Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mossy Nissan Rules! Cash for Clunkers Scores Big!

Yippee-eye-ay! 18-year-old baby got a brand spanking new car despite having no credit, no money and a mother with a credit score lower than George W. Bush's IQ. But what mom did have was clear title to a 2002 Ford Windstar with a combined EPA rating of 18 MPG. And as of 6 p.m. today Mom's clunker is rusting away at MOSSY NISSAN on the Katy Freeway in Houston, Texas. Tomorrow it will suck it's last ozone deteriorating fumes as it is driven around to the back lot to await it's date with death.

The BEST DAMN CAR SALESMAN ON THE PLANET, KIRK VERRETT, deserves ALL the credit. He worked with UBER FINANCE MAN, BRENT DeMOSS, to put together a deal that put all other dealerships we visited to shame. In particular, I would like to warn my friends away from Don McGill Toyota. {If you are not my friend, I suggest you high-tail it over there right now}. I had an inexperienced salesman who made promises he couldn't deliver and wasted an inordinate amount of my time in the process. It was an utterly frustrating process until I spoke to TBDCSOTP, KIRK VERRETT, at MOSSY NISSAN.

Kirk shot straight with me. He told me exactly what he could do and then he DELIVERED. And, not only did he do what he said, he did it quickly. Turn around time from first conversation to driving away, all paperwork signed ~ less than 24 hours! You can reach Kirk and Brent by calling the dealership at 281-496-2200.

For the record, I am not being compensated in any way for this post. I feel that when people help us out, do things that they don't necessarily have to do, or are just plain nice - as both of these gentlemen were - we should spread the love. They put a smile on my daughter's face and that's all I need. They treated me as well as they would have treated someone with a perfect credit score and plenty of cash to spend. They were honest and respectful and I appreciate it. This is how I show my appreciation.

If you are interested in the Cash for Clunkers Program click here and see if your trade in qualifies. If it does, familiarize yourself with these rules:
  1. It must have been registered in your name for the last 12 months.
  2. You must have proof of insurance for those same 12 months.
  3. You must be able to drive the vehicle to the dealership.
  4. The person who is trading in the vehicle must be on the title of the new vehicle. Example: The van we traded was in my name alone but my daughter and I are both on the new car.
  5. You can only buy a new car. Doesn't work for used.
  6. You can only get one rebate.
  7. The rebate is either $3,500 or $4,500.
  8. The amount of your rebate depends upon the difference in MPG between your trade in and your new vehicle. Improve your MPG by 10 or less and you get $3,500. Improve 11 or more and you get $4,500.

This deal isn't for everyone and the money is limited. The Federal Government committed $1 Billion to this program ~ roughly 230,000 cars. If the money doesn't run out first CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) will end November 1, 2009, so this is what is traditionally referred to as a "Limited Time Offer." The program officially kicked off Monday, July 27 and after three full days the estimated remaining balance in the fund is $858 million. That's a little over $47 million a day. At this rate, the money will be gone in three weeks. Get yours now, before it's too late! Call my buddy Kirk and let him get you rolling.

P.S. Kirk, I was serious about shooting Ole Blue full of holes. If management is down, give me a call and we'll have target practice!

P.P.S. I hope you aren't a Bush fan, otherwise this post just got a little awkward.

P.P.P.S. Even if you are a Bush fan, you are still TBDCSOTP

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Blog

I've decided to compartmentalize. I'm starting a new blog that will feature my writing and keep this one dedicated to The List and everyday observances. This blog shall remain the product of myself and The Don. He has been on hiatus lately, but fans never fear, he shall return mightily, swords flashing in the light.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sneak Peek at My Work in Progress

Below is an excerpt from the manuscript I am currently working on. Feel free to comment.

It's all very complicated, he said.

Don't patronize me. It's not that fucking complicated, you just don't want to tell me. And that's fine. I really don't give a shit anyway. The point is you're looking at jail time. Years of jail time. If that doesn't bring things into perspective nothing will.

But I didn't do anything, he wailed plaintively.

And since when does that matter? She was sick of this back and forth, beating around the bush bullshit. He was as full of double-talk as ever. Some things never changed.

They sat at the polished mahogany bar of a popular Mexican restaurant in mid-town. He nursed a beer and munched on chips and queso while she swirled her Riesling. The French president silently mouthed a New Year's speech on the tv above the bar. The wine was good but did little to lighten her mood. She hated it when people lied but even more frustrating was when they lied to themselves.

Lucy Miles didn't know how to lie. Well, that's not exactly true. She knew how to lie; it's just that she wasn't very good at it. Lucy was an in-your-face kind of chick and didn't give a damn about what most people thought. She had only been there 10 minutes and was already planning her exit. She thought about ducking out when her companion went to the men's room but it just wasn't her style. She passed her card to the bartender and turned up the wine glass, drawing the stare of the businessman across the bar.

Even without her sometimes questionable manners, it was hard not to notice Lucy. She was striking at 5'11" with big doe-y brown eyes and bone-straight chocolate hair swinging just past her shoulders. She favored pencil skirts with thigh-high slits and stilettos that accentuated her long legs. She wore prescription glasses with a dark, square frame that gave her the look of a naughty librarian. She had a way of looking over them that could both petrify and exhilarate in the same glance. Her complexion was fair, thanks to her red-haired grandmother, and she slathered on SPF 30 moisturizer morning and night to keep it that way. Years before she'd thought a "healthy" tan looked great, but these days, with the threat of wrinkles and skin cancer looming, she'd decided porcelain was her ideal hue.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rambling Observations

The Neighbor (369 pages) by Lisa Gardner. Took me four and a half hours to read. The build up was pretty good but the resolution tanked. Seems like she just got tired of writing and wrapped it up rather sloppily ~ woman returns unharmed, tried to frame the dad who tried to frame the husband. Dad dies, husband and wife confess dark secrets and live happily ever after. All in under 30 pages. It wasn't believable and certainly did not set off the nervous jitters and obsessive-compulsive door-locking the reviews promised. I finished last night at 1:20 a.m. and was sound asleep by 1:25.

Had a few spare minutes this afternoon so we ventured into the county library. 7-year-old checked out 5 books, mostly Amelia Bedelia titles. By the time I helped the girls with their selections I had only a few scant moments to grab something for myself before we had to be in court. I was anticipating a long wait in the courtroom and definitely wanted something to keep me occupied. In my haste I grabbed a John Grisham novel I hadn't previously read. Incredibly, we were the very first case on the docket and managed to get out in under 7 minutes. I'm relaxing at home and reading page 210 of The Brethren.

If the arrest of Harvard professor Gates had happened while Bush was still in office, would the press have solicited his opinion as they did Obama's?

Loving vs. Commonwealth of Virginia, decided June 12, 1969, by the U.S. Supreme Court, declared the Virginia law against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional. Richard Loving was white; his wife, Mildred, black.

If your teenage daughter asks permission to go out "to a movie" but can't even deliver a Cliff's Notes version of the plot, she is probably experimenting with sex. Or drugs. Or both.

There are new shot requirements for kids entering 7th grade in Texas. My school district sent a letter detailing specifically which ones my kid needs. If yours doesn't, you need to check with your pediatrician before school starts.

My husband did not find the post-court phone call in which my daughter tearfully wailed that she was going to jail nearly as funny as she and I did. Such a lame sense of humor.

I really miss my baby boy.

Planning a back-to-school shopping trip to the outlet malls in San Marcos in a couple weeks. Hope to find some really good bargains.

Case Dismissed

I'm happy to report that my 12-year-old had the charges against her dismissed today in court. She was ticketed for "affraying" back in March or April when an ungainly girl in her gym class bumped her in the chest, called her a name and declared that she'd been wanting to kick my baby's ass for a long time. Now, my girl is no trouble maker, but there is only so much a person can take and the chest bump was it. It soon escalated into punching, kicking, hair-pulling and writhing on the gym floor. Both girls were hauled to the office and ticketed by the school district's police officer.

It didn't take much research to learn that in the State of Texas, self-defense is no defense when it comes to affraying - an extension of the schools' tough zero-tolerance policies enacted in the wake of Columbine and similar tragedies. We were lucky in that this was her first offense and she had options to get the case dismissed. She could choose between performing community service and taking a "Social Skills" class through an approved provider. Though I am tempted to gripe about what a rip-off the class was ($45 for a 3-hour, Saturday morning session on how to make better decisions) I honestly can't complain. My kid didn't start the fight but she certainly participated.

We did not punish her at home because you can't let people walk all over you. We figured the justice system would work better than grounding. I'm hoping the experience of going to court and the class provided her just enough of a glimpse of what could happen to keep her out of trouble for the long haul. Judge Yeoman certainly doesn't pull any punches but he also allows the kids (and parents) a little bit of dignity if they are truly trying to do the right thing. Bad things happen to good people all the time....what's important is how they handle it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey

The circus rocks! I went for the first time in 30 years yesterday with my little girls and it was great!

We arrived early to go backstage and see the animals.

We bought a program and got autographs from several of the performers.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Proud to Be a Quitter

Take that, S. Vaughn - high priestess of sadistic higher education - I QUIT!!! In all my years of school I have NEVER dropped a class, until tomorrow. I am getting up bright and early to hoof it to the campus of the University of Houston and DROP THAT STUPID FUCKING WORLD CIV CLASS. I am not up to it. I'm tired. It's hot outside. It's too damn much work. And, quite frankly, I don't want to do it! As soon as I made the decision the waves of relief washed over me and I had peace. I may never graduate since it is required but right now I don't care.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Awash in Culture

I’m enrolled in Summer School and one of the classes is World Civ. The sadistic professor believes we will get more out of the class by submersing ourselves in the cultures we are studying. To that end, I must visit FIVE exhibits at local museums and write a short essay on each before August 5.

I took the train to the Museum of Fine Arts yesterday at lunch (Thursdays are FREE). There are some really old pieces that totally impressed and a bunch of other crap I couldn’t care less about.

I plan on seeing the Terra Cotta warriors at the HMNS and the Forbidden Gardens in Katy. Both exhibits are based on ancient Chinese secret….I mean, history. The first emperor of China, a dude named Qin, was a pretty rough character in life so he worried about what would happen in the afterlife. He had between 6,000 and 8,000 life-size terra cotta soldiers made and buried with him in his tomb. The exhibit at HMNS features some of the actual statues that were excavated. In all actuality, Qin wasn't as bad as some other ancient rulers. They actually had their servants buried with them - alive.

The Forbidden Gardens have replicated the entire terra cotta army – all 6,000 warriors – in 1/3 scale. I’m stoked to see 6,000 2-foot tall warriors. They have also re-created the Imperial City in 1/20 scale. Should be pretty cool.