Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Check this out

I'm being a blog pimp today and telling you to go to the Title Wave Blog. Ruth Kaufman has done a great interview with Anna Campbell, the author of Claiming the Courtesan. I had the opportunity to first meet Anna during the National RWA conference in Atlanta last summer. She had recently sold on auction to Avon (!!!) and was on cloud nine. I met up with Anna again in Dallas this month and she's so incredibly sweet and warm. A real bundle of energy and just so inspiring!

Monday, July 23, 2007

In Which Maria Shows Out

If white girls have hissy fits, and black girls "show out", what do nice Cuban girls do? Personally, I kind of like the term 'show out'. It really describes what I did better than hissy fit. And besides, hissy rhymes with prissy, and I'm definitely not prissy.

The Friday before I went to Nationals, my husband decided we had to buy a car. We knew we had to get a new car by the end of summer, and Mike Geraci decided that the Friday before one of the busiest weekends ever, was the perfect time to do it. So we set out with a blank check (from the instution we had gotten our pre-approved loan from) and hit the car dealerships in Tallahassee. I had narrowed my choice down to 3 minivans. The Toyata Sienna, the Honda Odyssey and the Nissan Quest. As Mike repeatedly said, "This is your car, honey. Get what you want." Translation: Get you want as long as you get the Toyota. (Mike Geraci's first car was a Toyota and he has a thing for them).

After doing a preliminary search at the Nissan and the Honda dealership (really to humor me) Mike led me to the Toyota place.

"Now here's a minivan," Mike says, admiringly. "It's the #1 minivan for reliability according to Consumer Reports."

I nod silently. The fact that I'M the one who told him this doesn't stop him from repeating it over and over. The salesman also has a case of parotitis, as he also feels compelled to repeat this statistic over and over as well.

I tell the saleman that I want a 2007 Sienna with a DVD player with the cordless headphones and I that I don't want to pay over $30,000 (Mike and I had agreed on this price earlier). At first, he looks at me like I'm crazy, but after sighing heavily, he nods and says something to the effect of "I think we can work something out."

We then test drive the Sienna, and Mike and I both think it drives just dandy. We're now ready to deal. After spending another half hour convincing the salesman that we do not want to finance through Toyota, we get to the haggling phase. All of a sudden, the "we think we can work something out" becomes more like, "well, it's unrealistic to think you can get the best selling, most reliable minivan on the market for the unreasonable price of $30,ooo. Oh, and the DVD player? No way. That will cost an extra 2,000 bucks. "

Up until now, Mike Geraci and the salesman have been doing all the talking. So I interject with, "But I want the DVD player. And I don't want to pay over $30,000."

The salesman barely glances at me and says, "You can get one at Sam's for way cheap and plug it into the cigarette lighter."

"But I don't want one you plug in the cigarette lighter. I want one with the screen that comes off the roof and the wireless headphones."

By now, the "Finance Manager" has come to help out the salesguy in explaining to us that we're being totally unreasonable in our demands. He goes over the list of the options in the car, including a $1000 option that includes road side assistance.

"Why do I need to pay $1000 for road side assistance? I can get AAA for 50 bucks a year. Besides, isn't this the 'most reliable minivan on the market'"? I ask, making quote marks with my fingers.

Finance Manager and Salesguy now begin to look at me with hostility and throw Mike Geraci sympathetic looks.

Mike Geraci sees the strom brewing and smartly shuts his mouth.

"Ma'am," says Finance Manager, "I don't think you understand the price breakdown."

"Oh, I understand all right. You guys are full of bullshit." I glare at Salesguy. "What's the first thing I said to you when I came on the lot over 2 hours ago? I said I wanted a 2007 Sienna with a DVD player and I didn't want to pay over $30,ooo and you said we could work something out."

This flusters Salesguy to the point of muteness.

Mike is now trying to hold back his laughter.

Finance Manager looks aghast as if he's never heard a woman say bullshit before. "Ma'am, I don't want to get short with you."

Short with me??? Is this guy serious?

I'll leave the rest up to your imagination, except to say that I calmly explained to them that they had wasted over 2 hours of my time and that I was the customer and I wasn't going to settle for anything less than what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay and that I was very happy they were selling the Most Reliable, Best Selling Minivan ever and that I'm sure they could find another chump to sell it to.

With that, I nodded to Mike Geraci, who jumped from his chair to silently follow me out to our car.

"Wow," Mike says, looking a little turned on. "I never knew you had it in you."

Really? Considering we've been married almost 22 years and his nickname for me is "Mal Genio" (sp?) ('bad tempered one' in Spanish) he should have known.

To make a long story short, I took my business 30 minutes north to Thomasville, Georgia, where the lovely George from Thomasville Toyota sold me a 2007 Sienna WITH a DVD player for $ 6,000 LESS than the price they wanted in Tallahassee. I soooo want to drive my new minivan past the Tallahassee dealership and stick my tongue out at them. But I'm much too polite for that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back from Dallas

I haven't unpacked the suitcase yet (and much to my hubby's chagrin, it might stay that way for awhile) because I have a whole new spurt of writing energy I have to work out. yay!

If you want to see what I did in Dallas, check out the Title Wave blog. Also, check out Blogging National for links to more conference buzz.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


And y'all thought I was bad about not posting frequently...

Maria...where are you????

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