Saturday, February 12, 2011

He Rode In On A Hyundai

On the way out and back to the conference last week, I noticed my Pathfinder was riding rough - like it couldn't find the right gear to be in between 45-60 mph.  So I googled it and found that Nissan has had a BIG problem with my year Pathfinders (2006) so they extended the warranty to 80,000 miles.  Apparently the radiator leaks into the transmission and ruins them both.  All of they symptoms added up to just what I had.  I have 74,000 miles on it and the job, out of warranty, would be $7,000!  So I took it in on Monday and wouldn't ya know it, the problem was NOT the warrantied one - it was bad U joints and some other stuff.  Dang!  At least $800 worth of repairs.  I told them to go ahead and fix it.  They called me the next day and said they were wrong - the problem WAS the radiator/transmission one and they would fix it for free!  And that fix would cover the other things that needed fixing too (U joints, etc.)!  That was some good news.  Of course the parts are back ordered and will be shipped out sometime but that is OK - they gave me a free loaner car.  A 2011 Hyundai VeraCruz with 12 miles on it.  The best thing about it is the XM radio.  To the embarrassment of Elliott, Lucie and I were singing and rocking at the stoplights last night!

I finished my taxes today.  I usually buy the federal Turbo Tax disk (not the state one) but this year you could do it all online and then pay for the protram at the end when you submitted the return.  The federal one was pretty straightforward so I did that and e-filed.  Fine.  Meanwhile, they kept a running total for DE state taxes in the corner and offered to sell that program too.  DE offers free online tax filing so I figured I would just do that like I always do and save the Turbo Tax fee.  But when I finished the DE online taxes, it said I OWED money while Turbo Tax said I was due money back!  What?!  I compared both returns and the only difference was the tax amount from the table.  Turns out, I filed JOINT on the DE state form (like always) while Turbo Tax reviewed the best filing option and found that "married filing separately combined" was the best option!  Who would have guessed that?  So I went back to the DE online form and changed the filing status and sure enough, getting money back!  How "governmental" to have a filing status called "separate combined!"  Works for me...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Her Name Was George

There are so many ways to tell this story that I don't know where to begin...  Lucie, Ashleigh and I are in Lancaster, PA for a Royal Rangers conference.  Lucie is running a few classes - Ashleigh and I are along for a vacation.  Elliott has Driver's Ed so he stayed behind with the dogs and Ashleigh's boyfriend.  This morning we went to breakfast at Bob Evans.  Our hostess was a spry woman in her 60's and was wearing a head piece with Valentines hearts on springs bouncing around.  All went fine and we stopped to pay our bill on the way out.  As we were paying, the hostess pointed out that HER name was George.  She was the youngest of 14 kids and her father named her George because he wanted a tomboy daughter.  That revelation lead to a story about her as a child being teased and having to fend for herself.  (Reminds me of the Johnny Cash song, "A Boy Named Sue.")  That story, which included references to pants lowering episodes to prove her sexuality, was nothing compared to what came next.  First, she quizzed me about who was President in 1969 (Nixon) and then the REAL story began...  George told us how when she was a teenager, she received a letter saying she hadn't responded to the draft.  Next thing she knew, she was being taken away in handcuffs and shackles.  Soon she was drugged and taken to Area 51.  Wait.  WHAT?!  Area 51?!  Indeed.  George shared how the aliens that are amongst us have been so for thousands of years.  "And they don't look like the pictures you've seen.  They look like you and me.  They are bald."  The aliens have provided the technology for many human accomplishments including the lunar landing.  It didn't take long for George's mother to retain an attorney who directly contacted the Commander in Chief.  A lawsuit was filed and suddenly George was set free.  Not with a check of course, "that could be traced."  Instead, George was sent home with a briefcase full of cash.  And years later, her golden years are being spent in the Lancaster Bob Evans - wearing a headpiece with spring mounted hearts suddenly looking very similar to alien antennas.

Though we could have stayed all day and listened to her stories, we had to leave.  As we left I turned back and said, "By the way George, tell me about your sister Larry..."