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Friday, July 27, 2012

Do we have be so distrustful?

Pudge taking it easy.

It sure would be nice if my days were all like my wife's Persian cat Pudge? He gets to sleep 20 hours or more, eats, drinks, does his business and pretty much what he wants for the remaining hours he's awake. My wife thinks I'm pretty close that..:-) He's able to sleep in that position, without a care in the world because he trusts us to protect him and care for his needs. We humans don’t want to be that content because we like a lot more excitement than that but we could be more trustful.

Even without a set schedule, I'm still a procrastinator when it comes to getting my truck's state annual inspection and vehicle registration sticker. I thought that I would change this year, so I headed off this morning to Larry's Texaco on Lone Tree for what I thought was going to be a 10 minute yearly ritual of checking my insurance card, tapping the horn, checking my lights and tires, brakes and the then the mechanic would say, " $14.50 please." As I started to turn into Larry's, I noticed 10 vehicles that had the same idea, so this morning was as if I would have waited until Tuesday. What the hell, I don’t have anything else to do, I'm retired?

Larry's service station reminded me so much of the service station that I used to own and it's run pretty much the same. The car drives up the pump, running over a rubber air-hose drive way alarm, which makes that familiar “ring-ring" sound. The attendant approaches the customer with the familiar red rag strapped on his shoulder asking “how can I help you today." He then puts in the gasoline nozzle, opens the hood checks the oil and windshield washer dispenser, closes the hood and then cleans the windshields, as the vehicle is filling. In today's world of self- service, we just don't see that anymore. It’s even worse in the big cities where the attendant is barely visible behind bars and security cameras. Don’t ask him for directions because he probably doesn’t know the area he’s working in.

The mechanic who inspected my car was nice enough to tell me that I may need some new belts, but it was more in advisement not like what I used to hearing when I used to take my old truck to the dealership or Firestone. I would get a simple oil change and get back a two-page computer printout with over $800 of repairs that were needed right now. It's an old truck people; just give me the basics.

While it was still fresh on my mind,  I drove my truck over to my daughter's mechanic Mickey's and he gave me a reasonable estimate, so I made an appointment for next week.

It was my first time ever stepping foot in Mickey's so the old building and small office, reminded me of garages from years past. You what I'm talking about, the old unpainted small desk, repair manuals lying around, and old and use parts on the bench. It doesn’t matter because they keep their overhead down, which they pass along to people like me. As long as they are open, they’ll always have me as a customer because I trust them.

I may be old fashioned, but I think we’re lacking trust in our fellow human being. It may be because of what we read on the Internet or see on the news, and it might be warranted in some instances but it seems like we've grown more skeptical than ever before. I'm sure you know several local store owners you trust, and you don't mind paying them a dollar or two more, just to keep them around. I still will shop at major chains and purchase items online, but it's nice to know if there's still a trustful mechanic for my old truck.

Well, I'm pretty much though for the day until 7:00 tonight, when I catch up with the news, politics or whatever; not quite as easy as Pudge has it but life is good. Enjoy it people,smile, and approach each day as if it’s going to take a lot to get you angry.


Mike said...

A couple of questions:
1. The other day, my wife got out of HEB Plus and saw a person with a VPD shirt placing an orange sticker on her car. The sticker stated “congratulations you have passed the burglary test and his list was checked off. Is this a good public service or VPD looking for something? Is there a law against leaving your doors unlocked or personal items left in plain view? Just asking because I've never heard of anything like this...Sometimes I'll leave the truck's door unlocked because there’s nothing to steal..HEB is private property so I guess it's legal.

2. I just witnessed two near wrecks on Navarro near Wal-Mart and I've see a lot of wrecks on that stretch of road. I'm not questioning the engineers but I think the road is too narrow and congested for the 45 MPH speed limit...I guess I am questioning them but I could be wrong.

Sugar Magnolia said...

Mike, of course I love the pic of the kitty :)

Pudge does indeed have it good. Don't most spoiled cats, including mine? Yep, if there's such a thing as reincarnation, I definitely want to come back as one of my cats. Never was there such a wonderful life for a feline!

Your questions: You'll notice in many public parking lots in Victoria, there is a sign with the advice: Hide It, Lock it, Take It. Meaning, law enforcement is encouraging the public to be aware of their surroundings, to not leave valuables in their vehicles, and to lock the vehicle as a deterrent against theft. Just a friendly reminder to folks, you might say. This helps law enforcement by not receiving so many calls for broken-into cars and stolen cars, petty thefts, etc. by encouraging the public to do their part to avoid largely preventable crimes. So, the sticker for the "good eggs", such as your wife, is just a bit of positive reinforcement in the name of good public relations. It is not illegal, as far as I know, to leave vehicles unlocked, but it would take a thief under 5 minutes to enter and steal a vehicle that is not locked. I highly advise folks to lock their vehicles, no matter where they are. Why make yourself an easy target? Make it as hard as possible for these criminals to commit their crimes, and they will go elsewhere - to somebody's unlocked vehicle.

The other question, I don't believe 45 mph is unreasonable for Navarro, but it's the fool drivers who don't know how to drive (and Victoria has MANY of them) that cause the accidents. People who don't pay attention because they are distracted by cell phones, passengers, back seat babies, etc. are the ones who cause the wrecks, and it doesn't matter if the speed limit is 45 or 15. Unsafe drivers are unsafe drivers. That's just my take on the matter. Navarro is indeed congested at times, but for the majority of the stretch, one can keep a speed around the speed limit safely and easily, IF THEY PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD!

As for the body of your blog, I enjoyed your memories of a bygone era with the local friendly gas station. There was one in particular just down the road where I grew up in Houston called Jones' service station. Nothing fancy, the desk and the maps, and a soda machine where you would put in your coins, open the door, and pull out a bottle of your choice of beverage. The "ding-ding" as my parents or grandparents would run over the strip delighted me for some reason, and always made me giggle. I seem to recall Jones' had some small dispensing machines in the office for stuff like gumballs, burnt french peanuts (does ANYBODY actually LIKE those things?), and lemon drops. I miss Jones', the helpful men who would come out to your car, the conversations the men would have with the drivers, and the smell of that place. There's just something so nostalgic about old gas stations, thanks for bringing up such good memories!

Mike said...

Wow..You must've received an "A+" in your typing class and don't tell you didn't take one because you responded using all those word in a relatively a short time without any errors. I bet you can type ~ 140 wpm....I am envious..;-)

Yea, Pudge does have the good life but he makes our 10 year tabby, Shadow’s life, a living hell because he always wants to play by chasing her around and she just wants to retire like me..:-) He ignores her hisses...hey; she weighs 13 lbs. perhaps the extra exercise will help her.

I hope I was a Mr. Jones to my customers. Someone must’ve liked me because I remember getting a lot of fish and deer sausage from my customers.

Thanks for your response but you’re from the big city, so what's considered congestion in Victoria might be a minor speed bump to you. I’ve been told that you never lose your big city driving skills. You are probably right about Victoria drivers.
Thanks for sharing.

Sugar Magnolia said...

Thanx for the typing compliment. Yep, I'm a speed demon on the keyboard, either that or I'm just impatient. :)

born2Bme said...

Funny you should mention State
Our PU needed inspecting too and we found out that all but one place in Jackson County quit inspectin vehicles. The only one that does, Bradford Motors, didn't have time as they had just had a power outage and were backed up. They suggested a place in Victoria.
We were going to Victoria anyway, so called and were told to get there as fast as we could because after lunch it would be really busy, and it was busy when we got there, so we had to wait almost an hour.
The guy mentioned to us that he had had quite a few people from Jackson County in the last few days, but didn't know why. He was surprised to hear about what happened over here.

Mike said...

Thanks,born and all this I thought it was a black cloud over my head....:-)

$14.50 for 10 minutes work will keep the cash register ringing.

Legion said...

10 minutes work? Maybe for the inspection itself, add another 15 minutes for the States antiquated insurance data base check.

I have asked inspectors at three different places, " Wouldn't a broadband connection speed things up?" ALL three of them said, " In my dreams, the state requires dial-up supposedly to make sure it's really us asking."

Last inspection, after checking everything, the guy typed his stuff in, then set down and waited about 15 minutes to get the ok from the state.

born2Bme said...


The reason that all of the places stopped doing the inspections is because they only make a little over $5 per car. For what the mechanics make per hour doing other things, the businesses are losing money putting them on inspections.
The guy also told us that they have to buy the inspection stickers in batches. If they don't use all of the stickers, they lose that money.
I'm guessing that people in small counties like Jackson County, weren't using all of the stickers, so they were really losing money on the deal.

Mike said...

Legion357 & born2Bme

Thanks for the info, I don't know the procedures that were used but he took my keys and insurance card and ~10-15 minutes later, he was back ringing up the $14,50. If the attendant verified my insurance using a dial-up, he didn't use the office laptop, but there might be a terminal in the bay area.

That sounds about right, there is a not a big markup in the service station business. I guess a lot of them remain inspection stations as another way to put "more service" into their business. It's possible that some of the inspections leads to sales of windshield wipers fill ups, tire sales or perhaps a new customer.

The old fuse box and hose clamp rack brought back memories..I wonder how often the service stations run out of those items. I guess it's been 30 years since I've changed out a fuse or a hose clamp.

Edith Ann said...

If you did like I do, you'd never need an inspection! New cars come with a 2 year inspection...

(I use the dealer for my inspection. Very quick.)

Mike said...

A new car every two years! I was not born into the blue blood families of Refugio...:-)

Edith Ann said...

lol! Neither was I, which makes it a very expensive hobby, and one that has come to a screetching halt! I'm keeping this one...I have to! I think I have gotten it out of my system.

Seriously, as crazy as the sales side of Killebrew makes me, the service side is excellent and I have never spent more than 30 minutes or so, in and out, on an oil change or inspection. And since the price for an inspection is fixed, where you go really doesn't matter, I guess, unless you need a lot of repair to get it to pass.

born2Bme said...

Speaking of getting things fixed at inspections sites. Ever been charged $20 to change a blinker light?
I usually carry some in the car and I was thinking..."why didn't you just tell me I had a blinker out, I could have got one out of our glvoe compartment and changed it myself in a few seconds".

I know, I know, I should have checked before we left home. Lesson learned! LOL

Mike said...

If I was so lucky born.
From my Toyota Prius service manual

"Remove fender well trim ( a few screws)
Remove front bumper COVER (not the bumper- the plastic cover)
About 14 screws. Mostly on the underside, get a creeper, and a few

on the top.
Remove the (left or right side) Headlight assembly ( a couple more screws).
One assembly contains the headlight, turn signal and running light. Unplug
the electrical connector from the assembly. All bulbs remove from the back
of the headlight assembly. Headlight is held in place by bail wire, smaller
bulbs are 1/4 turn."

It might be easy and I have the time but for now "they got me."...An oil change is even more difficult I've been told.
EA,I dealt with Killebrew for several years without any problems.

born2Bme said...

It was on my old 1977 T-Bird and all I had to do was open the trunk, twist the bulb holder, pull out, change bulb, twist back in and done. Just a minute, at the most.

Pilot said...

You hit me from about every direction on this one :-). We should team up and write a book on procrastination(what say we start next week?). A single gato rules the roost here as well.....she's at camp at the moment, as we just returned from 8 days in Costa Rica last night. I am sure she'll be happy to see us tonight when we bring her back to her palace......after she ignores us for a few hours over the bath and grooming she hopefully got yesterday. Speaking of full service stations, that was a blessing in Central America. We were on mostly dirt roads, and in addition to pumping gas for us, they gave us a thorough window washing and hosed down the rent car. Felt like I was going back in time. Next time you go to Larry's, take a moment to tell Mr. Weaver hello for'll get a puzzled look then a grin. Larry and I go way back, courtesy of a dear mutual friend, Henry.
I can relate on the last truck was a sure fire candidate for about a half dozen violations.....for the last five years before one of my son's pals took it and toatalled it for me. I just took it to a nice old guy in Port Lavaca, who somehow blew it through the process and put a sticker on it. I doubt seriously if it was legal, as I have had stations outside Harris and Fort Bend county tell me they couldn't inspect it because it was registered in Ft. Bend.....something about emissions testing. Don't ask me how the old boys on the bay got by the state's computer rules, but the bottom line was that I got 14-16 months out of my stickers every year, and had a place that would pass it when I was in the neighborhood. Give Pudge a scratch on his face and under the chin for me.......

Mike said...

Pilot....The Weaver's just bought a new home but he's disappointed because the roads aren't suitable for motorcycling...I'll let him know.
Ol Pudge will let out that loud Persian meow when he wants attention..:-)