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1:33 am EDT        71°F (22°C) in Dearborn, MI

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I’m now back home again, and will probably never again have to head out to the road with the company with which I have spent the last four years. Since I know all you stalkers out there have been waiting with baited breath to find out where I’ve been working, you’ll find out soon enough, whenever this new job turns from a 99% certainty into an ironclad 100% lock. It’s a matter of passing a D.O.T. physical and drug screen, which I will take care of later today; after that, they’re ready for me to start whenever I’m ready to start.

My health situation from last week has drastically improved, I’m quite glad to say, but I still wouldn’t call it much better than 95% or so. The diarrhea is long gone, and the pain has gone from frequent and moderate-to-severe down to occasional and very mild; but every now and then, things still feel just a little bit tight and bloated on my left side. There are a couple of very good developments, though: I’m not having to take Imodium at all now (a stark contrast to last week when I couldn’t function without it), and any release of gas or shit now seems to relieve what little pain is there (again, that wasn’t the case last week). No matter, though, I will be seeing a doctor in Ann Arbor at 2:30 pm EDT this afternoon; whatever this was needs to stay away, not just go away for a while, and that’s what I plan to accomplish with that visit.

After that doctor’s appointment, I will probably be headed down to Toledo, OH. If everything works out — I am going to be pretty demanding in what I expect, so we’ll see — I will be the proud owner of a new steel-gray 2007 Hyundai Sonata SE before I head back home. After looking at almost every Hyundai dealer in the metro Detroit area, and others as far away as Columbus, OH, I’ve basically settled on a unit we found last month when I visited Brown Hyundai in Toledo. I gave up on finding one in a decent color with the sunroof and six-disc CD changer, so I’ve settled on one that has my one must-have option: a power driver’s seat. (I just can’t get the mechanical seat low enough to the floor to comfortably fit inside the car — I did test-drive a couple with mechanical seats.)

Again, this is not yet an ironclad lock on the car, either. First, I’m going to insist on taking that unit for a short test-drive to see if I can find anything obviously wrong with it; it will have to pass that test first. After that, I’m going to drive the hardest bargain I can on the price, although given some of the research I’ve done, I would consider $20,000 to $20,500 out the door to be an acceptable deal. (“Out the door” here means the price after subtracting Hyundai’s $2,000 manufacturer rebate and adding tax, title, and license.) Finally, I’m going to force them to do something I should have insisted upon when I bought my old Hyundai Elantra in 2001: they are going to show me in writing that the financing is fully approved and 100% in force before I leave the lot, or I will be walking out and driving my Saturn back home.

I’m told that the Hyundai dealer in Livonia, MI which sold me that 2001 Elantra is now out of business, although a different Hyundai dealership now exists in the same building. They pulled that trick on me: the day I went in there and said I believed I could do $1,500 down and $300 per month, they rushed the whole sale through and had me take delivery before actually getting the financing approved. Granted, I was all too happy to take delivery immediately, given the shit my parents were pulling on me with cars at the time, but that’s a dishonest and sleazy way to do business.

Only a week and a half later would they bother to inform me that I actually had failed to qualify for financing on that Elantra. They did this to put me in a trap and invoke a clause of the purchase contract that they never explained: if you are denied financing, you owe them something like $200 per day plus 50¢ per mile from the point at which you took delivery. At this point, my two choices were: (a) return the car and owe them about $2,500 I didn’t have at the time, or (b) hog-tie my father into co-signing the loan. We followed option (b), and the rest was history.

The gist of this story is that I will not allow Brown Hyundai to do the same thing to me. If they’re not willing to show me ironclad, already fully-approved financing, in writing, before I leave the lot, then they can shove that car up their ass. I’ll also be having them return the $200 deposit I have down on that particular unit, and that will be the end of my dealing with them. I hope it doesn’t come to that, of course, but no matter what, my ass will be covered first and foremost.

Assuming we can work a deal that I like, I will be trading in the Saturn for this car. They appraised it when I visited them last month, and will give me $1,500 for it. Yes, I probably could do better selling it on my own, but I think I would be hard-pressed to do much better than the low $2,000 range — 90% or more of potential buyers will see its manual transmission and say “thank you very much, have a nice day.” Frankly, I don’t see that as being all that terrible of a trade-off — that is, sparing myself the hassle of selling the Saturn privately while forgoing maybe an extra $700 above the dealer’s trade-in offer.

Obviously, today is going to turn out to be a busy day, but I’m going to change gears a bit at this point and talk about yesterday — the Fourth of July. By now, I know you’ve heard about His Fraudulency King Chimpy the 43rd’s pardon of convicted criminal and traitor Irving Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, who was only given 2½ years in prison for a crime (giving aid and comfort to America’s enemies, a.k.a. treason) for which 18 U.S.C. 2381 specifies anywhere from five years to death. Not even Richard Nixon had the contempt for the rule of law to pardon his co-conspirators in Watergate; this is truly a new height (or low?) in Rethuglican criminality.

July 4 has now been rendered a meaningless date by this action of the 43rd Reich. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Paine, Franklin, et al., probably can’t even spin anymore in their graves; they have to be completely worn out from six and a half years of the 10,000 RPM to which Chimpy has driven them. I’m dead serious — Independence Day doesn’t mean shit anymore. The fireworks and flags are nothing more than an empty, false “patriotism” that Reich-wingers want us to believe is right up there with Mom and apple pie, but given Chimpy’s latest loud “FUCK YOU!” to everything America used to stand for, the only thing worth celebrating anymore is getting the day off work. Seriously.

I’m going to leave you for tonight with that sobering thought.