Thursday, September 29, 2005

Yet Another New Car

So, last we talked (Hey, I'm writing again after only 2 weeks!) ... last we talked the Lincoln was going in for repair.

Well, days later, we get a phonecall telling us that after they took a few panels off/etc, they realized that there was MORE damage they couldn't see. Now, it's totaled. It can still drive, but it's totaled.

So yesterday we get the 'final call' telling us how much we will get. This was Wednesday.

I'm also told then that I can only keep my rental until Friday!!!! Plus I am very busy this Friday-Sunday with running an SCA event!


So we have to make a decision. Either Wed/Thurs go buy a car, or end up paying for rental ourselves. (Or leave Heather without a car while I'm at work for a while).

Since we had been spending the last 5 days or so before that car shopping anyway, knowing it was coming ... and since we had narrowed it down to 2 cars, we said screw it ... and I left work a little early and we picked up our check, and went shopping.

We decided that all we really needed was a little commuter with good gas mileage. Well, the long story short was that I made a spreadsheet comparing all the 'cheap cars', for 'full price of ownership' (taking gas mileage into account, etc).

We found that there were about 3-4 cars that were cheapest once configured. However, at only a few thousand more, there was suddenly quite a jump in 'quality' and features. We looked at the big list, and decided that the extra money was worth it in a 'bang for your buck' sense.

And we decided on a Scion xB ... it just seemed to fit perfectly, being a good commuter, but being multi-purpose with having good cargo room,etc. It could be a 'trip without much gear' vehicle as well as commuter. Cool!

Well, that was just 2 days ago.

On Tuesday, we took a step back. We said: Ok, wait a minute, we were comparing 'cheap cars', and ones that might cost a little more. Now that we have decided on a car (without having even test drove it) ... let's look at things that compare with IT.

We did. We found a handful that compared with it, and after some research, threw them all back out. Except for one. The Suzuki Aerio SX.

So yesterday, we went and drove the xB & Aerio.

We drove home in the Aerio SX.

The drawback to the Aerio SX, was that it was actually a few thousand more than the Scion. However, it had alot going for it that the Scion didn't. It had side airbags, it had a 6-cd/MP3 player, it had cruise control, it had a bigger engine. Biggest of all, it was AWD!

In fact, it only had 3 'cons' ... they were:

* Space. The Scion appears to be a big box and have lots of cargo space. The thing is, that while it IS ... when you really look at it, it's not that much. Lots of the space is up in the driver area which isn't useful for cargo. And if you lay both the back seats down it's got tons of space; however, in my case there is probably going to be a permanently mounted carseat back there. With the backseat up, there isn't much cargo room at all.
So in the end, it lost this comparison.

* Gas Mileage - The scion got better gas mileage. However, the AWD of the Aerio makes up for that. Also, we were told by the salesman (yeah, yeah, I know, we will see how right he was), that Suzuki always underquotes it's gas mileage so that you aren't upset when you buy it and the gas mileage is sub-par. So he claimed that the slight difference (29 vs 34), would really not be all that different, and that we should get 30+

* Cost. The Scion was cheaper. No question about it. This was a big sticking point.

Except for one thing.

Scion is a no haggle dealership. So we knew exactly what we were going to pay there. After making a decision that we liked the Aerio, we talked with the guy, told him that we were comparing it to a Scion, and were leaning to the Scion.

Suzuki likes to haggle. They made us an offer at exactly what the Scion was going to cost us, and got us a better interest rate than Scion would have. Meaning that for the same price, we got a better car all around.

So we drove home in a bright blue Aerio SX, to sit beside the dark blue Dodge Ram


I'll have to post pictures eventually.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Long time, no update + 2 car wrecks + snake

Ok, I guess that if this is the regular case, that there will just be 'every month or so' updates here.

Anyway, alot has happened. Let's see, I went to Pennsic, and it wasn't the best Pennsic ever. First of all, I totalled my truck on the way to Pennsic. Had trouble therefore getting everything to Pennsic, and dealing with the fact that I was SUPPOSED to be there the first Friday/Saturday because I am a land grab agent.

Luckily that worked out; however, I had to spend part of Pennsic dealing with insurance agents by Cell Phone. Also had to deal with a whole BUNCH of archery politics, and a misunderstanding that sent me making 3 complete trips around Pennsic, on already bad feet, and killed me. I spent the next few days with my feet taped, wearing multiple layers of socks, and in fluffy slippers.

Ended up going home a few days early, which we never do. Next year ... next year will be better.

Anyway, got home, bought a new truck (Dodge Ram), and that worked out nicely with the amazing deals that they have now with the Employee pricing.

Then proceeded a few days later to get run off the road while driving to work in the Lincoln ... then had to deal with the insurance company not wanting to pay, because it was the other guys fault, but he drove off. sigh*. That is all sorted out though, and tomorrow I get a loaner car to last me the 13 (yes I said 13) days that my car will be in the shop for repairs.

Last night, was interesting as well, as I got a phone call on my way home with my wife telling me that there was a huge snake in the house. She had locked it in the basement. When I got home I equipped myself with leather gloves, a wooden stick and a pair of grill tongs, and we proceeded to try to find it. We didn't want to kill the snake, Heather knew from seeing it that it was a harmless black snake, but she did NOT want it in the house.

We couldn't. However we found it's molted skin ... and yes, we could tell it was big. Well we tore the basement apart, and couldn't find the guy. Heather had to go put Ramsey to bed, and I logged on to start reading up on how to catch/find a snake in your house.

Interestingly enough, there is a 'good way', which is to buy a whole bunch of those 'mouse stick paper traps', and cover a 2'x2' board with them. Then set the out overnight and the snake will get caught on it. You can then pour vegetable oil on it and it will dissolve the glue and let him free.

The main things I kept reading about though, were:

A) If you found the skin, chances are that the snake just came in to molt, given they are vulnerable at that time, and then left again afterwards.

B) That while catchin 'small snakes' yourself is ok, that under no circumstances should you attempt to play Crocodile Dundee, and catch a large snake by yourself, even a 'harmless' black snake. As, you see, they can strike from 1/2 their body length away, and even though they aren't venonous, they have long fangs that can cause deep damage, and will most likely have nasty bacteria that will get the bite very infected. So do NOT do it.

Well, Heather came downstairs after getting Ramsey asleep, and I told her what I had found out, and was ready to head to Lowe's for mouse paper. She said that she was ok, and that yes, the snake probably left, and we should just put the basement back together.

I convinced her that we would both feel better, if we finished tearing the basement apart. There were a few corners we had not dug behind/into because they were so full of storage boxes. And we had not opened any boxes.

I said, if we spend another hour and search EVERYTHING, then we can feel safe he left. Well, just a few minutes into searching, we found him. Under the washer.

When I moved it he stuck his head out. I grabbed my tools and tried to pin him down with the wooden rod, so I could grab him with the tongs. Well, trying to pin him down wasn't working ... he kept wrigging out from under it because he was QUITE strong, and I soon realized, as the rest of him came out from under the washer, that he was 5 foot long, and a good 1.5" diameter thick in the middle. This was a big snake.

Worse, he was starting to get mad, and was about to run into a different corner, where we would NOT be able to get to him. I had to make a split second decision, and having just read all those websites, I decided that I couldn't try to capture him, and do it safely, without getting hurt, quickly enough. I had to decide to kill him, even though I (and even Heather), really really didn't want to.

So I called to Heather to grab me the spear from the workshop (ok, nice thing about being a Medieval Reinactor ... having a spear handy), and I stabbed him quickly so that there wouldn't be much pain.

We wrapped him up and took him out into the farmers corn field next door to leave him, where hopefully at least he can do some good by feeding the carrion birds.

Sorry Mr. Snake ... We didn't want to do it, but you didn't leave us much choice.

Mr. Black Snake ... R.I.P. 9/14/2005