Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Now That The Jinx Has Passed...

My regular readers will know that I recently posted an entry about all the cars I've had since I was 16.  At the end of that entry, I indicated that my most recent car had been rear-ended.  What I didn't mention was the new car that I was planning to get.  I didn't include that in my entry because I hadn't signed any papers, and I didn't want to jinx the deal!

Today I can introduce my new ride:  a 2016 Kia Soul in Latte Brown.  Here are some photos of the new baby:

After a 9 mile drive home, the Soul has 3583 miles on the odometer.  Even though it is a 2016, it is used.  The first owner returned the car for an upgrade because he wanted a moonroof which this doesn't have.  As a result, I got a DEAL!  It is virtually a new car, but because it has been owned already, they couldn't charge me a "new car" price.  I am very happy with this new vehicle!  He or she has not yet been named, but "it" will be.... because that's what I do!  

Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for more info, and come back again soon!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Drive Down Memory Lane

Events of recent weeks have sparked memories of the vehicles that have parked themselves in my life since I got my license at age 16 - do the math - that's 1975!!  Ride with me!  Let's go for a drive, shall we?

The year was 1970.  My family was living in Lima, Ohio - I was in 5th or 6th grade.  Dad brought home a slightly used car that he was very proud of and excited about.  It was a maroon 1969 Mercury Marquis Brougham which he proudly announced was loaded because it was the dealership show car.   Here is a photo I found which was taken about 1980:

This car was my father's pride and joy.  It took us on many family trips, went back and forth to visit grandparents in Dayton and Pomeroy many times, and moved with us to Milan in 1975.  It was an 8 cylinder gas guzzler at a time when gas was around $ .50/gallon.  Are you old enough to remember the energy crisis of the '70s? 

In the mid '70s, when my maternal grandfather was no longer able to drive, my father took his car (perhaps a blue Buick Skylark?  The details are sketchy), and gave me this Mercury "boat" for my senior year in high school  (1976-77).  Since most of my friends were younger than I was and didn't have cars, I became the chauffeur for many play rehearsals.  There was a time we were driving home from a cast party late one evening and decided it would be faster to take a "shortcut" down a partly dirt road that went between fields, which was fun until we got stuck in the mud!!! (This was before cell phones!) Which reminds me of how many times I struggled to get this very large vehicle with rear-wheel drive up the icy curvy hill that was Milan Manor Drive!  

Once the car became mine, I decorated the dashboard with a small stuffed bear named Honey Pot.  He was wedged between the dash and the windshield and the top of his little head became slanted, flat and sun-bleached.  It is a good thing Honey Pot couldn't talk!  

If you look closely at the photo above, you will notice that there was no structural bar between the front window and the back window.  There was just a metal strip with a piece of rubber between the two windows when they were up, and when both windows were down, the whole expanse was just open.  Some of my high school classmates figured out how to break into the car by sticking something between those windows to lift the door lock.  They would sit in my car and smoke and drink when they were cutting class, and I had to explain to my father why my car reeked of cigarette smoke and beer!  It wasn't me Dad!  HONEST!  

I drove that car until the engine caught on fire - then I was done.  I was on Rt 250 in Norwalk, when smoke started coming out around the edge of the hood.  I pulled into the Bargain Center, opened the hood and saw flames on top of the air filter and ran in to tell them my car was on fire.  When I came out, someone with a fire extinguisher in their truck had put the fire out.   It was the summer of 1980.  I don't remember if Dad traded it in on something else at that point or what he did with it, but it quickly left my life.  

By then I was in college - BGSU - and Dad decided I needed to have a car at school, so that summer he took me to a corner car lot in Sandusky and together we picked out my first car - a 1976 Plymouth Volare'.  Now, of course this was before the magic of the internet and all the wonderful information it provides.  Had I researched the car before I picked it, I would NOT have bought it, but to me it was glorious!  

Meet Aphrodite - we called her "Aphro" because she was SOOOO beautiful:

I had this car with me in BG for my senior year (1980-81), and the thing I remember most about it was that when it rained, it would stall out, and we had to stick a screwdriver in the carburetor to start it.  This was my first year with Hubs, and he was often the person standing out in the rain with the screwdriver - like on my graduation day!  

Aphro moved with me to Sidney when I got my first teaching job, she took us on our honeymoon in 1982, and was with us when we moved to Dayton in 1983.  I got to know the mechanics at the garage in Sidney very well because Aphro and I spent a lot of time there!  That car was a nightmare, and in retrospect, I can't believe we put up with it as long as we did! Among her other problems, her side panels rusted out - she wasn't very pretty in the end!   Only 20somethings with no money have the patience for all that car drama!

In October of 1983 my father bought me a car that he got from someone he worked with - a salesman, I think. We got it for $1000.  It was a chocolate brown 1980 Buick Skylark which we named Teddy because it was the color of a teddy bear.  I remember distinctly that it had over 90,000 miles on it when we got it, but Dad was ok with that because it was "highway miles" from someone he knew.    It was fairly reliable for a car of that age, and it moved with us from Dayton to Lima in 1986. We kept Teddy until August of 1989 when we sold him for $500 - he had 162,000 miles on him at that time!  Here is a photo of him sitting in front of OHS in 1989:

On July 7, 1989 we got Berry - a blue 1985 Ford LTD (see - blue...berry - get it?) that we bought at a dealership on Cable Road in Lima (that is no longer there). [In fact, it might have been the same Ford dealership where my dad bought the Marquis!]   We paid $4,470.90 for it and it had 45,173 miles on it.  

The big drama with this car happened the day we went to pick it up.  We had selected it one day, and when we went back the next day to get it, someone at the dealership had accidently put it on the truck to go to auction.  I CRIED!  Obviously, they got it back for us!  We had this car until May of 1993 when we sold him for $500 with 102,170 miles on.  

Next was Steve.  He was a 1988 Mercury Sable that we got in May of 1993 for $6133.68 at Delpha Motors.  He came with 71,254 miles on him.  We had him until 1997.  He was a good car, but his top was fading badly, so he was a little unsightly at the end. We referred to him as "balding".   His name came from a billboard we saw as we were driving shortly after we got him.  I really liked the long light panel in the front!

In October 1998 we sold Steve for $500.  He had over 126,000 miles on him. 

 At that time I was driving a station wagon that my dad had.  I think he gave it to us around the time we were moving from our apartment on Lakewood to the house on Spencerville Rd (summer of 1997).   The station wagon was named Bob.  BOB the COW = Big Ol' Buick - Cave On Wheels.  One day I drove him to school at Ottoville, and the shop teacher asked me if I would be interested in selling it - so I did - for $5000 in Nov. of '98.  Here is a generic internet photo of what Bob looked like.  It was GINORMOUS!  Dad really liked the car and thought it was great, but I had no attachment to Bob - he was too big for us.  I never really felt in control when I was driving Bob.

On Nov. 3, 1998, I bought a 1996 Red Sable from Raabe Ford in Delphos.  It had been leased for 2 years by a retired English teacher from Delphos.  This was the first car I really picked out for myself because I genuinely liked it and didn't settle for something cheap just to get by.  I jokingly called her my Mid-life Crisis Car because she was red.

I loved my red Sable, but for some reason never really named her (Cherry?) - she was definitely female.   Red Sable moved us from Lima to Westerville in 2001.  This was our first car that had fold-down rear seats for hauling big stuff.  Very cool!  I LOVED this car!  She had over 124,000 miles on her when we sold her. Towards the end of her life, she had transmission issues.  She got a rebuilt one, but she was never the same after that.  In September of 2008, I sold her for $600 to a custodian who worked in my building who got it for her teenage daughter.  

Next came Sparky - a 2006 PT Cruiser that came with 17,000 miles on.  We got him in July 2007.  I had a friend in my golf league who had an eggplant PT Cruiser, and it really caught my attention.  She let me sit in it, and I was amazed at how comfortable it was and how well it fit me, so I went looking for one.  I did some online research, and then contacted Byers Chrysler and asked them to find a blue one for me.  They found one in Michigan and had cruise control and a moonroof put in for me.  I paid about $16K for him.  

Sparky has been our all time favorite car.  He fits us very well physically and suits our lifestyle.  He is by far the most versatile car we've had.  He moved a lot of stuff in 2010 when we were closing out my parents' home.  

Sadly, Sparky was rear-ended on July 7.  State Farm has chosen to total him even though the damage is mostly cosmetic and doesn't affect drivability.  No one was hurt.  The woman driving the '03 Ford Explorer said her brakes went out.  

He's had some other issues in the last year - engine mount issues that lead to vibration.  He's also never had a very effective air conditioning system.  I really didn't feel he was very reliable anymore, and even before the accident, I was starting to consider a new car.  Maybe this was his time, and the accident was just the last straw?  Sparky and his 78,000 miles will be surrendered sometime in the next week or two.  We will cry, but we will move on....  

Here's a quick summary:

1 - '69 Mercury Marquis Brougham
2 - '76 Plymouth Volare
3 - '80 Buick Skylark
4 - '85 Ford LTD
5 - '88 Mercury Sable - Gray
6 - Buick Roadmaster Stationwagon
7 - '96 Mercury Sable - Red
8 - '06 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Stay tuned for news of what's ahead!  

Thanks for reading - come back again soon!


P.S.  Sparky was towed away on Tuesday 7-26-16,  with 78017 miles on him.  He was taken to Insurance Auto Auction in Grove City.  Somebody is going to get a great deal!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Odyssey Continues - July Update

Hello Friends!

I have a quick update to share after yesterday's Weight Watchers meeting.  I hit a new record low at meeting weigh-in of -45 (215#).  That means that I have now officially lost the 4-5 pounds I gained during my June vacations!!

Also, today for my nakey morning weigh-in at home, I hit 214# which ties my previous all time low from May 30.  I have been floating around in the upper 2-teens since late March - I had hit 220 on March 20.  So, that is about 4 months of floating in a narrow range without a lot of progress happening.  I can blame it on some vacation decadence, but now I am back to business!!

My short term goal is 199# - just 15 to go.... I'm setting Halloween as my goal deadline, but realistically, I will be happy if I get there by Dec. 31!  Btw, the shorthand for that number in Weight Watchers lingo is Onederful!

Stay tuned... and thanks for being my cheerleaders!  It means more than I can tell you!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Kitchen Progress - Report #2

My entry after day 1 had a lot of dramatic before and after photos.  While a lot has happened since then, the changes have not been as dramatic or photogenic.

As of the end of day 1, all of the old cabinets had been removed, and the line of cabinets on the sink side had been installed.

Monday night, some friends came and adopted 4 of the old cabinets, and I picked out 2 I wanted to keep for use in the garage.  The 3 that were left got put out at the curb yesterday, and they had been "picked" by  6 pm.  We purposely waited until after trash day to put them out so they wouldn't go in the trash.  My workmen said they would take whatever was left if no one picked them in a day or 2.  The two items left unpicked are the old dishwasher (which has now been rained on) and the stove hood (which we put in new 4 years ago when we got the new stove).  The workmen will haul them away for me as well if no one picks them.

Another thing that happened at the end of Monday's work session was the old countertop was put back on the sink side - just temporarily, and not plumbed yet.  Here's what it looked like when they were through for the day:

On Tuesday, the primary job was finishing backsplash removal on the stove side, and then starting the process of installing the cabinets on that side.  Here are some progress shots:

The other thing that started on Tuesday was electrical work.  We are adding wired-in under-cabinet lighting on the sink side, and then mounting a light inside the cabinet above the stove where my stained glass doors will be, so all of that wiring had to be done with switches, etc...  They also added an additional outlet at the far left end of the sink side, and had to add GFI outlets on either side of the sink (I really HATE GFIs).  

(That strange square hole was there when they took the backsplash down, so Keith made a new piece of wallboard to patch in there.  The round hole was where the old phone outlet would have been back-in-the-day.)

The base cabinets on the stove side are smaller than the previous ones, so Keith had to use some leftover flooring to fill in around the new ones.  Luckily there was half a box of that in the pantry that we inherited with the house.

In the next-to-last photo above, you will see some extra panels sitting at the right.  Those are extra doors that are being mounted at the end of each outer cabinet to finish them.  

Tuesday (day 2) and Wednesday (day 3) are sort of running together in my mind because a lot of little jobs spanned both days.  Plus Tuesday was a shorter work day because Keith had to go to the dentist in the morning for a root canal!  OWWW!

Today (Thursday, day 4), the big job was the Quartz Countertop people coming to measure for the counter.  Cole from Lang Stone came in to do that job.  He talked to us for awhile - asked a lot of questions - then got out his laser measurer.  He also took the sink with him.  They won't actually mount it before they come back, but they need to have it for measuring for the cut-out.  In order to measure, they had to take the old counter back off, and then put it back on (it's just sitting on top - not attached).  

Once Cole left, Keith started working on connecting the plumbing so we can use the old sink while we wait for the new one to come (Aug. 1), but then he realized the old faucet was part of the old leak problem, so we decided he should mount the new faucet instead because I don't want any leaks in my new cabinet!  Here is the new faucet:

He also realized that the wiring needed to be fixed where the disposer was connected to the switch because it was blowing out the GFI that is next to it, so Don came back to redo that section of wiring.  Now it works fine.

As of the end of today, the baseboards will be done on both sides.  Keith will be cleaning up his mess.  Tomorrow, Don and another guy are coming at 3 to move the stove and fridge back in place.  Then I should be back in the kitchen for the next couple of weeks.

Once the missing upper cabinets come in (next week sometime?), they will be hung, and the lighting will be added along with a decorative rail around the bottoms of the upper cabs that will hide the lights.  

Aug. 1 the new counter will be installed, Aug. 2 the sink will be plumbed.  Then backsplash tile work will be done (1-2 days).  So... maybe by Aug 3 or 4 this project will be DONE!  Stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting!  Come back again soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

But It's A LOT More Than "Marginal"... REALLY!

What do you think of when you think of the word "marginal"?  Of secondary or minor importance? Not central? Narrow? On the edge?

Today we are going to talk about something that is indeed narrow and on the edge, but it is much more than "of secondary importance".  In fact, it is very important!  Today we are going to talk about The Marginal Way which was central and important to my visit to Ogunquit, Maine.

What is The Marginal Way (TMW), you ask?  In simple terms, it is a 1.25 mile long paved pathway that borders the coast of Maine in Ogunquit.  But this pathway is anything but simple.  It is the starting point for an entire travel experience like non-other that I have enjoyed.

It has its own website which can be found here - complete with history, and photos.
There is also a Lighthouse webcam which I will talk more about later.

Starting on the yellow line that is beside the 3 gray bars, The Marginal Way begins on the property of a hotel called The Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort.  In the picture below, the tennis courts and pool at the right, as well as the building at the left by the big tree are part of this hotel complex. 

Here are a few more shots of The Sparhawk and the part of TMW before our hotel property starts:

We stayed at the next hotel to the south of The Sparhawk called Anchorage By The Sea represented on the map above by the 3 gray bars.  We stayed at the beach end of the northern most gray bar.  Our room was very comfortable with the BEST hotel bed I've ever slept in!  Here are some photos of our building, our room at the lower right, as well as the hotel's round restaurant.

Here  is a view looking from our patio area toward the gate (at the left) from our hotel's property onto TMW.

Looking back at the map above, you will notice "Lighthouse" is a little less than halfway down the path.  The lighthouse is a landmark on TMW.  Here are some shots of that:

In the photo below, you will see the webcam that I linked to above.  

This isn't really a true lighthouse in the traditional sense.  
It is actually a pumping station for the city's sewer services,  
but it is an important landmark on TMW.
Here is the plaque that is on the side:
There are 39 benches along the path that have been donated in someone's honor or memory.  Each one has a plaque with someone's name on.   Now, sit back and enjoy some photos of my walks back and forth on TMW:

The photo below also shows the 3rd hotel on TMW - The Beachmere Inn

On a close look at the map at the top of this entry, you may have noticed a small section of TMW at the top that is separated from the rest.  The 2nd photo shows the bridge that goes across the Ogunquit River out to the big beach.   Here are some photos of that section:

Good Night Marginal Way - Sleep well!  

I will be posting more entries about this trip - stay tuned for more photos and commentary!
Thanks for reading!