Archive for July, 2009

Mom car good to go

The Mom car’s A/C has officially been secured in its fully upright and  functioning position.  When we bring it home tonight after church, all the pending services on all our various and sundry vehicles will have been completed, with the minor exception of an oil change on the Honda.  However, I’m pretty sure that since the van had two oil changes in a week, we’re even on that.  = )

Scott has even obtained a “driveaway” license plate for the Mom car, so not only will we all be air-conditioned as we travel cross-country; we’ll all be legal.  Yippee!  I had never even heard of a driveaway license plate, but I guess it is designed for just such a scenario as ours:  where you buy the car in one state but need to drive it to a different state where it will be licensed.

The Motor Vehicle Bureau of the Missouri Department of Revenue ststaes, “A driveaway license plate may not be used on a vehicle used or operated on a highway except for the purpose of transporting vehicles in transit.”  That is exactly what our team will be doing, starting at the ripe hour of 4:00 AM Friday.  


It’s a good thing that Scott doesn’t read this blog.

We finally picked up the van from Ecomony Tire in Ozark, where it did indeed get its major tune-up and fuel injection cleaning.  It was frightfully expensive, but that is because they had to disassemble significant parts of the engine to do both tasks.  We’re really glad they did both chores at once.

Detail-oriented readers may remember that – compliments of our infamous check engine light – these requested services were delayed several times over a couple of weeks AND that we had planned to have Economy Tire do an oil change at the same time.  Well, due to the delays, the oil change became almost 1000 miles overdue, so last week I took the van to Wal-Mart in Branson for the World’s Slowest Oil Change.

Then yesterday afternoon, Jessica and I zipped to Ozark in our stylish 86 Toyota and picked up the van.  This evening, I was recording onto my nifty ACME Excel Vehicle Maintenance Spreadsheet the details of all the work Economy Tire did on the van, and I noticed on the receipt a $28.95 charge for. . . AN OIL CHANGE!

I am officially choosing to view this as ultra-diligence.  It is a sure thing that our van’s oil is VERY well-changed.


I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it all now.

During our upcoming family reunion, a subset of the gang is planning a short jaunt to the beach.  We’ll be spending two nights at an upscale VRBO home, about which the online blurb says this:

Location: Litchfield Beach, Grand Strand – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Accommodations:  House, 5 Bedrooms, 3 Baths (Sleeps 10)

This spacious home has 2 living areas with fireplaces and lots of room to relax and enjoy your vacation. Ground level has wet bar, full laundry room with 2nd refrigerator and large screen TV. Upstairs has generous dining room, living room, kitchen and screened front porch. Outdoor steps lead to crow’s nest with view to the ocean.

A short walk (2.5 rows from the ocean) leads to quiet beach of private homes, away from high-rise crowds and adjacent to State Park. The large yard is ideal for touch football, soccer and other family outdoor activities.

Each bedroom has a TV and the kitchen is fully equipped with microwave, dishwasher, disposal and oversized refrigerator.

  • Amenities
    • Air Conditioning
    • Washer
    • Dryer
    • Off Street Parking
  • Beds
    • King Bed (2)
    • Queen Bed
    • Double Bed
    • Twin/Single Bed (2)
  • Entertainment
    • Cable/Satellite TV (7)
    • DVD
    • VCR
    • CD Player
  • Kitchen
    • Full Kitchen
    • Cooking Utensils Provided
    • Refrigerator (2)
    • Dishwasher
    • Microwave (2)
    • Ice Maker (2)
  • Outdoor Features
    • Charcoal BBQ Grill
    • Deck/Patio
    • Balcony
  • View/Location
    • Ocean View
  • Communications
    • Telephone (3)

We will be reserving this home on relatively short notice and I assume we’ll pay the stated “high season” rates.  (After all, we are going to the beach in the summer.)  Once we pay, we will indeed be allowed to stay there, but if we want sheets on the beds, we will be required pay an additional $120 bedding rental fee!!! And no, it’s not a refundable deposit.  You may rest assured that the parties that pay are not about to do that, so we will be carrying with us all the necessary bedding for those six beds.

I must say that I have never, EVER heard of a luxury vacation home with two microwaves, three telephones, and seven TVs where you had to bring your own bedding!

(edited to add:  Just found out we need to bring our own towels, too.  Even with one bath towel and one beach towel apiece, it will take a couple of suitcases just to haul towels for our projected group of 11 to 13!)

News flash

Economy Tire in Ozark doesn’t work on air conditioners.

You just THOUGHT the plan was complicated

So Saturday afternoon, Scott decided that on Sunday after church we’re going to look at a car to maybe buy for his mom.  He calls the lady, who agrees to have us come look at it after church.

We get there and the car is in good shape.  However, we had already been told that the A/C doesn’t work; that a certain thing on it needs to be replaced for a probable cost of about $300.  So Scott – who had asked me at 11:51 AM Saturday what time the bank (12 minutes away) closes – noon, BTW – and who had somehow gotten to the bank in time to withdraw enough cash to buy the car on Sunday afternoon – offered the lady $300 less than her asking price.  She told him flat out, “No,” and said that she wouldn’t take anything less than her asking price (which she had supposedly – but not really – already dropped from the blue book value), that she KNEW she could sell it, and that she was going to post it on craigslist that afternoon.

Not being one to give up easily, Scott continued negotiating while I went back to the van.  I, being the non-confrontational type, prefer not to witness those kinds of discussions.

When all was said and done, Scott had put down a cash deposit and was driving away in the red, un-airconditioned, 140K mileage, 1993 Toyota Camry.  Which she had given him permission to take to our mechanic at – you guessed it – Economy Tire in Ozark, so that Scott could verify the fact that the A/C really could be fixed for $300.  Which, if it can, Economy will hopefully do sometime this week – while they are simultaneously working on our van all day Monday and changing the Honda’s oil on Tuesday.

We are all really hoping that if Scott buys this “Mom car,” the A/C does indeed get fixed, because we will be driving it cross-country to North Carolina on Friday.  In July.  In extreme heat.  Without license plates.  Because Scott’s not going to license it here.  Because he wants his mom to license it in North Carolina.

I told him that I have a conviction against being the licensed driver on a long-distance, multi-state trip in a car that has no license plates.  (I also hold strong convictions against sweating, but I might be willing to violate those for the sake of my mom-in-law.)  So I told him I wouldn’t drive that car, and he assured me that he had three other drivers.  He also has a scheme for getting plates on the Mom car, but I won’t divulge those details here.

So we drove three cars from the home of the Mom car’s seller, to Fazoli’s for lunch, and on to Ozark.  Scott drove the Mom car with Andrew.  Katie drove her car with Jessica.  Josiah drove the van with me.  Loyal readers may recall that, as per our earlier stated plan, we had yea and verily left the Honda in Ozark on our way to church this morning.  Now we returned to Ozark and dropped off the van.  Scott continued home in the Mom car with Andrew, and Katie chauffeured Jessica, Josiah, and me in her car.

At the house, this presently leaves the White car (with A/C, a.k.a.
Katie’s car), the Red car (without A/C, a.k.a. Jessica’s car), and the Mom car (without A/C or plates).  As it stands now, our revised vehicular plan will be as follows:

1.  Monday morning – Katie drives the White car to work.  Scott drives the Mom car to Ozark, where he leaves it to have its A/C checked out, but not repaired.  (You can’t do repairs on a car you don’t own.)  The van, already in Ozark, gets its full day of repairs done.

2.  Later Monday morning – Assuming the Mom car’s A/C is fixable for $300, Scott contacts the seller and arranges to pay her some remaining dollar amount for the Mom car and obtain its title.  (Not sure how or when, as the seller works during the day and Scott has to be back in Ozark befor 5:00 to get some subset of our vehicles out of hock.)  He then arranges with Economy to have its A/C serviced immediately, and may they have all the necessary parts in stock.

Note that if the Mom car’s A/C is NOT fixable for $300, Scott will have to drive from Springfield back to Ozark in the Honda, leave the Honda in Ozark, and drive the Mom car back to its owner in Springfield.  That would leave Scott walking around Springfield, the van in Ozark, the Honda in Ozark, and me at home with the A/C-less Red car, which I may then need to drive to Springfield to pick up Scott, but we don’t have enough brain cycles left to worry about that right now.

3.  Monday afternoon – Scott drives the Honda back to Ozark, pays for the van’s work, and possibly pays for the Mom car’s A/C work.  He then leaves the Honda in Ozark for its oil change on Tuesday, possibly leaves the Mom car in Ozark for its A/C work on Tuesday (if it hasn’t already been done), and drives  the van home.

4.  Tuesday morning – Katie goes to work in the White car, Jessica goes to work in the Red car, Scott and I stay home and look at each other while the van and possibly the Mom car sit in our driveways and get to know each other.

5.  Wednesday morning – Katie drives the White car to work.  Scott, Jessica (if the Mom car’s still in Ozark), and I all drive together in the van to Ozark.  Scott pays for the Honda’s oil change and the Mom car’s A/C work.  He then drives the Honda on to work in Springfield.  If she has indeed accompanied us, Jessica drives the Mom car home, and whether she’s there or not, I drive the van home.

6.  Thursday – Katie works in Hollister (White), Scott works in Springfield (Honda), and the rest of us try to get everything ready for a road trip.

7.  Thursday evening – We load everything but the cooler and the kitchen sink into and onto the van (and/or the Mom car).

8.  4:00 AM Friday – we begin the journey to our family reunion/Mom’s belated birthday party in North Carolina.  Scott hopes to arrive by 9:00 PM (all times local), but Yours Truly suspects the real deal may be more like 11:00 PM.  She sincerely hopes she’s very, very wrong.

I find it interesting that if this Mom car deal were to work out, Scott and I would find ourselves the temporary owners of not one, not two, but three Toyota Camrys (vintages ’95, ’93, and ’86).  Who’dda thunk?

Misplaced letters

“Do as I say and not as I do,” lives on in the fact that I require our kids to learn to touch-type properly (at least 55 wpm), while I myself remain a confirmed hunter-pecker.  People laugh, but my system works really well for me, even though it involves both fingers (well, actually only seven select ones) and eyes (two) to be on the keyboard.

Imagine my horror, then, when I sat down at one of the library’s catalog computers to search for some books and realized that someone had meticulously rearranged the letter labels on most of the keyboard’s keys – an exceedingly sadistic and vindictive act!  M and N were labeled B and V, respectively.  K was over where D should be.  I and O were down at comma and period, and I never did find R.

Now, I have lived 48 years, have read extensively, and have even earned a bachelor’s degree, but I confess that I felt very, very stupid sitting at that keyboard.  For each letter of each word, I had to look for it, eventually locate it in a place I was pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be, wildly stab at some (any?) other key, and watch to see what it would produce.

The process was frustrating and maddeningly slow, but mostly it was funny.  It made me think back to that one-semester typing class I pooh-poohed in 11th grade.  At the time, I knew good and well that I wasn’t going to be a secretary, so why on earth would I ever need to know how to type?  I only took the course because my mom said I had to.  She said everyone should know how to type.  What a premonition!

I somehow passed the class, but I didn’t learn to type very well.   Now, more than 30 years later, learning “real” typing is not an option, because with carpal tunnel syndrome, even those initial “A, S, L, semi-colon” drills cause my fingers to go painfully numb within just a few seconds.

So I’m sitting at home and laughing at myself as I hunt and peck this blog post.  But at least at my own desk, the keys actually type what their labels say.

Marathon to be resumed

Here’s how the next few days look, vehicularly speaking.

1.  Sunday before church – Josiah or I drive the van, while Scott drives the Honda, and we all converge at Economy Tire in Ozark.  We drop the Honda and all go on to church in the van.

2.  Sunday after church – We go to look at a car in Springfield that Scott may want to buy (or help buy) for his mom.   If he buys it, he drives it home and the rest of us travel in the van to Ozark where we’ll make  a brief Wal-Mart stop before going home.  If he doesn’t buy it, we’ll all drive home in the van, stopping at Wal-Mart on the way.

3.  Monday morning – Scott drives the van to Ozark and leaves it there for its much-anticipated, thrice-scheduled, all-day servicing.  He hops in his Honda and goes on to work in Springfield.

4.  Monday evening (before 5:00 PM) – Scott drives the Honda from work back to Ozark, where he leaves it for an oil change that will occur on Tuesday.  He pays the bill for the van servicing and drives the van home.

5.  Tuesday morning – Katie and Jessica go their separate ways to work – some 30 miles apart – in the cars they are accustomed to driving.  Scott works from home.  The van (like the cheese) stands alone in our driveway.

6.  Tuesday night – The Honda sleeps soundly in the Economy Tire parking lot.

7.  Wednesday morning – Katie goes to work in the car she normally drives, while Patty drives Scott to Ozark in the van.  The Honda’s oil change is paid off, Scott drives the Honda to work, and Patty drives the van back home.

Got it?

Should be outlawed. . .

Automatic toilets that flush (and spray you!) before you can possibly get your pants pulled back up.

Promise Keepers skunk Tri-Lakes Church, but lose to The River in championship game

It was an interesting softball season.  There were about 12 teams in the church league this year, but only three of them were really competitive:  Promise Keepers (undefeated in the regular season), Church Army (rowdy guys, good players), and The River (arguably the best team of The Three, although we beat them in the season, narrowly and with great effort).

Last night was the second round of the post-season tournament.  Our guys faced Tri-Lakes Church for the semi-final game at 6:30 PM, in searing sun and blistering 95-degree heat.  We scored nine runs in the first inning, and despite their very impressive four-or-five run rally later in the game, Tri-Lakes never had a chance.

The tables were turned in the 8:30 PM championship game.  Thankfully the sun was down and we enjoyed the occasional slight breeze, but that is about all that went well for Our Heroes.  The River’s first batter hit the first pitch to just inside the left field fence, and while our guys fumbled getting the ball in, he managed to make it all the way home.  Not too encouraging.

Our worthy opponents scored a total of 11 runs in the first inning, and I think when the dust finally settled and the game was called, the final score was something like 14 to 3.  Our guys actually played pretty well for most of that game, but last night The River was clearly the better team.

No regrets, and I’m sure fall ball will be starting up in a few weeks.

Cuckoo Fountain scores big

Andrew has been very eager to share his fireworks with the family.

Now, in our family, the females are not nearly as passionate about explosives as the younger males are.  However, after two nights of Andrew begging us to watch a fireworks show, we agreed.  At 8:45 PM, we all trooped out to the backyard where four bag chairs were nicely arranged in a horseshoe around a large piece of particle board (!!!) and a length of PVC pipe in preparation for the launching.

The guys had a nice array of things that spin, things that shoot up, things that sparkle, and things that make screaming, popping, and/or booming noises, but the big star of the evening was clearly the “Cuckoo Fountain.”  It didn’t shoot up into the sky, but instead “sprayed” up big showers of variously colored sparks, with intermittent silver pops, and it kept doing so for a L-O-N-G time.

Katie expressed all our sentiments when she said, “Oh, I very much like that!”  There were actually TWO Cuckoo Fountains, and Scott said those were the best $0.75 investments of the whole show.

I’m making a note in my Organizer to remind the guys to buy more Cuckoo Fountains next year.

Oh, I almost forgot!  In the early part of the show (before the Cuckoo Fountains) we saw a bat circling, jerking, dipping, and diving around above us.  On a lark, Scott said to Josiah, “I’ll pay you $100 if you can hit that bat.”

I assume my readers are aware that males are STRONGLY motivated by dares.

Scott was expecting Josiah to launch whatever the next firework on the program was and miss the bat by a mile, but Josiah is his father’s son.  He grabbed and lit a Roman candle – a fun and non-noisy item that sequentially shoots some ten colored balls of fire, one every second.  Normally, you launch it from the ground, but Josiah HELD IT IN HIS HAND and aimed it like a bazooka at the zig-zagging bat!  Over and over he came within feet (inches?) of hitting his target, and each time the elusive bat swerved out of the way, BUT the crazy bat just kept coming back for more!   Maybe it enjoyed the challenge, or maybe it was drooling after some of the seven zillion mosquitoes that were feasting on us spectators.  In any case, we laughed like crazy at the boy, his “bazooka,” and the bat.

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