Friday, October 29, 2010

The car shopping Auto Maxima! (part 2)

[Continued from car shopping and Auto Maxima (part 1).]

So it turned out, J didn't actually expect to pay $9,000 (plus the trade in). He thought they would make a counteroffer. They just didn't know how to do business quite right. They could have at least countered $100, if they weren't going to lower it at all, because that keeps things moving. J loves haggling. He thinks it is great fun. I do not.

On Tuesday, J wanted me to scan a bunch of documents, because we are refinancing our Yaris, since rates have gone down. I really hoped he had gone back and I was scanning documents for the Baja, but I had been pretty frustrated with him, because he was immediately ready to go back to looking at that one Tacoma (which was probably smoky) and the Isuzu. So I figured we were done with the Baja.

EXCEPT! J really did know that the Subaru was a great deal, and he wanted to make me happy, and he knew that it would meet our needs really well, so he actually DID go back. He was going to keep it all a surprise, and one of these days I would go outside after he left for work and he would have taken the Yaris to work, and instead of the Elantra being there, my new, perfect Subaru would be waiting for me.* Even though I had been a pain Monday evening after we test-drove the Subaru.

The thing was, it was going to take a few days for it all to wrap up, and he felt like it would be deceptive to keep it a secret for so long.*

"The loan docs are for the Baja," he told me.



"Really?" I was so excited.*

He told me he had gone back and talked to Gustavo, and he had offered $11,000 without the trade in. Basically, Gustavo had asked if we would maybe want any detail work done on the Baja, in the future. He offered to include that. Instead, J negotiated to have him fix the dents on the Elantra, and detail the Elantra, since we're about to sell it. And then it would be worth more money to us. So the negotiated price was $11,700--for the Baja and a bunch of work on the Elantra.

"WAY TO GO!" I told J.* What a great solution! They get the money they want to pay their taxes with, or do whatever they want, and we get a bunch of stuff that has value to us.

"I told him the Elantra has to be done before we close, because that's our leverage. If we close and it's not done, they may not do it."


"But he wants to close by Friday, because, you know, the end of the month. So I'm kind of putting him under some pressure, but he thinks he will be able to do it. I'm going to give him a deposit of $500 so he doesn't worry about doing the work on the Elantra and then us not buying the Baja, or something."*

J pulled up the reviews on Google for Auto Maxima. "They have great reviews! There are 29 and they're all 5 stars, except one. But I don't know, because someone came later and even defended them after the one negative comment. I bet they're good for the work, even after we close. We can probably trust them."

J had scheduled to have Gustavo take the Baja to our mechanic** the next morning. I helped him scan loan docs, and as long as there were no major surprises at the mechanic, things would all be in place and they would sign a contract! Tuesday evening, J and I were both very excited. Also, we looked forward to being done with our car shopping project. And J looked forward to being done driving the Elantra.

The next morning, I started looking at the Auto Maxima reviews online and I became a little concerned. As I read through the reviews, I noticed that most of the reviews read similarly. Little grammar mistakes appeared frequently, and they seemed to be written by someone who spoke English as a second language. (Although Milla and Gustavo speak English very well, I am pretty sure both of them speak English as a second language.) There were other similarities, too:
- In many of the reviews, the reviewer does not capitalize the first letters of sentences.
- The reviews focus on the same things, like price, and like buffing headlights, and how dirty (or filthy, or stinky) their car was.
- Verb tenses are not correct in many of the reviews, like, they use present-tense where they should use past tense.
- Several of the reviews mention Milla and Gustavo by name. All in a row.
- Many of the reviewers use "dol" as an abbreviation for dollars.

I looked for other used car places in the area, and most of the other places had 1-2 reviews. Some had 7. Low Book Sales (which does a TON of advertising) has 79 reviews., exactly, did a tiny dealer nobody's heard of get 29 reviews? Most other places had 3 stars. Some other places had 2 1/2 stars. There were a couple 3 1/2 - 4 star places. So...earning 5 stars from 28 people would seem to be pretty challenging, wouldn't it?

I began clicking on the names of the users who had submitted reviews. Most had only reviewed Auto Maxima.


Uh oh.

The one bad review was beginning to seem much more relevant.

I noticed that Auto Maxima is a sponsored page on Google. So they must think online presence is important. Also, their website is intense. There are 19 different sections on their website. They specialize in detailing cars, actually. On their website they have before/after pictures, they have a forum (with four sections: auto detailing questions, car buying tips, car selling tips, and auto body work. In all, there are 27 total posts.), a blog, reviews, their location, a link to their Google profile, a link to Facebook, etc.

Okay, they are on Twitter and Facebook. On Facebook they have 17 friends. Two of the friends are Milla (she has 2 profiles for some reason), and one of the friends is Milla's daughter. So. It's just a little weird that they go so overboard for a tiny place that sells 4 cars. But, obviously they think online presence is important. And of course if you think online presence is important, you're going to want to have good reviews. It is important to have good reviews.

I remembered that Gustavo had said the windshield was replaced. Hm. Okay. It could have been hit by a rock, or something, and that's what we had just assumed. But they are an auto body place. I began to develop the idea that maybe Gustavo and Milla were fixing cars up and then selling them as though they had never been fixed.

Could this be possible?

I hoped not. I loved the Baja. I was so excited that the Baja was going to be mine.

But it's true that you get what you pay for. Was the low price an indication that they weren't being straight with us?

I decided not to tell J that I thought the reviews were made up. The car could be fine, anyway, and I didn't want us to not buy a perfect car just because the reviews were fake. After the inspection by our mechanic, we would know more.

[To Be Continued]

*What a guy!
** Have I mentioned our mechanic before? We take our cars to Action Auto Repair on 3900 S. We started going there because Jiffy Lube told me I had like, 20 rock chips to repair. I took the Elantra to Action Auto Repair because they had a sign up with their rock chip price on it, and it was like $10 instead of the $25/chip that Jiffy Lube wanted. The guy climbed up on the front of my car to look very closely, and feel the windshield. "Welllll," he said. "You do have a lot of rock chips..." he kept looking, "but they've all been filled." So he didn't charge me anything for his time, and I left with a great feeling of not-having-been-ripped-off. We've been back a few times, and they're not the cheapest place out there, but their rates are very reasonable, and they're very good, and they're honest. We like them.

The car shopping Auto Maxima!

I was looking through the KSL ads and I found a Subaru Baja that was within our price range. SWEET! J has a co-worker that recently bought a Subaru Baja and he pointed one out to me when we were driving to the gym recently. Pretty much they're a truck that's a car, that's a truck.

Subaru only made Bajas from 2003-2006, and I'm not sure why, because they're pretty much amazing. They're a car, with a shortened truck bed on back. And then you can put the tailgate down, and there's a new tailgate that you swing over to extend it all into a small truck bed. And there's a spot where you can open the space between the passenger seats in back and the truck bed, in case you wanted to put longer things that don't fit the mini truck bed.

There are two types of Bajas--the regular, and the turbo. The turbo Bajas have more horsepower than most of the trucks we were looking at. And I don't know what else is different, I guess.

So we found this 2005 Subaru Baja turbo online that was listed for $11,900. AMAZING! And it had an automatic transmission, and of course all Subarus have AWD. Plus, this particular vehicle had a leather interior, 6 CD player*, a moon-roof, and I forget what else. Clean title, and 68? thousand miles on it. On Kelly Blue Book it seemed to be worth about $15,000.

We decided to go check it out on Monday, during J's lunch hour.

When we got to the dealership, Auto Maxima, we were surprised that they seemed to only have four cars for sale. It was a little place that also did detailing and repairs. We walked into the office, and it was kind of weird. There was a big open waiting room, with a couple red couches facing each other, and a table with enough magazines to keep someone reading for a year.

Nobody was there.

One wall had a window on it, like they have at medical offices, and we could see that nobody was in the office on the other side. We crept down the hall, past the restrooms, and into a mostly empty break-room. I felt like we were intruders back by their microwave and stuff. J knocked on the Employees Only door, and nobody answered, so he opened it. A guy came to meet us.

"They no in office?" he asked.

"No, nobody's out here."

"Ohhhhhhh, they just leave." He walked with us out to the front, and then out the front door. "You call them." He went back inside.

J called the phone number on the sign, and they were at the bank. They said they would be back in 5 minutes. The worker came back out to us, and gave us their business card. J told the guy they were coming back, and he said ok, and he went back to work.

J and I decided to go take a look at the car some more. It looked perfect.

A lady pulled up in a black Subaru SUV. It was Milla. "You need the keys?" she asked.

"We were hoping to test drive your Subaru Baja," J explained.

She had us follow her inside, back past the break room, and around into the office. She set her purse down, fumbled with some things, and set her tea on the desk. She chattered about something. "Where are you from," I asked her, because she had a pretty accent.

"Russia," she said.

"Ah. Cool."

"We saw the tag on the Subaru said $13,500," J began, "But we found this car on KSL and it was listed there for $11,900..."

"Yes, it's just that we have to sell it as soon as possible because sales tax is due," Milla** disclosed. She fumbled with some more things, and found the key to the Subaru, and set it out on her desk. As she reached for something else, she spilled her tea all over her keyboard and desk. She turned her keyboard over, and tried to get the tea out of it, and I went down the hall to grab paper towels. J and I helped her clean up the spilled tea.

I think Milla made a copy of J's driver license, and she had him sign something saying that our insurance would be responsible for any damage if we were in an accident. (Does it even do that? We weren't sure.) "Your insurance usually covers it," Milla explained. "It's just that our insurance requires us to have people sign these, otherwise they won't cover the cars."

As Milla was filling out the form, J asked, "And we saw that the Subaru is covered by a warranty..."

"Yes, it's this one." She handed J a brochure that listed several different levels of insurance, and she pointed to the top one, out of like 7.

"So it's only these things?" J began reading drive train parts, and Milla was surprised.

"Well, yes. That's all you need, isn't it? Because if you have a problem with something else, you were in an accident, and your insurance covers that."

"Huh, I guess so."

"How long will you be gone?"

"Ohhh, 20 minutes?" (It was 12:20pm)

"I'll put 1:15 as the return time," she said.

We chuckled. "It won't be that long," I assured her.

She went outside, and unlocked the car, and handed me the key. We got in, and headed out, and I loved it.

"This car is perfect," I told J.

It really was perfect. It hugged the road so closely, and it had so much power! There were no churning sounds or ticking sounds, or anything. It maneuvered very well. "But what about that sound?" J listened. "There's air coming in somewhere." He was right. There was a faint whistle.

Eh, who cares. "Wouldn't that bother you?" "Nahhh." ... "Well, we should at least see how much it would cost to have it fixed." "Why?" "It would bother me if I were driving it." "Well, if you have music on, you wouldn't even hear it." "There's some truth to that."

I drove around for a little bit, and took it on the freeway. The Baja was a champ. "This is the perfect car for me, J." I loved the Baja! "Think about it. It has AWD like I want, and it can do all of the truck things, too. It would be perfect for bringing boxes from CA when we go, or moving a dishwasher, or picking up things from HD. Plus it has enough power to pull the trailer..."

We traded places, and J began driving. He SPED and STOPPED. "This does have a lot of power." Test driving cars with J is enough to make you car sick. He drove around, and got on the freeway too. "So is this it? Would you want this?"


"Ok. We'll see what they're willing to do about the price."

"Ughhh, it's already low, though."

We realized it was past 12:50 (!) and took the car back. When we went back inside, Gustavo** was also there.


"We really enjoyed driving it," J handed the key back to Milla. "It does whistle on the front passenger side..."

"Ah. It's the windshield. We had it replaced. Don't worry! It's still under warranty. They will fix it," Gustavo told us.


The rest of the conversation was kind of awkward. J offered $9000, plus the Elantra as a trade in. (Oh, yeah, we had talked to Milla about that before we test drove, and she said they do take trade-ins.)

"I don't know what to say," Milla responded. "This is a very good car, already at a very low price."

Milla and Gustavo paused.

Gustavo asked how much we thought the Elantra was worth, and after J strategically*** avoided the question, I told them we were planning to sell it on KSL for $1200. It has a few dents in it. Gustavo said he would give us $1,000 for it.

"So that's a difference of $1,900," (Between the asking price of $11,900 and J's offer of $9,000 plus the Elantra.) Gustavo concluded. "Did you expect us to make up the difference?" He seemed almost disgusted.

"Well," J explained, "We were really looking at 2WD pick up trucks. So this car has some extra things like leather that we just don't care all that much about, and aren't really worth all that much to us."

"This will be much easier to re-sell than a 2WD truck," Milla said. "You may not care, but you will be unable to sell a 2WD truck in Utah. You'll have to take it out of state."

"We're looking for one, though," J said, "So some people buy them."

"This is a very good vehicle. Some Subarus with smaller engine cannot make it up a hill, but this one can!"

"Yes, it is very powerful."

"It is already very low price," Milla said.

"So your final offer is $10,900 plus the trade in," J asked.

"Yes," Gustavo said.

"All right. Well, thanks," J said. And we left.

And I was very frustrated, because I hate test-driving trucks. And I'm tired of J wanting to get a 2WD truck when everyone keeps telling us it's a bad idea. I was so sad.

We found the perfect car--a girl truck! And J wanted it to be cheaper than was even fair...

[To Be Continued]

*Although, really, do people still use CDs?
** Names NOT changed, to protect the innocent [future buyers].
*** Awkwardly

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The car shopping begins!

Last weekend J and I started test-driving cars. It's about time for us to replace our 1999 Elantra* so we've been car shopping online very casually for a few weeks now.

We were thinking we wanted/needed a truck, because**:
- It would be very useful for property management things, like moving large appliances.
- It would be very useful for trips to home improvement stores, because my little car doesn't fit much. HD sometimes tells me, uh, maybe it would be best if I just come back for the rest of whatever I've bought.
- It would be very useful for pulling our DOOOOMBUGGY when we take it to go buy hay each year, and when we use it to transport animals.

Last Saturday we went to test-drive four different truck models, so that I can see how I like different kinds. J wants me to have a preference. He picked the Yaris, he says, so I can pick my truck. I just need to pick something that is within our budget, not too old, and something that meets our needs (like, I can't totally ditch the truck idea and get something sporty**). But I could get an SUV if I wanted.

First we went to test drive a Toyota Tacoma. It was a lot dirtier than it had seemed in the pictures online. There were thug-ish vinyl decals on the outside. The windshield was cracked (but the guy said he would get it fixed for a real buyer)...and when I drove it, I LIKED it! It was not nearly as truck-like as I expected it to be. BUT... it really wasn't going to work for us, because it smelled like smoke. I am super sensitive to cigarette smoke, and within a few blocks of our little test drive, I was feeling sick. It was ok, though, because it taught me that I like Tacomas. When we brought the truck back, I did a terrible job of parallel parking, because I couldn't tell how wide I was. As we were leaving, the guy offered to clean out the truck and see if he could get the smoke smell out, but I said it probably wasn't going to work out. Sorry.

Then we drove out to Brad's Cars*** to test drive a Nissan Frontier. It was even cleaner than it had seemed in the pictures online. It looked brand new. The dash was SO classy. I liked it! And then, when I test drove it, I felt like I was driving Noah's Ark. The truck felt huge, and I hated it, and it made me feel as if I was being a really risky driver because I was afraid that I would sideswipe, like, everyone. When we brought that truck back, I didn't even bother trying to park in a particular place, because I would have crunched other cars that they had for sale, for sure. Also, that truck made a churning-thumping noise as I drove it, so that wasn't really confidence-inspiring either. We decided Frontiers were out, since I hate them.

Our third stop was down in American Fork, to test drive a Chevy Colorado. The outside of the Colorado looked nice! The inside had seen better days. The weird thing was, we're only looking at trucks that are '04 and newer, but the dash in this thing looked like it was from 1980. It really did. And then we started driving it, it was ok. It was boxy, but not as bad as the Frontier. Nothing to get excited about, but it would work, I guess. And then we realized the back had no seats. It did have one car seat anchor thing, but no actual seats. That salesguy said it was because it had been a work truck. Ah, ok. Well, we're limiting our search to extended cab stuff, so the Colorado was out.

Then we drove home.

In the evening, J found a Tacoma online that he wanted to check out in Salt Lake (because it was cheap and low miles) but the guy couldn't meet us that night, so we didn't go. Instead, we went to the Toyota dealership that J bought our Yaris at, just to see what they had.

The sales-guys laughed at us for wanting to spend what we've decided we want to spend. Then the sales-guys laughed at us for looking at 2 wheel drive trucks in Utah. They didn't really have anything that met our criteria. Our sales guy tried to talk us into buying a Tacoma that was 4WD, with a shell, which had just been a trade-in from the night before. He was telling us he could do that for $15,000, and he would give us $1500 for the Elantra as a trade-in. Hm. Well, that was more than we wanted to spend... What about for $14,500, he asked. We decided to test-drive it.

Visibility through the truck's shell was minimal. The brake light stayed on, even though I'm sure the parking brake was off. The engine made a weird noise. I pulled it into the next row of parking stalls, and that ended my test drive. We went back inside to find our guy, and he came back out and tried to drive it. He tore through the parking lot, turned around and came back. He told us the brake light clicked on and off for him. He said the tires were having some problems, so it was a bumpy ride. And then he told us it hadn't been through their shop yet, so they didn't know how much that was going to cost, and what if if were a little over $15,000 but we kept it close to $15,000 and he wasn't sure if he could, but would we be interested? Eh. Not really. Thanks, though.

So, our next options were the Tacoma that J had found, or an Isuzu that was cheap (but 3 hours away, in Idaho), or another Tacoma that was a little spendy, but looked nice, and was up in Bountiful.

And then, something amazing happened. I found A PERFECT CAR.

[To be continued!]

* Which J actually bought new.
** We keep borrowing J's dad's truck for things.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our new DOOOOOOM BUGGY (aka. Horse trailer)

On Friday, J and I went on another fun date. We went to go buy a horse trailer. The main reason we need one now is because we need to be able to transport our calves. We brought them home in the back of J's dad's truck, and that just isn't going to work for them anymore. We also need a trailer because we will probably use it a few times per season to buy many bales of hay, or a lot of grain.

We decided to get an old trailer because new trailers are very, very expensive. Old trailers hold their value very well. J found this one on KSL. It is a 1984 horse trailer. The tires are pretty new. Some of the lights weren't working, so J offered $100 less than the price the guy had listed it for, and the guy accepted the offer. We hooked it up* and drove off. Later, the problem with some of the lights corrected itself. Great.

We had intended to park it in our garage, since there's space. Horse trailers are heavy enough, though, that you can't move them after you park them. So it would have been tricky to maneuver. For now, it is parked in our backyard** but we plan to move it either to the side of the house or to the driveway.

J keeps telling the calves that it's what they will take "to get to Heaven." I tell him that's sad, and he shouldn't say it. They don't understand, though, so they're pretty interested in it.

I keep wanting to call it our Dooooooomsbuggy (in a creepy voice) because to me it looks an awful lot like the little buggies that you sit in for the Haunted Mansion, at Disneyland.*** I want to repaint it. J says we don't have time. (Yeah, we actually don't.) Maybe someday.

I also keep thinking we should really get a horse or two. J says to save my personal money. He also says we don't have time for a horse. (Yeah, we actually don't.) He also says we don't have money for a horse. (Yeah, we actually don't.)**** When we have more money and time I can have a horse. That will probably be in a while, though.

* It was pretty funny, actually. The trailer was in the middle of a field and when the man was showing J how to hook the trailer up, the horses that were in the field became curious about what was going on. They came over to check things out and started nibbling on our clothes, etc. I forgot how much I love horses.
** Which had a ton of space and was still tricky to maneuver. J just needs more practice.
*** It turns out those are actually called "Doom buggies." Eh. Whatever.
**** J also says horses are too big. They make him uncomfortable. I tell him it's kind of like business: some business people are afraid to hire people that are smarter than them, or bigger than them, or better at things than they are. This is a mistake. Good business people hire people who are better than them whenever they can because they help you make your business stronger. Or, it's like the Lion King--"But what if he's on our side." I told J: "A horse could plow our crops much faster than you can." But, we don't actually have any crops, so it doesn't really matter.

Dog Lake, part 2 (sort of)

This isn't actually about Dog Lake, but it is from that hike. This is something fun.

About a year ago (October 17th, the photo thing says), J and I went hiking and we had our picture taken together. I probably posted it on my blog somewhere before, but this is the picture:

This year we took a new picture together, on the same hike, in the same month, in front of the same sign.

It's kind of like those drawings where the pictures look alike but you have to find a certain number of things that are different between the two pictures. For instance, in the first picture we're broken up; in the second picture we're married. In the first picture, we have no dog to enjoy hiking; in the second picture we have Chalcy.

I kind of think we should go back every October and take another picture there. Then, someday it will be kind of neat to flip through our pictures and watch ourselves age and things change. We'll see.

(Isn't that cool?)

Dog Lake, part 1

A couple weeks ago J and I decided to go for a hike, and we decided to bring Chalcy along.*

We ended up doing one of the hikes we used to do back before we were married. I think it's called the Big Water? trail. Anyhow, it leads to Dog Lake**, and I'd heard Dog Lake is a lot of fun. So we went.

Chalcy was off-leash for the hike, and I was a little worried about that, because it was our first time taking her anywhere off-leash (except for the dog park). She didn't fall down the mountain, though, or race off after some other dog, or anything. She just had a lot of fun hiking right next to us. So it all worked out well.

We saw tons and tons of dogs on the trail. Pretty much all of the dogs were friendly. Some people could tell Chalcy is still a puppy, and she got a lot of attention from them. ("OH, LOOK at your BIG PAWS! You've got a lot of growing to do!!") We saw another Dane on the trail, too. It was fun; we stopped to chat with her owner for a couple minutes. People who own Danes seem to always love them so much. So that was kind of neat. Sometimes I forget how big Chalcy will be.***

When we got to Dog Lake, it was nice. It's this little lake where dogs run all over the beach and play in the water, etc. Chalcy was afraid to go in the water, so J and I started tossing a stick for her, just barely in the water. She would fetch it, and we would throw it for her again, slightly farther out in the water. The game worked pretty well until one time I threw the stick about 4 feet farther into the water, and she RAN out to get it, and suddenly STOPPED in the water, a couple feet before reaching the stick. The water had gotten deeper, and her belly was getting wet now. She left the stick right where it was and returned to the shore. We laughed pretty hard, and so did the people around us. Funny dog! Chalcy is getting better at socializing with other dogs. She tends to be a little shy, but then she warms up and starts playing too. She's definitely not a barker or aggressive at all. She's always very friendly with the people around us. Just sometimes when there are a lot of dogs, it's kind of intimidating.

We're thinking we may take her to California with us for Thanksgiving. She would have more fun with us than hanging out at home without us. We'll see.

* We found out that the Cottonwood canyons do NOT allow dogs. But Millcreek Canyon does.
** Eventually. After like 4 miles of hiking.
*** It just seems like other dogs are getting smaller. Like, I thought Labs were pretty big dogs, but now they look really small. On a similar note, as of a week or so ago, I can't pick Chalcy up anymore. She's too heavy for me. Not sure how much she weighs.

P.S. The last photo of Chalcy investigating the water is not blurry because dogs splashed the camera, it is blurry because it is like a dream come true for dogs. It's a dreamy-effect that just automatically happens when you take pictures there. :)

Friday, October 01, 2010

As of today...

All of our properties are rented!

Last Saturday was our busy, busy day where we had four people all fighting to apply first. In slow-motion.

On Monday everyone passed background and credit checks.

Monday evening I signed the first rental agreement, and Tuesday evening I signed the second one. This week I hustled to finish everything. Both wanted to pick up keys last night, so we did that, and they started moving in. Yesterday was chaotic! I hired a cleaning lady AND a handyman to help. I found out that the dishwasher I was hooking up was actually broken* and J arranged for a lady to deliver one. So I installed TWO dishwashers yesterday. I'm getting better at that. Last night J and I were there re-installing the dishwasher, re-gluing linoleum, and drying out carpet until 10pm. Each unit has a couple more things to do, but nothing too urgent.

In order to rent the fourplex we posted (and re-posted) ads on KSL, Craigslist,, and "Over 20 other sites!" (through We also put a FOR RENT sign in the yard.
  • Our first applicant was someone who had noticed people moving and asked my other renters for my phone number.
  • Throughout the vacancies, I had many calls and showings that resulted from KSL and the sign out front. People who called about the KSL ads were almost always calling about the unit I put fake wood floor in. Even though the ad had pictures that represented the apartment well, the people almost always ended up deciding they preferred carpet. (I think this was because the unit with carpet was closer to being done.)
  • Of the two accepted applications, one was from people who drove the neighborhood looking for a place, and the other was from KSL.
  • has neat tracking stuff to tell me how many leads have been generated. They assigned me a toll-free number that interested parties could call. They claim one person called. If someone did, it did not result in anything.
  • I also received two e-mails about the ad. Neither were serious. The first was from someone with an obscene name, who also listed an obscene e-mail address. I don't know if they were real or not, but I didn't call him back to find out.
  • NOBODY called or visited as a result of Craigslist.
  • NOBODY called or visited as a result of the "Over 20 other sites!".
  • Lowering the deposit seemed to make a big difference in the quality of the people that were interested. So did lowering the price.

Today is a lot less stressful. Things are feeling better. They will feel even better when I get our house clean!

*I found this out by, you know, flooding the whole kitchen.

Congratulations, Chalcy!

This Monday, Chalcy graduated from Puppy Preschool!*

Our original class had Mos-B (?) (a big...retriever?), Mini (a little black fluffy puppy), Zulu (a Rhodesian Ridgeback show-puppy) and Breezy (a tiny yellow lab that looked like the Cottonelle? puppy). Plus Chalcy.

Mos-B only came the first week because his person (an older lady) had a hip problem and she wasn't going to be able to bring him anymore.

Mini just stopped coming, I think. She came consistently for the first month, and made up a couple classes, but we haven't seen her in a while.

Zulu stopped coming about when Mini did. Zulu's sister was in intermediate, and they stopped taking her, too.

Breezy missed a couple weeks towards the beginning, but she made them up, and Breezy has been at all of the classes since then.

Chalcy's graduating class included: Cougar (a bitey dog that we had never met before that class, so maybe he was making up his last class) and Breezy! Breezy is MUCH bigger than she was at the beginning, but she wag-wag-wags!!! her tail all the time and gets SO EXCITED!!! about everything. Breezy will do ANYTHING for a treat. If she can figure out what you want her to do.

Anyway, for her last class we practiced combining commands (Drop it- Leave it), "Return to heel"***, we learned how to do "Puppy-Push-ups" (sit! down! sit!) and we talked about what a great value Intermediate class is and when Intermediate class is starting. We also talked about how the Intermediate class fills up quickly and how it's even more fun than Puppy Preschool because it's building on what they already know. And then everyone got to have their picture taken--the dogs wore caps and so did their people because we're BOTH graduating. And then Robyn (the new trainer) filled out our graduation certificates. (And reminded us that we can sign up for Intermediate if we want.)

We may do Intermediate sometime, but we're ready for a break from classes for now. Life needs to settle down before we'll have time for more classes.

*Her certificate says Beginner level, because the trainer grabbed the wrong certificates. But they are equivalent classes.**
** But really, they're not, because Beginner is for dogs 5 months or older. We did NOT let our dog get out of hand and then finally try SOMETHING, ANYTHING to fix her. We were Responsible Dog Owners, so our certificate should say that it was the puppy class. Not that I'm bitter, or anything.
*** I typed "Return to hell" first. Not sure what THAT trick would be.