New home for the Raider

Yesterday my dear old Dodge Raider went to another home. I bought that Raider in Cape Cod. Central Cape Dodge of Hyannis. Drove it off the lot brand new on June 1st, 1989. Man I loved that car. I remember getting up at 4 a.m. on June 2nd to wipe the dew off it.

It had four-wheel-drive, which was very useful, because when it snows on Cape Cod no one can get to work, which isn’t good if you own your own business. I remember when a certain person first drove it. He ground the gears, said it wasn’t comfortable, and called it a piece of $(!#. Well, it wasn’t. It never broke down. It always started first time. The only parts I ever had to replace were the tyres, the battery (twice), and the clutch after 13 years.

When I moved to Houston I went to a mechanic and asked him if he could install air conditioning. He quoted me $1,500 and suggested I buy another car. Stubbornly, I refused, and drove around in the blazing heat for eight years, always arriving at work sweaty. I did finally get it installed (for a lower price), but it wasn’t very effective when the temperature was in the 90s or higher.

I’d still be driving the Raider, but y’all know what happened. Minis arrived in America!

I sold the Raider to John, so it stayed in the family. But you know what happened next.

We put a FOR SALE sign on the Raider on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, our lawn guy came to mow our lawn. On Monday morning he showed up with a stack of $100 bills. Not enough to meet John’s asking price. But John made a deal with him. To pay off the balance, he mows our lawn for a whole year and doesn’t charge us! He was very happy with the deal. He’s planning on surprising his son with it on his 16th birthday. The kid deserves it. He’s been helping his Dad mow lawns since he could reach the handles of the lawnmower.

I hope he’ll be happy with his Raider. Just for now, I’m sad.

John's new car

Finally! John has his first new car. He drove it off the showroom floor today. It had seven miles on the clock.

Can anyone on the east side of the pond tell what it is?

Come to think of it, can anyone on this side of the pond (cmarka excluded) tell what it is?

Clicking on the picture, and knowing that he would never buy Japanese, will provide you with a nifty clue.

FOR SALE: Much-loved bright blue 1989 Dodge Raider. Runs brilliantly. a/c installed, new clutch in 2002, sunroof, cassette deck, four-wheel drive, 110,000 miles. $2,200.
(Radio a little faulty, windscreen cracked, one hubcap missing, windows whistle at freeway speeds, two new window handles ready for installation, will not cause drowziness or headaches.)

City Sewer Replacement Project – Day 343

Nope. They haven’t gone yet. However . . . not only did they give us a glittering new asphalt driveway (“glittering” coined by our French tenant), but yesterday they poured us a concrete apron. We are delighted. I was, in fact, so delighted that I came home from work at 4 p.m. and sat in a chair on the sidewalk to guard the wet concrete. No way was anyone going to carve their initials in it. Someone called Eric has already written his name in various places down the street, and I was ready to beat him over the head with a Maglite if he appeared.

Our neighbour also had a portion of his driveway repaired. He had to pay for his. Just as the workers were leaving, Maggie appeared from the other side of his house and ran straight through his wet concrete, leaving five deep purrfect pawprints. Our neighbour was very good-natured about it and got the workers to come and smooth it over again. Maggie was locked in the house.

John joined me for a while with two glasses and a bottle of wine, and then we had a roast pork and broccoli dinner while watching the concrete dry. When it got too dark to read I switched to my laptop and caught up with some Fantasy Baseball duties. The wi-fi reached magnificently.

At around 8 p.m. the temptation obviously became too much for John who disappeared into the house and came back to decorate a tiny corner with a heart, a J, a C, and a Galveston seashell. (sigh) How could I get mad?

Having a new driveway is the only thing that’s keeping us sane during this whole ordeal. Our grass is ruined and we fear for the life of our crepe myrtles. Two weeks ago (I was too upset even to write about it) they dumped piles of mud and broken concrete on the other side of our lawn. It was not removed for ten days. The clank clank clank of the trucks and bobcats and shovels begins every morning around 6:30, and on Tuesday I think they set a record when the last bobcat arrived back on the lot at 9 p.m. They said they’d be done by January 15th, but they’re still here.

Bikram joke

Inspired by an incident in class this morning (Non-Bikram students read no further. You won’t get it. Go study the family tree.):

Student to Instructor (while signing in at the front desk): I have to leave class early today as I have a business meeting.
Instructor: Okay. Fine. What time will you be going?
Student: Before Camel.

A letter from Charlie

Okay, Habs, friends, lurkers, etc. It’s time to pull out your wallets again. Our very own Charlie is about to hitchhike to Morocco. Have his parents completely lost control of their youngest son?

It’s all in a good cause, though. Read on.

At the end of March to early April a friend and I are attempting to hitch the entire 1,600-mile journey to Morocco. We will set off from England and over a period of four or five days will slowly make our way to Africa. This will take us through France and Spain where with our extremely limited language skills (GCSE French!) we will try and convince people to take us the distance. Not only am I sure that this will be an incredible personal experience it is also for a great cause. We will be raising money for Link Community Development. This charity works in the heart of schools and communities in Ghana, Uganda and South Africa, as well as with local departments of education. LCD is helping to improve the quality of education available to these children. While I need to collect a minimum of £300 to participate I think it is important to point out that none of the money goes to my trip. All that is donated will go to LCD and I am personally paying for my flight home as well as food and accommodation while I am away. The easiest way to contribute is by visiting justgiving.com where you can donate on my personal page, or you can send a cheque written out to Link Community Development. Thank-you very much for any donation, it really is appreciated. I will be sure to keep you updated on how the trip goes I am sure it will be quite an adventure.

In case you’d like to print the full letter, here it is in .pdf format.

Cruise, anyone?

John and I have booked a cruise. A first for both of us.

We are sailing for seven days and seven nights on the Carnival Conquest. We leave from Galveston on March 5th. The ship stops at Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.

So who wants to come with us? Here’s the website. All you need is a few clicks, a credit card, and an understanding employer. Piece of cake, huh? We’ll pick you up at the airport and you can stay with us in Houston before and after the cruise.

I am so excited about this trip I can hardly breathe!

Don't wobble, Ky!

Ky Ha, my Monday morning (et al) Bikram instructor, has now won the Texas Yoga Asana Championship twice in a row. Loyal readers may remember reading here about his first win. After that he went on to the National Championship in Los Angeles and came in fourth.

The last half of 2005 was not a good year for him. He broke his foot and had two car accidents. However, perhaps all this will make him a stronger competitor. Right now he’s in Los Angeles competing in the National Championship again. This is the guy he needs to beat.

Please think good thoughts for Ky. We need him to nail it this time around.