Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Anniversary Adventures (Part 7)

Nothing terribly exciting happened on Sunday. Oh, we got up and ate more flapjacks, then drove around the circle of artisans that dotted a particular stretch of road in the area, and we lunched on fish and chips at an English pub (though not the English pub we'd been assured was more authentic in both food and dankness, but the brighter friendlier one that was in need of changing its frying oil). Other than that, we basically chilled out and enjoyed one another's company in our cozy cabin. We even whiled away an hour watching the VH1 Soul Train retrospective, which was an education for the wife who'd never seen an episode in her life, having grown up in the electricity-free wilds of Alaska. (It's always fun to play Stump the Wife with 80s Pop Culture. You win every time!)

At some point that afternoon, the vet called but I didn't hear my phone. He had news that yet again Sadie had developed a bladder infection. She's developed such an infection almost every time we've had her boarded and the only time she didn't was the time she got kennel cough instead. She's such a neurotic little thing and can't stand it when her pack is away for any length of time. We'd hoped Moose's presence would be a calming one, but he was probably more of a nuisance, due to his habit of constantly biting her on the neck. So we knew we'd have a antibiotic bill when we returned.

We saw very little snow for most of the trip home; certainly not what had been called for. About the time we hit Bristol, though, we could see it starting to pile up and it only got thicker the further we went. From that point until a couple of weeks ago, we saw a tremendous amount of snow, as far as my snow-seeing experience is concerned. I know there were places who had it far worse, but there were days when I couldn't get home due to my little front-wheel-drive car's inability to make it up the twisty, windy, steep-blind-curve-filled neighborhood's icy roads, and I was forced to park on the main road outside of the neighborhood and hoof it in.

"We need to get you a new car," the wife kept saying.

"Ahh, it'll thaw soon," I would say.

Then one day, after I was able to get up the first major hill of my neighborhood, but then got trapped on the blind curve (which was impervious to any amount of cat litter I cared to throw at it) and then had to reverse my way slowly back down the hill, my tires' footing slipping the whole way down and threatening to hurl me off the steep embankment and into the creek, waiting for the moment when some a-hole with four wheel drive plowed into the back of me, I decided it was time to start looking for a new car. I knew I'd need something with all wheel drive which could also hold a couple of good sized dogs comfortably and, hopefully, get good gas mileage and which was probably going to need to be lightly used. In my search, I mainly stuck to the U.S. News & World Report consumer ratings guides, which average the ratings from consumer publications across the nation. They basically liked the Honda CRV and the Subaru Forester as far as the class of vehicles I was looking for were concerned. I scanned the websites of local dealerships and was able to find examples of each of these, but the color of one of the more ideal ones, a 2009 Forester, appeared to have been painted an inadvisable shade of baby blue. On a whim, I drove by the dealership to see if it was as hideous in person and discovered that either I was looking at an entirely different car than the one online, or it wasn't nearly as blue or hideous in person. In fact, it was kind of greenish blue, which worked out pretty good.

Later that afternoon, the wife and I returned and did a test drive of the Subaru and of a CRV. Between the two of them, we liked the Subaru better. It felt roomier inside and, frankly, looked better on the outside. It also only had 20k miles on it and was not nearly as expensive as we expected based on some of the pricing we'd seen online. And, most importantly, it had an Oh Shit Handle on the driver's side. I've always wanted one of those and didn't think anyone made automobiles in which the driver can opt to bail on his responsibilities at the wheel and just hold on for dear life. We decided to get it.

The Forester fits me nicely, as it also does the dogs. Just have to fold down the back seats, put their water dish in and they have plenty of room to ride. And it can get up snowy hills just fine. Naturally, though, as soon as we'd bought it, the weather warmed up and we only had one major snow since. Will have to wait til next year for more hillside fun.

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