Our Friday


Last Friday, Ann and I had a list of things to accomplish:

  1. Sell our old refrigerator. It was an extra taking up room in the garage and hadn’t been used on a regular basis since I was laid off in 2009, back in a time when I actually made decent money and we could afford to buy extra groceries and store them in the garage. It was money sitting around that we could use.
  2. Get rid of the Kia Optima. While it seemed like a wise decision at the time, what was our 20th anniversary gift to each other turned out to be a nightmare when I was let go from my last proofreading job. Unemployment just didn’t pay enough and I couldn’t find a job so despite our best plans to keep the thing, we just couldn’t do it.
  3. Look into a means of transportation for me. I had told Ann that while I can easily walk or ride my bike to work, there may be days when I need to go a little further than either foot or bicycle could take me – comfortably, at least. A scooter of some sort was the best solution we could come up with so we had a list of stores to check out.

So let’s cover each and every bullet in this list.

The Fridge
IMG_20140702_180325We had plugged it in a few days before so that potential buyers could see that it was working. Then Thursday morning, I placed an ad for the fridge on Craigslist and got a bite later that night via text message. We were initially asking $400 for it which we thought was reasonable considering it was over $1500 brand new.

The buyer thought otherwise. Stating that she was unemployed (and a host of other sob stories I won’t elaborate upon), she told me that renting the U-Haul truck cost more than she expected and asked if we would take $280 for it. Ann and I discussed it and agreed we would. We arranged the pick-up time of 9:30 am on Friday morning since we had planned to be at Carmax to sell the Kia at about 10 am.

They didn’t arrive until 11 am but the buyer was keeping in touch with me via text message (traffic on the freeway, etc.). Both of us were nearly livid despite her good nature. But when she and her helpers arrived to pick it up, she then said it wasn’t what she expected and that she thought the entire unit was stainless steel, not just the doors. You can guess where it went next.

That’s right. She wanted to pay only $200 for it. By now, Ann was fed up with all the bargaining and just agreed to take it to get this person out of our hair. I concurred. Take your fucking shit and leave. We already wasted our day waiting for you to arrive. Hell, I even threw in an old tube TV that someone down the street was getting rid of. I was going to use it for my NES but figured I’d never get around to it, so I let her have it.

The lesson learned here: don’t sell shit on Craigslist. Just don’t. You’ll get burned.

The Kia Optima
20140711_125642What you see here is the last picture I ever took of our 2013 Kia Optima as it sat waiting in line at Carmax. We had it appraised earlier in the week for X-dollars and came by to rid ourselves of it.

Of course, it wasn’t as easy as one might think, especially when the vehicle has negative equity. This means we had to pay the difference between what Carmax offered and what the buyout quote on the lease was. Yes, we had to take out a loan with Frankie and Knuckles to cover the cost of the negative equity but in the end, we left free and clear of the car we could no longer afford.

Now let me tell you about Kia. They are jackwipes. Total, complete jackwipes. Shortly after I was laid off, I called them to ask what we could do in order to keep the car: defer payments, return it, sell it, etc. Their only suggestion was to sell it to a private party which in essence we did. But when I inquired about deferring payments, they refused to help because it was a leased vehicle.

Hmm. That’s strange. When I had a 1991 Nissan Sentra, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation was kind enough to defer two payments for California residents after the Northridge Earthquake and a bunch of wildfires – even if they were nowhere near either. When we leased a Ford Escape and I was laid off, a call to Ford was all it took to defer three months of payments so that we could get ourselves back on our feet. Toyota also lent a hand when when we needed some financial help.

Kia? No way. They wouldn’t budge. They are the cheapest and most unsympathetic group of bastards I’ve ever dealt with, and they even gave Carmax a hard time about selling the Optima to them. I will never, ever buy another Kia or for that matter, Hyundai. Same thing.

The lesson learned here: be like me and don’t even think of buying either. Kia will not help you when you need it.

The New Ride
It was a long day by now. We took $200 less than we wanted for the fridge, the selling process at Carmax took much longer than expected (three hours, mostly because of Kia being a bunch of jackwipes), and we were adjusting to the reality of having only one car. It sort of hit us hard and kind of left me deflated. But we had to press on and look at the possibility of getting me a way to get around.

I had been doing some research about scooters and had a few in mind and where I wanted to check them out. Earlier in the week I visited a local shop that had a few Lance scooters in their tiny showroom.

What, you’ve never heard of Lance Scooters? It’s okay. I bet most haven’t. Anyway, it all sounded okay and then I asked about financing.

They wanted half the cost of the scooter as a down payment and post-dated checks for the remainder of the term. They would deposit them as each month came around.

Yeah, no. I didn’t have the $1200 to put down.

After we sold the Kia, we went to another local store to see what they had. It was a small selection and they were only 50cc, meaning a small motor that wouldn’t go very fast or keep up with traffic. Besides, they salesman didn’t seem to interested in helping. By the way, the used ones they had were actually Honda Metropolitan models that were used by Rose Parade officials during the parade. Kind of cool, but only 50cc. Next.

It was getting late and I wanted to check one more place which was by the in-laws’ house. By now we were all cranky and in need of a break. We went to Del Amo Motorsports and spoke with a cool guy named Martin about what it was I was looking for.

He showed me everything that would do the job and then some. In the end, the overall best deal was the Yamaha Zuma 125, the number obviously implying the motor type (125cc). It had power, it didn’t look like a wannabe Vespa and unlike a Lance scooter, parts would be easy to come by should it ever have problems. It’s a Yamaha, you know.

Then the number-crunching game began. I always hate that part of making a big purchase and was hesitant about it. Then again, the cost was nowhere near that of a car nor were the payments. In fact, they are about 1/4 what we were paying on the Kia Optima. After some wheeling and dealing we came to an agreement, shook hands, picked out a helmet that was part of the deal and then like the rest of the day, waited – again.

But this was a good waiting period. Things were happening and everyone at this shop was a total pro and very thorough. I signed some paperwork, got approved, then was made a fool of as they announced over the paging system that they had sold a Yamaha Zuma 125.

Then I banged the gong to let everyone in the store know I was the lucky dude. The scooter was prepped, I was shown how to operate it and then nervously, hopped on it and took it for a spin.

Did I mention that it had been years since I last rode a scooter and damn near hit my own car with it? Yeah. Maybe not.

But it was different this time. Maybe all of the cycling I’ve done has made me more aware of things and not as crazy when riding because I handled riding this like a champ. It took a few runs up and down the street adjacent to Del Amo Motorsports to get a feel of it but once I did, I had it down.

The lesson learned here: buy your scooter from Del Amo Motorsports. You won’t regret it, and tell them Dave sent you. I get rewarded for referrals!

The End of a Long Day
The ride home was fun and I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way. It was literally fun. With Ann following me, I took the long way so as not to encounter much traffic. It was at an open stretch of road with no cars around that I decided to open it up a little and hit a speed of 45 MPH, which feels a lot like 90 MPH on a scooter. I took it easy the rest of the way home.

When I pulled into the driveway I had a smile on my face and told Ann, “You need to get one of these things!”

And for what it’s worth, here’s a collage of my new ride.

2014-07-12-10-33-19_deco

The mileage on this thing is estimated to be around 89 MPG but naturally, depending on a number of factors including driver’s weight, YMMV. The Optima never managed to deliver more than 19 MPG even while using cruise control. It had horrible mileage despite what Kia claims.

With the scooter’s 1.6 gallon tank and an estimated 89 MPG, we’re looking at around 142.4 miles per tank. It doesn’t seem like a lot but with me working so close to home and not going very far otherwise, that could last me a long time.

Besides, who couldn’t get used to this?

2014-07-13-16-21-40_deco

It didn’t have a full tank when I drove it home and with me riding it home and doing a little local riding plus going to work, the gas had gone down to a little over half a tank.

It may now cost me $5 to fill my tank versus the $25 for half a tank on the Optima. And in addition to cutting payments by 75% versus what we paid on the Optima, the cost to insure this is lower as well.

We’re saving money on insurance. We’re saving it on gas. We’re saving it on monthly payments.

For everything we put up with last Friday, I’d say we ended the day making the right choice.

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The $9,600 Question


Okay hotshot, pop quiz. If you had to pony up $9,600, would you want something to show for it or be empty handed?

That’s exactly what I thought. But that’s the situation we found ourselves in today after getting an appraisal from Carmax for the leased Kia Optima, the car that I said we would probably get rid of since we can no longer afford it with my unemployment benefits being exhausted.

By the way…fuck you, Congress!

Ahem. Anyway, the Carmax appraisal for x-thousand dollars left us with a deficiency of $9,600 which means that if we sold them the car for what they offered, we would be responsible for the $9,600 remaining. It would be the same situation if we sold it to a private party. The salesman told us that the best way to pay it off would be to get a loan through our financial institution.

Here’s the problem with a loan.

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Hey, Did You Ever Notice…


escape cover

dodge journey

ford escape


eclipse cover

eclipse ad


frontiers cover

nissan frontier

nissan frontier


time 3 cover

nissan cube

nissan cube

nissan cube

Okay, so that last one is a bit of a stretch. What do you care? It’s free entertainment!

Respect the Van


It took a little wheeling and dealing but the nightmare involving our Ford Escape is now over.

And here is the result:

respect-the-van

That’s right, peeps, we traded it in for a minivan. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a 2009 Chrysler Town and Country that we purchased from Sunrise Ford which is way out in Fontana (or Fontucky as some locals refer to it) from the salesman that helped us out on several other cars. He definitely pulled through on this deal as well.

It’s also a step up from the Escape in that it is larger, seats 7, and has storage up the yin-yang. So much storage, in fact, that Anthony is now stowing away all of his toys into whatever compartments he can find which is fine with us since it won’t look so messy inside (and I have no problem with that). The Stow-N-Go seating is beyond awesome—the seats fold into the floor, leaving the van practically empty should you decide to give your 900-pound friend a ride to Wal-Mart or buy a MINI Cooper and don’t have someone to drive it home for you. It’s pretty cavernous.

When we were looking at cars years ago I had hinted to Ann that minivans are incredibly useful, even more so than SUVs in some respects. And given the fact that most SUVs will never be driven off-road, a minivan makes sense since it will carry the family, all the cargo you need, and is extremely comfortable on long trips.

We’ve only had it a few days and can’t be happier with it. It’s just the start of the good things that will happen this year. Now all we have to do is begin working on everything else that needs attention but look at it all in a positive light.

I’m still convinced it’s going to be a good year. It couldn’t be worse than the last Smile

Getting Better…


In this, the year in which I am going to dictate what my fate will be by trying to remain optimistic about almost everything, things are already starting to change and for the better.

First, the job. We had an unscheduled department meeting yesterday which, if history has taught me anything, usually means bad news. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case yesterday when we learned of some great news but because of confidentiality agreements, I cannot share them with you. The good news may not have much of an affect on me since I am a contractor and may or may not be there by the time it all goes down but either way, it was nice having a meeting and leaving with the knowledge that everybody will still have a job.

At least the permanent staff. Then again, there are temps here that have been working at the facility for years so go figure.

And you remember all the brouhaha about our Escape possibly having to be returned and us being without a car? Well yesterday, our salesman Amador called us up and wanted to know how everything was going.

Ann told him that it couldn’t be any worse, even though we had reached an agreement with Ford to keep the vehicle until the lease was up. The dealership, Ken Grody Ford in Buena Park, is still jacking us around with the details.

Amador, our salesman who used to work at Ken Grody Ford and who sold us a few cars in the past, took it upon himself to run some numbers regarding the Escape while telling Ann to check out the inventory at his current employ, Sunset Ford in Fontana.

She found a few that she liked and let Amador know. Within a few hours, he came back with some numbers that are completely doable and will rid us of the headaches we’ve been dealing with, namely the Escape and Ken Grody Ford.

So with all that done, all that’s left is to come up with a reasonable down payment, drive the Escape down to Sunset Ford and come home with something 1-2 years old. This could happen as soon as this weekend.

Amador told us we owe him lunch for pulling this off. A small price to pay for service like this, unlike the horrific service Ken Grody Ford has been giving us. I get the feeling he’s the one that really kept that dealership afloat.

Things are starting to look up, methinks.

Let’s keep it going, 2011!