7:30 am: An adjuster from State Farm arrives to look at two supplements that are under review. The first is a 1999 Mustang that was hit on the front end and now seems to need inner tie rod ends, bushings, and a new rim to make the squeaking noise heard when turning the steering wheel from side to side go away. It has been waiting in service for a few days for the rep to come in, since we can’t do any more work on it without State Farm’s authorization. Bobby, the alignment tech, gave me some attitude about putting the Mustang on a lift, saying he had more important shit to do. State Farm decided that the Mustang’s driver liked taking curbs a little too hard and compromised the assessment so that he would allow payment for about half of what I had originally asked for. I gave Bobby the go ahead and later on he apologized to me for giving me shit, saying that the service advisors had jumped on him from the moment he punched in and that he was just in a bad mood. After telling Bobby what was approved, we moved on to my other customer’s car. It was a 1996 Taurus that had been clipped pretty hard in the left fender but now, after all the body work was done, the Check Engine light stayed on and the turn signals wouldn’t work. After hooking the Taurus up to a computer to diagnose the problems, the service tech came up with about $800 in parts, labor and access time. Judging from the impact and the fact that the sensors that were blown were on the opposite side of the engine compartment, State Farm swiftly denied it as being accident related and blamed poor maintenance or warranty for the problem. In both cases, once the verdict was out, I called each owner and let them know what State Farm had decided. One guy was fine, the other was hiring a lawyer. You guess which was which.

10 am: Pulled an F150 into the wash bay, since our porter can’t drive stick and can’t drive at all really, so we don’t leave the keys in the cars he washes. Every time he’s moved a car, he’s hit something. He has autism and goes to the church where my boss is a pastor, so we’re stuck with him as a charity case. Once it was washed, I asked the paint shop to put the stripes back on the panels we painted, then I ordered a fender molding and stuck it on, since the body man who had initially been working on the truck was fired before it was finished. I had to practically beg another body man, Larry, to put the truck back together. We’d had the truck for almost 2 months by this point and it was driving me nuts how long it had taken to get done, since all the damage to it was undercarriage. It got a new oil pan, gearbox, the works. When Larry tried to put the rear bumper back on he said that the hitch plate was bent, but that it was not likely due to the wreck. So I ordered a hitch plate for him and stood over him while he put it on. Half my day is following behind body men, making sure they do what they said they would so I can get these cars back to their owners on the day I said they’d be ready.

1pm: Pull a Cougar in to get washed. After it was done, I drove it around to the front lot when I noticed that the Check Engine light was on this car as well. I drove it into service and told the advisor to call the customer to find out what rattling noise she was talking about that she heard after she rear ended someone. This woman was also claiming that she was hit so hard that her son’s bookbag flew from the back seat into the center armrest console and caused the lid of it to break off. Yeah, right.

1:30pm: Called the owner of a 95 Lincoln Towncar to update her on the repairs. She tells me that her husband had said something about damage to the rear end that was not related to the front end collision we were repairing, but she wasn’t sure what to do. I told her that we don’t work for free so she needed to call the insurance company and make a second claim, which would mean a second deductable she would have to pay when she picked it up.

2pm: A woman who’d had her Honda station wagon brought in to have the hatch replaced brought it back to me because the glass company who put in her new rear windshield set the rear wiper arm wrong. Instead of wiping the glass, it was wiping the bottom of her hatch. It was kind of funny. I remembered the day she picked it up because our porter was sick and I had to clean the car myself. They had whole, unshelled nuts and leaves in the footwells of their seats. Gross.

2:30pm: I have to drive a Mustang to a tire shop to have an alignment done because Bobby can’t do it. The specialty rim on this car, which were shipped to us from California, have no lip on them so the alignment machine’s clamps could fit. Tiffany followed me in my car so we could drop it off; we are still one porter short and he’s usually the guy who would do this so we can stay in our offices. The first tire shop we went to couldn’t do it, so we had to go to another one. Even though it was only a dozen or so block from the dealership, the construction on the streets and traffic stretched our errand to about an hour. The owner said that his Mustang had to be ready today. I thought maybe he should go back to California where he came from, but I kept that to myself.

3:30pm: Called service to see if anything had been done to the Cougar, which there hadn’t. Brought the Mustang from Bobby to the front lot for delivery. Paged the owner of the F150 for an update, but got no return call. Convinced a body man who speaks Spanish to call a customer of mine, who speaks no English, to relay a message from me that the parts for his 2000 Explorer Sport Track were in and that I would like him to come in as soon as possible.

4:30pm: Went back to the tire shop to get the Mustang. Tiffany drove it back and I followed her in my Festiva, joking with her that we should race.

5pm: Both Mustang owners were picking up after hours, so I parked them in the front lot where they would have access to them, leaving their keys with the night cashier in service. Filled the coffee machine for the next morning. Wrote a walk in estimate for the owner of a conversion van who wanted to have it painted gold and black because the Saints were having a good year. The estimate came to about $4000. I guess he will buy T-Shirts instead.

6pm: Lock up the paint and body shops, office doors and the lock box for the car keys. Drive home. Get online. Node.