November 4th, 2013 @ 6:28 PM · No Comments
When I started my car after work on Friday afternoon, I headed straight to the muffler shop. it was quite obvious that I needed some work on my exhaust system.
When I pulled up, the guy said that there was no way he could get to it. He further informed me that he couldn’t do it on Saturday because he was heading out of town as soon as he finished the job he was working on and closed up shop.
I suppose that I could have just continue driving the car as it was, but I just can’t bear the thought of my car sounding like so many of the loud cars that drive by my house.
As I was leaving for work this morning, my wife said that she wouldn’t mind taking it to the shop. I printed out a map and gave her $160 cash.
I figured a small repair would cost $50-60. A major repair would definitely be north of $100.
The guy fixed the car for $20!
I think I am going to start doing all of the grocery shopping and send her to get all of my automotive work done!
November 4th, 2013 @ 12:19 PM · No Comments
This morning my youngest daughter left for Omaha, Nebraska. She was selected to help with the Grand Opening of the new Bonefish Grill.
At my direction, she drove the SuperCrew F150. I reasoned that since it is November and it is not uncommon for large amounts of snow to unexpectedly fall in Nebraska, I felt that she would be more comfortable if she were driving the vehicle that she uses on an every day basis.
Well, it turned out that the weather wasn’t the problem…
A few hours after she left, the truck started running roughly and the “Check Engine” light came on.
She called me…but I was in a meeting and couldn’t take the call.
She called her mother…but she was on the phone discussing the $865 lab bill with our health insurance company and couldn’t answer.
Instead of panicking, she called my mechanic and asked him what she should do!
She got off the freeway and asked the woman at the counter of the Love’s truck stop where she could find the nearest auto parts store.
“I have no idea.” The woman then pointed to a customer entering the front door, “But he can tell you.”
Cakes told him of her predicament.
“You don’t want to go to the auto parts store. I’ll give you the directions to my mechanic.”
When Cakes pulled up to the shop, there were three heavily tattooed men sitting around smoking cigarettes.
She thought, “Oh boy…here we go.”
She went in and explained the problem.
One guy went into the shop and hooked up his computer to figure out what was wrong with the engine.
Then, the situation got more interesting…
A police car pulled up.
As the cop stepped into the office and started talking with the second guy, the third guy walked out into the driveway and started talking to two rough looking Samoans that had just pulled up in an SUV!
While all of this was developing, the guy in the shop informed Cakes that one of the coils that supplies spark to the cylinders had gone bad. He said, “Usually, we would charge you for a new coil and then there would be labor. But, we happen to have a used one here…so I’ll put it in and there won’t be any charge for the labor.”
I don’t know if this sudden burst of generosity was inspired by the fact that a policeman was “interviewing” his buddy or not. Frankly, I don’t care. My daughter was safe, the truck was fixed and it only cost $40!
The whole episode was over in less than an hour!
When I finally spoke to Cakes on the phone, she excitedly told me the whole story and said, “I handled it all by myself! Daddy, I’m a big girl!”
I wholeheartedly agree.
November 2nd, 2013 @ 5:54 PM · No Comments
I received a text from my youngest daughter this morning…
“Can you do ‘No Shave November’ for me????”
I didn’t really want to. I don’t really understand when this started or what it’s all about…
Besides, when I grew my first beard earlier this year, my wife didn’t like it. She couldn’t get used to kissing me (yes, we still kiss!) with whiskers on my top lip.
Well, I like that my wife likes kissing me. Fun things seem to follow, if you know what I mean…
But then a thought entered my head…
“She’s leaving for a week and a half…so she won’t be around…so why should she care.”
I texted back…
“Since Mom is leaving me to spend time with another man for the next week and a half (she is flying back to California to visit her elderly parents), I am going to say yes…until Thanksgiving morning.”
Evidently, that made her morning…
“Haha, yayyy!!! :D…Maybe I’ll participate and not shave my legs ;)”
The last time that Cakes didn’t shave her legs for the month of November nearly drove my wife crazy. The thought of her coming back to Missouri with my face and Cake’s legs covered in hair is just too much fun.
I texted back…
“She will love that! Maybe if we both shave on Thanksgiving morning, she will REALLY be thankful.”
With that, I started growing my second beard. It will probably take me the whole month to actually grow one!
November 1st, 2013 @ 8:01 PM · No Comments
Do you remember when I went to the doctor for my first physical in nearly 7 years?
Just a plain old physical…nothing special.
Well, I got a surprise when I got home…
An $864 bill from the medical lab!!!
The only reason I decided to schedule it was because our health insurance covered all of the expenses when my wife had hers.
I guess I should have gone to my wife’s doctor!
October 14th, 2013 @ 8:36 PM · No Comments
I made an appointment at the Apple Store Genius Bar.
I was hoping they wouldn’t give me any grief for buying my new machine at MicroCenter. But, now that I think about it, it’s actually their fault. It’s not my fault that they no longer carried the machine…
“SO DON’T GIVE ME NO STUFF!”
I told them my predicament, the Genius plugged in his special gadget and 15 minutes later, I was headed back to the car with OS 10.6.8 installed.
I like Apple.
October 13th, 2013 @ 8:38 PM · No Comments
Aahhh, the excitement of a new computer…
How quickly it begins to fade!
Before I bought my new laptop, I asked the salesman if this computer would run Snow Leopard (Max OS 10.6). After talking with the tech geeks in the back of the store, he assured me that it would.
So, imagine my surprise when I stuck in my Snow Leopard disk, clicked the button to install the operating system and received an error message that I have never encountered.
“OK…fine…there is more than one way to skin a cat.”
I changed the settings and rebooted the machine directly from the Snow Leopard disk.
Everything was going fine until a grey curtain would start slowly dropping down from the top of the screen letting me know that I had caused a kernel panic.
For the uninitiated, a kernel panic is a message that basically says, “Dude, you have really screwed up. You are freaking this machine out!”
I got my old laptop out and did a quick search on the ‘Net…
“Good…I’m not the only one.”
I then tried the method recommended by the author…
The machine replied, “Sorry…you can’t do that!”
I went back and found the last ditch suggestion. I tried it…
The machine basically said, “Seriously? Is that all you got?”
“You are kidding me! Am I going to have to return this machine?”
I was a little animated when I called MicroCenter…
“Hey, I asked you guys specifically if this machine would run Snow Leopard and I was assured that it would.”
I then described the difficulties that I had encountered.
I heard the tech guy’s keyboard clicking away while he pulled up my order, then pulled up the specs on my specific machine.
“I am on Apple’s website and it says that your machine is designed to run OS 10.6.6 through OS 10.7.2.”
“Then why can’t I install it on the machine?”
“What are you using?”
“The disk I bought at the Apple Store.”
“That’s the problem.”
“What’s the problem?”
“Your disk is the retail version of Snow Leopard.”
“That is OS 10.6.3. The machine will only run OS 10.6.6 or later.”
“Where can I get a later version of the operating system?”
“Then what am I supposed to do?”
“I’m afraid you will have to go to the Apple Store.”
New computers are SO FUN!!!
October 13th, 2013 @ 7:38 PM · No Comments
After I had cancelled my order with Apple last night, I asked the young man what was the nature of the problems with the payment. He replied that there were no funds in the account!
That gave me a little cause for concern because when I made the transfer, I confirmed that the money had been transferred from my checking account to the account that I use for purchases on the Internet. When I say that I confirmed it, I mean that I checked the balances in both accounts. The money had definitely been deducted from my checking account and had definitely been added to the Internet account.
After we got home from church this afternoon, I quickly changed my clothes and headed down to the family room and logged onto my bank’s website.
The balances in both accounts were now back to what they were before I made the transfer!
My best guess is that because I completed the transaction to purchase the computer within seconds of transferring the funds, I must have triggered some type of consumer protection mechanism against bank fraud.
I don’t really know…but, to quote the Grinch…
“That worked out nicely!”
I say that because I am now the proud owner of a brand new 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro that is covered for the next three years with AppleCare!
October 12th, 2013 @ 7:40 PM · No Comments
Oh the thrill of anticipation…
As you probably know, I am expecting delivery of a new laptop in about a week.
I hate to admit to thinking like a woman, but what is a new computer without a few new accessories?
Back in 2009, I was a regularly visiting the local Apple store trying to iron out some software problems with my new laptop. During that time, a company called Henge invented a vertical laptop docking station.
But, alas, it only worked with the Unibody MacBook Pros.
Well, now that I am expecting delivery of said machine in a little over a week, I decided to see if they are still available.
In fact, my local MicroCenter has them in stock!
They also sell refurbished Apple products? How can that be? The local Apple store doesn’t even do that.
What is this…They have the the 17″ version of the very same configuration that I just ordered from Apple last night?
And it is only $70 more than the 15″ unit that I just bought? That is $200 cheaper than Apple’s price!
I told my wife of my latest discovery.
“Honey, I have to drive over there to see if everything is as it appears. If it is indeed the same computer and I can get AppleCare for it, I am going to cancel my order with Apple.”
Before leaving, I went down to find the e-mail from Apple that had my order number. There was a new e-mail from Apple. For some reason they were having problems with the payment.
I wrote down the order number and the contact phone number and then headed off to MicroCenter.
Yes, it was the same configuration.
Yes, they had ten 17″ units in stock.
Yes, it would run Snow Leopard.
Yes, I can get AppleCare.
Ya-hoo…you know what I’m sayin’? Ya-hoo!
I called Apple and cancelled the order! I am going to get the computer I wanted from the beginning of this oddysey!
Category: Providence, Technology
October 12th, 2013 @ 4:35 PM · No Comments
This morning, I was just about to grab the shovel to begin my third attempt at planting the shrubs along the front of our house when my cell phone rang. It was my mechanic…
“I was at the junkyard yesterday and saw a 1978 Ford F-150 that had a seat in excellent condition. In fact, the whole truck is in really good condition. I thought you might be interested.”
Well, I am interested. Wild Bill is a 1979 F-150 and back then trucks didn’t change that much from year to year.
When I started thinking about what I needed to do to actually take advantage of this opportunity, reality started slapping me in the face.
“How am I going to get parts at the junkyard? I can barely walk…
“How am I going to get my tools out there?…
“How am I going to be able to get that (bench) seat out of the truck? Shoot, how am I going to carry it through the yard and load it in the SuperCrew?”
But I have to take advantage of this! When will I ever find another one? I’m not going to go looking…
Then, I got an idea!
I hobbled back in through the front door and with as much positive energy and upbeat attitude as I could muster, said, ”Honey, do you want to go the junkyard with me?”
I then relayed the “exciting information” that our mechanic had just given me.
“When do you want to go?”
Well, I didn’t need to be asked twice!
As non-chalantly as I could, I said, “Right now” and immediately turned to go back to the garage to start gathering the tools that I would need.
“Do you need me to go with you?”
“Well, I can’t very well carry that seat by myself in my current condition, can I?”
I guess watching me hobble around the past two weeks has caused her to have pity on me…because SHE SAID YES!!!
Well, you have to know that I could not let this delicious opportunity go to waste!
While we were driving, I kept looked wistfully at the freeway ahead of me, would lightly sigh and shake my head softly in wonderment…
About the second or third time, my wife noticed. I was hoping that she would
I just kept looking ahead and every so often lightly and slowly shaking my head.
“What are you thinking?”
“Then why do you keep shaking your head like that?”
“I just never thought I would see this day…”
“What does THAT mean?”
“I just never thought that you would change your mind and decide that we should fix up Wild Bill!”
Well, that got her going…
“That is not what this is…”
I interrupted before she could get up a full head of steam, “All I know is that I asked you if you wanted to go to the junkyard to get parts to fix up Wild Bill and you said ‘Yes’…It’s amazing…I just never saw this coming…Wow!”
The truck was in very good condition and we ended up having an enjoyable time and got quite a few parts for “our” old truck.
October 11th, 2013 @ 9:22 PM · No Comments
Two months ago, I stumbled upon the fact that I can actually buy a new computer that would still run my old word processing software.
I decided that tonight was the night…
We have finally built up our savings enough to where I felt like I could take the plunge and buy a new computer.
I went to Apple’s Refurbished Mac web page.
The 17″ MacBook Pro that I had seen back in August was gone. I looked at the 15″ models. There were two different configurations available: a 2.2 GHz model for $1,529 or the 2.5 GHz version for $1,699.
Since I am not producing videos, performing complex spreadsheet calculations or participating in online gaming, I decided to go with the cheaper model. After all, a guy can only type so fast. That extra speed isn’t going to make any difference to me.
Besides, the chip powering this computer is two generations later than those on my current laptop. So, I do not think I will miss the 19% increase in processing power at all.
Although I had talked with my wife on several occasions about purchasing a new computer, I went upstairs to run it by my wife one last time.
“Don’t ask me…Be a man! I’d rather you come up and tell me, ‘Honey, I just bought a whatever it is.’ ”
While I appreciate the fact that she trusts me, it is still a wad of cash. If she had even a slight reservation, I would take that as a sign that I should wait.
But, she didn’t!
So, I went down, re-analyzed my thought process a few more times and then clicked on the “Add to Cart” button. I then added 3 years of “Apple Care” and proceeded to checkout.
I noticed that they had the card that I use for Internet purchases on file.
I opened another tab, logged into my bank’s website, transferred the necessary funds into my internet account, logged out and went back and completed the purchase.
The package is supposed to arrive on 10/22!