Sunday, May 29, 2005

Cars and Critters

Friday, after I went to the gym, I did one of my favorite things and took my minivan to get the oil changed. I'm sure that sounds strange. Who likes to get their oil changed? Well, it so happens that a friend recommended this awesome place called Sundance Car Wash to get it done. Not only are they cheap ($31) and not only do they have pleasant coffee shop-style area for folks to sit and wait while their cars are being taken care of, and not only do you not even end up sitting in said area very long because unless they're really crowded, they're quite speedy, but they wash the car, dry it off, clean the windows, and vacuum the freaking hell out of it as part of the oil change. Like I suppose you could do better than that? I enjoy this so very much that I take my car there between oil changes and pay them 13 bucks just to get it cleaned up. Heck, if I'd known about this place before I got my current van, it's possible that I might have actually had my old Caravan, which spent it's last year in our possession looking like a family of migrants were living in it, cleaned up there once in a while.

So that was Friday. Last night, on Saturday, we had dinner at the Olive Garen, and while we were there, Ryan remarked that our cat, Emma, who lives in the garage, had bitched him out when he was leaving yesterday morning. Ryan is always getting bitched out by Emma. I rarely do -- for one thing, he is usually the first person to see her each day. So first I gave my usual answer to that story: "well, she's an old lady." This is unkind of me, since none of the elderly ladies with whom I am personally aquainted (and both my grandmothers are still with us) are particularly cranky, but let's face it -- we have all encounted cranky old people before. And Emma is an old lady who lives in the garage, so she has more to be cranky about than a lot of old ladies out there. Anyway, I asked if Emma had food, and water, because that's what she's usually complaining about, and Ryan said he had checked, and she had both. That got me worrying for the half a second a day I usually even remember we have a cat out there that there might be something wrong with her geriatric feline body, and then I forgot about it.

On the way home, Rachel rode with Ryan (more on that situation later) and Will rode home with me. It was about 7 pm and still light out, and as we headed west and got a faceful of the setting sun streaming through the windshield, Will said "Mom, look at Emma's footprints on the window!" And there were indeed footprints all over the windshield -- only they weren't Emma's. They were too big, and that means one thing: raccoons. We get raccoons in the garage sometimes -- I've seen them with my own eyes or I wouldn't necessarily believe it, I don't think. They don't seem to hurt Emma in anyway, but when we got home, I looked at the situation and saw all the usual signs -- most of her food was gone, her water was disgusting because they wash the food in it, and then they had left their footprints not only on the windshield but pretty much all over the hood of my car. On the day after I'd gotten it cleaned, damn them! I replaced the food and water and was swearing to myself as I wiped the hood and windshield down with a damp towel as Ryan and Rachel pulled into the garage.

But anyway, at least we figured out what Emma was so pissed about yesterday morning. And really, what old lady wouldn't be cranky after raccoons invaded her house, stole her food and dirtied her beverage, and left footprints all over the place?


Yesterday Rachel kept insisting that Buster needed a bath because he had "brown stuff" all over him. I couldn't see any brown stuff on him, so I asked her what it was. "Poop," she said. He didn't smell great, but he really never does, so I put him in his crate (we were going out) and forgot about it. A few minutes ago, he came and sat with me. I noted that he smelled terrible as usual, but I thought that was because he was breathing on me. Most of his odor issues usually have to do with his teeth, which are being cleaned on Tuesday. But no -- once he settles down at my side and went to sleep, there was still a distinct odor associated with his presence, and his mouth was closed and nowhere near my face. So I fear that Rachel was right and that he did, indeed, roll in poo yesterday. A bath is in order.


And now for our featured item. Yesterday, Ryan bought his stupid car. That's not really an insult, because it's a nice car. It is not, however, a practical car. His last car, which was very nice, was also practical in that it was perfectly comfortable for the four of us to ride around in, if not very often or very far. It was a black Toyota Solara with a leather interior -- very nice, very sporty, but hardly a splurge of self-indulgence, and always meant as merely a stepping stone on Ryan's journey toward owning a car that was truly coolness personified. It also lost a lot of our respect when its water pump blew out last summer -- after all, it was supposed to be a compromise between coolness and practicality, and above all, Toyotas are supposed to be reliable. That it broke down a mere month after its service contract had expired increased our wrath for it. Ever since then, its days in our garage have been numbered.

Ryan's object of desire for the past few years has been the Infiniti G35 coupe. At the time that he bought the Solara, he'd gone in to test-drive the G35 only to be told that it would be at least 6 months before they would have one available for him. He settled on an interim car, the Solara, and then in that interim, two things happened. One was that we started seeing the G35 all over the place, which lessened the coolness of it somewhat. The other is that Ryan discovered that the G35 gets gas mileage that is wholly appalling. We're talking ~15 mpg. "I just can't do that," Ryan told me. "I'm a Democrat!" I appreciated this, though I was disappointed for him. After all, this was his dream car, and he works hard and doesn't indulge himself often, so I wanted him to have the cool car he wanted. I personally couldn't see what it was that made the G35 so appealing to him over other sportscars, but then, I was raised in a strictly practical-about-cars family while Ryan was raised in a strictly insane-about-cars family, and that's the closest thing to a religious difference we encountered when we got married, so I didn't really expect to understand it anyway.

Here's the funny thing. When Ryan first started mentioning the G35, I started taking note of sportscars that I saw on the road for the first time in my life, and there was one model that always caught my eye. Only I would always discover that it was not an Infiniti but an Audi. Well, what do you think Ryan made up his mind to go out and buy yesterday?

Depite growing up in the aforementioned insane-about-cars family, Ryan was very practical about buying the thing. He mentioned it was available yesterday morning and but he wasn't going to buy it because of the cost, and after talking it over, I had to practically chase him out of the house with a frying pan screaming "buy the damn thing!" to get him to even go test-drive it. Despite growing up in the aforementioned practical-about-cars family, I think this one is totally awesome. The kids only just barely fit in the backseat of it, and when you drive it you feel almost like you're sitting on the ground. But still. Last night when I took it for a spin, I blasted the music and thought "wow, so this is what it's like to be cool!" Because Ryan was out by himself purchasing it pretty much all day yesterday, and because he is also going to play golf tomorrow, today is my day, and I am headed out shopping. And guess which car I'm taking?

No comments: