Nov. 12th, 2010 04:46 pm
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I received the title to my car in today's mail. This means that now my most valuable possession is something understandable by normal people. By the time I paid off my last car, its book value was slightly less than the book value of my collection of Magic: the Gathering cards.


I was leaving the bank, and overheard someone use one of the few words of Arabic I remember. I can still count to five and say yes, no, thank you, and I don't want any. I used to be able to buy bottled water and ask directions to the hotel or the bathroom, but those phrases have escaped me.

My grasp of Italian is similarly limited, but different. I remember all the phrases that my mother remembers from her trip to Italy in high school. Sometimes I wish I remembered less of my mother's childhood, so I could use those parts of my brain for my own life! I also know quite a few off-color phrases, and just about everything to do with food. This part of New Jersey is so very Italian that you've got to be able to understand some.


From the cover of the new People magazine: Kim Kardashian at 30: "I thought I'd be married by now." I haven't read the article, but my reaction to the headline was "Welcome to the club, honey. Time to go home and rethink your life." I don't blame her for whining about it, though. God knows, I still melodramatically lament my single state whenever I have an audience, and I did rethink my life.


Typing a letter to attorney Phil Kahn, one week before Philcon, is making me slightly nuts.
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Question for those who know more about cars than I do (which is just about everyone): If a rock hit my windshield, resulting in a star at the point of impact, with no cracks spreading, and nothing coming through to the inside of the glass, does it still need to be replaced or is that something one lives with? How does one go about replacing the windshield? Is that something handled through an insurance agency, or do I call my mechanic, or do I look it up in the phone book and call someone directly?

I have about three months left on my current cell phone contract, which means I am eligible for the upgrade discounts now if I want to renew. I've been poking at my friends' phones a little. I'm envious of people with the internet in their pockets. But I've had mixed results attempting to use iPhones (which is better than six months ago, when I'd had uniformly bad results). My hands just don't always do what I want. So this will require further thought and investigation. Anyway, this afternoon I compared plans at Verizon and AT&T, mostly to see how much more expensive it would be than what I've got now. And the answer is that it would pretty much double my bill, either way, and I'll have to think about whether I want it that much.

Anyway, I was appalled to see that Verizon's only option for a text messaging plan is now $20 per month for unlimited texts. So, for the record, I would have to receive TEN TIMES the maximum number of texts I've ever received in a month to even come close to it being worthwhile to get a plan while still with Verizon. (This is not a challenge.) AT&T does still have a $5 per month plan, although that's not unlimited any more either.

What I'm reading: Just finished The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens. This took me a surprisingly long time to get through. I think the author was trying to do too much with the book, and it suffered. She's one of the most successful current authors of historical romances, with two extensive interrelated series to her credit. With these books (this is the third of four), she's stepping outside the predictable formula of the genre. There's an unfamiliar setting (colonial India) and a fair bit of action, suspense, and even actual plot. I think she must have gotten tired of writing the same thing over and over, and wanted to try her hand at something with more substance. While I think that's commendable, I happen to think she's a better writer than this book demonstrates. Meanwhile, it still has the same general romance plot, the prescribed sex scenes (though not necessarily at the same page counts) and some of the usual themes that go along with the subgenre. This feels like trying to keep all of the same readers, despite changing it up a little. As a result, it doesn't end up being good action/adventure or good romance.

Next up: What Life Was Like in the Jewel in the Crown. Because now I want to get a bit more of the feel of colonial India without sex getting in the way.
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In what is possibly the most embarrassing moment ever to occur at my workplace - at least since Evelyn flushed her cell phone down the toilet - my boss called me shortly after he left the office to tell me that he had, somehow, managed to hit my car on his way out of the parking lot.

I took a look when I left, and it appears to be just paint, but it was hard to tell in the dark. We'll see how it looks in the daylight.
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lunchtime fun and games )
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Today's big topic of conversation around the office has been mice.

Read more... )
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So, I talked to Carl when I went to pick the car up. He says after looking some more at the exhaust system, he feels it really needs to be fixed sooner rather than later - he didn't even prepare the bill for the oil change, because he wants me to bring the car back in tomorrow. I explained, briefly, some of my concerns and asked his opinion.

He's not too happy that I want to drive the car to MA this weekend without getting it fixed, because if it snaps it will drag on the ground. But he says he'll tie up both sides of it tomorrow, so that if it does break it'll stay in place.

He says as far as he knows, it shouldn't need a lot more repairs after this one. But then, he didn't know about this a few months back. And, as my dad pointed out, cars are complex machines, there's a lot more that could break that hasn't yet.

I called my parents and talked to my dad for advice. (I did talk to my mom first, but her only suggestion was that I should talk to Dadoo...) He just went through a similar decision about his car about a year and a half ago. He said that for him, the breaking point is usually about when the cost of repairs is comparable to the trade-in value. Counting what I had done already... yup, that's now.

I took a quick look at what the local Saturn dealerships had to offer by the way of used cars, as well as building new cars in a couple of places. It looks like a used car, in the age and mileage bracket that looks like just-off-a-lease to me, might be my best answer. I really don't like the idea of getting a used car, but my financial circumstances are such that I can't afford to quibble.

No decisions are permanent yet, and I welcome opinions, although I don't promise to abide by them.

Update: I talked again to Carl about it this morning. He still feels that I should just do the repair, and that other than this the car is in really good condition and should last a while. And he thinks I should absolutely not buy a used car, that I already have a perfectly good used car.

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Bleah. So, took my car in for the oil change. It still needs most of the 60K service - I'm at 72K now. And apparently it's developing an exhaust leak.

I told Carl to do only the oil change today. When I go in to pick it up, I'm going to ask him for an honest opinion about whether I should do the repairs, or just look into buying a new car. I can't afford a new car, but I can't afford the repairs either, nor can I afford to be without one. I had really wanted to make this one last another couple of years, but that may just not be possible.

So, all kinds of things to contemplate in the next few days.

In the meantime, today's To Do List: )

And no, I don't expect anyone else to be fascinated by my to-do lists. However, putting them in a public place makes me more diligent, since everyone I know can look and see what I've accomplished and what I still have to do.
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The great sadness of the car...


Apr. 22nd, 2004 10:57 am
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I got a call from the mechanic who has my car this morning... $1300, just to cover breakdown conditions. It still needs a tuneup and some other stuff after that, but that's going to have to wait.

I took it in for the oil change, the Service Engine Soon light, and to look at the tires, which are the original tires on the car, almost 69,000 miles later. So, I'm not surprised to be in dire need of having all four tires replaced. Nor that I need a new 02 sensor (that's the engine light). Replacing the front brakes, however, came as a bit of a shock. Of course, looking back on it, I can remember that I've been unhappy about my brakes for a little while - but I've been worrying about my tires for a couple of months, since someone told me tires don't last forever, so I've chalked up what must actually have been brake problems to the combination of having old tires and paying more attention to them.

It all has to get done of course, and I'm now incredibly glad I brought it in before driving to DC/Alexandria this weekend. But holy crap, my credit card bill is going to suck this month...
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The weekend wasn't particularly exciting, but it was a good weekend nonetheless.

In which Stephanie plays with cats, takes a walk, and just barely doesn't hit anything. )


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