Saturday, May 26, 2018

I've been driving the same car for 10 years now.  I'm very tired of driving it, mostly because it's falling apart. If it were still in good condition - interior is what's the problem - I probably wouldn't be so tired of this particular vehicle.

My next vehicle will switch back to a pickup.  I'm looking.  Pre qualified for up to 40k, tho I have no intention of spending near that much money on any vehicle.  That could actually get me into a new truck, but everyone knows that the second you drive that vehicle off the dealer lot, it loses thousands of dollars worth of value. The only reason to buy new - is the experience of having new.  I've had that before, I don't particularly need to take a loss right off the bat.  Dealers do great jobs of cleaning out used vehicles and getting them into great condition both visually and the smell that comes into your nostrils once you open the door.

I'm looking at several that are more in the price range I want.  And making offers lol.  2 grand less on any vehicle I am making an offer on.  I'll never take their advertised offer and I always look up the blue book on any given vehicle for dealer pricing. Which, in turn, almost always comes up with a price less than what is advertised.  Buying vehicles from a dealer is not for the faint of heart unless you are willing to just go in, buy the thing at face value and be done with it.

I'm not that kind of shopper.  I spent 6 months looking for a car when I bought the one I currently have.   It's actually served me quite well with no major breakdowns.  But it's old and it doesn't look nice and I want a truck.  I kicked myself after buying that car and realizing that I am a truck person. But, I paid the thing off and have been driving it for 5 years without making any car payments.  I also have that Jeep. We are working on it.

I say we because they have used it when something of theirs breaks down.  I have far too much money dumped into it to sell it.  In fact, I'm going to get the AC fixed with is another 5 or 600 dollars, but after that, there are just minor repairs that can be stretched out over time.  Right now, the brakes are being fixed but once we got the tires off saw that the rotors are quite bad.  I knew it was metal on metal, they were that way when I got it.  I haven't really driven it that much, but once they started using it as a back up vehicle, I figured it's time to fix them.  So, I got new rotors yesterday, but James is going to install all that stuff.

James is an accomplished mechanic, I have no doubt about his ability to do a good job.  Otherwise, yes, I would do it myself.  Anyway, I'm full blown into looking for a pickup.  That does not mean I'm jumping into anything.  I want a GMC or Chevy Silverado. It must have 4 full doors and at least a 6 foot bed on it.  4WD is optional, fun to have but not a deal breaker. 4WD is pretty expensive stuff to fix when the components go out - but - that wouldn't deter me from getting one now that I have a much better income coming in.

I kind of worried about making more money and then just getting into debt that would eat all that up. But, my car has near 200k miles on it and it's really time to upgrade.  I'm looking at 2011 to 2012 models, a couple a few years older.  They are, actually, all 4 wheel drivers.  I am going through Capital One loan and it comes up with a rather large selection of vehicles that they say they will finance. I've noted that it must be around 100k miles or less for them to show any potential vehicle. It's a different animal shopping for a vehicle online.  It really saves a lot of hassle in going to endless car dealers, getting the run around, getting sat down, getting a dozen different "managers" trying to talk you into something you don't want and then, getting up and walking out.

This method weeds out all of that nonsense.  You find something you like, you email them, ask what their best price is and see if they contact you back. If they don't, who cares, shrug shoulders, move on to the next one.  I have queries in for 4 of them now.  No hurry.

I have plenty on my list of things to do today anyway. Actually going out and looking at any of these is not really in the equation. The local dealers have nothing in stock that I want. Well, they do if I wanted to buy brand new. Their used prices are way too high, I won't even try to haggle with them when they have stuff listed 3 to 5 k above what even the Kelly blue book is showing should be the highest price for a dealer, in my area.  Just a waste of time trying to get them to come down.  Even if they do, they are still at the high end of the price range for whatever vehicle. Whatever the case, I have a set amount for a monthly payment that I won't go over.  Kind of like gambling, when I go to the casino I have a set amount of money I am willing to lose and if I get to that point, I get up and leave.  Should be no different with buying a vehicle. You get a number in your mind that you think you'd be okay with paying for the next 48 months and stick to it.  And yes, trying to keep it at 48 months versus 60.  At about 3-1/2 years of paying on a vehicle, I am ready to be done with the payments.  4 years you are already getting antzy about all that money going out every month.

Okay. Well I have goals today.  I didn't know what I was going to do today, but that took care of itself. I'm going to Lowe's and getting a bug zapper and some wood for smoking tomorrow, over to Kroger's to get a couple of things of ribs and some other stuff for a feast we're having tomorrow.  Next door neighbors are coming over or we're going over there, not sure about that plus they're having friends over plus Rene and donny are coming.  I'll probably be visiting with Rene and Donny most of the time.  They're just different types of people that you have to get used to being around.

I am also going to clean off the front porch today and sweep out the entire cement area in the back.  I'ma make sure the smoker is cleaned out and I guess there's going to be 4 or 5 racks of ribs going in there. The next door neighbor just brought over a large rib rack.  It's funny to have people wanting to taste your cooking.  Ribs are easier because you can't really over cook them.  Put them in the smoker for 4 hours, pull them out, wrap them up in red paper (special wrap I ordered after being informed by what amounts to a professional smoker that putting it in that paper makes the finished product taste way better than putting it into tin foil) and let them cook for another 2 hours or more and then pull them back out for another hour or 2 of finish cooking.  Melt in your mouth, the meat just falls off the rib.


Lucky me, I've misplaced my license.  Good thing I don't have to be to the plant until 11 on Monday morning.  I've searched everywhere except the truck, will be driving over there tomorrow morning to take a look.  The last place I can remember using it is at the dentist office.  I dunno, but if I don't find it before Monday, I'm getting my birth certificate and passport ready to go straight to the DL office and apply for a replacement.  They will issue me a temporary license - which suffices. No license at all? While pulling hazmat? Big trouble.  Now I am very glad that I didn't take the Sunday load.  The dentist office definitely gave me my creditcare card back, I don't remember either way if they gave me my license back.  That will be my first call at 8:00 am on Monday morning.  Actually I'll be at their doorstep because if they don't have it, I have limited time to run to the DL and get a replacement.

I'm straining my brain thinking - oh yes. I used it at the plant in Louisiana. Highly likely my DL is sitting in the seat at work.  Simple drive over there will confirm either way.  Yes, now that I think about it, it's probably on the passenger seat.  Forgot about that. I have to give them 3 forms of ID, none of which are in my wallet. Well, the TWIC card doesn't fit in my wallet, the other 2 do.  Ok, sigh of relief.  Glad I wrote this out, kinda made me think about it a bit more.  That plant is a port and port require all kinds of credentials.  If you don't have a TWIC card, tho, good luck getting in there.

I was near panicking on that one.  You seriously do not want to get caught driving a tractor trailer rig without your CDL. But now I remember, after walking back from the guard shack, I put all that stuff on the passenger seat and forgot about it. The Safety Council card missing in my wallet confirms it.  That card is 8 hours worth of training just to get into that specific plant. I feel I wasted my time doing that.  Many  more senior drivers don't have and won't get that card and for good reason. They will legitimately not be asked to go down there because they don't have it.

Well, anyway, got quite a bit done today.  I finally found a place that sells small logs for smoking instead of the large chips.  The large chips burn out quickly and you have to keep replacing them. Pain in the butt to say the least, causes you to have to tend to the smoker much more than one should have to.  I mean, you can't just use any logs, it has to be Hickory, or Mesquite, Pecan, Apple, whatever you want to use.  You aren't really going to use the oak wood I have outside. The smoke adds flavor to the meat, you certainly don't want to add bad flavor lol.

Ok, well everything is ready.  5 racks of ribs. That's my part in this, I'll be tending to it on and off all day. I'm definitely going to spend the hour plus going to the yard to make positive sure that the license is in there. I just can't take any chances.  I can hook the truck up to the intended trailer at least so I have less to do on Monday.

Tomorrow, James and Taylor put out a Facebook "all welcome to come" thing.  We have no idea how many people are going to show up. But, on rack is going back to the neighbors, another is going to work with Taylor and half a rack is going with me on Monday.  That's 2-1/2 racks without even starting to eat tomorrow. The rest? Well, i said, if it doesn't get eaten, I'ma put it in the freezer and I'll eat it when I get back - which I definitely will. In fact, eating leftovers from last smoking today.  Still some of that nice pork loin left, still very tasty. 

Ok, well before tomorrow morning gets here, I need to see if those logs are going to fit into the hot box on the smoker. If they don't, there is an electric chain saw here I can cut them up with. 

Decatur, Alabama. Got there last night - decided I didn't have enough hours to offload - about an hour and 15 minutes on the clock, tak...