17 February - 13 August 2002

Not much to say, my life in Reno is pretty dull. I was off work for three weeks after my assignment in St. Mary's insurance area finished up. That is the longest gap of no work that I have had since coming back from Japan. The 1st week was nice to have off, I got in a couple of bike rides and got some stuff done that I usually don't have time for when I am working. One of those things was to check on car insurance for my pending purchase. Well was I in for a surprise! I had been insured by State Farm Insurance (a large auto and home insurance company) for about 25 years with breaks in coverage when I had a company car and when I left for Bulgaria and sold my car in 1996. So I went back to the State Farm office near me expecting to get a quote and find out the details to insure my new car. One of the first questions asked after I had told about selling my car in 1996 and now wanting to buy a new Golf was "Who are you insured with now?" I said, "no one, I don't own a car" and was told "We can't insure you if you aren't currently covered by insurance". I was SHOCKED - well you can guess what I really was feeling! Spent most of the rest of the day running around town and on the Internet trying to find affordable insurance. It seems that State farm had only adopted this policy in April 2002 but many of the other companies also have the same policy - if you don't have insurance they won't insure you.

The next two weeks off were more of a worry about getting back to work. I did a couple of rides with my new Berthoud panniers but one week was unsettled weather with rain for a couple days. Even yesterday and today have been quit cold; there was even light snow on Mt. Rose this morning. That's NEW snow on the 8th of June; what is going on - we are in summer or so I have been told. Finally went back to work doing Accounts Payable for Reno Housing Authority on 28 May. I am guessing that it will last for another month maybe more. It beats not working but I don't like to work for governmental organizations or companies that are under strict regulatory supervision. The policies of such companies are so convoluted to my way of thinking that I have a difficult time in that kind of environment. That was one of my biggest problems with the Peace Corps but there I had very little day-to-day contact with Peace Corps head office and it was not so bad.

The dental surgery is behind me but more "bad luck teeth". During the second week that I was off work I broke a large chunk off my back molar and am now getting a crown for that; should have it installed on June 24th. Have about 15 months of payments left on the surgery, 3 months now of additional payments for the crown with total expense equaling 1/3rd the cost of my new car. I think I can still order it in July for Oct/Nov delivery but it is going to be very difficult to pay the down payment, taxes and insurance. I will see where I am at in about a month when I go to the dealer and try to cut a deal on the price of the car and financing.

I am doing nothing at the moment but sitting and hoping for another work assignment. I have been off work now for two weeks since my last assignment finished. I was VERY glad to leave that assignment but I need to get back to work soon. My last job was at The Reno Housing Authority; they provide low cost housing to the "poor" of Reno as well as offer a number of other social services. It is very much a government operation, although the employees will argue that point, as all of the funds come from some governmental source and/or charitable donations. Therefore, it is run like a governmental organization and the employees are bureaucrats like any others. I told my contacts at Accountemps that when you look up "bureaucrat" in the dictionary there is a picture of my "go to"(the person that I would go to for help or answer questions) at Reno Housing. This "go to" was also a real piece of work; she said out right that she would sure be glad when they finally hired someone that knew what they were doing for the job that I was filling. Whenever I asked a question her answer would almost always have a snide inference to it that said, "You really are stupid, everyone knows the answer to that question." My worst assignment by far!

I tried to get quotes for a 2003 Golf TDI in late June and early July but VW has not yet released prices so no dealer would quote on an order. My local dealer did give me MSRP quote and said that if I ordered via the Internet it would be $1,995 less than when they are sold on the lot. I am seeing on a TDI web Forum that some other dealers are also asking over MSRP for the 2003 Golf TDI's. Don't know what that is all about because they are discounting the 2002's rather heavily this past month. I didn't want to order a car and not know what it was going to cost so I'm now waiting for them to be released to the dealers and on the lot, probably in September. I'll then ask again for quotes on the color, interior and options that I want and see if I can find what I want at a good price. I may have to go a few thousand miles to pick it up but if I can find what I want at a good price I'll go almost anywhere in the US to get it. Still hoping for Oct/Nov purchase.

The only other thing of note was a broken tooth in late May that cost me almost a car down payment to fix with a crown. No medical and dental insurance is a big problem. I have my medical provided by the Veterans Administration and just regular check-ups are fine with them but I have avoided their dentists. At the beginning of this year the co-pay on prescriptions went up by 2 1/2 times also which has hurt the pocketbook considerably. The good news is that my blood pressure and cholesterol are great. The psoriasis continues to be my worst health problem and it is manageable although not curable.

We had record setting weather in July when we broke the old high temperature record of 106 F with two days of 108 F (that is 42.2 C). In fact we had almost a full week of temps that were 100 or above. This is very unusual for Reno; we may have one or two days at 100 each summer but generally that is all. This past week has been very nice with temps in the 80s or low 90s and evenings that drop down to the 50s. This has been very good for the annual Hot August Nights car show that has been in town for the week. What hasn't been good for it has been a bus driver's strike that started a week ago. It hasn't been much of a problem for me since I haven't been working and they have brought in temporary drivers so it looks like service will be almost "normal" next week. The temporary drivers attitudes are so much better than the regular drivers that I hope they stay on strike.

That is about it for now maybe I'll have news of my new car purchase the next time I drop you a note. Hope to hear from and about you soon also!

P.S. I started a new assignment today!