Tag Archives: car

Life lately.

12 Oct

It’s that time of year: elk hunting. Travis and his parents headed up this morning and I’ll head up right after work. Since I spent pretty much all of my PTO going to Alaska for two weeks and I can’t take unpaid time off without VP approval (stupid corporate policy), I will only be going up for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, heading down Monday night. Everyone else will come back down Wednesday. If you’re wondering, I don’t hunt. I hang out with my mother-in-law and we do fun stuff. 🙂

Read about our trip last year here.

Even though I’m going to freeze my butt off and I am really not looking forward to heading out to the lug-able loo at 2 am (thanks to pregnancy), I am looking forward to doing some hiking and lots of reading. The forecast calls for snow near us so we may or may not see any snow. Luckily, I have my warm boots this year. No more cold toes for me!

One more thing I’m excited about – driving my new car!

After 3 trips to the dealer and much hemming and hawing, we finally signed the paperwork for a 2008 Mazda Tribute. The Tribute is just the Mazda (and slightly less expensive) version of a Ford Escape.

I absolutely love it! It handles like a car and accelerates really fast (thanks to the V6 engine). And best part, I won’t have to spend 20 minutes on a Friday afternoon sitting in the parking lot at work because my car won’t start. (Yes, that happened last week.)

This past Monday night, while Travis was heckling with the dealer, I went to Starbucks (car shopping stresses me out because Travis and I have opposite buying personalities) to read my book Unbroken and have a good hour-long phone chat with my dear friend Holly who lives in Minnesota. It was so enjoyable. (Oh and Unbroken is a good book too!)

I tried the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. It was ok, but I wouldn’t order it again. Too rich.

Last week, we awoke one morning to a light dusting of snow. Now I know that the weather (especially that of a week ago) is not breaking news but I bring it up because I am LOVING Denver’s weather this fall. It’s been cold, dreary and rainy – reminds me so much of Minnesota.

 

This next picture is kind of dark but you can just barely make out a pile of grass sitting on the carpet in our living room. What is it doing there? Charlie puked it up. We’re convinced that she’s part cow. Who eats that much grass? No wonder it didn’t agree with her. (I promise she gets plenty of dog food to eat and is not starving to death.)

 

And lastly, a quick thought I had this past Sunday at church – I was standing in the sanctuary during worship and thinking about how amazing everything is in my life right now. It’s not perfect by any means but I can honestly say that 90% of the time I am completely content and grateful for all of the things God has blessed us with. At the same time, I recognize that my joy is partly because God has worked everything out with Travis’ school and PE, getting pregnant, finances, house stuff, a new car, etc. exactly how I wanted Him to. But He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to make everything happen this way. And yet, He did. He chose these circumstances for us, as much as we so do not deserve them. So I am praising and thanking Him for this season of excitement and joy, knowing that it won’t last for the rest of my life, but embracing the wonderful reality of NOW for the gift that it is.

I also recognize that this attitude of contentment in my heart is God’s doing – on my own, I am naturally bent toward discontentment and ingratitude. Like Ann Voskamp says, “Ingratitude was the fall – humanity’s discontent with all that God freely gives.” Without God, I would find something to be discontent about even in this season of abundance. So I am doubly thankful, not only for God’s blessings, but also for His allowing me to recognize them as such.

We sang this song in care group the other night and I think it sums up these ideas well:

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

The irony of pregnancy

3 Oct

You have headaches often but can’t take aspirin.

You feel like a zombie but can only have 200 mg of caffeine. And coffee sounds disgusting anyway.

You’re overwhelmed by monthly checklists, diaper options and product reviews, but can’t have a drink.

You’re actually supposed to gain weight by eating more, but nothing sounds appealing.

You need new clothes but have no idea what size you are and 80% of stores that sell maternity clothes only have them online.

That last one is the one I’m struggling with.

Buying maternity clothes has been one of the things I’ve looked forward to most about pregnancy. A valid reason to buy more clothes? Heck yes!

But the frugal side of me wants to find good deals, make sure I love the things I buy and try my best to not duplicate things I already have (pre-pregnancy or otherwise). Needless to say, it made my head spin a bit yesterday.

So I decided that I needed to plan a wardrobe and not just buy random pieces that I happened to like (yes, I do overthink things). I pasted screenshots into a Publisher file and finally narrowed it down to the things that I want to buy (at least for now).

 

Most of the pieces are from Old Navy, some are from Target and a few from Kohl’s (but I plan on buying pants in person, with the exception of those adorable green ones!).

But since I don’t have $360 to spend all at once, I narrowed my list down to $150 (which is my Blow Money amount) for this month. Pants are my most urgently needed item so I bought the green pants from Old Navy and will look for a pair of black and tan dress pants this week or weekend (planning to spend about $35 on each). After much deliberation, I decided to also buy the black maternity tank, camel sweater, and taupe dress top from Old Navy. And that will probably be it for this month (assuming everything fits well, that is).

I’ve been hesitant to go buy pants because the used maternity store I want to go to is only open Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5:30 pm. I’d really like to see what the prices are like and if it’s even worth shopping there, but I can’t find out until Saturday. But I can probably survive until then.

In other news, our Ford Focus, which we’ve been driving “until it dies” is on its way out. I went to start it on Monday and nothing. It’s working again now but Travis is very skeptical of its reliability. We know we need a new car eventually (the Focus is a 2001 with almost 170,000 miles) and we’re thinking we might as buy it now rather than wait (since the Focus has been sketchy for several months now – it’s not the first time it hasn’t started). So this weekend will probably also involve car shopping in addition to maternity clothes shopping. We’ve pretty much decided that we want a certified pre-owned Ford Escape with a V6. It will definitely be the nicest car either of us has ever owned. I’m pretty excited!

I’m completely giddy.

21 Jan

My wonderful husband installed this Thursday night:

The CD player that the car came with hasn’t worked for at least 2 years and then the radio crapped out so I drove to and from work every morning in silence. And while I actually enjoyed it, I also enjoy having the freedom to listen to CDs again. AND this stereo has an iPod jack so I can listen to my audio books and downloaded music too. I’m going to drive around all night just to listen to music.

As if that wasn’t enough, I just discovered this on MapMyRun.com:

SPLITS.

Like a Garmin.

Now I can see my schizophrenic pace!

If I had known that using the iMapMyRun app on my phone did this, I would’ve been using it for every.single.run.

Another benefit of bringing my phone on runs (besides safety, which I need to get better about) is taking pictures of the amazing Colorado sunsets.

Well, today’s 10-miler is done and now we’re off to Denny’s for some pancakes or french toast.

Hope you’re having a great Saturday!

A Trip Down Memory Lane

23 Feb

This morning, I’ve been reading through some of the literary journalism I wrote back in college in preparation for my interview on Friday (gulp!). I am planning on bringing writing samples of marketing copy and a couple of third-person narratives with me, in addition to my resume, just in case.

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this story again, so I thought I’d share it with you all. Enjoy!

 

Milk Carton

My friend, Kelly, called it my Milk Carton. Small and white with painted silver hubcaps and a hatchback that wouldn’t stay open, it went from 0 to 60 in a minute and a half. I called it my Putt-Putt car.

In the winter, my own breath puffed warm air into the frigid car faster than the heater. The heating I provided, however, did nothing but cause the windows to dangerously fog up. And for a short period of time, the brakes didn’t work unless the whole weight of my body forced them to. In the summer, cranking the air conditioning up to full blast was synonymous with cranking the windows down all the way, which inevitably blew anything lighter than a rock out onto the garbage-speckled highway leading to my house. To a stranger, those quirks would have been considered defects; to me, they were the endearing idiosyncrasies of a good friend. And while my friends snickered about my ’90 Mercury Tracer, I was proud of it.

The fondness I developed for my Tracer didn’t surprise me. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was play make-believe in my parents’ old Ford Country Squire with the fake-wood side panels. Countless times, I buckled My Kid Sister in the back and climbed into the driver’s seat. My feet dangling from the seat, I turned the key counter-clockwise—“backward”—so that the radio turned on and the doors dinged when open. As I fiddled with the radio, I imagined I was a mom driving my kids to school, going to the mall, being important. The day that I would be able to drive seemed like the day that I would go to college—I knew it was coming but never expected it to arrive.

My dad bought my Tracer for me before I even had my permit. Even though I couldn’t legally drive, he and I often took my car out on the deserted country roads around our house, driving aimlessly. As my dad’s lifelong hobby and current “just for fun” job has been driving coach buses for long trips, he empathized with my desire to go speed along a stretch of pavement in a curiously entertaining metal box on top of four rubber wheels. Driving came naturally to me, as if all those hours I had spent in my parents’ station wagon out of a “driving desire” had infused a sense of understanding before me and my car.

When I did get my permit and started driving around town, it became startlingly clear to me that driving on arrow-straight country roads with no other cars in sight and driving on the complex and congested city streets were not the same at all. I hated all the other cars around me and was constantly poised to beep my car’s feeble horn if anyone dared drive a little too close. But with practice came ease and familiarity. Pretty soon, I felt like an experienced driver, confident of my abilities to successfully navigate through clumps of traffic and maneuver in and out of snug parking spots.

The day I took my driving test, six months after my sixteenth birthday, was the day that confidence of mine went missing. It didn’t help that it was also the day every school in Rochester closed early, due to bad weather. A foot of snow covered everything; I was worried that the Bureau would cancel my test. The man evaluating me obviously wished they would have. I could practically smell his sour mood as we got in my car.

Parallel parking was first, the man informed me as we put our seatbelts on. So I got prepared to exit my parking spot; I put my car in reverse, looked in the rearview mirror, glanced around me, and slowly pushed on the gas. My car didn’t budge. I pushed on the gas harder. Still nothing. My tires were spinning because of all the snow, I thought. I sheepishly told the instructor that I was stuck. He smartly advised me to take the parking brake off.

I outright failed my parallel park. Paralyzed with the fear of hitting a marker and thereby automatically failing, I backed halfway into the parking spot before sitting still to evaluate, then asked the man if I should start over. He said no and marked FAILED on my test.

Next up was the ninety-degree backup. I aced it involuntarily to make up for my previous humiliation. Then I slid the car around ten blocks in white powder to somehow demonstrate my driving ability. The dead silence between us, intensified by the blanket of snow, lack of music, and snail-like pace, stretched longer than a wad of Silly Putty being pulled apart.

When we got back to the Bureau, the man sat silent, as if deliberating my fate in his head by mentally picking off flower petals: She can pass, She cannot. He turned to me and rattled off my failures: I forgot my parking brake on, I completely failed my parallel park. I got ready to cry as he begrudgingly said that I passed. I was too confused to be happy.

It wasn’t until I drove alone for the first time, going home from school, that I began to comprehend the oddness of my new reality. Glancing around me at the car’s empty seats, I felt strangely alone. Independently alone. At that moment, the distant future had become the present—it was just me, my Tracer, and the road ahead.

I started off being a careful driver. But it wasn’t long before caution gave way to confidence and confidence gave way to hazard. My Tracer remained ever faithful though. It forgave me for the time that I bent its rear passenger door backward by backing the open door into a mailbox. It understood when I flew into the ditch at the end of my cul de sac on a slippery winter morning, cracking its plastic fender by decapitating a Dead End street sign. It accepted my apology when I slid it too quickly over the mud-covered grass and into another girl’s car before danceline practice. It bailed me out when I plowed into a snow bank while trying to turn left and change a CD at the same time. It got over the two times I forgot to fill its tank and we ended up abandoned on the side of the road. No matter how many times I accidentally abused or selfishly under-appreciated it, my Tracer always sputtered alive and drove me at golf-cart speed to my destination.

Then one night, our friendship ended. I was driving home to put on my dress and do my hair for a New Year’s Eve party I was hosting at a local hotel. I stopped my Tracer at the only stop sign at a T in the road, its left turn signal blinking and clicking. Through the foggy side windows, I quickly glanced left then right then left again. I saw no one so I went.

As I was pulling out, I noticed two white dots quickly growing bigger as they moved toward the left side of my car. The realization hit me a split second before the other car did. I was thrown against the door as the left front of my car was forcefully smacked around 180 degrees. After two long seconds, the car stopped moving. I tried putting it in reverse. The car went nowhere. I was oblivious to the fact that the hood had popped up and was blocking my vision. All the other windows were so foggy they were opaque. I unbuckled my seatbelt and stepped out to survey the damage.

When I saw what was left of my beloved Tracer, I detached from reality. I balked at my car’s unsightly transformation. I was devastated and stunned. What had just moments ago been a square hood covering a square engine was now a crumpled hood popped up to reveal a smashed triangle of mangled engine parts. More of my car’s engine parts were strewn about haphazardly. My shaking hands fumbled for my cell phone as I saw people run over to the other car. I called my boyfriend as I heard the witnesses ask if the victim was all right. I felt indignant that no one asked me how I was.

I apologized to the lady whose car I had hit. She snapped back something about it not being her fault. An apology to my car elicited a similar response. Every problem my car and I had previously encountered could have been considered a happenstance, a fluke, a stroke of bad luck. But like the lady said, this one was my fault.

Through shaky sobs, I told my parents on the phone that I had killed my car by accident. They didn’t ask questions; they just came. The firefighters talked at me—they wanted to make sure I wasn’t physically in shock. As far as I could tell, I wasn’t even physically there. I kept waiting for the moment when I’d wake up and realize that it was all a bad dream. I went and sat in my parents’ minivan, in a daze of sadness peppered with the relief of being alive. But somehow, through the thick air of that night, I understood that I would never again drive my Tracer.

I went to the impound lot the next day to retrieve my CD player and anything else I thought was of value from what I now had to call “my old car.” The car sat there, sad, forlorn, abandoned. The open hood revealed the embarrassing heap of gnarled engine. It was no longer my car, my friend with a personality I knew so well. Now it was just a car, a heap of scrap metal.

My dad pried out my stereo and we walked back to his car in defeat. On the way home, my dad said, “I’m happy that you’re safe. But I’m sad about the car. I liked that car.” So did I.

Bye bye little red car!

5 Feb

There has been a red Chevy Corsica parked next to our car in our apartment parking lot for about 2 months. We haven’t seen it move for at least a month now. It’s there when we leave in the morning and there when we get home. We know that the person who owns it doesn’t actually live in the apartment building because when they first started parking in our parking lot, they actually parked in our spot. We left a note on their car and they moved–one spot over.

Well, when we bought the Pathfinder, we signed up for an extra parking spot. And guess which one they assigned to us? The one that the red car was parked in. Since it had worked before, we put a note on the car and waited for the owner to move. A week went by and still the car had not been moved. Our note was tattered and wrinkled from the snow that had fallen.

Finally, we decided that we had to have the car towed. There was no other way. So Travis called Coronado and told them about the car. Their response? “Yeah, the owner probably thinks that it’s no one’s spot. You have to call the towing company yourself.” Okay…it’s not like your the owner of the property or anything.

So yesterday we left work a little early to avoid the snow because we forgot to check the weather and drove the Focus. Whoops. As we pulled into the parking lot of our apartment, we gave our usual solemn, longing glance at our Pathfinder, parked way down in no man’s land for the time being. But this time, something caught our eyes. Something bright orange pasted onto the driver’s side window. We drove over and I got out to see what it was. A towing warning!

It was one thing that we couldn’t park in the parking space we were paying for and that Coronado refused to call the tow truck. But here they were, threatening to tow us! The nerve of some people! If I didn’t care about obeying social decency rules (and if the apartment office were open at different hours than the exact same ones I work), I would walk over to the leasing office and give them a piece of my mind.

But alas, the tow truck came and towed away that little red Corsica and we claimed spot 140 as its rightful owners. Now, instead of being scared that our new car is going to get towed, we’re just scared that it’s going to get keyed.

Ups and downs of buying a car

29 Jan

Travis and I got our new Pathfinder today. We went to work around 7, then left at 9:30 to drive down to Colorado Springs, where the seller lives. We got to usbank around 11:00 and quickly found out that the bank had just been expecting that we would sign the papers and leave–no check cut, nothing. WHAT!?!? We drove all the way down to Colorado Springs for the specific purpose of getting the car and then we can’t get a check cut?

Turns out it was the banker in Boulder’s fault. He didn’t communicate enough and didn’t fax over the paperwork that was needed to complete the transaction. So the people at the Colorado Springs usbank had to pretty much start from scratch on our loan. We were at usbank for about 1 1/2 hours and the loan we took out is a 4-year loan, not 5 like we had been hoping for. So our monthly payment is a little more than ideal. What should’ve been a very easy process was a long and complicated one. And we felt bad because the seller, his wife, and their 3-month-old daughter were there waiting too! But we got everything squared away and now we have a second car! Oh the possibilities that have been opened…

I got back to work around 2:10 and went straight into a meeting with my boss. Whereas before I had been really looking for work to do (and not finding much), the workload has finally picked back up. Yay! I finally left at 6:10 to go home–it was weird going home without Travis, something that will happen more often, now that we have 2 cars.

Travis and I also talked a little more about the whole housing situation. We are thinking about continuing to move forward with the house hunt. While it would be nice to have more money for a down payment, we realized that we would be spending $9,600 (conservatively) on rent for a year and have nothing to show for it. So spending an extra $15,000 on interest because of a smaller down payment probably isn’t that big of a deal. The thing that will make or break our buying a house, however, is if we can really afford it month to month. With a house comes more costs–not only is a mortgage payment more than rent but you also have utilities and all that jazz.

I’m not sure what will happen but it’s exciting to think of the possibilities!

Sad day just got better!

28 Jan

Travis called about 1 hour ago and said that we did get approved for the car loan! YAY! Prayer definitely paid off. We are going to drive down to Colorado Springs tomorrow morning around 10:00 to go to the bank and do what we gotta do. I’m so happy that we’re going to have 2 cars at this time tomorrow!