Treading through mud

In my experience, as one grows older time has a tendency to fly.  Remember when you were little, just getting into elementary school, how the summer would last FOREVER?  Once you become an adult, that same time frame goes by in a blink of an eye  While I usually strive for time to pass a little slower, to savor the moments, I’ve been embracing the fast pace because we have a goal down the road in mind that we want to reach, moving to Tennessee.  Up until this point, time *has* been flying…then we went to Tennessee.  ARGHHH!!!  Now that we know how awesome Tennessee is, time has slowed to a freaking crawl, like treading through mud.

We tried prepping thoroughly before we went, since we were going to be driving for the trip.  We scheduled an appointment at the dealership where we got my car for them to do a complete evaluation from stem to stern.  I told the technician I had been hearing a “whooshing” sound when I would make a right hand turn, the whoosh being slower if the speed was slow, faster if it was fast.  You’d think a dealership, when told by a customer to examine *everything* and let us know if anything was wrong we wanted it fixed, would find every…single…thing.  Right?

That was the most irritating, hair-pulling experience EVER.  We took it in, told them to check everything.  We left it there for most of the day.  By the end of the day they’ve changed all the fluids, all the filters, and told us the tires need replacing because they have dry rot, which was the reason for the whooshing sound.  The tires are almost seven years old, and given the extremes in temperature here I can totally see how they’ve gotten to the point they’re at.  We do not have the dealership change the tires because the ones they had were average to below average.  Since this car will be passed on to our daughter in a few years, we wanted almost top-of-the-line tires, so we took the car to Discount Tires and got the one-step-down from the top Michelin tires.  Yes, it was a bit more expensive, but the tires are AWESOME, noticeably better handling and driving overall, and more than worth the extra money.

A couple of days later I was getting ready to put all the paperwork away.  I scanned through the two page checklist from the dealership where they marked all the items they checked.  The marks were either in the green, yellow or red column, depending on the severity of the issue.  The tires were marked red, yellow for the fluids, filters, green for everything else…until the last item.  Brakes.  Brakes were marked RED.  WTF???  They measured the pads and were in the red category.  Did the guy in the service department bring this to our attention?  No.  I don’t think he even went through the checklist beyond trying to sell us tires.  What dealership doesn’t want to make money?  If there’s something that’ll make you money, you point it out–period.  It took a day and a half of phone tag to get the guy on the line, then the dweeb tried to say he saw the sheet, but went and checked the measurements himself and felt it wasn’t a red tag item.  What a crock of crap.  When all was said and done, we took it to them for them to fix the brakes and got a substantial discount off the price for our time and trouble taking the car back.

So, we’re off to Tennessee.  The drive to Nashville is a killer, but it’s doable.  Now I booked a hotel just outside of Nashville because the prices are freaking outrageous during the summer.  The closer the proximity to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the original Grand Ole Opry, the new Grand Ole Opry, etc, the more you’ll be paying through the nose.  I’m cheap, a fact I’m proud of, hence we stayed in Smyrna, Tennessee, just a short drive to downtown Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry, etc.  The Hilton Garden Inn was exceptional, not just because of the great room, proximity to attractions, etc.  It was exceptional because when we got up the next morning after arriving, having the day full of already scheduled, prepaid events and our car didn’t start, they were there immediately to help.  Yep, we got in the car, pressed the start button and it made a very distressing grinding sound, the brake pedal was hard as a rock, and nothing happened.  After a little exploration under the hood, they took this rubber cover off one of the battery posts and found the post completely and utterly corroded.  Yeah, one of the things the dealership was SUPPOSED to check.  It took multiple scrapings and attempts to attach a jumper cable before they could make a good contact and got us up and running, then gave us detailed directions to the nearest battery place down the road.  The battery place not only gave us a great deal on a battery, they also installed it for free.  We got to our prepaid tours on time and didn’t miss any of our day.

Nashville was awesome, had a great time, but it was a little too much like San Antonio–a little too crowded, a little too much of a tourist destination, etc.  We eventually headed east, to the area where we’re looking at as a retirement destination.  Beautiful area–populated enough to be comfortable but not crowded, great, friendly people, and real estate prices that are beyond perfect.  We stopped at a realty office, made contact with a great realtor, and she’s actively sending us listings that match what we’re looking for.  The trip was more than we expected, and then some.

Now we’re back home, and suffering through July and August temperatures in San Antonio.  The entire week this week the forecast is between 100 and 102 degrees.  The area we’re looking at moving to in Tennessee?  Low to upper 80’s.  The yard here is crispy critters.  Tennessee is gorgeously green, mimosa trees, magnolias and silver leaf maples everywhere.  Yep, time has slowed to a crawl, trudging through the mud.  This move cannot come soon enough.


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