IMR: Entries: 2003: July: 04 — Friday, July 04, 2003


The family's back, and at the moment, snoring in chorus in the next room.

[ Fourth of July over Ala Moana ]
Tonight's great pyrotechnic display, as observed from the roof of our Makiki apartment building.
[ Fourth of July over Ala Moana ]
Marking, perhaps, another kind of independence, we picked up a little gift for Jen today.
The Rest of May:
[ Taste of Mililani ][ The 50th State Farm Fair ]
The "Taste of Mililani." See all photos here.The 50th State Farm Fair. See all photos here.
[ Kamaaina Kids Class of 2003 ][ Driving Lessons with Jeff ]
K's preschool graduation. See all photos here.Jen goes back to school, as it were, for her license.
The Lost Month of June:
[ Zac Turns One ]
Zac's First Birthday at Treetops Restaurant in Manoa Valley. See all photos here.
[ Katie in Cheyne's Hat at Kailua Beach Park ][ Geocaching with the Press ]
K at the HawaiiStories picnic. See all photos here.A dork in the paper. See the photos, read the article.
Yeah, it's been a while. And I can blame only some of the silence on Netflix and TiVo — geek-inspired Mother's and Father's Day goodies respectively. The pictures I managed to upload in the interim, though, should again tell much of the story. Zac turned one, Katie had her preschool "graduation," Jen started taking driving lessons to get her driver's license back, and I continued in my role as local media whore.

I've also been messing around on the web, of course. I got a neat domain to play with some big ideas, and I've managed to tease even more writing out of my wife. I also planned to unveil some changes around here this month, but as usual I fell behind. (Blame that on my completely unexpected addiction to Sports Night, a TiVo suggestion I was skeptical about but ended up loving.)

My online journal is inching dangerously toward becoming Ryan's Rambling Quarterly. But I ain't giving it up yet. The sixth birthday of this site is drawing near. Take that, blogging masses!

Okay. 'Nuff meta.

We got Jen a car. The development is almost as much of a surprise to me as it is to our respective families.

I knew it was a possibility as soon as we started talking about getting Jen licensed to drive again, to be sure. Katie's starting school soon, the bus is no picnic with two kids (not to mention the recent rate hike and service cut double whammy), and I now work three times as far away from home as I used to. (I never did try biking to the office when I worked downtown.) But I was thinking about becoming a two-car family a little further down the road, so to speak — like, say, after she got said license.

But someone, likely an ice head, forced our hand Wednesday night when he or she stole my mother's car, right out of her garage in a blandly safe corner of Mililani. A car that she and my brother depended on, for one, but more specifically the very car Jen was practicing to take her road test in.

So, we were out a set of reasonable test-taking wheels (a boxy van with overtinted windows is no picnic to parallel park), and my mom was back to being a taxi driver (in my grandmother's car) so Todd could make it to his classes and his job.

Quickly enlisting the invaluable and supreme car-related wisdom of my dad, classified listings were quickly devoured, car lot websites were quickly scoured, and a most anal-retentive spreadsheet was developed by yours truly. I test drove cars during lunch breaks and after work, and took lots of notes and photos. While Jen started out dreaming of Saturn coupes and Jettas, maintenance costs and car-seat capacity turned us toward less sexy, but more practical, fare. Especially when we were fishing in the gloppy sub-$3,000 shallows.

Today, dad sacrificed his holiday to join us on the final hunt, and we hit the road with five candidates. It was two before we made it to the Windward Side, and a cringe-triggering greasy sales manager at King Windward seemed to send a sign that one of the first cars I checked out, a 12-year-old but low-mileage Ford, was our destiny.

Now, I almost literally have a genetic distrust of Fords. My grandmother specifically badmouths them whenever the name is mentioned, and my mom's no fan. Both of them, actually, are curiously fond of GMs or Japanese sedans. As for Jen and I? Just yesterday, thinking at the time that a Toyota Camry was going to be our pick, we were running through the many awful "alternative meanings" of Ford as an acronym.

But Maggie — yes, Jen already named her — was a find. A full Carfax check showed only one owner and no irregularities, and more importantly, she looked great. From the interior to the little rubber door seals, it was immaculate, and its 51,000-mile engine — yes, 51,000 original miles — ran great. (Keep in mind, the other cars in this price range are lucky to have under 100,000 miles on 'em.) Power everything, V6, cold AC, cruise control, no rust, good tires.

A retiree's garage-warmer if ever I'd seen one. And pretty damn good for a first car, considering my first set of wheels was a $300 base '77 Chevy Nova.

Katie told us immediately, "I pick this one." Jen was cooing instantly. Dad gave her a spin and a thumbs up. Both car seats fit in the back with room for a third adult and the trunk was huge. So this afternoon, on what must've been to the Toyota City sales guy an exasperating fifth visit, I finally signed on the dotted line. (For what it's worth, our family has now bought four cars from them. Only Honda Windward gets higher marks in my book for decent service.)

Actually, Jen signed on the dotted line. Officially, it's hers.

We took it up to Mililani, and spent the afternoon giving her a good wash and a full polish... extra coats on the hood, trunk, and roof, of course. We were going to leave it there, but Jen loved it so much, we left the minivan instead and came home tonight in it. Maggie, I mean. I could almost feel my yet-unnamed van glaring at us as we drove off.

The idea was, until Jen gets her license, to lend the Ford to mom and Todd. But, if you haven't guessed, Jen's already quite attached, and Todd doesn't have the greatest history of automotive care. Now she wants to take her road test on Monday and bring it home already. The long-term possibility of signing it over to mom to replace her stolen car, then getting something else for Fully Licensed Jen, seems less and less likely.

"This car is me — not extravagant, not flashy and new, but smart, sturdy, and practical," she said, perhaps seriously, as we pulled into our building's parking lot to the surprised smiles of our neighbors. "I love it. I really do."

And I should mention that when Maggie does come home, my van's going to start sleeping on the street.

Should I be worried?


woohoo! Congrats on the new car. I'm sorry to hear about your mom's car- I know what that's like, and I hope things work out for her.
lisa (July 5, 2003 9:36 AM)

The first generation Ford Taurus and its sibling Mercury Sable are classic 80s design sedans from Ford. I think they are much nicer than the current, bulbus Taurus/Sable models.
macpro (July 17, 2003 12:59 AM)

Macpro, my father and I have always felt the same way about the Taurus/Sable! In fact, the Taurus was my first car obsession as an adolescent - weird as that probably sounds. So far, we love it muchly.
Ryan (July 18, 2003 10:53 AM)

E kala mai! Comments have been disabled due to overwhelming abuse by spammers. Please click through to any of the video hosting services linked above to leave a public response, or feel free to send an e-mail. Mahalo!

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