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WHERE TO TAKE YOUR JEEP

Posted December 15, 2014 By tjflynn

After giving in to the sirene song of a particular group of aliens in Sanford, and then driving my Jeep for a few months, the idiot light, a gently annoying orange thing right in normal line of sight, yelled at me. It was time for the dreaded Service.

Under normal circumstances I would have taken her to the dealership where I found her. However, I’ve moved and that particular location is 150 miles (one bag of snacks, two unsweet teas, forty country songs and at least one restroom stop) away from the new residence. Add to that, I was working in Marathon, Florida where there are no Jeep dealerships and local garages want the price of a schooner to get their hands dirty, and only coming home sporadically. A simple oil change became monumental.

034

I made an appointment at a dealership near home, at a time when I’d actually be home, hoping to make the Jeep happy and healthy. This Jeep dealer is located on US Hwy 1 in Stuart, Florida.

My honey and I showed up at the appointed time with the idea of walking across the street for a late lunch while the wrenches were turned and fluids were transferred. I pulled right up to the Service Department, directly in front of two people, ostensibly service reps. One of them was on the phone when we pulled up. The other one had her head down, and picked up the phone and dialed after we arrived.

What followed was minutes of invisibility on our part. At first, we sat patiently in the car, checking every few seconds for some signs that we had been noticed. Our invisibility cloak worked perfectly. We were not acknowledged at all. At 10 minutes after our appointment time, I got out of the car and walked toward the nearest desk, toward the one who was on the phone when we arrived. Without any eye contact, he pointed his finger toward the other rep.

At this point, I must admit that the hair on the back of my neck started to bristle. But, with a smile, I obeyed directions. She now had her attention on a log book and continued to ignore me until I penetrated her personal bubble. At that point, she looked up and stared at me blankly. By this time, I could faintly feel my pulse quicken. I still smiled, though.

After another minute or so, I finally said, I’m TJ Flynn with a 2 o’clock appointment. To which she responded, “for what”? I replied, “for service of this Jeep”. Now, my blood was pumping fast, and it was hot. However, I still smiled while she started getting information from the vehicle. During this exercise, I asked, “how long will this take and what will it cost?” When she replied that how long it takes depends on how busy the techs are, I decided that I’d rather burn the money and have dental surgery than stay. Honey agreed and we left.

A few days later, while in Orlando for other business, we had the service done at Fields. Holy smoke…what a difference. We were not ignored for a second. We were, greeted by a smiling face. We were treated with deference and consideration. We were told exactly how long it would take for the work and offered the hospitality of free food and drink. For heavens sake, our dog was even welcomed!

We can’t be the only people unhappy with the Wallace Jeep Service Department. The entire Wallace Jeep organization in Stuart should go to Fields Jeep in Sanford for training.

Fields Jeep in Sanford knows what good service is.

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MORE GUERILLA HITS

Posted July 30, 2014 By tjflynn

1. At the pharmacy drive-thru, WalMart in Avalon, the person at the window and the Pharmacist spent several minutes confirming that a prescription that we thought had been called in by the doctor’s office had not been called in. They checked and double-checked to insure top knotch customer service.

2. Cashiers at Trader Joes in Winter Park, although crazy busy, have time to interact as fellow human beings. They’ll even offer personal observations about products, both good and not-so-good. Even when customers are having bad hair days, or are just in poopy moods for no apparent nor good reasons, friendliness is a good service tool. I think that genuine friendliness is universally contagious.

3. We were having a late lunch at Dexters in Winter Park and all three of us wanted the same light item…from the kids menu. Without hesitation or discussion, Cameron I believe her name was, our server took the order and gave us the kiddee plate prices. In my experience, you can’t teach that level of service. Some people really, really, want to please customers, not just show up, put in the hours and get the money

4. To the guy at the business card and sign shop, with the neon green cargo van out front, at the corner of 436 and 17-92 who made the vinyl sign letters larger after they were cut and looked too small for the application, I say “thank you for not charging me for the smaller letters even though I gave you the measurements.” He lost a dollar’s worth of vinyl, but gained a satisfied customer that will come back again and again.

5. To the guy in the wheelchair that was sitting in the middle of the drive aisle in front of the store in number 4 above: “Sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of the road checking your phone messages is dumb. Quickly wheeling your chair over to and approaching someone for money who just veered into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid running over you, is even dumber.”

How you describe what’s in the following photo says a lot about you as a person. What do you see?
A. Junk
B. Art
C. History
D. Hot Rod Material
E. ?
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

6. To the one-man-band at the popular island restaurant near Waterford Lakes: “Hey, late on a Sunday night, if nobody interacts, take a hint, read your crowd. Couples sitting too close for paper to be passed between their bodies, missing their mouths with every other bite of food because their eyes were locked on each other, may not want to play a game for a free drink. They may want to take full advantage of those fleeting few weekend minutes left to them before kids, jobs and reality become their full focus Monday morning. And, nobody likes being called out while they are having a quiet dinner. Did you even notice that the guy who won the drink only said the name of the song because you used the power of your microphone to embarass him?”

7. To the Regal Cinema clean up crew who waited until we scoured all of the post-movie credits trying to answer a question about a song or a singer in the movie: “Thanks for waiting on us before invading the theatre with brooms, bags and dustpans. We appreciate the consideration.”

8. Can anyone tell me why road construction crews are not more tightly regulated regarding aiming work lights at night and blinding drivers? Most municipalities have very strict rules about permanent lighting vis-a-vis neighboring properties and drivers, but temporary construction lighting seems to be unregulated.

9. A few locations, three words-Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ!

10. At the Irish Pub on Fairbanks Avenue just for the music, the band did not show up. Andrew(?), the server looked online for nearby music venues to recommend. He and Cameron (from # 3 above) know something about SERVICE. Thank you.

11. Irene, of the famous Dave-n-Irene duo from South Florida, knows something about getting the Service that she wants. It seems to be a melange of spirituality, worldliness and bravado stirred with intensity, delivered with steeley eyes. Grown men pee themselves under her scrutiny. I would nominate her for John Kerry’s current job. Hamas and Israel are no match for her.

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BREVARD JUDGE AND FIST-TO-CUFFS

Posted July 1, 2014 By tjflynn

I wrote the following 250-word rant this morning and thought that my system had been purged of Little Johnny. But it is not. There is more.

Are our courts so hard up for candidates that we must put up with the kind of behavior, from a sitting judge in his own courtroom, that one would expect from an adolescent in a locker room?

Picking a fight, with an attorney is something far more sordid than the State of Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct advocates. A quick scan of this document and Judge Murphy’s actions calls into question Canon 1, Canon 2.A, Canon 3.B(4) and Canon 4.A(1 thru 6). Is he promoting an honorable judiciary, or should he be wearing a bulbous red nose and bright orange wig?

Somebody said: “No big deal, Johnny. Take a week off with pay. Write some answers in an anger management workbook. Tell the media that you are sorry. Come back to work in a different courtroom. Citizens won’t notice or care”

I’ve sat in jury boxes and in the seat of the accused and literally tremble at the thought of having this person in charge of anyone’s justice. Through any “reasoned and reasonable” application of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Murphy should not have the honor of being called a Judge nor should he have the responsibilities of a Judge.

It seems reasonable to me that Judge Murphy should hold himself in contempt of his own court and bear the maximum penalty for that crime, then resign and get in better shape for a career in the boxing ring.

I can’t believe it, but there are those with experience in courts, that would support the judge’s actions. Poppycock! Rubbish! Balderdash!

Because there is a natural antagonism between attorneys and judges, and some attorneys are asses, it’s okay if a judge has a bad day and punches an attorney just outside of his courtroom, while people inside are listening? Then he potentially goes back into the courtroom, brags about his bravado and sends someone to jail or causes someone to pay a fine for doing much less? No!
So, it’s okay if a police officer has a bad day and shoots someone with his gun?
And, it’s okay if a teacher has a bad day and inappropriately touches a student?
And, it’s okay if a surgeon has a bad day and cuts off the wrong limb?
And, it’s okay if a squad of soldiers has a bad day and wipes out a village?
No. No.

Some people are held to higher standards and do not get the chance to have bad days or make egregious mistakes in their jobs without severe consequences. Judges are included. They are not playing baseball where they get 3 strikes before they are out. This one could not be trusted to be civil with a bat in his hand.

Can Johnny expect and enjoy judicial immunity for his pugilism? I hope not.

There is nothing honorable about this judge or he would remove himself. There is nothing honorable about leaving him on the bench. He has made a mockery of the very system that he represents and works in. He cannot dispense justice in any manner that he sees fit. He is not above the law. If he is not removed from the bench concerned citizens should be ashamed of themselves for not speaking up and demanding it.

In the United States of America, justice is meted out by learned and honorable men who are above reproach. Unless you are in Brevard County, Florida where you are liable to be punched in the head by the judge if he doesn’t like what you have to say. No. No. No.

My custom, in this Blog, is to restate the main point at the end. Here ya go.

Nobody can successfully argue to me that this judge’s acts were not contemptible. He is not above the law.
Therefore, he must be held in contempt, and pay the piper, just like anyone else would.
I certainly hold him in contempt. And hope that you do too.

If I were 10 years younger, I’d offer to go in the hallway with him and teach him a lesson.
If he asked me, I’d go with him today, and bet all the money in my IRA that he’d be smarter when I left.
You see, friends, readers and fellow Central Florida Natives…I am not a judge and my personal standards can be lower.

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Not meaning to brag-but my frequent readers are in the top 10% of the smartest, best looking and most intuitive hominids in the U.S. Between the Title and the following two words, they will understand this post.

Postcard Mania.

600 x 800 postcard

Thank you, and as my friend Sam used to say on TV, “tires ain’t pretty”.

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Faithful readers already know that I prefer Lowes to Home Depot. This has reversed completely over the past 7 years or so. What I mean is that I used to love Home Depot and now my attention is elsewhere.

Yesterday, I needed to replace a worn-out tool. Do any of you become attached to your tools like I do? Do the memories flood into your mind when you notice the blue paint from the ceiling you painted in 2000? Or the chunk out of the plastic housing near the bottom that your grand-daughter cried about when you yelled at her for hitting the electronic tool with a hammer while you were helping your daughter and son-in-law with their first room addition. Or the soldered battery lead that broke and was repaired the same day you sliced your hand open with a box knife? Mine do. I hate it when tools wear out and the memories have to be put in the shed along with all of the other things that don’t work-but that you can’t bear to send to the landfill.

So, after driving to Northern Tool to find out that they only carry it online…not in the stores. I remembered seeing a Homey ad for it and went there. Buzzard Breath was stocking saw blades and after a brief excursion by myself, I asked him to help. He had no knowledge of the inventory in his section. He first said that they didn’t carry Zircon tools. When I pointed to a large display of them, he actually became indignant. I allowed the requisite 1.5 seconds of undivided attention to be polite and then marched off, heavy-footed like a Nazi slamming down my flip-flops as hard as I could without hurting my heels, to the tool rental department where, as I suspected, I found an intelligent and helpful homo sapien. He confirmed that they carry the tool online, but not in the stores.

My wife was sleeping in the car during both of these forays. But when we neared her favorite Publix, she sat straight up and announced that we needed to stop for a few things. Ninety four dollars and thirty four minutes later I shuffled back out and went straight to Lowe’s where I found the tool that I needed (without assistance). Floated in, then floated out-no pain no bother.

Just like my friends two wives that needed to be removed with all the agony, pomp and ceremony of lancing a boil, I have good reason to stop giving Homey access to my disposable income. Common sense dictates that you have an enjoyable experience when you part with your hard-earned scheckels in both circumstances don’t it?

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I Won’t Be Caught By These Brigands Again

Posted April 18, 2013 By tjflynn

Here’s the internet ad:

“Griffin Survivor Series Case for iPhone 4/4s/5
$14.95 USD was $49.99 USD
Griffin Survivor Series Heavy-Duty Protective Case for Apple iPhone 4/4s
Ridiculously over-engineered? Or the perfect case for your iPhone 4 no matter where you’re headed?
We think it’s a little bit of both.
Simply put, the Griffin Extreme Duty Case is the most protective case we’ve ever built.
Tested to meet or exceed US Department of Defense Standard 810F and UK Department of Defense Standard 00-35, Griffin’s Survivor Extreme-Duty Case is designed from the inside out to protect your iPhone from extreme conditions … dirt, sand, rain, shock, vibration and a host of other environmental factors.
Survivor is built on a shatter-resistant polycarbonate frame clad in rugged, shock absorbing silicone. A built-in screen protector seals your Multi-Touch display from the outside environment, with hinged plugs that seal the dock connector, headphone port, hold switch and volume controls. A detachable heavy-duty clip secures your iPhone to a belt or bag strap.
Survivor is independently tested and verified to meet or exceed environmental testing standards for blown rain, blown dust & grit, vibration, shock, temperature and humidity. You can view videos and test results online at www.griffintechnology.com/armored.
Retail Price: $49.99
Condition: Brand New
Compatibility: Apple iPhone 4/4s Models | All Service Providers
COMPLETE SET: INCLUDES FULL CASE AND BELT HOLSTER
CUSTOMER RATINGS: AVG SCORE: 4.7”

Copied (without the pretty pictures) right from the website.

Here’s my email to the company after I received part of what the ad says they’re selling”

To: wholesalefactoryshop.com
“I received this order today and AM NOT SATISFIED.
1. The soft case was damaged
2. There is no holster or belt clip
The add on your website clearly states that the “belt holster” is included. AND it’s included in the product photos.
I have attached photos of what I received.
I would appreciate it if you could send me a full replacement set and a postage paid envelope for shipping the damaged and incomplete case back.
2 attachments — P1010004.JPG 683K P1010005.JPG 1057K”

I sent the email on Feb 12 and the replacement set that I asked for was either not sent, or it was sent to another person who is afraid to damage his iphone, that ain’t me. Nor have I received a response from the horking blub slapdoodles at…well, I won’t even write their name again.

Faithful readers and lower human forms, not giving a redneck the whole thing in the pictures is sinful, but thinking that he cain’t read is worser than that. In fact, it’s more worser!

From personal experience, the Griffin Survivor Series Case is all that it’s hyped up to be. It cradles my new phone like my mama used to cradle me. It keeps my phone from getting sawdust and paint smells on it while it’s waiting on a set of blueprints for me to find it. It sheds water. It is the color of the sky, when looking over your bird-dog’s back at a quail hopping out of a butt-bumping feeding frenzy into flight, late in the evening on a sunny day. It’s soft. It’s substantial. It’s got flaps smart enough to hold themselves back when you take pictures and such.

But, fellow connoisseurs of passable service…it is too big to go in my shirt pocket. And, too big for the pockets on my Levis. And, too big for the several old holsters in my closet from my Treo and Blackberry days.

I ain’t holding my breath for the slapdoodles to get me my detachable heavy-duty clip. It’s been two months.

With no good things to say about the company in question, I suppose I’ll have to stop this post and look on Ebay for the key to my future Griffin-clad phone carrying.

Y’all got enough common sense of your own to stay away from these brigands, I believe.

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Service Is Spiritual?

Posted January 21, 2013 By tjflynn

One must have a spiritual perspective of service. Knowing what to do and being able to do it are only 2/3rds of the equation. We are motivated to do, or not to do, based on whether or not we think it is right or wrong.

We are more than what we know, or what we feel, or what we think. Defining who you are (and the levels of service that you are willing to provide) includes the sum of at least three interactive components:
mind body spirit T.J. the person, therefore, is the sum of his learning, how functional his body is and how advanced his spirit is. And, T.J. ‘s offerings of service are the sum of his intellectual perspective on service (mind), his spriritual perspective of service (spirit), and his ability to physically perform services (body). Obviously environmental factors affect and shape each of these components as well.

For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to assume that one is physically capable of performing good service and has a firm intellectual grasp of what good service is and question spiritual influences.

Pastor Jason Byars at the Coastline Community Church has a way of involving everyone in the sanctuary in his sermons, which are based on biblical scriptures and generously spiked with references to them. On a recent Sunday morning he ran off a string of things that fit Galatians 5:14. Quoted from my Living Bible, “For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love others as you love yourself’. “ The one that hit me like a George Foreman body punch was, “…it’s the best business model…”

So what motivated a preacher to advocate adopting the posture of a servant and loving others as you love yourself as a business model? Is it that he knows that’s what Jesus did and what we should aspire to? Is it that he does the same thing in his ministry? Is it because he understands this as an immutable law of the universe? I think yes.

Read Chapter 67 in the Tao Teh Ching. Lao Tsu advocates the same thing for Taoists. He holds and protects three treasures: Benevolence, frugality and never trying to be number 1. The idea of not trying to be #1 is anathema to “successful” people today. The value of the Tao’s treasures is that you can have them now and keep them forever.

Hindus have a similar perspective. “At death, those who have developed the mode of goodness, will go to the higher planets where the saintly persons live. Those who have developed the mode of passion will take birth among those engaged in materialistic activities. Those who have developed the mode of ignorance, will take birth in the animal kingdom.”(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 14.14-15). Those who are intelligent will work hard to make a living but they will also gain some spiritual knowledge so eventually they gain enough to go back to the spiritual abode where we live in the same beautiful body. That is eternal, full of bliss, and full of knowledge.

Paul from the Christians’ Bible, Lao Tsu from the Taoists’ Tao Teh Ching, and Lord Krishna from the Hindu’s Bhagavad-Gita advocated assuming the posture of a servant as a way of life. For what reason? It was the same for all of them, to fare better in this life and future ones.

I aspire to following Pastor Byar’s advice, though I don’t always reach the mark.

Common sense (from the spiritual component of Christians, Hindus and Taoist at least) seems to dictate that we adopt the posture of a servant in service to our clients to fare better in the present and hereafter, and to stay out of hell or coming back as a jackal or javelina.

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It Don’t Have To Make Sense

Posted January 19, 2013 By tjflynn

When I wake up in the morning with something on my mind, it either needs to be resolved or written down. This morning it was a job that I performed last year, doing an ASTM E2018-01 compliant property condition assessment as an associate for a consulting firm. I’ve done many of these before and never had a reviewer question my report product with the force, adamancy and exclusionism that he did. He was right. He didn’t have the inclination to discuss it. I was an absolute idiot for including the costs that I did. I needed to revise the Reserves for Replacement form and resubmit it before the end of the day.

Gentlefolk, there is no way to describe how that type of interaction affects me. Astrologically, I’m a Leo. I grew up remodeling houses as the bosses son. I’ve floated to the top, or left every job that I’ve ever had. Throughout my career, I’ve been self employed more often than not. And I’ve been self employed for the last 15 years. To say that I’m independent would be an understatement akin to describing a nuclear explosion blast as something similar to a cherry bomb’s.

So you’d be safe to assume that I did not decide to keep my mouth shut and do what he wanted without some doses of reality administered by my spouse. In my foggy memory of those moments, these doses were forced down my throat, in a calm and loving manner of course, while she was sitting on my chest. What I do remember clearly was her saying that I’d get paid quicker and probably do more work in the future for them if I followed directions, which, with her help, I did.

For those of you familiar with the ASTM PCA requirements, field observers (which I was) are not required to include Reserves for Replacement estimates unless requested by the client. Although it is normal to provide estimates for immediate costs or costs to fix noted deficiencies. However, (1) reserves estimates were always part of the consultant’s directions to me, (2) reserves estimate forms were provided with the project template, and (3) the reviewer’s directions to me were to remove all but one of the estimated costs.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of reserves for replacement, it simply refers to the fact that some major systems require replacement every so often and as a prudent property owner, one should be saving up for those expenses. Heat Vent and Air conditioners last 7 to 15 years depending on what part of the country they are in. Roofs last 10 years or more depending on materials. Asphalt parking lots need to be sealed and restriped every 5 years and capped with new wear surfaces around every 12 years. For most retail buildings, these are the three major items in the reserves for replacement list. And replacing smaller systems (really meaning smaller in costs like repainting) are considered more like operating costs and are anticipated elsewhere in property budgets.

Now that you all understand what reserves are and the three major systems, you’ll be as confused as I was to hear that costs for HVAC replacement were the only ones that I should have included. The roofing was an inexpensive metal panel that would likely be replaced before the HVACS. The asphalt parking lot only had 6inches of base. It was in a hole where water would seep under the pavement profile. And the asphalt thickness was substandard. All of this added up to replacing the parking lot before the roof and hvac.

I would have been happy to debate my estimates of cost and useful lives of the two excluded systems. Those could have been conservative. That was not the issue, and it makes no sense to me today why they were not included.

Should observers then, blindly and subserviently do what reviewers dictate even when it seems wrong?

Common sense says to me that:
A. The client told the reviewer to only include HVAC costs in reserves because they consider replacing roofs and parking lots elsewhere, and that information did not trickle down to the lowly field observers, or
B. The reviewer was not only wrong but he was an ass about it.

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It pays to know the players

Posted December 11, 2012 By tjflynn

As a prelude to building a comprehensive development schedule for Dollar General stores, I identified all “Players” in the process.
1. Accountant
2. ACOE
3. Analyst
4. Appraiser
5. Architect
6. Attorney
7. Building Department
8. Building Contractor
9. Buyer
10. Cable Utility
11. Civil Engineer
12. Concurrency Dept
13. Dollar General
14. DOT
15. DRC
16. Ecologist
17. Electric Utility
18. EPA
19. Escrow Agent
20. Executive Committee
21. Fire Dept
22. Gas Utility
23. Health Depot
24. Insurance/Bonding Agent
25. Land Development Dept
26. Land Seller
27. Lender
28. Landscape & Irrigation
29. Owner/Developer
30. Owner’s Rep/Development Manager
31. Planning & Zoning Dept
32. Phone Utility
33. Public Utilities Dept
34. Real Estate Brokers
35. Signage
36. Sign Contractor
37. Site Contractor
38. Site Lighting
39. Site Permits
40. Soils/Environmental Engineer
41. Solid Waste Utility
42. Surveyor
43. Traffic Engineer
44. Water Utility
45. Water Management District

I then built a detailed schedule in MSProject that would have been the envy of a professional scheduler and his “Scheduling Professor”. Right here, I should probably admit that nobody understood the schedule-except me. It was bulky and complicated. And every time a consultant or permit department held up the schedule, I had to change dependencies to keep the turnover date the same. However, when I ran reports, everyone understood the dates that my partners and I expected their tasks to be completed.

The list of Players above may be of some use to the odd reader. At the very least it should make you think about all the moving pieces, and players that we are dependent on to complete projects.

Please consider, also, that some people may be players in multiple categories. For example, the Executive Committee in # 20 was made up of the Owner/Developers in # 29 and me in # 30. And the Soils Engineer in #40 was the same person as the Environmental Engineer.

All of this background is meant to point out that there may also be hidden or unannounced player-roles that can bite you in the you-know-what if you aren’t careful.

The first example goes back to 1968, when I was a lowly USMC Corporal in the tropical paradise of Vietnam. The details are not important. But, in retrospect, I may have been too forthcoming in my response to a question from an unknown Lieutenant who later became our Commanding Officer and refused to sign my promotion warrant until the day he rotated home.

The lesson here is that players can change positions

sarasota

On a project in Orlando where, I was the manager of design and construction for a franchisee, the contractor was also a principal in the franchise corporation and I didn’t know. Although I would do the same thing today, there were bad results for me when I firmly denied a payment request by the contractor that was obviously padded to his benefit. He ultimately got his money from that draw and I got the privilege of not working for any of his franchisees again.

The lesson here is that players may not disclose all of their roles.

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