Knittin' mittens for ma kittens!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Return to irregularly scheduled programming

Surprise, surprise--I've added yet another hobby to my collection. Funny how I say I'll never do certain things and then I end up completely addicted to them. Let's hope that doesn't happen with something like, say, smoking crack. Maybe I need to stop saying "I'll never do X" altogether, because it seems like as soon as the words leave my mouth, an all-comsuming desire to master whatever hobby or skill I'm professing to have no interest in suddenly takes over. Or maybe I'm just full of shit!

So what is it now? Gardening! Mostly vegetable and herb gardening, but I'm slowly working my way into flowerbeds as well. I've tried my hand at growing peppers, tomatoes and a few herbs in containers on apartment balconies. But since we moved into our house with the incredible yard, I've expanded my little operation to include a raised bed, along with container-grown veggies and herbs.

raised bed

The raised bed currently has some haricot verts and two tomato plants, but is mostly bare and waiting for fall planting of lettuce, bok choy, and radishes.

cherry tomatoes

These two cherry tomato plants have been incredible! I've never tasted better ones before. Definitely going to grow my own from now on, it beats paying $3.50 for a container of them at the store when you can spend that much or less on a plant and be supplied all spring and summer. I'd like to try another variety next year, like these yellow pears.

sunny herb garden

This is my tree stump herb garden. No idea what the bizarre plant that's growing out of the stump is in back, but it's a good spot for spiders to hang out and catch the bad bugs that want my plants, so I've left it. The herbs have really exploded in size since I planted them in May.

There's basil in its own pot, but stupid me went and planted two invasives with smaller varieties of herb that are now struggling for space in their containers. The Battle of the Mint and the Turkish Oregano:

herbs up close

And Lemon Balm vs. Lemon Thyme.

herbs up close

I've even started composting so I'll hopefully have some nice black gold ready for the spring garden. Our landlord left a bunch of these wire cages in a back shed, so I've been using them for the compost.

compost bins

It's been so nice to have an outdoor hobby, even in the incredible heat we've had over the last month. It feels great to go outside and work in the garden, and to have so much space to take advantage of. When I'm in the garden Justin is usually outside working on his car, so it's nice to be able to be nearby, doing my own thing and having that kind of communal feeling of outdoor work. Plus knowing that I'm growing food for us is incredibly satisfying and makes me feel like I'm doing my own little part for the world, at least the place I live in. And there's nothing better than standing back and surveying my domain...

raised bed and house


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The power of the consumer

Never underestimate the power of the consumer. In my marketing and economics classes in college, I learned that for every unhappy customer a company generates, word-of-mouth will stop 12 people from using that company's services. I don't know how accurate that statistic is, but perhaps my experience can help prevent someone else from losing money, time, and possibly the use of their vehicle. What follows is a copy of a letter I sent to and cc'd to Jiffy Lube International, recounting a recent experience with the company.

Subject: Jiffy Lube Damaged my Car

I am a resident of Atlanta, Georgia, and I have taken my car to have the Signature Oil Service for the majority of my oil changes in the past years. However, due to recent experiences with the company I will not only never bring my car to a Jiffy Lube again, but I will also tell everyone I know never to use their services.

In late November of 2006, I brought my car, a 1998 Chevy Cavalier, to be serviced at the Jiffy Lube located at 2138 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta. My oil was changed and my tires rotated. I noticed the technicians were very unprofessional and seemed distracted the entire time they performed the service, but I assumed they must know what they were doing since they were store employees. However, the next day as I drove my car to work, the check oil light came on and I smelled smoke. I immediately drove my car back to the Jiffy Lube, where it was discovered that there was no oil remaining in my car. The technicians apologized and put in new oil. As I drove home, I could literally see the trail of oil that had run from my car, right out of the Jiffy Lube lot and back to my house from the day before. I was horrified, and hoped that no damage was done to the engine after this incident.

However, the next day I once again discovered an oil leak. A puddle had formed under my car and I once again brought it back to Jiffy Lube. The techs offered hardly any explanation for these two leaks, only that they had definitely fixed it this time. I did not notice leaking oil after that service. I requested a voucher for a free oil change and received one. I promised myself I would not go back to Jiffy Lube after I used that free oil change voucher. In May of 2007, I brought my car to use this oil change voucher to another Jiffy Lube, located on Clairmont Road in Decatur, GA. The change was performed without incident, and nothing related to prior damage to my car was noted on my invoice. However, in August of this year, I again discovered an oil leak. Not knowing what the source of the leak was, I brought it to my local mechanic.

After examining my car, my mechanic told me that the oil pan drain plug had been completely stripped, and that as a result the pan needed to be replaced. He said the damage had to have been done during an oil change. I do not know if the damage was done at the Briarcliff Road location, since I had severe oil leakage after the initial oil change performed there, or if it was done at the Decatur store, since they did not note any damage to my car’s oil pan on the invoice prior to the oil service. Regardless, the damage was done by one of these two stores, and as a result, I had to pay $371.55 in parts and labor to have this fixed.

The treatment I received from Lucor, the franchisee that owns the two Jiffy Lube stores, was just as bad as I had expected after reading the experiences of others on this site. They refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing, and stated that I had no proof that Jiffy Lube was responsible. They refused to send anyone to look at the damaged oil pan, and said if I wanted anyone to do that, I would have to pay to ship the part to their corporate headquarters. They took their service manager’s word about the damage and basically told me my mechanic was a liar. Even when I told them that I had called several mechanics and dealerships in my area, explained the damage to the oil pan, and received the same answer—there was no fixing the damage, the pan had to be replaced or the leak would come back—they would not accept liability. Their tone was very unprofessional and dismissive, and it was only through persistence that I was able to get them to offer me half the cost of the repairs.

I would have loved to have dragged them into court, but like most people, I am a busy person and have limited energy to deal with this kind of situation. So I will take my half of the money owed to me, and make sure that I tell everyone I know—and tell them to tell people they know!—about what a terrible company Jiffy Lube really is.

My advice to you? Stay far away from this company. Take your car for regular oil changes to a mechanic you can trust, not these untrained fools. For more information about problems others have had at Jiffy Lube, visit, or check out Consumer Affairs articles about the company.

by popular demand

I'll be damned. There are actually a couple of people reading this. People who like pictures of KITTIES!

lovey kitties

...and cute boys snuggling KITTIES!


...and handspun, handknit items for KITTIES~!! ...okay, babies. Not as good as kitties.

Sweater Dykes 2007-01001 sm

That's all I've got.