Sun. Mar. 7, 2021 – always more to do…

Cool and clear.  I hope.   It got to be very nice yesterday.  Sunny and clear, not too cool.  It was a real shame not to be out doing yard work.  Or more of a shame to not be out enjoying some sort of leisure activity in the nice weather.

Instead, I spent a couple of hours at my secondary location gathering up stuff to take to auction next week.   Then I spent a couple of hours picking up some metal I bought, and talking to the auctioneer about bringing her a couple of loads of stuff.  She wants it, so I’ll bring it.

I did a bit of research (hit a couple of car listing sites) and at least have a better idea of what my options are for a replacement vehicle.   My wife is on board with spending a bit more for an extra couple of years without issues, so that expanded my search a bit.    Surprisingly, for Ford Expeditions anyway, mileage is much more of a factor for value than just about anything else, given that all the vehicles are running, and clean.  Age certainly counts, but much less than I expected and a year or two one way or the other doesn’t matter much.

It takes up time and energy, in an already crowded month.   Selling through local auctions gets some of that back, as there is much less of my time involved than just about any other way.   Less profit for me too, but that is a trade off.  Time is what I’m most short of right now.   Time time time, ask me for anything but time.

Funny thing about time.   We all have the same amount of time every day.  You can’t really “save” time for later, and you can’t store it.   It is very much “use it or lose it”.  I’m not panicked yet, but time feels very short.   I don’t know that I’m spending mine wisely, but I’m doing what I can.

Think about how you are using your time, and to what end.  Change is hard, but sometimes necessary.  Do you need to make a change?  Do I?

While you’re pondering, keep stacking.

 

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

93 thoughts on “Sun. Mar. 7, 2021 – always more to do…”


  1. Showed her how to use her TV remote to select TV / DVD / VHS inputs. At that point she gave up in disgust. “Why won’t it simply play whatever I put in?

    Same issue with my MIL. One time she said she needed a new TV because the sound didn’t work. She turned down the sound on the cable box. She will be watching a channel on cable and change the channel using the TV remote. Doesn’t work with a cable box and she gets mad because the TV isn’t working.

    Her cell phone was not ringing, just vibrating. Two hours on the cell phone and landline phone and problem isn’t resolved. Gave explicit instructions, set the upper switch so it doesn’t show red. She pushes the switch instead, like a button. Then tries changing the ringer volume while on the cell phone which only changes phone speaker volume.

    Calls us yesterday saying her landline phone is not working because no one called her. She had silenced the phone ringer when she moved the phone. This has happened twice.

    Her cell phone has a case. When she is finished talking she closes the case. This does not terminate the call. Her response is her old flip phone worked that way. We explain this phone is different. Couple days later, same problem.

    I wish I could get her a rotary dial phone, maybe even hand crank. Technology is rough on older people, especially those that refuse to learn. MIL says she can’t, therefore she won’t. Just gives up. Doesn’t even think about what could be incorrect. Even then it is never her fault, it’s the stupid device, which she thinks should work the way she wants rather than as designed.

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  2. @Ray

    Same issue with my MIL. . .
    MIL says she can’t, therefore she won’t.

    It’s the can’t/won’t that I find the most frustrating with my own MIL. I know that someday I will be struggling to keep up with the youngsters, but please shoot me if I develop this attitude.

    1
  3. NOTE: watching a relatively clean commercial VHS tape circa 1995 made me realize just what a HUGE leap in quality of video we have seen in two decades.

    VHS was lousy tech in the 70s/80s, but the standard became the format of choice thanks to pr0n.

    Blank tape and machines were much cheaper than Beta. Watch “Boogie Nights” to see an example of an ad hoc mass duplication setup.


  4. MIL says she can’t, therefore she won’t. Just gives up.

    It’s not just the elderly who think that way. It’s annoying, frustrating, and utterly incomprehensible to me.

    Even then it is never her fault, it’s the stupid device, which she thinks should work the way she wants rather than as designed.

    I do have some sympathy for that point of view. Not fully on board with it, but some sympathy. Most consumer technology products have the gross design by artsy types who focus more on “cool” than “practical”. Feature lists are assembled by managers and marketing teams who cram in every bit that they can. The products are implemented by autistic engineers and third-rate seat fillers, all under severe time constraints. The result is configuration items stuffed away in unreasonable spots and features that change with every release. That’s painting with too broad a brush but I think it’s more true than not.

  5. I wish I could get her a rotary dial phone, maybe even hand crank

    The cell-to-landline gadget doesn’t support rotary dial?

    Back when I played with Asterisk, I swear that even the cheap boards supported interpretation of the pulses. Settings exist in the software for rotary dial … or did.

    I actually get charged for touch tone on my land line. $1 a month.


  6. I know that someday I will be struggling to keep up with the youngsters, but please shoot me if I develop this attitude.

    Adopt my approach, SFW: I intend to die violently when I slow down. Whether it’s getting into a fight that I would have been able to win ten years before or going full Zombie Patriot, I have no intention of lingering and dragging others down with me.


  7. Most consumer technology products have the gross design by artsy types who focus more on “cool” than “practical”.

    Add in unnecessary change, because every new designer figures they know better. To use a much abused analogy: imagine if every designer rearranged all of the controls in cars. I mean, it would be so much better to put in an aircraft throttle in place of the gas pedal. Only, some other manufacturer put in a rotary switch, and yet another likes the gas pedal, but on the left and controlled by your knee.

    Standardization for standard stuff is important, and should remain stable over the long-term.

  8. added- surprisingly there are several 4×4 Expeditions available. I didn’t even know they made the Expy in all wheel drive.

    Yup, mostly north of the Mason – Dixon line. I have rented an extended length Expy in Montana. Had the round knob for selecting 2hi, 4hi, and 4lo just like my F-150. I would not buy a F-150 in Montana without 4wd, I have had it snow on me there on Memorial Day.

  9. Showed her how to use her TV remote to select TV / DVD / VHS inputs. At that point she gave up in disgust. “Why won’t it simply play whatever I put in?

    Same issue with my MIL. One time she said she needed a new TV because the sound didn’t work. She turned down the sound on the cable box. She will be watching a channel on cable and change the channel using the TV remote. Doesn’t work with a cable box and she gets mad because the TV isn’t working.

    I have noticed that as some people get older, they get more and more technology adverse. Not my 82 year old dad, he still gets his tech toys all the time. He has been running win 10 for five years.

  10. I have noticed that as some people get older, they get more and more technology adverse. Not my 82 year old dad, he still gets his tech toys all the time. He has been running win 10 for five years.

    If you are stuck for a birthday/Christmas gift, get him a Raspberry Pi 400 kit, the SKU which includes the accessories and the book to get started. It isn’t bad for a $70 computer.

    I forgot about the preorder I made for one as part of my kids’ Christmas back in October until I received the email a month ago that it shipped.

  11. @Nick
    added- surprisingly there are several 4×4 Expeditions available. I didn’t even know they made the Expy in all wheel drive.

    Go north to a Craigslist in the snowbelt. Lots of them. TOTL is Eddie Bauer branded.


  12. Her cell phone was not ringing, just vibrating. Two hours on the cell phone and landline phone and problem isn’t resolved. Gave explicit instructions, set the upper switch so it doesn’t show red. She pushes the switch instead, like a button. Then tries changing the ringer volume while on the cell phone which only changes phone speaker volume.

    Calls us yesterday saying her landline phone is not working because no one called her. She had silenced the phone ringer when she moved the phone. This has happened twice.

    One of my tasks yesterday was setting up her new Jitterbug smart phone. She ordered it because her Jitterbug flip phone, Great design for elderly, “quit working” she said. But you called me from it this morning to ask me to come over I noted. She complained that it works for outgoing calls but won’t ring. I checked and the ringer was turned off again. The way she holds it presses the volume down button till the ringer is disabled. I’ve shown her several times how to check and correct but to no avail. So now its “broken” and she has a shiny new touch screen phone to misunderstand.
    Like mentioned above, if I ever get this senile just shoot me.

  13. It’s not just age. In my experience, few people “close the loop.” They turn the key in the lock, but don’t verify the door actually locked. They operate the parking brake but don’t ckeck that the car can’t move. They inadvertently touch the mute button on the screen, then wonder why there is no sound. They never question their actions, and can’t seem to understand that devices need sensible actions to function properly. Some of these people once were supervisors, PHBs. Hmmm…


  14. Any recommendations from the group for a robot vac?

    I’ll second the RoboRock. I just set up a SV6 Max (the 7 is out shortly). It’s running right now. The dogs don’t mind it. I’d recommend searching YouTube for reviews of what you are considering. There are channels that review a lot of the robot vacs.

    And, yeah, watch the wires on the floor and anything that is small and dark. The robot will get hung on those. It vacs about 3/4 of the house. The kids end is a mess of boxes and shit, so I limit it until all that is gone.

  15. I think we’re ready to start a support group. This all sounds like my 94 yo MIL who also happens to live with us. Once she was an absolutely wonderful person. Now she is often mean and angry. Has problems with tech all the time. I handle it better than my wife but somtimes I best just go do something else. Fourty years ago I used to joke that she would outlive me.
    I understan much has to due with the fact she has a very strong will and my FIL used to let her run most things. Now I know why. Of course age brings lack of mental acuity, lots of aches and pains and the wine she drinks most afternoons to alleviate it. Add to that the wife’s sister and her kid asking why Grandma is unhappy. Please let her vist you for a couple of weeks and find out.

    BTW concerning TV, we should all be blaming the industry for saddling us with their boxes on top of the TV. Were is the cable card?

  16. VHS. I actually liked following those flow chart diagrams to set them up. Most other people “Arg, that looks like math stuff!” I don’t think I knew anybody back in the day that could figure out how to record shows in the future or repeating. I had to set up their boxes. “Remember to put in a tape” was my mantra. LOL! And, of course, the blinking time nobody could set. Geez.


  17. is an automated battery swap station a viable solution?

    It has been proposed in the past. There are significant problems in figuring out who owns the battery packs, who has liability for them if there are problems (i.e. a Tesla pack in a Toyota goes bad, who pays?), etc. Plus you can’t have a standard pack that will fit in a pickup, a sedan, a compact, and a minivan that gives comparable performance.


  18. One of the many “features” of EV’s that should be borne by the owners–in this case in the form of higher insurance–but will doubtless be extracted from all of us.

    Collision insurance on Tesla vehicles is said to be more expensive than others because of high repair costs.

  19. Just saw that members of the Oath Keepers are now classified as extremists and domestic terrorists. As I recall, the movement started early in the Obama administration when the idea was floated of changing the military oath to pledge allegiance to the president not to protect the constitution. All my family military were oath keepers and most of local police here are. Now they are saying they will purge the military of all extremists such as those that believe in the constitution. Our world is upside down.

  20. First time my guess at the weather was correct! 60F and sunny. Nice.

    @ Harold, It’s not just that it’s upside down, it’s that they’re telling you that upside down is the right way up.

    Many are noting the ideological purge of the military is continuing. The officer corps started under Obammma, now the enlisted. Someone pointed out the first thing a dictatorship does is establish a body guard, and purge the military.

    Consider that someone with a gross misunderstanding of why soldiers fight just decided to give the DC forces a ‘shiny thing’ for their uniforms. Giving yourself made up medals is another thing some rulers do….

    n

  21. Had some trouble falling asleep last night. TRIED to get to bed earlier…

    What is that Rasberry pi project called that is an ad blocker for your whole network? I’ve got to get the going for the embedded devices. The ads youtube is stuffing into some channels I really like are getting out of hand. Usually I don’t see them but the kids are getting hammered with ads and I hate that.

    n

  22. @Nick:

    What is that Rasberry pi project called that is an ad blocker for your whole network?

    Pi-Hole

    I keep saying to myself, “Set this up”. Myself does not reply…

    G.

  23. VHS. I actually liked following those flow chart diagrams to set them up. Most other people “Arg, that looks like math stuff!” I don’t think I knew anybody back in the day that could figure out how to record shows in the future or repeating. I had to set up their boxes. “Remember to put in a tape” was my mantra. LOL! And, of course, the blinking time nobody could set. Geez.

    Near the end of the 90s, new VCRs started shipping with an automatic time adjustment/sync using a signal broadcast by PBS stations around the country. IIRC, however, activating the feature still required accessing the right menu.


  24. The cell-to-landline gadget doesn’t support rotary dial?

    Never thought to try. I don’t know if it is even possible to buy a true rotary phone that pulses. The rotary phones on Amazon merely convert the dialed number into a tone.

    So now its “broken” and she has a shiny new touch screen phone to misunderstand.

    About the same with my MIL. The flip phone does work but it is not compatible with my Xfinity service. We would need to buy a new phone and MIL does not want to pay. Thus she has my old iPhone on the Xfinity service. Does not cost us anything to have the phone on my service. Getting her to understand you only have to touch an icon is difficult. Instead she mashes the icon, hard, and many times for too long thus causing issues. A double tap on the home button has proven to be unteachable for reasons that escape me.

    Now she is often mean and angry.

    MIL is getting same way. It is worse with the move from her home to the senior center. It didn’t help the doctors told her she had a year to live. Now she says she just wants to die and get it over with rather than waiting.

  25. Now she is often mean and angry.

    –could be chronic pain, and as weird as it sounds, she might not even be aware of the pain. That was the case for me and my lower back, it just kept building over time. When I finally went in for something unrelated, and they gave me meds for the pain, I suddenly realized how much pain there was when it went away. I had to apologize to my client and coworkers for my behavior once I realized how sh!tty I had been. That was humbling.

    n

  26. 64f sunny afternoon. Cleaning out the garage at last. Finding more boxes of old books that we moved with us for some reason. Most of them are the wife’s, 18th century literature and history volumes from her days as a professor. I know she will never read them now and we don’t have space for more book shelves for books we will never touch. Can’t throw them out and can’t keep them.

  27. Harold, regarding the books, the best thing to do is to find someone who’d appreciate them and use them, whether an individual or a small, private library. Possibly a private school or homeschool group which focuses on literature.

    If that doesn’t work, don’t you have an unoccupied unit in one of your self-store facilities? Preferably one that’s convenient for your frequent trips? Or have I lost track and you sold them all?

  28. Back on January 27, @Lynn posted a link to a science fiction list and there was some discussion. I looked at the others that author and list maker Dan Livingston had done, and took a look at

    23 Best Time Travel Science Fiction Books

    https://best-sci-fi-books.com/23-best-time-travel-science-fiction-books/

    It was really hard to take it seriously. I’ve learned not to read his lists with a fresh cup at hand unless I wanted a hot coffee lap, keyboard, or nasal irrigation. Still: C’mon man, you ain’t freaking serious!

    Major omissions:
    Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
    Robert Heinlein, The Door Into Summer
    Eric Flint, 1632 (first in an ongoing series)
    Leo Frankowski, The Cross-Time Engineer (first of six + prequel)
    Dean Koontz, Lightning
    Keith Laumer, Worlds of the Imperium (first of series of four, best of ten time travel books)

    contenders:
    James Hogan, The Proteus Operation
    Murray Leinster, Time Tunnel
    Darryl Brock, If I Never Get Back
    John R. Maxim, Time Out of Mind
    Fred Saberhagen, A Century of Progress (second of two) and Pyramids
    Richard C Meredith, At the Narrow Passage (first of three)
    John Barnes, Patton’s Spaceship (first of three)
    Jack McDevitt, Time Travellers Never Die
    Robert Asprin, Time Scout (first of four)
    Donald Keith, Mutiny in the Time Machine (first book in short story series published in Boy’s Life)
    Andre Norton, The Time Traders (first of four)
    James Hogan, Thrice Upon a Time

    I just finished one of the books on the Livingston list, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Catherine Webb (as Claire North) (2014). Although this book shows obvious influence from other works (think Groundhog Day stretched to a lifetime) it presents some original ideas that could easily form the basis of a series. I’d give it 4.3/5.0.

  29. @SteveF –

    If that doesn’t work, don’t you have an unoccupied unit in one of your self-store facilities? Preferably one that’s convenient for your frequent trips? Or have I lost track and you sold them all?

    good idea but …
    1) my storage units are not climate controlled
    2) I rented the last one Friday
    3) if all goes well we will close the sale this month (fingers crossed)

    Will talk to the local library to see what they can take. Need to make sure they aren’t burning Dr Seuss books first.

  30. @Nick
    added- surprisingly there are several 4×4 Expeditions available. I didn’t even know they made the Expy in all wheel drive.

    Go north to a Craigslist in the snowbelt. Lots of them. TOTL is Eddie Bauer branded.

    The current Top Of The Line is the “Limited”. I am not sure when they started this version. The Eddie Bauer stopped a long while ago with the Ford 2010 versions. My 2005 Exy was an EB.

  31. The problem with giving books to a public library, in my experience, is that they generally don’t value what you give them. Maybe they’ll be put into circulation and maybe people will read them but it’s more likely they’ll be either put into the archive stacks or sold for $.50 each.

    -shrug- Or maybe my experience is not representative, and it’s certainly not broad enough to draw broad conclusions.

  32. is an automated battery swap station a viable solution?

    It has been proposed in the past. There are significant problems in figuring out who owns the battery packs, who has liability for them if there are problems (i.e. a Tesla pack in a Toyota goes bad, who pays?), etc. Plus you can’t have a standard pack that will fit in a pickup, a sedan, a compact, and a minivan that gives comparable performance.

    So on your first battery swap, you trade in your 1,000 mile battery pack for a charged battery pack with 150,000 miles on it. That is not an even trade.

  33. Dean Koontz, Lightning

    One of my top ten all time books. I have about 2o or 30 books on my top ten all time book list.

  34. The current Top Of The Line is the “Limited”. I am not sure when they started this version. The Eddie Bauer stopped a long while ago with the Ford 2010 versions. My 2005 Exy was an EB.

    Eddie Bauer went bankrupt and in/out of Spiegel’s hands. I believe they are held by private equity now. The brand’s value has diminished greatly since 2010.

    IIRC, Microsoft, AT&T, and Nintendo took pieces of Eddie Bauer’s corporate campus in Redmond.

  35. It’s got heavy duty tow, low miles, the extended length- everything looks right. So why the under market price?

    2018 was a new generation with more gadgetry and the 10 speed transmission Ford developed with GM.

    Plus V8s are more in demand on the used market. I’ve heard people half joking talking about America looking like Havana in twenty years except with old pickup trucks instead of ’57 Bel Airs.

  36. “22 Best Mundane Science Fiction Books” by Dan Livingston
    https://best-sci-fi-books.com/22-best-mundane-science-fiction-books/

    I have read “Flowers for Algernon”, “Little Brother”, “Darwin’s Radio”, “Red Mars”, “The Hacker and the Ants”, “Jurassic Park”, “The Martian”, and “1984”.

    I have seen “A Clockwork Orange”, “Flowers for Algernon”, “Jurassic Park”, and “The Martian”.

  37. Looking at carfax reports for a bunch of ’14 and ’15 models, and they sat for a long time. That makes the mileage look better. One sat at the dealer for a YEAR before it sold, then sat 3 months at another dealer, and 3 months at autonation. That isn’t promising….

    Interesting to see the service reports captured in the carfax. One truck got “body lube” every year at the same dealer. Either they had a persistent squeak or the dealer was padding the list…

    n

    added- same vehicle

    “Vehicle serviced

    Rear shock absorber(s) replaced
    Front shock absorber(s) replaced
    Trim repaired
    Steering/suspension checked ”

    At 16k miles. I think I’m writing that one off…

  38. So on your first battery swap, you trade in your 1,000 mile battery pack for a charged battery pack with 150,000 miles on it. That is not an even trade.

    The arrangement is probably similar to FuelRod for USB-charged devices at the theme parks, with a large deposit and reasonable swap out charge. Maintenance is the concern of the vendor.

    Of course, the cars are not going to look/perform like Tonymobiles. If private ownership of cars survives the total EV switch, most Americans are going to be sliding behind the wheel of the 21st century equivalent of the VW Beetle. The resources and infrastructure simply do not exist for everyone to have a Model X any more than they currently do to put a Porsche 911 or G Wagon grocery getter in every garage.

    And EV or non-EV, private ownership of *roads* is coming. Half of future revenues from my project in DC got sold to an Australian pension fund at the end of last year. Who knows where ownership of the street in front of your house will end up. Pray my former employer goes bankrupt within the near future … or keeps hiring music majors for engineering positions.

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  39. Funny thing about time. We all have the same amount of time every day. You can’t really “save” time for later, and you can’t store it. It is very much “use it or lose it”.

    Yes, I agree. I think we should have a word or two with the Architect about changing the design.

  40. The current contender is this one.

    https://www.tommievaughnford.com/inventory/used-vehicles/vehicle/1FMJK1KT1HEA28458/Used-2017-Ford-Expedition-EL-Houston-TX

    It’s got heavy duty tow, low miles, the extended length- everything looks right. So why the under market price?

    I’ve asked for a test drive appointment, bc their sales dept doesn’t answer the phone.

    n

    Looks good, no wrecks on the carfax. Only 2WD. I am not sure when they dropped the limited slip for the automated wheel braking option.

    Black in Texas is gonna be warm in the summertime.


  41. Plus you can’t have a standard pack that will fit in a pickup, a sedan, a compact, and a minivan that gives comparable performance.

    Yes you could. Multiples of a base size. May waste space and is more expensive but it should be doable.

  42. From a realtor friend of mine in Austin, TX:

    “How hot is the Austin housing market? Let me tell you by sharing a response I received today on an offer submitted earlier this week. This was for a modest, 2200 square foot home-”
    “My sellers have given me permission to divulge that the cash offer we executed was six figures over asking-price. There were many of you with VERY close offers. In a normal market, I would not tell you this, but I feel that it’s fair to give you this feedback to take back to your buyers.”
    “This market is not for the faint of heart!”

    $100K over asking ! Crazy.

  43. $100K over asking ! Crazy.

    With a lot of “free” money, low interest rates, property prices forecast to be increasing by double digits in the next 12 months, I think it is to be expected. Oz has some places forecast at 20% increase in the next 12 months. Banks are giving you fractions of one percent for holding your money. Reserve Bank says that interest rates will be like this for at least 2 years. Stock markets are all-over the place as well as bonds. Where do you put your money? Properties, of course. And that makes it rational again.

  44. “How hot is the Austin housing market? Let me tell you by sharing a response I received today on an offer submitted earlier this week. This was for a modest, 2200 square foot home-”

    3% down mortgages are back, and the expectation is that Plugs will attempt to push a $20k first time home buyer tax/credit loan which will put a $700k floor under the typical house price if the FHA loan cap in an area will support the price level.

    Even without the tax credit, the Number One Sons streaming into Austin will need a place to live, but they generally don’t like old/small. What was the neighborhood of the listing? Another house near me is undergoing a total gut/replacement of the interior — big money renovation.

    I noticed a lot of California plates on the road this weekend now that traffic levels are returning to normal with the state reopening. It is a little early for Spring Break. The expectation is that the bacchanalia will start rolling again on 6th St, Austin’s true “culture”.

  45. @rickh, wow that one with 17k miles is a creampuff….

    But it doesn’t have the towing package which includes 3000 pounds of additional tow capacity, a 10 gallon bigger gas tank, oil cooler, and trailer stabilization programming for the ride control. The carry capacity is significantly less too. The HD version has 1600# cargo cap. I think that one has 300.

    But a creampuff!

    n

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  46. “Properties, of course. ”

    –and as an inflation hedge.

    n

  47. H-Mart run today to top of our rice bin. Nearly $50 for a 50 lb bag. Selection was also limited.

    Surprisingly, the stock levels were better two weeks ago when the rest of the store, including the meat department, were picked clean following the winter storm. I wonder what’s up this weekend.

  48. I wonder what site traffic looks like at Daisy’s Organic Prepper Blog… I bet there is a whole bunch of people with a new interest in “putting some by” for hard times now that they’ve sat in the cold and dark, hungry…

    n

  49. Who knows where ownership of the street in front of your house will end up.

    I know… I own it, and it’s not for sale!

    BFD, just semi graded dirt roads (I’m on a corner.) I grant a public access easement. Hey, maybe I could collect toll! Wouldn’t bring much. I joke that we could set up a picnic table in the street, and have dinner without disrupting traffic. Pretty quiet.

  50. @rick, had about 10 minutes where I kept getting gateway timeout errors…

    And is there somewhere to see our stats? Like the old dashboard gizmo that showed visits, page views, etc? I recall that we were getting about 3000 uniques a day, I wonder where we are now?

    n


  51. @rick, had about 10 minutes where I kept getting gateway timeout errors…

    I had issues posting earlier in the day. I let it sit for a while and now have normal functionality. Just adding trouble shooting info. 🙂

  52. Wife is planting stuff, mainly flowers but herbs too. I leave the herb garden to her.

    I cut the grass, power washed some stuff, and moved stuff around.

    Been going in and out all day. It’s too nice a day to be in my office.

    n

  53. Can’t throw them out and can’t keep them.

    Sell Your Books

    Zubal Books is always looking to enhance our massive inventory of scholarly, rare, and hard to find books and published matter.

    https://www.zubalbooks.com/sell.jsp

    Not only will they buy your books, they’ll box them up and haul them away.

  54. The problem with giving books to a public library, in my experience, is that they generally don’t value what you give them. Maybe they’ll be put into circulation and maybe people will read them but it’s more likely they’ll be either put into the archive stacks or sold for $.50 each.

    Or end up on the curb on garbage day. 🙁


  55. …and features that change with every release.

    What Micro$oft does with Office so they can justify upgrading their corporate customers to the next version.

  56. @rickh, wow that one with 17k miles is a creampuff….

    But it doesn’t have the towing package which includes 3000 pounds of additional tow capacity, a 10 gallon bigger gas tank, oil cooler, and trailer stabilization programming for the ride control. The carry capacity is significantly less too. The HD version has 1600# cargo cap. I think that one has 300.

    But a creampuff!

    n

    Those items are worth quite a bit to me in long term durability. Sounds like they are worth quite a bit to you too. And the EL gives you another 1.5 ft length inside the fancy camper top.

    And having the oil cooler (and probably a transmission oil cooler) lets you know that engine and tranny have been cool their entire life to date.

    The ten speed tranny would be nice but the six speed is ok.

  57. I wonder what site traffic looks like at Daisy’s Organic Prepper Blog… I bet there is a whole bunch of people with a new interest in “putting some by” for hard times now that they’ve sat in the cold and dark, hungry…

    Anyone who went hungry two weeks ago around Austin has bigger problems than disaster preparedness. They’re going to wait for the government program.

    Austin was below freezing for 250 hours, but only dipped into single digits for a few hours each day.

    Boredom was probably the real issue.


  58. The problem with giving books to a public library, in my experience, is that they generally don’t value what you give them.

    I purged my library a few years back. It was stuffed. I took about 10 banana boxes full to the local library. Er, enough to fill the back of a Jeep Cherokee with the back seat folded down to the top. She took them and the whole time from the front door leading me to where she wanted me to deliver my boxes of books kept whining on about how they don’t have any room. Huh, her name was Cookie. A Librarian with a stripper name. 🙂
    Funny thing is, every shelf I saw was AT MOST half full. Every book in my house and all of my pots and pans and dishes and linens and valuable stuff in the feed shed would have hardly made a dent.

    And they want me to give them money?

    So. I suppose she tossed it all into the dumpster. I’ve never seen the library having a book sale. And she will burn in hell for throwing away books, but better her than me.


  59. …VHS…

    I remember one of the kids rushing in at five to the hour shouting “I need to tape the show coming on in five minutes on Channel 4” and the ensuing mad rush to find a tape that had something that could be taped over.
    ‘Fast Forward’ 20 years or so to a Verizon/Frontier FIOS DVR which worked great until the day the hard drive borked. The wife wasn’t happy about losing some of her unwatched shows. Rebooting the machine (a painful 5 minute process) got it running for a minute or two with access to the list of saved programs. Rinse/repeat several times and we at least knew what was lost. Some were recorded again from reruns or streaming.
    Now we’ve moved on to Cox and a cloud-based DVR. Most of what we would record is also available as on-demand but we still setup things to record as they usually disable fast forward for commercials when you stream. Also the latency trying to do a quick bit of rewind or fast-forward is really poor. They call this ‘progress’.

  60. Here is the window sticker:
    http://www.windowsticker.forddirect.com/windowsticker.pdf?vin=1FMJK1KT1HEA28458

    Holy depreciation Batman! That’s as bad as a luxury car.

    Whoever bought that 2017 Expy probably paid $50K + TTL for it with all the factory promos and dealer discounts off the MSRP of $62,971. So that is 40% depreciation over four years and 64,123 miles. Not bad. Not great either.

    Bummer, that window sticker viewer does not work for my 2019 F-150.

  61. So on your first battery swap, you trade in your 1,000 mile battery pack for a charged battery pack with 150,000 miles on it. That is not an even trade.

    There would have to be software that evaluated age/condition/capacity/charge level and assign a ‘value’ to the battery being swapped in and similarly for the one being swapped out and then you would either pay or get paid based on the difference in value between the two packs. The ‘gas’ station could offer, for example, a pack with a high remaining range rather than the next available for a small upcharge. Or if you have the time and want to keep your pack (e.g. brand new car) and you have the time then just hook up to a charging station.


  62. Yes, I agree. I think we should have a word or two with the Architect about changing the design.

    A bit more difficult seeing as the building is already built.

  63. Holy depreciation Batman! That’s as bad as a luxury car.

    Sale price was probably low 50s with incentives, possibly upper 40s if they gave Ford Credit an 8% kiss, but yeah.


  64. A bit more difficult seeing as the building is already built.

    Bah. Just get the lawyers involved. Threaten a lawsuit for failure to perform to industry standards and then offer a small incentive payment. Once you’re talking money, cosmological constants aren’t.

  65. I’ve purchased 5 news cars in my life, 4 Honda’s and one Toyota. I have no experience in buying a new Ford or Chevy. How do you negotiate the price? Still go based on invoice, get your final price before all the other discounts? Can you even negotiate with all those discounts?

  66. I’ve purchased 5 news cars in my life, 4 Honda’s and one Toyota. I have no experience in buying a new Ford or Chevy. How do you negotiate the price? Still go based on invoice, get your final price before all the other discounts? Can you even negotiate with all those discounts?

    My wife bought her Exploder on a Costco deal, and the price wasn’t terrible. However, she got hosed in the F&I room. I unwound most of the damage afterwards, but the dealer still pocketed $1200 more than they should have plus taking her fourteen year-old 4Runner for a $1000 trade-in credit.

    The only Ford I purchased was a 93 Probe on my father’s “A” employee plan, $100 over the “secret” invoice price, no negotiation.

    $17k sticker. $14k “factory” invoice. $11k “secret” invoice.

    Try Costco but go in with your eyes open. The buying program is run by an independent company that licenses the name, and no one in Issaquah will care/respond if you get burned like we were.

    Also, GM is selling a lot of junk right now.

  67. How do you negotiate the price? Still go based on invoice, get your final price before all the other discounts? Can you even negotiate with all those discounts?

    Use the web to determine fair prices. Then drop down 10% from that as a starting point. Once you have had to come up to the price indicated on the web, if the dealer refuses to go no further, then turn and walk to the door. There is a dealer that will sell for the web price. If you have a trade know the value of the trade. Got to Carmax and get a quote which are generally quite good. Avoid dealer games. If the dealer is $2K higher on the purchase price but is pricing your trade at $2K higher it is a wash. Look at the final sale document carefully. Look for any dealer add-ons. Bring out your calculator and calculate what the dealer is willing to sell for minus the price for the trade. That should be the price on the paperwork before taxes and title.

    Yes, you can negotiate. The most powerful tool is your brain and your feet. If you don’t like the deal then you have the most powerful option, the door.

    When I bought my F-150 I knew from the web what was a good price. I also knew what my 1999 F-150 was worth. I got my price for the truck and what I wanted to for a sale price. I might have done better by $500.00 (if I was lucky) if I was willing to spend a few days traveling between dealers. But I also knew that the vehicle I wanted was the only one at any of the Ford dealers in the area.

    When I bought my Highlander from the same Ford dealer I got lucky. I found the vehicle in a back lot where it has just come off a 3 year lease. I checked on the web and found the price was about $30K. I presented that price to the dealer and they agreed. I then told them I wanted $5K for my old Highlander which was the quote I got from Carmax. The dealer wanted to balk and said no. I said fine and told my wife we were leaving and started for the door. The salesperson stopped me and said he needed to check something. They came back to my agreed offer. However, we found the vehicle did not have two key fobs when we took delivery. We told the dealer get us a second key fob, programmed, or we don’t sign. The dealer got the fob ($450.00 at Toyota).

    My wife and I have gone so far as to agree on the vehicle (in private). Then go back to the salesperson and I say I want the vehicle. The wife interrupts me and says she does not like the color. We have gotten a dealer to give us another $400.00 off to take the color the wife does not want (in reality she is OK with the color).

    Take the sales to the limit, almost to the point of signing papers. The dealer and salesperson will have spent a lot of time. Find something to sweeten the deal, an accessory (generally cheap for the dealer). Or find something that you suddenly don’t like. Fix it or can the deal. Lot more incentive for the dealer to complete the deal when they are close to making the deal.

    When taking delivery inspect the vehicle meticulously. Take your time. Examine the paperwork doing the calculations yourself. Any questions, stop, and get an explanation. Do not sign until everything is to your liking, not the dealer’s liking. Having a vehicle prepped for delivery then having that process stop tends to motivate the dealer.

    But also be reasonable. Don’t make absurd demands. If a vehicle is $40K, don’t offer $20K. You will be branded as a fool, as someone who does not know what they are doing, to be manipulated.

    Another option is to go through a broker if you don’t have a trade. The broker will get a very good price and generally find the vehicle. There will be a markup for the broker as that is how they make a living. But the buyer is saved the hassle of negotiating with a dealer.

    taking her fourteen year-old 4Runner for a $1000 trade-in credit

    My 13 year old Highlander got me $5K as a trade. Needed a new front bumper, the A/C condenser had a leak, and if left sitting for more than four days the battery was dead due to some current draw from a borked radio upgrade that left some component powered on. Probably about $3K in repairs needed. Not my problem. Dealer most certainly wholesaled the vehicle to Bubba’s car lot and some poor sap got scammed. Not my problem.

    My 15 year old F-150 with 66K miles only got me $5K which was about the going price. It was in good shape, couple of dents, and would make an excellent work truck. Dealer sold it within three hours of bringing it in on a trade to some construction worker.

  68. When I bought my 2019 Highlander XLE, I did a lot of research on them, looking at prices on CarMax, Cars.com, and other places. With that, I got a sense of what price range I thought would be reasonable – not inflated, but also enough to keep the dealer happy.

    I didn’t have a trade-in, so took that out of the picture. I also got financing through a credit union, to take that out from the dealer. And I had a pile of cash to reduce the cost – my wife hates care payments, although she is the CFO, and we had just refinanced the house at 2.8%/30 years, with a bit of cash taken out for the car purchase ($25K).

    By looking at pricing at CarMax and BlueBook and Hertz/National/Avis sales, and focusing on the 2019 model (this was late spring 2020), I knew the price I was aiming for. Used 2019 Highlanders were hard to find, so took a couple months. Found one at a dealer in Olympia WA. They wanted $38K. But I figured I could get them down to my target price.

    So got there, saw the car, made sure it matched the VIN for the one they told me about. It didn’t have the tow hitch installed, but I knew they could do it – those are often installed at the dealer. I knew that a ‘build your own’ price would be $400 for adding a tow hitch, so that’s what I aimed for.

    Dealer started at $38K. I said no. They came down a bit, still no. I was patient and sat in the main showroom area (no hot office, as this was just after Cootie distancing was required). They wanted to charge $800 for the tow hitch install. I said no. I threatened to leave a couple of times.

    I knew what their probable cost was. I allowed for a bit of profit. But we settled on $32K. With the hitch installed. Did the deal. Wrote a check for $25K. Got the rest financed at a low rate. Done deal.

    So, researching pricing, dealer costs, etc was how I did it. There are many places where you can get that info. Worked for me.

  69. I have bought a few cars and used to train car dealership employees on product. (Not sales)

    Ford periodically runs promos on trucks, particularly when the economy is rough. Not too long ago they were offering $14K off expedition, 10-12K off pickups. That comes in the form of dealer incentives, rebates, buyer cash, and other mumbo jumbo. Currently they are running $8K? off Expys, but that still leaves $66K for me to pay. And mama ain’t gonna go for that.

    The truck I’m hoping to look at has an ‘internet price’ and the dealers typically don’t negotiate off that price. Especially when the price is already fair… I’ll still ask about promos or deals, sometimes they throw in a $250 gas card or free washes. Maybe extended service plan. It’ll be a cash deal which might hurt or help. A lot of the time the dealer gets a kickback for getting you on a finance plan so the cash price costs them money.

    The sales guy makes surprisingly little, $50-100 per car is typical. The turnover for floor sales is over 100%/year.

    n


  70. So got there, saw the car, made sure it matched the VIN for the one they told me about. It didn’t have the tow hitch installed, but I knew they could do it – those are often installed at the dealer. I knew that a ‘build your own’ price would be $400 for adding a tow hitch, so that’s what I aimed for.

    When I bought my F-150 I financed through Ford Credit as that got me an extra $1K off the price of the truck. When I got my first loan coupon in the mail I went to the credit union and refinanced at a better rate and paid off the Ford Credit loan. I only kept that loan for about 12 months before paying it off.

    Financed the Highlander through my credit union. Had that loan for a couple of months. Then found another credit union, same rate, but would give me $200.00 for moving the loan. So I did. The credit union even fronted the $5 membership fee required in the share account. Paid that off within six months.

    I had a hitch installed on my Highlander last December. It cost me about $1300 including the trailer wiring, bumper trim and installation. I could have gotten a cheaper hitch but all aftermarket hitches were 3″ to 4″ lower to the ground as they hung below the bumper, required a baffle underneath be permanently removed, and did not include wiring. The Toyota hitch actually looks like it was original and not hung on afterwards. I got it from my regular dealer with whom I have significant trust in their service. The real Toyota factory hitches are more expensive.

    I would wager in Rick’s case the hitch was aftermarket installed by the dealer and not a Toyota hitch.


  71. has an ‘internet price’ and the dealers typically don’t negotiate off that price

    Generally true. That price is about as low as a dealer will go on price. The web has dramatically changed the care buying experience and put a lot more power in the hands of the buyer.

    The sales guy makes surprisingly little, $50-100 per car is typical.

    I think that 4% to 5% profit for a dealer is probably a good number. The dealer has to pay employee benefits, pay for the building, pay for support staff. The dealer has to make money which is reasonable.

    My 2013 Highlander that I bought from a Ford Dealer had a web price of $30K and that is what I paid. When I refinanced at the credit union the loan officer told me that their finance value on that vehicle was $36K. When I took the Highlander to Toyota for service I told my regular salesman about the purchase and the price and he said I got an excellent price.

    I did apologize for not buying from him. I had told him three months ago to be on the look out for a three year old Highlander Limited AWD. I was even searching other dealers within 250 miles. None were to be found. So I told my regular salesperson (with whom I have purchased 5 vehicles) that I found the one at Ford, it had just come in the day before, and jumped on it. He understood.

  72. @Ray

    I would wager in Rick’s case the hitch was aftermarket installed by the dealer and not a Toyota hitch.

    Nope. Genuine Toyota hitch. Could tell by how it was installed. (The little conversion box they put in the in the left side access point in the rear.) Had researched the installation process. All Highlanders are pre-wired for the hitch install; they all have the extra little radiator (under the left side headlight; you can see it if you look) in all models.

    The install kit is the converter box they wire into the pre-wired spot on the left side in the back area. And the kit includes the panels to make it look nice, not tacked underneath as in a third-party install. It’s a not the 7-plug wiring harness; that has to be third-party.

    Plus it came with the Toyota hitch cover thing. All installed by the Toyota dealer. As required and specified by me.

    The only thing I had to add is 12v wiring cable from the battery to the back, for the powered wheelchair lift. That was installed by a local trailer place, only because I was too lazy to do it myself. There is a 12v line pre-installed in that area that holds the converter box (left side/rear/inside), so I could have used that.

    But, gen-u-ine Toyota hitch.

  73. @Lynn

    @Nick
    added- surprisingly there are several 4×4 Expeditions available. I didn’t even know they made the Expy in all wheel drive.

    Go north to a Craigslist in the snowbelt. Lots of them. TOTL is Eddie Bauer branded.

    The current Top Of The Line is the “Limited”. I am not sure when they started this version. The Eddie Bauer stopped a long while ago with the Ford 2010 versions. My 2005 Exy was an EB.

    Doesn’t seem like ten years since the EB was replaced by Limited. My bad–I thought @Nick might be looking far enough back. Shouldn’t have used TOTL, as there is a King Ranch version, albeit rare. And at some point they threw Platinum in there, too. Most of the trim differences are just flash, anyway, and by the time a vehicle is 3-4 years old, it matters not one whit what was cutting-edge then. Leather is nice if taken care of–too many don’t–and the better cooling that comes with towing has all-around benefits, as @Nick has pointed out.

    The main thing is

  74. @Nick
    Have someone who knows body repair take a good look at any candidates. Just like a good mechanic, they know where to look and what might be hidden. Climates that have little snow but still use salt have a dearth of underbody sprays at the car wash, and it’s easy for chlorides to hide.

  75. @drwilliams, salt is my biggest concern. I’ll be looking very carefully to see if they towed a boat in salt water. Just driving on the salty beach (something legal and common here) is a death sentence for vehicles. There is the remote possibility that it was wet or flooded during Harvey too, but I’ve got a pretty good idea what to look for with that. There wasn’t anything on the VIN searches so it never got an insurance claim for flooding anyway. All the services were austin or san marcos- didn’t flood during Harvey.

    And I just went thru the carfax… Lots of miles the first couple of years, then it sat mostly unused for half a year. Then the service moved from Austin to San Marcos… Then sold at auction, bought by the dealer that has it now, and it’s been sitting for 3 months at the dealer. oil change every 8000 like clockwork. One note about a ‘wiring fixed’ service. No coastal living…

    Could be a parent bought it, they traveled a lot during high school, then kid went to college in San Marcos…. and traded it in on something new.

    There was one recall/warranty issue that I’ll have to check if it got done. Dealer as good as Tommy Vaughn would likely have done it. But I’ll still check. — ah, just missing pages from the owners manual.

    n

  76. I was limiting my search to 2011 or newer, under 100K miles (because I’ll get 10 years before hitting 150K and having major engine work needed). There were a several that were older and had the miles, but there were issues with the vehicle sitting for long periods. That makes the mileage look better than it is (as an indicator of how hard the vehicle was run.)

    I really want the HD tow package, the EL is a bonus (an expensive bonus new). I didn’t really want to be newer than ’15 because of all the extra crap they piled on, but I’ll deal with it. The black EL is about double what I was hoping to spend, at least half more than I’d expected, but it’s almost everything I wanted.

    n

    and I found a way to get free carfax reports.

  77. The sales guy makes surprisingly little, $50-100 per car is typical. The turnover for floor sales is over 100%/year.

    I gave my sales guy $50 cash for the next days lunch when I walked out the door with the 2019 F-150 that I wanted at at a price I accepted. He asked me why, I answered that he had done everything that I asked for. $54K MSRP, I paid $40K plus TTL. And I got the options I wanted real bad (max tow package and 4×4 crew cab in white XLT with the Chrome package). The seat heaters and the remote start turned out to be bonuses. They also threw in the window tint and I paid $600 for the bed spray liner that was already on the vehicle.

    I am 60. Plus I write 100 to 200 contracts a year of up to a half million dollars with my customers. I have no fear of car salesman. But I do my research and establish an email connection with a salesperson before I walk in the front door. I do not get the best deal. But, I get a good deal and what I want is more important to me than the price.


  78. I found a way to get free carfax reports.

    Please inform. Here or by email.

  79. @Nick

    @drwilliams, salt is my biggest concern. I’ll be looking very carefully to see if they towed a boat in salt water. Just driving on the salty beach (something legal and common here) is a death sentence for vehicles.

    I bought a Grand Marquis about 20 years ago. Owner’s Dad had passed, and he got the car but didn’t need it. Relatively low miles, body in good shape, very clean. I was thirty miles away from my mechanic and I went ahead and bought it. First time it went up on the hoist we could see how rusty it was underneath. That’s when I remembered that the guy had mentioned that it was parked “on sand at the lake” a lot. Freshwater lake. Still had enough salts in the sand to do a number on it. Held together until I lost the head gasket at 160,000.

  80. @ray, sent you an email.

    @drwilliams, I was looking at surplus pickups a while ago, on the Tx Parks and Wildlife auction…

    They were selling pickups that had been used in Galveston to launch boats. Oh my. The back end undercarriage and frames were DESTROYED with rust. Huge holes eaten in everything. Looked ok from a standing position though.

    n

  81. Just checked the OK covid stats. Another day without any covid deaths. I think this is the 5th or 6th day in a row without any covid deaths in the state. But the CDC still insists we cower inside, or double mask if we must venture out into the horribly dangerous world beyond our front door. It’s clearly now simply political theater to keep the sheep terrified and obeying glorious leaders every order. BS.


  82. I think that 4% to 5% profit for a dealer is probably a good number. The dealer has to pay employee benefits, pay for the building, pay for support staff. The dealer has to make money which is reasonable.

    I thought that the service department was the profit center of a dealership?

  83. The current contender is this one.

    https://www.tommievaughnford.com/inventory/used-vehicles/vehicle/1FMJK1KT1HEA28458/Used-2017-Ford-Expedition-EL-Houston-TX

    It’s got heavy duty tow, low miles, the extended length- everything looks right. So why the under market price?

    I’ve asked for a test drive appointment, bc their sales dept doesn’t answer the phone.

    n

    Looks good, no wrecks on the carfax. Only 2WD. I am not sure when they dropped the limited slip for the automated wheel braking option.

    Black in Texas is gonna be warm in the summertime.

    @nick, is there any way to check the Expy for flooding damage ?

  84. There wasn’t any insurance claim for flooding, and it was always serviced inland, san marcos, austin, new braunfels, but I’ll be looking carefully. I’ll be looking for silt in places where dust shouldn’t get.

    n

  85. MIL and technology issues seem to be a theme. I got my MIL a flip-phone (after her stroke), but the problem is the buttons are too small as is the screen. She has never used it and I keep paying for it. (Oh well, no big deal. Maybe I can find one with really big buttons).

    I have gone through something quite similar with my parents as well. As they get older, they get tired of the constant (and increasing pace of) change. They were happy with what worked before and grumpy about having to do different for the same result (Ruh roh, that sounds like me – not a good sign). You also need to acknowledge it is a capability problem they don’t want to admit to. They won’t do the new because they don’t want to admit they can’t: Can’t see it, can’t hear as well, can’t concentrate as well, can’t learn the new because they don’t retain the new well. The last is a warning sign for senility and/or Alzheimer’s (in my opinion). There is little point in getting upset: They are far more frustrated than you are, and possibly quite scared.


  86. I have noticed that as some people get older, they get more and more technology adverse. Not my 82 year old dad, he still gets his tech toys all the time. He has been running win 10 for five years.

    If you are stuck for a birthday/Christmas gift, get him a Raspberry Pi 400 kit, the SKU which includes the accessories and the book to get started. It isn’t bad for a $70 computer.

    I forgot about the preorder I made for one as part of my kids’ Christmas back in October until I received the email a month ago that it shipped.

    Just purchased and setup a Raspberry Pi as a media server, mostly music to start with. Purchased an add-on “HAT” (Hardware Attached on Top) card that serves as a DAC so I can play the music I have ripped to my NAS drive. A little box that fits in my hand with 4xUSB, Ethernet, and HDMI running Linux off a micro SD card. Much fiddling to get it all working but fun (there is LinuxFu I needed to recall). I plan to velcro the media server to the side of the TV (yes it is that light).

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