Archive for November, 2011

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O.K., so good news for everyone who has had to listen to me WHINE ABOUT MY CAR for the past few months: IT’S FIXED! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

For those of you new to the blog, it all started when some stupid UNINSURED drunk ran off the road in the middle of the day … (with a B.A.L. FOUR TIMES the legal limit. .. hell – LO? How was this fool even driving!?) … and crashed directly into my beautiful little just-detailed Mustang convertible that was parked in my front yard … minding its own DAMN bidness … and (oh wait…there’s more!) SHOVED MY CAR THROUGH THE FRONT WALL OF MY HOUSE totaling the car and separating the front and side wall of the house… Yeah. Real nice.

Long story short: because I’d gotten an exceptional deal on the pony car, I could not afford another like it. The insurance company gave me a little settlement and for MONTHS I searched for another convertible, even though it couldn’t be a Mustang (my signature car). Dear daughter found me a great deal on Craig’s list for a low-mileage Sebring in my color (black like the ‘stang) and though it had some little things to fix up it was basically a good, low mileage convertible, which was what I wanted.

All was well until ANOTHER idiot (what am I; a magnet?!) tried to get into my car… again while it was parked RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE… by ripping the back window loose. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised; as the cops told me there had been LOTS of auto break-ins on my street and the next one.  A friend nodded knowingly and said I should have just not locked the car because then they’d have opened the door, seen nothing inside worth stealing, and gone on to the next house.

Which brings me to an aside: why in God’s name are these thieves so stupid that they steal in the poorest neighborhoods? Does that make any sense? I mean, we’re just as poor as THEY are; what do they think they’re going to get? Why don’t they visit the neighborhoods of the infamous 1% and steal from THEM! They’ve got great stuff, and it’s probably insured! (Another friend theorizes that the thieves don’t have cars and are stealing within walking distance of their homes. Now there’s a cheery thought.)

But I digress…

So I got the Sebring convertible and they got nothing when they ripped the rear window loose and my troubles were starting all over again because now I have not only a house that leaks but a wet car as well.

Oooooooh crap-o-la.

My bro loaned me a car cover, which helped when the car was parked, but hey, this IS Florida and it WAS our monsoon season, so obviously I was having to drive through a lot of rain and couldn’t very well do that with the car cover in place. So the inside of the car got wet and apparently screwed up the stereo box thing under the seat which then began draining the battery yada yada yada… thaaaaat’s right, me with no music. I was not a happy driver.

I talked to my old pal Gary Miller … Sarasota’s best body man  (CAR bodies, you perverts) … because he had come through for me on MANY smashed cars in the past AND on this car when I needed my power windows fixed (a mistake I doubt he’ll ever make again, what a job THAT was!) but this time Gary begged off. He explained that even though he is a GREAT body guy he does not do this kind of repair.

I always try to get three estimates but this time I had to settle for two:

The first was from a guy who I think is a good mechanic but I ended up not trusting the shop because his office manager must work on commission: She seemed totally focused on upselling “big jobs,” as I witnessed when I went to pick my car up and was ignored for 15 minutes while she did a telephone hard-sell on some poor customer and then…every time a worker came into the office afterward … would interrupt our conversation to trumpet to them “Hey, I sold that big job!” That … combined with the fact that the shop owner had quoted me $45. for the estimate and she tried to hit me up for $208.00 … did not inspire confidence. Buh-bye. (And yes, I spoke to the owner and he stuck to the $45. quoted.)

The second bid never materialized after I stopped at a shop where one of the nice, polite workers looked at the car, made a couple guesses of what the boss would suggest, took my name, phone number, info (including the fact that I needed an estimate to turn in within three days) and I never heard from them.

Then, I heard an ad on WSRQ radio 106.9 FM (which I now listen to FAITHFULLY since my friend Susan Nilon bought it and has been making all kinds of cool additions and changes) and knew that the announcer… named “Doc” … HAD to be talking to me when he asked A) – if the rain was like a sprinkler in my convertible and B) if I wanted a Doc Discount on the repair.

Well hell to the YEAH on both counts!

So I went to Callender Auto Tops & Upholstery on 2nd Street in Sarasota (off Lime) and met the owner, George Callender. He’s a heck of a nice guy, a lifelong Sarasota resident, and I believe said his shop has been there 30 years? Wow. O.k., so this is still a small town; you can’t have a good family name AND three-decades of business here if you don’t do good work. I liked him and his crew immediately. George explained exactly what he would do, why he would use the parts he would use, and how much it would cost. Everything was written down and he even jumped through some hoops with me so I could get the money to do the repair. Like I said; a heck of a nice guy.

Of course, the downside of this is that the shop is so good they are constantly slammed and it was going to be a while before he could get my car in for the work to be done. The office manager promised to call me if there were any cancellations (well of COURSE there weren’t!) and finally the big day came. Today.

My sister Laurie followed me much earlier in the a.m. than I’m accustomed to being up. We took the car in and, with the same trepidation one feels leaving a child at school the first day, left it there. Except in this case, I did resist the urge to call every hour or so to see how it was going.

The day dragged by soooooooooo slowwwwwwwly… Finally, it was time. A kind neighbor drove me to the shop through the rush hour traffic (the tourists are back, aren’t they…) and there in front of the shop was my sweet little car with NO MORE BOO-BOOS! I was so excited I started walking around it looking at it, wringing my hands in excitement and smiling, and caught the eye of another woman doing exactly the same thing with HER car…we both broke into big grins and let out a whoop of joy that our BABIES were all better, smiling at each other and yelling stuff like “I KNOW!”  

So 24 hours from now if you see a crazy lady with reddish brown hair driving around Sarasota in a black convertible with the top down, that would probably be me. If she’s accompanied by an elderly Bearded Collie, a toothless Maltese/ Chihuahua mix, and a Pit/Boxer that thinks it’ a Yorkie … and all four are howling at the full moon… that’s definitely us.

Ahhhhhh, life is good again.

Thank you, George!


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