It’s Memorial Day Weekend…How will You Be Spending It?

Not that I think many will care enough to read this through (disclaimer–this is a rant, and a vent),but…..how are you and your family going to be spending Memorial Day?

Well,I am a Veteran who is disabled,and I will be spending it worried and afraid for my family’s future,preparing to watch them lose everything we own for the FOURTH TIME during this century (since 2000),sincerely and legitimately because of things that were/are completely beyond my control or because of what someone else does or causes.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.,it seems,has some kind of personal vendetta against the attorney that I had chosen to work my SSA case several years ago. Somewhere down the line,he must have done something to tick her off somehow and somewhere imo,judging by the vindictiveness she has tenaciously attacked him with (note: the attorney may or may not be actually guilty of the things Ms. Speier claims,I do not,nor have I ever known anything above or beyond that he was my attorney picked from a phone book and had been recommended by a friend and what I have read in recent days–it is this man’s opinion that he has not done so,at least as much that I had never seen or heard anything personally to suggest or make me suspicious during my time with him as my attorney).

How does this affect me (and who knows how many others like me)? While Ms. Speiers doesn’t give one rat’s hindend who she steps on or how many family’s lives she shatters in her quest,on this Memorial Day Weekend she has seen to it that this disabled Veteran of the US Army’s SSA benefits have been suspended pending investigation,simply because that attorney just happened to be the attorney that I pulled out of a phone book when I was pushed out of work in 2008.

Why should she care? She still has her millions,as well as her 6 figure income.

Nevermind that SSA’s OWN workers told the ALJ residing my case several times “there is no type of gainful employment that Mr. Sammons can work consistently enough to have reasonable expectation of holding a job”,nevermind the fact that medical records are there documenting everything,or that SSA’s OWN DOCTORS verified everything and agreed with the doctors who had pushed me out of work in 2008.

It would have been nice had at least they given us a month’s notice to appeal and fight this illegal injustice before our bills were to be due again,but they chose to do it on MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND,as if a slap-to-this-Veteran’s face for his service,and less than 2 weeks before bills like house payment and primary vehicle payments will be due,sending us a notice that read “you have 10 days from the date this notice was mailed to dispute this decision”..mind you it took 4 days to receive,and was received on a holiday weekend (MEMORIAL DAY….)….nice.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend,Jackie Speier,at your beach house with your rich friends,while the US Army Veteran and his family (just one family in your wake of collateral damage in your quest to “get Mr. Conn back” for whatever he did to piss you off whenever it was) try to figure out which bridge they will set tent up under after everything is reposessed beginning next month (assuming the decision to “suspend benefits for re-evaluation” is made perminent). It’s not like we can expect family to step up or offer any help….after the house fire of ’11,none but my parents and 1 aunt/uncle/cousin even bothered to care enough to pick up the phone to call and ask “Are you alive,did you make it???”.

You know…it wouldn’t be so bad,if this wasn’t going to be the FOURTH time in the last 15 years that I will have to watch my family lose everything due to circumstances that were completely,and literally/legitimately beyond my control each time (when a co-worker had an accident that nearly killed me in 2001,mangling my spine for life–when doctors pushed me out of work due to those injuries in 2008 after a flare-up–a total property loss house fire in 2011…no one was home thankfully–and now because an attorney that I picked from the phone book may or may not have commited some crimes before and after my time with him).

As a side note,since we were not given any time to prepare for the bills coming due in >2 weeks,everything I own outright is for sale at much less that what I have invested…unused and dusty bicycles that I’m rarely able to ride (like a ’14 Surly Troll I spent $15-1600 to build,for $600 with under 200 miles on it for eg),any remaining RC gear (like my SCX10 Jeep with hundreds of dollars in upgrades that hasn’t been ran but twice this year for $500,all support gear,etc)…..I need to come up with close to what my benefits would have paid me on or before 6-3-15 (benefits which I EARNED and paid into since I was 15 years old BTW,not even counting my US Army service…) to cover our bills and give us a month to both fight this,or make other arrangements* if their final decision unfavorable.

*By “other arrangements”,I mean find the first job that I will work until I have my next spinal flare-up,when I’ll miss too many days,being unable to do my duties,and be fired,so weeks later when the flare-up ends,I can repeat the process again and again…

BTW….how come my research turned up that “Social Security” (you know…that money that all of us hard working,tax paying Americans PAID FOR) is “possibly within 18 months of being bankrupt” (which is something we here very frequently from the government,mind you),but I was able to find NOTHING ANYWHERE stating that welfare and unearned benefits of any kind are in danger of going under?

That I received a notice 4 days after it was mailed,after the end of business on the last day before a 3 day holiday weekend,a MILITARY REMEMBRANCE HOLIDAY mind you,tell me (a US Army Veteran in good standing) “youhave 10 days from the date this notice was sent to appeal this decision” tells me,they dont’ want me to have any chance of appeal,they only wanted to make it look on paper as if they had given me opportunity to do so. That it happens on a military remembrance holiday is a slap in my face for having selflessly served my nation from my government. I will not be silent about it.

Rant over,didn’t do any good or even relieve frustration…continue on with your BBQ’s and such :'(

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Zoom Zoom

The new ride is a 2005 Mazda 3 S2.3. It was a locally owned 1 owner car,and has just under 64K miles as I type this (including the 200+ miles I’ve already put on it myself*),came fully loaded-missing only any Nav system available that year and rear wing-had been gararge parked all of it’s life,as well as having been well maintained at the original dealer’s shop.

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I have always had a warm place in my heart for Mazda’s (having owned several pre-93 B series trucks,each slammed and scraping speedbumps,for eg),and have always felt they had the coolest moto,”Zoom Zoom”,and I’ve always liked the looks of this generation 3’s.

I need to note,despite this being the performance version in ’05,it would not,nor most likely ever could (while I own it),outrun the Beetle that I traded in for it. It may have the 160HP engine (more than a stock NB Turbo’s 150HP),but in order for this car to reach the straight line accereration that the Beelte enjoyed with all of the mods I’d done to it would require either N.O.S or forced induction (turbo/supercharger). One of those would potentially affect longevity of the engine (N.O.S.),and the other,with kits priced well into the thousands,is also well out of my budget. That said,there’s more to Zoom than just straight line,and I can tell you now…any ground that the 3 would have lost to my old NB in the straight patches,it would make up for as it reeled it back in and passed it in the twisties (lets just say that with no traffic and no areas where people live on the twisty mtn roads that I was driving to and from last night…the roads that I learned to drive on and know every nuance of,BTW…I was driving a little playful coming back home before the HWY portion where there was traffic-where I then set the cruise at the speed-limit and drove with safety on the brain for the remainder of the trip ;) ). I had known these had a reputation among owners for handling well,but I still came away impressed,as I was able to come within 27 seconds of a personal record from a specific “Point A” to a specific “Point B” 18 miles later,especially considering I’ve owned much more performance oriented cars while living there/running that road,that this was a new to me car,and that I honestly could have pushed it harder had I wished…

Anyways,we did alright on the trade afterall,despite the balance owed against the Beetle,and so far we’re all really loving the 3. It’s comfy,has LOTS more room (despite actually being a lighter vehicle),we like the styling (I always have,as I’d said),it rides well,and came with a decent waranty and free maintenance for 4 years. Plus,every company and their uncle sells a hitch (or roof rack) to fit these,so I can haul bikes on it! :D The real shame to me is that the new 18″ wheels I’d bought for the Beetle (while they WILL fit several other makes/models from Subarus and Toyotas to Chevys and Pontiacs) won’t bolt up to it,LOL! The Beetle’s lug pattern was 5 (lugs) x 100mm (spacing between lugs),where the 3’s is 5 x 114mm. Ah well…they fit buku’s of other cars,so I listed them on CL (along with the Beetle’s lowering springs),as this car is in need of nothing**,I may take that money when they sell and pick some nice new 18″ wheels for the 3-though I actually really like the factory 17″ers that it came with.

As I realise that I won’t have the budget to make this car faster than the Beetle it replaces (nor would I wish to modifiy it to the extent it would need…I want it to last 200-250,000 miles,plus the fuel mileage is noticeably better-at least if one’s foot is kept off of the skinny pedal,LOL),I have no real plans for modding it’s drivetrain to the extent that I did with the Beetle,though I will probaly,at some point,add a “cat-back” exhaust and CAI (Cold Air Intake),along with a “chip” to open up 10-20HP,but really in search of better fuel economy as much as performance though***.

For kicks and giggles,I do fully intend to enhance the already good handling (hey…making it handle even better will also make it safer to drive ;) XD ),as well as add more (to it’s already very decent) braking ability. Unless The Wife flat out forbids it,over the first year of ownership I plan to add 1.5″-2″ lowering springs to lower it’s center of gravity and reduce (what little) body roll (that is has),swap in a set of polyurethane chassis bushings,firmer sway bars (coilovers would be an awesome upgrade,but are probably out of my budget,FWIW),strut tie bars and better shocks,along with “bigger brakes” with cross drilled rotors and good pads. With 15-20 additional HP under the hood and more planted ride characteristics,it will be more,um…ahem….Zoomy (sorry,I can’t resist :P ). I’d also like to scour boneyards (auto salvage yards that I visit from time to time ;) ) and see if I can find/buy a factory rear wing to install-nothing like those 3′ tall aluminum wings I see lots of kids adding to their 100HP Corollas and such,just an understated,smoothly designed factory wing painted body color. Like this one (note: Neither this pic nor the car in it belong to me,the pic was found on Google)…

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Acutally,I really like the entire setup on the car in the above pic,it’s about how I picture mine when complete/finished (they’re never really finished,are they? ;) )I dig it’s stance,the clean understated..dare I say elegant…lines. Yeah,that’s how I picture mine looking over the next year or so. Time will tell :)

In other news…thoughts,vibes and prayers for me would be greatly appreciated,as I’m suffering another absess/bacterial infection on my upper left gums,both inside of the row of teeth and out. I spent hours at the doctor’s office today over it. Without being able to use any kind of numbing agent,they had to make incisions on both the inside and outside in the swollen/blister-like areas,and then spent most of the next couple of hours mashing,squeezing and basically milking the infection (puss,and other nasty bloody substances) out of it (again,with no numbing agents :o Have I mentioned that,thankfully,I have a rather high pain threshold? LOL,good thing that I do :P ). As well,they’ve also given me much stronger antibiotics than they did last time. After it was all done,it was decided that,assuming all traces of infection being completely gone by then,I need/will be just having the offending tooth yanked out at the dentist hopefulyl next month,something I’d been avoiding/putting off,with the Medicare that I have not having dental coverage.

Thank you in advance (and now you know why I’m rambling on so much tonight,LOL,under doc’s guidence I’m under the influence of my normal prescribed/rarely taken pain medications along with those antibiotics,making me chatty they are XD )

 

 

 

 

*I had to make an unscheduled 3.5 hour round trip to my grand mother’s over at our old place (burned house) last last eve,getting home just before midnite.

**It honestly needs nothing,I could drive it as is,bone stock and never feel slighted,but we all know I’m really not one to leave things “bone stock” for long :P

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***I have filled it’s tank twice already,the first time being to top it off before last eve’s trip with 63 miles I had driven it,mostly around town. It averaged 33.897MPG’s on that top off,and earlier today to top off what I had ran out fro the trip (including some fairly hard mtn road driving and lots of hills) where it got 28.722MPG’s. The Beetle,for comparison sake,would average 21-26MPG’s around town,and 26-30 on that same trip (still driving a bit spiritedly).

 

Posted in General Life Stuff, New Vehicle | 5 Comments

Goodbye New Beetle,Hello…..

Over the last couple of weeks,it’s been one thing after another breaking down on the NB-nothing mechanical mostly (a few,but not drivetrain related-window regulator being one),but electrical and sensors. So after a long weekend of wrenching on it (to no avail,BTW),The Wife and I sat down and added up the receipts for repairs and such (not counting the new wheels and lowering springs,as they weren’t “needed”,and have been listed on Craigslist for sale-the exhaust actually was in need of replacing,so I’m counting the performance exhaust I installed as well,since I paid about what a factory exhaust would have). Having just paid it’s 2nd (of 48) payments last week,we’re at just over $2,300 in have-to’s,and it still needed lots (new top for one thing). Lesson learned,everybody gets took at some point,sigh.

So she and I decided that we should just get out now,grit our teeth,bare it and eat the loss now before it’s 46 payments later and we’re thousands and thousands in the hole on it,hoping it will somehow last until 2075 when The Boy’s kids can finally sell it having gotten our money’s worth (only half joking here…). I have no doubts the drivetrain would last another 150-200K miles….but everything else was poorly assembled south of the border with inferior parts. Lesson learned.

I liked the car for the 3 months or so I kept it,it was really (REALLY) fun to drive modified as it was,surprizing many-a-more…shall we say…robust cars at the track and empty highways*,at least when going straight. Had everything been well assembled with dependable parts,it would have made an awesome long-term driver/project/toy. It was nicely equipped (heated leather,ragtop,power everything,etc),reasonably comfy (for front seat occupants anyways :P ),and reasonably economical as well.

As I speak and as of this morning,it’s gone on to a temporary home at our favored Toyota dealership here locally,awaiting what will probably be a short trip to an auto auction,as I doubt they would keep it on the lot to try to sell as it sits. I’ll miss that sweet exhaust note and unexpected acceleration it had in spades (seriously….that thing with those mods would have out pulled my old 5.0L/5 speed Mustang GT ragtop from a stop :o ). It was traded for a Certified used car of a different brand (not a Toyota,despite it being a Toyota dealer),and this was our 3rd purchase there (Toyota of Bristol,TN)-and I wish to note,they bent over backwards and REALLY went above and beyond to put us into the car we decided on,AT the payment I told them I needed,without going too far in the hole with the balance owed against the Beetle (payoff was $4976,they gave us a trade-in value of enough to not have any balance added to the cost of the new used car,writting it up as if we’d purchased a 3 year/36K mile waranty and 4 years of scheduled maintenance-both of which we have on the new-to-us ride BTW….just an awesome dealership like I’ve never dealt with before finding them a few years back. They sold us the FJ Cruiser and the Camry before it,and this one won’t be our last vehicle purchase there :D ).

Anyways,as I had to make an unexpected 3.5 hour round trip to my Grandmother’s late this evening and am just getting back (who lives beside of our burned house up in VA) and I’m dozing off at the keyboard…I’ll post about and what the new (to us) vehicle is tomorrow. Suffice to say,after putting 200+ miles on it today/tonight,I’m VERY happy with it so far :)

Well…..goodnight all :)

 

 

 

*Empty highways,and mostly backing out of the throttle around 80MPH,though I did run that one modded Honda Civic Si up to around 130MPH before common sense took over and I let him pass as I back out and slowed down,LOL!

Posted in Beetle, New Beetle, New Vehicle | 2 Comments

New Beetle Road Trip!!!

Several years ago,when The Boy was in diapers,The Wife and I owned a pair of VW’s,a 1990 Passat GLS (2.oL DOHC/auto) and a 1969 Beetle that we had rebuilt from the pan up (floor pan,an old VW’s “frame” ;) ). It looked LOTS like this one (note that this Beetle does NOT belong to me,as I siad,th eone we had looked lots like it :) )…

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I’m not sure of the year on that one (above pics),as I didn’t talk to the owner,btu it looks to be really close in year,has nearly identical stance,wheels and such,but ours didn’ thave the roof rack. Anyways,brought back memories seeing this one :)

Anyways,somewhere around October ’02 or May ’03,a cousin of mine and I drove the car to Sevierville,TN to a VW show called “Circle Your Wagons 17″ (I’m assuming it was the 17th year of the show,though they put 2 shows on per year,so it may have been the 17th show?),and had a blast. With a friend of The Wife’s having totalled the Passat shortly after*,and us selling the Beetle later that year (these were th last 2 VW’s we had owned before buying our current New Beetle),we didn’t make it back to another CYW show after that…until this weekend :D

We had a blast,the Wife,The Boy and I,but I won’t bore you with endless details of basically us walking around,looking at VW’s,and talking to people,LOL,I’ll just show a bunch of pics we shot…

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We also spied a familiar looking NB out in the parking area,a member of a Facebook group (and friend) we’re a member of,though we only got to see/talk to him at the very end of today as we were leaving (his NB…)

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It was truly an enjoyable trip…right up until we attempted to leave,LOL! Somewhere in that parking lot between our start up,and pulling out onto the road to head out to eat on the way home,our Beetle’s exhaust popped a weld or something (IDK yet,I’ll limp it to the shop,probably tomorrow,to find out what ails it),as it was dramatically louder,like a car with no exhuast…i was a looong,loouud trip home,LOL! (we made really good time,however,running with a small group that was decisively in a big hurry :P ).

The next CYW show will be the 1st weekend during October (2015),hope to see you there! :D

 

 

 

*Yes,a friend…or ex-friend…of The Wife’s had borrowed the car,totalled it (it was indeed her fault),and the way our insurance policy was writ up it wasn’t covered under our policy because it was an–unknown to us,we were lied to–unlicensed driver,and she was intoxicated (above the legal limit anyways). So what happened? She lost her license for another year (The Wife’s ex-friend…she was already on suspension for DWI,unbeknownst to us),and we were just screwed out of a car,completely,a total loss to us. The moral? DO NOT loan your car! :o :(

Posted in Beetle, Car Show, General Life Stuff, New Beetle | 6 Comments

New Beetle Project: Plastidip

There’s been a few happenings around the house since last post (still waiting to do the year’s first bike-camping trip,BTW). The washing machine (that we bought with a 30 day warranty at a used appliance store in February) has broken down for the 4th time (the 1st time,oddly enough,was 3 days after the warranty expired…),so I’m going to patch it up to hopefully last another month or 2 and we’re going to spring for a new one. The front door and door facing/surround has been in need of replacing for a while,but we’d planned to wait until next year’s spring,since we’re growing less and less happy living here anyways,but it’s went downhill fast,so it’s going to need done in the next month or so as well.

What do either of those have to do with a “New Beetle Project” you ask? Funds ;) I was saving/setting back towards buying a new set of 18″ tires to fit the new wheels by end of next month,but it looks like those funds are needed elsewhere*,higher priorities you understand. So I suppose I will haul the new wheels to my Dad’s garage in the coming days,and worry about buying tires for them when I buy a new top next spring.

Speaking of “new top”,LOL….a new top is needed (as well as the power top motor),this I knew before I actually bought the car (though I was lied to about the mechanicals working on it,but I digress…),as aside from normal wear and tear for a convertible that’s obviously never been parked inside at night,the opening around the rear glass was damaged. Since we’ve been going top down a bit lately,I’ve been keeping a close eye on that area for further damage,but it had been ok until that last time I went top down,when it finally broke loose from the glass (see following pics). I suppose I will (have little choice but to) continue to plan/wait until next year’s Spring to replace it,though,in lite of the house stuff needing done sooner than expected. So,I’m going ghetto on the make-shift repair (not a lot of choice*,LOL,a disabled Veteran’s benefits aren’t exactly what I earned the last several years I worked for a living–not that I’m complaining :P )….Gorilla Tape :o LMBO,at least it’s black and will match the top material XD At any rate,I’ma have to do it,as it’s pulled loose enough that The Boy can fit fingers through the gap,don’t want to lose the glass while driving down the interstate,now do we?

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But that isn’t the project I’m here to talk about,as it were–it was just on my mind at the moment (as I just picked up a fat and wide roll of Gorilla tape today :P ). I’ve been looking at LOTS of other people’s New Beetles all over the internet,including 2 forums and 3 Facebook Groups I’m a member of,and I’ve seen several with 2-tone paint jobs,with white down the sides like some old Beetles of the 60’s and 70’s had,and i liked them. Something like this…

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Besides,everyone knows that Plastidip adds 435 horsepower,right? XD Anyways,I’ve picked up several cans of white Dip,and I’d bought dipyourcar.com’s “prep spray” when I bought their wheel dipping kit,so as soon as I finish this,I’m going out and prepping one side and getting it ready for spray (I had to stay close to the PC for an email from one of The Boy’s teachers,and it just came in a few minutes ago ;) ). It will be a matte/satin finish,I may go back later and add a gloss coat (didn’t want The Wife seeing I’d bought several more cans of gloss at the same time,this is supposed to be a low-priced project ;) :P ). Since I’ll be waiting to buy 18″ tires/installing the new wheels,I may decide to spray the stock wheels to match,we’ll see :) Either way,if I don’t like it,alls I have to do is peel it right back off,that’s the beauty of Plastidip :D

 

 

 

*I may still buy a set of tires this year…I have been procrastinating the sale of the last 2 Axial RC trucks–out of being too lazy to post the adds on eBay,mind you–time will tell.

Posted in Beetle, Cars, New Beetle, New Beetle Project | Leave a comment

Shifting Gears and a Change in Direction (for my secondary blog)

I did some redecorating an drepurposing on the other blog. I won’t be posting a link here every single time I have a new post there like I have in the past,but as I finish projects there,I’ll post the final product (both) here (and there as well). Anyways,check it out if you haven’t seen it :)

 

https://thedcsrcplace.wordpress.com/

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Almost Forgot…

BTW,after she got in from work,the Wife and I went for a cruise around some country 2 lanes with the top down* :)

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*This was our first time dropping the top on the Beetle. (Note that the power top system is still inoporative,we put the top down and back up manually) This isn’t our first ragtop,however (those that have read my  drivel long enough know this,LOL),we’ve owned a few over the years,including a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT (sadly,the only pics that I had of it were on the computer that was lost during 2011’s house fire :'( ) and a the 1994 Ford Mustang GT convertible that I only sold off 2 1/2 years ago (a pic…)

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