Working Wednesday, February 16, 2022

I’ve been putting off getting back to work on the book, but I now I have to since I have a new car sitting in my driveway, and a new crushing debt at my bank. Why do I have a new car? Because my old one died. Horribly. Monday morning I was awakened by the godawful blare of a car alarm, which never happens in my neighborhood. We barely have cars. I looked out the window but there was no one around Agnes (my car, named after the book that purchased her). After about five minutes, she stopped and I thought, “Maybe it was just a burp in the system. Three burps later, I was driving to my service people (who are very good), where I had one of those conversations with somebody who was trying to downplay the problem and promising to fix whatever it was. While I tried to make him understand how awful it was, Agnes went off again. He understood. An hour later he came in and said, “I have very bad news,” and told me Agnes was dead, not just because of the burps from hell but because her brake line was almost rusted through along with everything else under the car. (Did I mention I bought Agnes new in 2006. Bob and I toured in that car. I loved that car. I wanted to be buried in that car. And now she’s at the junkyard, but I don’t think she cares because she’s dead.).

Since they wouldn’t let me drive the car home (evidently you need a brake line), I bought another car. Here’s a tip: DO NOT BUY A CAR DURING A PANDEMIC. There are no cars. The very few used cars out there are up 40% in price since the pandemic started so that they’re nearly as much as new ones. Which generally can’t be found. My dealership had one, so now I have Nita, who’s like Agnes on steroids. She has a sun roof, a thing that beeps if I cross the center line, another thing that does the car equivalent of “Slow down, you moron” if I get too close to the car in front of me, and a windshield that darkens at the top if lights hit it at night. Which is a little creepy. But then so is Nita. There’s also a charging pad for my iPhone, but no GPS. It’s going to take me longer to learn this car than it did to learn to drive.

I miss Agnes. She took my bumper sticker with her, the one that says, “Choose Love: Dogs Against Romney” and no you can’t get that version of that bumper sticker any more. Also gone: my Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack that was stuck in the CD player, which my new car doesn’t have, although it came with three months of Sirius so that’s something else I have to learn. I’m bitter. I didn’t WANT a new car, and I really didn’t want a car that looks like Dracula’s mom drove it when he was a baby (it’s black, all black, black exterior, blacks roof, black seats . . .). I want Agnes back.

On the other hand, sun roof. So I need to get back to work now to pay off the crushing debt in my mourning. I really loved that car.

Inspire me. What are you working on this week?

153 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, February 16, 2022

  1. I feel your pain. I, too, used to name my cars until I totaled Taura (a Ford Taurus named for a Bujold character) on my way to work three years ago. Now I’m driving a Ford Fiesta (speaking of small cars) which I have not named. Names like “Fiasco” and “Ferd” suggest themselves. The dotter likes to borrow her (I seem to have assigned a gender) and she doesn’t anthropomorphize like you or I do.

    The Fiesta is my first new car since well before the late wife died, and that was some kind of Chevy in the mid ’90s. A lot of used cars have parked in my driveways, since, none with the duration of your Agnes. I thought Taura would last to my retirement, though, and then I’d mooch rides from the dotter, instead of the other way ’round.

    I look forward to the last car payment.

    1. The name Ferd reminded my of Laugh-In and the Flying Farkle Family and their friend, Ferd Berfle. In their honor, I think you should name your car Sparkle Farkle.

      1. I feel no need to honor Laugh-In. It wasn’t as good as the Smothers Brothers Half a Comedy Hour. Even so, I might consider just Farkle. Or Ferfle. Maybe Fern. No rush, so long as she doesn’t die unbaptized.

        1. Considering how much the grandchildren have spilled in the car, she may already be baptized. In which case, they probably Christened her “Oops.”

  2. My memory is coming back (from having foot surgery — shows you where my brain cells are located). I found the book Wales and the Britons 350-1044 which Jane had kindly searched libraries for. It was on the middle of a bookshelf, right at eye level. A used book came that not only had the article I ordered it for — about Bretons in England during Athelstan’s reign — but another about the letter Henry of Huntingdon sent to Warin after discovering Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History at the abbey of Bec in France. I’ve been searching the internet for that letter for years.

    Jenny, I’m very sorry about Agnes (the car) and the debt. I acquired a white and orange Pinto with an orange shag rug in 1972 and loved that car to death. Literally — I forgot during its last years that cars need some oil once in a while. But it was a known vehicle. I’d find notes from friends and acquaintances under the windshield wipers when I was visiting Boston or New York City. I’ve been incognito since its death in 1982.

    1. I had a friend in college who named his car Cognito so he would say “I am In Cognito”. Yeah, college humor….

      1. I also had a college friend; he was going to get a dog and name her Portia so he could reference his Porsche.

  3. Jenny, a tip on the sun roof be sure when you’re driving around on a sunny day and the roof is open for you to catch the rays that when you get home close the sun roof. Take it from one that knows, it may rain overnight. I wonder why no one ever thought of that as an option that the roof should close when the car is shut off. Probably another added charge.

    1. Another tip on the sun roof. Try to use it at least once a year – just to make sure that the mechanism works, and your gasket is in good shape. I forgot to use mine, and now I’m afraid to open it, because it might start leaking if I disturb how things are right now.

      Same for the AC, although I probably don’t need to remind you to do that. 🙂

      1. Years ago I had to use my MIL’s car while mine was on the fritz. She spent winters in Florida so it was ok to take hers back and forth to work. The heat wasn’t working so I bundled up with a blanket across my lap, hat, coat and gloves to stay warm. When I told her about the car she said that she has the thermostat removed in the summer.

  4. I am so sorry about Agnes. It’s hard to let go of old friends. It’s even worse when you don’t get much of a choice on a new vehicle. My yellow beetle will be 21 years old in July but only has 92,000 miles on her. I bought her new and she has lived in Ohio, Colorado, Minnesota, California, and now Pennsylvania. She has enough luxuries that I don’t want to give her up—heated seats, turbo-charged, sun roof, leather seats. I keep saying that I am holding out for a self-driving car before I give her up. I put less than 3000 miles on a year, so I might make it! Fortunately, my baby is garaged, so I don’t have to worry about the elements.

    1. I had a 1970 Bug in the early 1980s. I loved it, but Lord, was that car cold in the winter. I drove with an ice scraper in the seat beside me so I could scrape my breath off the windshield…on the inside.

    2. Back in the day before college students used protesting as a rite of passage the big thing was to see how many could fit in a VW.

  5. Poor Agnes, but she fulfilled her car destiny, she kept working right to the end. As for the new car, you could decorate the interior … there is so much cool stuff out there… Not everyone wants a Hello Kitty car pillow headrest, but they sell them. Also there are ways to plug a portable CD player into a car I think if you get the right cables. Or just download the soundtrack onto your iphone. Good luck with the car payments, maybe it is time to bring out the Jennifer Crusie line of merchandise. Charm bracelets (with dog charms and frying pans of course), keyrings, t shirts with cool quotes, hoodies with alligators, a line of (with labels that say personally made by Jenny) crocheted items (hats anyone)

      1. Now I have a vision of a Welcome to Temptation tshirt with that Water tower worked into the title… maybe not.

  6. I have six weeks to finish the wedding quilt made of yo-yos. Little discs of fabric, not the plastic children’s toy. Wait, I think I posted a picture on Instagram… Nope. I guess I was afraid my niece would see it and guess it was for her.

    You’ll have to wait.

    I have attached over 100 of those yo-yos and still have 500 to 1000 more to do. The quantity really depends on how long it takes me. It could be a lap quilt or a king size. I’ll just have to wait and see.

    Other than that it’s just Winter in Vermont, 15 degrees this morning, 50 this afternoon. The weather is a tease. Truthfully, it won’t be spring until June. All the 50 degree days will do is make the dirt roads into bottomless pits of mud to navigate on my way home. It will be months before I see flowers again.

  7. Oh, Joy. I’ve just noticed there’s a flood watch for this afternoon. I have to cross the river to get home…

    and it’s only 10 degrees not 15 like my car thought. Mud and Flood on the way home. Frozen rutty roads on the way to work.

    I have all the fun.

  8. I love that Agnes put out a cry for help: she obviously knew she wasn’t safe to drive any more.

    I’m now transferring my edited garden slides to the most archival and dustproof hanging files I have. I’ve chucked out two wastepaper basketsful, but fear they’re still not going to fit into one drawer (instead of three), once I add the still lifes and landscapes. Unfortunately, I have to use the thicker plastic hangers, since the slim metal ones are knife-sharp, and just slice open the pocket you’re meant to slide them through.

    I’m resisting asking for more freelance work. I feel I should be earning; but really don’t want to interrupt my efficient sort-out of my film photography. It’s this feeling I must switch back to the day job as soon as I really get into my own work that has created the muddles I so want to sort out.

    1. Freelancing is wonderful and horrible–there’s time or there’s money, but not both at the same time. I’ve told myself I can afford to take a few days off, that projects aren’t due until March, but it’s hard to break the work habit and do other stuff that needs done. (especially since it will all need done again soon–clutter, dishes, laundry, errands….)

  9. You only remind me that I will have to part with my vehicle which is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner in the near future and I dread it. I didn’t drive it a lot and it doesn’t even have 100,000 miles on it but things are starting to fall apart. I have heard what it is like out there trying to get a new vehicle, you have my sympathies

      1. That’s what got my last car. I loved that car. Little green Mazda Protege that got 36 MPG and cornered like a dream. Only about 90,000 miles and 16 years old, but the rust got her too.

        This was pre-Covid, but there were already virtually no decent used cars around and the ones I could find cost $1,500 less than the new versions at 3 years old. I finally had to break down and buy my first ever new car. Luckily, it is a Honda Fit, and should last for about 20 years, gods willing and the creek don’t rise. (I live across the street from a creek, and it does occasionally flood, so that one is actually possible.)

        1. Fellow Jazz fan here (I don’t get the American name: makes me think it’s liable to go into convulsions). Mine’s 16 and going strong (fingers crossed); only just over 50,000 miles, though.

          1. I like to think that they call it a Fit because you can fit all kinds of stuff into it. Between the large hatchback, and the back seat that can fold down (or even up), I’ve gotten amazing things in there. Because I make a dump run every three or four weeks, it is wonderful to be able to cram it full of all my crap. But mostly I got it because I have to replace my desk chair every couple of years, and the giant box will fit back there.

        2. Someone told me once that the creek in that saying referred to the Creek tribe of Native Americans, who I am sure had plenty of reason to rise up in bloody rebellion.

          Anyway, my partner drives a Honda and loves her to death. She is his first new car, from 10 years ago and he named her Lilli. Hope yours is as good.

  10. I DO want a new car with a rearview camera and the driver assist features you mention because I just turned 68 on Sunday (the day the universe once again decided that money and glamour trump midwestern heartland values) but I don’t need one, which is a good thing right now for all the reasons you mention, plus Old Dog is still paying off his pickup truck which he financed over 7 freaking years.
    Also, I promised the granddaughter I would let her save up and buy it at half its list value.

    Your new car really does sound like a Nita.

    1. I wanted a self-driving car, too, but this sucker does a lot of what I’d want it for, including stopping the car if I get too close to the one in front and yelling at me if I go over the center line.And if the airbag deploys, it calls the EMTs for me.

    2. The problem with backup cameras is that if you live on a dirt road you can never see anything. It’s either covered in ice and snow or mud. And I always forget to clean it off before I get in the car. Otherwise, when I remember to clean it off, it’s great.

  11. I, too, feel your pain, Jenny. But I love Jane’s comment that Agnes let you know she wasn’t safe to drive anymore and Kay’s suggestion to decorate Nita. Plus Jenny Crusie merch!

    I still miss my old Honda Civic. It was the first car I bought new–after driving an old Pontiac with no a/c, squealing brakes, a terrible gas smell, and a driver’s side window that wouldn’t roll down through an Arizona summer. I’d change out of my work clothes in the bathroom and roll down the other three (crank style) windows before my hour’s drive home. When that thing died for the last time as I was pulling into my apartment complex, I left it where it rolled to a stop. So my love for my Civic was exponentially increased by my hard feelings for that Pontiac. When my Civic was technically totaled when my husband was driving it after dropping me off at chemo, I was crushed too. (He was unharmed. But he felt awful, so I couldn’t let him know.) I haven’t felt the same about a car since.

  12. While you are learning your new car, you might find it has plugs for USB and IPhone and you can play music. or better yet if it syncs your phone you can play music. So download all your favorites to the phone. I use the USB in mine I have a memory stick.

    1. I was thinking that it probably has a Bluetooth pairing option, which is pretty easy to set up, no cables or extra doodads required…

    2. I’m pretty sure it does all of that. Evidently no new cars have CD players or GPS. So it’s iPhone all the way.

      1. They don’t, so far as I can tell & to my husband’s sorrow, because he loves paying CDs while driving.

        1. And listening to books, Agnes and the Hitman got me through long trips. Any of your books, Jenny.

      2. My daughter’s new car – which I think is a Toyota RAV4 hybrid – has a GPS. I don’t know why they wouldn’t, as peering at a tiny phone screen while driving is not a perfect solution…

  13. My car was involved in a hit and run in the fall. Spoiler, I was not the one who hit and ran. After several months of waiting for ordered parts, we took it to the shop to have the parts installed, whereupon they discovered a need to order more parts. Then the two people working on the car and ordering additional parts got Covid and quit and the shop lost our paperwork and had to start from scratch. They only figured this out when we called wondering what the hell was going on. The car has now been at the shop for 3-4 months and we still don’t have a return date. The shop has never apologized. Sigh. The only positive is that we happened to have an “extra” car available and so have not been inconvenienced TOO much. I can’t imagine what people with only one car available, like you, Jenny, are going through. My sympathies!

  14. By the way, I turn off all the new-fangled squeaky things (You’re switching lanes! You’re within 17 cows of the car ahead of you! Don’t bite your fingernails!) when I rent a car these days.

  15. Ah cars. I love my Acura. It’s a 99 Integra, with over 200K on it. A manual 5-speed, it is physical therapy for my mended ankle!) I dread the day when I have to replace it. I don’t envy you that. I suppose I could use one of those back up camera things eventually. I remember purchasing my first new car in 1985 and *knowing* that I was going to get intermittent wipers on that thing – and air conditioning. Now those are a given. But the price tags are going to give me sticker shock when it finally happens. It still amuses me though that a couple of times a year, someone will see my car in the parking lot somewhere and ask if I’m interested in selling.

    As for creative work, I had been mulling an idea for a mini quilt (18″ square) for the quilt guild’s silent auction at the show next month. The proceeds benefit a local charity that assists families in need. The theme is “Home is . . . . ” I sketched out my idea for one of the daily February tasks (and subsequently bailed on the rest of February). But Sunday afternoon, I pulled out my fabrics and put it together. It’s based on the famous photo “Earthrise” from Apollo 8. Here you have the progression – sketch, top put together, quilting on the back and then final quilt.

    The cool thing is that when I showed DH the wikipedia article on the photo, I noticed the name of the photographer – William Anders. Who happens to be my dad’s roommate from the Naval Academy. I texted a photo fo the quilt to my dad, who passed it along to Bill. I might be rethinking donating this one because I think it is pretty cool. Time to come up with another mini quilt idea.

  16. For the last 11 years, I’ve driven the car I inherited from Mom. It’s a 2005 RAV4, the last year of the smaller model. It’s red. It’s a nice car that has had to live in the elements since I got it and I haven’t washed it enough, so it looks kind of dirty. But it has only 70K miles and I keep it maintained. Like I said, it’s a nice car, but it’s not my ’93 Subaru Impreza “wagon”, a car I loved passionately. I totaled it on the ice, which broke my heart. Some day, when I have money and there are cars that don’t cost the world, I will buy another Subaru Impreza. It might even be a *new* car. I’ve never had a new car. It would be cool.

    Not doing anything fascinating work-wise. Still doing property management for my roommate. Still not great at it or enjoying it much. Awaiting an interview on a killer job that is remote, pays exceptionally well, would probably turn into a direct hire position with a old friend of mine (who told me about the job and who to contact), and would allow me to move back to the Oregon Coast. So, fingers crossed.

    Oh yeah, and therapy is going to get really intense as we are going to go in-depth. I am nervous. But hoping that there is finally some major progress. It would be great to not have to have frequent, regular therapy anymore.

    1. Going in depth is scary, but although it is exhausting at the time, it really uses less energy than reapplying band aids for years and years. And just imagine how mubch money you can save once you can reduce the frequency!!!

      I hope the job comes through.

    2. I had a 2001 Rav 4, loved it so much I kept it for 11 yrs. Had 220,000 miles on it. I felt horrible when I finally had to give it up. I suffered thru a Honda fit for a few yrs but now have a Kia Soul and have fallen in love again.

  17. I’m in panic mode, which I was expecting, but still not fun. Paintings to finish and frame by the end of the month and the set to finish, even though all of the pieces aren’t ready yet… Sigh.

    Nothing but good times ahead.

  18. I offer no inspiration, only empathy. My red Vibe gave her life to save mine several years ago, when a guy just learning how to drive an oncoming commercial truck turned in front of me. We went into the side of the truck (I had brakes, but as they say, it happened so fast), the airbag went off, and Rosie soon after was in a junkyard. (I was fine, just bruised and sore.) I got another Vibe, but it was gray, and I traded it in for a red Nissan a year and a half ago. Ruby and I still haven’t bonded, but I don’t get depressed just looking at her, and she’s fun to drive, if noisy.
    I’m working on freelance stuff and a new approach to the putative memoir, having more or less completed the discovery draft. I made a 3-column chart last night; charts make me happy.

  19. You remember last Wednesday when I told you that we had to put Charlie the dog down on Monday? Yeah, this Monday we had to put Pumpkin the cat down. He had been hobbling a bit and walking with a hunched back but we thought he had hurt himself and was getting better but the vet thought he had arthritis in his spine as he had a cat with the same symptoms/presentation when he was in vet school and had to put her down. Dr. Ed palpated Pumpkin’s spine and he was clearly in pain. He said we could try supplements and pain killers but it was just going to get worse. I am still so torn up over Charlie, I feel like I can’t properly mourn my Squish Squash cat. We went from a family of 7 to a family of 5 in a week. The one good thing is that the company they use to cremate pets hadn’t been in yet to pick up and he and Charlie will be able to be cremated together. Pumpkin had been obsessed with Charlie since he was a kitten so I am glad they will be together.

    Fingers crossed next Monday passes without incident.

    Being the human sucks.

    1. I’m so, so sorry. I still get sad thinking about Milton and poor Lyle. Hope your memories are good ones.

    2. I’m so sorry. I’m glad they can be together. When I lost my beloved Magic the Cat and her gigantic brother Mystic within 8 days of each other (four years ago, hard to believe) I got their ashes back separately–Mystic’s in a small dog box, because he was so huge, even after he was down to skin and bones. But I had a woodworker at my shop craft a beautiful wood box that was large enough for both of their ashes, as well as their mother’s ashes, since I’d lost her the year before. They’re all hanging out in there together, sitting on my altar.

    3. I have a cat, Barney, who has renal failure and I keep telling myself pets love us unconditionally and their death is the price we have pay for that. Doesn’t make it any easier. I am so sorry—I’m sending a virtual hug to you.

    4. I’m so, so sorry. That’s incredibly hard. I’m glad you can take some comfort from them being together.

    5. Oh, now I’m crying over Pumpkin & Charlie together forever. I have a pair of cats who are bonded (or at least one is bonded to the other and the other accepts it as his due), but they’re nine years apart in age, and it’s the younger one who’s so madly attached to the older one, and I don’t know what she’s going to do when the older one isn’t around any longer.

      I’m so sorry.

    6. Condolences on the leave-taking of Charlie and Pumpkin. Take solace for making
      the difficult, correct choice for both. Someday, many, many days from now, you may find their going together holds a small sort of sweetness.

    7. I’m so sorry, but glad they they’ll be together forever. I’ve been there, and while making the decision is pretty straightforward — we never want them to suffer — their spot in the home is awfully empty.

      You might consider supporting your local animal shelter by fostering. I have been watching Kitten Lady videos — boy, what an addiction — and she specializes in kittens who are too young to be looked after in shelters until they’re old enough to be adopted. Normally this is just a few weeks.

  20. The one new car I ever bought was a 2003 Jeep Liberty. Just crossed 150,000 miles, steel body, still looks good and drives well. It’s in the shop right now, but over-all, not many big repairs. fingers crossed! I will drive it til death (car’s or mine) unless I win the lottery.

  21. I am so sorry that Agnes went kaput. Hopefully Nita proves herself worthy and you make many good memories in that car.

    As for working on…my brain has already kicked into vacation mode (we leave Tuesday, it’s too early for vacation mode), but when it is working, I’m back to trying to figure out my job/career. I mentioned it here, years ago, that I was going to leave law. But then I found a law job that worked for me. But we moved and I really think I’m ready to leave the law. I just don’t know where to go. Do you think I can leverage how fast/many romance books I read into something? Does anyone need someone who is a quick reader? It’s like the only thing that (I do that) brings me joy (my family still brings me joy).

    1. My only thought is I’ve always been wary of turning something I love doing into work: fear it would suck the joy out of it. It’s one of the things that was in the way of me making money from my photography.

      1. This has occurred to me as well. I don’t want books to lose their joy. I just honestly don’t know what to do with myself otherwise.

        1. My attitude has always been “if I have to do this 40 hours a week it had better bring me joy. “

          1. Cake bakers! Ok, that sounds fun.

            I know that the transition is possible, so I have hope. I am just hesitating in the doorway, not sure which way I want to move. I try to imagine the next job and I struggle to see anything. I have had a few friends suggest project management since that type of organization and implementation comes to me pretty naturally. I need to explore it more. I definitely know there’s some sort of certification that’s needed.

        2. I don’t have any suggestions, despite having decided to leave law years ago. I fell into managing the admin side of my firm, but I don’t know that I would recommend it.

          Maybe this is something you have already thought of, but I think there are a lot of skills in law (writing, research, organizing facts) that translate pretty readily to other areas. Maybe you could think of where you might want to work/what kind of place, and what you could offer them?

          1. I went from big law firm to legal services to policy advocacy. People I know from law school have become corporate governance consultants, law professors, cake bakers, childrens book authors, chess school founders … I forget what else

          2. Yeah, these are the exact sorts of questions I’m trying to find answers to. Management doesn’t sound so bad, but I wouldn’t know, I’ve only ever been a family law lawyer and I’m 1000% done with that.

        3. Two suggestions. 1) I always tell people to think about both what skills they enjoy using day in and day out and what they care about making a difference in. So if you like project management think about what you care about and would want to manage . 2) I am told “what color is your parachute” is really helpful when thinking about career changes .

    2. I was burned out on teaching (loved the kids and the subjects, the other stuff got to me) and became a romance writer. That worked out pretty well.

      There must be places that need law expertise that wouldn’t involve you doing what you hate. The lawyers from the ACLU are heroes to me, but there must be other worthy employers.

      Or you could become a romance novelist.

        1. No, no! It’s isolated and poorly paid. The only time it got creative was when I worked in-house on illustrated books, back in the eighties. But doing that again (out of house) last year, it looked like – as with most jobs – they’ve ramped up the slave-driving of staff so that it’s impossible to do the job well any more.

          NB there’s more than one kind of editor. Complex illustrated books need project editors. Standard trade publishing has commissioning editors in-house, who buy and commission books, and may do structural editing on them (although a lot of that’s done by agents nowadays). They also use freelance copy-editors like me to sort the dots and commas, then freelance proof-readers (also like me).

          Publishing is horribly competitive (I was no good at the politics) and exploitative. You need another source of income to survive, especially as most publishers are based in expensive cities like London or NewYork.

        2. Jane’s experience is about editing books . I’m sure she is right about the challenges of that but there are other kinds of editors. Lots of organizations that put out newsletters and websites and reports need people to edit them. Consider a communications master.

  22. The car of my heart was my Honda CRX. Still miss that car. My 2007 Honda Fit is getting rusty and just required a new fuel/oxygen sensor, but my fingers are crossed it can hang in there.

    Work is ok. I misspelled a customer’s name on a label, which makes my boss crazy. I don’t blame her for being upset, but I can’t promise I will never make a mistake again, which is what she really wants. sigh.

    Also got a bill for $457.46 for the portion of a charge my insurance “adjusted” and therefore didn’t cover – from AUGUST 31st!!!!! My understanding was that mostly the biller will write it off. Not that I can’t pay this, but it scares me – what else may I suddenly get a bill for that I thought we were done with? sigh.

    So I am thankful my car works, and that I get to eat pizza on Friday. Did I mention the rain followed by snow we are expecting to start tonight? 8 ” there of? sigh. Pizza, pizza, pizza – my new mantra.

    1. I had a Honda CRX too, and loved it until I could no longer afford to repair it. It was a 1984 model–the first year they were made–that I bought used in 1988. I drove across the country (twice), along the AlCan (once), and many other places. Everything started to fail on it in 1996. Now I have a 2010 Toyota RAV4 that I love as much but differently (like with my kids). Hoping it holds out even longer than the CRX.

  23. Yay!! All it took was an incentive. That usually works for me, too, when I’m procrastinating. As an ardent fan, I can hardly wait for a new release!! Sorry for the circumstances of Agnes’ death, though. I have a yellow truck which I bought new in 2004, and I have vowed never to part with it. I got it right before they started making trucks so huge.

    As for “what I’m working on, now”, I’m assaying accessing the alphabet day by day, with adjectives and verbs that only apply the letter A, first, and then advancing through the alphabet.

    1. Jan, In some future of Jenny’s, would you please explain what “assaying accessing the alphabet day by day” means? I know someone who works for Merriam Webster who updates dictionary entries by focusing on a single letter of the alphabet. But I think you must be describing something else.

  24. I’m working on getting ready to leave the job I’ve had for the last 22+ years. We found someone who seems great to hire as the new manager, but I have to train her before I go, and there is a LOT to my job. I’m trying to write up a manual (I have everything written down, but it isn’t in one place, and some of it needs to be updated and spelled out with every single step), and I’ll start training her on Friday. In theory my last day is supposed to be March 8th, but it is looking like it might take a bit longer to get her really ready.

    In the meanwhile, I am madly trying to finish revisions that are due March 1st, and which I should have gotten done months ago.

    1. March 8th is International Women’s Day which I hope will lend energy to your transfer of power. I am glad you’ve found someone you like and hope she learns quickly.

      1. Oh, I will definitely be on speed-dial for quite some time. I’m okay with that. I have invested a lot of time and energy into making this place a success, and I will do what it takes to give my successor the best chance of moving forward in a positive way.

  25. Too bad about Agnes. But 2006 – that’s a pretty good run of service. Sounds like Nita has some pretty big tires to fill;)

    As for work this week, I finally got out my first video for my mystery series. It focusses on my audiobooks with my narrator in her recording studio and talking about her take on the series, her fave characters, etc. It was super fun to put together and she is so great in it. I’m so grateful we got it done and just starting to get it out there and looking forward to doing more.

    (Anyone who wants to take a peek can see it here:

    Beyond that, it’s been a pretty quiet week, which is good because aside from a brief warm blip it’s been pretty frosty here and some quiet cozy time feels exactly right.

  26. So sorry about Agnes. It’s the end of an era. Wishing you all the best with Nita. I so want to read her book. In a way, though, a new black-on-black car with a steep learning curve is horribly fitting, emphasis on the horror. 🙂
    Speaking of horror, my current project is a short story continuing the adventures of Grignr, hero of the immortal “They Eye of Argon”, for an anthology celebrating Jim Theis’s wonderfully awful classic. As our editor said, this may be the only anthology he’s ever worked on where he may have to reject stories for being too good.
    I don’t think that will be a problem with mine…

  27. RIP Agnes. She served you well and kept you safe to the end.

    We bought a used PT Cruiser that we called the Pity Cruiser because it was in the shop so often. I was at first intimidated by it because it had a stick shift. But I grew to love it because I pretended I was a race car driver (who only drove 5 miles over the speed limit).

    1. Ha. I have always driven a shift car (manual transmission). It’s what I learned on, and I find them more fun to drive than an automatic. Or maybe I’m just a control freak, although in upstate NY winters, having more control is a good thing. But I do love going just a smidge fast around curves and pretending I’m James Bond.

      1. I loved that about my little manual Impreza front-wheel drive. When I later drove a manual all-wheel drive Impreza, I was disappointed. It just didn’t hug the curves like it’s predecessor.

  28. I had a 2001 blue Subaru Forester (the last year of the original design) that I loved beyond measure. In 2012, it was stolen from a parking garage. In case you were wondering, no one cares about your stolen car, unless it is part of a super-fancy car theft ring. Assuming you haven’t had multiple cars “stolen” the insurance companies pay up pretty quickly.

    I was moving to Charlotte for a year soon after the car was stolen, so I replaced my beloved Blue with a new sage-green Forester as soon as I got the insurance money. It was my first new car. At the time it cost about the same to buy a new Forester as a used Forester, so I went with new.

    A year later, an inquisitive cop took a look at cars in a tow lot in Maryland and noticed a blue Subaru with mismatched front and back tags that did not match the VIN. It had been driven 7000 miles in the time it was gone. I was in Charlotte by then, but my mom drove over to the insurance lot and rescued some belongings, though not my sweet knockoff Helly Hansen ski jacket that I bought in a market in Seoul.

    I loved that car so much that I was tempted to buy it back from the insurance company, but in the end I let it go. The new car (not so new now) is nice, but I don’t love it like I loved Blue.

    1. I love my blue Subaru Forester, although I have tried to get in the wrong one in parking lots sometimes. Lots of them in central Pa.

  29. The one thing my husband appreciated about our house fire was I had to get a new car. Lasted longer then any car I ever had. A week later I bought my 4th blue minivan. The first was totaled and the second couldn’t be fixed. This time I got heated seats.

  30. I am a smug, evangelical git who drives a fully electric car and I love it. It’s just a Nissan Leaf, I would have bought a Tesla even though Elon Musk is a dick but budget constraints, I bought it second hand 18 months ago and I’m here to say if anyone is buying a new car, it’s the way to go. It at least hybrid. So zippy, so cheap, so much less guilt inducing.

    I have started running again, 11.5 weeks til an event. I managed 5k, but only by stopping to take off my jersey/adjust my shoes/change my music. No people, I’m not stopping because I’m tired, I’m doing this thing, see? Of course today my stairs look like Everest.

  31. No interesting artistic endeavours here…put together a PowerPoint outlining training options for a technology implementation…zzzzz…..

  32. My current car is a 2018 Subaru Forrester which I love but not as much as I loved my 2010 GMC Terrain. I was very sad when we got rid of it. It was starting to show its age and was going to need a bunch of work.

    My car is a mid-level trim package and comes with the blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning (which does not bother me as much as it bothers Paul who shuts it off when he has to drive, guess which one of us has been driving since he was 16 and which one of us has a driving fear and got her license at 35), a decent back-up camera, forward collision warning, and a few other safety features. If I had wanted those in a new Terrain, I would have had to go up to the Denali trim (aka their most expensive) and it would have cost me over $10,000 more. No thanks. I can put up with a little less cabin storage for that much money.

    We lucked out last fall when the company got its new truck because the dealership we went to is part of a group and the truck we wanted was at another location but they brought it to us on spec. We probably would have waited but we were afraid the old truck (a 2006 that had been driven into the ground) would die and we would be stuck.

  33. We have been in our house for over fifty years and now have to make some changes. We’ve decided not to move because neither of us wants to buy a condo or even rent an apt. I’m so envious of people who move frequently and sort through belongings to either save or toss. I just store stuff (and it is stuff) in the attic. We’re starting slow and have dismantled the book cases and whittled books down to one shelf space. They were mostly cook books of my husband’s and will be donated. I kept my emergency paperbacks. Yesterday I went through my shoes. It had been so long since I wore them they don’t fit, not since I last worked ten years ago. Next will be the board games. The grandchildren if they are in the mood only gravitate to one, Sorry. I haven’t seen them check anything else. And then there are the puzzles to donate. And so on. But we are making a dent.

    1. Lots of stuff in my attic. A good bit of it is my sisters’ stuff. Several years ago I ranted about getting rid of stuff. And ranted and nagged. And they ignored me. I finally figured that as the eldest, I’d probably go first and they’d have to deal with it all. So I stopped nagging. Now I think they’re starting to realize that it’s got to be done. My respnse is ‘whenever you’re ready’. And I leave it at that.

  34. I bought a new car 2 weeks ago, Jenny, I feel your pain.
    I had the same trouble with no inventory to test drive.
    I ended up with the last 2022 Kia Soul on the lot. Winchester is black exterior with light gray interior.
    My daughter is a Supernatural fan. So their pronoun is they. Sometimes they want to be Winnie, sometimes Chester.
    My old car was a Kia Forte that served well for 11 years.
    My salesman told me that recently someone had driven a Sorento on to the lot that had 500000 miles on it.
    I love Kias. And I love sitting higher in Winchester than I did in Dankia.
    I don’t love the payments

    1. That was this one, the last one on the lot. When they won’t let you drive the car you drove in, you take the last one on the lot. Fortunately, it seems to be a good car. I wouldn’t know yet, I drove it home from the dealership and then went to sleep for two days.

  35. My 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is currently in the shop for the second time because the oil light is on. The light came on two weeks ago, and they don’t know where the oil is going.
    So, it was under going a Consumption Test where they did something, I was supposed to drive it 1K miles and bring it back. They would take a look, do something else, and drive another 1K miles. Then they would decide if I get a new engine. It only made it to 268 miles in the first phase before the light came on again. I see either a new engine or a new car in my future. I don’t want a new car. This one is paid for and in really good condition. Sigh.

    BTW, I am a regular reader but a very infrequent commenter.

  36. In the office today, sigh.

    Still doing tons of rehearsal at Urinetown.

    Recreationally, I finished two projects for the Ravellenic Games, one of them being a quickie sweater.

    And…sigh…I started in on a birthday present for the crush (I know, I know): I’m going to make a stuffie replica of a “little old lady” from The Producers that we were both in and played. It’s going pretty well, though I realized that (a) this head is huge, (b) I need to make a wig and it’s going to take longer than the entire rest of the project, and (c) then I need to make a walker for it 😛 Probably out of wire, whatever I had left over from the stuffed Bernie Sanders.

    1. Stop that. Stop that right now. You deserve better than Clueless Crush.
      Not that it’s any of my business.

  37. Working Wesnesday was the same old same old (clean kitchen!) But i did get my tires rotated. Since I was told my 2008 Chevy Cobalt (purchased used) wouldn’t pass its next inspection (I could’ve probably found someone to pass it), I planned purchasing a new vehicle last summer.

    I got 2020 Toyota Corolla. Got it in July during the pandemic but there were cars available at reasonable prices. I guess I got lucky. It is a dark gray-blue with blind spot warnings and a back up camera. The only thing I don’t like about it is the position of the odometer/trip mileage gauge which is tiny and impossible to read in certain lighting. That’s a small complaint.

    And it’s not like I go anywhere-3000 miles in 18 months. Oh, and tire coverage for pothole damage. Bless our Pennsylvania ice/salt covered roads.

    1. This is a Corolla Cross. I figure it’s a Toyota, it’s bound to be pretty good. Nothing I’m excited about, but hey, it runs.

      1. Toyota’s are great. Our first new car 🚘 (I had a jackpot in Reno when I got Terrific exchange rate US /Can ). We got an Echo!, it was so much fun to drive we had it for many years. We loved it, Now have a Suzuki Swift. Not as much fun

  38. I am working on maintaining momentum. I thought I had skipped my PT exercises at least 3 days during the last week, but it turned out to be only one and my therapist was pleased enough to add more exercises to the routine. I felt okay at the end of the session, but stiff and cranky later on because the “I know everything” receptionist never brought me any ice packs even though both Alex and I told her exactly how how many, what size and when I would need them. Luckily, the next morning my knee felt the way it always does at that time of day.
    We only added the new exercises on one leg because Alex wanted to see how I tolerated them, but that made me impatient. I now have just as much arthritis on each side and I want to be able to walk once the weather warms up so let’s work on both knees each session. It was the knee we didn’t work on that was sore last night. And I don’t care how late I finish tonight, I am not leaving before I get my ice packs.

    The other project is getting back to my diet. I went to see my internist and found that my weight , blood sugar and blood pressure are all worse than they were 4 months ago. I go back for the annual physical in 2 months and I hope by that time I will have made some progress. I think I can maintain my desire to please my doctor for that long, but if I go much longer I start telling myself that there is still time to fix things before the next blood test.

  39. I’m so sorry about Agnes. But hey, maybe Nita means new JC book? : D Also I recommend the Garth Brooks station on Sirius. Garth has eclectic tastes. Other stations are prone to relentless playing of Adele and Nirvana and whenever that happens I hit the Garth button SO FAST.

    I’ve been working on pruning the roses and mulching everything. So much pruning and mulching. And Jackson & Perkins sent me a catalog, those pushers, and I realized I could really use another climbing rose or two…

  40. My car rusted out on the bottom at the beginning of the pandemic, and I lucked into a car that a friend wanted to get rid of (for free; it’s old), and it’s a hybrid, but an early version, so not very good mileage. I’d like to replace it with something smaller and less old, but it won’t be any time soon since I’m holding out for an electric car (and the normalization of prices/supplies, and also for increased electric-refueling infrastructure that my state is just beginning to put in place).

    As for working this week, I hit some kind of weird invisible wall and everything has gone wrong this week (in small, annoying ways, nothing major) like the monthly appointment for my bone-disorder treatment got made for March 16 instead of February 16, and I didn’t realize it until yesterday, so I had to spend an hour on the phone to get an emergency appointment for tomorrow, which fortunately they were able to arrange, but that was just one of a dozen little things going wrong in the last twenty-four hours. I can’t seem to get out of my own way to do anything or even come up with a plan to do anything. And until I get my next bone-disorder treatment, I can’t do #DailyFeb2022 (or at least not the projects I’d planned for it; maybe I’ll try some knitting tonight).

  41. We have two cars: a 1965 Morgan 4/4 and a 2011 BMW (bought new in 2010- I don’t get why car manufacturers do that) as a retirement present for my husband, also the economy was in the toilet then and it was no more than a new Jetta by the time the dealer threw in every deal he could think of to get us to buy it. The BMW has about 65K miles on it because my husband likes to run his errands on his 10 speed bike so it is generally used in bad weather and on longer trips. Twelve years on and I still haven’t remembered how to use most of the functions. I can’t set the odometer, turn the head lights on without inadvertently putting them on high and all menus you get to on the radio screen are just weird.

  42. Best of luck with the new car. Sorry that the Agnes apparently decided to move on without consulting you, but glad Nita was available to fill the gap. And if the transition is motivation to finish a book–that’s a definite bright side.

    My current car was new in 1999, but is approaching 350,000 miles now. Frankly, I’m just waiting to see just how long it will last. Like me, it is not the most attractive on the lot and is showing it’s age, but it gets me from point A to point B and has no associated loan payments, both definite wins.

    I half-heartedly look at new cars from time to time, but many seem to have been designed by 12-year-olds whose only experience of cars is video games. I swear the layout/color scheme of the last rental car I drove made it look like a deranged panda bear.

      1. My SIL is still driving her 86 Volvo which has at least that many miles but her son is an aficionado and works on it for her. He says she can’t get rid of it until it reaches 500K. Wait I am wrong. She upgraded to a 1996 and her son took her old one to see if he can keep it going until it reaches his goal. However on the West Coast even in snowy areas in the mountains you do not use salt. It is strictly plowing and sanding. So our cars last longer. I would never buy a used car from the East Coast.

  43. I’m sorry about Agnes. The first thing is new bumper stickers.
    My 1993 Mercury villager died in April 2014 after 150,000 miles. I was devastated. Especially about the bumper stickers.
    I replaced it with the 2014 Honda CRV which I am still driving. I managed to get the license plate holder which says “the voices in my head sing show tunes” which I’ve had on my other car. This car now has a lot of pink turtles, a couple of geckos, and several pink hibiscus. I plan to drive it for the next 30 years. Or death which ever comes first.

      1. Surely there is some hobbyist or Etsy person who can make bumper stickers on demand? I bet you can create one that matches and maybe exceeds that one as you recall it in its perfect condition.

  44. I have a 2016 Toyota Corolla, which I love. Only 22k miles on it. Perfect condition. Never had an issue with it. No accidents, or dings to speak of. Keep getting hounded by dealerships making offers to buy. Why would I? Last offer was for 17k. Ridiculous.

  45. My husband drives a 2005 Toyota Matrix that he took away from his mom once she was no longer safe to drive. I have a 2010 Honda Insight hybrid with 80,000 miles on it and I occasionally wonder what will happen when the rechargeable battery pack finally dies. I mean, it seems like the car should continue to operate, since it has a gasoline engine and a regular battery, but … we’ll see!

    This week I did some more major yard work and some more pesky writer business, PLUS I finished the novella-in-progress and sent it off to my reader/designer with a suggestion for the cover.

    Also took care of a couple health-maintenance things and booked our first vacation since 2018. Found a place in Sedona where the units are all standalone tiny houses instead of conjoined suites. AND we were social TWICE which was exhausting but fun.

    1. How did he take it away from his nothing? Inquiring child desperately needs to know how to do this….

  46. Poor Agnes and also your poor bank account. Tough time to be car shopping.

    I was in a minor fender bender last year and decided I was going to purchase a new car since the cost to repair my old Subaru was more than the car was worth. The problem was that the models I wanted to buy just were not available in the area. Ended up getting the car repaired because I had to have a car.

    The local dealers’ online “inventory” was a joke on me. One dealer’s online inventory indicated they had 70+ of one model so off I go to buy one. They had ONE on their lot and it was sold. When I complained, it was oh, I guess we haven’t had time to update the site. The old wag about “Some people are alive only because it’s against the law to kill them” comes to mind.

  47. I’ve always had used cars; one from a co-worker, one from the next-door neighbor (he and his wife were moving to assisted living and could only take one), the last from a Honda dealership. Always worked out well.

    My most frightening experience with a car was when we attended my uncle’s 100th birthday party in Oklahoma in 2018. I rented a car at the Tulsa airport and it had Every Gadget Known to Man and possibly some extras. The attendant had to show me a few things, but the stuff that drove me nuts was that the car was practically self-driving and I’m really not used to that. The last straw was the morning we drove back to Tulsa to turn the car in and fly home; the weather was supposed to snow and I couldn’t work out how to turn on the windshield wipers or the defroster. I was frantically looking for the manual online to find out as time was running out. Fortunately we’d allowed lots of extra time, and the snow didn’t begin until we were pulling into the airport garage.

  48. Sorry to hear about Agnes (bravo to her for keeping you safe) and looking forward to hearing more about Nita!

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