Friday, January 15, 2010


This morning at 5:30am my husband rolls over and tells me we have to have the van and the car in Waterville for inspections at 8am. For those of you that don't know what a vehicle inspection is I can tell you this: It's a way for the state to extort more money out of hard working people.

I'm really not pleased with this. I laid there for a moment and thought about it. Trying to grasp a coherent thought. I was asleep, now I'm awake. Woken up rudely I might add. Why am I upset? I can't think of why I'd be upset but I am. Then I remember. Usually at 8am. I'm still in my jammies drinking my second cup of coffee. Not to mention that WE HAVE SCHOOL!!!! As I try to explain this I get no where. Just told to be ready to go unless I want to drive around on an expired tag and chance a $129.00 fine. What I probably should mention is that it only costs $12.00 for an inspection. I should probably also tell you that MY inspection actually ran out last August. I'm a real rebel.
There actually have been some years where I've let it slide for eleven months. Without getting a ticket. I told you, I'm a rebel!

So I was up dressed and ready to go but I first needed coffee. I had plenty of time. No coffee. I should have went back to bed.

We get to the place for our inspections. Now both of our vehicles needed new tires. I needed two and Dave needed all four. So they take my van in first. I love my van. It took me a long time to say that. I really hate mini vans. But I pretend that mine is actually a big four wheel drive suburban. As all my vehicles before her, her name is Emma. And we've been through a lot.
As I turn my keys over to the mechanic I find out that he is formally from Delray Beach as Dave and I are. That he had four kids. And that he seems honest.
Now it should only take fifteen minutes tops to inspect a vehicle. Half hour later I drag Dave to the window and I frantically point and say to him what the (blank beep) are they doing? They have five guys looking underneath my van. At this point they are driving Dave's VW in on the other side. I am feeling sick.

The man comes in shaking his head and asks Dave to put on a pair of safety glasses and join him in the shop. I watch helplessly from the window. They walk around the van, under the van, wiggle the tires. They point at stuff and shake their heads. Crap, crap on a stick.
Dave comes back in and doesn't say a word. The man writes up an estimate and hands it over. EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!! and change. Holy Frigging hand job! He looks at me and asks if I want to put that on my credit card. No thank you I say. He then says well you have to do something, you failed your inspection. At that point my loving husband propels me towards the door so I can't run my mouth.
Why doesn't he ever get upset like I do? Together we could have taken that guy down. He was big but not that big.

So we go on over to the Golden Arches so I can get the huge vat of coffee that I so desperately need and to discuss my van.
Apparently my van needs a new front end. The whole front end. Plus a few back end things as well. I was even missing some important parts. I am freaking out. I automatically start thinking that I need a new vehicle.

I drag Dave to three dealerships. All the while he isn't saying really anything at all. Just things like "Let's think this out." "Do we really want a car payment" and my personal favorite, "Keep it together Miss, it will all work out." ( This actually annoys me.) So after I work it all out in my mind I agree to take the van back home until Dave's car is finished getting tires and some arm thingy put on it. We decide to stop in to where we always get our work done on our cars and see if they have anything for sale. We go in and (because I have, as Dave fondly calls it diarrhea of the mouth) I tell the gal what happened that morning. I ask her if we can get a second opinion. Which is what Dave said we should do in the first place. She said sure bring it in for an inspection and we'll see what you need. Oh, I should mention that we didn't go their in the first place because my husband doesn't like their tires. He will buy only American made ones. GO USA!!!

So we decide that since I still needed tires desperately we would take a quick ride to Sam's Club to get some. On the way their the car place calls and tells us that the ball joint (or something) is bad and needs to be replaced. Now that had really sent up an alarm. The ball joint was replaced under a year ago. Dave tells them no and hangs up. We get some tires and take the van back to the shop where the mechanic does his thing and writes up an estimate for, are you ready? Three Hundred Dollars.

We go awhile later to get Dave's car. After he has picked it up and we are at the bank he remembers that they didn't give him back his old tires. One of them had only 10,000 miles on it. He goes back to get it and they had destroyed them all. The low miles one was to be the spare. Once the man behind the counter sees that they were supposed give back the tires he tries to give my husband a new one but not made in this country. I wish I had been there to see that. He came home with a USA tire like the rest of the tires on his car.

So what did I learn today? I learned that you should always get a second opinion. No matter how nice the man is.
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FishermansDaughter said...

A-frickin-MEN. In my experience (as a single woman...just sayin), especially when dealing with car and other stuff considered the realm of "guy stuff", it's the "nice" guys you have to watch out for. 2nd opinions are a gigantic PITA but, gotta do it. I've saved shit tons of money just by making a phone call. Congrats on being savvy.

My word is :


like a sister but not really

Mama Goose said...

Holy Hell I hate mechanics almost as much as sales people. Really, they're just salesmen with tools. I had a ridiculous experience this summer - of which we no longer speak as it riles me so badly...

Inspections aside, don't even get me started on excise taxes!!

Frank said...

That's why I miss living in Detroit. Our neighborhood was full of mechanics, and my dad was good at "knowing a guy" who could do good, cheap car work. It would be done within a day, and the mechanics accepted beer as payment as well as money.

KimberlyDi said...

I hate mechanics. As a single mom driving the most commen car in history, I always needed a "Special" this or a "Special" that which cost alot of money. Just recently they said it would be $10 to replace the windshield wipers. They didn't mention that it was $10 for each wiper until it was time to pay. Crooks!

(No offense to any honest mechanics out there - if you exist)

Stacy D. Briefing said...

After reading this post, my favorite Joe Pesci saying comes to mind: "They F*%k you at the drive-thru!!!" I think it applies to so many situations in life...Like mechanics and state vehicle inspections to name a few!