Archive for July, 2008

Avoid Courtesy Ford like the Plague!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Oh my, I am so steamed. Two years ago I took my car to Courtesy Ford in Sanford for service and a check up. They recommended all kinds of things including new front brakes. I had them do the new front brakes (big mistake here), but had the other work done elsewhere. That was at about 45,000 miles, two years ago. I track my mileage. Almost immediate my average mileage dropped from 17.5 mpg to about 15.5 mpg. I also got new tires at the time. I noticed a lot more brake dust–substantially more–collecting on the front wheels after this change (brake job, new tires, new fromt ball joints, etc.). I asked the Ford dealer about it and they said it was normal, even though more than in the past. They insisted there was nothing wrong.

Today I have another 20,000 miles on the car. Courtesy Ford just called and told me my front brakes are in the red! What?? Are they friggin’ nuts? They only lasted 20,000 miles? He said maybe my driving habits changed–they have not. He said the ones they installed were done correctly and were exactly like the factory originals. How can that be? On the factory originals I got 45,000 miles and didn’t have all that brake dust and got better mileage!  Something is wrong here and I’ll never, ever, take my vehicle there again, i swear it.

The guy on the phone was not very sympathetic and certainly would not admit that they could have done something wrong or used inferior parts or anything, but the evidence is to the contrary. It’s obvious they did something wrong. They either used inferior parts or did it wrong or something, but a brake job should last more than 20,000 miles–my driving habits have not changed in the past 7 years. That is totally ridiculous! I am so steamed. I can’t wait to take my car somewhere reputable where they actually do good work rather than try to spend their time trying to sell me stuff I don’t really need. Geez!

Here’s the mileage over the years. Notice the dramatic change when I took my car to Courtesy for new brakes at about 45,000 miles, only two years (and 20,000 additional miles) ago:


Do not under and circumstances take your vehicle to Courtesy Ford in Sanford. They’ll screw you like they’ve screwed me.

Why the Lifestyle Change??

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

A while back, my niece asked me what prompted me to change my lifestyle. That is, to start watching what I eat, working out, and lose some extra weight. Well, here’s what I told here, the truth of the matter, about two months ago after I started working out:

Well, I first started walking regularly almost two years ago. That was thanks in large part to a Doctor, a Podiatrist. I filled out the initial visit form, put down that I take medication for High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Acid Reflux. Then when I answered the question about general health, I chose “good.”


She looked at me and said “so, you’re health is ‘good’?” … and you take medication for HBP, Cholesterol, and stomach problems?  [long pause]… well, if you walked a few miles a day and lost 20 pounds, you wouldn’t need all that medicine, would you…?  [another long, LONG pause…]…”


About the same time Mom and Dad were down and we took a boat trip up the St. John’s river. Someone took my picture, shirtless. I was not sure who it was when I first saw the pic, I just saw some fat guy that had fairly nice boobs! 


About the same time, I read a magazine article that said that men who walk 11 miles a week don’t put one more belly fat (though don’t necessarily lose it either).


All three things prompted me to start walking (the magazine article really tipped the scale, but the doctor was the biggest influence–I can still remember that exact moment) and I’ve done it religiously since. At first a friend and I walked because he was trying to get exercise (and he had a boring job, too). Later he stopped but by then I was hooked. I now walk about 3.8 miles a day at work, about 65 minutes (though I work and eat at the same time, so it’s a wash).


Since then I’ve not really gained any weight.  Though I was not gaining weight, I was not losing it either. So that was about it for two years. Not buying bigger pants, but not buying smaller. There were small improvements and my weight stayed within the lower end of about an 8 pound range that it seemed to fluctuate in. Finally last summer I was able to get in some shorts I could not get into the previous summer. So that was a slight improvement. I still have pants and shorts (some years old now) that I can’t get in–well maybe now I can get into some of them.


Then this spring I was talking to a friend at work and she was complaining about her tummy and not being able to get into some dresses. (She’s the ultimate diva, fashion queen, etc…. Looks very good for her about 50 years old, you’d never guess it, but did get a bit of a tummy). So we decided to encourage each other and both joined the health club. It’s very pricey, $58 a month with tax. I’m not one to spend that loosely so am taking it serious. Then I paid for a trainer–big, BIG bucks. And the first day he handed me some things on diet. I ate half a bag of Doritos while I read the stuff. But it all made sense. Lots of the things I eat were on the D and F list, very few from the A list. I’ve always known that diet and exercise go together, just didn’t really practice the diet part. Was eating out too often and too much, too.


Then [my niece] Kirsten sent me a link to and I read up about food groups and balance in my diet–it was unbalance beforehand, not that many veggies and fruit and whole grains. From there I went to and learned I could track what I eat.


So, to make a very long story much shorter, I wanted to look better (vanity, yes), feel better (I do, if only mentally!), and live longer (only time will tell that). It’s 11 years since I quit smoking, now it’s time for another change, and time to get back to what I weighed back then. I figure if I can develop the workout and eat-right habits (just like I now have the walking habit), I will accomplish those goals.


Overall, I look damned good for a 55 [now 56] year old guy. Many people can’t believe I’m that old. And I’ve seen and met quite a few guys younger than me that look a lot worse (and some older that look a lot better). I want to be one of those that the other guys say “wow, he looks great for his age” when they think I’m only in my 40s, and then they’ll be totally blown away when then find out I’m 55–almost 56.


So, that’s my story. Thanks for asking! Hope you enjoyed.

 So that is the answer I gave my niece, Kali, when she asked, and now it’s out there for all the world to see.

 I’ve been going to the gym since I signed up on March 17, 2008 (my sister Jean’s birthday). I’ve lost about 20 pounds and redistributed more. My “large” size shirts look way too big on me, I had to buy mediums. My old pants are huge, I had to buy smaller. I still walk 3 times a day. I now do weight training four days a week, and cardio the other days. Lately on Saturdays I ride my bike. I can ride a full hour and not feel it. Before, I was hurting after going around the block. Do I feel better? Hell yes? Do I look better? You bet.

As for my friend, she’s not really going to the gym. After a while, I gave up on coaxing her. She’s gained a few pounds and not eating healthy and smart like she should. But, I’ve tried, she’ll have to learn for herself.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!