Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My New Car

It was time to say good bye to my Subaru.  I had the Subaru for 8 years and it was a very reliable car.  There was only one time that it didn't start and that was a very cold winter morning -35 degrees.  Other than that it was a great car.  However, because it was getting old it was starting to have things go wrong with it.  In December I spent $1300 getting things fixed on it.

I had spent months researching on cars and finally narrowed my choices down to two.  The Dodge Dart and the Nissan Sentra.  Both cars were even on everything but the dart had a better powertrain warranty which for me was the deciding factor.  Now it just came down to numbers and how well they wanted to deal.

The Subaru had things wrong with it, a cracked windshield and the motor on the drivers door was broken and over 93000 miles,  other than that it was in great shape for being 8 years old.  I had checked for the trade in value and it was $6000 according to Kelly blue book.  We had originally wanted $4000 because of the obvious things wrong with it.

Friday we went to Billings and stopped at the Lithia Dodge Dealership. When we arrived at the dealership  there was a little dart parked next to me.  A salesman had just walked out and I told him what I wanted.  I want the Dart SXT with the UConnect features.  I had originally wanted navigation with it but that would not be a deal breaker.  He didn't have an SXT on the lot, but I could test drive the one there as they pretty much have the same driving features.

We piled into the new car, the salesman said that he would have to drive it off their lot, then he would pull over and let me drive.  He took us out on the interstate and didn't pull over until the 27th St. Exit.  I was beginning to wonder if I would have the chance to drive it.  As he was driving he told Gary all about the technical parts of the engine and that good stuff that I don't care anything about. 

I was able to finally drive the car, so I did and it felt pretty good, of course any new car would.  Got back to the lot and now we get to wheel and deal.  First the Billings dealership didn't have the car I wanted with the navigation and the closest one was in Nebraska, Minnesota and Oregon.  He said that the dealership would have to install the navigation program and charge me $600.  I decided that I didn't really need navigation as I already have it on my phone.

They found the car I wanted in Helena.  We asked him how long it would take to get it to Billings and we were told maybe Saturday possibly on Sunday.  It would depend on them getting the drivers scheduled.  Helena is only 240 miles from Billings, how hard can this be.  There was one on their lot, but it was the Rallye and it was the ugliest color ever, the citrus lime green color.

We started dealing on the trade in value of the Subaru, at first they only wanted to give me $3000 for it, their reasoning is because of the cracked windshield, window motor, high miles and paint chips.  We hemmed and hawed some more and they finally agreed to give me $3500 for it.  I also bought a life time oil change which was $600 and an extended warranty for $1000.  In all I paid just under $19000 for my new car.  First time ever in our lives we paid for a brand new car outright.  It's a great feeling.

The salesman said he would call me on Saturday with an update on drivers and when I could expect to get my new car.  Really wasn't happy about paying for something and not having it.

Saturday Gary and I had a HOG meeting at the dealership, so afterwards we stopped at the dodge dealership to get an update, naturally did not receive a phone call.  Our salesman was busy with another customer, so they sent a manager to talk to me.  He did not impress me at all, said that the car should be there on Sunday.  I was finally able to talk to our salesman and he said that they don't have drivers lined up or the paperwork between the dealerships done for it.  He would definately give me a call or text when things get lined up.

We got home and a couple hours later our salesman called and said that my new car would be in Billings on Monday.  He asked what time I could be at the dealership, which was after work and then an hours drive to Billings around 6:00 pm.  I was told that my car would definately be there by 5:00 pm.

Monday morning I got a text from him at 11:00 am saying that the driver just left Billings and would be back with my car around 6:30 pm.  I told him ok, but that makes a late night for us getting home.  What else can I do.

I was able to finally take possession of my car last night.  The saleman walked me through all the whistles and bells, he even programmed my phone to my car.  Then they ran it through the wash and filled up the tank.  It was 7:30 before we left.

It is going to take some time to figure out some of the whistles and bells.  I have a rear backup camera on the car, which takes getting used to, but very nice.  I have a one year free subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio.  I figured out how to make phone calls with the car.  Now I just have to figure out how to answer a phone call.  It has a remote start which Gary tried out this morning.  That is going to be a real nice feature in the winter time.

Now I am ready for a road trip to San Diego.  Here is a photo of the Dodge Dart only mine is white.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Parks' Tae Kwon Do Tournament

Last Saturday was the 31st Annual Park's Invitational Tae Kwon Do & Judo Championships.  Hard to believe that he has been hosting this tournament for 31 years and we have been involved with it for the past 20 years.

We had 7 of our students compete and they did well.  Everyone who competed medaled in all their events.  This year we came home with more bronze medals than the other colors but we are very proud of them. One of our students has competed before and he has always struggled with his events coming in 3rd all the time.  This year he got a gold medal in both his events and he even came home with a 1st place trophy from the Powell tournament.  Two of our little girls froze but at least they did it.  I think I spent more time calming mother's nerves.

We had spent the night in Billings due to the black belt test.  We get out of the test late and instead of driving home and getting up early we just spend the night.  Jennifer got sick on Friday and she spent Friday night in the motel sleeping.

She wasn't any better in the morning, in fact she was worse.  At 7:00 am Gary took her home and then back to Billings.  He made it back to the hotel in time to change and then get to the high school where the tournament was behind held. I stayed behind to get ready.

The tournament was fast this year, we were done by 4:30 pm.  It helped that the black belts stayed, usually by the end of the day we are sparse on black belts and can usually run only two rings.  Not this year, we were able to run four rings.

We were meeting our friends for a quick bite to eat before heading home to Hardin.  Since we got done early we had about an hour before meeting them.  That gave us time to buy a new bed.  We won't be able to get it until next weekend.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

4th Degree Black Belt Test

Last Friday I tested for the 4th degree black belt.  About a month ago I was told that I could test.  Grand Master Park told me that all I would have to do is my new forms and weapons.  I worked on my new forms and brushed up on my weapons.  I wasn't sure which weapon I would be doing so practiced with both.

I had to update my black belt book as it has been 4 years since my last test.  That wasn't hard to do.

The week of my test I caught a cold that has been going around.  First Gary caught it then shared with me.  I was hoping that I could nip it but that didn't happen.  Friday my test came and I was feeling better, just no energy and I was stuffy.  It was hard for me to breath but I was up for the challenge.

We always spend the night in Billings because the tournament is the next day.  No sense in getting home late then get up early just to make it to the tournament.  So much easier spending the night. 

I took the afternoon off, Jennifer took the time off from McDonald's as she was going to be my photographer.  Jennifer caught my cold and wasn't feeling well.  By the time we got to Billings she was pretty sick, she had a fever and just didn't feel good. 

We ate lunch then checked in to the rooms.  Jennifer ended up staying and went to bed.  There went my photographer.

I did find a photographer but she was so scared to take pictures with my big camera.  I had all the setting so all she had to do was just push the button and I had my zoom lens on so if she wanted she could zoom in and out. She did a good job.

There was 15 of us in total testing.  There were two testing for their 3rd degrees and in the past the people testing for 1st & 2nd went in a group, testing for 3rd & 4th in a group.  Those testing higher were in a group.  The way Grand Master Park had us do it, I ended up testing by myself.  All the ones testing for 1st, 2nd & 3rd were in a group.  The two instructors from Cody tested for their 6th degree and they were together.

Gary had to give a personal introduction of me and he did well.  My halo was shined up for the night.  Grand Master Park let him call my test.  All I had to do was my punches, self defense forms and five forms.  Only one weapon form with the bo staff.  Thought I was done but then Grand Master Park threw in a curve ball.  He wanted to see some hapkido (joint manipulations).  Gary was surprised and I was shocked.

I didn't know which ones to do, just had to pick out about 6.  I didn't have a partner as we didn't practice any of this.  Thankfully one of the Billings students stepped in to help.  Her name is Ashley Rylander and she is 16 years old. 

I got through that and now I'm ready for questions from the testing board.  Another curve ball, I was told to turn to the audience and tell them why I do martial arts and what it has done for me.

I played up on the age thing and how martial arts keeps me young.  I also played up on the generation thing, that I consider myself the middle generation as I had learned from the generation before me and hope to pass on that knowledge to the generation coming up.  It worked, I passed.

Gary and I are the same rank now but he still outranks me only by the age thing.  He still tells people that he hasn't taught me everything.

I will get putting up the photos on picasa soon.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Powell Tae Kwon Do Tournament

Saturday we had two students compete in the Lone Wolf Tae Kwon Do Championships in Powell.  We like this tournament and the director is a good friend of ours.  Gary had met him when both were cops back in the day.

What makes it bad is that this tournament and our are back to back.  Last year they were on the same day.  Our students did a good job, Michael came home with a 3rd and 1st place trophy, while Brandon (grandson) came home with a 4th place medal.  It was a long tournament, as the sparring matches were double elimination.  We were done at 5:45 pm.  At this tournament we don't have to work at it and I am able to be the photographer and take good photos of our students.  This also exposes them to a different style of tae kwon do. 

One thing about this tournament is that we get to go to Meeteetse and visit with the Grandma's  so we don't have the long drive home.  We met Mom at The Elk Horn for dinner, then Gary and I went to the Cowboy for a couple drinks.  Mom took Grandma's dinner home then she came back and met us.  We didn't stay too long, left at 9:00.  Gary and I were both tired as we had a very long day, not to mention losing an hour of sleep because of the time change.

There were quite a few younger people in the bar, one was a girl that Robert had met when he was down for Mom's birthday party.  She was celebrating her birthday so we bought her a couple drinks.

Sunday I went to church with the Grandma's then Gary met us for breakfast at Lucilles.  There were some other church people who ate with us.  What was a surprise is that Lucille's is now a smoke free establishment.  Emily was busy but I did get to say a quick hi.

We left for home after breakfast, taking time to get adjusted to the time change.  We got home around 2:30 and I had time to get a quick workout before the pool closed at 6:00.

Jennifer and I went to the movie "Oz The Great & Powerful".  This was her birthday movie.  I liked the movie and it explained how the Wicked Witch of the East got wicked.  I have been asked if it would be a good movie to take kids.  That would depend on the ages of the kids.  I wouldn't take little ones as there are some scary parts in the movie.

The winged baboons are scary looking and they are loud and when the witch turns evil that could be a little scary for kids because she was beautiful and good in the beginning of the movie.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Crazy Montana Weather

Sunday we had the craziest weather ever.  Saturday was so nice in the 60's that we went on a ride.  Friends from Billings came to Hardin, we ate lunch at the 4 Aces then rode the Sarpy Loop.  Stopped in Custer for a drink of soda, then we came home while our friends headed back to Billings.

Sunday was a beautiful day in the morning, temps in the high 50's.  Then the storm hit around 3:00 in the afternoon.  Big Horn County had a thunderstorm and high winds warning.

I left for the pool around this time and the wind really started to pick up.  You couldn't see Pine Ridge because of all the dust.  The wind was so strong that it was buffeting my car around while I headed for the pool.  I had a hard time opening the car door and the wind even knocked be back a couple steps before I could get inside.  The garbage dumpersters at the pool were scattered.  One was in the street and the other one was wedged between two cars.

Got on the treadmill, mp3 player plugged in and jogging along to the tunes.  I could hear loud thunder and then I heard a loud popping sound.  Wasn't sure if it was the treadmill or not, then I saw the kids get out of the pool and look out the windows.  It was hail hitting the roof, looked like pea sized hail lasted about 5 minutes.  Rain then snow, still couldn't see Pine Ridge.

All of this occurred in an hour.  We didn't lose our electricity which was good when I'm jogging at a good clip on the treadmill.  No damage, a couple trees and limbs are down but nothing like two years ago.  My trees are all good and so is Mom's.