Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July Weekend

This was the first fourth of July weekend since 2003 in which I was not roughly three weeks away from racing in Lake Placid.  It's been two weeks and I'm tired of my stress fracture and, in a bizarre twist of events, actually want to go for a run, but this weekend at least I was able to look on the bright side of not having to do a whole bunch of crazy workouts, getting up at the crack of dawn to get things done and avoiding tempting treats at parties.  That's not to say I'm eating like a pig, either, but I don't feel intense guilt if I eat a brownie for fear that I just added 3 minutes to my Ironman time. 

The weekend was spent mostly up at Squam Lake with my mom, my sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and brother.  Friday night was especially exciting for me because I finally got a new car.  I had debated whether or not to get a new car recently and finally it seemed like a good time.  I finally had to say goodbye to this:

 This is my 2001 Nissan Sentra.  I bought it on July 2nd, 2001, not long after I graduated college.  That was my parents' graduation "Let's learn responsibility" thing.  They helped with the down payment, and I was responsible for the rest.  This car has been through many cold, New Hampshire winters but it has also spent some time transporting me around when I lived in Los Angeles and Arizona.  I got into one car accident in it, involving an incredibly busy intersection and bright morning sun that just sears into your retinas.  Amazingly, I finished up after almost exactly ten years with just a little over 90,000 miles on it.  Based on the fact that I never had a long commute and I'm sure I probably rode my bike more miles in the past ten years than I drove.  (that's unlikely, but I bet it's kind of close) 

I bought the car originally after lots of internet research and knowing that I wanted something that was reliable, would last forever, and would get good gas mileage.  At the time gas prices had soared... to about $1.49 a gallon.  I think at first it cost me like $15 to fill the tank.  I had a few cars in mind and I remember I first test drove I think some small Suzuki that felt a lot more like driving in a really small tin can than a car, and a steering wheel that didn't adjust and did not accommodate my extra-long legs. 

Next on the list was the typical stuff:  Civic, Corolla, Sentra.  We went to the Nissan dealer first and I thought it was a good car and certainly a huge step up from the first car I test drove.  My mom came with me and she is not known for her patience.  "You like it?  Okay, let's get it."  Wait, what?  Shouldn't I try... nah, okay, let's just get it.  I'm more of a person who likes to weigh my options and make sure I'm making the absolute right decision.  My mom is more like, let's just go ahead and pick the first thing we like.  In the end, I don't think it would've made much of a difference.  Both of my parents are also terrible negotiators, and I have certainly inherited that.  They tell us the price, we just say okay.  It scared the crap out of me to be responsible for an entire car and to actually owe what seemed like a huge amount of money, but fortunately I did not have a problem paying it off.  In fact, I usually paid more than was due each month just so it would take me less time to pay it off.  I repaid a 60 month loan in 30. 

Anyway, it did just what I needed it to do.  I never had to make what I considered to be major repairs.  It never broke down.  It didn't have any strange quirks.  For some strange reason though, once the car got up there in years my mother hated me driving it.  She was convinced it was just going to die on the side of the road even though it had never done that.  But then that check engine light got pretty persistent.  And accelerating to get on the highway started to become a lot tougher than it used to be.  I'm sure that these things could've been fixed, but it had gotten to the point where the money to fix it very well could've been more than the car was even worth anymore.  Plus, I was in a unique position of having two cars to trade in, thanks to that ugly, yellow Xterra.  No offense to anyone who has one of those, but anyone who knows me can probably tell that driving around in a bright yellow, attention-grabbing car is totally not my style. 

I did some research again on small cars and a new Sentra seemed kind of expensive for what it is.  I thought about the Civic but that was sort of the same thing as a Sentra.  Then I came across this:



Anyway, Saturday we went over to Winnipesaukee for a party at a family friends' house.  They have this party every year but this was my first time going.  Usually I'm on my bike, or like last year, running a 10K race.  So it was kind of nice to just get to go and not worry about workouts or anything.  On Sunday we had some family up to the lake for a cookout and set off some fireworks and watched fireworks being set off all around the lake.  There were no "official" fireworks, but I swear, the stuff people buy now to set off themselves can be almost just as good.  One of the founders of Comcast has a place across the lake and the show they had rivaled that of many small towns.  And for once I didn't have to go to bed before the sun went down so I could be up at dawn to run or ride my bike for six hours. 

Yesterday was gorgeous weather and a little bit of teaching my brother how to navigate the lake in the boat and how to dock it (which took a few tries)  and eventually came back for yet another cookout at a friend's house.  I think I'm all partied out for now.  The good thing is that being busy all weekend didn't give us, or at least me, much of a chance to think about who wasn't here for the first time. 

So now we get a bit of a break before a huge party this weekend to celebrate Nana's 90th birthday.  Since her short term memory isn't so good, she gets amazed anytime she realizes her birthday is coming up and can't believe how old she's going to be.  Last time I was with her and she realized it she said, "I guess I can't deny I'm an old lady now, can I?"  Her birthday is 7/11/21.  Lots of lucky numbers.  Yes, this is definitely a good year to not be doing Lake Placid.  Too much going on.  And of course the fact that my foot is definitely still broken.

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