Saturday, August 27, 2011

How Can I Find a Reliable Mechanic?

I have had enough bad experiences with car mechanics that I now assume that whatever shop I take my SUV to for service is out to get me. Is that fair? Of course not. However, let's consider today's adventure:

This afternoon, I take my rig in for an oil change because I'm leaving on a 1600-mile road trip - by myself - on Monday. The gentleman at the front desk tries to talk me into the "high mileage" oil for an extra $10.00+. My rig has 82,000+ miles on it. Says so right in their computer because I take my rig there regularly for oil changes. According to the glossy brochure I am shown, this special oil has extra components that are supposed to, amongst other things, seal leaks in the car's oil system.

I decline. Politely. I want run that decision past my dad, who is wise in the ways of vehicles, and do some research to see if the extra cost was worth it.

Ok, so they take the rig, do an oil change, rotate my tires - for free because I bought the tires there - and then call me up to check out. Price? $39 and change.

Huh? I point out that the board behind the desk says an oil change is $26.99 + $2.50 for oil filter recycling. The guy looks at his paper work and says, "yes, oil change, high mileage oil..." and looks back at me. Waiting. I say, "No, I declined the high mileage oil. Remember? I said I'd consider it for next time."

He thinks about it and apparently remembers that. He gives me some story about changing it in the computer but on the paper work, sorry, yadda, yadda, yadda. Anyway, I got the high mileage oil. He does take off the extra $10 without any further argument from me, though. He tells me how great it is the whole time he's fixing my bill.


Could it have been an honest mistake? I suppose so. But my cynicism says otherwise.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Half Marathon or Bust

I first started running just after I got out of college. I wasn't athletic at all and the first few times out, just running a half mile kicked my butt. It took me several months to be able to run even two miles without sucking wind and feeling like I was going to collapse afterward.

That's just say quite some time ago. Since then, I have run intermittently. At one point, about 10 years ago I ran consistently all summer and worked up to about 6 miles as my longest runs. That was great. Then I suffered a couple of knee injuries - unrelated to running - and have struggled to get back into a running habit since then.

Well, no more. I'm now going to get serious again - about running and about losing weight (I need to lose about 10-12 pounds). Last Saturday morning, I did an approx. two mile run. I was tired at the end, but it felt good. This morning, I did about 3 to 3.3 mile run. The weather was cooler and it felt great until the last 1/4 to 3/8 of a mile. But I stuck with it.

What still amazes me is how fast the endurance comes back. I have run only a handful of times in the last six months, and yet two runs in, and I'm back up to 3+ miles which was my standard run for so many years.

In order to keep myself motivated, I have set a goal of running in a half-marathon next summer. One of my bucket-list items is to run a full marathon - just to have done it - but I'm going to set that goal a bit farther out. I'll shoot for the half next summer and try to get in a few races between now and then. I'm not fast enough to be competitive with others. I just like atmosphere of races and I use them to try to achieve personal bests.

We'll see how it goes. Updates in the future...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Updates, Updates

It's been awhile since I've spent time here, but the blogging bug has bitten again. I've made some changes to both my main blog (this one) and my book review blog, Book Snark (which is only somewhat snarky). Blogger has some nice new templates to play with.


Speaking of reading, I've got a couple more reviews to come. I've recently read "Unlocked" by Courtney Milan and "Exposure" by Therese Fowler, two books that are outside my normal reading genres but were recommended to me.

I have posted a review of "Exposure" on Book Snark. Warning, there are spoilers in the review. I really couldn't discuss one of my reasons for disliking the book without discussing the ending.