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She’s dead, Jim

By M Davies   /     Jul 11, 2012  /     Annoyances, The WTF File  /     3 Comments

And thus begins the great car hunt of 2012…..


The Versa was dead to begin with.  There was no doubt about that.  The old Versa was deader than a door nail. — From the novel “A Versa Carol” by Charles Dickens


I purchased my Nissan Versa used in 2010 from Gray Chevrolet in Stroudburg.  It’s a 2009 model.  It was working beautifully up until my accident last year.  The day before my birthday…I swerved to avoid a deer on Old Route 115 in Lehman.  I hit a patch of ice and my car went off road.  I was able to re-correct it and avoid slamming into a telephone pole, but it was already too late.  All of the rock and underbrush from the shoulder damaged the right front passenger-side tire and other crap underneath my engine.  I was barely able to get my car home that evening and it was towed to Quality Collision in Dallas the day after my birthday (New Years Day).  What a way to start a new year.  By the way, this area of Old Route 115 is notorious for water run off.  A person was killed in an accident in the same area I ran off the road back in March.  You can read that story online at right here.


I’m not convinced that incident didn’t have something to do with why my car is dead.


I started to notice my car had an issue right after the Fourth of July.  Before work on Saturday morning, I started up my car ahead of loading up all of my crap needed for my shift (purse, water, laptop bag, charging cables, etc) and as I was doing that I noticed it was “puttering”.  Like it was shaking slightly and making this “put put put put put” noise.  That was abnormal, but it seemed fine otherwise.  I drove it in with no issues, except for the moth that I let in when loading my car.  Saturday was hot and so was Sunday.  I had the AC on a lot both days, so I figured the puttering may have had something to do with overtaxing the engine.  Sunday I noticed the same thing, except worse.  Something did not seem right.  It started bucking and shaking violently whenever I was stopped.  I can’t say that I’ve ever ridden a bucking bronco or have suffered from shaken baby syndrome, but if I had, I would imagine it would feel like how my car drove on Sunday morning on my way home from work.  Monday was more of the same, with one exception….when I took my car out to grab lunch, I noticed that the “Service Engine Soon” light on my car’s dashboard appeared.  WTF?



Oh that other light?  The exclamation point?  Yeah, that’s also always on.  Normally, when it is on, it means that the tire pressure is low, but I recently purchased 4 new tires, and the Nissan OEM valve stems were replaced with generic ones.  When that happens, the stupid sensor freaks out because it cannot get a reading on the tire pressure.  I’m sorry, but I’m not paying 90 dollars a tire to have it replaced x4 tires.


When I was ready to leave work finally around 6pm, there was a major traffic back-up on 81 South, some accident happened near the Dupont exit and Lifeflight was called in.  I decided to wait a bit until the traffic cleared up before attempting to leave.  My car was bucking and shaking when sitting idle and I was afraid that I would have stalled out or broken down right on the Interstate.  Around 6:30, things seemed clear, so I left.  Everything was peachy keen until I got to the road that my house is on.  I was preparing to make a left turn onto my road from Route 29, but there were 6 or so cars coming up the hill from the opposite direction.  I had to wait until they passed before I could turn….and wouldn’t you know it, that was just enough time for my car to stall out.  Luckily, I was able to negotiate the turn onto the road, but all of my steering, breaks and other controls were dead and there were a million alarm lights lit up.  I pulled the car off onto a side dirt road and shut off the engine.  I waited about 2-3 minutes and attempted to turn it back over.  IT STARTED.  Thank god.  I was about a mile from my house, I could have walked home, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving my car unattended.  I drove it home safely and then my husband took it for a ride to my brother in laws.


The two of them looked at the car and engine and determined that there was 0 quarts of oil in my car.  They immediately went and got oil and dumped it in the engine.  It seemed to be behaving slightly better.  They took it for a ride again and noticed the bucking, shaking and lack of power.  They determined that a rod in my engine, or multiple rods are damaged due to the lack of oil.  Here’s the ass kicker though, my “check oil” light never came on.  It only lit up after my car had stalled out.  Don’t you think it should have warned me before there was…oh I don’t know….say NO OIL inside of the engine?!  Nah.  Why should things make sense?  We thought that perhaps when my car was in the accident earlier this year, that something got messed up with the oil pan or oil sensors, but who knows.


After doing a KBB on my car, we determined it’s only worth 5k.  A new engine would be 3k.  It does not make sense to put a new engine in it.  Time to start car shopping.  Yippee fucking skippee.


I went to Wyoming Valley Motors, Ertley Motor World and then back to Wyoming Valley Motors today.  I was on my way to a Fiat dealer when I hit construction traffic on 81.  Afraid I’d get stuck, I got off on the first exit and went back home.  I did put down a deposit on an absolutely gorgeous VW Jetta this afternoon, and got a fairly decent deal on it, but the hubs is not convinced about making this commitment.  I don’t really know what other options I have.  My credit is kind of terrible right now because of these assholes and the situation they put me in.  That 1500 dollars could sure come in handy now.


I’m still not sure what I’m going to do.  I may try to stop at the stupid Fiat dealer tomorrow to see if  I can get a better deal.  I’m pretty much screwed anyway I look at it right now, and hopefully my car won’t blow up before I can trade it in.  However, once it’s in the dealer’s hands….good luck chuck.  That thing could burst into flames for all I care.


As bad as this whole ordeal has been, I guess I am lucky to be alive.  Around 10:30 I’d say, I heard a bunch of sirens and my head did a 360 assuming the noise was coming from the TV.  It wasn’t the TV, it was coming from outside.  For a minute, I had a flashback to living in Hanover Township…I headed outside to see what the commotion was about.  I couldn’t really see too well, but there were a bunch of fire, police and ambulances lining my road.  I, of course, assumed that one of the trailers across the street was busted for a meth lab (several very shady people over there), but it wasn’t.  I walked to the end of my dirt road and it turns out someone crashed head on into a tree narrowly missing a trailer across the street.  People have been known to fly up and down the road that I live off of, and right before that it had rained.  Combined with the poor lighting, I’m sure this person was driving fast, on perhaps bald tires and drove right off the road.  I wish people would realize THIS IS NOT THE INTERSTATE AND CHILDREN LIVE ON THIS ROAD.  As you can see below, if this happened during the day, there may have been kids on the swingset.



The Lifeflight helicopter landed soon after and took 1, perhaps 2 people to a nearby hospital.


No matter how bad my car situation is….at least I’m not that guy.

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Blah blah blah STRESS blah blah blah

By M Davies   /     Apr 09, 2012  /     Annoyances, Misc/Crap  /     0 Comment

I have once again over-allocated myself to the umpteenth degree.  This really shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.  It's a sickness.

A look at the week ahead:


An 8:30am root canal to which I'll being to work immediately after it is completed.

Once I arrive at work, I have a 2pm, 3pm and 4pm meeting.  The 3pm meeting is a training for Excel Vlookups, to which I'm not finished preparing the training materials.  I think it's informal, but I'd feel better prepared with having some reference guides/training aides to present to the peeps I'm training.

I need to write-up 2 BOTW posts for NEPA Blogs.  There's a whole story behind that, which I will tell at another time.



My COBOL homework and test is due, and I have class from 6-8pm.

I need to complete my research and write-up something for ComputerWise about Pinterest.



Computerwise at 7pm in Lehighton.

Networking homework chapter 9 (which was due like 2 weeks ago) and chapter 10 need to be completed and submitted.


Work.  Meeting at 10:30am (which I will be the subject of this week, no doubt).

Networking class 6-8:45.  More homework and another test will be assigned.


The 13th…

I'm supposed to have a dentist appointment for a cleaning on this day.  Yeah, that's funny right?  I'll probably have to reschedule that.  I don't need people probing around in my mouth after I've been through a root canal on Monday. Plus, I really can't miss any more time at work.  I'm falling behind on shit.



Next week isn't looking much better. 



Is this semester over yet?  I want my life back.

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Haxes, Taxes, and Annoyances to the Maxes

By M Davies   /     Mar 26, 2012  /     Annoyances, Technology Hates Me  /     0 Comment

After a week, I'm back online.  My websites were hacked.  Well – at least 2 of the 3 were hacked.  I don't think was, but kind of sort of was due to the domains all being linked together through Dreamhost's web panel.  The ass kicker here is, I was not the only one.  There's a 30+ page thread on Dreamhost with several customers experiencing the same issue.  A fellow local blogger (Shannon Nelson) also had her site hacked on Dreamhost a few weeks ago.  After doing extensive research, our hacks were different – her site was hacked via JavaScript.  Basically, an  iFrame linking to a website with malicious software was inserted into her WordPress installation.  On the other hand, my hack was a base64 hack which happened via PHP.  You can read more on that here:  I still have some clean-up work to do, and then I'm going to re-evaluate my hosting provider options.  I have 3 options that I'm currently looking at.

We had to submit a request for an extension for submitting our taxes this year.  I can't recall a time that I've ever done this.  It turns out our taxes are uber complicated this year, and the tax guy actually had to look up the tax code to figure out how to file.  After holding off until he figured out how to do them, he worked on a bunch of other people's and our taxes got pushed to the back of the list.  Now we are working on borrowed time.  Terrific. 

This morning I discovered that the power supply for my new Macbook pro was dead.  I plugged it into the wall and it refused to power up.  I reseated the cables and tried another outlet and still no dice.  I determined that the power brick part of the cable was messed up.  I'm not sure exactly got messed up with it, but it wasn't working.  I guess, if I knew more about electricity, I could hook it up to a multimeter and test levels.  The happy ending of this story is that the local Wilkes-Barre best buy had the exact cable I needed, so I didn't have to wait for an Apple RMA.  The bad news is, it cost 80 effing dollars.  We just purchased this Mac in November.  There's no reason the damn power supply should be bad already, but it is what it is.  It's covered under Apple Care still, so I'll get a replacement for free, but it's just another annoyance.

Follow-up to our electricity issue in the bedroom (…ummmm…I just realized that may sound perverted, but no, we actually have an electrical problem in the bedroom…):  We have a bad whosa-ma-whatsit in the fuse panel.  What are they called?  Circuit breakers?  Fuses?  I told you I don't know much about electrical things.  We purchased a new thingee majig from Lowes to replace the bad one — which by the way is leaking a white substance, and Rich is going to try to replace it tomorrow.  I'm not sure how this is going to end up.  He says he's going to kill the power to the entire house before he attempts it.  Still…I'm nervous. 

Can anything else go wrong lately?  I probably shouldn't say that too loud, or I'll be struck dead by a lightning bolt or something. 

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It Never Fails

By M Davies   /     Mar 11, 2012  /     Annoyances, I hate my neighbors, NEPA  /     1 Comment

Many people text, put on makeup, channel surf and jam out to the radio while they drive. Not me. I write blog posts. In my head.

It dawned on my on my drive home on Friday that the three year anniversary of the move from Hanover Township to Sweet Valley is coming up. We made the move in March of 2008, after an extensive and exhausting search for a new home. Why did we move? We outgrew the house in Hanover Township. I planned to blog about how happy I am to call this northern corner of Luzerne County my home. That is, until I arrived home.

The first thing my husband said to me when I walked in the door was not "Hi" or "Welcome home". It was "We have a major electrical problem." AGAIN?! What the…?

We've been having issues with various electrical things in the house since last summer.  It started with the power going out for 5 days during Hurricane Irene, continued on with the Washer & Dryer conspiring to stop working at the same time, and in December the baseboard heat decided it should just stop working in the Living Room upstairs.  I pretty much had my fill with stupid house problems last year.  I REEAAAALLLLYYY don't want to start the year with another plethora of crap that needs to be fixed around here.  Anyway, back to the story….

We don't really know what happened, or why it happened, but there is now 0 watts of power going to the master bedroom.  Zero.  Zilch.  Zippo.  Like nothing will turn on.  At all.  When I'm annoyed. I. put. a. period. after. every. word.  The power was working fine in there on Friday morning.  Rich turned off everything before starting to work (he usually works from his computer room in the basement).  He went back upstairs sometime in the afternoon and nothing would turn on.  He thought, "Uh oh, I bet a fuse is blown."  He went over to the fuse panel and proceeded to throw every switch.  Nothing turned back on.  He went back into the basement where we have a second fuse panel and threw every switch there.  Still nothing turned back on in the bedroom.  What the….?!?!?!?!

It's now Sunday and still the entire bedroom remains powerless.  We have no idea what's wrong, but it's more than likely going to require a professional electrician to come out and look at the wiring.  I'm really nervous about what that may end up costing us.  Also, I'm even more nervous about what he may find.  When the baseboard heat stopped working in the living room….Rich came to the conclusion that the thermostat was bad.  He turned off the power and took it off of the wall to find something majorly wrong inside of the wall.  Basically the wiring got hot enough to melt through the plastic shielding that surrounded it and the wires were bare and exposed.  We are seriously lucky that the entire house did not burn down.  I'm not really sure how hot it would have needed to be to melt wires, but it kind of freaks me out thinking about it. 

Here's the thing about this house, it's a divorce house.  The people that lived here before us got divorced, and the wife ended up with it.  The husband was some kind of masterful electrician.  If you toured the house, you'd know what I mean.  There are about 8000 light switches (I still have no idea what half of them are supposed to control), 2 fuse panels (as previously mentioned), an external garage completely wired up, a timer, and a million and one weird configurations of lights and etc.  I'm really wondering two things.  1) Was he really a good electrician or one of those hacks that says they know a lot about electricity?  2)  Did he purposely wire crap up to fail after the divorce papers were served?  I'm not one for conspiracy theories…but…..

All things considered, I do really love Sweet Valley.  I'm very happy to call it my home.  I may have some odd neighbors, but nothing like the lunatics I lived next door to in Lee Park.  I would take the lunacy any day over the week over the scumbags, murderers, thieves, more thieves and megan's law violators.  By the look of things, not much has changed in Hanover Township.  Just this week, 3 major crimes happened within a 24 hour timefame.

1.  Marion Terrace Slashing

2.  A Drug Bust

3.  Shooting Near the American Legion

I think we made the right decision by moving out when we did.  The city is starting to get more and more dangerous each day. 

Now *ahem* about that electrical problem…..anyone know a good reliable yet affordable electrician? 

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Pay no attention to that noise behind the curtain

By M Davies   /     Nov 06, 2011  /     Annoyances, The WTF File  /     2 Comments

Welp. Something is wrong with my car (again).  As I'm sure you'll remember, I most recently had a flat tire, which I thankfully able to get patched. 

This time the problem is the noise it is emitting.  I'm quite certain that I'm breaking the noise ordinance in most neighborhoods that I drive through.  This noise mysteriously started on my drive into work on Wednesday.  I was of course blaring music loudly and singing along as I often do and then I was like….wait a minute…something doesn't sound right with the bass in this Snoop D O double G song.  I turned down the volume and sure enough my car sounded as if it was going to blow up.  TERRIFIC, I thought.  At the point I noticed the noise, I was near the BK in Shavertown.  I had to take Overbrook Road that day because Hillside Road was closed.  I still had quite a ways to go before I was at work.  I was freaking out.

I ended up discovering that the faster that I drove, the less I would hear this noise.  So I drove fast the entire way down the Cross Valley.  Something I really don't like to do because cops are always prone to sitting around the Rock Cut looking for speeders.  Luckily, I managed to make it to work, but I was nervous about whether or not I'd make it home later that evening.

The noise sounded like it was emanating from my shifter.  Its a rattling type of noise.  It also sounds very bass-y.  Here's my impression of it: Car Noise

After arriving home that evening, the hubs took a look at my car and said it sounded like it was the exhaust.  He also compared it to those kids driving around with the big mufflers and the tinted windows with the loud cars.  "People PAY for that noise!", he said.  In the name of sanity, WHY?  I feel like my brain is rattling around in my skull when I'm stopped at a red light.  The noise is more noticeable when I'm stopped or parked.  He also wondered if some had stolen my catalytic converter.  I know absolutely nothing about cars, so I have no idea what that is or what it does…but apparently thieves can trade it in at scrap yards for cash.  I have no idea when someone would have had a chance to heist that from my vehicle…but then again, for the last three months I've been either sleeping, working or at school…so I guess anything is possible.

Anyway, the moral of this story is, now I have to take my f-ing car to f-ing Nissan to get it looked at and who the hell knows how much that is going to cost me this close to Black Friday and Christmas.  Ugh. 

Until then, if you hear me driving down your street with my car, don't stare at me…I'm already absolutely horrified and embarrassed with the sound it is making.

Please and Thank you.

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