My husband, Randy, is self-employed. There are pros and cons to that. The pros? He can set his own hours,which means that we are at the lake when others are still at the office. Another pro? We eat lunch together. But there are many cons. One being that some employers feel he should do his work for free. There is no BIG MAN to answer to.  Just Randy, my husband. And he is a nice guy. . . too nice. If we didn’t need to eat, he probably WOULD do the work for free.  As a favor . . . ‘Sure, I’ll hand-chisel the poop spatter from the wall.  Hey, you need to see a doctor about that, and leave purging to the professionals.’

As you’ve no doubt guessed, he has his own Maintenance and Cleaning Company, and no, it isn’t Abuela with a broom. It’s involves equipment and solutions mere mortals have never heard of. And it all costs. (So please quit stealing the toilet paper. . .)

Which brings us to the another downside of being self-employed.  TAX TIME. Self-employed people end up selling their soul to the taxman. Unless you have enough legit tax deductions, like dependents. And since I won’t be giving birth anytime soon . . . like never . . . (I am 51) . . . we have to choose our deductions wisely. Otherwise we would be harvesting our organs for the Federal Government.

Two months ago Randy’s work car gasped its last. Well, not quite its last. It is still going. He gave it to my mother for a second vehicle. It is just too old to carry the tons of equipment he carries back and forth to work. It was time for new transportation.

This time around, instead of settling for a used hatchback or stationwagon, we bought a Transit Connect. One of those short, yet tall, vans. They are built by Germans in Turkey for Ford. Or the other way around. Whatever. They look like ambulating turbans. You see them all over the roads now, only shrinkwrapped with the logo of the driver’s choice.

Randy had heard only good things about them, so he checked them out. They are the perfect vehicle for the working person. Comfortable, yet without frills like television, toddler seats – well . . . seats, period. They have a driver’s seat and a passenger seat, but the back is fitted up to carry equipment.

At least they have cupholders and door handles.

So we went looking for a Transit Connect, thinking that if we could get credit, then we could pick up its payments once our other car’s payments left off, which was going to be in a few months. And all in time to count it on our taxes. Yay! I get to keep my kidneys!

As a trade-in we decided to bring in my mother’s car. She had two, but one of them was burning oil and making $$$$ noises under the hood. She took Randy’s old work car – which is still in great shape for town driving – and gave us the nasty one to trade in for the Transit.

The phone call came in when we weren’t expecting it. In fact, we were aiming for trying to get credit in December, but Landers – McLarty Ford pushed it through for us. We hadn’t asked them to, they just did it — getting a good deal for us — and informed us via a phone call.

“Thea!” Randy yelled while I was shampooing my hair. “Rinse off! We got credit! Slap on your clothes and let’s go!”

I do not look good with slapped on clothes and towel-dried hair. I look like Hee-Haw on LSD. But I got ready and we went since the paperwork was ready.

First, we had to pick up my mother’s car. Then drive, drive, drive like the wind to Bentonville, 30 miles away. In the heat. One hundred, ten degrees heat. With no airconditioner. Okay, that wouldn’t have been so bad, except we didn’t take the time to remove the underbrush from my mother’s car before we commandeered it.

. . . And they were REALLY impressed when we got out.

The dog hair on the upholstery was a nice touch. Especially when it rode into the Ford showroom on our clothes.  All I needed was a trash  bag  of dirty laundry and a scabby toddler in wet training pants.  And, oh yeah . . . a skull-and-rose tattoo on a slab of bosom wouldn’t have gone amiss.

The salespeople on the showroom floor didn’t know what to make of us. To give them credit, however, they didn’t shove us back out on the street. They asked — in a rather dubious tone of voice — if we were there to apply for credit. Imagine their shock when we said we already had it and were there to sign the papers.  Bobby Flippo, our salesman who had shown us the Transit the first time, was summoned. I made a beeline for the complimentary cookies while he and Randy did business.

Yes . . . Randy’s pants ARE sagging. It seems — and I didn’t find this out until we got home — that  he was wearing his pajama bottoms under his jeans.  Really?  REALLY? Why?? Was this some form of spousal solidarity since we had to leave before I had time to groom?  Honestly, I can’t take that man anywhere . . . (says the woman who unknowingly wore a chunk of macadamia nut on her front teeth the whole time we were there.)

But, in spite of the impression we made, it was done! Randy had a dependable work vehicle that wouldn’t bottom out every time he ran over a pebble.

They gave us a glossy brochure telling us all about the extras. . . what came with the car . . . what had to be special ordered.  Apparently the car came with two fobs.

Fob.  In the Urban Dictionary a fob refers to an immigrant (Fresh Off the Boat).  We did not get two of those, alas (I would have liked someone to exchange recipes with), but we DID get two ignition keys with the car alarm buttons installed in the key’s bow. For those of us like me, who had to look it up, the bow is the part of the key that you turn once the ‘blade’ is inserted into the lock.

We pondered what to do with two fobs.

But before we could decide, we were handed the fobs and told to take our new Transit home.  Yee-haw! Randy finally had a new car / van / turban for work.

Do you have any of your own car stories you want to share?  It doesn’t have to be about buying one. Just tell us about your first car. Or your favorite car. Or a car you wish you had.

Remember, to leave a comment click on the ‘Comments’ tag at the end of this blog, and don’t forget to check out the latest Photoblog on the right.  Just put your cursor over the picture to read the caption, or click on one if you want to leave your comment.

Have fun!

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4 Responses to THE FOB

  1. Ron E. says:

    Do you guys have an S corporation? I have one for my mickey-mouse side interests, and I get to write off every tank of gas, any improvements I make to my car (new tires, new stereo, etc.), and a whole bunch of other stuff.

    Becky Cowan set me up for about half of what CPA’s charge. If you’re getting beaten up at tax time, it’s well worth looking into.

  2. Thea says:

    I think Randy has, but for some reason it wasn’t going to work for us. So we make the most of hand-picking deductions so we can limp along with something to show for it. :)

  3. Snuffygump says:

    Due to life situations last week when this went to press, I had to read it, nearly choke to death on my own laughter and then book mark it to return later for a review. Now I offer my comments.
    I’ll simply enumurate them:
    1. Someone is a Red/Green fan judging by the judicious use of duct tape.
    2. A man wearing his jammies under his jeans is a rite of passage for the aging self employeed. My husband has been assisiting clients with their computers this way for a number of years. I’m serious. sometimes he will don a pair of sneakers, but, if they arrive at the door before he can do this, he just shoves his bare feet into
    his houseslippers.
    3. Did Randy forget to comb his hair?
    4. Val and I drove our Datsun pickup into a Lexus dealership in Denver, one time. They didn’t even see any humor in our request to test drive one of their vehicles. They did push us out the door. If wet wipes had been invented at that time, they would have used those to clean the door handles and their hands.
    5. Seriously, Randy could be the centerfold for the next Transit Connect Brochure. (see pose shot in back of new vehicle)
    6. It seems to us that vehicle would hold lots of luggage. This is a hint.
    7. Congratulations on your new wheels!

  4. Thea says:

    I LOVE your comment, Snuffygump. And to reply in order:
    1. Mom, apparently, if she would only watch it. At least it’s not contact paper.
    2. But does he leave the house that way?
    3. Yes. It wasn’t necessary. We had already gotten credit…
    4. Their loss.
    5. Or Mr. October for Acme Janitorial Supply.
    6. That had already occured to us.
    7. Thank you!

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