Tuesday, March 31, 2009

GM and Ford Jump on the Payment Bandwagon

Most of you probably saw the Hyundai Commitment commercials around Superbowl time, lose your job, Hyundai makes your payment for a few months while you look for a job, and if you can't? you can return your car* (minus depreciation etc.).

Well, Ford and GM have now jumped on the bandwagon.

I have mixed feelings about this.

Ford and GM have both jumped on the Hyundai coat tails.

"Lose your job? We'll make your note for you!"

Ford said Tuesday it will cover payments of up to $700 each month for up to a year on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle if consumers lose their jobs. The program runs until June 1.

GM's payment protection program is much like Hyundai's Assurance Program in that the automaker will cover your payments in the event that you lose your job. GM's program covers you for 24 months and will make up to nine payments valued at up to $500/month. According to GM, if you qualify for state unemployment benefits, you'll qualify for the payment protection to kick in.

Part of me thinks this is great and will help out lots of people, but the other part of me feels that those people that were that financially irresponsible to buy a car they couldn't afford, or didn't have a emergency fund to cover 6 or 8 months of living expenses (which includes your car note and mortgage) should let this be a good reminder of living beyond one's means.

Sure, when I replaced my 290,000 mile car 2 weeks ago, I really wanted something nice, a pre-owned Infiniti M, A V8 Genesis, Town Car, etc.

What did I settle on? A Good deal on a used reliable 4 door sedan. A Ford Five Hundred (which has been renamed Taurus in 2008). Why? The uncertain economy, I didn't want to drop 35 Grand (or even 20 grand these days) on a NEW car, and really folks, what do you need a car for? Basic transportation. In this case, to and from work. I got it with around 50,000 miles, and paid less than 1/3 of the sticker new. I'm familiar with the powertrain, familiar with the chassis, and it has good reliability ratings according to Consumer Reports, and Excellent Crash test ratings. Leather, Sunroof, 6 CD Changer, power everything and all wheel drive to boot. Has new tires and new pads and rotors all the way around. Maybe when things improve, I'll get something 'nicer', but for now, this is a pretty darn nice daily driver.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Forgot to Remind all you readers! (DST Time again!)

Once again, we have DST!
This is a good time to remember other things that need to be taken care of, specifically on your car, and at your home!

I like to remind folks that really aren't into car care, that at least twice a year, (a good reminder is around the time change) you should:
  • Change the oil (more than 2x per year but if you can't remember do it now)
  • Rotate your tires, correct air pressure
  • Inspect/Replace your air filter
  • Wash the car really well (including the wheel wells and rails/drains).
  • Remove the garbage inside the car
  • Inspect all your exterior lights

  • Fertilize the lawn (Fall Fertilizer, and Spring Time too)
  • Change the Ice maker Filter
  • Change the A/C Furnace Filter
  • Open the windows and let some fresh air in!
  • Drain that hot water heater
  • Check/Replace any light bulbs that burned out

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hurricane Ike Fence Repair...Continued

So after Ike, the fence behind and to one side of my back yard was knocked down.

The guys on the side of me said "Don't worry, we're gonna let insurance handle it." As did the people behind.

No problem. Now its the middle of March, six months later. Still not a peep. The guy next door finally fixed the fence that faces the street, before that, you could drive by and look straight into my back yard. Several times, I have approached him and offered to split the cost and help him repair the fence between us. He gets all gung ho about it, and we set a time and date, and when the times up to do it, he's nowhere in sight.

The folks behind me have propped the fence up pretty well, but it still is an eyesore. I'll have to work on them next.

So a few weeks ago, I set out and picked up some 4x4 posts and 2x4 posts, to lay the framework out. I thought about being a jerk and fixing the damage only to where the 'pretty side' was facing me, but I'm not repairing the entire fence, just the fallen part. I went ahead and flip flopped each section.

With my Craftsman circular saw, level, sharpie, demo bars, shovels and Quikrete, I was able to start the project in a timely manner. This is really the first time I've done any kind of construction project of any significance, and it sure is satisfying. Still not done yet, but its better every day. Don't have to look at their neighbors trashed out back yard.

I've been cutting the old fence/debris into smaller pieces for the garbage men to take away, hopefully the back yard will start looking decent soon enough.

Heres the frame work, new 4x4 and 2x4 rails. I was hoping the builder didn't use concrete for the posts but they did

First section up and running, second section started.

Second section completed. Third starting (gotta go buy more pickets)

I'd like to end this entry with a Robert Frost Poem....

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Monday, March 16, 2009

DirecTV is in the house

Well, after waiting for the satellite guy to come in, I'm officially no longer a Comcast customer. I went to the local Comcast office on Thursday, where I, with 2 dozen other people waited in line at lunch hour while TWO people worked the counter, processing folks through. Over half the people there were canceling service.

DirectTV is now in, but it's still taking a little getting used to with the new Channel line up. I also found out, according to the DirecTV installer, that a bunch of cabling was hooked up incorrectly in the attic. Go figure.

Anyway, back to the world of having 3000 channels and nothing to watch.

Actually, 2 weeks with no cable TV was an interesting thing. I really didn't miss it too terribly, with Netflix and all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An Update to Goodbye Comcast

Well, an update to my post in February about "Goodbye Comcast"

After getting a comment from "Comcast Cares", Mark Casem, whose job is to scour the net for Comcast comments, I sent a letter and got a call from his 'team members' reassuring me that they would be contacting their 'team members' in Houston.

Guess what Mark Casem?? The Cable was turned off March the 2nd, as requested, and NOBODY has contacted me regarding ANY promotions that comcast has/had whatsoever.

Comcast does not care, and comcast fails miserably in my eyes. Did I expect anything more or less from Comcast? I shouldn't have.