Wednesday, October 31, 2007

One Out Of The Ditch...

Back in May, I wrote a little piece involving a car that looked just like mine off in the ditch up North of here.

Since I go by there almost every day, I saw the car in the water several times. It was fairly deep, nasty lookin' water, and I watched it recede a bit and come back up a bit a couple times. While the water was still there, the car disappeared. Not deep enough to completely cover the car; but still deep enough most wrecker services would say "just wait,"

At the end of that piece, I said I hoped they'd call us about it...

Two guys pulled it out with a pickup before the water went down at all, and today, they called, and we bought it!

Not the SHO like I'd figured and it looks to have been pretty rough before the water came, but still, a bit of a parts car nonetheless.

More later... _\,,/

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Disjointed Thursday!

Well, I had this nice long post in the works about how awesome it is to have friends who'll crawl under your car to try to give ya a hand even when there's a storm coming; and how great it is to have friends who'll get ya some dinner or give ya a ride somewhere; and also how great it is to have friends who'll call to see if you need to borrow a car to get home & get to work the next day. It's also great to think somebody cares enough to make that offer even when that car is a schweet little hotrod Miata... It's good to have friends like that, it really is.

Also part of that potential post was a rant about a family member who'd drank so much that same night that he barely knew who I was on the phone, and had no idea what I was talking about when I asked where to look for the plug to reconnect the wire that had fallen off (hence me & a friend being under the Windstar), he actually asked "What van?"


I was kinda in the middle of that potential post when an interesting thing happened... Three guys in a big Chevy Van showed up Tuesday afternoon and looked over a few of the cars out front. They asked if we had anything else out back, and after they'd checked out one in the back building, they noticed the ol' Velvetteen Rabbit Windstar sittin' under the awning. Amazingly enough, before I could "drive the last of the transmission out of it" and think about partin' it out, it sold. They bought five cars all together, handed over cash, and started puzzlin' over how to get 'em back to Dallas. All three guys were totally busy like a well-oiled machine, unloading chains and parts and tools out of the back of the Chevy while I was stackin' my crap out of the Windstar, and lemme tell ya, I was very glad I'd hung onto that blue plastic storage bin... Once I'd made sure I didn't leave anything in there (except the frog), they loaded it onto a tow dolly behind the big Chevy -- they bolted tow bars onto two of the others, chained 'em up in pairs, and the three guys took off with their two cars, two trucks, and two vans. It was quite a sight.


I mailed off my AAA Registration anyway though; still never know what I might end up runnin' around in.


The fun part: we just finished fixin' this fire-engine-red Mustang, it's got that bodyshop smell and it's perrrrrrrty. So when Dad said "So, how you gettin' home?" I couldn't resist. It's nice (for a 6-cylinder), and I like it, even in red. I'm holdin' out for a V-8 in black or blue or green or maybe silver. Manual or automatic, you can surprise me... It's a good feelin' car though, I think I'll add "V-8 Mustang" to the list -- whichever I find a good deal on first, New Hemi Challenger, Powerstroke Excursion, or V-8 Mustang. But I'm still keepin' the SHO. ;)


Last night I finished the last of the knitting on Little Miss Caroline's stripedy sweater. I really like the way it works with the stripes, it takes the guesswork out of knowing when it's long enough and it's time to stop -- it's soooooo much easier to count the stripes and match 'em up instead of trying to figure out if I've made too many rows or if I stretched it a little bit when I was measuring. Button hole placement is very easy with the stripes as well -- four stripes then make a hole is a lot easier to line up than worrying if I stretched it a bit too. The Stripes make for a lot of ends to weave in, but they're totally worth it, I like the looks of it, I'm real happy with how it turned out. So tonight, I'll be stitching seams and weaving in ends and hopefully gettin' it ready to mail!


It got awful freakin' cold around here, awful freakin' fast.


The Gourds are playin' in Tulsa this Friday (eh, I just realized that's tomorrow), and I can't wait to see 'em!!


The Crab is gettin' married Saturday, and I think I've finally found something to wear... I didn't want to wear "that one dress" because it's been seen way too much at other dressy events; so I spent a good part of the weekend dragging Clay (and eventually draggin' my own tracks out as well) from store to store in hopes of finding something that wasn't "totally not me." I didn't have much luck. Really, it shouldn't be that hard, I just want something dressy-ish that isn't black and doesn't look like Grandpa's pajama top. Why is everything hangin' in the stores so hurtfully ugly lately?? I tried on one dress but niether one of us liked it much at all... Finally, Monday after class I ended up at "Fashion Bug" (a store I'd never set foot in before) and I found a nifty little blue & white skirt that should look okay with a white top -- so I'm


Wait, I just moved my freakin' purse so you wouldn't spray gas on it while you were testing that fuel pump over there by the power converter, so why the hell are you dangling a drippy fucking fuel pump over here on top of the CPU where I moved my gawdamn purse to keep it from getting gas on it? Move it, bitch, NOW!


Where was I? Oh yeah, "Fashion Bug." They had quite a few pieces of the hurtfully ugly stuff like the other stores, but they also had some cute stuff too -- and a big, big clearance rack, so I picked up a handful of three dollar tops for next summer along with my new skirt; which would go with any of those tops, if only it wasn't so damn cold and I wasn't so damn pale right now.


We finally tried Sperry's newest dining establishment, so far I'm impressed; and it's not just the Wi-Fi that wins my vote. I'm sure there are noses wrinkling at this, but the Fried Green Beans are excellent, so excellent I didn't even touch the Ranch "dipping sauce."


More later... Is it time to go home yet??


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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oops. I missed "Blog Action Day."

But I'm still scared shitless.

Okay, okay, I'll be honest, I really hadn't paid any attention to "Blog Action Day" until Robin mentioned it... Whups. I read her post from yesterday this morning, so I missed it by a day.

Since The Environment is something to write about that's not a cheese sandwich, I'll get my thoughts on the topic out here anyway.

Here in Oklahoma, when somebody wrecks a car that ends up too bad to fix, the insurance company pays off on that car and it goes to an Auction. The only people who can go through the gate and into that auction to buy those crashed cars are people with Salvage Licenses, they won't even let ya in to look at 'em without the Identification Card issued by the state of Oklahoma.

Getting and/or keeping a Salvage License in Oklahoma involves jumpin' through a lot of hoops -- there are way too many other licenses that are too easy to get, but the Salvage License folks run a tight ship. The Salvage License involves examination of city permits, record-keeping, storage of cars & parts, and most importantly, the EPA's certification.

The EPA is very, very concerned about what's goin' on in Salvage Yards, mainly because cars give off a notable lot of non-environment-friendly substances, and even more mean-n-scary stuff flies out when they're taken apart. One of the strictest requirements for a Salvage License (the only one tougher than the paperwork for tracking the purchase of each car for theft prevention) is meeting the EPA's requirements. The EPA requires us, as Recycling Facility Operators, to track where all those car-related substances go when they leave our hands. Used oil from motors, fluid from transmissions (or grease from the manual ones), anti-freeze and other fluids, batteries, old tires, refrigerant from air conditioners -- just about every drop has to be accounted for. They've even started a campaign to collect and recycle switches and sensors, like that little light that comes on when you open the trunk, because they contain Mercury.

The EPA collects stormwater runoff from Salvage Yards and tests it for any myriad of substances; essentially, just about anything that comes from a car had better not be left layin' on the ground anywhere that it might get washed off the edge of the place, and anything that gets collected in containers to be sold off or sent somewhere else had better have paperwork so they can be sure it's not just washin' off the edge of some other patch of land into some other creek. Refrigerant must be collected for re-use, not just released into the atmosphere. Batteries go to a certified bulk buyer, used oil is collected for pickup by licensed buyers, anti-freeze is filtered for re-use in other vehicles, like the delivery trucks, or lot cars, or The Twenty because we can't just toss all that stuff in the garbage can or down the nearest drain.

For years and years, the only people who could get their hands on those severely crashed cars were the Salvage Yards, because once the good stuff if re-used or re-sold, Salvage Yards have the means for collection and disposal of the goo that's left over.

When November First gets here, it's all going to change. The State Of Oklahoma has passed a new law doing away with those ID Cards, and starting with the first Auction in November, anybody with the cash or a credit card can buy severely damaged cars at the Salvage Auctions.

I (and several folks from other Licensed Recycling Facilities) have several problems with this, but our phone calls and letters to elected officials were not enough to stop this law from getting passed.

FIrst, prices are goin' up at the auctions, and that's going to make it even harder for the folks who have been runnin' legitimate yards all this time. Money is what it's all about though, that's why the insurance companies had a much louder voice than Recyclers who were barely keeping their heads above water to begin with -- the insurance companies had the big bucks to spend on lobbying, and now they're going to make even more money from those auctions. Safety? Schmafety. If they cared about anyone's safety, they wouldn't have lobbied to take away one of the last safeguards against rollin' wrecks down the highway. If they cared about anyone else's money besides their own, they wouldn't be so quick to deny claims, would they? More Salvage-Titled cars on the road possibly causing more wrecks means they have greater chances of finding a reason to deny claims. Oh, and full-coverage insurance on a Salvage-Titled car? Good luck with that. And hey, what-do-ya-know, no full-coverage means no loans on 'em either.

Second, as the insurance lobby apparently did not consider, it's going to put the driving public at risk, 'cause now anybody can buy anything and attempt to put it back on the road whether they know what they're doing or not. Sure, some "totaled" cars can be re-built, but not all of 'em -- and everybody's got their own opinion on what it takes to be "too far gone," but who do you want making that decision for the used car you might buy and drive? A Licensed, Bonded Professional who's been in the business for several years, or some wanna-be-rebuilder who's just gotta sell this shitheap that he did a half-assed job on just to pay off the Visa bill from where he bid way too much on it without really lookin' it over?

Last but not least, where's all that stuff the EPA is watching for going to go? If that wanna-be rebuilder is bangin' away on that wreck in his garage and washing the mess down the driveway, it's going straight into the storm sewer or into the backyard to seep into the neighbor's yard or the creek; but the EPA isn't watching the houses, they're watching the Salvage Yards. Sure, the work-at-home rebuilders may think they're being careful and covering all their bases; but are they going to show up at their local "household pollutant collection event" to hand over a dozen half-mashed car batteries? Probably not; they'll just dump all of that stuff wherever they think they can get away with it, 'cause hey, the EPA won't see 'cause they're too busy keeping an eye on those evil scary Salvage yards.

I remember seeing a TV news show about shoddy rebuilders -- if you think it's a scary situation now, just wait!

The first time a wheel flies off something and bounces into my windshield at highway speed, the first time a car battery washes up on the swimming beach at the lake, the first time a trash truck mashes the garbage and squeezes out a gallon or so of nasty used motor oil, I'm callin' up Stone Phillips and the folks at 20/20.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Really? That Guy??

The other night, Clay asked me how it felt to be the only intellegent one around here. Right this minute, those words are on my mind.

Right now, it's just me and the HoMeSkOoLeRz [tm] and their dad. They're all yelling and throwing some kind of a ball around in here, amongst the computers and everything. Gawd, the yelling... If I hear the word "Monkey" mis-pronounced as "muuuh-kee" one more time, I might have to shit in my hand and throw it at somebody. There are not any toddlers here, and I sure think that by the time you're sneakin' up on your tenth birthday, you could say "Monkey" without leaving the damn "n" outta there... But that's a whole different rant...

So, while I'm playin' defense and tryin' to make sure their ball doesn't hit my MacBook, HoMeSkOoL dAd answers a phone. I could only hear part of what was said, but somebody was lookin' for a convertible; we already sold the last one we re-built, which is what he told 'em -- then he gave 'em a number for one of his buddies downtown.

After he hung up the phone, I asked him what the call was...

HoMeSkOoL dAd: "They were lookin' for a convertible to haul the Homecoming Queen in the parade this weekend."

Me: "Well, hell, I could've got the little white Mercury out."

HoMeSkOoL dAd: "Uuuuhh, I don't know that guy's number though."

What? What did I just say? What the hell did he think I just said? Who's this guy we don't have a number for and what kind of say does he have about me unlockin' the garage and gettin' the Merc out?? We don't need anybody's number; it's in the garage right next to my SHO, and the keys to the garage are in my freakin' purse. Seriously, "Uuuuhh, I don't know that guy's number though."

I worry that my brother has fried his brains.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Helena '07

What we do when it's not Racing Season...

The annual Helena Weekend was quite nice, I'm glad I got to go this year -- especially considering that I skipped last year. I was also quite stunned when I got out of the car and the lady who runs the hotel remembered me immediately. I had a nice time at the festival; and I also got a huge laugh out of hearing the "Preacher" tellin' about the "Evils of it all" on the radio Sunday Morning as we were leaving. Yes, I capitalized "Evils" there, because that's how important this guy made it all sound...

The weather was much, much warmer than anybody had figured, and I was very glad we'd planned for rain -- a pair of umbrellas is also quite handy for extreme sun, and I was glad to have 'em. Saturday afternoon, I held my "Fairy Umbrella" up to shade the top of me, and wedged my little-tiny-fits-in-tote-bag umbrella into the center of my chair frame so that it shaded my legs to keep me free of sunburn, and also shaded my bag to keep my granola bars from melting. I got to thinkin', in all these years, the "Fairy Umbrella" has probably only been out of the trunk of my car maybe three or four times in the ten years or so that I've had it. It's a little grubby, but it's not really showin' any wear. What the hell is a "Fairy Umbrella," you ask? Well, it's a reasonably large blue & white traditional umbrella (it doesn't fold up small), and I picked it up in my driveway several years ago -- probably right around the time the SHO was new -- and it was just layin' right in the center of the driveway right about where you'd expect to find the newspaper. We live on a dead-end street in an older neighborhood where each house sits on 2.5 or more acres, so we're not really close to anybody; it's not like finding something in a Subway Train or on a Metro Bus. I picked it up out of the middle of my own driveway, and I live in relative-country-nowhere -- so I figure The Umbrella Fairy must've left it for me.

My un-cropped, un-zoomed view of the stage, from under my Fairy Umbrella.

In the earlier parts of the day, when I wasn't trying to balance two umbrellas, I wedged the smaller one into the back of my chair so I could knit.

A little past halfway into my third knit of this particular pattern (my first two were solid, this is my first stripedy one), this festival was the first time I've pulled out my knitting bag in the midst of a huuuuge crowd. I've done a little knitting at the Hockey games, but I only get it out during intermission and most everybody's gone then. This weekend was my first experience with "actual public knitting," and it was pretty cool. I met a knitter who told me about an afghan she was working on, and I also met a Librarian from Texas who was a crocheter and seamstress.

I'm getting closer and closer to finishing this hot pink & black sweater; so then I can flip a coin to decide if I'm going to learn more about socks and shop for Christmas gifts, or put off socks (again) and start knittin' for Christmas...

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