Sunday, June 04, 2006

My Chaotic Life

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I need to update on the ongoings.

Sara's Dad:
He met with a neurosurgeon and finally called Sara to update her. It was a long wait for us to get more information. In the meantime we spent a lot of time looking at information on brain tumors online. The diagnosis is that he has a meningioma, which if you are going to have a brain tumor is the one to get. They are rarely malignant. He is still is going to need surgery to remove it and great care is needed anytime you go poking around the brain. The surgery is probably going to take place later this month or early next month. Sara will go out to be with him when it does.

Thank you to all who have left comments of support here and over at Sara's and to those of you who didn't but kept us in your thoughts, prayers, chants, etc. We appreciate them.

Job Search:
I have an on-campus job interview on Tuesday. I am driving to New Jersey tomorrow. I applied for the position the day I got back from California and they called me the next day. After I sent them some supplemental information, they called last week to invite me to campus. I have not mentioned it because I don't want to jinx myself. I am feeling rather anxious about the whole thing. I really need this job and if I get it, life gets much simpler for us and our move to New York. I'll be home Tuesday evening.

The travails of owning a discontinued car:
As I have mentioned before, we own a Daewoo car. It is a nice car, but Daewoo went bankrupt a couple of years ago. This means servicing it and getting parts can be a major headache. Last week I took it for its four month bath (spring here leaves massive amounts of gunk and pollen on cars). One of the guys at the carwash pointed out that the safety inspection sticker had expired last August.

Unbeknownst to me, you have to inspect your car every year and there is no reminder. All other places I have had a car, inspection is tied to registration. You cannot renew your registration if it doesn't pass inspection. Fortunately we were never pulled over. I took the car to get inspected and it passed on everything except the parking brake. It needs new pads. The mechanics called around trying to find the pads without success. I told them that there was a Nissan dealership in Rhode Island that used to also sell Daewoos and that I used to take it there.
They called the dealership and found out that the parts could be ordered. It would cost $199, though (pads usually cost about $60 a pair). I thought there was little choice and agreed. In that time, the price went up to $220. I agreed again. Then I hear the mechanic scream (he is a goofy, tall Eastern European fellow). The dealership had asked him which side. So the pads were going to be $440 for the pair!

"They are ripping us off! I refuse to do business with them!" he cried. "Not even the fanciest cars have brake pads that cost more than $200 for a pair." The manager told me that I should try to call around some more and see if could find the pads. So I came home and Sara and I looked online. Lo and behold, we found pads for $45 each.

I have more recently found that you can now order parts through the small front organization Daewoo still has in the US. Good for future reference.

As if this were not enough, we just got a safety recall notice from Daewoo US. It says to take the care to a Daewoo dealer. Problem is that there are none! There are places, like the rip off dealership in Rhode Island, that will still work with them, but I don't trust that place anymore.

I think it is time to get rid of this car. Does anyone out there want to buy a nice station wagon with low miles and good gas mileage?

Unstable Housing:
We live in a two family home. We live on the first floor and our landlords (an older married couple) live on the second and third. The other day as I was leaving the guy stops me and asks me what our plans for the fall are. Sara had already mentioned that we were moving to New York. He then proceeds to tell me that they are putting the house up for sale.

We have an uncanny knack for renting places that get put on the market. Fortunately this time it does not seem to be much of an issue, since we are planning on leaving anyway at the end of the summer. The way the housing market is right now and the time it takes for all transactions to take place, it seems like we will be ok. The only annoyance will be all the realtors and prospective buyers trudging through our place.

It seemed strange, however, that out landlords would sell the place. They bought it only two years ago, just before we moved in. It was also at the peak of the market and they are certainly not going to be able to sell it for the same price they bought it for. Later, when I saw the wife, I asked where they would be moving to, she shared that they were splitting up.

Even though it is a nice house in a nice location, there does seem to be a bad aura to it. Our landlords split up, Sara got kiddney stones here, our job searches were not very successful, Sara's father has had health problems while we were here, we had a break-in attempt, and so on. Maybe these are just parts of life and have nothing to do with the house. Who knows, but in some ways I am glad we are moving.

That low sounding buzz you hear in the background is my growing anticipation for the World Cup that starts next week. I like soccer, but the World Cup is an obsession. I was fortunate enough to go to several games when it was played in Mexico in 1986. Those were so much fun.

Over the last three weeks, I have had two articles (one co-written with Sara) and a book review published. Getting the proofs and seeing your name under the fancy title is pretty cool. It has energized me to work on a few more articles I am almost ready to send out and to work in earnest on my book.

In Good Company:
I did not realize how many people shared my fascination of glimpsing at snapshots of people's lives through their windows. Nor the passion with which I detest mosquitos. I actually have a catalogue in my mind of the different types of mosquitos I have encountered around the world and their unique way of making your life misarable.

This post has become much too long. So bye.

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