Sunday, December 27, 2009

A present for ourselves

Christmas was lots of fun with all the kids home. Our grandson was thrilled with every package he opened--probably because none of them contained underwear or socks.

Our big news this week is that we have a new car. We went to the Toyota dealer on Boxing Day and leased another Camry, but this time we decided to treat ourselves to the next level up. The interest rate was only 1.2%, and everyone assured us that prices would be going up after the New Year. So, for “only” thirty dollars more a month than we were paying for the last three years, we now have the following goodies:
-leather seats
-heated seats
-power moonroof
-fog lights!
-17” wheels
-six CD changer in the radio, with XM Radio free for three months
-slightly more powerful engine with supposedly better gas mileage
-steering wheel tilts and telescopes
-power seats on both driver and passenger sides.

I think those are the main differences between our old car and this one. These are all things we’ve never had on a car, but wished we did. Kathy was especially pleased with this package. We bought the one we test drove. Given that it was a frigid day outside, the heated seats were a big selling point. We may not need the CD changer, since we only go on short trips to work and back, and if I drive to NJ, I just plug in my iPod, and XM Radio is not something we necessarily care about.

The last time we had a sunroof was on the 1974 VW bus. It had a hand crank, and it opened the entire roof into a four foot square hole. Fog lights are exciting because we’ve only had the holes where they go in our other cars.

There is a history of landmarks, watersheds, benchmarks—whatever marks you care to use—a trail of “firsts”. For instance, we remember:
- the first car we got with air conditioning
- the first car with power windows
- the first one with remote control side mirrors
- the first car with a CD player
- the first one with a power seat on the driver’s side.

Maybe other people take these for granted, but we think they are pretty neat. For a long time we couldn’t afford air conditioning, though we would pay extra for the automatic transmission. Power anything seemed a long way off for us. Now that we are approaching our dotage, darn it—we deserve some creature comforts, especially those bun warmers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The latest news

I am still here. The dog did not eat me, though he has eaten into my free time in a huge way. Once I get home and walk him, eat dinner, and try to read something, it’s time to go to bed. I have some time off from work now, so here I am.

Here’s what’s happening:

Our youngest has accepted a new job! He will be moving to Tacoma, Washington in a few days to begin work for the Tacoma Habitat for Humanity affiliate. He is pleased with his choice, and we are glad he can stick with Habitat, since he knows it so well. Of course, we are less pleased with the prospect of having him 2,422 miles away, but we kind of used to his peripatetic ways. He does have two sea kayaks as well as a snowboard, so recreationally speaking, he is well prepared for the region.

Max’s tonsillectomy worked out just fine. He had the usual discomfort, didn’t feel like doing much except watch movies and maybe play a video game. We saw him for a while on Saturday and he was a little subdued, but otherwise feeling fine. He helped decorate the tree, played a card game with his dad, and uncle and aunt.

Our daughter is in from Ireland for a couple of weeks, and she came with lots of goodies you can’t get over here. She hasn’t been home for Christmas since 2007, so Kathy is quite pleased. She has been visiting friends from high school and hanging out with her brothers, squeezing as much fun as possible into these weeks.

We seemed to do a lot of our Christmas shopping at the supermarket this year, since gift cards are so easy and people like them. Kathy and I missed our usual shopping day last weekend because I had to work at commencement, so this was a good way to get it done.

Last night the sermon was about how we’ve spent this Advent season: is Jesus any more present in our lives on this last Sunday of Advent than He was on the first Sunday? Uh oh. I better get crackin’.