Am I the only one that feels 2014 was a ridiculous blur? I’ve been told that the older you get, the faster time goes. This is very true to an extent, but this fast? Maybe it’s because I have a toddler in my midst. Or perhaps it was due to how busy we were with work this year. Either way, I’m already scribbling out 2014 to replace it with 2015.
I’m excited about 2015 for many reasons. First off, I’ve ended 2014 with rolling the first 400k milestones. I’ve officially hit 425,000 miles!The cherry on top was a clean bill of health from the Acura service department. The TSX currently doesn’t need anything! Here is the invoice for the 425k oil
But honestly, the thing I’m most excited about is work. At least how it will be done anyway. Most of you know that I am a Property Damage Appraiser and spend my days looking at wrecked cars that are covered, for the most part, by out of state insurance companies. Like this Camry…This Camry is the end result of making a U-Turn without looking & there just happens to be a tractor trailer right there. This couple is lucky to see the New Year. The majority of what I see is repairable & not near this bad. In the winter months, I mostly inspect low speed minor collision damage. Most people are good drivers and going slow in the snow and ice. They just underestimate the ice part and slowly but surely slide into another car or curb. I see a lot of wheel and suspension damage for this same reason. The other 35% or so are all roll over 4WD trucks and SUV’s. This type of vehicle instills a very false sense of security in winter conditions. The 4WD definitely helps you go. But it surely doesn’t help you to stop any better. Most of these units end up on their roofs on the freeway median or shoulder.
So a typical day for me is to start the day with going thru the assignments & organizing by geographic location & making the calls to schedule. I’ll head out into the field, inspect the vehicle taking notes and pictures as I go. Then running to the next unit until I’ve seen everything on the days list. When I get home I have a couple hours to spend with my son Luke, then it’s into the bonus room where I have my office set up so I can start writing the estimates and completing the reports for the insurance carriers. Most nights I’m writing until 10pm to 11pm. This is how I’ve been doing it for the last 9 years now. I work every evening & most weekends. I haven’t had a real vacation since the Wife & I went to Maui for our Honeymoon 10 years ago. To sum up, I work way to much.
I have an Uncle that used to say, “Work smarter. Not harder.” I’ve been giving this a lot of thought these last two years. I have not been a happy camper to say the least. My health has gone to pot. I’m tired all the time. I want more time with my Wife & Son. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very lucky guy. I have a job that I love. I have a Wife & Kid I love even more. My car is so awesome I started a blog about it. I own a home & so on. But I just haven’t been feeling it these last two years, & that needs to change.
So here’s my solution. I’m trying everything mobile this year. I’m also going to make it a goal to not worry about work so much. Not every assignment is a fire that needs immediate attention. I’ve spent the last several months setting up a new laptop to function as a independent station to use in the field. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot. It honestly could have been set up in a few days really. But I’m working with almost zero spare time. So it took a while.
So now my days will go something like this. I’ll still start the days organizing the assignments and calling to schedule. But now I will be writing the estimates at the car as well as the reports. Uploading to the office & texting the wife to let her know which car has been inspected so that she can invoice and upload thru-out the day. (Did I mention that the wife & I work together?) It will take some getting used to as I’m usually go, go, GO! during the day. I will not be able to see near as many cars per day. BUT, when I get home around dinner time, I will have nothing to write! I’ve already done it. I will have my evenings back. Or at least most of them. I will still need to write Supplemental damage estimates for cars that are at shops during the repair process. I will also need to write up time & expense files as well. So these type of files are still going to take up some evening or weekend time. But hopefully not much.
My turn around time will most likely stay the same. Or perhaps a small improvement over time as I get used to working this way. I still cover over 2/3rds of the state of Idaho. I’m giving myself about 2 months to get used to this new routine. Old habits die hard. But I think once I’m used to it, I will like it very much. A new way of doing business for me for a New Year.
The snow has been making it hard for me to see everything I want during the day as I only have so many hours of day light for good pictures. But here are just a few places that I’ve been in the snow so far:
The back of Lake Cascade in Donnelly
Twin Falls North of Idaho CityThe outskirts of PayetteBattle of the Bovine (Trying to leave the outskirts of Payette) I rolled down my window and told them I would call Ronald McDonald if they didn’t haul Beef! They didn’t move. They knew dang well that nobody has cell service out this far. Finally, within 5 feet of them, I gave them a little Vtec exhaust note and they moved. Grade ‘A’ beef – 0. Vtec – 1.
I ran across an older TL a couple weeks ago at a tow yard while there to inspect another unit. It caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, it was an Acura. Second, you dont see to many Acura roll overs. So I went to check it out. When I got to the other side, I still thought it was a roll over & they had to use the Jaws of Life to get the driver out. But then I got here…& it took a good 30 seconds for my mind to process what I was seeing. Do you see it? Take a really good look. Click on the pic and enlarge it. Remember, it took me a good half minute & I was literally standing right in front of it.
Likely, the first thing you noticed is that the rear door is missing. At first I chalked this up to the Jaws of Life removal. But then I saw the rear door. It was still there, only it was pushed all the way into the driver seat!Do you see it now? This wasn’t a roll over at all. Who ever was driving was WAY over driving and slid sideways into a pole or tree at aprox 60+ mph. The white you see on the bottom is not the floor. It’s the actual ground. Here’s my foot print on the ground “inside” the car…The rear door was literally pushed into the driver door. Half the driver seat was folded onto itself. I would have taken pictures to show this, but there was brain matter (not kidding) & blood all over the cockpit. I felt that most people could do without those images. I’ve never seen a T-Bone hit this bad before. After speaking with the tow driver, I learned (not surprisingly) that the driver was intoxicated & the only one in the car. Thankfully.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in past posts, I put wrecks like this up once in a while as a reminder to anyone that reads my blog, that life is short. Drive careful & be safe. Watch out for aggressive drivers. Let them have the right of way, get past, or what ever they want. These drivers are ‘Ground Zero’ & you don’t want to be anywhere near them when their actions finally catch up with them.
Cars & alcohol have both been around for over 100 years now. So it’s no mystery what happens when you drink & drive. I personally have little sympathy for the drivers that end up like the guy in this TL. My sympathy is for the family & loved ones they left behind, or anyone else that may have been caught up in their ‘Ground Zero’ & their families & friends. Just be safe out there guys. Better to be late, then to never get there at all.
To end on a lighter note, The princess & I had our 10th wedding anniversary on Jan 1st (yes, we got married on new years day). Luke is now 2 years old now. The grandparents got Luke a little remote controlled Jeep for our anniversary. I’m happy to report that just after a couple times of showing him how to use the remote, he was driving the Jeep himself.
Since first starting on this post, I have also passed the 430k mark. This also is one of the reasons that I’m excited about my new work style and having evenings open again. I’ll have some personal time to put toward updating everyone on the blog on a more regular basis. Any way, here’s the 430k mile oil change invoice from good old Lyle Pearson Acura.