Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday 2013 and a New Laptop

I went shopping in Alpena, with Hal's sister but not until after 10 am. We shopped a lot. Peebles, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Tractor Supply. We went to a few places to return items or just run errands that needed doing. We had lunch at our favorite all you can eat Chinese restaurant. And we went to Staples where I bought a new laptop that I am using right now. Normally, I wouldn't be up at 3 am but I couldn't sleep. A combination of indigestion and insomnia. So I am downloading updates and writing in this blog while that happens.

I bought another Dell. I liked my old Dell desktop and my last laptop even though the laptop has been misbehaving these last few months, random crashes, the battery is toast, I can't close the lid or it crashes the operating system, using the SD card reader results in the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. So it was time and I waited for Black Friday to find something. I bought a touch screen. Most of the machines out there are running windows 8 (there are a few 7 machines left but I wanted to go with the newer tech.) and a lot of them are not touch screens which I find ridiculous as windows 8 was designed for the touch interface. That interface adds to the cost of the machine though so it was tough getting one cheap. I found one at Staples for $399 plus tax. I had it on my wish list at Amazon with a number of others and they actually had it for the same price with no tax but by the time I got around to ordering it jumped above $400. Then I saw the staples add though in the store itself it still listed for $499, they had to honor their own online price.

It's different, and a little frustrating trying to navigate. It doesn't help that I am tired. But I am finally getting the OS to update and then I can download the 8.1 version which is supposed to be less buggy than 8.0. Later I will discuss my experience with this machine. Incidentally the model is the Inspiron i15RV-6143. Not the fastest processor they sell but it's got to be faster than the 4 year old machine I've been using. But that's enough for now, I think the initial download is almost done. I'd like to finish that up and see if I can finally fall asleep.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Still Like My Car!

Been almost a month and I realize I haven't posted any more photos of my new used car. So here are a couple I took earlier this month.
The cargo area is nice and large, plus a piece comes out of the floor to become a shelf, or cover to hide things. I even found an inexpensive large dog bed in the color gray that fits very well.
The interior is very clean and has lots of buttons. The usual power windows, heated seats, powered driver seat, cd player and I can even have xm radio if I want to spend the money.
And a nice photo on a sunnier day. Luna had to get in the picture, too. And as you can see, it is indeed, purple.

I've also been toying with names for my car. I've only ever named 2 of my vehicles. My very first car was a brown Honda Civic and I named it Spiny Norman. And of course, my beater truck was Bruce. For my Equinox, Sid was suggested by Hal's sister. Oddly, it was one of the names suggested in an online naming program I tried. I was going with Dark Star for a while. Hal suggested the Midnight Rider but I don't care for it. I went with Loki for a few days, my favorite bad boy from the Avengers. But do I really want to name my car after the master of mischief? That seems to be asking for trouble, although the battery was stone dead the day I tried to drive home. Martin, as in Purple Martin, was another very, very brief thought. But the other day I think the right name finally presented itself; Roranicus, loyal, steadfast, protective. Seems perfect, I'll have to try it out for a while, see what my car thinks.

But I think Rory is cool.

Skunked, Again!

I'm surprised I didn't mention this earlier but I have been busy.

A couple weeks ago, about 11:45 pm, 5, I tell you FIVE minutes before I was heading to bed Ziggy trotted downstairs and wanted to go outside. Now the yard is fenced, it has electric wires at the top and bottom, and though those are primarily to keep my dogs from escaping it seems to have done a good job keeping other critters out. Just as I was opening the screen door Ziggy started to go nuts and I was too slow with the realization that "something is out there" and couldn't quite grasp hold of his collar before he pushed himself outside, leapt of the deck and tore down to the bottom of the front yard.

In less than a minute he was back. And I could smell him before I opened the door. The poor little guy must have tried to bite its back end and he got the entire dose in his mouth. Saliva was foaming and following out of Ziggy's jaws as if he was rabid. I dragged him across the vinyl floor into the bathroom and stuffed him into the tub. He did not fight me. It took 5 minutes to locate the shower hose, the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish washing liquid but then Ziggy got the treatment. It was the first time I'd ever had to wash anyone's mouth out with soap but it had to be done. He was constantly working his mouth trying to get out what couldn't be gotten out, I could tell it was in his nostrils, he was a mess. When we finished all he did was pace, following me around while I wiped the drool off the floor with the same de-skunking concoction.

Then I had a minor brainstorm and got out some raw burger and a can of tomato sauce and mixed it together and hand fed him. I figured if bathing a dog in tomato juice was the old stand-by solution (which I've heard doesn't work that well), then getting tomato into his mouth might help a little, better than on the outside anyway. He ate it. I do believe it did help. After I took my shower and went to bed I do think he finally was able to sleep. At least when I got up an hour later, 3 am he was laying on the rug in the hall.

I fed him more tomato burger in the morning and by the end of the day he was actually back to his old rambunctious self instead of the miserable, tail drooping, head hanging pup he had been. And you really couldn't smell hardly anything on his fur, that skunk really had fired directly into his mouth. But when Ziggy opened that mouth for the next few days, wow, it was nasty!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bruce and the Ford Taurus are Gone!

When I bought my car the dealership wasn't accepting cars falling apart as trade ins. Lucky us. However, the salesman did call a local guy who buys old cars and parts them out. He came out today and took a look. He gave us scrap price for the Ford, but a bit more for the truck. And he was able to drive them out though he had to replace the battery in the Ford. They are gone now, good riddance, though we seemed to put more money into them than we should have, it's just nice to no longer have the problem. And its amazing how much more space is in the yard now!

Friday, November 1, 2013

My New Car!!

Two days ago I started my beater truck Bruce and it started hard. It sputtered as I chugged up my 1/4 mile long driveway and half way up it died. Couldn't get it restarted, the battery was too weak. When Hal came home he jump started it, we let it warm up but after driving a short distance, about 20 feet? it died again. This time the battery worked fine but it would not keep going. Hal finally got it to keep running but there was a high pitched whine coming from the location where the fuel pump and filter are. The fuel pump is in the gas tank. He would have to drop the tank or remove the pick-up bed or cut a hole through the bed to get to it. Hal is also hoping to go out of town at the end of the month so he'd have to get it done in the next 3 weeks. Plus there is no guarantee it would solve my continuous problems.

So that night I went on line as I have done a few times in the past year to look at used cars in the area. The local Chevy dealer only 8 miles away had a nifty looking 2004 Pontiac Vibe. It also had several Chevy Trailblazers, a 2003 GMC Envoy and a 2006 Chevy Equinox. The plan has been a used car under $10,000. When I was looking last year that was the low price of even 2006 small SUVs most of them being more money. This shortage of used vehicles for reasonably low prices is a direct result of that "cash for clunkers" program. I don't even want to talk about that.

But Wednesday night the Lincoln Chevy dealer had several cars below 10k and Hal agreed to go look at one in particular the next morning (yesterday), the 2004 Pontiac Vibe listed at $6,995 with 126,000 miles on it. I checked out reviews of it and they were very, very good. Good gas mileage, decent price, a lovely cherry red color. A little worrisome in that it was already 9 years old, but we would see.

We took it for a test drive, twice because I found it awkward handling the first time which I thought could be attributed to fighting with the wheel of a huge sloppy steering truck. It was, second time it was easy and pleasant. The car itself had a noisy engine, it was only 4 cylinders so acceleration was slow, I would call it nimble though. It was a rainy day so I got to test out the windshield wipers, braking on wet pavement, etc. The interior was clean, black cloth seats with some obvious stains. the cargo area in back was nice, the rear seats folded down flush with the floor and it had tracks in the floor for tie downs. Stereo worked. But on the outside we noticed some rust (Hal did, actually) on the hood, never treated and bubbling up at the nose. Well my Taurus had lots more than that which we didn't notice at the time because it was covered up with paint, so maybe it wouldn't be a big deal. But under the hood there was also some obvious rust at the top of the struts.

In between those 2 test drives I drove the 2006 Equinox. It has 145,00 miles but it's 2 years newer. It doesn't get as good reviews but out of 5 stars possible on Edmund's for instance, it was over 4 stars. But this car drove wonderfully. It's slightly bigger but handles well. At first on starting it I couldn't hear the engine! Everything seemed to work fine, too and we couldn't find any rust on it, the body is in excellent shape, the carpet is a little worn and the 2 most used radio buttons have eroded decals but otherwise, it's a nice car.

So as we sat in our salesman's office we went back and forth over mileage, age, rust, and price because the Equinox was $1000 more, though still under $10k. It was the rust and being 2 years older than killed it for the pretty red Pontiac. So at 3 pm today we will be meeting with our salesman (who isn't pushy at all!) with the check, the plate from my truck and other paperwork and then shortly after I should be the proud owner of a very nice small SUV! Looking forward to it. I will have more to say about "DarkStar" later.

edit to strike out info on decals, that was on the Pontiac radio. The Equinox radio is in primo condition. Also added photo.