Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The kids and I leave for New Zealand in a few days, and while I HAD been a little anxious about enduring the upcoming travel, there is nothing like a foot of snow whipped into waist-high drifts to remove any lingering doubts I had about flying to a semi-tropical location on the other side of the world.

When the roads get as bad as they are right now, we stash our little hippie car -- which runs on fuel made from hemp and ground-up Sierra Club canvassers -- and bring out David's ancient SUV. When I first met David, I jokingly referred to his truck as The Lawyermobile, since at the time it seemed like the kind of slightly upmarket vehicle an attorney might drive. Fifteen years later, it no longer looks like something a lawyer would be caught dead in, although I suppose I could rename it The Lawyer Who Got Disbarred For Bilking Old Ladies And Is Trying To Find A Job As A Paralegal - Mobile.

Remember the Cash For Clunkers program? You got a hefty credit for trading in a vehicle and purchasing a new car with significantly improved gas mileage. David is emotionally attached to his truck but the mention of a $4,500 credit for a truck that at this point is worth $4,450 less than that got even his attention. I'm assigning the truck a value of $50 only because it contains a thick layer of detritus inside that has built up over the years, consisting of single mittens, 2-year old New Yorkers, and spare Stella underpants. This layer has sufficiently compressed that I think you could sell it to someone as for fuel for a wood-pellet stove, hence the $50 value.

We wound up not taking advantage of Cash For Clunkers for a variety of reasons, even though it seemed like the program was tailor-made for us. I think Obama still holds his brow and cries "Why? Why did she not take advantage of my offer?" And you know, I do hate to disappoint Obama.

As an aside, I am realizing that I do miss one thing about President Bush. When watching a sports game, it's more enjoyable if you are rooting for one team over the other. However, I don't know enough about sports to have a dog in most fights. So I would simply think about which team President Bush was likely rooting for, and pick the opposite. This also worked well in developing policy opinions on those federal issues that I didn't know enough about to formulate my own opinion. If Bush is for it, I'm against! This lead me to hold some pretty convoluted and let's face it, sometimes just plain weird opinions, but that's a sacrifice I was willing to make to be true to my ideals.

Back to the topic of the truck. Sometimes I think we don't need that second vehicle, considering that neither David nor I drive to work, and some days our main use of the car is to get the kids to nap. If we take either kid for a ride, their eyelids slam shut before we are barely out of the driveway. As a matter of fact, a car ride is such an efficient way of getting a kid to go to sleep that I'm convinced that naps only became popular at the time that cars did. Before, say, the 1930s, parents had to go through the trouble of hitching up the horse and wagon to get their children to nap, and were much less likely to do so. And before wheels existed, children didn't sleep at all. Primitive cave-parents had to grunt their children to sleep.

The truck will be our main vehicle for the next couple days, at least until we head to New Zealand. I'm looking forward to seeing my father, enjoying 80 degree temperatures, and swimming in the ocean. Stella is looking forward to visiting the pig that lives next door to my father. I think we're going to all have a lot of fun, and I'm not just saying that because I suspect Bush is anti-New Zealand. But it doesn't hurt.

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