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  w: What a doll! _POSTEDBY cat -  
Thought you all might like to see Wendy's new eyelashes. Her warranty's expiring in December and she's been needing a makeover.

I think that these would suit her better. What do you think, Habs? Tasteful? Yes?

Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 18, 2010   1 comment    Printer-friendly page  

  w: All dressed up for Veterans Day and Remembrance Sunday _POSTEDBY cat -  

Thank you for the poppy, Ricky. Wendy's looking very smart.

Friday, November 12, 2010   5 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: For the record _POSTEDBY cat -  
Wendy hit 10,000 miles this morning.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009   7 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Mini factory layoffs _POSTEDBY cat -  
Now I know things are serious:
BMW has confirmed that 850 jobs are to go at the Cowley plant in Oxford, which makes the Mini, and that weekend working has been scrapped.

All agency workers who did the weekend shift at the factory have lost their jobs, with immediate effect.

The site is closing for a week after a fall in sales as a result of the economic downturn.
And the rest of it.

Monday, February 16, 2009   2 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: My first good experience at Momentum Mini _POSTEDBY cat -  
Wendy is now thirteen months old and only has 8,200 miles on the clock. As her first official service isn't until 15,000 miles I decided to take her in to Momentum Mini anyway for an oil change. Our appointment was for 9:30. We arrived at 9:20 and got immediate attention from a very nice man called "Joe." I sat in the cafe and watched the pre-inauguration ceremonies on a television that was tuned to Fox News, and at 10:30 Joe came to fetch me and said I was all set. Wendy got an "Annual Low Mileage Oil Service", a new air filter, a bubble bath, and a vacuuming. All FREE! What a nice surprise the whole experience turned out to be. Momentum has definitely improved its service department. The old space which handled about three Minis at once is now a space between the Service Department and the Sales Department. They've got space out back for the actual repair shop and have (I think Joe said) 15 whatchamacallems (stations? docks?) which I presume handle 15 Minis.

In the old days, taking Wendy in for service was an ordeal. I hope things stay like they are now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009   2 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Electric Mini _POSTEDBY cat -  
So much for the Chevy Volt. John will have to buy that one for himself. I'm drooling over the MINI E now.

There seem to be a few drawbacks. It doesn't look as if there'll be any room for my yoga mat.
The placement of the batteries ... results in a serious erosion of the Mini's already limited cargo carrying abilities and necessitates the removal of the rear seats. The massive battery pack also adds significant weight to the petite MINI's chassis. A MINI with a traditional internal combustion engine weighs just 2,546 lbs in base form. The MINI E boosts that figure to a portly (for its size) 3,230 lbs.
Not to mention that I'd have to move to California to get one.

On the subject of Minis, how many of Habershons.com's American readers have spotted a Mini Clubman since its launch in February? I've only seen three so far.

Sunday, October 19, 2008   1 comment    Printer-friendly page  

  w: More on petrol prices _POSTEDBY cat -  
It's been a while since the last post on Habershons.com. Since then, petrol has gone up even more. Wendy's octane (she only drinks the best . . . so far) has been as high as $4.27 a gallon. Anyway, if you go back and read the comments you can check out David's latest car story.

And according to those comments, it looks as if Charlie's about to graduate. How time flies. Congratulations, Charlie! Please send pictures.

Friday, July 04, 2008   Comments?    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Wendy3 -- no longer perfect _POSTEDBY cat -  
How's Wendy? I can hear you all asking.

Wendy got damaged. In the yoga parking lot. A student leaving in a hurry didn't see her when he pulled out, and his truck side swiped her front left side. The damage wasn't too bad. The body shop replaced the fender and the chrome ring around the headlight and said they'd have to repaint the entire bonnet. I declined, and asked them simply to buff the scratches. You can hardly see a thing now.

Here's a before picture and an after picture. The student, who was more upset than I was, paid for everything and has been forgiven.

Monday, April 07, 2008   Comments?    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Isn't that an area of London? _POSTEDBY cat -  
WAE ???H

So what comes next? Click here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008   5 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Memories _POSTEDBY cat -  

The Mini Clubman officially goes on sale in the U.S. today. Already I'm hearing it referred to as a Mini SUV.

In honour of this momentous occasion, here's a picture of my late mother circa 1968. I remember taking it. She'd really wanted me to focus on the tree in the foreground that she'd been nurturing for a long time. You may, however, notice her Clubman in the background.

I wish she was here to see the latest version of her favourite car.

Saturday, February 16, 2008   4 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Do you have a match? _POSTEDBY cat -  
So David forwards me this e-mail:
Quick question, what side of your car is your gas tank? If you are anything like me, you probably can't remember right away. My solution is to uncomfortably stick my head out the window, strain my neck and look. If you don't do this in your own car you definitely have done it in a borrowed or rental car.

Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to share with you my little secret so you will no longer look like Ace Ventura on your way to the gas station or put your neck at risk of uncomforted or injury.

If you look at your gas gauge, you will see a small icon of a gas pump. The handle of the gas pump will extend out on either the left or right side of the pump. If your tank is on the left, the handle will be on the left. If your tank is on the right, the handle will be on the right. It is that simple!
I don't know how you feel right now but when I found out this morning I felt cheated!

Why don't the dealers share such important information with car buyers? I don't understand why this isn't in the drivers ed manual? I don't get why any mechanic I have ever been to or know has even thought of mentioning this to me? The only possible explanation can be that all these people probably don't even know!

Go out and share the world's best kept auto secret with your friends as this information is way too important to be kept secret.

So I rush out to the garage to check my Mini Cooper. The pump handle is on the right, and the tank is on the left.


Perhaps it's because she was built in England with the steering wheel on the left?

How about everyone else's cars?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008   10 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: 2002 Mini vs 2007 Mini _POSTEDBY cat -  
Wendy (not Rose. I came to my senses) is now 9 days old and I haven't even finished reading her manual yet. There hasn't been time to do much over the last couple of weeks. John also gave me an awesome Garmin GPS for Christmas and I'm still plowing through that manual, too.

What I did do, though, is scan the window stickers from Wendy2 (2002 Mini) and Wendy3 (2007 Mini). The latter has a few unreadable parts, but if you're interested you can look at the two and compare them.

Did I mention that Wendy3 is far superior to Wendy2? She seems to have more power; 40 mpg vs 37 mpg; 6 gears vs 5. The speedometer is much bigger than the original. When you open the bonnet the headlights stay put instead of going up with it. The sun roof opens in the back as well as the front. I love the heated seats and use them after yoga to keep my spine warm. Then there are the automatic wipers and automatic lights.

Anyway, lots of good stuff. In spite of owing $10,000 over the next three years I'm glad I went with a new Mini instead of one that would probably have been "beaten to death" (John's words).

Tuesday, January 01, 2008   2 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: It's a girl! _POSTEDBY cat -  
What a difference between Wendy2 (2002) and Wendy3 (2007). She may look the same to you, but she's not. There have been some major improvements over the last five years.

Details and more pictures to follow.

BTW, Wendy3 may be named "Rose" instead. That name is coming to me every time I look at her.

Monday, December 24, 2007   6 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Arrival of the Emden _POSTEDBY cat -  
The Emden sailed into South Carolina early this morning, not Houston as I'd presumed. WENDY3(HORACE) will be on her(his) way to Texas soon. ETA Saturday or Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 17, 2007   1 comment    Printer-friendly page  

  w: In time for Christmas? _POSTEDBY cat -  

Wendy3 (working name) is now on this
ship heading for Houston. It's a Dutch
car carrier called the "Emden".

Here's wishing crew and cargo a safe journey.

Thursday, December 06, 2007   Comments?    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Wendy3 _POSTEDBY cat -  
Okay, it's time to tell you about my new car. I was going to taunt you for a while and make you wonder if I'd really bought a Mini Clubman.

My next car will be a 2007 brand new shiny chili red six-speed Mini Cooper. I dressed one online and printed out the specs, and took it to Momentum Mini in Houston. Amazing how much nicer their sales department is than their service department. Wonder why?

Anyway, Momentum didn't have one meeting my specs in stock, although there was a gorgeous chili red Cooper S in the showroom. It was loaded -- even had a fingerprint starter. Unfortunately the sticker price was $33,000.

The salesman fiddled around with his computer and came up with a close match to my specs. Wendy3 was born on November 23rd, 2007, in Oxford, England and was bound for Nashville, Tennessee. Remember Wendy2 came from Memphis, Tennessee?

Anyway, a deal was made and my new Mini is waiting for a ship to bring it to Houston. I'm following the progress online. If any of you are in Oxford perhaps you could pay a visit?

Bear in mind that Wendy3 has stripes and a spoiler and could be a boy, in which case he will be named Horace. I won't know until I see her/him. The stripes will be removed but the spoiler will stay.

See below for the specs:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007 Read more about Wendy3  9 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: The Mini Clubman . . . _POSTEDBY cat -  
. . . is now available in the U.S.

Non-Habs -- this is the car that my mother used to drive. I think she went through about four of them. She liked them because she could fit two dogs in the back: Major the sheltie and his best friend Mandy the dalmatian.

The BMW version looks a lot different from hers. Does anyone have any old photographs?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007   Comments?    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Wendy, 2002 - 2007 _POSTEDBY cat -  
The verdict is in. The insurance company came up with an estimate for Wendy's repairs. In spite of the fact that the water did not come in the doors, the damage under her bonnet is too extensive for her to be fixed. In exchange for her title, they will be sending me a cheque to buy a replacement car.

I drowned her. Two weeks before her fifth birthday.

RIP, Wendy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007   10 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Flooded Mini _POSTEDBY cat -  
Stupid stupid me. I drove Wendy through high water on Bissonet Street at 5:45 this morning. Didn't realize how deep it was in the dark. It was the wake of the bus coming in the opposite direction that killed her. It was quite scary feeling her rocking as all the pick-up trucks and SUVs whooshed by us as we sat forlornly in the middle of the intersection with our emergency lights flashing.

Triple A rescued us and towed us home. Now I'll have to wait and see what the damage is.

UPDATE 7:55 a.m.: It's nice to have an upbeat neighbour/mechanic like Scotty Kilmer. We have just pushed Wendy into his driveway and he's going to dry her out and then give me a diagnosis. It's also nice to have a sweetheart like John who is lending me his car to get to work. Fingers crossed, please.

Friday, August 31, 2007   7 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Starter motor short _POSTEDBY cat -  
Wendy wouldn't start last Saturday afternoon. The lights went on and the roof opened so it wasn't the battery. On Monday morning, Scotty, her new doctor, took a look at her and diagnosed a shorted starter motor. I drove Cyril to work (and yoga, with three towels on the driver's seat -- thank you, John!) and when I got home she was fixed.

Scottie installed a refurbished starter motor and a new battery. Total cost, including labour, $438.50. I think the whole deal would have been a lot more at the Mini dealership, not to mention missing 2-3 hours of work dropping Wendy off and picking her up again.

Sunday, August 26, 2007   1 comment    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Crushed Mini _POSTEDBY cat -  
OUCH! :(

Saturday, August 25, 2007   4 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Suspension scare _POSTEDBY cat -  
I took Wendy to Momentum Mini last month for her 50,000-mile inspection and oil change. Here's a repair estimate they gave me:

2 Lower control arm bushings: $79.90 + 4 hours labour
2 Strut mounts: $119.90 + 4 hours labour
Oil pan gasket: $45.97 + 4 hours labour
V/C gasket: $15.00 + 1 hour labour
Reverse light switch: $181.20 + 1 hour labour
Peanut bulb: $4.22
Realignment: $149.00
Total labour @ $109.00 per hour = $1,526.00
Total charge with taxes: $2,158.00

Note that Wendy is nearly five years old and no longer under warranty. Note also that she has been in religiously for all her scheduled maintenance and no problems have ever arisen.

To say the least, I was quite shocked. I was also quite unimpressed by Momentum's service. It took two-and-a-half hours to drop her off on the Tuesday morning (their computer wasn't working properly and the car rental place was temporarily out of cars). I was informed that there were nineteen Minis ahead of her on the list and that they would probably keep her for a night. I could live with that. However, by Wednesday afternoon no one had contacted me so I called the serviceman. I was dumped into a voicemail with a greeting belonging to the serviceman's predecessor, but left a message anyway. On Thursday morning I'd not had a return call so left another message. Then on Friday they called me to ask if I'd authorize all that stuff above.

You can imagine that I was quite hot under the collar by this time. I told them I'd pick up my Mini and did not want the work done. They presented me with a bill for $374.15 (air, fan belt, filter element, oil change) and I got her out of there, vowing never ever to return.

John suggested I ask our TV neighbour, Scotty Kilmer, for a second opinion. He kept it this Thursday and I drove John's mum's car to work. (We're babysitting it for her while she's away -- very convenient). Scotty called me around lunchtime to say he'd checked the suspension and could find nothing wrong with the bushings or the struts. He did see a tiny oil gasket leak and said he could fix that and the reverse light switch.

I get home from work and there's Wendy in the driveway. Finished. Total cost: $350.14. The largest charge in there was $181.20 for the reverse light assembly.

So, either Scotty's wrong or Momentum's wrong. But right now I'm going to stick with Scotty.

A lesson I learned from this? If the warranty's about to expire on your car, have it thoroughly checked out by an independent mechanic.

Saturday, July 07, 2007   Comments?    Printer-friendly page  

  w: Now will y'all stop calling me "Wendy"? _POSTEDBY cat -  

It's time for the unveiling of Wendy's new license plate, so stop your clamouring.

Why did I change it? Because people keep calling me Wendy. At work in the garage, outside the yoga studio, outside the house. Even a couple of car park attendants downtown call me Wendy when I drive up to their booths.

Click on Wendy's Mini logo and all will be revealed.

Saturday, October 14, 2006   4 comments    Printer-friendly page  

  w: New plates for Wendy _POSTEDBY cat -  
Wendy's getting new license plates.


Yes, again. Girl Mini Coopers like to change their looks once in a while.

Stay tuned for the grand unveiling.

Thursday, October 05, 2006   Comments?    Printer-friendly page  

  w: 44,111 miles _POSTEDBY cat -  
September 14th was Wendy's fourth birthday. It was a day like any other. She took me to yoga and took me to work and brought me home. Then I gave her a bubble bath in the driveway and shined her tyres. In spite of a few gravel nicks she still looks good -- in fact, I'd say she doesn't look a day over one. Her warranty has now, unfortunately, expired.

Saturday, September 16, 2006   Comments?    Printer-friendly page  
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