#211–Simple solutions . . .



When I had my new car only a week, I heard such loud noises coming from it, I was convinced it had a major problem.

It had been a very hot day over in the valley, so there were lots of people here at the coast. It was a Saturday and warm here too, and I was on duty at Backstreet Gallery. When I got to my car, it was very warm inside. So I put all the windows down before turning on the air. Later, I closed the windows. It took forever to get out of town and then traffic was slow going. Which is why I didn’t realize I had a problem.


After only a week, I heard such loud noises that I thought it was a major problem.

I had the radio on and noticed that the beat of the music was getting louder and louder. I turned off the radio, but the beat played on. It was the car not the radio. At first, I thought I had blown a tire. Since I was almost at my turn at Mercer Lake Road, I slowed. The sound lessened, and I pulled over and stopped at Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside. I checked everything I could think of: tires were fine, didn’t see anything dragging underneath, the car hadn’t been shimmying, no hot or smoke smells. Hmm! So I got back in, started it up, and everything seemed normal, but as soon as I got about 35 mph or so, the noise started again. So I kept speed down and continued the last couple miles home. Everything sounded fine as long as I kept the speed down.

When I bought the car, I signed up for 100.000 miles of roadside assistance to tow to nearest Toyota dealer and many problems to be taken care of at no additional cost. So I called and explained problem. She said that since I was home, to call the dealership and see what they wanted me to do. So I called the dealership. It was late on Saturday afternoon and no one available to talk to me, so receptionist said she would leave message to call me. About an hour and half later I called again and told her the whole problem, She said everyone had gone home and to call about 7 a.m. on Monday morning when the service department opened.

I was not about to drive the car, since I didn’t know what the problem was or how serious. The good news was that I didn’t have to be anywhere for a few days and had plenty of food on hand.

I did wonder if my car had to be towed to Eugene, should I or would I be able to ride over with the tow-truck driver? I at least could rent a car easier in Eugene than in Florence if necessary. I was becoming very stressed. This is why I got a new car, so I wouldn’t have to face such problems. AARRGGHH!

Three days later

As it turned out, I drove along with the tow truck driver to the Kendal dealership in Eugene. (I loved the name–Stealth Towing and Recovery–out of Eugene.) It was embarrassing to have all my neighbors see my brand new car being towed away.

When we got there, I gave them a written account of everything. Then the car was taken for a drive to try to replicate the noise I had heard. The gal doing the test drive, heard nothing and couldn’t find anything wrong.. She came back and talked it over with one of her technicians. He reread my written account. He paid particular attention to where I said that I noticed the back seat passenger window open the next morning, so I had closed it.


The back window goes down all the way.

He suggested she open that window all the way and take the car out again. So she did. About 30 mph she got the noise I had described. It became almost unbearably loud as the speed increased, but died down when the speed got below 30—just like I had described. So she came in with a big grin and told me she wanted to take me for a ride. When I heard the noise, I told her, “That’s it!”

So the solution was to close the damn window. As simple as that! I was so relieved. I couldn’t stop smiling and after giving her a hug, I told her to give the technician one too.  I had no clue what the problem could have been. Wind dynamics was not on my wave length. She explained to me that would not have been a problem with my old Camry. Also, in my new car, the back window goes ALL the way down and did not in my old one. So it’s more difficult to see that the window is open in the new car.

I drove my car back to Florence with no problems. I stopped at the FEC to pick up photocopies of the latest Florence Festival of Books applications and talked to Kevin Rhodes, the Director there. He said that he gets a strange noise in his SUV when he has one of the rear windows down all the way. So he was not surprised.



Near the end of July, I spent a few evenings listening to CDs because my TV––my new TV that is only two months old––apparently died. I put new batteries in the remote, replugged three plugs that I thought had to do with the TV into a new power strip with a light indicating power. Then I called Customer Service. First clue that I might not be the only person with a problem with this particular type of TV was the message. “If you have a 4K from Walmart, presst 1; if you have a 4K from any other source, press 2.” It took a minute to realize that my 4000 series was most likely the 4K in the message.


My new TV was wonderful until one day when it just quit.

I talked to the customer service person and she had me press the power button on the back of the TV. And nothing. So since I had already done her other suggestions, she gave me a reference number and told me to take photos of my proof of purchase, the front of the TV, and the info on a plate in the back and gave me an email to send it to. So I did. I couldn’t find any receipt. Geez! I have receipts for everything else I’ve ever bought. I ransacked the house, but still couldn’t find it. So I took photos of my check register with a check to Bi-Mart with its notation for a TV. And a photocopy of the actual check to Bi-Mart. So we’ll see what happens.

Three days later

Before I heard back, I solved the problem. When I had replugged in what I thought were all the TV and cable box plugs (3) into a new power strip, there was already something plugged into in. I thought that one was the phone or the fax machine because they were closer to where it had been sitting. I just knew it had nothing to do with the new TV.

When I was unplugging the TV to move it off the counter and to put it back into it’s original box, I noticed that plug in the power strip that I had never checked and saw that it was only partially plugged in. As I plugged it in all the way, a lightbulb went off over my head. Hmm! Could it be? So I replugged everything back into the TV and pushed the “on” button on the TV and, lo and behold, it came on. Could have knocked me over with a feather.

I tried the remote, but it still didn’t work. So I took out the new Duracell batteries. I dug through the garbage under the sink and in the very bottom among the coffee grounds, I found the old remote batteries (a brand I’d never heard of). I cleaned them off and put them back in. It worked fine. Go figure!

So plugging the damn plug in all the way solved the problem of the new TV. Such a simple solution! It ranks right up there along with closing the window to solve my car noise problem. I’m beginning to feel r-e-a-l-l-y stupid!



My book Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known doesn’t sell in bookstores. It took me awhile, but I finally figured out why. I broke a cardinal rule of non-fiction book covers—“The title or subtitle must tell what the book is about.” I only had a title, no subtitle, and my title didn’t really tell what the book was about. So I was considering redesigning the dust jacket cover. Fortunately, this book is a hard cover with a dust jacket, and I can do that. But first, i wanted to try a cheaper, simpler alternative––stickers!. I came up with this in the middle of the night, I could design a subtitle telling what the book is about, put it on a sticker, which I could then slap on each book.


My new sticker for Devil Cat.

So I went online and found a site where I could create any kind of sticker I wanted. I designed an oval, soft yellow sticker to match the yellow in the word “colorful” in the title. The words are a black easy to read font and say “Five stories about RESCUE ANIMALS that became great pets . . . eventually!” That’s what the book is about! Then I ordered 1,000.

Four days later

They arrived in the mail and turned out exactly as I had hoped. They are all separate with peel-off backing. There was no good place to stick them on the books. Since I don’t want to cover the title or the picture, I put them right over my name and it looks okay.

I put some on the books at Backstreet about nine days ago, and I’ve sold seven copies of Devil Cat since then. That’s about as many as I’ve sold there all year. It seems to be working! Just another simple solution!


Devil Cat with its new sticker!

I also gave a copy with new sticker to the gals at Mari’s Books in Yachats. No charge–– just to see what they think and to see if it sells any better. They sell lots of my bridge books. But they had no luck selling Devil Cat, so I bought back the copies I had sold them.

I felt so stupid on the car and the TV, but also relieved that they were “fixed” so easily. And I should have put a subtitle on my Devil Cat book cover, but I didn’t. So I hope the simple solution of stickers “fixes” the problem and sales increase.




About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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2 Responses to #211–Simple solutions . . .

  1. Phyllis Bright says:

    Great stories Judy! Some solutions are so simple, right?

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