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Posts Tagged ‘#AAA’

I thought I would get back here sooner but instead I’ve been dealing with more of life’s curveballs. Hubby’s days off are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We realize we are blessed to have these as they are the best days of the week to have off. Even so, they can still suck. The weekend before last was not good and it’s gone downhill from there. Thursday Jan. 15th, we went to 2 estate sales that were “ok”. We took it easy, knowing we’d be out and about on Sat. We decided to do all our errands on Friday. That means running to the CVS pharmacy to get a prescription refill. We also asked about another prescription that they didn’t have the proper strength of last month and of course, they don’t have it again. Even though we told them to make sure it was in. Which means we had to go back again the following weekend to get them, holding our breath with our fingers crossed. Not a big deal.

Then we went to Sam’s Club. Hubby’s tires on his 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee are bald. We decided to bite the bullet and get all 4 tires at once. There was a sale of $80 off when you buy 4. Hubby’s Jeep has 72,000 miles and he’s gotten a replacement set once before. Not just due to driving but towing when we go RVing. Better safe than sorry, especially this time of year when the roads can be slippery. We went right to the automotive and dealt with the nice guy who helped us last May when I got a battery replacement on my car. They were out of stock on the specific tires that Greg wanted, even though they showed online that they were in stock. The other brand they had that would work were over $25 more PER TIRE. So even though we were all ready to get them put on that day, we had to order them and wait for them to get in. Which means that we had to go back again the following weekend to get them installed. We had to do a major stock up at Sam’s Club on groceries so we loaded up and went home. At least we’ve got good stuff to eat for the next few weeks.

On Saturday Jan. 17th, we were going to hit a few estate sales to make up for the underwhelming 2 days prior. We go out and get in the Jeep and it won’t start! It won’t even crank. No lights or anything. Hubby tries it a few times but no luck. Meanwhile, my car’s battery is dead since I haven’t driven it in a few months. I don’t get out during the week because I’m home with Mom. But I do want to have a working car in case of an emergency or if I need to get to the store for something. So hubby called AAA. When the guy pulled up, hubby tried starting his Jeep and it started right up. It was crazy. Some type of electrical glitch. The guy jumped my car but said it needed to be on a trickle charger. So hubby put it on there all day and it started right up. Meanwhile, the guy talked Greg into going to his shop to get his Jeep checked out. He did and was gone for 2 hours. They couldn’t replicate the problem! He has a AAA battery in his so they charged him nothing. Still, it was a lot of time lost. We never did get out on Saturday, except to walk the dogs a bit.

Monday Jan. 19th was the Martin Luther King holiday and hubby had off. So we were going to make up for the crummy weekend. I was going to get Mom’s battery in her watch replaced. At the last minute before leaving, I had hubby call the jewelry store to see if they were open. Wouldn’t you know it, they were closed?! So then we were going for dog food. The dogs were completely out of food. That never happens. We always bought them premium Blue Buffalo dog food and I mixed 2 flavors together so they’d have a nice variety. Now we’ve gotten so lazy that for a few months we’ve just been buying Rachael Ray’s Nutrish dog food at the grocery store. They seem to like that as well and it’s a lot cheaper. We were going to go back to Petsmart to get the good stuff this time.

I thought it would be great for me to drive my car over to Niles, IL where the store is. It would get driven and we’d kill 2 birds with one stone. Well, my car drives like a dream. It was so wonderful to drive it again. It was empowering! Then as we were nearing the strip mall the store is in, someone turns right and then stops halfway. They are sticking out in the lane and I had to put the brakes on extra hard. Whoops. Wouldn’t you know the brake line snapped? All of a sudden, I had no brakes. This is a congested area where there are a ton of cars and lots of traffic. Luckily, I don’t drive super fast and keep a good distance from the car ahead of me. So then I had to figure out where to pull in so that I could coast to a stop. There was literally NO BRAKES. I was afraid if I tried to pull into a crowded parking lot, I would just keep going and hit another car. So I passed the strip mall and went up to the next 2 turns. I saw there wasn’t as many cars in the Toys R US parking lot so went in and coasted over to the empty side of the lot. I went in sideways so I had some room. If I had tried to park inside the lines, I might have just rolled out into the street.

Hubby sat in the driver’s seat and then checked the brake fluid. He said it was low, not empty. So we just happened to be next door to an Auto Zone so he went in and bought brake fluid. He poured it in and that made no difference. In fact, then we could see the fluid just SQUIRTING out from under the back seat on the driver’s side. So then Greg called AAA and we waited for a tow truck. I’d never had my car towed before but it has to go on a flatbed. That was interesting. The guy they sent was about 22 years old and was in no hurry. We had to ride up front with him and had him drop the car (and us) off at McGarry’s shop in Park Ridge, IL. We’d gotten the brake line on the other side replaced a few years ago. The repair place said it would take all week for them to even get to it. We walked home the 8 blocks from the repair shop and then drove over to the grocery store for the dog food again. So we didn’t get out anywhere on Monday either. I guess it’s a blessing that we weren’t on our way to get Mom’s watch battery. The parking at that place is even worse and the parking spaces are facing into the building. I could just see making a big turn into there and finding out that the brakes went out. I would’ve been one of those people you see on the news all the time that drives right into a building. Sheesh!

My Pontiac on flatbed

My Pontiac on flatbed

Today we went to pick it up before Greg left for work. They had quoted us $450 which is close to what it came to. The bill was originally $483 but I actually remembered to ask if they gave a discount for AAA. They did which was a nice benefit. One thing we learned from all this is even if we go YEARS without using AAA, it’s a lifesaver to have it. You never know when you’re going to use it twice in 2 days! We seem to a have a problem common to many people. That we’re never really able to get ahead. With the unexpected expenses of my car’s brakes and getting new tires for Greg’s car, we are forever back to square one. I have to be thankful that things turned out as they did since it could have been SO MUCH WORSE.

“All’s well that ends well.” I used to hear that saying a lot when I was a child. I never really knew what it meant. It seemed like nonsense to me. Now I can safely say I know what it means and it applies to this situation perfectly. 🙂

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Every week there’s something that throws us off our game. As some would say, “God has a sense of humor.” I need to write a post on religion and God since I’ve got kind of a weird take on the whole thing. In the mean time, I’ll just say I like to believe that God has better things to do than mess with our lives and sit back and laugh.

 2 months ago we went through the ordeal of switching our insurance–the whole she-bang of house, 2 cars and RV. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to change things because I just KNOW I’m going to have problems. Like if I move a chair to a different location, the leg will fall off. Better to leave it where it is. Better to pay more for insurance than risk being toyed with by a nationally known company. Basically, this is living in fear and accepting that what you know is less scary than what you don’t know. So we’d had the same insurance for years (I detailed this all in my post 2 months ago “One part snow, 99 parts chaos”) and it was hubby’s idea to switch. We managed to choose AAA and feel “fairly good” about the decision and the savings. We were hoping not to even think about it again for many years (with the exception of paying when the premium comes due).
 
Since I obviously don’t know how to make a long story short, last Monday (April 22nd) we got a notice (actually 2) from AAA in the mail. Hubby brought it in when he got home from work. So we didn’t even get to greet each other and he handed me the mail. I saw the first notice, opened it and then yelped, “they’re raising the insurance on the 2 cars and RV by $35!” All it said for a reason was “Rating Factor Adjustment”. You could see the wheels turning in both our minds, we haven’t had any accidents or tickets and the vehicles are getting older. We were both worked up about that and he immediately got on the phone with AAA but the underwriters were gone for the day already. Meanwhile, I opened the 2nd notice and about fainted! AAA was cancelling our house insurance as of May 24th! 😦 How on earth could this be?! Reading further, all it said was because of a dog. When we first signed up, they told us someone would drive by to look at the house. They wouldn’t need to come in, just look around outside. I was looking for them steady for the 2 weeks after we signed up and no sign. We both forgot about it until we got this notice. Hubby talked to one of the guys on the phone and he said the car rates going up had nothing to do with the house insurance being cancelled but he couldn’t give us a reason WHY they had gone up. As for WHY we had gotten cancelled, the records showed the underwriter had come to the house and “heard” an aggressive dog. He didn’t SEE one. Ok, we have 3 dogs, 2 weigh 21 lbs., the other weighs 23 lbs. None of them are aggressive. One barks but only at first, one can’t bark and one is deaf. None are the breeds that are on the banned list like pitbulls. They are all good dogs that are fine around people and most other dogs. We’ve had dogs for the entire time we’ve lived here and in 17+ years, none have ever bitten anyone. A few weeks ago, we had the Directv guy in our house for 2 hours and the dogs were fine! Today, the meter reader for the gas co. came inside and I took him into the basement and the dogs were inside and loose and just fine. So we can’t figure out where the AAA guy got the idea that any of our dogs were aggressive. The oddest thing is he never knocked on the door or called either our home phone or cell phone. He could have met the dogs and seen for himself if he was worried. To think that a company just cancels a policy without even a phone call letting you know what the problem was and seeing if it could be rectified. How unprofessional.
 
On top of all this, hubby and I were worried that we would have to appeal this which involves a lot of paperwork and who knows what else. If we let it stand, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get house insurance elsewhere after you tell them you got cancelled! Plus the rates would be astronomical. Hubby was told to email the company and tell them that none of the dogs had ever bitten anyone or had any special training to attack people. He did it and in the meantime, we got another notice saying that we were going to be cancelled and get X amount of money back. Finally on Friday, the guy from AAA hubby was working with called to say it was taken care of and we won’t be dropped. Now of course we’re wondering if after May 24 a refund check will show up in the mail and we’ll have to deal with this over again. I feel like we can never relax and breathe easy and think that things are taken care of because time after time, we find out nothing is ever over!
 
Today we got a notice saying our car and RV insurance rate is going back down…Oy vey. Now we’re wondering if we want to stay long term with a company like this or if we’re going to have to switch again in Sept. In either case, I don’t want to think about it anymore. The worst thing about this whole ordeal was how we ended up fighting because hubby got so mad and stressed out. I was stressed out too but he lashes out at me which takes awhile for me to get over. You’d think after almost 28 years together we’d have figured out how to get along under the worst of circumstances. For the most part, we get along great. It’s when problems arise that it puts wear and tear on our relationship. We no longer fight when the basement floods so there’s that. 😉

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I thought I’d finally achieved a schedule for blogging. Posting once a week seemed almost manageable. Then life intervened as it tends to do and I’m back to doing it whenever I can squeeze in a spare moment. Last Wed. it was too cold to walk the dogs. I usually feel guilty if I don’t do it. This time I was almost giddy with the anticipation of having an extra half hour of free time! Turning over in my mind all the things I wanted to do and I’d have to choose whether to blog or do something else. Instead the decision was made for me when the phone rang at 9:45 am.

 
It was my postal friend Doreen. My coworkers from the time when I worked at the Post Office are like family. I liken it to the comaraderie of soldiers in battle. The fact that we all survived what goes on there (untold to this point) gives us an unbroken bond that time and mileage can’t break. Doreen lives in Milwaukee so I hardly ever see her but we try to keep in touch. We have always been able to talk for hours but the last few times we chatted, I had to limit it to only an hour. Last week Doreen called unexpectedly to say she’d just gotten back from a week in Tucson, AZ and had taken the day off to recover. My extra free half hour evaporated into thin air along with more so that we were on the phone until just after noon. It was good to catch up but I always feel like something else has to suffer when I do it. We talked about many things and then she told me about making her own laundry detergent. It sounds so interesting with ingredients like Borax, Zote soap, baking soda, Oxy Clean, Purex crystals and Arm & Hammer washing powder. Yesterday I received a small envelope containing a sample of it in the mail from her. I just finished all our laundry last week but I am anxious to try it. Between her and a few others on Twitter, it sounds like it’s the best thing since sliced bread! I just can’t figure out why there’s such a trend now to going back to the olden days when everyone made their own stuff. Of course it’s cheaper but lack of time is where convenience and laziness comes into play.
 
What else has been going on? Last weekend, after a week of getting quotes and comparing, we finally switched our car, RV and homeowners insurance. We’d had Progressive for our RV insurance since June 1998 when we first started RVing. We’re on our 3rd (used) RV and have always stayed with them. We used to have a $1000 deductible (later switched to $500) which sucks since we had to put in a couple of claims. One was back when 3 punk teenagers broke into both skylights in the RV, shimmied in and vandalized, stole and partied inside. This was inside the “secure” place we used to store it at. They also broke into 29 others the same night. It happened like 2 days before we were going to leave on a trip and had to cancel and have the motorhome in for repair for 2 months! It was a nightmare going to court. One of the kids didn’t even show up, the others the judge didn’t even let or any of the victims speak. He just gave them a slap on the wrist. One used the excuse of being bipolar so he wasn’t responsible. We actually heard the lawyer tell the kid NOT to get a job or he’d have to make restitution to us. Another time we had a claim when the wind blew the sides off the RV. It’s as freaky as it sounds. Anyway, Progressive was very good about it so we decided to keep them. 2 years ago, our car insurance, Constitutional Casualty, went belly up! We got a notice from the state saying we could get part of our premium back if we showed proof of payment. Well, we’d recently switched banks and the only proof I had was the entry written in the checkbook which didn’t count. So we got screwed there. We blamed our no good insurance agent who’d recommended the company. We decided to go with Progressive for our 2 cars also. We had them rewrite the policy for the RV (minus the agent) so we would get a multi-vehicle discount. Well, every time they send us propaganda or reminder notices, it would say “you’ve been a customer for 1 year”. All the years with them previously didn’t count. ANNOYING. Both the car and RV insurance EACH went up $30 a year. We’ve had no accidents, tickets and the cars are getting older and I’m over 50 now. None of it made sense! We called Progressive to get a new quote or see if they could lower the premium before we started looking elsewhere. First when we asked WHY it went up, they said they look at EVERYONE in our neighborhood’s claims and go by that. RIDICULOUS.
 
When we mentioned about having RV insurance with them since 1998, they don’t see it in their records. It shows since 2004, according to them. So much anger just fueled us to get as many quotes as we could. Now with our homeowners’ insurance, we’ve been with State Farm since we moved here in 1995. We’ve never filed a claim and yet we pay $900 annually. It is outrageous, we’ve just been too lazy to look into a different company. We got quotes bundling the 3 vehicles and the house. Liberty Mutual looked promising. Me to hubby: “I thought they were kind of a sketchy company for old people.” Hubby: “We ARE old people.” Me: <blink>. To make a long story short, we went with AAA. With Progressive, we had been paying $410 twice a year for my ’93 Pontiac Bonneville & hubby’s ’04 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The RV was $600 a year. Now we’re paying $435.13 for 6 months for all 3. The house insurance is down to $574. This is all for identical coverage. Hopefully, we’ll feel the savings and they’ll be a fair company to deal with.
 
We hate insurance. It’s a necessity but it seems like we are always paying and never get to use it. I guess everyone feels this way. Dealing with the insurance agents was awful. For trying to get your business, some of them are downright rude! They won’t let you get a word in edgewise. At least that’s over with.
 
Sunday night I finally broke down and ordered a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) light from Amazon. I’ve been thinking of it for years and finally my Twitter friend Liza told me which one to get. I will take pictures and post all about it when it arrives. Every year the lack of sunshine really messes with my mood. I’ve been SO TIRED lately, that all I can say is how tired I am all the time. February is the worst for me and since Feb. is almost over, I thought I might just wait until the fall. Then I realized how much I’m suffering and to just give it a try. I get so down that I don’t even go on Twitter, I don’t take any pictures for Instagram, etc. I just withdraw and I know it has something to do with how dark and gloomy this time of year is. I’ve really got my hopes up that this does the trick!
 

Snow day for dogs

Snow day for dogs

Last Wed. hubby stopped to get milk on his way home from work and Dominick’s was out of milk. They let him have 2 half gallons (the last 2 in the store!) for the price of a gallon. Every time a snowstorm is predicted, people buy up everything like they might never get fed again. Anyway, while he was there, he got me some spring flowers. Beautiful tulips in a pot that I can replant if I want in the fall. They hadn’t opened yet when he gave them to me but they’ve been opening more every single day. Today with a blizzard outside, they are fully open! I love having fresh flowers in the house. It always makes me think of Nikki Newman on The Young and The Restless who always has huge arrangements of fresh flowers in her home. Yes, I want to live my life like the GOOD parts of a soap opera! 😉
 

Spring tulips in the middle of winter

Spring tulips in the middle of winter

I’d been planning to make a pork roast in the crockpot for over a week. Doreen told me about what she put on hers: a can of mushroom soup, a packet of onion soup mix and a can of Pepsi. I’m always game for anything so I did it yesterday. We didn’t have any regular Pepsi only the XFactor Pepsi which we bought because it was $1.29 for a 12 pack. Later on we found out it is Dragonfruit flavor. I don’t even know what that is but hubby tried it and loved it. He’s been using it to make Milk & Pepsi for him and my mom. He’s been a fan since he was a kid and saw them drink it on Laverne & Shirley. I’ve tasted his and it’s ok but I can’t get past the fact that it’s soda and milk. Although I like rootbeer floats and that’s not that much of a stretch… Anyway, I put that on the pork and it turned out great. I had a HUGE roast that I’d gotten for half price because it was reduced for quick sale at Sam’s Club. I only buy those if they look perfect, not a hint of “oldness” to them. I froze it right away and it was just as good as if I’d paid an enormous amount. The roast was SO BIG it was all I could fit in my crockpot. I had bought a slew of vegetables to go with it so had to go in the basement and unpack my other crockpot. I keep it in the box and only use it in situations like this. Both have ceramic inserts, the one I had the meat in has a metal holder, the veggie one is plastic. Both are the same size but the veggie one has a divider in the middle. So I filled the other crockpot with veggies and added a can of chicken broth so it wouldn’t burn. I added several small onions, 2 parsnips, 3 turnips, 1 rutabaga, 3 tiny Linda squash, 2 decent sized yellow squash, etc. Then I made my mashed potatoes. I don’t brag unless I know for a fact but these are the best mashed potatoes in the whole world and these are! I peel and quarter about 7-8 potatoes (at least 2 meals worth), boil and when done, drain and put on low heat to dry out. Add 1 8 oz. package cream cheese cut into 8 cubes, 3 heaping teaspoons minced garlic (I use the jarred garlic in liquid), a splash of milk and a hand potato masher. NO BUTTER or SOUR CREAM is needed. Mash and stir with a spoon to get mixed well. Add quite a bit of salt and some pepper. They are to die for. They need NO gravy. This is comfort food at its best. Each potato ends up with about 1 oz. of cream cheese. I let the port roast go about 8 hours because I don’t like it sliced, I like it shredded. I take it out and tent it in aluminum foil for 20 min. or so, then shred. Sometimes I add it back into the liquid when I cook it with veggies but usually just leave it on the platter. Then I put a portion of shredded pork on a plate, ladle the veggies and broth over it and place the mashed potatoes along side. We’ll probably get 4-5 meals out of it and still have meat left to use for tacos, burritos or barbeque pork sandwiches.
 

Amber with basketball

Amber with basketball

It’s been snowing since 11 am and it’s a blizzard out there. Hubby tells me I call every time it snows a blizzard. Only if I don’t want to go out in it! 😉 Today at 4:30 pm, instead of finishing this, I decided to go outside in the backyard with the dogs. I took pictures while they played in the snow. They just have the best time and it’s contagious! It did wonders for my mood. Amber had fun playing with the basketball in the snow while Ivy & Elvis roughhoused. They are the definition of “horseplay”. They knocked over the sunroom lamp and broke the shade today but I can’t be mad at them. They are DOGS. We need to follow their example and live life in the moment and enjoy whatever comes our way.
 
Ivy & Elvis roughhousing

Ivy & Elvis roughhousing

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