My Mr. Lube Experience

So, I take my car to Mr. Lube for the requisite oil change. I have been there a few times and things have generally gone well. Well, not this time. First of all they advise me that they have stopped ordering Subaru oil filters because only 1 out of 100 cars are Subarus and they assure me that their oil filters are just as good and that they provide a warranty. Seeing as I was already over on kilometres I decided to go ahead.

I feel the tech tug at the bottom of my car and assume all is going fine. I began to get a little suspicious that something was up when they did not do the normal things like check the tire pressure, lube the hinges etc. I am starting to notice two of the techs scurrying around and looking at books. I know something is up but I just sit there and wait. After about 10 minutes of sitting there one of the techs comes over to the window and advises me that the ‘downstairs’ tech accidentally drained my automatic transmission fluid instead of my oil. Now, I am not a tech – but you would think that one would know the difference between the transmission and the oil pan. Apparently, I was wrong. I guess in Subarus the transmission is exposed and the oil pan is behind a plate.

Then the tech tells me that Subarus take a special kind of automatic transmission fluid and that his ‘Area Manager’ has been on the internet and apparently they can use their fluid with an additive and it will be just like the Subaru fluid. He further explains that I can bring the car back tomorrow and his ‘Area Manager’ will go to Subaru and get the correct filter and fluid. I don’t believe them that their concoction would be good for my transmission. I asked him what would happen if there was damage done as a result of this that did not show up for a while would they take responsibility. The bottom line was that I would have to prove it. No go on the Mr. Lube fluid for my transmission!  I leave the car, which they assure me will stay in the bay it is in and opt to come back today to pick it up. I take a cab home – they state they will pay for it if I give them the receipt.

Now, all of this was a pain in the ass but I guess this kind of stuff can happen (not sure how but whatever). Next we get to move into the realm of insulting sexism where women are treated as stupid. They called at about 10:30 to tell me my car was ready to go. Deb and I go to pick it up at about 11:30. I get there and they tell me the invoice is in the car and that the oil change is free. I ask them if the invoice reflects what happened and I look at their copy. Nope, you guessed it, the invoice just shows a free oil change. I tell the manager that this is not acceptable and that the invoice must reflect what had happened. He says well go and get your copy out of the car and I will write it on there. I say, no that will not be acceptable as anyone can write anything on an invoice and it will not mean anything. I again insist that the invoice must reflect the accidental draining of my transmission. He says: “It is noted in the computer and I have already done the invoice.” I laugh and inform him that he will need to officially note it on the invoice. He gives in and goes and does it.

I do not normally rail about sexism. For the most partm  I am an  intelligent, well-educated woman who has lots of privilege in society. But there is something that happens with men, cars and women. Many men seem to think that women know nothing about cars and can be bamboozled with their crap. The same thing happens with computers. I have noticed a distinct difference in the way I am treated by a male sales person once he realizes that the woman standing in front of him likely knows more about computers that he does. I get a little tired of this but sometimes, I must confess, I do enjoy playing with them.

Back to Mr. Lube – He managed to correct the invoice so it now indicates that they accidentally drained my transmission. At least now if something goes wrong I have some hope of holding them accountable. Now, I won’t hold my breath for the cheque to reimburse me for the taxi fare. 

Hurray for the Anti-Poverty Committee

As we wend our way into week 6 of the Civic Workers strike in Vancouver, the Anti-Poverty Committee (APC) has struck a blow for the average Vancouverite. They dumped garbage in front of Mayor Sam Sullivan’s condo building in upscale Yaletown. It is about time that this strike actually start to impact His Worship’s life. After all, he continues to collect a pay cheque while the hard-working women and men of Cupe walk the picket line.

It makes no sense why Vancouver has been so intractable in reaching a settlement with its Civic Workers. Other municipalities have been able to make deals with their unions. One can only conclude that it is the direct involvement of the Mayor who has exacerbated this situation. So now we have Sam’s strike.

At least there is some hope that the City is starting to move and is offerring the same deals that have been reached in other municipalities. One can only hope that cooler heads will prevail and Cupe will seriously look at the offer.

What can the ordinary person do to help bring an end to the strike? Here are some suggestions:
1. Support the Cupe workers on the picket line. Honk, wave show your support. Morale is flagging and they need all the support they can get.
2. Contact city council and the city managers who are responsible for this mess.
3. Talk to your neighbours, friends and co-workers and enlist their help in contacting the city to get this resolved.

Let’s hope that we do indeed have labour peace by Labour Day.

Google Reader

I follow about 10 blogs regularly. At least once a day (sometimes many more given my OCD like nature) I would check all the blogs to see if they had been updated. This was starting to grow tedious. I would also come across blogs that I wanted to follow. I would bookmark them and then promptly forget about them.

What is the answer you ask?? Google Reader!!! Now, I have subscribed to the RSS feeds supplied by the blogs and Google Reader tracks them for me. I can go to one place and see what is new in all of my favourite blogs and read them. Anyone familiar with GMail will instantly understand the interface.

If you want more information or a really good primer go to Tucows.

Today, we made it official…

Today we made the decision to officially adopt Mabel and Molly from SAINTS . Mabel came to us as a foster dog at the end of February. She had some issues the main one being that she was peeing blood. We did some exploratory testing at the vets and stopped as the only way to determine what was wrong would be surgery and you don’t do surgery on 15 year old ShihTzus. Turns out it was likely only a bladder infection which has been cured by a long course of antibiotics and the switch to a raw diet which lowers the pH of the urine making it less likely to have recurring infections.

Here is Miss Mabel Mae or Maybe Baby as she is affectionately known here:

Mabel Mae

Mabel has taken over our house and our hearts. She loves her raw food and her cooked chicken even more! Welcome home Mabel Mae.

Molly is a 17 year old pomeranian with no teeth. She came to us a week before my mother was coming to visit in April of 2007. In hindsight, not really a good plan as she is incontinent. She has a had a few strokes and she kind of leans to the right in everything she does. She tends to go around in circles. But her main claim to fame is that she is the original pilates dog. This dog stretches her legs out many times a day. She does it when she is happy and excited and sometimes we can get her to do it on command. What is really funny is when she does it because she wants attention.


Molly has also embraced raw food. She does not let lack of teeth slow her down either. She will tackle pieces of meat larger than her head. I have seen her strip a chicken leg in under 15 minutes. Molly loves people so much at times it seems like she can’t get herself close enough to you for a snuggle. Welcome home Molly!

We are honoured to have Mabel and Molly join our family. So many people throw away their senior animals for one reason or another. Sometimes it is incontinence, a new baby, moving to a pet-free building. We need to remember that it is a privilege to have the love and companionship of an animal and when we take on that responsibility it is for life. Mabel and Molly, for whatever reason, lost their homes. We will make sure that never happens to them again.

Adopt a senior animal.

HOV Lanes

As many of you know I live in Maple Ridge and I commute to downtown Vancouver on a daily basis. I privately refer to my commute as my time in hell. The only thing that makes it bearable is the CBC (preferably a host I like but I will settle for being able to stand her/him) and my iPod.

Three days a week I have someone who rides in with me so we get to use the coveted HOV lane. These are good days! Generally the HOV lane moves quickly and is less stressful. You do have to constantly be alert as some jerk from the other lane will pull in front of you doing 20 while you are doing 80…but I digress. My real issue with the HOV lanes are the HOV cheaters. You know those people who are the lone occupant in their vehicle and feel they somehow can use the HOV lane. I am not sure why they think this is ok but it makes me mental.

What I would really like to know is why there are so many people who don’t think the rules apply to them. This is a relatively system designed to discourage the single-occupant vehicle. I wish the police would patrol this more often.

Poor Gordon Brown

I am not sure how many of you follow British politics (or Canadian for that matter) but I find politics quite fascinating – which may explain my MA in political history. There have been many similarities in the relationship between former PM Jean Chretien and his then Finance Minisiter and former Britis PM Tony Blair and his Chancellor of the Exchequer (AKA Finance Minister). Both underlings had been stalwart supporters of their leaders and arguably, had brought about much of their respective PMs success. But both had larger ambitions under party leaders who did not want step down.

What happenned to Paul Martin is well known here. Paul wanted to be PM because he wanted to be PM. He had no vision nor agenda. Paul’s father had wanted to be Prime Minister but had been thwarted. Once he became PM with no real agenda he basically foundered. He catered to the provinces (child care, gas transfer taxes) and he seemed to go about just trying to make everyone happy. Until the Gomery commission started releasing his findings. He could not weather that storm and now we have Stephane Dion.

I don’t know a whole lot about current British politics. However I do believe that history is about to repeat itself. Gordon Brown, saddled with an unpopular war does not seem to be making much headway. He also appears to be the victim of a perfect storm of political demise: terrorist doctors, flooding of biblical proportions and now a resurgence of hoof and mouth disease. It will be interesting to see if he is able to rise above the legacy of Tony Blair and lead the country successfully through this crisis or will he go down like Paul Martin.

Margaret Willie and the Pivot Legal Society

Today a Native Elder, who lives on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, received justice. It came from Small Claims Court in Vancouver. Margaret Willie was coming out of Army and Navy when she was approached by a member of the Vancouver Police Department. She was informed that this officer had been ‘watching’ her the previous night (Margaret had been playing Bingo at the time the officer supposedly saw her away from the DTES) and the officer proceeded to search her by taking off her coat, patting her down and then going through her purse. What did the officer find – some sudafed and aspirin. In her defence, the officer said that she had observed Ms. Willie talking to some ‘known drug dealers’ in front of a convenience store the previous evening and she suspected that Ms. Willie was ‘carrying.’ Well, Margaret Willie was not carrying. She did not even know what this term meant.

After being traumatized, Margaret engaged the help of the Pivot Legal Society who regularly helps residents of the Downtown Eastside when their legal rights are trampled. The VPD seems to feel that it is ok to suspend legal and constitutional rights on the DTES while they try to root out the drug problem. I guess it is our very own Gitmo.

Margaret was not seeking money when she decided to take her case to court. She just wanted to clear her name. The judge in the case stated that Margaret’s rights had been violated, she had been illegally detained and searched without just cause. She was given a $5500 award. She has been in counselling ever since this event as it traumatized her and activated childhood memories of similar abuses of power she endured.

Adding insult to injury, Margaret was interviewed on the CBC today. It was one of the most mean-spirited interviews I have ever heard. Basically the interviewer seemed to be blaming Ms. Willie because, after all, she does live on the DTES and the police are justified in trying to clean up the drug problems plaguing the area. The interviewer asked her why she was afraid of the police and then tried to get her to agree that the VPD’s actions were justified given the intractable drug dealing in the area. Margaret did not agree with her. In fact, Margaret seemed more aftraid of the police than of the criminal element in her neighbourhood. The interviewer seemed oblivious to Margaret’s pain.

Sadly, people who live on the DTES regularly endure this kind of treatment. As John Richardson from the Pivot Legal Society pointed out, law enforcement is done very differently in the DTES. Police actions which are normal for that area would not be tolerated anywhere else in Vancouver, BC or the country as a whole.

Shame on the VPD for targeting people this way.

My new blog!

Well, I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time – so here goes!

So a little about me. I am a married lesbian. My partner Deb and me live in the GVRD (soon to be Metro Vancouver!!) with our 8 dogs. Most of our dogs are rescues and you will read lots about our dogs no doubt. I am an unabashed facebook addict and I love technology.