Tag Archives: Ford

Horror Story, Anyone?

From a very young age, I have had an extremely overactive imagination. And one that goes beyond the realm of cerebral pictures and passing thoughts, and straight into my cells as if all that’s conjured is as real as the racing heart it creates. The last horror movie I saw was in 1987 and images from it continue to eerily dance and taunt me whenever they catch wind of the rare occasions on which I lack company after sundown.

The scenario that has always sent the most frigid chills up my spine, is that of the best friend, sister or parent, after three hours of trusting camaraderie, being unveiled as the demon or serial killer.  Even as I write this, I take brief pauses to look behind me with caution, expecting to see my husband with red eyes and an open mouth screech, holding a hatchet and a satanic symbol. (I began to google “satanic symbol” in order to add specificity to my writing, but I could not bring myself to type those words into the search bar for fear of opening an evil portal.)


So, with this background information, please understand the complete emotional breakdown that occurred this afternoon, and don’t judge me as harshly as those who man the phones at dealerships in the states of California, New Mexico and New jersey.

I can honestly say that when this car debacle began 60 days ago, I stayed relatively calm.  Clear, deliberate and emphatic about what needed to be done, but calm and collected. There was nary a screaming match or a curse word uttered. (Not on the phone, anyway)

But, today…my goodness….. today…..
I LOST IT.   COMPLETELY LOST IT.  The raging monster within was unleashed after two months of captivity. Horror of horrors!

I mentioned in previous posts, that the Toyota dealership in Albuquerque, where our engine nearly exploded, was the haven to which we ran. They were the good guys joining the good fight against the evil doers at Galpin Ford of California. I even titled one of my posts “My Friend Tim“, referring to the dealership’s service manager. They took our hands, held our babies and assured us that they were our saviors in this nightmare of a tale.

However, as many of you know, 48 hours after receiving our car back from Albuquerque Toyota, fresh with a new engine, radiator, and a long list of other  engine related components, to the tune of 10,000 dollars, the transmission died in the middle of the highway, as Rocket carried the precious cargo of my Husband and two babies.

After nearly three weeks and three new transmissions, New Jersey Toyota was coming up short. Finally, upon connecting with the Japanese engineers via internet, they discovered that the radiator installed by Albuquerque Toyota was faulty and shooting metal shrapnel through the system, destroying each transmission.  Toyota refused to cover the new radiator because for some reason, Albuquerque Toyota, although a Toyota dealership, did not use a Toyota certified radiator.

Up until this news, our rental vehicle had been paid for, along with all parts and service.  So our main concern was getting the car up and running safely, no matter how long it took.  But, all companies cut the cord of their assistance at the same time, leaving us to watch as 60 dollars a day would begin to take flight out of the window with no real time frame for completion.

THIS was the reason for my screaming and yelling. Not the four million other back asswards things that have gone wrong since the purchase of our Sienna on December 17th, 2011, not the childish finger-pointing all three parties have been doing, insisting that they themselves are not at fault, and not the countless hours a day we have spent on the phone and awaiting return calls.

On basic principle, I refuse to see even two dollars of this mess come out of our pockets. It’s just not OK. The full time job that dealing with all of this has become should be providing us with a six figure salary AT LEAST!

In conclusion (as if there is any chance in hell this will actually be the conclusion) we were able to get the extended warranty to cover the radiator.  Shocking, as they have found every reason in the book to weasel out of paying for anything else. And, although the service manager at New Jersey Toyota thinks I am a horrible human being, fresh out of his own worst nightmares, my demonic phone call did result in a free loaner vehicle while Rocket undergoes his fifth or sixth open heart surgery.

This vehicle just so happens to be…….

A Toyota Sienna.

How’s that for a nail-biting cliff hanger?

As I did get carried away in my own story telling with this entry, I feel it needs to be said that I believe that Tim at Albuquerque Toyota is not a demon. Nor are the guys here in Jersey. And, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that even those at Galpin Ford are not evil either.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe any of these people did anything purposefully and knowingly wrong, and all parties have gotten burned. Galpin the most. I believe they have shelled out 19,000 dollars for this mess. But, although unfortunate for all parties involved, I’m standing firm that it has affected us the most.

We should all meet at a midpoint spiritual retreat center, hold hands, raise our voices in a harmonious rendition of Kumbaya, beg for forgiveness, and pray for the end of all pain and suffering.

Until then, for the love of all things Sacred and Holy, someone…..PLEASE just fix the freakin’ car!


Pseudologia Fantastica

Before posting my last entry, I paused. Do I dare publish this?  People are going to think I’m making this up? This is ludicrous!  This CANNOT be a true story!

And then, I myself started to question it. You know those moments in life when you think, “This is insane.  It has to be a dream,” and you close your eyes and will yourself awake? Well, I have yet to awaken out of  this knotty and disheveled yarn.

Interestingly enough, on my way back from Fresno, a magazine article on personality disorders appeared in the seat-back pocket in front of me.  I became intrigued as learned about “Pseudologia Fantastica”. AKA, pathological lying.  Hmmmm…. interesting, indeed. Definite peanuts for thought.

It seems as though this psychosis can actually create a steadfast belief in the mind of it’s victims, that all they are saying is in fact the truth.

“Pseudologia fantastica may present as false memory syndrome, where the sufferer genuinely believes that fictitious events have taken place, regardless that these events are fantasies.” (1)

As the puddle-jumping aircraft toted myself and ten other passengers to our connecting flight in Los Angeles, the mind numbing drone of the engine propelled me into a rabbit hole toward the Twilight Zone.

If it is true that those suffering from Pseudologia fantastica often believe their own lies with absolute, unwavering conviction, could it be possible that none of what I have been posting is true? Could I actually have no husband, no children, no Broadway career, and most importantly no Sour Sienna?

My head was spinning! Who am I? What is life? What is reality? Does this blog exist?

Cue creepy “doo, doo, doo, doo” music.

Upon my supposed landing in Newark, NJ, I am going to request an immediate transport to the nearest mental ward for observation.

But, before I check in to my padded room in Belleview, shimmy into a straight jacket and allow them to administer shock-waves and electrodes to my brain, I will give you the update to my current “fantastica” reality.

Erin’s husband fetched my babies from the side of the road, and brought them to the safety of their home for a joyful play-date, fully serviced with Clifford the Big Red Dog, and strawberry pancakes.  This sickly brain sure does conjure unbelievable friends!

Hubby was towed, along with the Sienna to the nearest Toyota Dealership to get the news that the transmission is completely irreparable. Gone. Kaput.

However, it seems that this malfunction slipped undetected, under the noses of the Toyota Warrantee Commission and is fully covered. Good news.

Bad news…

Although the two major components of the car are about to be brand spankin’ new, the Hogles no longer feel safe in the Sienna. Call us worry warts if you will.

Erin and her Husband have graciously lent us their second vehicle for the weekend.  GALPIN Ford has agreed to pay for our rental car thereafter while we await the repair, and will be contacting us on Monday to discuss the possibility of saying a final farewell to Rocket.  The Bottle Banning Baby fared perfectly well.  She was still completely offended at the mere suggestion of milk in a bottle or cup, but ate lots of food, drank lots of water, and found no need to awaken during the night-time hours.  Who needs Mommy?

Stay tuned…

If the hospital is unable to rehabilitate, I may have more stories for you.

(1) a b Dike CC, Baranoski M, Griffith EE (2005). “Pathological lying revisited”. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 33 (3): 342–9. PMID 16186198.
^ a b c d Dike, Charles C. (June 1, 2008). Pathological Lying: Symptom or Disease?. 25.

Rocket Has Arrived!!!!

For those of you who are new to this blog, Rocket is our Toyota Sienna whom we abandoned in Albuquerque, NM on our way from Los Angeles to New York. He got his name from our son who stayed glued to episode after repeating episode of Disney’s Little Einsteins in an effort to save a small portion of our sanity during the epic road trip with 2 small children and 2 small dogs

If you missed the Ford/Toyota Saga, click here.

The rental car in which we continued our journey from New Mexico, is now being returned after 35 days in our possession. We’ll be sure to notify Enterprise of the punctured tire, which we have been placating for 2 weeks with a daily stop for air at the local gas station. Thankfully, the slab of metal protruding from it, only caused a slow leak and not one that left us on the side of the highway awaiting a tow truck.  I boycotted getting it fixed in a silent protest of sorts. The thought of being stuck in sub zero temperatures near downtown Newark, NJ with two children, was one that sounded rather appealing, compared to that of dealing with yet another vehicle repair.  Judge if you must.

But, it is over…

….albeit the passenger seat headrest  ____Ford promised to order and send within 10 days from the time of our original purchase. That detail was overshadowed by the slightly larger issue of a disintegrating and on-the-verge of exploding engine. But, on the way to Target this evening, my neck grew weary and longed for a cushiony reprieve.  ____Ford got a call from me today requesting it.

I have yet to hear back, but I’m sure I’m on the top of their list.
The name of that list, I shall not say.

But, our car has arrived, making our move across the country officially complete.

Now….let’s get to work!  The cost of the next catastrophe will surely be on US!!!

See?  There I go…being negative again.

Journeying East- Day 7

On the road again!

We headed out of Albuquerque yesterday morning with a somber wave of goodbye to our Toyota Sienna…for now, that is. We shall see the car whom Zachary has lovingly named “Rocket” in a matter of weeks. As we drove off, he said “Bye, Rocket! Feel better soon!”. We laughed, punched in the address of our next destination and breathed a sigh of relief.  What a week!

Two minutes into our road trip, we saw the digital indication message flash across the dashboard. “Oil Change Due”. We actually found this quite amusing, although with the lack of response to my email to Ford, sharing with them the cute and ironic button to our tale, it seems they did not.

The story doesn’t really get any better than that, thank God. The rental car company had the oil changed a month ago and it wasn’t reset. So, no more nail-biting twists and turns to this particular story. Sorry to disappoint. Although, I must express my amazement at the fact that my stats page shows over 1000 hits in the past four days and I have gained ten new subscribers!  I do hope all of you aren’t expecting such cliff hangers every day!! I’m going to have to start fabricating.

We continued on to Amarillo, TX, which must have had the recent and unfortunate timing of a fertilizer delivery. As pungent as the odor was, I can deduce with quite certainty that the hotel itself is located on a crop field.

Our hotel was located right behind this...... (Now I am fabricating)

We tried our best to get an early start out today, but this whole “dressing and feeding children” thing seems to transport you into some sort of time warp in which hours pass without your knowledge.

When we began this road trip back in 2011, (at which point it seemed like a good idea) we decided to take it slow and relish in our family adventure;  Maybe just meander our way across this great country of US of A, covering four or five hours a day.

That was 2011. The 2012 Smiths are of a much different breed. Now, the thought of hours of screaming, whining, and umpteen trips to the back seat to relinquish thrown toys and dropped crackers, sounds like paradise in comparison to another nine days on the road. I have lost track of the days of the week, have received emails stating that bills are overdue as they sit in an abandoned mailbox in Jersey, we are almost out of our stock of the 48 organic fruit and veggie Plum bags we ordered from diapers.com, and my  positive outlook is rapidly waning.  Zachary wakes up every morning and asks “Is this New Jersey?” And we are longing to say, “Yes, Zachary! It is!!”. We are going to attempt to cut our trip itinerary down from nine more nights to four.

However, as I write this on my blackberry, I am jolted out of my writing trance with an exasperated thud and a heavy sigh coming from my left  and my husband’s head is resting on the steering wheel.  I had become so engrossed, I had not noticed that we have been stopped on Highway 40 for quite some time.  Looking up, I see a long train of brake-lights blinking up the plains of Oklahoma for more than 5 miles. Amazing how far you can see here in these parts!

Northeast friends and family,  we’ll see you in February. Please be so kind as to open our mail and pay our bills. Or, just forward them to ____Ford.

Journeying East – Day ???

So, I don’t have the energy for any of my blogging M.O.’s….hysteric rants, sappy melodrama, amateur poetry or over-analytical self exploration.  I have facts, pure, terrifying, unbelievable facts.

I wrote on facebook, in jest last night, that we may end our travels in Albuquerque, due to the loveliness of the hotel and our desperate need for a break.  However, I had no idea that the silly thought would soon hold more truth than we imagined.

Smoke spewing out of the back of a vehicle is never a good thing, but it’s even less fortunate while in the middle of the desert with two small children.  Still, when the problem was noticed yesterday, I felt confident that the purchase of our Toyota vehicle, from a large and reputable Ford dealership on the 17th of December (not even three weeks ago) would be in good hands here at a Toyota dealership in Albuquerque.  It was after all, not only still covered by the factory warranty, but we purchased the additional bumper to bumper warranty as well.  I even felt that the mishap was a blessing of sorts, as I was longing to stay here another night and catch our breath before setting off once again.

When the dealership here in Albuquerque called to give the news of what the situation was, we felt paralyzed.  Not only did the mechanic open up the oil filter and plainly see that it was filled with sludge, but after punching in the VIN number in the Toyota database, it came up that the warranty was voided for this particular repair before we bought it, as it was due to maintenance neglect, and the entire engine was corroded. We purchased the vehicle with 26,000 miles on it, and it was documented that the oil had not been changed the entire 26,000 miles.   It was reported to Toyota that the car was severely unsafe and undrivable.  He was shocked and horrified that we had driven 900 miles and said that it could have ignited at any moment.

No, this isn't me or our car, but I found it online and it looks about right.

After frantic phone calls to the Ford company (who shall at this point remain nameless due to legal factors), they claimed that they had no idea that the engine was in this state, and said they would NEVER have sold us the car, had they known.  They were apologetic, they were horrified, the whole company now knows me by first name….great.  But, at day’s end, I still have nothing in writing.  The President of the company verbally told me on the phone today that he was sure they would “do the right thing and this would have a happy ending.”  But after they found out that we are not in CA where they could make it all go away with a new vehicle, I was called by another person saying the President would be in contact tomorrow.  I asked him to promise me that we would not be paying for this, and he said “_____Ford stands by their cars.  We don’t sell lemons.  If anyone would take a hit on this, it will be _____Ford”  I then asked him to promise me that we would not be stuck in Albuquerque for over a week.  He paused and said “I don’t know.”

So, that’s that.  I’m trying to feel confident that we aren’t out 7500 dollars, but the money for the extra hotel nights, food and rental car is questionable.  They did validate that this was a HUGE mistake and is of no fault of ours.  Of course, however, it’s not theirs either, just for the record. The President made sure to tell me that the information they now have from Toyota is not able to be accessed by them, and they would have no way of knowing.  However, the mechanic here said that if anyone lifted the lid of the oil tank, they would have seen the thick sludge.

Until I see in writing, what they are going to do to rectify it, I’m having a hard time trusting that we wont have to get lawyers involved.  I am just thankful we are in a nice and comfortable place that the kids are enjoying, and that rental cars in Albuquerque cost ten dollars a day.  Also, I am astoundingly grateful that this issue did not cause physical harm to my family while on the road. I welcome thoughts any of you may have if you have information on the laws of such matters.  For now…we wait for _____Ford to “do the right thing.”

Entertaining ourselves in the Hotel

The sign behind them says "No children allowed" Oops