Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Regarding my previous blog, car is running.
I AM SO THANKFUL FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS!!!!! They were answered in multiple ways, as you'll see below.
I had an interesting peek into the family I wanted but never had, over the weekend. My friends from former Life Group (who rescued me Sat when my car died, and let me sleep on their couch, see previous blog), have 4 children at home, and 3 are teens, making every minute VERY interesting ALL the time. I confess I am exhausted just from being a small part of their every-day whirlwind that is their home life.
I kept the laundry running downstairs, and kept folding and emptying the dryer. And I kept the kitchen counter wiped down upstairs, and the hand dishes done as part of cleaning the counters. The laundry is downstairs where I slept, and they only run the dishwasher and washer after showers are done, so this sometimes means late at night or in the middle of the night, which was a perfect job for me since I was already down there then, and frequently was awake then, as I woke up frequently. So I'd listen for whether or not the dryer was still running, empty and refill it, and fold.
My hostess LOVED coming down in the morning and finding piles of folded and hung clothes and towels, instead of finding them still wet in the washer or in a pile in the dryer. It was the least I could do. If I have $ left after car repair, I'm also getting them something. Don't know what yet. 80 miles of travel picking me up & dropping me off, is alot of gasoline expense. Plus added an impromptu wildcard to their already packed schedule.
While I was busy impersonating Alice a tiny bit, just being there and hearing all the other whirlwind going on around me with the family was amazing and exhausting. They don't even realize how much they do. While the car thing was stressing me out, they were having the equivalent or higher of 100 car things going on in one weekend. Which they are used to. For them, it's their normal. Which made me reflect on the family I never had (this could have been me!), and how "easy" the single me, and singles in general, have it. NO, there is NOTHING easy about paying all the bills yourself, having no help for anything, and being alone. But it made me look at my time mgmt struggles with new eyes.
On Monday before 8a I called the car repair place. Asked how much the tow cost was, and asked for an estimate for alternator replacement, and tires & alignment; and if I did the alternator through them, how long would it take? First they said they could have the alternator changed and done by 10:30 (woo hooo!!!!!), that was such good news.
But would test it first to make sure that was it, and that it wasn't the battery etc., and would call me right back to confirm. She said it takes about an hour and a half to change out an alternator, so they could have it done by 10:30. In my head, I'm ringing up 1.5 hours labor plus the price of the part I'd already researched over the weekend, $150.00 +/-, plus labor. She gave me a price of $307.++, which because of my research I knew was reasonable for the going price. I wasn't there to ask for a written quote, so I asked if that was a guaranteed price, and she said yes.
I asked the right questions, the right way, asked for quotes and time frames up front, etc.
I also explained yes, already knew the battery was old plus dead, but it was dead because of the alternator, but described what the car had acted like when it died in the road, in order to convey understanding - so they'd know why I was 99% sure it was the alternator. (When anyone describes the typical symptoms of an alternator to a repair shop, they immediately know what that means, so I said the battery is dead but I know it's the alternator because blah blah blah, so that they would understand that I know.) I stated an early time I had to be at work to add some padding, some margin, in hopes I could get the car back and the family would not have to take me to work.
She never called me back "after they tested the alternator".
My host family had a million places to be starting at 11am and continuing throughout the day, so I was getting stressed.
I called back at 10am, she started going on and on about the battery and charging system, and that they had the battery on a charger because it was dead, and were waiting for it to charge.
I could be wrong but I got the impression they found it dead, she didn't repeat to them what I'd told her initially on the first call, and it's Monday morning and they're opening the shop and have a hundred things to do and other customers to serve - that's understandable, right? - so they just put it on a charger and would check on things after it charged.
I said, if you would please stop waiting for the battery to charge, (as I can jump it if I have to, to get to work immediately today) and instead please change out the alternator instead of waiting, I'd appreciate it. Because it's already 10 and you said they could have it done by 10:30? And I already told you the battery is #1 old and #2 dead due to the alternator.
Oh, we have to check out the whole system, etc. And a bad battery will pull down a new alternator, etc. But she'd call me right back. Uh huh. After she told them to knock off waiting on it to charge, in other words, and they actually did the test they promised to do hours ago, in other words.
So she called me back, said I needed an alternator and a battery, and then iintroduces a 100 other issues. This explains why it took so long and why she didn't call me right back; instead they were checking out my car to see what else they could do, to maximize their revenue. "Are you aware blah, blah, blah." I said yep, I know all about that; NO I'm not buying a battery or doing any other services today other than the alternator. Repeat 100X, which by this time as the conversation went on and on, I was getting really stressed by having to hold my boundaries over and over. Finally she gave up on selling me other stuff, and hung up.
After hours towing on Sat: $125.00
$427 bucks down the drain, but I have my car back, went to work last night, and did not have to further burden the family I asked for help.
On the receipt printout of the tow shop, they misrepresented what I said in a condescending, dumbed-down way. One example is, "Customer was informed of and declined a battery and instead states will jump it off as needed." What I SAID was, I already had a new battery (cause I'm stopping off at AutoZone!, but didn't tell her that) and only needed to get to work today, would take care of the rest later. I'm well aware of documentation in notes, re, liability. This was a perversion of that. I don't like this place. Plus, $125 is too high for Sat towing of a short distance, less than 10 miles (5 max, I believe). I'm glad they could put it in the same morning, after I followed up over and over again, yes that was a huge blessing due mostly to your prayers I think. But they won't see me again.
I checked batteries yesterday. Batteries have went up more than 100% higher than the last time I bought one. Yesterday when I had sticker shock, AutoZone gave me the name of an aftermarket battery place, but this morning I decided no, I want a new one and be done with it. So I don't have to do this again soon. I checked Walmart, to see if AutoZone's price was in line, and unfortunately, yes, it's in line and batteries have gone way way up. This is the TRUE measure of inflation. More than 100% in 5 years. The govt says 4% per year, which is a lie. 4% x 5 yrs = 20% price increase. Reality is more like 120%. Deflation and printing money is the only reason it hasn't blown up. Yet. If you're in debt, get out of debt NOW, before it blows up! Be prepared. It's coming. If you're already out of debt, then the next step is to save for what's coming. Save in inflation-protected ways.
I also went back to the tire place yesterday, so he'd order the tires and I could get that done. I still have no spare and some are bald. He is a Christian man who owns his own shop and comes highly recommended; not cheap but he is reasonably priced. A workman is worth his hire.
But I'm still frugal. While I was there I checked battery price: $132. Ooops, no thanks on the battery. Why shops always charge more on batteries I don't know, but that's typical, and they do. AutoZone is my friend!
I thought, if AutoZone's is $110 I'd much rather pay $6 more and go there rather than Walmart's $104, so I'll just go back to AutoZone this morning.
But during yesterday's sticker shock I wasn't aware the 5 year one, comparing apples to apples, was the $125 one at AutoZone, not the $110 one at AutoZone.
So when I went there this morning and discovered that, I sighed, and said I got a better price somewhere else but didn't want to give them my business. He said, where is it, what company? I said, I hate Walmart! But their 5 yr battery is $104, and yours is $125. He said, let me call there, because we can price match, so if you don't mind waiting while I call there to do a price check . . . I said that's WONDERFUL, thank you so much! (What a wonderful surprise, as I did NOT know AutoZone did price matching!) Your prayers at work again.
'After hours' towing on Sat: $125.00 (State Farm will reimburse - all or part, I can't remember if there's a cap)
Alternator yesterday: $308
Battery & grease & tax today: $114.83
Tires, alignment, and oil change tomorrow: about $450.00
So I am paying for all the things that have been put off, and have built up, while I had no money. If you budget responsibly and appropriately, and you actually DO regularly scheduled maintenance ON TIME, you don't have this pain all at once. But I had no money to budget with. THIS is why I have been saving, and not spending, paychecks. Although I am still looking for a room to rent, this is why I can't afford to rent an apartment of my own, in addition to paying for car issues. Either or, but not both, at $9 / hr. I'm still climbing out of my economic hole. And there are other car issues that I can't afford and will have to wait. Overdue regularly scheduled maintenance is next in priority; and comes long before the air compressor which is $250 for the part alone. But those are things I can't afford right now after this $1,000 event. So there you have it. Lots and lots of blessings, and I'm getting the best prices for quality work that I can.
At work they scheduled us for 3 more mandatory Sats in March - last Sat was the 1st Sat in Mar, plus they scheduled us for 3 more. But dangled this carrot: if we meet our production goals, we wouldn't have to work those Sats. My BS meter immediately started going off. It's not in our power to meet our production goals, when the Load/Unload dept doesn't give us the product needed to process, and Load/Unload is always behind, not occasionally, but a pattern. I didn't say anything and kept my expression neutral, but the translation is they want us to work harder weekdays so they don't have to pay us OT, which they presented in a reverse pyschology type of way. Factory work is boring and mundane, and that's why no one wants to spend their Saturdays there. But b/c of the problem of Load/Uload dept, which they are well aware of but fail to fix, we will be there Saturdays no matter how hard we work.
I am looking for other work and other jobs, and these mind games with "production numbers", and the low pay, gives me more motivation. Meanwhile, I will gladly work their Saturdays for $13.50 per hour, until I can get a better situation. I ask the Lord for deliverance everyday while at work, but, I am still grateful for the paycheck. I always remind myself what an upgrade of job it is, in full time hours instead of part time, and also $1.65 more per hour, as compared to the sandwich shop. Yes it's much better than the sandwich shop, and I can actually do a real budget. Tho the pay is little to make a budget with, at least it exists and the schedule doesn't change 3X per week, and you don't show up for your shift only to be sent home early because it's slow, etc. Much, much better, very much so an upgrade over the sandwich shop. I remind myself, over and over.
Thank you so much, Lord Jesus, for blessing us so richly and answering our prayers so graciously!
The Great High Priest, who is alive evermore to make intercession for us.
He loves us! The Everlasting Father.
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Yes, I did have to work mandatory overtime Sat, 4th Sat in a row.
On the way to work, my car died.
Since I live in my car, this is a bigger problem than just mechanical failure.
Much MUCH bigger problem, for homeless person living in their car.
I put the hood up, called work, then called 911, asked for police. When the police officer arrived he called tow truck for me as I had no clue who to call. The tow truck driver lived close by, so it didn't take him long to arrive, maybe 20 mins. His company's shop was close, approx 3 mi the officer said, and they work on cars, so I had a short tow to their shop (distance-wise). The police officer asked the tow truck driver if he'd drop me off at work, which was also near, and he did. I got my computer out of the car, filled a gym bag with 3 sets of clothes, got my lunch bag, and put a Bible and a makeup bag in another sack. Went into work carrying three items with straps plus a sack - bag lady! I got lots of looks.
I clocked in without being late. Because I had left early, and because the tow truck driver lived close.
And no one hit me or my car while I was in the road.
Overnight I had slept at the truck stop 10 miles away, and had just driven from out of town, on a main highway 10 miles back into town, and got to the nearest major intersection closest to work. I was so grateful this did not happen in another town, far from work, or while on the highway. If it had to happen, it happened at the best possible location.
The shop is closed on the weekend. Will know more Monday. 99% sure it's the alternator.
But it may be awhile before I'm online again.
At first break on Saturday at work, I walked outside and called friends from my previous Life Group. They live 20 miles away from where I work. I explained my car had just been towed, they already know I live in my car, and I asked if I could sleep on their couch this weekend. They were kind enough to pick me up at work and rescue me, 40 miles, and bring me home. They will take me back Monday. They have been very gracious about a self-invited impromptu weekend guest. I went to church with them this morning to my former church. Saw many people there who were glad to see me.
On Sat I also called some lesser friends in Mooresville who also know I live in my car, and asked if I could sleep on their couch or floor Mon night if my car isn't ready by then. So that I can remain in the town where I work. Left a message; no response yet. Not a warm feeling.
I am counting my blessings, and will be calling the tow truck / automotive shop Monday at 7:30am.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Feb 28th already!!!!!!!
March is definitely coming in like a lion here, and in most of the country. Winter's last gasp. Although we do have some pink trees here.
By using my Franklin Covey old-school planner this past month of Feb, I am beginning to get a grip on time mgmt and planning and tasks to get done.
Part of getting a grip - when you start budgeting, or time mgmt, or massive cleaning project, etc., is facing how far behind you are. Babystep 2 in Dave Ramsey's steps is doing the debt snowball, paying off debt. It's one of the darkest things to do is to face, and make a list of, all your debts. I conquered that and am FREEEEEE thanks to Dave, but, now I am facing a list of all my past due tasks. As one time mgmt expert put it, "I have mortgaged my time".
That's fine. Time to pay off the mortgage. I'll do a debt snowball for THAT, too, and then, just like money, I will stay FREEEEE.
My life verse, Proverbs 24:27, spoken to an agrarian society, is about priorities and planning.
In New Living Translation it says:
Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house. (NLT)
And in Amplified:
[Put first things first.] Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home. (AMP)
Put first things first: order your life according to priorities, and plan based on those. Franklin Covey calls this "Value-driven Goal Making". Combine that with SMART Goals, and you'll do fine.
There are many seasons in everyone's life, and right now I am starting over at the ripe old age of 51. It is Spring time, and even tho I'm not a spring chicken it's time to plant. Then time to carefully tend and grow. Then eventually, a harvest. I'm a long way from the harvest right now. Alot of hard work ahead of me.
Most overnight sensations take 15- 20 years to produce, so, I am hoping to have a harvest by retirement age. I'm 51, so I won't get Social Insecurity, the great ponsi scheme, if it even exists then, until I'm 67.5 years old. So I have the 15 years to become an overnight success, LOL. Since Social Insecurity is not something in my control, I'm not counting on it. I'm just sayin', I have 15 years + before retirement eligibility. I hope to have found meaningful work by then by the Lord's grace, and good health so as to not have to retire.
Speaking of work, I may or may not have to work tomorrow, they string us along all week and never tell us if we have mandatory overtime until the last minute; if so it will be the 4th Saturday in a row I've worked. I hate my ugly factory job but am grateful for the paycheck.
Took my friend to court this morning and 3 errand stops after, spent 4 days of errands with her last week, and am still taking her to work and home. Lots of extra time and gas but her court date on March 14 should tell the tale.
But I digress. It's Feb 28th. Are you ready for March 1st budget, March 1st Goals, Mardi Gras, Lent, and St. Patrick's Day?
I have to confess I am NOT ready for March. Am going to do Lent tho this year, first time, after reading about it several years in a row. I need the spiritual renewal. Just need to find a tutorial or aid plus a devotion that will work for me. I don't have budget or goals done.
I haven't been online most of this week, and may not be tomorrow, so let me be the first to wish you a happy March 1st!
The fine print says: Be happy first. Then make it last.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I'm still checking out the author.
Avocados surprised me, but the rest didn't. Don't forget watermelon, fresh lemon, raw apple cider vinegar, and dark green leafy greens.
I picked up 2 avocados 59 cents each, at Aldi's today. I have started adding avocado chunks to salad with fresh squeezed lemon and no other oil.
Other times I use fresh lemon or raw apple cider vinegar, combined with olive oil, for dressing.
BILO had B1G1F organic Pompeiian first cold press extra virgin olive oil, which I bought Sunday.
Here is the organic salad I buy at ALDI's:
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