Bring out your Dead!

Blogging my way back from the dead but still trapped in house-hunting purgatory.

It’s been basically forever, but so is the internet, so all my stuff’s just where I left it!

I’d rather talk about present-day things than dig up my reasons for my gradual drift into the decay of a sadly abandoned blog.  It’s fine, it’ll scrub up clean, it just needs a bit of tlc to get rid of the weird stains and dusty smell.

Not unlike most of the houses I’ve looked at in my (also forever) house hunt.  I’ve seen all sorts.

Horror house – There’s a weird feeling of everyone from the house having vanished abruptly while in the middle of doing things.  Half-dug garden, shovel still balanced precariously in the dirt, the end basically corroded away from having been in the dirt for so long.  Fire pit prepped for a fun evening of toasting marshmallows… in late October (in Canada)… and full of multiple rain-falls of water.  Beds all slept in, but everything else looking like it couldn’t possibly be lived in.  Fridge… ugh, well.  Clearly not a recent grocery run, though thankfully mostly things that won’t go too horribly badly.  Boxed in and completely inaccessible parts of the house… that you can turn a light on in.  No, it’s really not a cupboard, why the light?  Is that where the previous owners went?!  It has potential, in a bleach-everything and reno when you have money kind of way, but seriously, what happened to the person who started painting the living room?  In spite of the dilapidated state of all items in the house, there are no less than 3 Werner ladders in the yard.  Those things are $200+ a piece, but, hey, why waste water by washing your sheets more than once every two years?

Raccoon House – The listing agent has made a funny, and requested that you kindly remove your shoes upon entry.  Unwilling to see what the fuss is about the bubonic plague, you decline.  Don’t touch the walls… or the counters… or the weird orange-chunky stains.  Make a note to wear construction boots to all future house viewings, because you can feel FAR too much through the thin flats you wore today.  How much dog pee and water damage does it take to cause hardwood floors to be spongy?  The only thing you can hope is that the last time it was inhabited by humans was over 10 years ago, or that previous resident’s life will make you sad to think of.  It is ridiculously overpriced considering the $200,000 minimum gut-and-reno you’d need to do before moving in.  And this is assuming you can get your friends to come out for sledge-hammer time more than once.  You could see low-balling it and doing some real HGTV highlight reel style stuff, though.  It goes for well over asking, with a bidding war.

Seller thinks you’re stupid House – this house was last purchased 3-6 months ago and is on the market again… for $250,000 more.  They put in an ikea kitchen, and apart from the jet-engine noise of the stove fan, that’s actually quite nice.  No-slam cupboards, oooooh.  And some new faux-hardwood in dark tones throughout the newly open concept kitchen-livingroom.  Having done this, the seller has proceeded to paint everything in neutral tones.  Except the seriously dinged up baseboards.  And the doors.  They didn’t wash the doors either, so the yellowed grime of 50,000 grubby hands opening and closing the doors is still present and accounted for.  It leads one to question whether the walls got washed before the paint job.  Everything else, down to the grimy shower head, and newly beige faux-wood-panelling in the basement, is the same.  But FANCY KITCHEN OOOOH.

Monster House – I’ll be straight with you, this particular house makes me drool.  It’s in original condition.  Really unique features, beautiful moulding, a ton of Potential.  It’s the old victorian, the charming fixer-upper.  And you know that the pipes, electrical, roof, basement, etc will need to be fixed.  I KNOW people who’ve had this house – have it – and have been slowly renovating it over the course of… 20 years.  They aren’t done yet, and golly, the surprise expenses just keep on coming!  But it’s just so freaking charming.  I don’t care if gabled roofs are the devil (paraphrased from my parents, the proud owners of one), I want one.  Gingerbreading?  Sign me UP!

Kitch-House – the person who owns this is extraordinarily artistic.  And has bold visions.  It is hard to see the house past the jungle-scene (with fake vines and stuffed monkeys glued on for a 3D feeling) bedroom.  Or the bathroom reminiscent of a bordello.  No room that small should be that deep a red.  And where does one acquire a black toilet?  Black-and-white tile on the floor does not require you to put up black-and-white striped wall-paper or paint everything in your kitchen black and white.  No one needs to experience vertigo just to get a glass of water.

WTF House – You want to meet the owner.  No.  You want to see them from a distance.  Maybe on a TV interview?  My favourite place was like the jetsons made a porno.  Lots of chrome, lots of mirrors, very Jetsons-expensive furniture.  Who doesn’t want to see themselves pooping from 365 degrees in the bathroom?  And, well, no need to explain the ceiling mirrors in the bedroom.  Clamshell hottub (think Venus on the half-shell with a lid shell and everything) was imported from Italy.  The elderly couple selling the place was a surprise though.

What do I want?  A fixer-upper with neat architectural details a non-open-concept layout and minimal/no previous DIY-er interference.  With a private drive.  I don’t even care how many mirrors there are in the place.

Footloose

I got Gwynn in the fall, at 6 months.  My neighbour, longtime dog owner, asked me if I would be getting Gwynn some boots for the winter.

I scoffed.  I proudly informed her that I would never dress my dog up in silly and unnecessary people-clothes.  He’s a dog.  I’m letting his hair grow long to keep him warm in the winter, and mid-October he was already deep into his transformation to wooly mammoth.  Wooly mammoths don’t need boots or hats or coats or vests.

You know what else wooly mammoths are?  55 lbs of dog whose feet are being burnt and cut by the massive amount of road salt my neighbourhood is coated with in winter.  55lbs of dog is A LOT to carry home, having made it 4 blocks before he refused to budge.  And in winter, my hands were unimpressed at their new use as de-icer of dog-paws.

I also discovered that the fur between his toes, no matter how I trimmed it, still collected clumps of snow until his toes were splayed painfully and a wad of ice was applying pressure to his palm.  Yet another painfully-cold hand-melting of puppy paws on the side of the road.

I ate my words.

The boots I bought him that first year were useless.  Within days of first purchase, the straps were fraying.  If I’d left them as they were headed, the boots would have been strapless by the end of the month.  Velcro, by the way, does NOT hold up to being covered in snow.  Nor does it work to re-velcro once there’s snow in the tines.  The leather sole to the boot also started coming unwound within a few uses – yet another sewing project for me.  The damn things didn’t stay on at all well, either – they flew off no matter how well I’d snugged them on his feet.

Uninformed about other types of boots (unwilling to just refund/exchange the damaged boots every few weeks), I stuck with them, adding snaps, sewing repairs and turning them into frankenboots that still… really didn’t stay on adequately.  We ended up using hockey tape at the ankle every time we went out skiing.  We still played the 1-2-3-4 game, and I carried spare hockey tape in my pocket.

Last year, I contacted RuffWear and asked if they’d be interested in a review of their Polar Trex boot.  It looked like it already had a lot of the things I’d added to the frankenboots, without any handiwork on my part.  I’d read some good reviews of their other projects by You did What with your Weiner, so I had hopes that this product might also be good.  They were nice enough to send me a set.

It was fate – that (and my own purchase of new Sorels) would explain why Toronto’s winter last year consisted of a low of just about freezing, no snow, no de-icing salts and a whole heck of a lot of rain.

This year, however, do I got a tale to tell!  We had snow for a little while, we’ve had some bloody cold temperatures, and my neighbours are putting salt down like it holds the key to spring arriving on time.

Gwynn and I have finally had a chance to give these boots a thorough workout, and I’m ready to give you all my honest opinion of them.  I’ll be posting that this week, so stay tuned!

Babies aren’t Puppies!

In my previous post, I mentioned that I do all my Christmas shopping online or months and months and MONTHS in advance of the holiday season.  Yeah, I’m done my Christmas shopping, and have been since mid-November.  You hate me, I’m ok with that.

How is it, though, that despite the fact that I’m done, I still found myself at the mall on December 21st?

I was doing good… in a kind of procrastinate-ey way.  I was supporting the Toy Mountain campaign, and buying a gift for an infant.  Last year, I had to buy something for a 13 year old girl… it was complicated!  I was a weird 13 year old, but I’m still sure that their suggestion of a dolly (seriously, ‘a dolly’) would be the most disappointing gift a 13 year old girl could receive.  This year, when I had the option of choosing my age-group, I jumped at the chance for getting a ‘newborn’ tag.

It’s a baby – how hard could it be?

In the jumbled chaos of the mall a few short days before Christmas?  Kind of difficult.

When someone decided they should grab most of the dog-toy stock and scatter it around the kids’ toys shelves?  And I really don’t know much about babies?  Really HARD!

Doodle and I spent a good 40 minutes in the store, sorting through things, trying to find items with labels identifying them as ‘0+ months’, while playing the “is it a dog toy?” game if it doesn’t have an age-label.

“Awww, so cute – a plushy floppy rabbit!  Let’s get this for the baby!”

*Squeeeeeeeeeeek*

“I thought babies liked things that rattled? Not squeaked?” checks tag.  “It’s a dog toy.”

you saw the episode where he clicker-trained the toddler, right?

This was repeated over and over and over again.  Doodle is particularly good at finding cute dog toys hidden amongst the pillow-pets (seriously, it’s a thing… talk about making stuffies utilitarian!), purse-teddies (think, empty teddy bear with purse-strap dressed in drag) and occasional regular stuffed animals.

Babies and dogs – they both put their toys in their mouths.  They both drool.  They both like random noises in toys.  No-one wants a dog toy as a gift for their baby.  It’s the same reasoning for why you shouldn’t clicker-train your neighbour’s kid.

A nice woman at the store gave us suggestions for baby toys:  “Colourful, short fur or no fur, and rattles.  They like rattles.”

I found some toys that fit that description.

Oh good! I was wondering why I hadn't gotten any gifts today. What do you mean, those aren't for me?

Gwynn likes them too.  He was kind of disappointed that I wasn’t sharing them with him (at all… he didn’t get to touch them, I swear).  I’m pretty sure that Christmas gifts shouldn’t come with the note please wash thoroughly before giving to baby.

I’m also pretty sure that when future-me has a baby, the dog will be more than happy to teach his new furless sibling how to shake-kill the squeaky toys Doodle will get for the baby.

A Clandestine Affair in NYC

Friday we woke up mostly refreshed and fairly prepared for the day.  We headed out and used our second and final groupon, which was a discount at a small cafe called 63 Bites.   It was right near Central Park, and in a refurbished portion of a YMCA building – very cool looking, and plenty of space to eat. 

YMCA Building with 63 Bites inside
We walked up to take pictures of the Metropolitan Opera house for M’s opera-singing sister, and spent the rest of the morning at the American Museum of Natural History. 

We then spent a few hours wandering through the fashion district and the Times Square area.  D is a fantastic seamstress, and spent a fair bit of time drooling over fabrics and trying to figure out what she’d do with each one.  I looked at the ones that could be used for reupholstery, since I am planning to reupholster some chairs in the near future. 

 We ate dinner at Pazza Notte  , very tasty, and VERY crowded.  I think crowded is a good general description of everything in Manhattan, though.  I had managed to convince myself and the others that our showing of Phantom of the Opera was at 8:30, right up until we got back to the hotel before dinner.  Luckily, paranoia set in, and I checked the tickets – 8pm start.  Dinner and getting dressed for the evening were a wee bit rushed, but we made it to the show in good time.  I haven’t been to many shows, but this was AMAZING.  I can now understand why the others were so gung-ho about buying tickets for a show they had both already seen before – The Phantom of the Opera is worth seeing more than once in your life!  However, I was hugely disappointed upon realising that the charms it looked like they were selling were actually a not-so-nice bracelet, and not something I was interested in.  So there went that opportunity for a touristy-keepsake.  Oh Well.

LEGO!

We went to the very open-late Toys R Us right near our theatre, and saw lots of lego landmarks and generally awesome toys.

Saturday, we were at some random little diner near our hotel, and who should walk in off the street but… some hockey guy.  Yeah, I know, I’m clearly not really a Canadian, with my lack of hockey obsession – but clearly my travelling buddies aren’t either.  We made the brilliant deduction that he was someone in hockey by the fact that he was carrying a New York Rangers hockey bag, as well as 6 really expensive hockey sticks, while also wearing a suit.  Clearly he was famous, because about half the men in the diner leapt to their feet, emitting Bieber-feverish-pre-teen girl squeals of of excitement and delight, and stampeding over to get their pictures taken with him.  I heard such gems as “Hey man, you’re like, really good at hockey, like, um.  Can I get your autograph?” and “I am totally planning on trying to maybe watch the game tonight, man.  Good luck!”

The Empire State Building's Shadow, from above

We went from there to the Empire State Building.  Where  we waited in many different lines on many different levels of the building.  Another common theme in New York is lineups… we stood in many of them.  I can think of a whole lot of things I ‘d much rather do.

We headed down to Canal street to do some shopping, hitting up china-town for lunch.  While on Canal Street, I had the opportunity to casually read through a random novel with pictures of faux-designer purses in it.  In an oh-so-sneaky way, I made my purchase decision, carried on a muttered conversation with the mysterious figure who had first handed me the book, and came to a price decision.  It was then that they led me and my travelling companions down a dark alley, and we met with an enormous man in a trench coat and fedora smoking a thick cigar.  The fedora was

I much prefer the Christler Building to the Empire State Building, it's so pretty

pulled low over his eyes, shadowing his face, and the thick smoke of his cigar shrouded him in mystery and nicotine.  He casually opened his coat, holding the panels wide so that I could see the many faux purses he had hanging about his person.  This would explain why he looked like a small canvas hill.  His cohort walked up and whispered my choice of purse in his ear, and he whispered its location on his person to her in return.  There was a flurry of smoke-hidden activity ( I swear, I think there was a monkey clambering all over him like it was scaling a tree), and when the dust and smoke settled, he was once-more fully buttoned up, and had my choice of purse on his arm.  It nearly glowed with its designer-ness, and I felt the heat of the prestige it radiated on my face even from a distance.  Beside me, D frantically tried to cool her eyebrows; the prestige radiation was so great that it was singeing them.  Nearly drooling, I walked over, money in the palm of my hand. 

ostriches... awesome! And crazy-expensive purses... the kind you might find immitations of in shady back-alleys full of cigar smoke 😉

 We casually shook hands, transferring the purse and the money.  He grinned a toothy predatory grin, touched the brim of his hat in a small salute, and a scrawny hairy monkey arm poked out of the collar of his coat, dropping something.  Before I could prepare myself for it, smoke boiled up from all around the man in the fedora, leaving me gasping and stunned.  When the smoke cleared, the alleyway was empty except for D, M and I.  None of us had our purses or our shoes, and the clear light of day now filtering down between the buildings revealed that the beautiful prestigious purse I had been handed had been switched out for a canvas sack with the brand mockingly written in sharpie.  The inside of the ‘purse’ was clearly where the monkey had been going when nature called.  We trudged out of the alleyway in defeat, the rosy glow of warmth from the real fake bag a distant memory as our bare feet hit the cold cold pavement.

Well… in the real version of that, I did get to handshake-pay someone, and I did read a novel full of purse pictures.  But we did NOT go into a dark alley with anyone, because that would be irresponsible and stupid and dangerous.  Our clandestine purse-shopping expedition happened in a Starbucks, and, while I’m quite sure it’s not a real designer bag, it looks decent enough.  The story would have been better with a monkey, though.

monkeys in the natural history museum. Too bad we couldn't have gone at night, when they all wake up 🙂

… I’ll leave the rest for another post, to keep things moving along.

Chivalry and Hatchbacks

As mentioned in a previous post, I cured my New Car Fever by signing away my car search to Paul-the-Mechanic.  Not a mechanic like in that movie with the killing and the explosions and that guy who is always in movies with killing and explosions.  Paul fixes cars, and doesn’t (to my knowledge) blow things up or shoot people.

He rode forth into battle on my behalf, tires screaming as he swung his car Vin-Diezel style into the parking lot of the used car auction.  He brought with him the mighty sword of “Alex’s List of Wants”, and the shield of “Alex says she can afford up to…”, along with his side-kick Pat-the-other-mechanic.  He sent me messages via carrier pigeon to keep me updated on the battle.

“Red!  The steed I do battle for today, fair maiden, is RED, and it shall be called Matrix” – Good luck, Sir Mechanic for Matrix pleases me greatly and I admire its shiny red coat.

“Forgive me maiden, for I have failed to acquire Matrix for your stables – his gain came at too high a price.  Wilt thou accept a nag of similar descent to your own current steed?” – NAY! For it has sliding doors and lacks in efficiency and agility.  It is also of the uncool-persuasion, and I am lacking in soccer-children to place within it.  Seek out hatchbacks, for I will have no other breed!

“I fight for the honor of acquiring for you a black steed with leather interiors and ye-olde-moone-roofe, it is nearly never ridden, and shall be a mighty triumph” – Brave sir-mechanic, I do enjoy a steed that can let the light in from above.  Fetch me this Mazda, so long as it is as worthy as you say it is.

“The blackguard who attempted to sell me that nag failed to disguise its true nature.  It is tampered with and in over-rough condition for the riding they claim it has received. I shall return triumphant with a slightly more well-ridden but also more well-cared-for Silver Destrier!” – Knaves!  Disguising a nag as a steed!  But Huzzah for the possibility of a destrier!

Finally, I heard good news – the silver destrier is in Paul-the-mechanic’s care and on its way to the stables, there to be further inspected prior to its being gifted to me.  Gifted in the loosest meaning of the word, that is.

“Fair maiden, come fetch thine newest steed in exchange for your more cumbersome greenish-nag and a certified cheque from thine bank or money-lender.  Bring also proof of insurance and proof of ownership of the cumbersome nag.”

Or something like that. 

What does this translate to?  Apart from “Alex is a bit over-imaginative and likes writing in vaguely old-time wording”?  Alex nearly has a new car, and it is silver… dark silver!  Also, Alex is using this writing as a way of not focusing on (and stressing about) donating blood later today, because she becomes nauseated at the idea of needles, but feels that the cause is worthy of forging on regardless of nausea.

Huzzah, indeed.

I went to inspect it last night.  One mechanic drove it up to the front of the shop for me to inspect.  Three of them opened all the doors and the back hatch, and the hood.  Three of them watched me walk around the car, peering into the back seat, trying to picture Gwynn tucked in there or sitting up in the front seat.  One of them came up beside me when I reached the hood.  I looked, and there, before my very eyes, was… an engine.  I think.  Three mechanics looked at me expectantly.  I looked at the possible-engine again, hoping for insight, and asked, “Is everything that’s supposed to be there in there?”

Yup.  Okay.

What’s the next step, apart from paying a visit to my friendly neighbourhood bank?  Emptying the van!  What does it have in it?  Probably enough clothing for me to go away for a weekend in the winter.  Also 6 pairs of cross-country skis, 7 sets of ski poles, an assortment of waxes, a tool kit, work boots, hard hat, at least two safety vests, some binders, a roadside emergency kit, a bunch of CD’s, and a bunch of random knick-knacks that have migrated into the van since sometime in the summer, when I last cleaned it.  And probably a few cups of dirt, collecting for the same amount of time.

The plan:

4 – vampiric nurses suck me dry using a giant needle.  Despite the fact that my blood goes on to save someone in need, Istill feel nauseous, but get a cookie in payment and feel moderately better.  If no cookie is provided, find nearest cookie vendor and acquire cookie.  A big one.

4:45ish… (or whenever I recover from the vampiric encounter with nurses and am able to drive)  – visit the bank, get a certified cheque.  Also get a void cheque for the insurance vampires, and email it to them. 

5– take Gwynn and Sadie on a nice long walk.  Hopefully see the ferret on a leash again, because that was entertaining yesterday.  Hopefully avoid all dead animals and gross things.  Probably bribe short-sister into coming with me, possibly with Chai Tea.  Random note, did you know that the Russian word for Tea is Chai?  Same for most Indian dialects.

6 (or 6:30 or 7… after 1.5 or 2 hours of walking) – start the process of emptying the van.  Attempt to enlist family to help with this, so that it doesn’t take forever.

Saturday morning – vacuum out as much of the dirt in the van as possible.  Bribery of other family members might be used in this as well.

Check through the van again to ensure that it doesn’t have any of my belongings in it. 

Ensure I’ve gotten every grimy penny out of it that I can find (they go towards re-building my money-hoard), and hope I didn’t vacuum any up.  Empty the vacuum, pawing through it to see if I can spot any pennies.

Load the all-season tires into the trunk. 

GO PICK UP SHINY NEW STEED!  Ride around in style (and white-knuckled terror of being in an accident within an hour of acquiring my new/gently-used destrier) before heading home to build a fence that will keep Gwynn from running loose in our neighbourhood at will, and will allow us to take down the garbage-bin-and-random-plywood temporary barricade I put up.  Try Gnocci Recipe, eat many many gnocci.  Blog about fence-building and gnocci making.

Happy April Fools Day!  And no, this isn’t an April Fools story, so long as you realise that I didn’t buy a horse, I bought/am-buying a hatchback.  And nurses are in no way connected with vampires… people in insurance probably are, but there isn’t any proof that waving crosses at them will prevent them from bleeding your bank account dry.

New Car Fever (or “Why I’m Grumpy”)

Look over there… it’s SO SHINY.  It’s NEW.  It has a CD player, and everything in it is clean and stain-free.  It’s got that new smell.  More importantly than the new-ness of the smell, it doesn’t carry the odour of dirt and wet dog and mysterious greyish crumbs in between the cushions.  It is so much better, cooler, NEWER than what I have now.  Did I mention how shiny it is? 

The van is fast-approaching its retirement.  Soon, it will be set out to pasture, left to frolic in a wide open packed dirt retired-car lot.  Maybe it will meet a nice SUV or construction van(you know the ones… no back windows, rather like what you’d expect the FBI to be camped out in… but less intense and not black), a solid but also senior vehicle it can do various elderly vehicle things with.  Such as…

… Having the same turning radius as the titanic…

… randomly flashing mysterious dash-lights…

… juddering and making ominous rumbling noises when they reach highway speeds…

… Only playing music through one speaker…

… Varying which speaker receives music…

… Locking all but one door…

… Unlocking all but one door…

… Refusing to let the passenger-side window go down when it is too hot out…

Or, perhaps it will gain a new lease on life, with a new owner, possibly someone in construction or home-repair.  I think the van would look quite dashing with an extendable ladder strapped to the roof.  I can see it now, rumbling down the highway on loose shocks, loaded with electrician’s tools, a grouchy electrician sitting in the front seat, coffee cup wedged into the cup-holder, banging occasionally on the dash with the hopes of hearing the news on his side of the vehicle as well as on the rear passenger side.  Then again, if he’s an electrician, he might already have fixed that particular issue. 

The more I look for a new vehicle to replace the van, the less I like new-vehicle shopping.  I think that I might be the exception, rather than the rule– going with me to do test-drives has nearly convinced my dad that he needs a new car to replace his current fully-functional and not-too-old civic. 

“New Car Fever” he says, nodding sagely and drooling over the sooped up whatever-it-is next to the base-model hatchback whose trunk I’m staring into.

I am wondering whether one of the symptoms of this so-called fever is a huge throbbing headache.  If so, I might indeed have New Car Fever.  The first place we stopped into was ok… lots of shiny new cars, and if I avoid looking at the price, I can get into the spirit of things. 

Cupholders that will hold a wide variety of sizes of cup upright.  OOOOH.  Shiny!

Everything’s so clean and shiny and sparkly.  It’s got little storage compartments and a nice looking control panel.  It comes in Saphire Blue, or Celestial Blue, or Velocity Red.  OOOOH!

I’m pretty knowledgeable about cars (Cue laugh-track).  I can stand beside the sales-associate, and ask deep and probing questions like, “Do you, like, have a recent grad discount?”

And, “Does it come in a blue-er blue? Like… more bright?”

However, by the time we’d left the first place, I could feel the headache throbbing in my forehead.  At the second place, I critiqued all the vehicles viciously.  Too blah, too ugly, too expensive, too uncomfortable, too weird looking, too much like a van.

Apathy set in, and my vocabulary vanished.  I was clearly deep in the throes of new-car-fever.  We arrived at the next dealership, and I could barely force myself to sit in their hatchback, open the trunk, or look at the specs.  When my dad pointed out that their van was very nice, my only response was: Van. 

“… but it’s quite nice, and smaller than what you’re driving now…”

“Van.”

“But you wouldn’t have any issues fitting Gwynn in-“

“VAN.  VAN.

For emphasis, I fought through my new-car-fever-induced apathy long enough to pull open a sliding door and then glare accusingly at my father.  VANS have sliding doors.  That is one of the few things I’m sure of in this new-car-fever-wrought journey.  I have never driven anything but a van.  I am 23 years old, and I am tired of driving the vehicle of choice for soccer-moms (yes, it is practical for that, I know! Go forth, soccer moms, and get-ye a van!) and people who have more than three children.  All I need is a non-van vehicle that will fit my dog.  And some other people, hopefully, at the same time as the dog is in the vehicle.

It’s strange – my dad’s new-car-fever is making him want to buy a car.  His illness is making him enthusiastic and strangely lustful over shiny inanimate objects.  My illness, meanwhile, is making me monosyllabic, and giving me the urge to hold onto the van until it literally falls apart on the highway.  I also considered just adapting to walking and biking everywhere, or buying enough aussie-doodles to make myself a sled-team.  Maybe we’ve got different strains of the disease, but both of them have some interesting delusions.

So, as new car fever makes me more surly and short-tempered, I think I’ve found a cure.  My mechanic is, as we speak, trolling the used-car-auctions for a hatchback for me. 

He figured out pretty quickly that my new-car-fever has severely depleted my stores of enthusiasm for anything automotive.  He’s looking for non-white, non-beige hatchbacks (and not-a-van) with cloth seats and A/C, under 5 years old.  As soon as I passed the responsibility on to him, I felt the fever break.  In fact, when he sent me some photos of a red Toyota Matrix yesterday, it piqued my interest.  I looked at it, drooled a bit, and thought, “oooh.  It’s newer than the van, it’s shinier than the van.  It’s RED, and CUTE, and NEW.  OOOOOOH”

I might have caught the other strain of New Car Fever.  At least it doesn’t bring on headaches.