I have learned a lot of lessons in the past few weeks, and I thought I would share them with you guys, so you can gain something from my experience.
First, I was reminded that in a professional environment, especially military or government, where employees feel subjected to inordinate scrutiny, those in positions where they feel are expected to provide wisdom during moments of decision making are likely to assert their assumed ration--often regardless of the need, validity or accuracy.
I had all sorts of issues with my 1997 Plymouth Neon and a Denver Chrysler dealer, Phil Long. A common problem for Neons is the head gasket, which they gouged me for $1,200 to replace. As it turns out, the part was covered by a secret Chrysler extended warrantee called the good faith, which exists for known issues like this. Of course my dealer didn't tell me anything about it, but the Internet did. Then, 400 miles later, my car actually runs out of oil. I talked to four mechanics and the facts tell the tale: the dealer forgot to refill the engine. After a barrage of attempts to blame me for everything, they finally caved and agreed to fix it all except for the labor. My own extended warrantee kicked in, and now it will all be fixed for $75. It's a serious rip off. My lessons learned: (1) keep good records of your car history (2) get a second opinion (3) don't buy an American car (4) don't trust the dealer (5) never go to Phil Long Chrysler in Denver.
My 1995 Toyota Camry is really a trooper of a car. Of course, it's a Japanese car, and not a Chrysler - so it still has trade-in value and with double the miles has cost me less to maintain, gets better gas mileage, and is overall a better car. But I got some new tires last weekend. The Camry has a full-size spare, which you rarely see. I took that spare and bought it's mate, had those two new tires put up front, rotated the others to the back, kept one as the new spare and tossed the tire that had a small dip in it and would have surely gone flat on the drive from Kansas City to Denver we did last weekend (on two tanks of gas).
Kyndall and I have been so worried about so much lately, and things are just coming together. For the longest time we have been looking for a home and have been living in a rental house. The rental is acceptable, but we have not unpacked in more than 6 months, and that spoils the fun of living in a new place. So, we signed the papers on a house in Conifer and close later in June. That's all pretty exciting. Resolving the car thing was a real load-lifter, too.
Finally, Dave Noble is getting married next weekend, so it's another trip to Kansas City, but surely a labor of love as he gets hitched. It's funny, married people always seem to be interested in getting their single friends married; same with people with children, they always to be interested in getting their married friends pregnant. Craziness.