Girl Day!

On Friday, I postponed work and all other obligations to spend the day with my sister. We’ve both been so busy lately that we’ve hardly seen each other.

I was shocked to realize that even though Megan has had her new car for almost a month, I hadn’t been in it. That alone tells you how overdue we were for a Girl Day.

I took the rare opportunity of being a passenger to try and show you my favorite part of the drive to Hooterville itself, where the trees part to reveal the ocean:

I also got a shot of the historic Hooterville bridge, one of seven that we cross on our way to the Big Town. The bridge is the only wooden bridge left on Highway One:

The car handles the curvy roads really well. It has good brakes and enough get up and go to pass the rude sluggards who refuse to pull over. I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that the traffic is becoming more summer-esque in its quantity and slowness.

The new car, unlike the old one, also has a CD player (I know, so 90s), so Eminem regaled us on our way to the Big Town. Once there, we stopped off at a used book store, where we learned that they also sell records. Yes, actual vinyl. Even more retro than CDs. I picked up a book on making bent wood trellises. I have a project in mind for Rob…

Boys, avert your eyes for this next paragraph. Go and get a beer or something. You can rejoin us later, when the coast is clear.

Our next stop was Understuff, a fabulous lingerie emporium, where we learned that, like almost 90% of women, we were wearing the wrong bra sizes. We were ably and charmingly assisted by a pregnant sylph (her baby, Ezekiel, is due in two months), who measured us and found bras which fitted, were cute, and were not that expensive. The magic bra trifecta! Also, we had the satisfaction of shopping locally. For the first time in my bra-wearing life, the straps have stayed up. As we left, Megan high-fived me and said, “Let’s take the pledge! It’s Understuff or nothing!”

OK, guys, it’s safe to come out now.

Flushed with triumph, we repaired to The Wharf for Mexican mojitos, mini crab cakes, and Caesar salad. As we ate, a fishing boat on his way out to the ocean passed by our window:

A seal was bopping around and playing in the waves, but I couldn’t catch him on film. You will just have to imagine the cuteness.

We had a commission from our brother to buy tomato insulation, so we stopped off in the Village on our way home and went to the garden center:

Where they have an innovative way of displaying plants:

It was a really fun day. As I told Megan, if she weren’t my sister, she’d still be my friend. As it is, she’s both.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

As for my own kitties…

We had a summer preview last weekend, with temperatures hitting 80. I dragged the fan out of the shed and brought it upstairs (it gets hot up there if it’s over 65 outside), and went to the Gro for Otter Pops. Needless to say, the weather changed to rain and cold before I could eat more than one of the Otter Pops, but when summer really gets here, I’m ready.

The kitties were outside rejoicing in the sunshine. Sometimes I wonder what they make of the fact that sometimes it’s raining and sometimes it’s sunny. Also, it must be weird to live with giant, dinosaur-sized creatures who can swoop you up anytime they want and whose language you do not at all understand.

Their new summer schedule is: outside most of the day, with occasionally coming in for snacks, pets, and/or naps. They also like napping on the disused hot tub and the balcony. Audrey in particular is good at finding sunny spots to lounge in.

The boys tend to be chasing each other around in the woods.

They come in for dinner and later come in for the night once it begins to get dark outside. Roscoe tends to go straight to bed and stay there until morning. Yesterday morning, Clyde was campaigning to go outside before 7:00, whereas Roscoe stayed in bed until 9:00.

Audrey, of course, still demands to go out early, meowing and clawing madly at the balcony door until I get up and open the @!%@#^@ door. For some reason, I seem to have decided that 5:30 am is the earliest she can go out, even though it’s still dark out. I guess I have faith in the undisputed winner of “Survivor: Hooterville”.

Clyde has been trying to win Audrey over. He keeps trying to play with her, and she actually seems to be playing with him for brief periods of time, until I catch her and she runs away. Clyde’s playfulness does seem to get frustrated. He’s always pouncing on Roscoe, who is completely unimpressed and acts as if nothing had happened:

Roscoe is always dignified.

The other day, Clyde pounced out of the bushes behind me and grabbed my leg, scaring the crap out of me, which must have been satisfying for him.

It is really cute to see the boys together, though. They often “kiss” and sniff each other when they pass or meet, and they like to sleep together. Audrey, of course, is remote and aloof, though she has been sitting on my lap nearly every evening since I got back from the City.

Digital Digit

Digit sitting in the window behind my desk

I know you’ve all been dying for more pictures of Digit, the office cat, and an update on how she’s doing.

So far, so good!

She hasn’t tried to escape, which surprised me. She lounges on her giant beanbag bed and watches the UPS guy, Roger the mailman, and miscellaneous visitors (some more miscellaneous than others) come and go without making a break for it.

Maybe, like my little Henry-Etta James, she has had enough of the Wide World* and is happy to have a warm, safe place to live with food, water, and pets on tap.

At first, I worried a little about her being alone at night and on the weekends, but I realized that most cats are alone 9-12 hours a day while their faithful servants are out slaving away to pay for food, litter, the vet, and other feline necessities. Then they come home and go to bed a few hours later. Digit may well get more company than most cats. Also, the CEO and our IT guy tend to come in at night and on the weekends, and the rest of us are often in the Big Town on errands, so I’m pretty sure she’ll get some weekend visitors.

She has a constant feeder and waterer, so we won’t worry about her being hungry or thirsty. She also has lots of toys to keep her amused. One thing we do need to buy her is a scratching post.

Erin took Digit to the vet for a wellness check earlier this week. You have to hand it to our local shelter. For $100, you get a cat who is neutered or spayed; has all of his/her shots; has been flea treated and microchipped and comes with a 5 pound bag of food (Science Diet, but still**). The shelter also pays for a wellness check-up with the vet of your choice within a week of adoption. Not bad.

So Digit is healthy and happy, though she objected loudly all the way to the vet’s office and back. The vet clipped her claws, and told us that we have to keep the claws on her extra toes clipped, since they don’t get the wear that the regular ones do and they can grow into her skin if we aren’t careful. So we’ll have to have a regular manicure appointment for our glamorous new girl.

I have to say, it’s nice having her there. I like it when she sits on my desk purring (Digit came fully equipped with Power Purr), and just having her around makes the place seem happier and more lively. She even helped me organize the wine rack in the CEO’s office this week (for which he thanked me with a bottle of wine). Sometimes I can’t believe that I’m being paid to play with Digit and mess around with wine. It’s a hard life.

*”Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,” said the Rat. “And that’s something that doesn’t matter, either to you or me. I’ve never been there, and I’m never going, nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all.” — The Wind in the Willows, Chapter 1

**We are mixing it with Taste of the Wild, which Megan and I both feed our cats, and will transition her to that over time.

Office Cat

Meet Digit, the office cat!

My co-worker Erin and I have been (subtly) campaigning for an office cat at the jobette, facing opposition from our dog-owning colleagues. Finally, Erin was able to persuade the CEO that we needed a cat, for mouse hunting purposes as well as decoration and purring purposes. And, you know, giving a homeless animal a home.

We went to the shelter at lunch, and explained our requirements. We needed a cat who could be alone at night and most weekends without being sad or lonely, yet could tolerate visitors. (S)He would have to stay inside, since we are on one of the main streets in the big town. So: friendly, yet independent.

They immediately recommended one of their cats who has been staying at the local thrift shop while waiting for a home. They felt she would be perfect. But we wanted to see the other cats as well. We were pleased to hear that they did not have many cats to place, especially since it is a no-kill shelter.

We spent some time with the available cats, and then decided to go and see the recommended cat. She was lounging on her cat bed, and it was pretty much love at first sight. She is about three years old, and was a stray, so her past is shrouded in mystery. She has extra toes on all four paws, and her name is Digit! She is now our office cat. Here you see her relaxing in her new home:

The thrift store employees were all sad to see her go, and said she was the most amazing cat ever. We said that they can always come and visit her, and they were really glad. I imagine Digit might get more visitors than the office does!

Number Nine

Those in the know know that every April 15 is Jessica’s birthday. Far more important (and enjoyable) than filing income taxes is finding the right gift.

Despite the fact that Jessica is the least material of children – when Megan asked her what she wanted for Christmas last year, Jessica replied, “a candy cane” – I spent some time and thought on what to get her.

I ended up with this (allegedly) child’s ruffled scarf, which was actually big enough to tempt me into keeping it. Yes, I tried it on. It’s an angora blend from Benetton, and it’s pink (“you know, the kind of pink that I like”):

United Colors of Benetton Kids Ruffle Scarf (Girls)

Later, I realized that Jessica had given me a scarf for Christmas, so maybe that and the fact that I wear the Jessica scarf fairly often made me think of giving her one, too.

On Etsy, I found the perfect card:

I even managed to wrap it fairly decently (while forgetting to photograph it for posterity) and mail it on time. Yay, Me! When I called Jessica on her birthday, she was absolutely delighted with everything. Even if I hadn’t sent her anything, her birthday would have been completely awesome, thanks to Erica.

Erica took Jessica to get her ears pierced. I asked Jessica if it hurt, and she said, “Oh, yeah!” When I asked her if she watched, she said, “Suzy, my eyes aren’t on the side of my head,” which was a good point.

In addition to the new earrings, Erica gave Jessica “The Three Musketeers” and “The Hobbit”, which was perfect since I had also sent her a little bookmark which matched her birthday card. Jessica said, “I miss my aunt-ourage. And my uncle-tourage.”

Jessica’s birthday cake was chocolate, layered with fresh strawberries and buttercream frosting with coconut and chopped almonds, decorated with candied violets. Just another Erica masterpiece.

As if that wasn’t enough, they went to Cirque du Soleil that evening, where the performers showered Jessica with butterfly-shaped confetti.

All in all, a good birthday*.

*Jessica asked me when mine was, and I told her. She was charmed by the fact that it’s the day before her mother’s. She asked me how old I would be this year, and I told her. She was quiet for a moment, and then said, “You’ll be half a century old!” as if her mind was completely blown, which I know mine is. I agreed, and she said, “But you seem like a kid.” Pause. “Maybe a teenager.”

Last Day

Well, my last day in the City did not go exactly as planned.

I packed my bags and the car and otherwise managed to kill a couple of post conference call hours in the early morning. Around 9:30, I set off for Swan Oyster Depot, knowing that they open early. What did not know is they don’t start counter service until 10:30, a new and unwelcome scheduling change.

I walked back to the modest motel, stopping in at Bob’s doughnuts on my way:

I checked out, packed the final few things in the car, and headed back to Swan’s, parking the car in a garage around the corner. It was about 10:45 at this point, so I was kind of shocked by the length of the line at Swan’s. It used to be that if you got there before 11, you’d be OK, but apparently that has gone the way of early morning counter service.

Figuring on a half hour’s wait, I was wrong – it was closer to an hour, but by then, I’d invested so much time, there was no way I was going to leave. Eventually, I perched on a tiny, uncomfortable stool, elbow to elbow with total strangers, and ordered a half cracked crab, which comes with sourdough* and butter and a smile.

It was sparkling fresh, as always, and I enjoyed the ballet behind the counter, as the brothers cracked crabs, shucked oysters, poured wine, and rang up bills – one of the charming things about eating there is telling your server what you had, which he rings up on an old cash register – in the narrow space.

After that, I picked up some extreme take-out from Victor’s:

and headed to the Legion of Honor to the Cult of Beauty exhibit:

where the views of the Bridge:

and the City:

and Sutro Tower:

were lovely.

Inside, not so much. Another line to buy a ticket, much like an airport check in line, where those ahead of me took forever and I took about 30 seconds. How can it take so long to buy a ticket? Arriving at the exhibit, another line to get in, and then I was awash in hordes of tweens, chasing each other around, screaming, giggling, texting – anything but actually looking at the priceless works of art. Not for the first time, I congratulated myself on steadfastly refusing to reproduce.

Despite the tweenage horrors, the exhibit was full of lovely things. My favorites were a chair designed by Sir Lawrence Alta-Tadema (who knew he designed furniture as well as being a painter) in 1884, much more fabulous than any photo could capture:

A remarkably modern tea set made by the gifted Christopher Dresser in 1879:

And of course, Whistler’s Battersea Bridge Nocturne.

By the time I got on the Bridge, the Giants’ home opener was already in progress, and I listened to Matt Cain pitch a one hit shutout, 5-0, against the PIttsburgh Pirates as I headed back to Hooterville.

The sun vanished when I was a few miles over the County line, and there were some showers before I arrived home and greeted the kitties. They definitely missed me. Yesterday, the boys chose sitting with me over playing in the sun, and Audrey, never the most demonstrative of cats, sat on my lap all evening instead of going outside. I’m officially more fun than the Great Outdoors!

*It’s from Boudin’s Bakery, but they bake it longer for Swan’s, so the crust is dark and crispy. I highly recommend it. And remember: you pronounce it Bo-DEENS.


Storm clouds on Polk Street

Well, here I am, ending my trip as I started it, with a pre-dawn conference call. I’m drinking reheated coffee from the French bakery, which I bought just for this purpose, figuring that it would be better than the dreaded in-room coffee. So far, I’m right, though I managed to incur a small, cigarette-type burn on the lower part of the cup while yet leaving the coffee tepid.

Go Me.

I think you need coffee before you make it. Or re-heat it.

Yesterday was mostly a blur of meetings, though I made time at the end of it to meander aimlessly around boutiques in my old ‘hood, buy a birthday card for Megan, and get my nails done at the cheap and cheerful nail salon. I was surprised on this occasion that there were two men there, and they could not have been more different. One was the metrosexual poster child, who also got his eyebrows waxed (clearly copying Me), and the other was the rare to near extinction Gentleman, who wore a hat and carried a cane and not a single white hair was out of place.

In the evening, I gorged on delivery Thai food and hockey playoffs, which are getting unprecedented coverage on TV this year. I checked in with Megan, who told me that the kitties were fine, and that there had been a thunderstorm, garnished with lightning and hail. A couple of hours later, the storm showed up to my party. The thunder was so loud that it kept setting off car alarms. It’s a lot easier to hide from the storm in the modest motel than in the fishbowl of my hippie hovel.

[Update: It wasn’t just my imagination: it was a hell of a storm. 750 lightning strikes in four hours, and nearly an inch and a half of rain. It’s sunny now, though – hopefully a good omen for the Giants home opener on Friday the 13th.]

The real dilemma for today is what to do after the early morning call. There are three or four hours to kill before museums and Victor’s opens. What’s a girl to do? Stay tuned…

View from the Top

Conference day dawned cloudy, but not rainy, as predicted. I disguised myself as a responsible adult and hailed a cab. Other than the driver, the whole thing was computerized, with a disembodied voice informing me how to exit safely, and a printed out receipt which said “Happy Cabbing” on it.

Is there any other kind?

This particular shindig is always held in the swellegant Four Seasons in San Francisco. Every year, I wonder why it was built on such an iffy block of Market Street, especially when I pass the private lobby of the “Residences”. If you’re wealthy enough to stay or live there, I would think you’d prefer a more delightful neighborhood. Also, the doorman probably spends a lot more time shooing away desirables than greeting desirables. Still, it is just a few blocks from Sephora.

The doorman at the Four Seasons always makes me feel cherished, sweeping open the door and bowing with a smile as he ushers me into the marble hush of the foyer.

Once labeled and equipped with a very nice padfolio, I went into the conference room, where the view was not quite as lovely as the one from the deck:

The dress code in the invitation said “business casual”, which is the dress code no-one really understands, even the people who set it. When I worked at Nameless Corporation years ago, the Powers that Be instituted Business Casual on Fridays, but no-one, even the Human Resources people, could explain exactly what it was. Like pornography, they’d know it when they saw it.

My interpretation was velvet pants, a velvet-trimmed top (I guess I think velvet goes well with chandeliers), and heels high enough to be cute, but not too high to preclude walking to Sephora. I also brought my diamonds out for an airing. Other conference attendees wore: suits with and without ties; khakis and shirts; a couple of Hawaiian shirts; and sky-high heels with bare legs, which I think is an “only in California” look.

As conferences go, it was pretty good. I met some interesting and potentially useful people, as well as some I already knew. And I learned a lot.

Feeling virtuous, I headed out of the elegant enclave and strolled to Sephora among the businessmen, tourists, and crazy people, marveling once again at the length of the line waiting to board the Powell Street cablecar. Note to tourists: get on a block or two later, and there won’t be a line.

Being in Sephora is almost as good as being in the Four Seasons. They have cute girl greeters instead of a doorman, and some truly fabulous faux eyelashes:

Life in Hooterville doesn’t require false eyelashes, but it does require lipliner and eyebrow pencil, which were duly bought and put into a little black and white striped bag. I happily made my way to the St. Francis, where the last doorman of my day ushered me into a taxi.

Days that begin and end with taxis are always good.


Well, it’s been a long day.

It started at 5:30 am, when my Moonbeam alarm clock kindly flashed its rays over my sleeping face. I almost sobbed as I turned it off in the rainy darkness. Roscoe didn’t bother moving.

I was sufficiently caffeinated to hold up my end of a 6:00 am conference call. Following its conclusion, I got ready for the jobette, packed up the car, said goodbye to the completely unmoved kitties, and headed off.

After working at the jobette all day, I set off for San Francisco in the rain and fog. I lost track of how many times it poured and subsided, poured and subsided. All I know is, I’m sick of other cars’ splashy wakes and I cannot understand why rear window windshield wipers aren’t standard on all cars.

As I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, the City looked like a pale mirage, washed by the rain and bathed in fog. The towers of the Bridge were swathed modestly in cloud, and the rain-swept gloom had robbed them of their brightness.

Still, my heart lifted as always at the sight of my loved one, no matter how inclement and inconvenient the weather.

I texted Megan to tell her I was here, and then ordered Indian food on the interwebs. I could even pay for the tip and save the receipt for my expense report. Now all I have to do is relax with an adult beverage or two and wait for it to arrive. Sometimes I love technology.

I always love food I don’t have cook. Or shop for. Or plan. Or clean up.

Sadly, my room does not have a bathtub, which kiboshed my Lush dreams of soaking luxuriously, but so far the bathroom seems to be bug and spider free, which is an improvement.

Other than the magic delivery of Indian food, there won’t be a whole lot of fun going on during this trip. Tomorrow I’m spending all day in a conference, then part of Thursday, followed by meetings. On Friday, I have yet another 6 am conference call, followed by the long drive home to Hooterville. I’m still hoping to squeeze in some fun, though, in the shape of this exhibit. And maybe a stop in at Sephora…

Spring Planting

It seems kind of unfair that you don’t get Easter baskets as a grown-up, which is when you need it most. I’d love to wake up to a basket full of chocolates and cuteness and then test my ability to eat the chocolate before noon. You can skip the marshmallow Peeps and substitute a mimosa. Dinner would be optional.

Instead of eating candy all day, I messed around in the garden a bit before the rain, which is promised to visit us all week, began. I snipped the dead and rangy looking stragglers off the hanging plants, and gave them fertilizer, discovering that the bag of fertilizer mysteriously has a hole placed (in)conveniently near the bottom of the bag.

I finally re-potted the calla lilies Jim gave me (mumble) weeks ago. One of them is looking a little peaked, and I wonder if it was damaged in the hailstorm we had a week or two ago. I propped it up and am hoping for the best:

Speaking of damage: the flower spike on one of my orchids got broken off somehow. I was surprisingly upset to find it lying on the gravel this morning. I put it in water, but I’m pretty sure it will never bloom. After all that work of bringing them inside to keep them from getting frost-bitten, and out again to catch the rain…

Despite this setback, I planted some nasturtium seeds. I have never grown anything from a seed, so we’ll see how that works out. The concept I had for them – they are vine-y ones, and my idea was to put the planter on top of the window Mark made in the studio, so they’d tumble brightly down the side – may or may not work out. A strong wind might blow the planter off the window, and then there’s watering something that’s a few feet above my head:

Practicality is not one of my strong suits.

Rob brought by a planter which looks to my untrained eye to be made of felt:

It had a tree in it before, which is now over on the family property, and he thought it would make a good home for the tree by the propane tank which keeps getting knocked over by the wind. During the last storm, I just let it lie there sadly for days at a time, knowing that if I picked it up, it would just get knocked down again, a sort of anti-Weeble. So I’m hoping that the new container will be heavy enough with dirt to keep it an upstanding citizen.

Mom’s Birthday

Teeny picture of Mom at her parents’ house

Today would have been my mother’s 80th birthday. She lost her long, valiant battle against cancer seven years ago this summer. She was a fighter, and fought until the end. Her ability to withstand pain and not complain about it was astounding. Sometimes I wonder whether she would have been diagnosed sooner and maybe had a better outcome if she had complained more and earlier about the pain she was in, but that kind of speculation is pointless.

Though it’s hard not be a little concerned about the dwindling life expectancies of our rapidly dwindling family. My great-grandparents lived well into their 90s (my father’s maternal grandfather dying in style while doing a complicated math problem – come to think of it, maybe that’s what caused it); my grandparents well into their 80s (Dad’s father dying in style on Christmas Eve in his special armchair while his beloved wife of more than 50 years made him a cup of tea) and my parents barely making it to 70 (Dad lived 5 months after his 70th birthday; Mom made it to 73). So if I’m lucky, I might have another 10 or 15 years. Shouldn’t I be working less and having more fun?

Speaking of working: an unexpected side of effect of the jobette is that it’s brought me closer to Mom, proving once and for all that it’s never too late to work on your relationship.

The jobette requires driving to and from the Big Town three times a week, about 40 minutes each way. Mom loved to drive, and drove rapidly and skillfully, whereas I am not a big fan. To make the experience more bearable*, I always have music in the car, like Mom did, and for safety reasons, I have my Mouse**, which has never failed me yet. And most days, I wear the hand-forged silver bracelets that Mom always wore.

Listening to the radio so much inspired me to start a Song of the Day playlist on my iPod. It started out as the song that made me happiest when I was driving that day, but I have to admit that some days, there was more than one song.

The songs were a revelation of sorts. Though there’s a fair amount of new stuff, I definitely seem to enjoy the songs of my youth, songs that date back to when Mom was driving the car and I was the passenger, instead of the other way around, as it is now. Apparently, I like disco (who knew?) and never met a Steve Miller song I didn’t like. Go figure.

Megan’s gift from Mom was Schatzi, and mine was the love of music.

Mom inspired the playlist and I know she would love it, and have one too. When a song comes on the radio or the iPod which she really liked, I feel like she’s right there with me. In retrospect, she really had great taste in pop music. And when I finally pull into my rocky, potholed, muddy (or dusty) driveway, I always say “Thank you, Mom” as I take off my seatbelt and lurch toward my house.

Thank you, Mom. And happy birthday***.

*I do realize that complaining about a 40 minute commute beside the Pacific and through groves of ancient redwoods is very non Mom, and also annoying to the rest of you who have real commutes. Or wish you had one.

**My utterly unsuperstitious brother also carries a Mouse with him to every fire call, and so far so good, even when fighting the terrifying wildfires a few years ago. These Mice are Mighty.

***There was a breathtakingly beautiful full rainbow over the ocean this morning. I thought of you.

A Brand New Start

Apparently, March did not get the whole “in like a lion, out like a lamb” memo. It both came in and went out like a particularly rambunctious and attention deprived feline. Or, you know, an Audrey.

I woke on Saturday night to rain and wind battering my hippie hovel. I checked all the doors to make sure they were closed tightly against the wind, and discovered a couple of new roof leaks in the kitchen by stepping in the puddles in bare feet. That will teach me not to wear my slippers, which were snickering quietly by the side of the bed when I went back upstairs, flashlght in hand, Just In Case.

Or not.

As I listened to the roar of the storm and tried to quell my fears by reading the latest in Lisa Lutz’s always entertaining Spellman series (about a family of private eyes in San Francisco), I thought how lucky it was that Megan and Rob had ventured to the city the day before to buy a car. By the time Saturday was over, there had been four hailstorms, heavy rain, a thunderstorm or two, and the highway to civilzation was closed due to the river overflowing its banks. Again.

But Megan and Rob didn’t have to care about all that as they sat with their dogs by the cozy fire. Safe in their driveway was a BRAND NEW CAR!

At least, to us.

So far, they are the only ones in our family to actually own a car made in this millennium (or century, for that matter), this one being a 2004 Hyundai Elantra:

On Friday, they went all the way to the wilds of the unknown East Bay, with Miss Scarlett and Miss Star (leaving me to give Schatzi that unforgettable midday pill) to buy a car. A couple of the other cars they had been looking at online had been snapped up in the meantime, but fortunately, this one remained.

Not only did we conclude the Great Car Share of 2011-1012, we learned why used cars are so #%^$#*%^ expensive. When this car shopping odyssey began, I foolishly assumed that with the economy so bad and the unemployment rate so high, there would be plenty of used cars for sale by desperate people.

I was wrong about this, as with so many other things, both recently and not so recently. It turns out that people are desperately hanging onto their crappy old cars and driving them until they no longer go, like Megan did, since they can’t afford to upgrade. There is a serious shortage of decent used cars for sale, at least in Northern California (Megan searched as far away as Sacramento and San Jose), and when one does come up, there is a bidding war for it between used car dealerships.

As I said before, the new normal is not a pretty one.

So for around $7,500, Megan and Rob got a car with a mere 45,000 miles and 8 years on it, but with no floor mats or extras of any kind, unless you count the slight ding in the windshield. Still, it drives well and has good pickup and good handling around the curves and good gas mileage, which is pretty much all we care about.

As Hootervillians, it has come to my attention that our concerns when making big purchases are not the same as Civilizationites. With cell phones, it’s durability and receptiveness, given the lack of cell towers in our big, but underpopulated County, not how many apps and games and movies you can get on it or how cool or pretty it is. With cars, it’s how safe it is, along with its ability to grip the serpentine, rough roads and enough get up and go to pass those losers who refuse to pull over as soon as you have the chance. Oh, and good gas mileage if you can get it. We do not care about coolness, color, moon roofs, or leather-wrapped steering wheels. We really don’t.

Anyway…I’m happy that they once again have a safe, reliable vehicle (already test-driven by our brother) and that once again, all’s well that ends (or starts) well.