Archive for the ‘Driving’ category

The End of a Search

November 5, 2011

Years ago I had this vision of what shopping for a car would be like.

It would be fun, exciting, and in general, easy. NOT the case, at least for us.

So this summer while searching for a new ride, I got my first taste of what it was like to be a car buyer. Instead of being fun, it was stressful and time consuming. For us it was a big investment, and we wanted to make sure we made the right choice for us and our family. As you know, we found our Honda Odyssey, which has been a great vehicle so far.

Fast forward a few months… when I got my new job working up near a ski resort, I realized (while driving up the canyon and seeing the posted signs) that I there were days in which the canyon is closed to vehicles that didn’t have 4-wheel-drive (or all-wheel-drive) OR chains. In case you aren’t aware, our minivan is not a 4×4, and the prospect of having to put chains on it every time a storm hit was less than exciting.

Greg was not a fan of our other car which he drove, a Ford Taurus. While I liked the car and it gave me NO problems for the 6 or so years I owned it, I think it was a little low on the “cool” scale for Greg, so selling it to buy something that would 1) solve my driving up the canyon issue and, 2) make Greg not feel like a 72 year old grandma became important.

We sold the Taurus to the first couple who looked at it. Easy peasy. But finding it’s replacement was less than ideal. Looking for an all-wheel-drive or 4×4 when winter is approaching is something that I don’t recommend. What we DID like went really quick, and other possibilities did not pan out. Every day we were searching KSL and researching possibilities in order to find what we needed.

Fast forward 2+ weeks to yesterday. Something interesting popped up on KSL. We didn’t see it in previous searches because it was out of our price range. Luckily, Greg caught it the first day the price had been reduced and emailed the link to me so I could check it out. I looked it up on a ton of auto websites and was thrilled to see the glowing reviews, safety features, lack of problems, etc. I was so impressed that I told Greg to get over to the dealer to look at it and to go ahead and get it if he liked it. It’s sitting in our garage as I type this, which means he did, and I do. I actually like it a lot! While it was a daunting task, we are both excited about our new ride, and we got it for a great price!

Here she is:

It is a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor. I haven’t thought of a name yet, but I’m thinking Gertrude. We had fun testing her abilities with my parents today (trying to make it slide and do doughnuts in a parking lot). So far I’m impressed with how she handles and drives. I’m actually excited about this car.

I find it funny that I lived for 36 years without really buying a car (I’d gotten all of my others from my dad), and in 4 months I’ve bought two. I’m hoping that these suckers will last us long time and be great cars for us. Because the thought of doing this again… not cool.

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

October 5, 2011

In a world of billions of people, I get wanting to be an individual. Wanting to stand out from the masses and be original is nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for.

However, when you have a personalized license plate that states “BOY TOY”, like the one I just saw on this car, well it does make a statement about you. That statement happens to be: I’m an idiot, and kind of a ho.

I especially like the diamond decal in the window. So, you’re a gold digging ho? Nice. I’m sure this gal is attracting some quality guys.

Personalized license plates are not my favorite, mostly because rarely are they every anything but moronic.

Advertising your lameness on your car… it’s gotta go.

Twilight Zone, But Better

July 15, 2011

The last 2 days have been kind of weird. Not really bad, not really good, just different.

Wednesday I spent what was supposed to be 1 to 2 hours at the car dealership working out a “bug” in our new car. 5+ hours, 2 shuttle rides, 3 wet and cold kids getting picked up from swim camp and waiting it out with me, and some of my sanity later, I ended up going home WITHOUT said car. Normally I’d be really irritated, but my serious love for our salesman who has taken care of EVERY issue we’ve had and seriously gone above and beyond kept me from taking it to that level. Yeah, it sucked, but I also realized that they made the logical repairs/replacements, and it wasn’t their fault. And his profuse apologies as well as always getting back to me right away and keeping me informed, as well as driving me around the valley, made it all OK. Luckily the problem was solved (although now I have to take it back to have the tires balanced). This purchase hasn’t been perfect, but I think that this experience has proven to me that I can deal with anything as long as I feel like I’m being taken care of and respected. Customer service trumps and issues or flaws with a product. And I still love my van in spite of her sensitive sensors :).

Of course my week wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have to work on the sprinklers, and luckily yesterday a broken head insured the I got my hands a little/lot dirty. Woo hoo. I spent a few hours in the garden and yard weeding, which gave the sprinklers a nice break from my string of profanities aimed at them.

Later that night I had a meeting for the charity that I am a board member of, and it really re-ignited my desire to raise some money for an amazing cause. How many charities do you know that give 100% of their donations? NONE! Well, this one does, and I will totally give you my undying love and thanks if you donate. Click here to become awesome. Also, you can, should, and will be the coolest ever if you “Like” them on Facebook. I’ll give you some history and more info about how I got involved with this organization in the next week or two. Until then, think about how good it would feel to give, and then do it :).

At 12:05 am, Greg and I partook of the wonder that is the Harry Potter phenomenon. Normally my parents take us to an early screening (sponsored by their financial advisors) that happens Thursday at 7 pm, but for some weird and über lame reason, they thought they should actually invite my brother and his family to go this year. What a bunch of crap! OK, maybe it was more than fair, but whatever. So to keep up appearances and continue tradition, we knew that we had to see it opening night. Once again, I’ve been shown that I am old and staying up past 11 is an accomplishment in and of itself, AND, I don’t do well on 3 hours of sleep. But the movie was awesome, and watching it at the new theater in Draper, in 3-D, XD, was pretty sweet.

This weekend is pretty jam-packed with my cousins gallery opening tonight (SO COOL!… check out some of her work here. She is really talented!), a get together with friends (which may or may not take place depending a certain someone who I secretly call Mr. Death-by-Stomach) later tonight, a birthday party tomorrow for my beautiful, charming, and witty friend Maree.

MOST importantly, I’m awaiting the long (ok, 4 days) overdue arrival of two of my favorite people’s baby. This is Sarah and Dave’s first, and I am so incredibly excited for them. More selfishly, I cannot wait to hold Geoffrey, which is my name for him until he is born and they choose a less lame and less likely to get his arse kicked more appropriate one. BABY!!! He will be making his debut in the next few days, and I CANNOT WAIT!

Enough of this chit-chat… laundry awaits and I’m sure there is some part of my sprinkler system  that is eagerly awaiting my caress. Have a fantabulous weekend!

A Voyage and Odyssey

July 3, 2011

This whole selling a car/finding a replacement car has been kind of a roller coaster ride, at least for me. I’ve sold quite a few cars in my life. My dad used to collect cars (now he only sort of does), and when I was in my early 20’s, I pretty much started handling most of his sales transactions. It’s ironic, knowing my car history, that I have NEVER purchased a car, really. I’ve always “bought”, which is a term I will use very loosely here, cars from my dad. This time around my dad didn’t have what we were looking for in stock, so we had to go outside the family :).

We’ve been looking online for months, trying to figure out which make and model we wanted, the features important to us, reading reviews, and browsing the local supply. Selling our MDX Thursday night pushed us into taking the leap.

I said that I would never own a minivan, but that was before I had 5 children. This time around, it was pretty much all I was seriously considering. I’d done the SUV route, and while it was OK and did seat everyone, it didn’t really fit our needs in a way that made purchasing one practical. A minivan, however uncool and “soccer mom-ish”, totally did.

A middle “row” with captains chairs that the kids could walk between to get to the back row instead of jumping over (and getting crap on the seats AND on the ceiling of the car) was seductive. As was all of the storage that a minivan provided. And I won’t lie, the prospect of getting a new (to me) car was kind of exciting. And kind of scary. I’ve always been extremely grateful that my dad has provided me with reliable and nice cars, and what I drove never really mattered much to me as long as I could count on it and fit my needs.

This time around, having to actually make decisions was fun AND incredibly stressful. If you know me… REALLY know me… then you know I can sometimes worry about things that probably aren’t that big of a deal. True to form, after looking at cars the other night and then bringing one home, I spent most of the night stressed and worried that we’d made a mistake, and wondered if we should return the car the next morning instead of going into the dealership to sign the paperwork as planned.

It’s funny how sunlight and a good sales manager talked me off the edge, and I am nothing but happy in the fact that I. OWN. A. MINIVAN.

I think we should name her Geraldine, but we’ll see after some time what name fits her. Meet the newest addition to our family.

She is a 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L, and while she may look a little matronly, she is a sweet ride! I never realized how quick these suckers could go. AND, she has all of the bells and whistles that I didn’t expect we could get. Leather, power sliding doors, a 6 CD disc player, a factory warranty (WOO HOO! Especially after all of the crap we’ve dealt with the past year), and lots more. These are little things, but it can be the little things that make you happy.

I know that saying goodbye to the MDX was hard for the hubby, and I really wish things could have worked out differently. It was his dream car that he purchased JUST for him, but he really didn’t ever get to call her his own :(. But I’m happy to say that he’s gone from a mini hater to a lover, and painfully admitted last night that he really likes this new car. Next purchase is all yours honey!

Parting Is SUCH Sweet Sorrow

July 1, 2011

My husband doesn’t believe me, but I really did like his car. Which became my car. And as of last night, is someone else’s car.

This Acura MDX was, other than borrowing my dad’s cars over the years, the nicest car I’ve driven.

But as you know (if you read this blog), we’ve had some problems with said car. After having to deal with yet another stupid issue, I really felt like we needed to get something newer and with a lot fewer miles than the 125k our MDX was sporting. But just like childbirth, I kind of forgot about my promise to “list it the day we get it back” from the shop. But I couldn’t ignore my instincts forever, and I knew it was time to let go and say goodbye.

So we fixed all the problems, made her look pretty and ready for the show, and listed the MDX. The story of how we sold it is a funny one, but let’s just say that I am now text buddies with an NFL player. Seriously, I am.

I’m glad that our car has gone to someone who wanted it and will hopefully take care of it, but I had some pangs of regret as I was saying goodbye. I was actually sad about a stupid car. But I reminded myself that as a family of 7 (8 if you count the dog), we need something that has more storage/stowing capabilities, is set up in a way that the kids can get to the 3rd row of seating without having to high jump the middle seat, can seat all of us AND the dog, and most importantly, is something that has a little less wear and tear and a lot more dependability.

Mr. N, I’m sorry that the very last essence of “coolness” is gone, but I think it will be best in the long run. And I think you underestimate how sexy a man driving a minivan is :).

Chances Increased by .345%

March 21, 2011

It was shorter than everyone would have liked, but our mini getaway was delightful. The weather was nice (enough), and the kids loved spending time with Grandma & Grandpa. Here are some of the highlights our or trip:

  • The temperature may never reach 70, but I’ll still come home with a nice sunburn. I can’t say that I’ll be surprised if I get skin cancer, seeing each trip increases my chances.
  • It’s great how kids can turn a simple inflatable slide that is supposed to sit on the edge of the pool into a miniature floating hill in which there can only be one king. It won’t always be true, so I’m really enjoying the years that I am bigger and stronger than the kids, and therefore I. AM. KING!
  • I may be king, but that did not protect the back of my hip from Ian’s knee coming in contact with it after jumping onto me from the side of the pool. I have a nice bruise (and probably kidney damage) as a result.
  • My dad makes the best ribs.
  • For once I feel like I actually got enough sleep while away on vaca.
  • This drive was another confirmation that the choice to buy a sweet van for travel was one of the best decisions we’ve made.
  • I’m so glad that I am one of those lucky people with awesome parents whose company I actually enjoy  AND that my mom is a game person.
  • I am very grateful for my health and properly working senses, but if I could turn my hearing on and off, I would.
  • It’s not my fault I’m a bed making nazi… I was trained.
  • My dad is the master of all dairy confections. At home, he has earned the title of being Dairy “King”, because he often takes the kids there. In St. George, he has now made a habit out of buying the spray whipped cream and spraying it directly into their mouths. They LOVE IT!
  • Our kids ate soooo much sugar that I’m wondering if they are going to go through a psychotic episode from the withdrawals.

There you have it, our weekend in bullet point. I’ve returned home to a pile of “to do’s”, but the time away was well spent, somewhat needed, and definitely enjoyed :).

On The Road Again

January 2, 2011

I’ve taken my sweet time, yes, but (insert hip hop beat)… it’s my prerogative.

Before we left for Disneyland, I think I alluded to the fact that I was not 100% excited about the trip. Now that it’s over, I can confess that I was filled with absolute dread. Yes, DREAD! I kept hearing about how crazy Disneyland was during the holidays (Christmas is historically the BUSIEST day of the year), and I was seriously questioning our decision to make the trip at this time of the year. Also, there was a lot for me to get done in order to prepare for the week. Packing myself and the kids, shopping for food, gathering up everything we needed for the trip, readying the van, taking Pheobe to be boarded (Jake stayed with my ex), etc. And, of course, I was sick. I was, in a word, overwhelmed.

The day of the trip, I hurried to ready the kids, van, house, and pets for our departure. That morning I noticed that while I was still stressed, there was a little ball of excitement that hadn’t been there before. I’m not sure if the excitement was for me or for the kids, but whatever the reason and where ever it was welcomed.

The plan was to drive to St. George and stay the night at my parents 2nd home, and then make the 2nd (and longer) portion of the drive the next morning. Side note: I mentioned I was sick. Wednesday night, as we drove into St. George, I made the executive decision to visit the InstaCare. I had been sick for quite some time, and wasn’t getting any better, which is weird for a cold. I was worried I may have a sinus infection, and didn’t want to be out-of-state, get sicker, and unable to find a provider that accepted my insurance. ANYWAY, it was a sinus infection, and luckily I began to feel better a few days of antibiotics.

We made the drive from Utah to the condo we rented in Anaheim (about 1 mile from Disneyland) in 6 hours… not bad! After arriving and settling in, we decided to take the kids to Laguna Beach. Our kids had never stepped foot on a beach, and had never seen the ocean (in person). It was chilly outside and the water was cold, but that didn’t stop them. The kids stripped down to their swimming suits and played in the water. Ian, Emma & Cooper got pretty much all the way in, and Riley and Alex had fun trying to run away from the waves and incoming tide. Because of the recent storms and flooding in the area, we had to do some creative driving and detouring, but it was well worth it. I love it when I am able experience new things with my kids. The look of pure unadulterated joy in their faces as we got on the shore was priceless. It was one of those moments that I will file in my head under “why being a mom is awesome”.

I’d post the pictures, but Greg already did that. If you wanna see some of the beach photos, click here.

Next time, I’ll get into the Disneyland stuff. Until then, visit Greg’s blog, and enjoy this adorable picture of the kiddos.

OH yeah, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Merry What?

December 15, 2010

Christmas happens to be my favorite holiday. I don’t love the commercialism of it, or the getting gifts. I love all of the wonderful childhood memories I have of the holidays. I love the traditions that began when I was young and have continued with my own children. I love the Christmas “spirit” that I seem to feel each season.

Most of the time.

This year our family is going to Disneyland for Christmas. WOO HOO! We leave next Wednesday and don’t return until the following Tuesday. We’ve rented a condo near the park with THREE swimming pools and a playground, for optimal child entertainment. While I SHOULD be super excited to embark on this adventure, I must admit I have a few concerns, reservations, as well as a little bit of dread. Long drive. Kids who argue. Doing “the death walk” (my orthopedic surgeons name) on a still somewhat crap-tastic knee for 12 hours a day. Boo hoo, right? I’m going to Disneyland for hell’s sake! I know it will be fun when it’s all said and done, but there is still a lot to do to get ready (and yet here I am, blogging).

The problem with Christmas this year: because we’ll be gone for the week, we didn’t decorate. ANYTHING. No tree. No lights. NADA. I didn’t want to go through the pain of decorating if we weren’t going to be here to enjoy it. It’s a lot of work for only a few weeks. And because our Disneyland trip IS our Christmas present this year, there really wouldn’t be anything to put under a tree.

The lack of decorations and missing my family celebration (a super yummy dinner and gift exchange at my parents on the 23rd each year) makes it seem like there is no Christmas this year. It just doesn’t feel the same, and therefore I’ve been a little humbug-ish. Not really against the holiday, just not into it. So it only seems appropriate to pass on this email I received from my dad.



When four of Santa’s elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as  fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the  cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, ‘Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?’

And  thus began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Not very many people know this.

Filet Mignon Day!

December 2, 2010

If I cared more and were less lazy, I would have posted earlier. But I don’t and I’m not, so this is what you get.

The Thanksgiving holiday and vacation ended up being just like the movie The Land Before Time, except there were no dinosaurs, we didn’t actually get whisked away to a different land OR time, and a hot shower was, I’m happy to say, a part of each and every day.

Greg and I planned to leave Wednesday morning, which happens to be the morning that I realized my thoughts from Tuesday night were true… I was getting sick. UGH!!! Seriously?! The trip I had planned and been looking forward to for over 3 months and I was sick?! Yes, yes I was. But fear not… there was some phlegm involved, as well as some post and pre? nasal dripping, but luckily the copious amounts of snot didn’t keep me down.

Here are a few highlights of the trip/random thoughts, in no particular order:

  • I love that for the past 5+ years, my parents have made cooking a filet mignon roast as part of the Thanksgiving feast. Um, YUMMMM! Screw the turkey, give me the beef!
  • My lemon cookies took 2nd place in our cookie contest, although I may demand a recount.
  • I beat Greg for the first time in ping-pong. It was a special day (although he spent the rest of the night in the fetal position, weeping).
  • We visited Vegas where we, 1) visited the infamous Gold & Silver Pawn, which is the pawn shop featured in the t.v. show Pawn Stars. 2) Went to Joe’s Crab and Steakhouse in Caesars Palace and ate a very good steak and possibly the best crab I’ve ever tasted. Mmmm.
  • Greg and I still are undefeated when we partner at HAND & FOOT (I pretty much carry him).
  • One of the best parts of family gatherings are having other adults around to play games with.
  • We saw the movie Unstoppable. It was good, but let me assure you, it IS unstoppable.
  • There is something über enjoyable about sitting in a hot tub when it’s cold outside, under the stars. The night sky is SO much better in southern Utah.
  • Watching an entire football game while sitting upon a hard wooden chair is something I may not do again.
  • I missed the kids, but I noticed that this was a much more laid back trip. Yippy!

Yahoo for Thanksgiving!

I also want to say how proud of I am of my dear husband. You rock!

Life As I Know It

October 18, 2010

We’re back. We’re alive. And mostly in one piece. The trip to St. George went as expected… FUN! It was a smaller crowd than we’re used to, but so nice having it ever-so-slightly more quiet than the norm. It was a very low-key week/weekend filled with playing games (Killer Bunny is now the kids favorite), lots of swimming, lots of treats, getting spoiled by Grandma Gina and Papa Jimbo, and plain old, good fashioned quality family time.

For some weird reason, which I’m sure includes a sick sense of humor of my school district, the kids don’t have school today (Monday) either. I could definitely use a breather, BUT, no rest for the weary, right? We’ve got another 4 down with the not-so-fun cold I had last week that includes a nice fever, sore throat, and nasty sinus issues. On the upside, we’ve all gotten sick, which means there is no left to infect. Woo hoo!

I’ve joked about it since my divorce, but it’s no joke: There is one upside (besides the obvious) to the dissolving of a marriage — free “babysitting” every other weekend! Dating your spouse is so important, but with 5 kids, it’s nearly impossible for us to find someone to watch them all. Not that people (namely our parents) haven’t or won’t, but I hate asking or imposing. I can’t even remember the last time we got a babysitter. We plan pretty much everything we do around the kids, which means that sometimes we end up saying “no” to things or missing out. But I think that Greg and I agree that we wouldn’t have it any other way. As it is with so many aspects of life, it’s all about juggling and balance.

Even though it’s been a long week with all the chillins’, the kids are sick, and WE’VE been sick, I’m glad that I have the opportunity (although I sometimes forget at 5 am) to be able to care for them when they are sick AND well. This weekend my dad talked about how much he misses having little kids around, and it helped refresh my perspective. I have no illusions (or delusions) that I will get through their childhood, or even the day, without frustrations, but hearing my parents talk about kids and their own experiences helps me to laugh rather than yell. I’m grateful that my children, and especially my step-children, know they can come to me when they don’t feel good and need help. I’m glad that they see me as someone they can trust and depend on. And if that means administering ibuprofen at 3 a.m. or being the referee for the 329 time, so be it.