The Scooter!

I’ve been watching the scooter market for some time. It’s been close to two years, I would bet. With gas prices going up, up, up, and with a lot of my driving being in town, I thought a scooter would be perfect. This year, though, used scooter prices are through the roof! Last year, the $800 scooter was easy to come by. This year? No way. Even Chinese scooters were selling for $1800 at the dealership 1/2 hour from here. In fact, I was bemoaning that fact just this Monday at my Kiwanis meeting.

Today, though, one of the Kiwanians I was talking to at lunch called me. She said she saw a scooter for sale (two actually) just a few miles away. I took a little ride with JP this afternoon to take a look at it.

It was a 2007 blue and white Honda Metropolitan. I called the number on the sign. The guy said that, though it was unregistered, I could take it for a test drive if I wanted. The scooter was parked at a friends house that had good visibility to the road, and that friend had the keys. I went up and knocked.

After a two mile jaunt, I knew I really needed (!) one of these scooters. It was fun, economical, and still could travel 35 mph, even with big ol’ me on it. I talked to friend who was “selling” the bike for the owner. He told me the scooter had been on his lawn since 4pm yesterday. He said he had 4-5 people look at it yesterday, and 7 people look at it today. It had nine miles on it. It seems the lady who owned the scooter crashed it on mile two. When she did, she broke her arm and wrist. Her husband, who was on the other scooter, saw the whole thing happen. After that they decided scooters were not for them. So she had a brand new scooter, just repaired, with a total of nine miles on it.

On the ride back to the office, JP and I talked. He mentioned at the price the guy was asking, if I didn’t like it, I could sell it again and get my money back. And, since it was a Honda, it would be reliable, and parts and service should be easy to come by. I called Susan, and spoke with her. She agreed that it was a good price, it was the style I liked, and since it was local, perhaps I should spring for it.

So I did!

Even though it wasn’t registered, I drove it home. I had so much fun, it was crazy! It would maintain 30mph just about everywhere, and could get up to 40mph with a slight downhill run. There was one big hill on the way home, and it slowed down predictably then, but it was quite a big hill.

Of course, now I’ve bought a scooter, and it’s almost winter, and it’ll be raining the next two days! 🙁

Friday Fill-Ins #90

1. There is no need to get so testy so quickly.

2. Where in the heck did the boys drag my shotgun off to?

3. Making a gigantic mess out of the whole thing is all I managed to do.

4. Prospects for investing aren’t looking so hot right now.

5.“Feel the funk, y’all; have a good time!”  is the message.

6. Simplicity and tranquility are elusive.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to supper out with the family, tomorrow my plans include playing a gig in Brunswick,  and Sunday, I want to enjoy the company picnic!

My Life of Luxury

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to the news on NPR as I usually do. It seems they’re running some features on living in Maine, and the costs of doing so. Yesterday, they had some admitted left wing economist (yes, the NPR reporter said his guest was left of center) say that the average Maine household earned $45k a year, and it it took, on average, $50k to live in this state. I mumbled something at the radio, and went about my day.

Now, this morning, I yelled at the radio. This morning’s economist was talking about the price of health care and day care. He mentioned something about how some people have the “luxury” of having one parent stay at home full time with their children.

Listen, buddy: It’s a choice, not a luxury.

There’s nothing luxurious about working your regular day job, and then going home and working on your home computer, designing web sites for extra scratch. There’s nothing luxurious about spending your Friday and Saturday nights miles away from home and family so you can earn money to take the kids out for a donut on Sunday morning. Sure, my ’95 Ford Taurus wagon has leather seats and air conditioning. And hey, I’m not knocking it. I wouldn’t consider it luxury.

No, instead, my wife and I made a choice. We decided we wanted to raise our kids with one parent at home. In my case, Susan felt lead to be the one to stay home, but it doesn’t have to be a “mommy only” thing. So she stays home. I go to the office. We both work hard–just at different things. Our home is modest; buying a new couch is something that requires some thrifty shopping. Our cars, though not heaps, are both over 10 years old. Our vacations don’t require plane flights to anywhere. Our last meal in a “fancy” restaurant was paid for with $50 worth of gift certificates that I bartered for with web design work.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not claiming poverty–far from it, in fact. But very often, things need to be put in perspective. My family has a full time parent at home. Though we’re not poor, we’re a mighty long way from Obama’s $250k rich, and a mighty long way from McCain’s five mil rich. And yet, we somehow figured out how to be able to keep Mom home with the kids. It’s far from a “luxury.” It’s a choice, a decision. If you really want to do it–if you really believe it’s the right thing to do–you can make it happen.

Make My Day

So Jack over at Slightly Off Center gave me the “Make My Day” award. Here are the rules:

(1) give this to people whose blogs mean something special to you – or give it to the blogs whose persons mean something special to you
(2) leave a comment on their blog so they know they got it
(3) you get to pick the number of times you give it

Jack gave her award to three blogs, so I shall do the same. These awards go to:

1) My beloved wife. She makes my day, every day. (In case you haven’t seen it, I did “Reasons For Love” a few years ago. For 52 weeks I listed 3-4 reason why I love Susan. Then, when it was all done, I made a page of those reasons, which you can go read. I actually get quite a few hits here from Google for “reasons to love someone.”)

2) My sister.

3) Amy and her Badgroove. There’s almost always something new over there every day. Go check it out, especially if you’re into NASCAR. (I don’t go there for that part.)

Now, if you look over in my blog roll, you’ll see many other of my friends. I encourage you to visit each one. If you’re a friend in the the blog roll, and didn’t receive this prestigious award, odds are it’s because you’re not posting much. C’mon Jim, put up something fresh!

One Word

Answer the questions using only one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket
2. Your significant other? Curvy!
3. Your hair? Brown
4. Your mother? Mom
5. Your father? Dad
6. Your favorite thing? Drums. (No, chocolate! No, Susan! This is too hard!)
7. Your dream last night? Forgettable
8. Your favorite drink? Milk
9. Your dream/goal? Doctorate
10. The room you’re in? Living
11. Your fear? Dis-eyeball-ment
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Older
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Skinny
15. Muffins? Blueberry
16. One of your wish list items? Book
17. Where you grew up ? Maine
18. The last thing you did? Youtube
19. What are you wearing? Clothes.
20. Your TV? CRT
21. Your pet? Cat
22. Your computer? Running
23. Your life? Happy
25. Missing someone? No
26. Your car? Taurus
27. Something you’re not wearing? Bra
28. Favorite Store? NKM
29. Your summer? Over
30. Your favorite color? Purple
31. When is the last time you laughed? Today
32. Last time you cried? Past

I’ve Put In a Bid

I placed an absentee bid on that painting. Why? I’ll tell you. Last year, at this same guy’s auction, I found a French dry sink with a marble top that I really liked. Susan’s been keen on dry sinks for some time. Since we don’t have a big enough bathroom for a hamper, we put dirty clothes in a basket at the top of the stairs. I’d rather we had some piece of furniture that would hide the clothes, but haven’t yet found a piece the right size and quality. The dry sink would’ve worked just fine. The estimate was $500 – $800: too rich for my wallet. The selling price? $172. Now that’s in my budget. With that little bit of experience, I decided I’d put a sort-of “low ball” offer on the painting. I’m thinking of it this way: if it sells for an amount equal to (or less than) my offer, and I didn’t put a bid in, I’d be kicking myself in the pants. Now, I feel covered. If I win it, I win it for a price that I would consider a good deal, possibly even a bargain (depending on where it ends). If it goes over that, well, then it just wasn’t meant to be.

Initial Thoughts on Word Press

Amy (as in Amy and her Bad Groove) commented recently, asking about how I like my new installation of Word Press. Well, here’s the good news: It’s very easy to use. It’s not unlike Blogger in its ease of use. The control panels are easy to use, and things like adding to your blog roll, doing simple text editing (like italics and whatnot), etc. are easy to do. The downside? I don’t like not being in control. With my old Greymatter installation, my templates were all designed by me. This template, which I downloaded off the Internet somewhere, has only limited edit-ability. And, I’m noticing it doesn’t render properly in all browsers. I also don’t like how the link order of my blog roll is randomized. I’d prefer them to be in an order I set, not whatever Word Press decides. I think what I may end up doing is finding a simple Word Press theme, and then hacking it to do what I want. For the next few weeks, though, I think I’ll just stick it out with this theme.