August, 2004

First Day Of School

August 31st, 2004 August 31st, 2004
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Kids go back to school today in Ann Arbor. Jack starts the fourth grade, Sam’s in the second. For some (obscure) reason they didn’t start yesterday (Monday) so they spent the day going completely mental around the house. Laura took them to Target to buy new lunch boxes. Jack’s is Mutant Ninja Turtles while Sam’s is a Thermos brand which seems an odd choice for a seven year old until you realise it was the one with the most “stuff”.

Anyway, it’s the first day of school and, of course, we’re late. But not that late. It doesn’t matter because the streets around Lawton Elementary are choked up with parked parents’ cars. Everyone has come to see their little precious off on their precious first day. The parking lot looks like an SUV dealership and precious mommy and daddy are recording the precious moments.

Honestly, it was camcorder city this morning. We’re the Slacker Family, so no camcorders or cameras for us–just lunch boxes–but at least a third of the other parents were recording the event for posterity. Whatever “posterity” means. They were ahead of the kids to capture them walking down the corridor, then they were in the classrooms, recording them finding their coat hooks and desks.

Can you imagine when they’re ever going to watch this video again? Obviously they’ll email a copy to granny and grampa–“Gosh, durn, lookit dem kids, Martha! Dey’s all growed up!” “Dunno why they need that big car, Bill, if they never come visit…” After that, maybe they use it as a threat in later years. “If you’re not home by eleven, I’ll show your date your first day at school!” “Awww, Mom! Not again!” Yeah, that must be it. It’s the only plausable explanation for this OTT behaviour.

The Decision

August 23rd, 2004 August 23rd, 2004
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We pick up the Grand Prix in a couple of days. Yay! Actually, it’s the 2001 Grand Prix, not the 2004. The 2001 model turned out to be larger in the rear and had the all-important cup-holders in the back seat arm rest. If that hadn’t been taken out of newer models, and if the rear-seat leg room had stayed the same, I’m 99.9% certain we’d be buying new. For now, The Decision (or is it “The Thinking”?) is to buy a used car and then pay a hefty chunk down on a second, new, car. Which will be the Malibu Maxx. I think. We’ll know for sure by the end of this week.

Between Cars

August 21st, 2004 August 21st, 2004
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Today we’re out looking at cars. Mum’s inheritance was cleared into my bank account yesterday and the pound buys $1.80+ which is a historical high, so we have some latitude. Cars…

The contenders are the Pontiac Grand Prix – a sports sedan, comfortable, racy, stylish, handles beautifullay and which we both *love* to drive – or the Malibu Maxx – a spacious family hatchback with loads of features for the boys (absent in the Pontiac) and a similar sized engine to the Grand Prix.

Earlier in the year, we went to the Auto Show in Detroit. Another car on our shortlist was the Toyota Prius – the gas-electric hybrid which boasts incredible mileage to the gallon. However, I’ve since found out that the Prius only runs on premium grade gas, not regular, and the mpg is a leetle exaggerated for city driving, so the fuel savings aren’t as great as we first thought, although still there.

Next year, the car companies are all bringing out a new range of hybrid cars. However, August is apparently a great time to buy because the dealers are trying to get rid of their end of year models. Next years cars actually start coming out now, so they don’t want older stuff sitting on the lot costing them money.

The other question is whether or not to keep Laura’s Honda Accord. We kind of feel that if we get the Maxx then we’d use both cars, although mainly the Maxx. However, if we got the Grand Prix, neither of us would want to drive the Accord. What does that tell you? I’m not sure.

Today, at least, we have what is one of the best dilemmas you could wish for.