Car salesmen are the WORST

We did NOT buy a car today.  We could have.  We found the car with all the stuff at a price slightly below the one at CarMax.  We got there, we test-drove the black one, looked it over – all good.  Then we drove the silver one.  Well, John did.  The salesman tried to convince us it just smelled faintly of dog, but it 100% smelled like smoke, so that was a big no.  But the first one was great.  Let’s do it.

And that’s when the sales game started.  FOR NO GOOD REASON.  We were prepared to buy the car for the price they advertised.  John told the salesman that, and then he went off to “run the numbers”.  What numbers?  Here’s the price, you know the fees, the taxes are easy to calculate – what else?  UGH.

“Since you’re not financing with us, it’ll actually be an additional $450.  That’s a rebate that won’t apply to you since you have outside financing.  That’s all on the website – we believe in being up-front about our pricing.”  (It’s not on the website.)

“Oh, that 3-year maintenance package only applies when you’re financing with us.  That’s all on the website – we believe in being up-front about our deals.”  (It’s not on the website.)

“Since this car is Nissan-certified, you get the warranty for only an additional $1295.  No, it’s not optional, but let me talk to my sales manager about it.  Okay, he says we can’t remove the warranty but we can split the cost with you.  You can have it for only $647.50.”

There was more in that vein, so we decided not to buy the car.  The sales manager got really pissy with me, which was completely unnecessary, and we walked, listening to him mutter at us as we left.  I ordered the transfer of the EXACT CAR from another CarMax from my phone five minutes later.  Hopefully this one will work out.

NO MORE CAR SALESMEN.

What a difference a week makes

After last week’s not-so-great car dealer experience, I wasn’t really looking forward to doing it again.  On Friday, I made two appointments, one each for two cars (a Jeep Renegade and a Nissan Rogue).  The guy on the phone (central office again) said the location doesn’t appear to be appointment-only.  I said it was last week, and is there any way to know for sure?  He said I could call them, and I think I managed to hide my frustration when I asked how, since the number I called to reach him was the local RI number.  He told me to follow prompts to the business office.  Cool.  I did, I spoke to someone, and YES.  This week IS different from last week.  They’re almost back to normal, with social distancing rules in place.  We can walk the lot, test drive as many cars as we want, and except that it might take a little longer because they have to prep the cars first, it’s almost normal.  Whew.

So Saturday, we got there around 11, and two hours later, we left, having both driven three cars (Jeep Renegade, Nissan Rogue, and a Ford Escape), AND – more importantly – having pretty much decided that we want to buy a Rogue.  Now comes the obnoxious part: we have to find the newest car we can find, with all the features we want, with the lowest mileage, for the lowest price.  Within reason.

As of this writing, it is possible we have found it at a Nissan dealership in Warwick.  They have several that appear  to meet our requirements.  One of the features isn’t listed, but I called and was assured that because they all have the other features, the missing one is standard, and don’t worry about it.  We’ll find out on Monday, because car dealerships don’t appear to be open on Sundays anymore.  Our backup is to have CarMax ship the only one they have in the entire country up here from Maryland.

I had no idea I could be that kind of buyer.

But we are so close I can smell it.

Fried

I am having SO MUCH TROUBLE ordering yard bags and a garden hose, and I can’t tell if the problem is me.  I don’t think it is, but how can I be sure?

I started with Home Depot.  Yard bags are about $2.50 for five.  Great.  But wait – why go pick them up (and encounter people) when surely I can get them from Amazon?  Because AMAZON charges nearly $3 PER BAG, that’s why.  Back to Home Depot.  We need a garden hose, too, so I’ll just get both at the same time.  Easy!

NOT EASY.  First, we need a second hose because our first isn’t long enough.  But what size is our hose, 1/2′ or 5/8′?  Neither of us knows.  Let’s assume 5/8′ because that seems to be the size of most of the hoses.  I pick one.  I go to my cart.  Error.  Why?  That hose is no longer available online.  Not out of stock – no longer available online.  IT WAS AVAILABLE TEN SECONDS AGO.  So I picked another one.  It’s not available at my store, but it can be shipped for free from another store.  Great!  Oh, not until June.  And if I just want something shipped directly to me, it’ll take almost three weeks.

Deep breath.  I can get the bags at Home Depot.  Let’s go to Amazon for a hose.  And now I’m back to choosing which hose.  Amazon’s pick is $40.  That seems ridiculous for a garden hose.  The same brand has one for $25.  Cool.  Reviews are positive…but then there’s the one that mentions needing to buy some different fittings before it’ll connect to another hose, which is LITERALLY why I’m buying a hose.

Counting to ten.  Walking away.  WAIT.  I changed my search a little bit and found a 50′ hose with what appear to be normal ends that’s only $32.  This brand’s 25′ version (we only need 25′ for a second hose) is – DEAR GOD WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME – $40.

WHY?  Why is the shorter hose, same exact hose but HALF the length, MORE expensive?  This is stupid.  I’m ordering the 50′ hose.  And going to bed.

Venturing out

I went to the grocery store yesterday morning, and aside from being limited to buying only one package of toilet paper, one package of paper towels, and so on, it was very non-apocalyptic.  Hardly any shortages of any actual food (no dried black beans, to John’s continual disappointment, no vanilla extract, not much flour, and ZERO pancake mix) but plenty of eggs and other stuff.  The aisles are all designated one-way, to avoid people have to pass each other too closely, and everyone (myself included) was wearing at least a mask, sometimes gloves, too.  Masks make it a little melodramatic, like we’re in a Western.  Mine was a red bandana, another guy’s was a black bandana, and one woman was wearing a winter scarf around her face.  The actual medical-looking masks ruin the showdown vibe.  Another woman was wearing what might have been a motorcycle mask – she took us a little Mad Max.

I sanitized my hands before I touched the car, sanitized them again after putting the groceries in the car, washed my hands when I got home, after I unloaded the groceries (which I wiped down), and after I put them away.  The sweatshirt (I wore it as a coat) and my mask went straight into the laundry.  I’m as confident as I can be that I didn’t bring any nasty viruses into the house, and I bought enough that I shouldn’t have to make another major trip for a couple-three weeks.  Just milk, bread, maybe eggs.

My no-sew bandana mask worked great, though.  I could breathe, it didn’t slip, and I didn’t have to sew anything.  Two sanitized thumbs up.

Resist the urge

With a new house comes new stuff, even when we’re trying to avoid buying stuff.  I mean, we’ve been buying (and receiving) PLENTY of baby stuff, but most of that is kind of necessary.  But then we bought a new stove because the existing one was a fire hazard (our new one is so pretty!), and then – THEN – I may have gone a little overboard.

I knew I didn’t need it.  I almost bought one months ago, but talked myself out of it.  Too frivolous.  I’ve lived without it for 39 years – I can live without it now.

Except, apparently, I can’t.  There’s a coffee shop nearby that makes a chai latte that is the closest I’ve tasted to the BEST one I’ve ever had (from Shoe’s Cup and Cork in Leesburg).  They specialize in coffee, not chai, so I asked them what mix they use for the chai and promptly ordered it.  But that’s not all.  Boiling water into a powdered chai mix doesn’t recreate the latte experience.

I ordered a milk frother.

I KNOW.  I’ve become one of THEM.  It makes my chai so good and frothy!  I’ve gone off the deep end.

But that’s not all.  You know what came yesterday?  THIS!

I can hardly contain my glee, I love it so much.  What’s next?  Well, I’m eyeing these super-cute rocket and robot nightlights from Uncommon Goods for the baby’s room, but NO.  THIS HAS TO STOP.  They’re expensive and fall exactly in the category of things a baby doesn’t need (certainly not for that much money), especially when my salary is about to be cut in half, and we’ve been trying so hard not to accumulate things after three years of living light and damn it, I’m not going to ruin our streak because of night lights!

But seriously, how cute are these?

Reading my mind

John and I bought olive oil when we went to the store the other night, and I expressed regret that we can’t just buy Wegmans extra virgin olive oil like we used to.  We’ve been not so lucky at picking out other relatively inexpensive olive oils over the last few years.  (There are a lot of really boring olive oils out there, and some of the more exciting ones aren’t great for general use.  I feel like Goldilocks.)  We have a Wegmans within reach, if you consider an hour and 15 minutes one-way to be within reach.  I don’t.  I actually considered asking Emily to buy us some so John could bring it back this weekend when he drives up with our stuff from the storage unit.  We picked something since we’ll need it this week, I don’t remember which brand, and shortly after we got home, John said, “I think we owe my mom a really big thank you.”  Of course we do, for any number of things, so I asked for a few more details in my own articulate fashion. “Huh?”

She gave us a housewarming basket with a bunch of traditional housewarming gifts, all with their own meanings, and one of the items is olive oil (“May you be blessed with health and well-being”).  WEGMANS OLIVE OIL.

THANK YOU, PAT!

All is well with the world.

#Blessed

#snortgiggle

Let’s go to the mall!

Would you believe I was in the mall the other day and I DIDN’T go to Athleta?  It’s true.  Would you believe I have lived in Providence for two and a half months now, within easy reach of Athleta after a year and a half of being two hours from the nearest one, and I haven’t been even once?  Also true.  I must be ill.  Would you believe I went into a bookstore yesterday and didn’t buy a single book?  You would?  You’re gullible.

We were at the mall over the weekend to see the third Thor movie, which is BY FAR the best of the Thor movies.  Those first two were pretty bad.  The second one is easily the worst of the Marvel movies.  This one was more like Guardians of the Galaxy – funny, fast-paced, and fun.

The mall was all decked out for Christmas, and we had to go through the entire thing, from the basement level to the top floor, and from one end to the other, to get from the car to the movie theater.  We didn’t do any shopping – I’m afraid that once we go back so we can buy stuff, we’ll be holiday’d out faster than usual.  Would you believe it?  Somehow we’ll live.

Love at first sight

I have fallen in love with a pair of shoes.  They’re the ultimate Disney princess shoes, and my heart aches for them.

I saw them on Tom & Lorenzo’s site, and for the first time in my life I was compelled to go to the designer’s website to see more.  If it’s possible to fall further in love, I did when I saw them in midnight blue.

They’re calling out my name.  “Buy me, Zannah!  We’ll be so happy together!”  I don’t have anywhere to wear them or anything to wear them with, but those are tiny details.  Are they comfortable?  Who cares?  (Okay, I do, but let’s put that aside.)  Do they come in narrow?  Probably not.  Are they more than I pay in rent?  …..Yes.  Yes, they are more than I pay in rent.

Drat.

I love them, I do, but the don’t-buy-them factors are adding up and the practical side of me says I don’t get to be a princess in $2150 shoes that don’t go with anything I own, that probably aren’t comfortable, that probably won’t actually fit, and will sit in my closet unworn because I don’t have any occasions to wear them.

I will have to find some other kind of princess to be.  Like this one.

But oh, those shoes.

I prefer options

Here’s a downside to smaller towns: the shopping sucks.  I decided to buy a new dress for Corey’s wedding because I don’t have anything between somewhat formal and t-shirt dress, and I don’t want to wear either of those things on a beach.  I didn’t want to order anything online because EVERYthing fits differently and while trying on all the clothes at the mall sucks, it sucks less than ordering a bunch of things, trying them on, and then returning them.  I hate returning stuff I bought I online.  Anything that involves shipping packages is a pain.

Eugene has a mall, so I went there after work today.  The mall is pretty lame – I miss Tyson’s Corner Center – but it has two department stores, a Loft, and a Banana Republic.  The other stores are for teenagers.  I feel out of place just looking in the windows.

Loft first – no dresses, but their tank tops were $6 each so I bought two.

Banana Republic – only work clothes.

Macy’s – plenty of dresses, but most were more formal or too mother-of-the-bride.  I found two that could work and asked them to hold them for me.

JC Penney’s – yes, I went to Penney’s.  It was the last option in the mall, and you know?  I found a dress there that’ll do the trick AND it was on surprise sale.  Love that.

Turns out I want a place that has better shopping that one tiny mall.  Even though I rarely shop.

Wait – I just thought of something important I have to look up and….YES, there is an Athleta in Providence.  YAY!

Pick a little, talk a little

After rubbing several layers of skin off on one spot on my right calf during Tuesday’s riding lesson (a spot I discovered hours later when hot water hit it in the shower and I shrieked in pain), I have decided it is finally time to shop for real riding clothes.  I need full seat breeches, a helmet of my own, and real riding boots.  I will probably get paddock boots, actually, and half chaps, instead of tall riding boots, since that’s what was recommended to me by two different people (Wendy being one of them).  Still, the half chaps will protect my calves.

Wendy suggested I go to this farm store to check out sizes for pants and boots and then order them online, but I finally went out there this afternoon and they had NOTHING.  They had a whole section for clothes and shoes, but it was all western.  No riding boots, just cowboy boots, and no breeches.  No chaps of any kind.  I tried another similar store, but they didn’t have anything, either, so now I have to shop online.

BUT wait!  Complaining about shopping online is not why I’m here tonight.  The shopping trip wasn’t a total bust because the first farm store had baby chickens!  Tanks and tanks of baby chickens!  I only took a picture of the bin with the fluffy yellow chicks, but they had all kinds and they were making adorable cheeping noises and IT WAS SO CUTE I didn’t want to leave.

But I did leave, and I’m glad I did (WITHOUT taking home any baby chicks) because the next store had harnesses.  For your chickens.

So you can walk your chicken on a leash, I guess?  Or maybe go bungee jumping with her?  They came in pink, red, and blue – all colors to suit your chicken-harnessing needs!

My life is richer for knowing people take their chickens on walks.

A day in the big city (don’t laugh)

I don’t know if you know this, but Portland is cool, and we need to spend more time there.  We had the whole day to play, but it was cold and raining ice pellets, so walking around wasn’t really an option.  I mean, we still stayed all day (we got home just a few minutes ago, a little after 10), but we drove from place to place and dashed from store to store.  We had brunch at Gravy, which was SO GOOD, and then we went to this synthesizer store so John could play with all the toys, and then we went to a used music store so John could try out other toys, and then we went BACK to the synth store so John could buy the toys he was playing with earlier, then a quick stop at a comic book shop, the Doc Martens store (the original one!) where John found shoes that actually fit (!), Athleta for me (where I tried on everything in the store, of course), and POWELL’S.

And then we came home.  I could sleep for days.

All for me!

It’s a beautiful day and the presents I bought for myself arrived!  Both packages were delayed because of the weather, but they came today and the sun is shining!

First, as you can see, is a little TARDIS backpack.  Bigger on the inside, naturally, big enough to hold my laptop (which is in there in that picture). I love my Bag of Holding, but it’s a little bulky if all I want to do is take my laptop and a book to Allan Bros.

Makes a good carry-on.

Then my Athleta stuff came!  Athleta is in the middle of their end/beginning of the year sale, which is pretty much the best time to shop with them.  I got a lightweight long-sleeve top, my favorite pants in gray, and new running tights, which I will wear when I got to the gym this afternoon because they came today!

Sorry about all the !!! but I’m very excited about my purchases.  Plus it’s Friday and the work day is over and the work week is over and I don’t have to get up before the sun for two whole days.

The only bad thing about today is that my riding lesson was cancelled.  The snow on Wednesday plus lack of melting yesterday plus below freezing temps for three days equals too much work on a horse farm to make time for teaching lessons (which I totally get).  Somehow I’ll make it to next Wednesday.

Offputting

We went into every gift shop in each of the three Disney parks we visited.  That’s not an exaggeration – we went into every single one.  For the most part, they carry the same stuff.  Ride gift shops had some ride-specific toys and shirts, and the other shops had some park-specific stuff, but mostly they were the same.  The World Showcase shops in Epcot had the most variation, and it was there I saw the most disturbing thing.

We were in fake Mexico, in the fake market inside.  I leaned forward to look at an anklet, and then threw myself backwards when I got a closer look at the mannequin ankle it was displayed on.  (I may have overreacted a bit, but it took me by surprise.)

IMG_20160830_155308

It’s unnerving, right?  Is it a heeled shoe with toes?  A bare foot with a built-in heel?  Makes me shudder just thinking about it.  Someone miscalculated with this one.

I won’t be breaking any records soon

This weekend flew by.  We went to Oak Ridge for a gig yesterday (pretty drive, but it was hot as hell out there), and then I dragged Christina shopping with me today.  I’ve had more successful shopping trips.  Christina was really good about putting up with me in store after store, thank goodness.  I owe her for that.

We’re traveling for a wedding soon, and I’m starting to feel stress about taking off work.  Combine that with making sure I have everything I’ll need for nearly two weeks away from home, and I’m not exactly relaxed.

The running events have started, though, and that helps.  I spent a couple hours this afternoon watching the coverage online (because NBC on TV SUCKS).  Saw some great races.  I should go running, even if it’s just the pseudo-running I can do right now.

Bad timing

I got a cute sundress at Target yesterday, but I want more than one cute sundress.  More than one more cute sundress.  My one chore for the day was to bike over to Trader Joe’s to pick up dinner while John was rehearsing at Will’s house, so I figured I’d do it after I finished my long bike ride for the day.  It made sense at the time, but I didn’t think ahead to how much I don’t want to still be on a bike after that many miles.  Still, Trader Joe’s is only a mile from the house, and what’s two more miles at that point?

Yeah.

Trader Joe’s shares a parking lot with Old Navy, so I figured since I was there anyway and not in any particular hurry, I’d check out their sundresses.  They have the added benefit of being super-cheap.  It wasn’t until I took my helmet off and noticed how gross and sweaty my hair was that I thought about how gross and sweaty my whole body was.  So….maybe shopping for and trying on clothes wasn’t the best idea.  I cruised through anyway, just looking.  I’ll have to go back.

Then I was disappointed by Trader Joe’s (they don’t have fresh, non-frozen salmon!).  I couldn’t face biking to yet another store, so I called John and he picked up KFC on his way home.  I can live with that.

Delayed

I desperately need new running shoes.  Mine have worn out to the point of discomfort, and after running in them this morning, I think I may have actually done some harm to my left foot.  It’s uncomfortable enough that I’m taking tomorrow (Sunday) off, and I’m putting off buying new shoes until it feels better.

I’m disappointed.  I was really looking forward to buying new shoes this afternoon, but with my foot feeling like this, I won’t be able to tell if the shoes are uncomfortable because they’re not for me or if they’re uncomfortable because my foot hurts.

Boo and blah.

Grumble grumble grumble.  I’m off to sulk.

The beginning of the year

You’re supposed to start the new year the way you plan to continue it, right?  (Or something like that?)  Well, I noticed Athleta’s semi-annual sale AND extra 20% off all sale items, so I started this year by ordering five ridiculously-low-priced items from my favorite store for a ridiculously low total.

We did NOT stop at the grocery store on our way back from Emily and Sean’s house (even though we could have AND we talked about it), so we will not be cooking tonight.  Let that say whatever it says about how we’re handling cooking this year.  Miracles may happen somewhere, but probably not in my kitchen.

John is studying for his pilot exam, and I’m going to read (because despite what I said in one of my recent posts, I am capable of enjoying the books on my bookshelf).

Happy new year!

Like sleeping on a cloud. We hope.

Our new mattress came today!  We tried out half the mattresses in the store yesterday afternoon, picked one, and it appeared in our apartment this morning!  Like magic.  For all I know, the delivery guys were special mattress gnomes whose sole purpose in life is to bring new soft mattresses to people who’ve been sleeping on the same cheap one for 15 years.  Maybe 15 years is what it takes to get delivery gnomes instead of muggles.  All I know is that I got in the shower around midmorning, and by the time I got out, our old mattress was gone and the new mattress was in its place.  I wonder if they bake bread or fix shoes.

This picture is more exciting to me than it is to you, I know.

This picture is more exciting to me than it is to you, I know.

Settling in

Our apartment is starting to look more like a living space instead of a storage space, thanks in part to Ikea.  After we donated our couch because it wouldn’t fit (and made our first trip to Ikea), we were left with functional chairs, but no comfortable chairs (aside from the papasan chair, but we can’t both fit in that at the same time).  We went back on Sunday and picked up a couple of chairs that will do, without breaking the bank.  (We found a couple that we REALLY liked, but balked at the price tag.  We’re supposed to be spending LESS.)  Also, if they’re not all that comfortable, perhaps we’ll break our habit of watching too much TV in the evenings.  I suppose we’ll see.  Having random moving-related errands to run after work has certainly helped keep us away from it (not having internet or cable until last Thursday helped, too), but I imagine it’ll be a bigger temptation in the winter, when it’s cold and dark again.  And I might not feel guilty about giving in then.

I hope we can take a break from making decisions soon, too.  I’m over it, to the point where I’m dithering about really stupid things.  I can still figure out what to wear in the mornings, but I wanted to pick up a couple of placemats for my desk, and I stood there staring at the selections for SO long.  It’s not like it was a big commitment; the silly things cost $2 each.  I could not decide.  I did eventually (I went with basic black – no risk to the room’s color palette (which doesn’t exist yet)), and there’s no buyer’s remorse (over the placemats OR the chairs), but I think I need a rest from decision-making.  And I’ll take one, right after we choose a new mattress.  That is not going to be easy.