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Automotive Shuffle
January 26, 2000

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January 10, 2000
We had our first full out, 100% snowstorm of the year yesterday. A good eight inches of snow fell from the morning to the late afternoon/early evening. The Day Students and Staff were sent home at 1:00, and the rest of the students were ultimately let go at the same time, since so much of the school was missing.

I love the snow. It's a wonderful thing. I look forward to it every year, and enjoy it when it's here. However, my parents were in day two of a trip from Pueblo, Colorado (where they were visiting my sister) back to Maine, and I didn't particularly want them to hit bad weather when they were at their most tired. Understand, they'd handle it perfectly well. My father's a good driver, and he knows snow. If I'd been in the back seat dozing, I wouldn't worry about it. But sitting in a warm apartment and waiting -- that worries you.

As it turned out, no worries. My folks had decided to take the long route up through New York to avoid the storm as much as possible, but when it started snowing and everyone began driving forty miles an hour, they decided to stop at a Motel. Not so much because of the snow, but because they were eight hours away on a normal day, and they didn't want that stretched out to twelve or thirteen hours. So, I got a call early and therefore could enjoy the snow.

I was also enjoying a Linux box. Van got it set up so it was purring (he found the right video drivers for my video board) and helped me configure cool stuff for it. It's quite lovely, and the dual boot is fun too. I leave it in Linux, though. It just looks right.

Mason came over and we drank low calorie low salt hot cocoa and looked at the snow. And then, of course, we looked at the freezing rain. Which is a problem, because there were nine inches of snow on the ground at that point. Snow soaks up rain like a sponge, then freezes into a glazy white substance that is heavy, strong and frictionless. I became doubly glad that Mom and Dad weren't driving.

In more exciting news... I have an order in for... a new car! (Cue Price is Right "excited" music.) I've decided to go with the new Saturn LS1, which is a mid-sized. The options package will also be better, overall. It's got me pretty excited. At the same time, it's patently ridiculous. I mean... my old car! isn't all that old. I bought it new in May of 1998, so it still seems new to me, and it's very good looking and in good shape, with no significant problems. So, I get the old car detailed on Friday, drive to Maine, and we stick it in a garage and don't let anything happen to it until we drive it over on Noon of Saturday, for the appraisal. Dad's going to change the oil in it Saturday morning, as well, so it should look great and run well.

It kind of stuns me that I'm getting the new car, though. I come from a long line of people who have cars for ten years or more before trading them in. My first car had been a 1986 Honda Accord LS which had been my parents for seven years before I got it. It lasted me until the 1998 Saturn SL2 I have now -- which with model year weirdness means it was a thirteen year old car with just shy of 200,000 miles on it. Which means it had traveled farther than light does in a second, which stuns me.

So, to trade in a car less than two years old for a new one seems the height of decadence to me. Still -- a "blackberry" car with all the bells and whistles (including fog lamps) that's significantly larger on the interior (especially in driver's side legroom, which is my sole complaint with the SL2) is in all ways a good thing, and I'm looking forward to it. This would have been the car I'd have bought twenty months ago had it been available, in fact.

Note that I'm not getting "leather appointments with heated front seats." I mean, honestly. What is the point? That's at best a style thing and hardly a significant one at that.

On the other hand, I am getting the alloy wheels....

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