Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yaris Update

While I'm thinking about it: on Friday the dealership in Fargo filled the 11.1-gallon tank. She drove the car home (242 miles), then picked up Emma at school (6 miles), and drove Emma back to school for the April Foolishness carnival (3 miles), where Kristi did an hour volunteer shift. I met her there; she drove me to the train station to pick up the Mazda (4 miles), drove home (3 miles), then dropped me back at the school so I could do my volunteer shift (6 miles round trip). That's roughly 264 miles, and the car was still showing over half a tank.

It could be lying, of course. I think it must be, because that's in the 50 mpg range, and the car is rated at 40 highway. Still, I think it's doing pretty well.

Disjointed Thoughts

I haven't blogged this year about allergy season, and I won't dwell on it much, just in case Heather's still reading this blog; I'd hate to annoy Heather with my stories of stuffed sinuses, sandpaper corneas and post-nasal drip. Just thought I'd mention that.

Lazy Sunday. Meghan slept over, and just woke up a little while ago; Emma's been up for a long time. These days, a Meghan sleepover involves two girls sitting side by side playing their Game Boys. I'm not sure I see the point, but what the hell.

Kristi's still lovin' the car. I'll try to get a picture of it sometime soon for blogging purposes. She's now trying to find a home for the old Mazda. She's determined to find someplace to which she can donate it that won't immediately scrap it, and that will put it to good use; she has strong emotional attachments to that car. She thinks she may have found the right place for it. More later on this.

What kind of parents would do this to their child (not to mention the bear)? Was it done for laughs, for profit, or for both? Just asking.

Scooter rightly points out the President's stupidity in riding his bike while listening to an iPod. He fails to point out how completely in character this sort of reckless behavior is, though. He had his dad's rich friends to bail him out all through his business career (which they did repeatedly), and now he's got the Secret Service to do the same during his recreational rides. Even if he were actually a good bicyclist, it would be idiotic. But of course, this is a guy who can't take one hand off the handlebars without running down a bystander. Dumbass indeed. Anyway, he apparently rides the way he governs: listen only to the things he wants to listen to, instead of paying attention to what's actually happening in the world.

I'm guessing there's a disproportionate percentage of Toby Keith songs.

Friday, April 21, 2006

So What's a Yaris?

For the informationally impaired -- in other words, Kevin -- Kristi took the train to Fargo last night so she could buy a car this morning. Specifically, a Toyota Yaris.

It's not that you can't get a Yaris here in the Cities; you can. But for some reason, you can't get a 5-speed sedan here. Simply unavailable, and the dealers won't or can't do anything to change that. But we discovered they were readily available in other areas -- including just across the Red River, where it took just one day for the Toyota dealer in Fargo to get pretty much exactly the car she wanted. Go figure. So last night she hopped a freight -- or rather, only slightly less poetically, the Amtrak Empire Builder -- and was waiting at the dealership when they opened this morning, checkbook in hand.

Kristi originally had her heart set on a Mini Cooper or a Beetle turbo diesel. She gave up on both of those dreams for various reasons (mostly, I think, having looked at service and reliability records for German automobiles), and settled in on finding a small, economical car that would stay economical in the long term. The Yaris looks to be the answer. She's cruising down the 94 as I write this, and at last report was very, very happy with her decision. This is her first new car ever, and I'm glad she's liking it.

And no, Kristi's never seen "Fargo," and I saw no reason to warn her about car dealers on the open prairie. Should I have?

So, what does "Yaris" mean? Wikipedia raises more questions than it answers:
The Toyota Belta is a Toyota Vitz-based sedan that replaced the Toyota Platz (originally launched by the Toyota Motor Corporation in 1999) in Japan and the Toyota Echo sedan (as the Platz is known as) in North America. The redesigned sedan goes on sale in North America starting 2006. It will be renamed the Yaris sedan for that market, as the Vitz will also be coming along for the 2006 model year as the Yaris hatchback. The Belta is equipped with 1.0 to 1.3 L engines in Japan and a 1.5 L from the Scion xA, xB and the Toyota Echo sedan.
"Belta"? "Vitz"? "Platz"??? Thanks for nothing, Wikipedia. Okay, how about Google? That search leads to suggestions that "Yaris" means either (a) nothing, or (b) "race" in Turkish. I doubt Toyota is giving its cars Turkish names, although come to think of it, it might explain "Belta," "Vitz" and "Platz".

Monday, April 17, 2006

Last-Minute Tax Advice

With sufficient antihistamines, you don't notice the suckitude as much. Really.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Bit More Birthday

Emma and Melissa played at Grand Slam for an hour or so -- mini-golf, laser tag, bumper cars, etc. Dinner at Tucci Benucch -- yum. Cake. Presents.

Emma really likes the Game Boy (duh). She also really likes the skates:

But the winner of the "Best Spontaneous Reaction" was a charm bracelet kit from Uncle David, Aunt Terri and Melissa:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Another Birthday

For Emma, that is. She turns 8 today. You can tell it's a special day when she gets out of bed and gets dressed, on her own, without being forcibly dragged from under the covers. Today she did it 45 minutes early (7:00 is normal wake-up time on a school day, and she was up at 6:15, five minutes after I finished her giftwrapping).

Tonight will be her umpteenth birthday party this year; she already had a couple with family during her visit to California, plus there'll be whatever they do for kids at school (you bring in treats for the class on your birthday, so that at least is taken care of). After the California bashes, there were (I hope) only two major must-own items she didn't have: skate shoes kind of like these (the sneakers with skate wheels that pop right out of the sole -- clearly a necessity in today's fast-paced world, and I don't know how I've lived without them this long) and a Game Boy Advance. Kristi and I are getting her the Game Boy, and we also bought her the skate shoes (on her grannie's behalf; Shirley couldn't find them in California). We also got her a couple of Shel Silverstein books she didn't have.

I have mixed feelings about the Game Boy. What swung me over was the realization that, when she misbehaves, I can take it away as punishment. Oh, the fun I'll have.

Mom and my niece Melissa are visiting; they got in at 10:00 last night (though by the time I got them home it was closer to 11:00). I hope to get some additional birthday blogging in tonight, but it might have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Why Nothing Gets Done

I think it's mainly a combination of job stress and fatigue from the combination of Emma's sick week, the Week of Hell at work as I tried to catch up from Emma's sick week, and feeling slightly sick myself. Whatever it is, by the time I get home I generally lack the mental capacity for handling woodworking tools.

Today I had a physical therapy appointment at 2:00; I was home by 3:00, and out to the garage. I worked out there for a couple of hours, and accomplished nothing to speak of -- with the added benefit of nearly taking off a finger on the router table. At that point I hung it up for the evening and came inside to eat leftovers and have a glass of wine.

I could, and should, be painting a door or two upstairs. I don't even have the energy for that. Fortunately, vegging at the computer doesn't take much concentration, and rarely has anyone lost a finger doing it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Like last year, Emma's off to California to spend time with the family she doesn't get to see too much of. (She's still coughing a little, but otherwise seems fully recovered from her viral thingie.) So Kristi and I got to spend our Saturday having fun!

That assumes your definition of "fun" includes painting doors and trim, cleaning house, and shopping at Ikea, Home Depot and Super Target.

Okay, the shopping was kind of fun; we got some cool fun-shaped ice trays at Ikea, along with a ginormous pancake spatula and some other odds/ends. Home Depot, unfortunately, only provided us with raw materials for other projects (paint for the hall, polyurethane for the new maple stair treads, etc.).

The main reason for the Ikea and Super Target visits was to find new storage solutions for Emma's bedroom. We didn't buy anything, but we're currently leaning toward this Expedit unit from Ikea, which will handle books, baskets and assorted crap; flexibility is a good thing. Though I'm sure it looks much better like this, without much in it, than it will once Emma is through with it:

Today, more work, of course. Because what the hell is a weekend without lots of work? But I'm hoping we'll also get over to the GTI cheap theatre to see "King Kong" on the big screen; I'd hate to have to watch that on our little TV or the computer.