Spring Break

Another mainly rainy week. We’ve been on spring break, such as it is. Took a few days off of work because the kids were off school. Manly catching up on our rest and doing odd jobs. Last Wednesday I worked at home and the kids did art all day. Thursday the rain stopped and I got a bunch of yardwork done. Turned over the garden, laid down cedar mulch under the hedges. Pretty much done with the spring cycle.

We finally retired El Jeppo last week and replaced it with a shiny Pilot in a very attractive shade of blue. Yes, our quest is at an end and good riddance to the whole ordeal. On the way back from negotiating the deal I was say to Jeannie it would have been nice to get a better trade-in price. But then back windshield wiper stopped working and I remembered why I needed to get rid of the old bucket o’ blots, and considered it was probably a fair deal. We named the new car Hoban after the famous starship pilot Hoban Washburne.

Last Friday I took the kids into the city for a visit to the Guggenheim museum. It’s been years since I’d been there, before I moved to California. Lizzy has been getting into abstract and impressionistic art. This was the perfect exhibit for her. It was all about the birth of Modernism, 1910-1918, plus a side exhibit on the Bauhaus. Lots a Picasso, Mondrian, Kandinsky and others all in one place. Modern art’s greatest hits. It’s been a while since I checked in with this stuff and it struck me how deeply the language of modernism has come to permeate every day pop culture, media and industrial design, to the point where it’s almost invisible. It’s always interesting to image a time an place where ideas we now just accept were new and radical and challenging. Plus the gallery itself is a most excellent space, with it’s snail-shell spiral main hall.

Jeannie has been making Lego robots to solve a Rubik’s cube. More on that later.

April Showers

Spring seems to have come at last, albeit a mainly cold and wet spring. Saturday was torrential rain and yet another round of car shopping. Sunday the weather turned nice and I got to do a few seasonal things outside. (Sorry, but this is all really boring suburb family kind of stuff. No base jumping or even mountain biking, although I have been out on my rollerblades a few times now.) Lawn mowing season is on, and my lawnmower started on the first pull. Woo-hoo! Also washed and waxed Jeannie’s car. (We’re skipping doing the Jeep this year cuz we’re about to get rid of it.) Jeannie’s car is only six months old, but irony of ironies, I had to do some touch up painting on it already. She got hit while parked in front of the bank, going to get a bank check for the Jeep’s replacement. It was a mere scratch, and she had mercy on the 19-year-old girl who hit her with her mom’s car, and decided it’s more trouble than it’s worth to go thru insurance and get it properly fixed in a body shop. These modern plastic bumpers are made to scratched up anyway. So I literally glossed it over, which is fine if you don’t look too closely. I guess you could say the car is broken in now.

Supply and Demand

I tried to buy a new car over the weekend. We’ve been researching this for a few weeks and it’s been a big time suck. I’d test driven a 2011 Ford Explorer and liked it well enough. Good power, handling, interior room, looks. It’s an all-new and therefore unproven design, but is highly rated by everyone who does that kind of thing. So I succumbed to the temptation of a shiny new car. Problem was, the dealer didn’t really have a car to sell me, just an imaginary future car. In other words I’d have to order one. The problem with that was dude couldn’t predict how long it would take to deliver the car. He’d told me about eight or ten weeks before, but now it was fourteen weeks or more. On top of this, he didn’t really want to give us any kind of a deal, or even a good trade-in price on my old car. There was language in the agreement that if we got tired of waiting didn’t want the car we’d loose our deposit, but if they failed to delver the car in a reasonable time, we’d get our deposit back and agree not to sue them. Problem was they didn’t want to commit to a number for a reasonable amount of time, and when pressed they wouldn’t commit a number I could accept. I would have gone up to ten weeks, which is into mid-June, but no. So that was that. Too bad, too. I had a name all picked out for her: “Dora the Truck”.

So now we’re back to looking at Pilots, which is another perfectly cromulent car, although built more for comfort than for speed. Still Honda has better fuel economy, better reputation for long-term reliability, and most importantly, actual cars to sell. Other good news is the 2009 Pilot is basically the same as the 2011, and they have plenty certified pre-owned ones listed in inventory. We’ve done well buying cars off of lease returns before. It looks like we can save a good 10 grand, and maybe get back to the program of upgrading my studio gear.