23 June 2007

lesson learned

Unfortunately Natalya's got an ear infection again. Two of them. I believe. She's had them before, and we're starting to recognize the signs.

Unfortunately since we don't have an otoscope* we still need to take her to the doctor to verify the infections, and only the doctor can prescribe the antibiotics to get rid of them. So I guess we're stuck with them for now.

Unfortunately their office is clear across town, about ten miles or so, seemingly through some of the worst traffic no matter what time we need to go.

Unfortunately we were running late this morning, and things did not look good for us making our appointment on time. I'm not going to say that I was rushing, but the odds seemed stacked against us. Somewhat anxious and growing more impatient when I needed to change lanes, I ended up getting wedged in closely between an SUV and a big white van just before I turned onto the highway.

Unfortunately just after I turned I saw flashing lights in my rear-view window. I waited for the policecar to pass me, but it didn't, so I pulled over, expecting to be cited for a dead brake light (which I really should replace one of these days). Apparently, though, I had run a red light in making my turn, not noticing this because the tall van in front of me not only also ran the red light, but also was too tall for me to see the light. I'd only looked at the (lack of) oncoming traffic before turning.

Unfortunately the officer pulled me over, not the van. While that driver was making his escape, Jessica and I were frantically trying to find the proof of insurance card. Uncharacteristically for me I began freaking out, since all we could find was a long-expired one from 2002.

Fortunately the officer eventually apparently determined I was telling the truth about being insured, and returned from his car with a written warning for me. He didn't write me a ticket, which was nice, and he didn't even mention anything about my brake light.

Of course, once I was back at the house, had given Natalya her medicine and cleaned up the pink stains from it, I sifted through my stash of insurance forms. Despite receiving one every so many months, I hadn't had a current one in the car for the last five years. I guess it's a good thing I'm a good driver, when I don't have my mind on 103 degree fevers.

* You know, that pointy flashlight/magnifying glass that the doctors use for looking down ears and throats, hopefully cleaning it in between, of course. I think I want one.

5 October 2006

no need to thank me, unless it's in cash

If you drive a car* (and live in the continental US) you may have noticed the ever-dropping prices at the pumps.

If so, well, you're welcome.

I'm taking credit because every time I fill up my tank, the price drops anywhere from a dime to a quarter. The price per gallon had stayed precariously close to three dollars for a while there, but today I saw it for $1.99 for the first time in a long time.

I of course had already paid $2.09 each for my twelve gallons, but such is life. I'm doing this for all of you, not me, after all.

Any theories that I'm doing this because of the upcoming election are as ridiculous as any theories that the dropping prices are the work of one person, of course.

* By 'car' I am of course making the implicit assumption said car is gasoline-fueled. If you happen to have a greasecar or an electric, well, I can't really speak for fluctuations in the price of fry oil or kilowatts.

9 December 2005

a public service announcement for the northern hemisphere

It began snowing here more than it had so far, this winter, and all told we've got about about four inches. Now that it's all on the ground the snowplows and shovels can appear and the highways and byways can be cleared.

However, as it was falling, there was the usual trouble.

Ohio drivers are incapable, as an aggregate, of handling even the slightest precipitation. I'm not saying caution isn't a good idea, but some of these people go well beyond cautious driving and veer into dangerous territory. They become menaces to themselves and everyone else on the road.

Case in point: Shamrock Taxi number 734 (I believe, but I could be off by one or two), whose driver wasn't aware of the problems with an empty trunk, rear wheel drive, and excessive speed. The driver spun out twice on the highway in front of me, and it was fortunate for me at the others on the road that we all noticed what he was doing and were able to slow down and stop to let him get turned back around.


So, if you're in the winter side of the world, and drive a rear-wheel-drive car or truck, get something in your trunk with all speed. Bags of salt and icebreakers work great. Sand, too. But even if you need to get cases of oil, or washer fluid, or rocks or bricks or anything. Just get some weight over those back wheels!

To the other drivers in the winter climes, watch out for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Most pickup truck drivers probably know what they are doing driving, but the sedans might not. Pay attention to Crown Victorias! Decommissioned police cars pop up as taxi cabs and also in the private sector, and the people who get them don't always know how to handle them. Be ready with your brakes, and remember not to slam on them.

Be safe in your car this winter*!

* Here is a good link about winter driving.

3 October 2005

goliath is supposed to lose

It has come to my attention that the last Ford Excursion has rolled off the production line in Louisville. No doubt it will fetch a pretty price somewhere in Texas, being all collectable and whatnot*.

I realize this isn't the end of everything, as the line isn't going to be suddenly cranking out skateboards or hybrids. Most likely it will be repurposed for large trucks, but hopefully ones that are sold to people who actually need big trucks and use them properly.

Sounds like they're getting rid of a couple hundred employees, as well. Wonderful. On the upside, they probably have enough unsold Excursions to drive all of the unfortunately downsized folks home. I figure they only need ten or twelve of them.

But seriously. There are already a lot of Excursions out there, and lots of other SUVs too, not all of which start with the letter "E". Apparently sales have been dropping, and even worse the resale market has gotten very, very bad. Bearish, you could say.

So what then to do with these assault vehicles that nobody wants? Especially if you happen to be a government that wants businesses to make lots of money? How about this: Ship them all down to Louisiana and Texas (and Mexico) and give 'em to the evacuees. Cut them FEMA checks for their gas fill-ups, and shazam, subsidies for the oil companies. The evacuees, at least as well off as Barbara Bush says they may be, could probably use some personal space, and in some cases probably didn't have as much room as a 19'x6' behemoth can provide, with luxurious carpeting and plush leather.

I'm joking, of course. If only I were kidding about the hundred-odd thousand Excursions that were already manufactured and sold. In September alone they sold 1,740 of the things, and 13,583 from January to this month. I couldn't find all of the numbers but still, every one of them sold was one too many.

* Mentioning this might be a tad extreme, but Nazi regalia is still avidly collected. Knives and guns generally kill only one person at a time, though.