Vehicular -- 08/18/03

Vacation day today (Monday) making this a four day weekend since I had taken Friday off for our trip to Martha's Vineyard.

It actually feels as if I have been on vacation. Thursday night Nancy and I had gone to the Courthouse Center for the Arts (housed in the former Washington County Courthouse, a lovely 19th century building in the tiny village of West Kingston, Rhode Island) to see a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta "Patience". The Providence Journal had given it a fairly lukewarm review -- the reviewer had obviously seen an early performance and perhaps the cast wasn't quite fully in sync when he saw it, because we saw a marvelous production with strong singers in the lead rolls and good performances from every single cast member. It was a minimal production in terms of the stage -- just a simple painted backdrop of stonewalls and flowers and a set that consisted of a couple of benches and some flowers -- and when the entire cast was on the stage (which they were at various points) the stage was filled (fortunately the twenty love-sick maidens were played by only seventeen women and there were only nine Queen's Dragoon Guards). I had never seen Patience before, but was pleased that it contained the requisite patter songs (which were performed flawlessly) -- a very enjoyable evening. [When we got home I spent almost two hours writing a report for work only to discover at 1:30 a.m. that the blackout in New York State had taken out some of our corporate mail servers so I couldn't send the report to the people who needed it anyway -- and yes, I was a bit short on sleep when my alarm went off a little before six a.m. so I could get up and get ready for our trip to Martha's Vineyard.]

Saturday morning was a quiet day at home -- then grocery shopping -- some time spend online -- then Nancy and Jennifer and I went over to Nancy's mom's house for dinner -- joined by three of Nancy's sisters, two of their husbands, assorted teenaged nieces and nephews, plus a longtime family friend and one or two of her children (I lost track) -- where we stayed and chatted until almost ten o'clock -- poor Jennifer was so tired, not just from having switched to a daytime schedule after two and a half years of working third shift, but from having driven up to Cape Cod on Thursday and having just returned home early that afternoon. Sunday was another quiet day -- met Nancy's sisters, etc. at Salty Brine State Beach -- I managed to get in a run on the beach before the rain came -- and a quiet day at home. One of Sean's friends had gone fishing with his father on Saturday -- they had caught a Mako shark and he brought over a pound or more of shark steak which I fixed for dinner for Nancy and me -- lemon pepper marinade, cooked them on electric grill, served with rice pilaf and steamed veggies (green beans, sugar snap peas, sliced red pepper), nice crusty french bread and some pinot grigio.

And what, you may wonder, does any of this babbling about daily minutiae have to do with the entry title? Nothing, nothing at all...

However, we are inundated with vehicles now. There are five automobiles parked in our garage and driveway and on the street in front of our house. This is including the latest addition to our vehicular roster: a Mazda pickup truck. We have the following (in the order in which we acquired them)
  • 1996 Toyota Camry -- that's Nancy's car that she bought in 1996. It gets to stay in the garage (Nancy insists on it.) Sean will be driving this car to college (he's going to be commuting) and he has grandiose plans for installing megatons of amps and speakers, etc.
  • 1991 Honda Civic -- which I bought in 1998 and then gave to Jennifer in 1999 (her senior year of high school) and which she has driven many tens of thousands of miles since until she bought herself a car earlier this summer. It is parked in the driveway because I did not renew the registration when it expired at the end of July. I am attempting to donate it to a charity (which is what I had done with the Chevy Nova that the Civic had replaced) so it should be gone within a week or so.
  • 1999 Toyota Corolla -- which I bought new in 1999 and I can't believe time and miles have passed so quickly. It got to stay in the other half of the garage its first winter here, but since then it has just been too much trouble to try to find someplace else to store lawnmowers and wheelbarrows and garbage cans and recycling bins and bicycles to squeeze my car in there.
  • 1996 Honda Accord -- which Jennifer bought herself a few weeks ago using thousands of dollars of her own hard-earned money (oh, okay, we helped out with one thousand) and which has had her in sticker-shock ever since (especially since she has since then had to put more money into various minor repairs, including new front brakes) -- and, after three years of communting up to the Providence area in that tiny little Civic, she now has a nice car for commuting and has switched to the University of Rhode Island -- which is only a three mile ride.
  • 1988 Mazda pickup -- our newest vehicle... This is the answer to the problem of finding a car for Sean to commute up to Warwick to school. Nancy and I have been quite insistent that any such vehicle had to have airbags, etc., but that involved more cash than the combined total of what Nancy and I were willing to pay combined with Sean's available resources -- so when we had a chance to buy this old pickup we jumped at it -- no, not for Sean, it's for Nancy (although he has taken to calling it his truck and he just dashed out a hour or so ago to buy a new gearshift nob for it) -- as I noted above, Sean will drive her Camry -- and since Nancy's commute is under three miles, she feels comfortable driving an older vehicle, especially because it's a pickup. Why does she want a pickup? Because she loves to work in her flower gardens in our yard and she has always hated throwing bags of mulch or manure into the trunk of her Camry (she tries to keep it very clean and neat) and she has lots of garden plans that will be greatly enchanced by the transportation capabilities of a pickup.
Vehicular -- I took vacation time Wednesday afternoon to go to the local Dept of Motor Vehicles office to register the Mazda. Take a number. Take a seat. Wait. Wait. Keep waiting. Wait some more. Almost two hours wasted before finally getting to the three minute transaction.

Vehicular -- Sean was in a very minor accident two weeks ago Friday -- came to an intersection of the road he was on with a highway, waiting to make a right turn onto the highway, edging forward waiting for a break in traffic, but still several feet back from the highway -- when suddenly a car (driven by a 16 yr old kid) swerved off the highway to pull into the front yard of the house at that corner, cutting an angle across the side street, and scraping across the front of our car. The only damage to our car was a scuff mark on the front bumper (which is some kind of rubber or flexible plastic) and the license plate was bent. The other car had a couple of scatches in the plastic around their right rear wheel well opening. The police officer at the scene wrote "no apparent damage to either vehicle" in his report. (I have since driven past the other car and could not see any damage from twenty feet away, but Sean tells me that he had looked close and had seen the scratches on the plastic.)

On Monday got a call from our insurance company -- the kid's mother was filing a claim for over a thousand dollars in damages to her car, reporting that Sean had "rear-ended" her car. Our company sent adjusters to take pictures of both cars, etc. Talked with a local police officer who indicated that she is a real crank, constantly complaining. Talked with a claims agent from our company who said she had just gotten off the phone with this woman and that it had been a real experience. Our company had suggested that since her son should not have cut across the end of the side road like that to reach his yard, the accident was really primarily his fault, but they would be willing to split any valid repair costs on a 40%-60% basis. The woman went ballistic. Our company told her that if she really has damage she should get it fixed under her collision coverage and then let her company and our company decide how to settle up. She may have taken that advice because I had a message on my answering machine from her company.

I'm paying a small fortune for car insurance now. *sigh*

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