Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sputter sputter sputter

I just redacted the entire post that was here. Those of you who already saw it or who may still see it in your feed reader get a glimpse into my dark, snot-encrusted soul, but sorry to the rest of you. It was a little too bile-ful even for me. Here's the gist: we hired cleaners to come in an get the house all span-spiffidy for showing and they didn't do a good job. I just noticed because I'd been too sick to look until last night. I'm cranky. The end.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

So dig this big crux

The house is ready to sell. At least it was two days ago--I've lived in it since. I had an awesome agility weekend with Lucy, the details of which are located where they are least likely to accidentally bore anyone.

Now I'm sick with that flu thingie. Monday and Tuesday I had a fever of 102, which really messes a body up. I've currently got no fever, but I still feel like ass. In fact, it's time for my midmorning nap, I think.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Porque buscando tu sonrisa estaría toda mi vida

I finally ate at la famosa Taquería Lopez last night with Georg and Sarah. Yum. I decided to order tacos because, hey, taquería. They were awesome. Next time I go I'm going to try one of the platillos because Sarah's carnitas en salsa verde looked so good. When it came time for dessert I thought I could use a sweet tidbit, so I ordered churros with cajeta, thinking I'd get a little plate with maybe two churros on it. Instead they brought a platter with six churros and mounds of whipped cream. I ate two and forced Georg to eat a couple but Sarah wouldn't have any. So I brought a couple home and tonight I'll try an experiment in finding out whether they are any good after a day in the fridge. I'd love to go back tonight because a) yum and b) there will be mariachis and I love me some mariachi music, but I've got a few things to do and besides that I have no dining partner(s).

At some point in the conversation the topic turned to dogs, and I usually feel like a dork when this happens because I never shut up once I start talking about dogs. Fortunately G and S graciously indulged me, but I've been at parties when I can tell the person I'm talking to is trying to edge away from me after somehow me started talking about flyball or agility. I must be the dog-person equivalent of the dweeb who can't stop talking about multi-user role-playing games. I need to come up with some other areas of expertise so I appear less geeky, I think.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Somebody's watching where the others don't walk

Wouldn't it piss you off if someone almost made you wreck your brand-new car? Well it did me. Today around lunchish on Dawson St. in Raleigh, dude suddenly decides he wants to occupy my lane without bothering to check if maybe there was already an object in that space, namely Pantsmobile V2 and its two occupants. So I had to slam on the brakes and swerve a little, which caused me to drive onto the curb. (I laid on my horn the whole time, of course. I want a special horn that screams "MORON! IDIOT!""). Fortunately I wasn't going very fast, so I don't think I threw the car out of alignment or anything, but I may have it checked out tomorrow just to be sure. I was lucky the person behind me didn't slam into me.

That's the downside of a brand-new car--you worry a lot more about something happening to it. In Pantsmobile V1 I probably wouldn't have minded someone hitting me, especially if it gave me an excuse to get that Honda Fit I'd been wanting. Also, Pantsmobile V2 is equipped with all kinds of airbags, and the last thing I want is for any of them to deploy. Those things are really expensive to replace.

Friday, February 15, 2008

But still the days seem the same

I changed my blogger template. I was tired of my blog being really ugly, but too lazy to make it pretty. So I made it plain instead.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's the only way to live

In my last post earlier today I said I was looking for a used car. But the thought of spending a lot of time running around looking at cars and having them checked by mechanics and whatnot (all the while paying $35 a day for a rental so I could get to work and do all the running around) was giving me mucho anxiety. Plus I ran into a little snag in financing--it would take just about all of the liquid funds I had available to buy the car, but I need to keep plenty on hand for crap like closing costs, moving expenses and other junk involved in a major life change, so I can't really spend it. I could get a used car loan from the credit union (planning to pay it off quickly after the dust settles), but as it turns out, they won't lend me the money even though my credit is great and I have more money on deposit with them in various accounts, CDs and an IRA than I wanted to borrow. It turns out that because my name is on two mortgages (along with Mr. Pants) they count the entire amount of each mortgage as my debt against my income (since Mr. Pants name wouldn't be on the loan). So my debt-to-income ratio was too high. Bastards! Option three was to hit up the Pants Mother for a loan, and she said she would be happy to lend me what I need, but why don't I just go look into buying that Honda Fit I wanted?

Yeah, why the hell not? I mean, I could at least go to the dealership and test drive it ... So I did.

Well, the car sold itself to me. I mean, I had already been sold on it by stuff I'd read in Consumer Reports, Dogcars.com and a few other places. Hell, even Mother Earth News had great things to say about it. It was the salesman's arms and fingers that pushed the levers and stuff to show how the back folds into a cavernous (for a compact) cargo hold, but it was the car that said "I am perfect for you." Plus, the dealership had no problem with my debt-to-income ratio. I think all they require is a pulse and a drivers license, although a good credit score gets you a better rate, and a decent downpayment keeps the monthly payments from being too onerous. (I plan to pay off the loan early--as soon as possible, actually--to keep from paying so much interest.)

I decided on a manual transmission. They can get slightly better gas mileage (although maybe not the way I drive) and they're a little cheaper than an automatic. Plus I sort of like driving a manual--it feels you're actually driving--as opposed to just operating--the car. I suppose if most of one's driving is in a city with so much stopping and going it can get a little tiresome, but most of my daily commute is on interstate highway. Now I just need to get back into practice--there's an an art to shifting gears.

Pantsmobile V2 is what Honda calls "Blaze Orange Metallic," but I prefer to think of it as sort of a pumpkin color. Cute as a button. I was smiling like an idiot at no one in particular all the way home.

You won't be seeing rainbows any more

Waaahhh! My car needs a new(er) engine. Which means I need a newer car. Anyone know of a dogmobile for sale that gets decent mileage/ I don't think I'll be getting my brand-new Honda Fit at this point. Waaahhh!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Between the click of the light and the start of the dream

So just when you're thinking you're doing OK, your car breaks down in Wake Forest. Or at least mine does ... maybe you never go to Wake Forest. Saturday night I was coming home from an agility trial in Youngsville, thinking about what I could eat for dinner. I didn't have anything I wanted to eat in the house and was thinking I'd drop the dogs off at home and then go back out when I passed a Food Lion. Why not stop now? Great idea! One gallon of milk, a half-dozen bananas some Grape Nuts and a frozen pizza later, I was back in the Pantsmobile but it didn't want to cooperate. It would sorta start and then with a great rumbly chugging noise it would die very quickly. I was stranded in a parking lot with two dogs and perishable foodstuffs in the car.

I knew this day was coming, but I was hoping to stave it off a little longer. Before I got this car (my first ever new car) I always drove beaters (also known as hoopties in some circles). I never knew when or where I was going break down so I just expected it. My first car (sometime around 1981) was a '63 Plymouth Valiant with a push-button transmission and primer covering the rusty spots. Then I had a sweet '68 Camaro with the passenger side bashed in from having been sideswiped. (That car only cost $350! It was great until I wrecked it.) Then had a '75 Audi Fox that had wood shims stuck at strategic places under the hood to keep the clanging noises to a minimum. One time in Wisconsin someone tried to hotwire my '81 Subaru but the joke was on him--the alternator had died and I was too broke to fix it. It was when my mechanic refused to put my '82 Nissan Stanza up on the lift because it was so dangerously rusted out that I finally decided to get my first actual new car--nothing fancy or expensive, just a down-to-earth Ford Escort wagon. And up until recently, it has served me very well.

But now it's approaching 200,000 miles and little crap is starting to happen. I knew something was wrong Saturday morning on my way to Youngsville when every now and the the car would give a little stutter/hiccup. I decided that first thing Monday morning I was taking it to my mechanic, conveniently located near my office in Raleigh. Not so conveniently located when I was broken down with two dogs in the car in Wake Forest and all I wanted to do was get home. Fortunately I have AAA and a very sweet friend who was willing to come rescue my dogs from having to ride home on a flatbed tow truck.

Now the Pantsmobile is at a Durham mechanic recommended by a friend. The place is two doors down from a house I looked at in Northgate Park--I had initially considered that one of the house's drawbacks but now I'm rethinking that ... I'm still waiting to hear back but he said his first guess would be fuel pump. That would be much better than my first assumption, which was "Damn, sounds like my engine is eating itself!" I really was hoping to put off getting a new(er) car until after I had procured a house. Then I think I want a Honda Fit.

Monday, February 04, 2008

And I'll give my days to the Neanderthals with the classic rock and the wrecking ball


(in bed)
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

Spooky fortune cookie. Maybe I will move many times over the next 5 years? When I lived in Chicago I moved four times in six years.

With just one more brain what a half-wit he'd be

Today some bueno linkage (damn, is linkage masculine or feminine? Maybe it should be buena ...): My pal Rakka (one of the first Flickr friends I ever made way back in aught-four) has started a new project called Suspect and Fugitive: artstuffs with a sell by date. I wonder if I can get her to make a snowman out of Hostess Sno-Balls?

Also you can buy stuff from her Etsy store so she can afford more Pop Tarts.