclave altogether. I think it's a beautiful car, inside and out, BUT I've already had one GMC which was a piece of shit, and the Enclave isn't a cheap car - it's a good $40k. I don't to pay that much for another POS!! Been there, done that, still stuck in it!!

Now, with these latest issues, B has been calling Hyundai to try to get some type of satisfaction from them. He has been getting the run around like always happens with customer service centers. They don't call him back, and when he calls them back, he ends up with a new "rep" who wants the whole story from the beginning again. He even asked for the name of the "head honcho" and was told "I don't know."

So, B went to the Internet and got the name of the president of Hyundai and his mailing address; he wrote a letter, which I still haven't read in its entirety, and sent it off. It first went to the service center, I guess, and they forwarded it to the corporate office. They told him that it was forwarded on Wednesday and that we would get a response in 4-5 business days. Their "guy" called this afternoon.

According to the Hyundai guy, he received a letter from the president of Hyundai himself, telling him to look into and resolve this situation; B spent about 45 mins talking to him, giving him the rundown on the situation, beginning to end. At the end, he promised to look into it and get back to us. He did tell us that the dealership should have called in the district rep early on given the nature of the problems. That was their screw up... As a result, he says, they have no "baseline" and don't know if the original problem was ever corrected or if this is just still part of it.

At any rate, it's nice to see that they responded so quickly and are taking things seriously. B says it's because of the "safety" issue here... if we report the problem and they don't act on it, and then there's an accident... the NTSB would be up their asses like white on rice.

I'm going to keep looking around; I figure I'll be in a new vehicle by the end of November, and that will be fine. We did a lot of talking while we were driving around today and as a result, I've ruled ou the Hybrid Highlander. I've agreed to keep it under $40k. That's really plenty for me to spend on a vehicle right now... I'd really like to keep my car payment LESS than my house payment!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Did I tell you how much I HATE my vehicle??

OMG!! This car is the biggest POS ever!! The lag is back, and it's most annoying. I guess the only positive things I can say are (1) it's not breaking down (at least not yet) and (2) it lags, but it's not surging forward like before - when I press on the accelerator, half of the time, it works perfectly normally; the other half of the time, nothing happens for a couple of seconds and then the car speeds up normally... but the lag is a little scary. What if I'm making a turn and don't have that extra 3 seconds to hesitate?? I've become a very cautious driver since it started - which I guess isn't a bad thing, but it's annoying.

I'm leaning farther and farther away from another Veracruz as the days go on. I know it might still be the best deal we can make, BUT I just hate this vehicle so much!! I know it's probably the ONLY crossover that I will be able to find, but I'm willing to go back into an SUV at this point. The Highlander Hybrid is looking pretty fine right now, even with the higher price tag!!

If I have the time, I may go check out some vehicles tomorrow... I need to actually see the SUVs and drive them to make any kind of informed decision. As much as I hate the idea of increasing my car payment - it's already $603/month - at this point, if that's what it takes, then so be it... The Highlander hybrid gets an estimated 27 mpg compared to 15 for the non-hybrid version (the Veracruz is about 17); seems that the improved gas mileage would more than make up for the increase in car payment... if I like the way it drives/handles. We'll see... God I hate this!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What was he thinking?!?

So, today, my darling nearly 13 yr old son was suspended from school - for one day - for SELLING those Ambesol Q-tip things to his classmates. He got in trouble for distributing medication... I can't begin to fathom what he was thinking. Apparently, neither can he.

We didn't yell, we didn't smack him around (though the thought DID cross my mind briefly) - right now he's at my house, so the computer/TV are off limits for the rest of the week (he goes back to his dad's on Friday), he'll have to go to work with me tomorrow (that should be a blast), and he has to pay me back for the things he gave away, since I bought them.

Sometimes I swear I just don't get it... but then, I guess I just can't think like a 13 yr old boy!!

Changing gears -- I've got to try to figure out what type of car I want. Unfortunately my choices are very limited - looks like Hyundai, Toyota or Nissan, actually. I like the Murano but it's much smaller than the Veracruz (no 3rd row), and B says it's "cheap" on the inside. The Pathfinder has the 3rd row, but it's an SUV, not a crossover. I also like the Santa Fe, but primarily because it's available in pearl white - probably not a good reason to buy a vehicle. I'm pretty sure it's also on a truck frame... I used to love my Veracruz!! Now I see pictures of the interior and just feel "ick"!! Though I'm thinking of going with the brown saddle leather this time around which gives it an entirely different look! The Highlander is a nice looking vehicle too (probably a truck frame) and it comes in a hybrid, which is pretty cool... Even my very limited selection seems to be too much for me to handle!! I suppose I'll have to go down there and actually look at the vehicles and drive some to make a final decision. B is leaning towards the Veracruz.... I'm not totally convinced.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The owner of the Hyundai dealership called today

He wants us to come down and try to work a deal to get out of this defective vehicle. He says that he recognizes that this car is a safety hazard and that he's spoken with Hyundai - they are hopefully going to work some kind of deal with HIM for taking it from us. I figured that they would... wouldn't be too good for a major car manufacturer to say "uh, yeah, we realize that that is one of 3 truly bum vehicle, but you're just gonna have to suck it up". We're going to go down there when B gets back home - end of the week, probably.

B is leaving tomorrow a.m. for Idaho to check on the status of the airplane hangar for his Nigerian client, Mr. S... money is money, right?? Mr. S is paying him a goodly daily wage to fly out there (by the way, there appears to be NO good way to get to Idaho!) and have a look around. Oh, and to pay the balance left on the hangar so they'll get it ready to ship. Of course, I suppose it's much more cost effective than sending one of his guys over from Nigeria... It seems that, even though the contract specifies that final payment is due when the item is ready to ship, the company won't produce the hangar doors until they get final payment -- now, me being me, I'd argue the point with them -- a contract is a contract, after all. But, Mr. S has agreed to go ahead and make final payment, but he wants B to do it in person.

And, as if going to Idaho ONCE isn't enough, after they get the hangar doors ready and get the pieces to the shipper (who is somewhere on the west coast - Washington, maybe??), B will have to go out THERE to make sure that things are copacetic prior to them loading it all up on a ship for Africa. Again, money is money... it just seems kinda silly to me... but money is one thing that Mr. S has plenty of.

I signed up with the Jillian Michaels' site this weekend; started the meal plans yesterday and the exercise plan today. I felt GREAT today (I'm tired now and have a headache...) and didn't totally hate my time at the gym - LOL. I'm just not very motiviated when it comes to exercise - this is nothing new... Having a detailed, step-by-step plan is amazing - I can make myself work through it - it's when I'm left to my own devices that I wuss out!! And, it's common knowledge that I'm not much of a cook - so having pre-planned weekly menus (complete with recipes and shopping lists!) is a God-send!! The food I've made so far has been quite good... certainly as good as anything else that I've managed to come up with by flipping through recipe books on my own! And, it requires NO thought on my part!! Woo hoo!!

Basically, all of MY meals are planned; the boys and B are free to have whatever they want, or don't want, for breakfast and lunch; we all eat the same thing for dinner. It's not so much "low fat" as it is just healthier food - tonight we had whole wheat pasta with sauce made from scratch, with turkey instead of beef. I wilted spinach for me and B; Middle Child had a salad; Little Man had green beans. All in all, the meal was a success... remarkable for this family!!

Anyway, I don't feel hungry so much, I don't feel totally deprived because the food is good - let's see how long I can stick to it!!