Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tales From the Parking Lot

So, continuing with the adventures in a parking lot, with the endless movement of cars that come and go it is always interesting to let the cars talk to you and tell you the stories. The other day I was looking for a truck but wasn't sure what it looked like, if they would only have told me to follow my nose I would have found it a lot faster. I opened the door and bam! It hit me all of a sudden, the sweet smell of perfume multiplied by 20. What do I mean by that you say? Well let the following image do the talking.

(Note -  Blogger will not upload images right now but as soon as it can I will upload them.)

Coming back from parking a car in the lot I see one of the Service Advisers texting and just standing by another pick up truck. He calls me and asks me to please take it to the Service Drive and I am only too happy to comply as it is part of my job to do just that, I climb in and he starts laughing. See, we offer our customers a complimentary car wash but we do not do the vehicle's interiors, the reason he was laughing was because the inside of the cab was filthy and smelled almost like poop. He told me that he was not about to get in a drive it. Well, as I said before, it is part of my job and someone has to do it.

I have gotten in a few cars that are really dirty but just the other day I had to go get one and as soon as I opened the door the foul smell hit me, The car was like a dump inside, I immediately got in lowered all windows and drove it really fast to the Service Drive as I held my breath. I asked the Service Adviser to whom did this vehicle belonged and he pointed to this very regular looking woman pushing a baby in a stroller. I would have never paired the car and the girl together.

By the same token, there have some gems come in as well. Cars that are extremely clean, that smell good, that are well taken care of by their owners, cars that really show the pride of ownership of those who drive them.

To some of us a car is an extension of ourselves, to some it's just a machine meant to transport you. But think about it, after buying a house what other purchase is going to be as expensive as buying your vehicle. How many people have a car payment that exceeds $500.00 a month and that will be paying that amount monthly for the next six years. I say yes, to a certain extent it is a good and wise choice to pamper and take care of your ride, it is not really an investment that will yield profits but and investment that will yield many memories as it takes you from point A to point B every day.

Friday, March 22, 2013

It The Cars Could Talk...

One, two, three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine, tenting, eleventing, twelvting, thirteen... Oh heck who's counting anymore, it's just that since I started working I must have driven close to a thousand cars,  I've driven big trucks, little cars, and everything in between, automatics and standards, some clean, and some very clean, some dirty, and some very dirty, and even a couple that OMG and then after that no comment.

Once my lil sister told me that she couldn't understand why some of us love our cars so much, she said that to her it was just a vehicle meant to transport her from point A to Point B, yet driving the customer's cars at the dealership is like tapping into other people's memories.

For instance, this guy has been there two or three times and he has pictures of his kids covering his dashboard, it is funny how I don't remember a particular car until I get in and seat and then all of a sudden it hits me that I have already driven that car and have seen those pictures of the smiling kids.

There is this woman that has taken her six month old Challenger about five or six times always stating that she sees bubbles in the paint, that her custom wheel makes a noise, that her engine is not clean enough, that the cleaning machine we used put new scratches in the pain and so on. So... the other day,  the dealership offered to buy her out of her car. The car stayed at the dealership overnight while she saw other new Challengers but the next day I saw her drive away in her own black Challenger. Then just yesterday, she came back again with a new complain. I came to the conclusion that she just loves visiting the dealership's service area and likes for everyone to admire her shinny black car.

Then there is the guy that had a nice late model truck, when services are performed at the dealership we offer a complimentary car wash, so the other day I customer came to pick his truck up and I went to get it for him. The truck looked nice and shinny but when I opened the door I was surprised to see that it was very dirty but it smell good, OK let me rephrase that "It smelled good" as there must have been over thirty air fresheners hanging from his car's parking brake and turn signal handle.

Another customer came in the other day and I saw that the invoice total for services rendered was close to $700.00, I made a comment that I would be upset if I brought my car in to be fixed and my wallet left $700.00 in the hole. The advisor replied, "Oh there was nothing wrong with the car, everything we did was preventive maintenance.  Hummm and to think I have owned my Mustang 13 years now and only twice I have had my brakes changed, and oil changes maybe once a year.

Every car tells me a story during that one minute I am driving it from the service drive to the back lot.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Re-Build Your Belief

It takes an effort but with faith it's has been possible, all it takes is for one to open up to God and the rest automatically falls into place, it makes me wonder why I was so indifferent at one point in life always thinking I could do everything on my own. I have come to the realization that without Him nothing is easy.

I can't believe that it has been three years since I joined the choir but it has and serving in that ministry has been very rewarding, the music, the songs were the instrument that pulled me back to church but listening to the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ throuh  the scriptures is what keeps me coming back. So much to learn.

We are just one week away from Holy Week usually a busy time for us as a choir and we are preparing as best we can for the upcoming bilingual masses in which we will consolidate members from all the different choirs and make one big choir.

This Sunday for the second time since I joined the choir I will go up to the ambo to sing the Psalm. Something about facing the congregation makes it at first sort of a nerve wrecking experience but after the first verse things get easier. I will be singing Psalm 22 - "Dios mio, Dios mio, porque me has abandonado"  "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me". I sang this when I first joined three years ago but I did not go up to the ambo and sang it from where I stood in the choir area.

The Gregorian chant in Latin is making a comeback and I think it is great to bring something from the past into our present. It's like learning another language through song. I for one welcome it back when sang in the liturgies.

I know I have become a stronger person because my faith has grown too. When dealing with adversity I know I am not walking along thus making it easier to deal with whatever comes my way.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Driving The Shuttle

The destination for now was just number in an avenue that was about an hour and a half away from where I was. Working at a local dealership as a lot attendant has proven to be to a certain point exciting, the reality is that most days things are dull and routine but once in a while you get an asigment that is a little bit out of the ordinary, at least for this lot attendant.

I was given a task of going through some stacks of paper to identify some codes and numbers and what not but it just so happens that just yesterday my eye glasses fell to the foorl and the frame brolke. The easy solution was to go to the pharmacy  and buy me some reading glasses so I could function, visualy that is. So... I tried these glasses that made everything far very clear for me and I could read letters easily if they were a decent size so I bought them and went to work.

Fast forward to today and me being given the task, turns out the letters in those papers were so small they blurred out so I told my manager that it was going to be a problem for me to read them. He then assigned my co-worker the job and I got to cover for him a a shuttle driver.

So at 3:00 p.m. I hear that I need to pick up a couple from out of town in Maricopa and to bring them down to the dealership as their truck was ready. In the meantime I drove some customers to their house and picked up another one which made my departure for Maricopa late. It was 3:30 p.m. when I got on the freeway.

 I had heard of the town of Maricopa but had never been there so I entered the address on my phone's GPS and started blindly following the instructions which to date have only failed me once and not by much. The round trip was to be about 110 miles and in heavy traffic I just hoped I would make it back before closing time which on this day was at 6:00 p.m.

Took me forever to get there, not knowing the destination made it for a long trip. It took me almost an hour and a half to get there, of course I was driving in the middle of rush hour. As I took the last turns in some dusty desert roads in the middle of nowhere I saw a man at the end of the street and I hoped he was the person I was picking up.

Yes, I was at the correct place and the man politely asked me to wait for a little bit as he went inside to call his wife. Poor guy was getting nervous as it was getting late but I assured him the trip back would be faster since we could use the carpool lane, I said we might make it back by 6:00 p.m.

Turned out the couple were Canadian here on vacation, their future plans are to become "snow birds" as they are tired of the cold British Colombia winters and long for a warm place to spend their future winters. They drove their truck with their trailer which serves as sleeping quarters and to keep them company their   two dogs made the trip with them., this is how they do their vacation.  They told me that Maricopa offers plenty of space for their horses and dogs to run around, they have lived all their lives in a simple country way and so for them the city is a place to stay away from.

So many stories were swapped in this one hour commute and when I finally delivered them at the dealership we fell like we had known each other for some time. Both the man and his wife thanked me and told me they appreciated my safe driving. They said it was nice to take the scenery without worrying about reading maps or taking wrong exits. We shook hands, said good bye and they went in to see their advisor to pick up their truck and I went in to punch out to go home.

Somewhere in Maricopa
Images borrowed from the Internet

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Where did Advent go?

OK, it is getting closer now and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Of course the stores began the season this year as soon as Halloween passed but the Christmas Season has actually not even started yet. One thing many people forget is that December 25th is the first day of Christmas and the Christmas season continues for 40 days until Candle mass, yet on December 26th you see the Christmas trees aligned on the street ready to be picked up by the trash collectors.

I remember when I was a kid living in Mexico we never had a Christmas tree at our house but I do remember my aunt putting up a very elaborate Nativity set every single year. She always told me that this should be done on Christmas Eve but she cheated and on December 16th the first day of the “Posadas” she would put it up, then kept it until at least January 6th the day of the Three Wise Men.

These days we start celebrating Christmas too early and don’t pay attention to Advent (I for one love the Christmas Season and want to extend it as long as I can and I too have become a culprit in this practice), but let me remind you that the season of Advent is one of preparation for us to receive Christmas and should not be ignored.

Again, my wish for you is that no matter how you all decide to participate in this wonderful holiday may you all have the best and the most joyous Christmas season and that peace, love, and family unity is the main focus as we all remember and celebrate Baby Jesus’ birth.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Glendale Glitters 2012

What to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon? Well considering we were already showered and fed as my mom and my lil sis came to visit earlier I thought I would show Abby what 1.5 million lights wrapped around trees, palm trees, and even buildings would look like on the yearly biggest block party in Historic Downtown Glendale. Yes, 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale get the sparkling treatment for the delight of millions of people that come to visit from November 23 until January 12. Welcome to Glendale Glitters!

On our way over to Glendale Glitters we noticed that the Tanger Outlets are already open. As we exited the freeway a line of cars wrapping around the entrance to Westgate had formed already, then again it was still Black Friday weekend so it was obvious people would be flocking the brand new shopping center. For us, that will be a future trip to go and explore and probably blow some moula.

City of Glendale Arizona, City Hall.

As we got to Historic Glendale I expected to have a hard time finding a free parking space ($10.00 prime parking signs are posted all over the place) but luck was on my side and we found a nice semi-empty street within a very short walking distance. As we crossed 59th Ave I have a habit of trotting while I cross the street but Abby hates it. Well this SOB on a big Ram truck didn’t show signs of wanting to stop even though we were at the middle of the intersection and on the crosswalk. I pulled Abby harder and then hesitated as I still was not sure of what he was going to do. We finally got to the other side and I couldn’t help but scream to the fool on the truck out of adrenaline charged rage. His female passenger attempted to do the talking for him but he sped away. OK this was the only bad incident of the night. They will get their just reward for their stupid careless actions in due time.

If you have never been to Glendale Glitters try to make the trip at least once. I know some of my family members like to go every year more than once. Food row is a huge attraction at this event with the ever famous and always tasty Indian bread having one of the biggest lines. If you have kids this is a good place for them to have a fantastic time as there are lots of attractions, rides, and activities aimed just at them. However take some money as it will set you a few dollars back.

Historic Glendale houses lots and lots of Antique Stores and they keep them open late during this time. If you are into antiques this is the place to be.

We walked it up and down, had some Indian Bread, entered a couple of Antique Stores, took some pictures, enjoyed the lights, fought the crowds (on opening weekend this event attracts well over a hundred thousand people each night), enjoyed the typical Phoenix Winter weather (no sweaters or jackets required) and then decided to call it quits and headed back home.

All in all, a good time once again. Life is good and God is always great.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Arizona Mills

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.  ~Dave Barry

Ok she had been to Arrowhead Mall in Peoria but I still have not taken her to Arizona Mills in Tempe so after we attended mass and dropped my mom home I headed to the Mills without telling her where we were going. We got there on an empty stomach so I suggested we eat first. The mall as expected was pretty packed and parking space was scarce but we spotted an empty spot near the entrance and parked the car before we were beaten to it.

We had dinner at the Rainforest CafĂ© and let me tell you it took the whole rest of the day and lots of walking afterwards just to digest it. I had an extremely tasty steak and chicken fajitas plate while Abby opted for an equally tasty plate of pasta Cajun style aptly named “Pastalaya”. Ummm both plates were very delicious and filling and worth every penny. We pretty much finish all the food as we didn’t want to be carrying it all over the mall.

Ok the truth is we did carry the food but in our tummies.
Arizona Mills has more higher-end stores that are not found at Arrowhead Mall but when you visit the stores on a Sunday and a holiday is near and all the stores swear they have “good sales” the place becomes hard to navigate and I for one feel crowded and overwhelmed. I grew up being a swap meet type of guy not a mall person.

Still, Abby did find herself a cool looking suit ensemble in a different color than her standard black. I have yet to convince her to put more color in her wardrobe but hey little by little. It appeared that this year orange is the new pink but she wasn’t buying it.

Before we knew it gates and sliding doors were being slammed and that was out cue that it was time to go home. Truth be told my feet were so tired from walking that in my case should have been cue enough but Abby is a tireless browser/window shopper and I just have to shape up to keep up with her. Ah youth has escaped and swooshed over my head without my permission.

As we stepped out to the parking lot it was already dark and after a not to bad traffic jam from all the exiting shoppers we were on the freeway on our way back home.

All in all, a most excellent day out in the company of my honey. I am sure we will be doing this again soon.

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