Monday, January 19, 2009

Birthday Achievements (posted a bit late)

7:45 a.m. Michael came into our room to say good morning. Friday is sleep-in morning, since the boys both go nextdoor. A few minutes later, I heard the pitter-patter of little pajama-covered feet. Gregor - who was last seen in his crib - climbed up into bed.

Happy birthday!

We'd been planning to modify his crib into a toddler bed this weekend. Perfect timing, I guess.

Tonight we're having the neighbor kids over for Birthday Muffins. I'm not sure which kind I'm going to make, or if I'll cop out and use cake mix for cupcakes.

Today's (1/16) news:
Record Low, 8:17 a.m. 1/16/08 in Caribou, ME: -37 F
Not-record low: 8:08 a.m. in Minneapolis, MN: -22F ( -30C )

I distinctly remember Jan 16, 2006 ... it was -4F here. I was lying in a hospital bed in Edina thanking God that I was somewhere so warm with a brand-new baby.

Jr.Gopher #2 is gradually speaking more. If asked 'how old are you going to be tomorrow?' He will answer 'three!' I kid you not, he can recognize at least 10 or 12 letters. In the absence of other clues (he knows B, even if there's no picture clue). Out of the blue, he just started pointing to letters and telling me what they were. Admittedly, at least half the time he says B for the other letters. But he obviously does recognize them both as letters and which letter.

Jr.Gopher #1 has informed me that I'm only allowed to watch the English Bob the Builder video, and that Mr.Gopher has to watch Bob der Baumeister.

I'm still scouting around for cars. While I'm not extra picky, whatever it is needs to last for another 4 or 5 years - the expected longevity of the car formerly known as My Jetta.

Perfect weather for test-driving cars. You can't exactly test your ABS in the summer. Now? Just hit the frontage road, make sure no one else is there ... slam on the brakes ... oooh, no extra brake-action? Nope, don't buy this!

It appears that I won't be able to buy a car today. The dealer with the Volvo just called back again to tell me there's something wrong with it, they're trying to fix. Unless it test drives like a Maserati, it's not going to be the winner; and, at this rate, I'm willing to just ignore it. Every salesman I spoke to looked at me like I'm a lunatic when I said,

I need a car. It needs to be 1) stick shift, 2) 4 doors, 3) $5,000 - these are non-negotiable. I really want a station wagon.

$5k? Are you nuts? Well, no, actually I'm not - but that's what the insurance check is going to be, and I don't want to go into debt in the middle of grad school. I'm going to get through my MPH without taking out student loans. I'd rather wait until I have a job before considering spending more money on a car. I had a 10 year old Jetta; I was perfectly happy with it; I'll be perfectly happy replacing it like-4-like. There's no shortage of cars under $5k, so I find it annoying that they don't want to just leap into their sales pitches. I imagine it would be easier to up-sell after letting someone drive a mediocre car. Admittedly, the parameter "must be a manual transmission" has pretty drastically limited my choice.

I've discovered a new sales tactic ... one dealer didn't have what I wanted. Fair enough. He calls me the next day "hey, we got something in just like what you wanted ... we need to give the car its safety check ... are you interested? ... meets all of your requirements ... it'll be $5,5k ... I'll put your name on it and give you a call when it gets checked." Sounds great, eh? Today "Well, the car had some mechanical problems, yesterday we got several more cars in, one of them is a year newer, 20,000 fewer miles, meets your requirements, will be $6k, same yada yada yada about safety checks". So, is this a new tangential up-sell tactic? If she caves in between 5500 and 6000, maybe we can squeak it up a bit past there? Get her on the slippery up-slope? Am I going to get another call with "oh, it wasn't quite good enough, but we've got one for $6,5k" ?

I'd forgotten how annoying it is being pandered to. I don't get it professionally. But car dealers? yes. The big VW dealers here & in Lansing? No. The little putz in Burnsville? I managed to refrain from grabbing my breasts, jiggling them to get this guy's attention, and then informing him that "hey, the girls here don't like being patronized". I satisfied myself with the stupefied look on his face when I proceeded to give him much more detailed preferences about my desired car. Did I say I wanted a station wagon? No. I said, "A station wagon on a mid-sized frame, like a Subaru Outback or Legacy, a Passat Wagon, a Volvo 850 or V70 wagon ... at least 150 hp ..." If I could have thought of any more technical specs, I would have used them for good measure. Idiot. Lost my business. On top of which, trying to foist a crappy car off on me for an obscene amount of money.

ah, this was written a few days ago...

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