Friday, July 13, 2012

Damn, Friday the 13th, you don't disappoint.


Today sure has been a Friday the 13th.

Velvet went to the vet to get spayed today. This meant that she got to spend last night in my house, being kept away from food and water. Given that I have four other hungry and thirsty critters in my house right now, I didn’t want to put up all the food and water in the house; instead I put Velvet in her crate. And she cried ALL NIGHT. I had her at the vet bright and early, and went home and passed out.

Two hours later, I was awakened from blissful sleep (buried under a pile of canines and Charlie) by my mother calling in a fury: her truck wasn’t working.

Now let’s back up a little bit. Remember last Saturday, when my mom bought herself a pickup? Well, we’d gone to a couple of dealers looking for a used Ford Ranger 4 cylinder with a manual transmission. The used car section of the local Toyota dealer had a white Ford Ranger with a manual transmission. We took it for a test drive, and liked it. Mom asked the salesman if it was a 4 cylinder or a V6, because she was looking for a 4 cylinder. He said he didn’t know, but would check. He went out and popped the hood, and came back with the answer that it was a 4 cylinder. We asked for the CarFax. He printed it out, but we got distracted chatting with him and forgot to look at it.

Mom bought the truck. She paid with a check.

It seemed to be a good purchase, although my mom kept having a hard time shifting into third. I remember when I first switched from my 1979 Volvo to my 2003 Toyota Echo, I had a hard time getting it to go into third, simply because it was slightly different from what I used to – I figured mom was having the same problem. As she has a six month warranty, Mom stopped by the dealer yesterday complain that the transmission was sticking – and to pick up the CarFax. She was told that nothing was wrong with the transmission because, “Nothing can go wrong with a manual transmission.” They didn’t even look at it. (As someone who had her manual transmission go out on her in the middle of an intersection once – granted this was the ’79 Volvo and it was 19 years old at the time – I can tell you that things most definitely DO go wrong with manual transmissions on occasion. What bullshit.) Then mom got home and took a look at the CarFax… which said that her truck was a V6. We looked under the hood – yep, six spark plugs = V6. She had specifically wanted a 4 cylinder because she wasn’t going to be hauling anything and she wanted the better gas mileage from the smaller engine.

So mom called the dealer. When she told the salesman the truck was a V6, first he insisted that oh no, it was *definitely* a 4 cylinder; he had looked and there were only four spark plugs. Eventually he decided that OK, maybe it was a V6 – but my mom really needed the V6 anyway for all the hauling she was going to be doing. Yeah. He tried to give her a V6 sales pitch. Of course my mom was upset, because while we *might* have bought the truck anyway had we known it was a V6, we would have also gone to Jacksonville to look at some other options first. She argued with the sales guy, and he spoke with his manager… the best they could promise her was that if in the next few weeks they found a comparable-value 4 cylinder, they would trade her. Hah. We figured we were stuck with it. Still, we liked it, except for the sticky transmission and the gas mileage of the V6.

Last night, while doing her electronic banking, mom noticed that the dealer hadn’t cashed her check. We joked about stopping the check.

And then this morning as my mom was driving, she went to downshift and found that it would not go into ANY gear. (Newsflash: this is what happens when a manual transmission goes bad.) She was only a couple blocks from her mechanic, so he came and looked at it; his judgment was that the transmission was shot, and that she’d have to get it re-built. Mom called the dealer, and they sent a wrecker to pick her and the truck up.

The wrecker was driven by one of mom’s former students. She convinced him to swing by the bank first, so she could stop payment on the check. Hah!

Once arriving at the dealer, mom discovered that the salesman was now saying that he had NEVER told her that it was a 4 cylinder… but, ooops… the sales paperwork had the truck written up as a 4 cylinder, not as a V6. The dealer was FURIOUS that mom had stopped payment on the check, and told her that it was illegal for her to do that, and that they could have her arrested, but that “out of the goodness of their heart” they wouldn’t call the cops. Dude, seriously?

Anyway, mom got them to agree to refund her $400 for her van (which has apparently already been sent to the crusher) plus the $35 for stopping payment on the check. Not sure how she managed this, as I wasn’t there. (They were worried that the title change might have already gone through, and that they’d be hella out of luck if we got the title in the mail and didn’t want to give it back, so this might be why they became cooperative.) Of course, we don’t yet *have* this money yet, so god knows if we’ll get it. Allegedly they were supposed to call us if they got it fixed and we wanted to re-purchase it. They insisted that surely it was something minor like the clutch (mom’s mechanic says the clutch is fine) or “just a lock on the transmission that needs to be removed” (can we say ‘bullshit’??) – but not surprisingly, they never called.

THEN… mom’s car (her 1997 Ford Escort) wouldn’t start. It had sat un-driven over the past week since the arrival of the truck, so we thought perhaps it had a dead battery. Until we were unable to jump it from my car. Mom called her mechanic again, and he came over to take a look. The starter was dead. As in the starter that he replaced last month. Yeah. So he’s going to take the starter back to the auto-parts store and get it swapped for a new one. He says he’ll be able to get a free new starter, but mom will still have to pay him for labor to install it. Joy.

We picked Velvet up at the vet and took her to my house, and then sat through a torrential downpour. Our next destination was the land, but I was NOT driving my car through the water obstacle (er, “road”) after all the rain. We parked and walked out there, wading down the road on foot. While out there, we discovered that Honey (my horse) has developed some major swelling in the lymph node area under her jaw, so we’re going to have to get the vet out there to look at her. (It doesn’t seem to be bothering her, but it can’t be good for her, either.) Then when we walked back out, Mama Cat followed us the half mile back to the car, including picking her way through the woods alongside the water obstacle. So there we were at the car with a cat that needed to be half a mile on the other side of the water. As our options were leaving Mama there, driving my Toyota Echo through the flood waters, or taking Mama home, Mama Cat is now part of the animal madhouse at my house. Yeah.

I feel ya, Charlie.

We’ll be going to Jacksonville tomorrow to check out a 2008 Ford Ranger. Wish us luck!

No comments: