Monday, October 24, 2016

"There is nothing permanent except change" *

As I've gotten older, I've noticed I'm ever increasingly resistant to change.  I've got my routines and I get irritated when I have to change them.  I like things to be predictable.  

For instance, I want to leave home at 7:15, drive 70-75MPH and arrive at work NLT 7:30.  It bugs me that the highway has been getting upgraded for the last 18 months without a lot of noticeable progress.
TXDOT=Capt Obvious!
Even though the sign says "expect delays 8AM to 5PM", I still get stopped for 1 lane traffic at 7:15.  It bugs me even more when I hang around the office until 5:30 then head home, only to get stopped in 1 lane traffic again.  I mean c'mon!  If you mean you're going to be working on the road from 7-7, say "Expect Delays 7AM to 7PM"

But....I digress.

So, a few weeks ago, Mrs Juvat announces that she has sold my truck.  Just like that...

"Honey, I sold your truck."

I'm dumbfounded.

I like my truck.  It's just like me.  Not pretty to look at.  Needs a bit of coaxing to work.  Runs better with a little encouragement and TLC. However, it's comfortable and mostly reliable.  Yep, pretty much exactly like me.

Oh, yeah.  It's 15 years old and has 223K on it.

One other thing.  It's paid for.

I like my truck.

"Did you hear what I said? I sold your truck."


"My sister needs it for the contractor who's building her house."

I recognized immediately, with logic like that, I've already lost the argument.

So,  that means I'm going to engage in one of my least favorite activities, buying a car.  With respect to WSF, I truly loath the whole car buying process.  From the "let me go talk to the manager" then disappear for 30 minutes to let you stew, to the "do you want to add this option, it's only $20 per month?"  No, it's $960 plus interest.  

I don't hold it against the salesman, they're trying to earn a living.  I just want them to tell me what the price is.  

When we bought Mrs. Juvat's car, in 2006, we bought it through USAA's car buying service.  We "built" the car on their site.  USAA then gave us a price for THAT car.  We tinkered with options to get it down to where we wanted.  They then gave us a certificate and we walked into the dealer and drove out with that car. 

So, that's where we started last weekend.  I'm on their site and "building" my truck.  Except, I don't get to select the options I want.  Just the Make and Model.  Then I select which packages I want, except there's not really any explanation of what is or is not included into each package.  So, I've got multiple pages open and am looking at package contents, finally getting something I think I want.  

I push the button and I get a certificate that says I can buy any truck in stock for $8800 off MSRP.  


I'm a bit confused, but not to worry, as soon as I pushed the button to get that certificate, my email and contact info got released to the various car dealers within a 100 mile radius of home.  All ready to answer any questions I might have.

Seriously, the first email arrived before I'd logged out of the USAA site, asking me to call and set up an appointment.  They had a vehicle that had 81% of the features I wanted.  What does that mean?  

In any case, I get one from a dealer in San Antonio that's got 95%, so I give them a call.  The lady that handles the USAA car buying program for them takes down the information about what I'm looking for, but I notice she doesn't ask for a VIN for the vehicle I'm interested in, which the car buying program included.  

The appointment was for a week ago Saturday.  Little Juvat is in town, and as my truck is no longer MY truck, I'm sans wheels.  He graciously offers to provide a lift for his old man.  We get to San Antonio around noon and decide to postpone the agony for a bit by having lunch.  

BTW, the Yardhouse, in La Cantera is a great place for Lunch.  The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale was a nice complement to the fish and chips.

Now fortified, we arrive at the dealership and meet up with our sales person.  We introduce ourselves and she says she's got several trucks for us to look at, are we ready to go?


Truck #1 is a VERY nice truck.  Fire Engine Red, 5L V-8.  The dashboard was outfitted like the cockpit of an F-22.  We take it out for a spin.  Interestingly, pushing hard on the gas pedal, there's a very noticeable pause before the truck begins accelerating.  But it's quiet, smooth and well equipped.  In other words, expensive.  List price was north of $53K. 

Which, BTW, is the loan amount I'm pre-approved for.  Wonder if that's a coincidence there?

And before, any of you start with the Ron White "Loadddddddddedddd!" routine, No, that's about 45% more than I want to spend.

I mention the acceleration and she suggests a different engine.  So we test drive Truck #2.

Truck #2 is also very nice.  A bright metallic blue with a 3.5L V-6 ecoboost engine.  We take it out for the same circuit.  Out of the lot, about a mile on the access road (50-60MPH), on ramp with a quick acceleration to traffic speed (mach .93) out to DeZavala, back on the interstate back to the lot.  

#2 accelerates a lot faster.  The turbocharger really helps.  #2 still has a lot of bells and whistles which contributes to a MSRP and resulting sales price much higher than I'd like.  Nice vehicle though.  Solidly in contention for "when I win the Lottery."

We are getting nowhere fast.  The salesperson is showing cars that are more expensive than I want to buy, and I'm trying to tell her that I don't need all the bells and whistles.  Finally, I just tell her that I'm not going to spend any more than X dollars driving it off the lot.


I do want the ecoboost engine, I don't need any of the Star Wars cockpit.  I would like my phone to connect to the music system and I do want a crew cab.

Finally, she shows me the right vehicle with most of what I wanted.  It didn't have heated seats, which are very nice around here on winter mornings, but....I'll live with the hardship.

No, Sarge, I don't have a name for it.  Suggestions may be left in the comments below.  Right now, I'm leaning towards "My Truck"

First time in the 16 years we've lived on this property that we've had Green Grass the end of October.  Need to get the Hay Guy here for another cutting.
Just to continue that scene.  This will be where Sarge will be staying when he comes down to visit.  Nice little firepit in the front, by the barbecue.

* Heraclitus - Some dead white Greek Dude

Sunday, October 23, 2016

It's The Little Things

A Proud Day.
Good Times.
One cat is great.
Two are awesome!
Kodi and Bear are ready for walkies. Or dinner. Which ever comes first!
One of my favorite places. One of my heroes.
Flowers are good.
So more flowers must be even better.
Daughters are awesome.

Old ruins are interesting.
Je pense que je vois le Sarge! (I think I see the Sarge!)
Dirt roads are good.
Foliage is awesome.
Laughing together is awesome.
Connecticut River in the gloaming.
Goofy WSOs are awesome.
The town of my birth.
My brother built that.
Never forgotten.
Forever loved.
Gardens are nice.
Four birds on a wire.
Faith is awesome. (Literally!)
The next generation.
Aircraft carriers are awesome. (As is Sandy Eggo!)
Snow is awesome. (In finite quantities!)
Recognize me?
A day in the park is awesome.
Dogs are awesome.
Sunsets are magnificent.
The sky is awesome.
A great time of year...
I know I'm blessed. And yes, I'm thankful.
A blessed Sunday to you all.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Unhappy Camper

This photo was taken last year, in Alexandria. I was actually having a good time.
I'm just not very good with "selfies."
Crap ton of rain Friday night. Lost Internet connection for a while. I guess we're not really in the 21st century just yet in Little Rhody.

The Missus Herself wanted to know why I was so angry. I guess paying money for a service that I actually do rely on isn't enough. I need to be patient with them as well.

I get that.

But I'm not happy about it.

Will someone knock a couple of bucks of the bill as a gesture of good faith?

I doubt it.

Maybe it's one of those denial of service attacks.

Why haven't we declared war on someone? Damn it, anyone.

I'm getting to be a real curmudgeon.

There are days technology sucks.

Oh well, when I was a kid we had no Internet.

And we walked to school in the snow.


Both ways.

Maybe I'll post something later today. Right now I'm a bit P.O.ed and a lot tired.

Hey, Friday nights are supposed to be better than this.

Maybe I expect too much.


Friday, October 21, 2016

A Pretty Good List

It's one of those days where you get a video, and not much else. It's been a very long week. Like I have mentioned before, blogging is hard. (It's harder when you don't get enough sleep!) So let's get on with it.

The other day I posted a list of movies I really enjoy. As I was casting about for ideas for today's post, I ran across a video called "The Top Ten World War I  Movies." So I watched it. Some of the films I've seen, some I haven't. Some I need to track down and watch. It's a pretty good list, even if it doesn't have a few of my own favorite WWI films. (Sgt York and The Blue Max to name just two.)

These videos can be hit or miss. This one is a hit.

Perhaps I'll be better motivated tonight. After all, it is Friday and I can sleep in tomorrow.

Little victories. It's all I ask.

Nope, still not gonna bitch about politics. There are no good choices...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Scorched Earth

After enjoying the summer long view of lovely roses and other bits of flowering florae, and the local fauna which enjoy munching on said florae, there comes that time of year when The Missus Herself commences a little something I like to call "Operation Scorched Earth."

In which she goes through the town, leaving a swath of destruction in her wake. A barren landscape in which a scorpion would have trouble finding sustenance and...

No, not really.

When my better half began "Operation Fill the Yard with Flowering Things" (which sounds way more militaristic in German, to wit Operation Füllen Sie den Hof mit blühenden Dingen) I didn't give much thought to what would happen to all of those plants when winter fell upon the land.

Our first autumn in Little Rhody wasn't too bad, the gardens were still somewhat small and modest. It wasn't until the second autumn that we really had a fun time clipping, trimming, and bagging all of the plant life which had graced the yard in the summer.

Well, this year I'm "excused duty." (Yup, I'm still milking that post-surgical thing, truth be told, Doc said to take it easy until the end of November when I see him again. And no one has ever had to tell me to take it easy twice. Frankly, the surgical site still hurts a bit. At my age one does not heal very quickly.)


I came home last night to see a rather large collection of these out by the street...

There have been years when The Missus Herself has filled upwards of thirty of those bags with yard detritus. Believe you me, it's no fun hauling all those bags down to the curb as they get filled. While sometimes they're not that heavy, there are years when I think my lovely wife has put a yard of dirt in each bag. While she doesn't really do that, there can be quite a bit of soil left clinging to the roots of all the plants she's yanked out of the ground.

Being hors de combat this year does make me feel a little guilty.

A little.

Perhaps I should emulate the granddaughters...

Ya know, hit the highway! (Little Bit seems really into driving, whereas L'il Sweetie looks rather like a bored commuter on the way to work. The WSO tells me though that the youngest member of our tribe was really into having her sister drive her around. And around, and around, and around...)

While we still have some flowers left, the time when the ground is barren again isn't too far off. Not to worry though, all that white stuff will cover it up. (Wait! What am I saying?)