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The Little Old Lady With the Missing Plug

Updated on March 31, 2012

My Thining Lip and Why

I have kept my sense of humor throughout all this. I have also kept my ability to cry as well. Yet still I say I am not growing any younger and I noticed my upper lip in the mirror this morn was slowly disappearing into a thin line. I relaxed the facial muscles, concerned about my fading beauty as usual, and the lip reappeared. Your mother always told you if you frown a lot, those frowns would become etched on your facial mask when you got older, and you lose elasticity of your skin. I guess it was true after all. Seeing is believing.

Be that as it may, beauty, and the desire of that to experience all kinds of beauty, not just with my body, is necessarily taking a back seat at this time of my life as I prepare to enter small claims court. I constantly remind myself to relax, this too shall pass, then I visualize my upper lip not so stiff and plumping out once more. I do so hope not to become an old hag at 65.
Maybe at 75, OK, but not just yet.

A great Eckhart Tolle follower, I have taken his advice to enter fully what is happening now and to not resist the now moment, to say “oh God, this shouldn’t be happening.” Speaking about the court case of course, as I’m not entirely certain I can avoid getting wrinkles or even that it shouldn't be happening.

I guess I thought, after all, to enter the now moment meant keeping a stiff upper lip! You see, I have not lost everything. I still have my sense of humor to help me get through it all.

I wish to help humanity. We shall see if I actually manage to do that but at least you cannot call me a slacker. Old hag, maybe, but not a slacker.
The way I proceed to help humanity is to address all women who have not a single clue what’s under the hood of their car, therefore must rely on the mechanical aptitude of the male gender to otherwise, maintain, or repair such, and upon taking the car in to a shop for a $30 oil change, instead walk out with a $1400 bill. I was told I needed a new oil pan which I did not need in actuality, I agreed to their plan, being the trusting naive sort that I am, but began to rethink the whole deal when my daughter called to say we needed to think about whether I wanted to invest $1400 in this used car, as I could purchase a whole car for that amount. Used, but nonetheless, a whole car.

I scratched my head and thought, she’s right. Just exactly what was I thinking to accept the credit card the boys shoved in front of me as they exuded good will to see my high credit standing report?

Knowing I still had time to back out as nothing was signed I shifted into high gear researching on the net the problem they claimed I had with the oil pan. Somehow my fingers found just the right forum and just the right solution, and it did not entail the purchase of a new $700 97 BMW oil pan, which was not due to arrive to the boys at the shop for another 4 days at the least. Bells and clashes and bangs and hisses started going off in my old, overused brain. Was I being taken advantage of? For my lack of understanding of cars? I had to rectify things before it was too late.

My feelings follow: My feelings do not matter to a judge or to the mechanic, or anywhere really, yet feelings can be tied to intuitive knowledge that something is strangely amiss here and needs to be figured out. First let me get them off my chest, then I can be rational. Yes, it’s true, women can be rational.
I feel hurt. There’s a lump in my throat that won’t go away. A good cry would be so nice, but I haven’t cried in years. I feel raped, misinformed, mislead and downright lied to.
Yet after 3 weeks of working on this court case coming up, I feel something else being born in me. A sort of self confidence and strength is coming forth, a type of fearlessness approaches my being. I know I have set my path, win or lose. If I did not do a formal complaint, I feel the real loss would be mine, in that I would lose self respect for myself, that I was too fearful to stand up and speak my piece.
If I didn’t speak my piece, win or lose, I might then set a pattern for further feelings of the negative sort to assail me in other circumstances that most surely would arise.
Already I survey my habit of simply walking away after the but..but…soft-spoken usually, I made turning the other cheek a sort of ideal idea, but really turning the other cheek can also mean this: “hit me with your best shot and you will see I will just get back up on my feet, so you’ll have to do it again and I do not resist what is happening in this now moment, as you and I are one thing interacting.” As you can see, I saw the movie Ghandi. Literally, Ghandi turned the other cheek and got beat up, but somehow he lived on and set his country free. I see the inner struggle, but he did get what he wanted and what a lot of others wanted also.

What I want is some respect, and I want my money back. The story grows legs as you will see further down.

Looking at Ghandi’s example, I learned this: If you have to keep hitting me, time is on my side then, for sooner or later you will wear your self out, as it’s not just me you will hit, but somebody else will come along and the whole pattern begins again of the game playing of winner and loser. Yes, I’ve been suckered before. I think I am tired of it. I want to change my pattern so I can be assured being suckered will not happen 3 times due to any weakness on my part.

The court battles, and the wars of the world are based on who is right and who is wrong. In the back of my mind I am seeking the impossible perhaps, a win-win.
On the material level there’s a decent chance I’ll win. On an inner level, of being accountable for myself, I’ve already won. As for the other guy I’m hoping for a win there, which would be a gain for them, eventually, I figure in gaining more customers due to their change in attitude.

All my evidence from working with them show that they didn’t give a hoot whether I was a return customer or not. A smidgeon of professionalism might also be an outcome of this court project, Speaking of the business I’m questioning now: a customer need not be professional. Business’s are required to be so. I was not treated in a professional manner at the least, and at the most, had money exhorted from myself, by being driven to the ATM to extract the cash they demanded before allowing the car to be towed from their lot.
And now you’re asking how much was taken from me against my will? No, it wasn’t $1400, I escaped from the pirates with only $266.14 they said I owed, as I didn’t change my mind quick enough and they had been preparing to remove the oil pan, which again, they said entailed a little over 2 hours preparation work.

It gets more complicated as I detail all that occurred by way of conversations between the front desk man and I during a four day span.

My guilt is being a day late and a dollar short. This is something only the judge can determine if I am to be forgiven for being slow, and for also being slow in recognizing that I’m broke. No I cannot say broke, let’s just say I’m on food stamps and you will get the picture. Why is somebody like me driving a BMW? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story. I won’t bore you with that. I’m satisfied in life with having very little in the way of material assets, because gee, look at me, I am retired and able to blog all the day long on the most trivial of enjoyable pursuits; such as saving the lives of feral cats, or breathing life back into a small hummingbird and sensing the wonder of the power which comes through me, to be able to do that and tell others, they can do it too.

On several occasions I was ready to throw in the towl. After all, I did succeed in getting Plan A implemented, by another mechanic I knew and trusted who commenced to do Plan A less than a third of the amount the first business projected. My good mechanic, who is all the time fighting for justice for customers, examined my car after it was towed to him and declared that he would witness for me, under oath, that he found no evidence any preparation work had occurred: ie: the bolts holding items together showed no indication of having been loosened by tools, all the “dirt” and grease were still there on them. And believe me, it is very greasy under my car. Years of grease. If it had been touched in any way, you would think there would be evidence of this.

It doesn’t seem logical that they would remove something, and then reapply the old grease, so that it would look untouched, yet at this point I wouldn’t put it past them to say anything incredulous.

They had falsified the paper work on my receipt to say they had removed the oil pan and put a new gasket on. While being driven to the ATM, I might add I was forced to do this or no car keys..the driver appeared to sympathize with my plight and offered to me the information that the oil pan was, indeed, not removed as indicated by the paper; later, my new mechanic agreed, it had not been removed, yet I was charged with $266.14.

I determined to try and settle this out of court by contacting the president of the organization by email. My first email must not have been heartfelt enough as I got no response from either the president or the director. My next email did however receive a response with a list of items which had been done, to account for over 2 hours labor charge. It was a dismantling charge which occurs before the oil pan can be removed. A list of items were presented. At that point I was ready to call it quits until my new mechanic called and explained they had not turned a single bolt counter clockwise or removed anything at all.

Knowing that they had lied and said on the paperwork the pan was removed and a new gasket put on, and getting them to admit the lie, now I was supposed to believe this other list of what was done? If you lie once, it just goes to prove you have to keep on lying so to save face. I suppose.

I’ve never taken anyone to court. I didn’t want to do it and it’s not even about the money, it’s about being treated like I’m the crook and them not accepting my check for fear I’d cancel it. If they had actually done the dismantling as listed, no, I would not have cancelled the check. This last humiliation is most troublesome to recall. It was meant to be that way. Now I can see, if there had been no one to drive me to the ATM, I would not have known the truth, that I was paying for something that had not been done. Maybe it was lifter rent. My car was on their lift rack for 4 days. They said it had the tires off, although I have no idea what that was about and surely not worth 2 hours labor for that part of it.

Getting the list of work actually done, and not just projected was like pulling teeth. I had to go to the president 3 weeks after the deed, before I got the list. It was merely a list denoting estimated labor charges before being able to lift the pan out. Each item was circled of about a dozen items until the last item, removal of pan was not crossed off, and thus they admitted at last, it was not removed. If all this had been done I would surely owe the charges. My case hinges on my witness testimony the bolts show no evidence of having been turned.

One last feature of the story: the shop refused to return my oil pan plug, saying they lost it somehow. The whole story hinges on the plug as being broken or stripped. In actuality, it was the pan hole that was stripped. Their story was just put a whole new pan on and then you won’t have to worry about whether a piece of the plug is in the pan floating around. That is the job I could not afford, nor deal with their easy payment plan.

My new mechanic retooled the pan hole and placed a Mercedes oil plug in the pan for such a small amount of money I’m embarrassed to mention it. You can believe there are honest people in the world. Are there any legal experts out there who think this is an open and shut case? That’s what my mechanic says. I’ll let you know what happens. I’ll tell you this much, it all happened March 7th and I’m sick of thinking about it! I’m a wiser woman, let’s just put it that way.

On another note ladies and gentlemen alike, before accepting to have work done on your car, if you're unsure about your mechanic, just google in whatever the prob is that you need understanding with and up pops on the net all these forums discussing alternative remedies. I'm amazed at what I discovered about cars in general. Then you can make a more informed decision regarding any work done, or even if it's needed.


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