Friday, September 29, 2006

Vote for Your Favourite!

After kicking some tires on used Windstars and figuring out that we would spend pretty close to the cost of a new van on a decent used van, DH and I are considering buying new.

If we buy new, our choices are the Ford Freestar (the model which replaced the Ford Winstar) or a Ford Freestyle (SUV hybrid).

The Freestar

The Freestar is an easy choice because I've driven Ford minivans for 7 years now, have been happy with them and know what to expect. On the other hand, I had hoped to eek a few more years out of the old van and then purchase something smaller, or at least a bit less "trucklike" and easier to maneuver when one of the kids was big enough to sit in the frontseat. Obviously, I fell a bit short of that goal, so I'm stuck buying something big enough to seat three kids (and a dog) in the back. Oh, and 3 rows of seats are optimal...anyone familiar with autistic meltdowns knows the necessity of being able to segregate the children from each other.

The Freestyle

The Ford Freestyle has an option of a third row of seats, drives much more like a car than the Freestar and is more fuel efficient to boot (remember $1.00/litre gasoline). On the downside, it is a bit more cumbersome to get into the rear seat (but then the kids are big enough to crawl there themselves, I'm not strapping in bucket seats anymore)...and of course it is a bit pricier than the minivan.

Both come in acceptable colours, (although not quite as nice as the bright blue of my Ex-Windstar) and both can be filled with a wide variety of safety and comfort features.

So...what do you think??

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Guess I Didn't Use Up All My Bad Luck Last Week

Warning: not exactly as shown...

I was stopped behind a car making a left hand turn on a street near my home, when the lady behind me failed to stop. Hard. Of course, I had all three kids and the dog in the car with me. Everyone is rattled and achy in the back and neck, but no one is seriously injured. (gotta love seatbelts and headrests).

The van didn't fare as well. It's 4 years old and has more than 100,000 kms on it, so it won't take much to total it. The frame is bent, the back panel and door is undriveable. We could be kicking tires this weekend. I've spent the last couple days picking up a rental van, trotting kids off to doctors and trying to get things back to normal.

DH is experiencing mixed emotions. Sure, his entire family was spared serious injury or even death, but c'mon...that fuel pump was brand new...the tires (top of the line, of course) had less than 300kms on them...we just finished paying off that van this year!!!

On the lighter side, I did manage to pick up my spare ball of Gatto from Haley's store , Clare's MRI showed no serious knee problems and my wonky tooth won't need a root canal...this time. Woo Hoo.

Not much knitting to neck and back are killing me and curiously my forearms are very sore. I guess that I braced myself pretty hard against the steering wheel.

Since I have no knitting pictures, here is a visual representation of the value of the new van that we might be acquiring. Funny, $30,000 is much prettier in the hands of Tiffany's than Ford.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What a Week!!

Tuesday was our 14th anniversary, so hopeless romantic that he is, DH took the week off work and whisked me away for a second honeymoon (sans kids, of course)

Norwegian Cruise Lines provided our escape to the Mexican Riviera!

The ship's accomodations were luxurious, the food delicious and every amenity imaginable was on board!

How could you not love a beach like this?

Perfect for romantic, midnight strolls with my sweetie.

Ok, that's the slightly re-touched, romanticized version. Here's what really happened.

DH did book a week of vacation, but had to return to the office two out of five days because a co-worker carelessly (and rather inconsiderately I might add), scratched the dickens out of his cornea (Ewww....) and DH needed to pinch hit.

We didn't go anywhere or do anything more exciting than order pizza this week, but we did spend exactly the same amount of money that we would have on the luxury cruise!'s what we did...

Killed our furnace: Note nifty, shiny replacement unit. Installed for around $4,500

Killed my fuel pump: A bargain relative to the new furnace at just under $1,000.

But don't think it was all drugery for, no, no! To keep himself busy while waiting for the furnace quotation guys to arrive, DH installed quarter round on our ground floor, upstairs hallway and in Gillian's room.

Normally, this wouldn't have presented much of a challenge to my Handyguy Hubby, so just to keep things interesting he installed the quarter round using the "Bramalea Proprietary Mitering Angles" favoured by our house builders. Nearest DH can figure, our contractors eschewed the standard corner measures of 90, 45 and 135 degrees in favour of a random distribution of 41, 49, 142 and 38 degree angles. Well, it kept the job interesting and the air blue for a while.

On the plus side, after a week like this, work is looking pretty appetizing to DH.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Knitting Dance!

After nibbling away to produce nearly 60 inches of 4 inch 2 X 2 ribbing for the Silkroad Cardigan, I ran out of yarn with one tie left to knit! Less than 10% of a skein! ARRRGH...

Of course, these were the two balls of Gatto that Haley dug out of a clearance basket in her store so...THERE WERE NO MORE IN THAT COLOUR when I dropped by yesterday.

Haley called me this morning. She found a bit of the olive Gatto. I don't know where she found it, or what she had to do to get it and I'm not asking any questions. I'm just grateful. Grateful and thankful that I'm not unravelling the WHOLE thing to reknit it 1 rib skinnier to economize on yardage.

After the horrid Striped Vest and the Orangina fiasco, I'm not sure that I could have taken another knitting setback.

Oh, BTW, I'm finished the front and back of the Orange Twist Sweater. I knit it in the round up to the armholes.

Oh, lest you think that the knitting funk is behind me, this sweater has been rechristened "Clare's Sweater". (Clare is two years younger and much ropier than Ellery.) The sweater is a couple inches slimmer than anticipated. But surely I did a gauge square? Yup, a couple in fact, testing both the pattern requested 4mm needles and the 4.5mm needles that I ultimately needed to get gauge with my yarn.

After carefully swatching to determine that I had to size up to 4.5mm needles to get gauge, I somehow put the wrong needles back into their cases and knit the garment with the 4mms. DOH! I'm tempted to force myself to knit a big pile of novelty yarn garter stitch scarves as penance.

happy weekend.

Friday, September 08, 2006

When the Going Gets Tough...the Tough Buy Shoes

Ok, maybe I just made that up...but it's been a hectic week around here...New School Year, trying to settle into a new routine, get all the pencils, books and backpacks purchased, labelled and sent to class, a busted HVAC unit on top of it. You can hardly blame me for knocking off for a morning with Haley.

We hit a distant shopping mall, mostly because it's noisy and novel and good practice for Haley in jacket. I didn't need anything, nor particularly want anything, but these caught my eye.

Pretty homely huh? But they are green, so I was immediately attracted to them. And after walking long distances all summer in $3 Keds knockoffs from WalMart, they looked ridiculously comfy. They are. My feet are in love.

Oh and because of the seductive marketing of the "buy one, get half off the next pair" sale, these followed me home too...

Equally homely, equally comfy, equally green...not much more to add except that they are the EXACT same colour as the summer capris I'm wearing today. (Yeah, it's hot here again...and the a/c is completely dead, but that's another whine for another post)

Knitting is far less eventful. I've knit 10 more inches on the Silkroad Cardigan collar and am still 11 inches from finishing. I've completed the body up to the armhole on Ellery's back to school pullover and now I have to start counting rows (ick) and I've not had the courage to peek at the remains of Orangina since last week's enterrement.

Well, gonna take my fancy-@ss shoes out for a walk...have a great weekend!