Space, the Final Frontier…

Just a quick post before work to let you all know of something I just read in the paper.  You can actually go up on one of NASA’s final two shuttle missions.  Well, your image can anyway.  NASA has set up a page where you can upload your photo which will be sent up in one of the shuttles- you can even select which one!  You will even get a certificate for it after the flight, though I think you have to print it out yourself.  Anyway,  here is the URL:


Rain, rain, go away

Winter I’m told is the hardest part about this car job, but after this last month I’m really starting to wonder.  Was there this much rain last year?  I man, day after day for the last five weeks with only a few days rest from it.  I can only hope that this gets the precipitation over with so I don’t have to brush off cars so much this winter, but I know that’s just a pipe dream.  Some more days like yesterday would be nice, but unfortunately the forecast for the next few days calls for more of you-know-what.  Sigh.  Fortunately by evening the chance currently shows about 30% so just maybe our haunted house hopping event won’t be too soggy.

Today just really got me down.  First was the slow trip east toward the city to a dealer where I had a whole two cars for my 40-min. trip.  Took me two hours too due to having to drive the cars to the warehouse- something only this dealer requires, along with the garage where some of the lights don’t work so I have to take more pictures just to get good ones.  Additionally I had to wipe down the wet cars before I could take pictures of them.  $7 an hour- isn’t that below minimum wage?  Next stop, two cars again but at least it went much quicker.  As I approached my final destination, the rain decided to fall without a break until after dark so I ended up taking pictures with an umbrella in the other hand (this place doesn’t mind the cars being wet in the photos).  I only got to three of the cars before I had to quit.  Actually, I did the other half of the job with entering the car data and making stickers for all seven I had to do while waiting in vain for a break in the rain, but since I didn’t do the photos yet I couldn’t charge them yet.  I may be able to get to them Monday when I’m there next, but only if they don’t sell them.

Oh yes, to top it all off, I forgot to return a key to one of the other dealers so I had to stop back there on the way home.  At least it was the closer one, not the further heavy-traffic one.  I don’t think I would generally use this outdated phrase, but it’s starting to look like this job is all wet, pun intended.

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Do I hate blogging?

I haven’t really lacked the time in the evenings so I guess I must.  At this rate, no one will miss me in a week when I head to Michigan for a week of camp with the tykes who weren’t even born yet when I started working in the kid’s ministry.  So what have I been doing?  Well, as I noted a week ago, I started training for my new job.  For four of the five days this week I was driving out to a number of dealerships north of here, the furthest an hour away because those are the places Rene, the one I am training with works.  After this week I am wondering if I will really earn much more at this job than subbing.  As it stands, I would have to take pictures of 75 cars a week in order to earn the same amount.  If my dealerships are as spread out as hers then I will be on the road for several hours per week.

Here’s what a typical day looks like.  Arrive at the dealership with a printout of all the cars on the lot that the dealer has upped to the web that are still missing pictures.  Search for the cars in the lot, noting that several are being detailed (cleaned) or repaired, or just waiting for one of the two to be done.  Those vehicles will have to wait for another time.  Once that is done, which can take a half hour or more if the dealership is large and has many cars to be done, it is time to get the keys for the ones that can be done.  This is where we find out that some of the cars have their keys already checked out to someone else.  Now we have to talk to those people or get the keys from another source if necessary, like the dealer bags which have the information and second set of keys for each car.  Finally, we can start doing the work for which we’ll be paid.  One (or two since there are two of us for now) at a time we bring the cars up, search the options in them so the right one get marked, print out dealer stickers with said options listed as well as mandatory-by-law warranty stickers.  Next (or first, depending on the person) several photos are taken, skipping or minimizing any major defects- these are 99% used cars after all.  One of the common photos to be skipped is that of the engine if it’s really dirty.  What is up with today’s car engine by the way?  Most of them seem to have a plastic covering whose sole purpose is to make the engine look nice when the hood is opened, usually sporting some model number as well.  Seems like a waste of money if you ask me, but someone somewhere must have determined that this is what people want, otherwise why bother with the added expense?  So with the pictures done, the car has to be returned- I prefer one dealership which insists on doing this themselves as they park them “perfectly” using two people- and a new one retrieved.  When finished we print out a receipt which is signed by the contact in the dealership and one copy given to their department that handles the finances.  Then it’s on to the next dealer.  We do two or three in one day, but I suppose the ones making the bigger bucks are doing more.  I bet theirs are closer together.  As for Rene, she has a personal goal of 100 cars per week which doesn’t earn much more than I make as a sub during the school year.  That goal was not met this week.  Thursday the daily goal of 20 (five days, 20 cars each equals 100- get it?) was met almost all at one dealer, but Friday we only did I think 11 cars.  I don’t remember the other two days I was with her, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t do 20 both days.

This job of course is all outdoors, which for me means the added expense of sunscreen without which I would burn to a crisp.  In fact, after Monday which was mostly cloudy I still was quite red after I didn’t use it.  Monday also had a huge downpour while we were at the third dealer.  There had been some light rain earlier in the day, but at the end it just came down in sheets.  An umbrella didn’t help one bit as it was accompanied by high winds.  Since we were taking photos at the time, we ended up in that vehicle.  Too bad it was a very old vehicle with few options.  The defroster couldn’t keep up with the constantly fogging front window.

Well, I’ll tell you more about the job in another post I’m sure, but for now I am tiring of writing so- until then!

Toledo Zoo pics

As promised here are a few of the pictures from the Toledo Zoo. Just click on them for a larger image. It took me longer than I thought since I had to transfer the pictures one at a time (about 60 pictures!) from the phone memory to the card memory, so I could then take the card out of the phone and put it in my computer’s card reader. Then I had to select some pictures and edit them in a paint program to make them uniform in size and more web-friendly. Enjoy!