Ship’s Log–January 8, 2015


I had to take my car in for regular maintenance today, which is an expense I was putting off until after the holiday season. I drive a Hybrid, which is just a wee bit more complicated than a “normal” vehicle, and I’ve been in the habit of taking it to the dealer just to be sure it gets the special attention I thought it needed. This is also partly because they gave me free service for the first two years, and I’ve only just begun to have to pay for these visits. I decided to try them out for regular maintenance once my free period expired, just to see how it went. The first visit on my dime went smoothly, and they even told me that some of the scheduled items weren’t needed, which kept the cost lower than expected.

I was a little suspicious that they were setting me up, though, and I fretted over what would happen with today’s service, the one where they would think I had dropped by guard and begun to fully trust them. I was right to worry. An hour after dropping my car off they called and said I needed four new tires, but they were having a sale so it would ONLY be $1300, plus another $100 for alignment. Gee, what a bargain. I told them that my husband had recently been laid off and I wasn’t looking to spend that kid of money just yet, if it wasn’t really necessary, thank you very much.

Undeterred by the information that now was not a good time to waste my money, the service representative plowed on with her pitch and told me that they also advised a fuel injection service, which would be another $395. My regular service (originally about $100) was now a $1900 bill. I told her to just have them finish the basic service and give me my car back.

While I waited for the car to be released, I did a little research. Costco will sell me the same tires (which it turns out I don’t actually need yet) for $725, far less than $1300. I then called our local STS, which I’ve used for years with other cars, asked if $398 was a fair price for the fuel injection service, and was told that the dealer was overcharging me by $300. STS will do it for $98, but if I’m not noticing any issues with performance, it’s not needed.

The dealer tried to get me to agree to unnecessary parts and service and then had the gall to try to grossly overcharge for those parts and service. I’m deeply offended that they continued to pressure me to authorize unnecessary service even after I explained that I was dealing with a financial crunch at home.

STS will be doing all my future maintenance, and the dealer will only ever see me if there is a recall or warranty issue with my baby…in other words, when the repair is on their dime, not mine.

There was a time not too long ago when I would have agree to let them do the work, since they said it was needed, and cried with worry over how i was going to pay for it. A few years of martial arts training have certainly changed me in that regard. I now look to defend myself off the mat, bob and weave when someone throws a surprise haymaker my way, and make sure I give myself the time and quiet of mind to plan the necessary steps rather than just capitulating to the circumstances.

It sure feels better this way.

Distance to goal weight: 21.8


  • 10 push ups, sit ups, and squats
  • 1 hour BJJ


  • Scrambled egg on whole grain English muffin with Daiya cheddar and vegan Canadian bacon
  • Whole fruit juice: banana, pineapple, blackberries, frozen blueberries, kale, flax and chia seed, and water
  • Coffee with vanilla soy milk

Morning Snack:

  • Hot peppermint tea


  • Whole grain tortilla with vegan chicken strips cooked in mole sauce, guacamole, sliced tomato, and mixed greens
  • Carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli sautéed in olive oil with Old Bay seasoning
  • Coffee with vanilla soy milk

Afternoon Snack:

  • Whole wheat chocolate chip brownie. I had to bake a double batch for Thing 1’s upcoming weekend ski trip, and I saved four squares for my family to try. I’m not going to survive cutting back sugar if I can’t let myself have one homemade brownie when I bake them without a massive side dish of guilt.
  • Chocolate mint tea


  • Whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, sriracha, and faux parmesan
  • Salad: romaine, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • Clean Slate Riesling. Good enough that I am tempted to start an Affordable Wines review series. Any interest in that?

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