Friday, July 30, 2004

Life08:59 AM - *ramble*

I'm going to end up rambling, I just know it, but I'll try not to make this too many pages long. ;)

First: My kitty hat came (3rd item on top row). I got the medium blue, though the wine color was tempting as well. It actually came Wednesday, but I was going to wait to say anything till I had a picture. Still don't, but I hope to post one. (I need to save all the pictures of our VT trip to the hard drive first, 'cause the mem car is 100% full.) I ordered it on the 2nd, and she said it'd take a few weeks, she was right on. It is so incredibly soft and warm! I had to make where it folds up a little taller, all the way up to the ears on the sides almost, 'cause I guess I have a little head, but it's very, very cool. Now it just has to be late fall or winter again, so I can wear it! Thanks fishfish! :D

Jeremy has a job interview! Yea! It's at Parkway North HS (for those who know the area). They want someone who can teach both chemistry and physics. His certification is a Unified Science cert (which they've phased out since he started, so he's one of the last across the country to get one) with a chemistry endorsement. And with all the physics he had to take for his engineering degree he should have no problem taking the Praxis test for physics and getting that endorsement as well. Very nifty. Heh, when they asked if he'd be able to do physics, since he only had a chem endorsement, and asked how much physics he had, he asked if they meant while getting the teaching cert or while getting his engineering degree. Needless to say, the lady was very pleased hearing "engineering degree". :) He also is waiting, still, to hear back from the chem department head at CBC, which would be another great place to work. She had said they had 2 chem teacher openings, and that the school still hadn't told her a damn thing about if they'd hired anyone for 'em yet -- all she knows is they might've done a few interviews, or something. She's the head of the department they're hiring for, and yet the people conducting the interviews haven't told her squat yet. How weird is that?

The kitties have a vet appointment finally. I figured while we were at the vet's Tues., which is the same place we're going to start taking our kitties, we may as well make appointments for them. It's been way too long since they've last had their shots, and I want to make sure they stay healthy. They're indoor only, granted, but you never know what odd circumstances can cause issues (like a stray cat unexpectedly bounding in the door with you, or whatever). Plus there's that whole law thing about rabies shots. :p So we're going to have the other vet, near where we used to live, fax their info to the new one so they can get taken care of this evening. Poor babies are going to hate their visit, since it'll be at least 2 shots (rabies & FeLV, if not others if they recommend 'em). They'll get lots of lovin' and treats for it though.

Between getting home from work and the vet appointment this evening, I need to get stickers for my car. I have to find the DMV and bring in my property tax receipts. And fuck, writing this just reminded me I don't think I have the property tax receipts in the car. I have both the papers from the safety and emissions inspections, but not the receipts. Supposedly they can look 'em up, but I paid $2 ($1 apiece) for copies of the receipts so I could just bring them. And it's the end of the month so it's gonna be a long line to begin with. Damn. Maybe J will go to lunch with us today, and he can find them and bring 'em when he comes. Otherwise, I'll either be asking them to look it up or going home first, neither of which sound appealing. I'll probably do the former, since the DMV is on the way home from work.

And all of a sudden, within the last 2 weeks or so, my hands have wanted to actually start typing correctly the one or two things I never wanted to before. Usually, I type the C key with my index finger, rather than my middle finger, because it just seemed more comfortable to me that way. Now, my hands have decided most of the time that the C should be typed with the middle finger after all. So I'm trying to reinforce that. Also, I'm considering actually typing the B key with my left index finger instead of my right. I'm still a bit uneasy with it; for some reason my left hand has always been uncomfortable with pulling the index finger down that far away, and yet my right hand has no issue with it even though they're the same distance for both. However, that's starting to come around too, with the shift for the C key. I still type the B with my right hand most of the time, and I still type number keys and symbols with whatever damn finger I want (there is no way my pinkies reach all the way up there without massive hand motion!), but I guess I'm getting closer to "proper" typing. Not that I need it to improve my speed; I can type anywhere from 70 to 85 wpm depending on how tired or addled I am, and how often I trip over my fingernails. :D

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

News Links Technical02:52 PM - Spyware remover users beware

As you might suspect, there are plenty of spyware detection and removal tools to be found on the net. As you also might suspect, there are plenty of false ones, which at the best merely suck at their job, and at the worst are adware/spyware themselves. Some of these even cost money, apparently.

The best combination I've found to work for me, which is completely free, is to have Ad-Aware and Spybot - Search & Destroy, both kept up to date. Each finds a few things the other doesn't, though of course there's lots of overlap.

So make sure you watch out for what you're using. The two I mention are absolutely bonafide good programs with no adware or spyware attached to them, and will find many of the fake ones for you. No matter what you use, make sure you keep it up to date with the latest definitions so that you won't miss anything new coming out.

(Of course, I haven't had much of an issue anyway. I don't use IE or OE, I don't download stuff willy-nilly and already know that things like CometCursor and Gator are Bad Mojo, I'm behind both a hardware firewall (router) and software firewall (ZoneAlarm), etc. But I still keep this stuff around and use it periodically anyway, just in case.)

Fun stuff01:49 PM - Kerry vs Bush "This Land is Your Land" parody

You've all probably seen this already, especially since it's made headline news on places like CNN, but I thought it was funny. It was made by the people at JibJab who apparently have a bunch of stuff but can only have the current animation served from their servers right now. It definitely got a chuckle out of me.

Of course, the copyright-holding music publisher of the Woody Guthrie song is pissed off and threatening to sue, alleging that it's damaging to the message of the song. Pfft, right. Of course, JibJab is saying that they come under the exclusion of fair use due to parody. Should be interesting to see what happens.

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This site11:31 AM - Current & Next Reading are back

I don't know what stopped working, but with some debugging help from the MovableType forums and further debugging on my own, I got the MTwair and MTList plugins to work together again (to flat-out work again). So, what I'm currently reading and going to read is working again. I'll add to the list of what's next up when I get home and get more titles to put through Amazon to find their ASINs.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Life07:54 PM - Vindicated

Doctor's office called after we got back. Turns out I was right to be confused. Turns out the sample had e. coli in it. So that explains disappearing and reappearing symptoms: I'd only had a "just in case" 3-day round of not really strong antibiotics, which I finished Sunday. So they called in Macrobid for me at Walgreens, which I should be able to pick up in an hour or so.

Yea, I'll finally get better.

Boo, it's a 7-day treatment, with no sex during that time.

Life07:52 PM - Poor Teddy

He suffers no more. He really was pretty bad when I got there. He wasn't really responding, wasn't purring, just lying there breathing slightly hard. He went quickly. I'm gonna miss him.

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Cats Life05:47 PM - *sniff*

My mom called while we were out for an early dinner.

Teddy, my parents' cat I've known since I was 10 when he was a kitten, and who is now nearly 17, is to that point. My parents are going to have him put to sleep tonight at 7 or so. :( He's been diabetic for over 2 years, possibly close to 3, and has become quite arthritic. Up until the last week or two he was fine, though thirsty and hungry all the time (he had to have special dry food, and looked very much forward to dinner when he was allowed "people" canned tuna or salmon). But recently he's been sleeping more and more, with the last few days just spent sleeping on the kitchen floor within easy reach of his food & water, only getting up to use the litterbox. Also, he has a really hard time getting around 'cause he's so tired and very obviously arthritic, and my mom's noticed his belly getting larger without the rest of him gaining any weight.

So... yeah. I'm gonna go over with J soon, and spend some time with him. Mom said he still purrs when he gets attention, so he's at least aware. It's just that he's getting to be in more discomfort, and they don't want to put him through waiting until he's really in pain. I'm going to be with him when he goes.

I can hardly stop crying. He's definitely a loved member of the family, and will be greatly, greatly missed.

Edit: Here are a few pictures of Teddy taken no more than 4 years ago.

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Life11:20 AM - What the hell?

Don't read if you don't want more female TMI...

What is wrong with me? Yesterday afternoon I was back to square one in terms of UTI-like symptoms, with one dose of gel to go. Plus, now I'm showing signs of a yeast infection. I already didn't understand how I could have bacterial vaginosis, be asymptomatic there but have UTI-like symptoms instead. I know, or at least I'm pretty damn sure, one can't have bacterial vaginosis and a year infection at the same time. An abundance of one means a lack of the other -- it's a balance. That's why the ob/gyn gave me a one-day yeast treatment to use following the gel, to keep the yeast from overflourishing. It's definitely doing that, since I took a closer look yesterday and I have the discharge starting (which you don't have with vaginosis). No itching yet thankfully.

However, I had to pee 5 or 6 times in the first couple hours I was home, it hurt, etc. And it hurts at the end again. Still does today. What. Gives? They said they'd call if the lab work on my urine came back with any bacteria, and they haven't called so I have to assume nothing turned up. But I'm. Having. Symptoms. Again. After I had my last treatment last night. Damnit! I have to assume the vaginosis (which was definitely there -- it showed up in a culture of a swab of the area) is gone, since the yeast is taking over.

So I should follow through as normal and go ahead with the yeast stuff I guess, to make that go away. However, I don't understand how I don't have something else going on (i.e. no UTI) yet I'm having the symptoms still.

I guess that means I'll be calling the doctor again. I should probably call them today, but I guess I'll wait until tomorrow after I've finished the treatments altogether. If I still have symptoms, then I'll call.

Monday, July 26, 2004

This site03:10 PM - New theme!

I just launched a new theme: Kittens. Click to change to it, or go to the change themes page to look at the description. (As the description says, this is not a very IE-friendly theme. If IE would play nice and follow standards properly, it would be.)

Life09:08 AM - Por favór?

You know you want a free iPod. It's callllling to youuuuu....

C'mon, help a sista out! :D

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Life05:22 PM - Try and get a free iPod, + health update

Found a forum thread today about getting a free iPod. Basically you pick a referral, then sign up (I created an email address under my website just for it, that I can nix later, which will roundfile any future mailings).

After that you must complete one free offer. Some of 'em suck, namely the AOL and AOL for Broadband deals, plus I've also read to stay from the offer as well (see the thread linked above for more info than you'll ever need to know, hehehe). One of them a lot of forumites are using, is the eBay one, in which you sign up with an account and place a bid that doesn't have to win, and can be on anything you please. I already have an eBay account and didn't feel like creating another, so I went with the PetCareRx one and got a bunch of cat toys ($20 min. to satisfy this requirement).

Then you need 5 people to use your referral link and be confirmed (I don't think they have to fit the requirements, just get confirmed via their email). I doubt I'll get it (though anyone reading this is more than welcome to click my referrer link, of course), but I figure it couldn't hurt. I'm always looking for cat toys to buy anyway, and the site seems to actually be legit rather than a pyramid scheme (you don't have to buy anything, for instance, the eBay option you don't even have to win the bid, so just bid on something with a really low bid you either want to buy, or know will be outbid anyway). If I don't get one, I'm not out anything -- the money I spent will get me products I chose for the cats. And they can spam the account all they want; if I haven't gotten it in a month or two, or have gotten it and it's been sent, I'll delete the email account (I used it to sign up for the Pet thing too), and voila! no more emails. :D

Uh... don't read the next section if you're not into woman-specific health TMI.

In other news, I went to the doctor today, and I actually don't (probably) have a UTI, though they did send the sample to the lab to confirm. I have a bacterial vaginal infection instead, which can produce much the same symptoms. I have a 3-day supply of antibiotic just in case their preliminary urine tests were wrong, a 5-day cream, plus they gave me a 1-day yeast infection cream for after, so I don't swing the other way in my flora. Yea for getting better soon. But, boo for another infection (where the hell did this one come from??) and for more creams. :( But, yea that this infection's symptoms are far milder than the last one. Heh, now I feel like that one Simpson's episode where they keep telling him one more detail at a time about some free offer, and it swings between Homer saying, "That's good" and "That's bad" to each one.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Life11:02 PM - *whiiiiine*

Gotta live up to the name of this thing some time...

My heels still hurt -- both of them, meaning I've managed to at least make the right one sore if not damaged. Plus, I'm almost 100% sure I'm getting my first ever UTI. Not having had one I can't be a full 100%, but... yeah, the symptoms are well known enough to be darn close. Damnit.

Anyone care to place bets on how often I have to get up tonight? We can make a game of it -- how many times does Kate have to pee between midnight and 5:30am? I'll keep track, and whoever gets closest gets virtual cookies. Yea!

Friday, July 16, 2004

This site09:16 AM - Well that was stupid. And sucked.

I'm trying to get pagination to work on my Guestbook, using MTPaginate on just my comments. I had a window open for that template, and a window open to my Funny Forwards template, since I'd gotten it to work there. To have a bigger window to edit in, I was actually editing the template in a text editor, then pasting it into the MovableType window and saving. I'd been having to revise over and over again, with nothing working (of course), when I did something really stupid.

Yep, you guessed it. I pasted the code I was working on for the guestbook, into my Funny Forwards template. Index template. And rebuilt. *facepalm*

Fortunately, it (a) wouldn't rebuild, because it was including an MT module that my Funny Forwards doesn't have, and (b) I hadn't deleted my old, regular template, so I wouldn't have to build it from the page source alone. Of course, that still meant remembering how I had figured out where I put all the Paginate tags to work right, how to set up the page navigation again (I got lazy so it's not 100% like it was, but close enough so I don't care), and how big a page to define (you can set it with the max # of sections, words, or bytes -- I had bytes, but couldn't remember how many to put, so I had to fiddle with it until it was generating the same pages as before).

Bleh. Talk about wasting an extra 15-20 minutes for sheer stupidity and inattentiveness. Ah well, at least I could fix it, so now back to trying to get my Guestbook paginated. *sigh*

Edit: And it worked! Finally. The edit I made that I'd pasted into my forwards template, was the one that finally fixed it. So all I had to do was take off the debugging flag and move a header, and all I've left is to format the navigation to my liking. Hurrah!

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

This site10:47 AM - New guestbook

I finally decided it was time to retire the old guestbook with all its heartsy goodness. Hearts aren't really my thing, even if cats are (I really need to do a cats theme, duh!). So I decided the time had finally come to find a way to integrate it into the rest of my site's main look.

At first I wrote one that did stuff exactly the same as the old one (well, except for improving on a couple of RegEx expressions that did HTML stripping from fields, etc.), and that was fine. However, I realized almost immediately (after I'd already done the work, of course) that it'd be easy to manage it in MovableType instead. The only things really lost were the cute little "... wrote nothing." I would put if someone left the comments field blank, and an optional title for the website URL. Now, instead of printing their name as a mailto: link to a very munged-to-hell version of the person's email (if entered), and then printing a URL link using the website title if given, I just print their name as a link to the URL they enter (if any). Plus, this way I get emailed every time a new entry is added, instead of having to rely on my remembering to check it every couple weeks to see if any spam for porn or prescription drug resellers was added. I'll know about it pretty fast, and can delete it faster.

I did have to write the guestbook-entry export, that would export an actual entry (just the page description, really) and all the entries as comments, with everything properly formatted the way MT needs it to be for import. But that was quite simple; just a matter of exporting the test blog to see what format I needed, and writing some quick PHP to recreate the guestbook entries in that format (not as posts, but as comments on a single post). And it'll be easier now to implement multiple pages, since the MTPaginate plugin is already installed (and I've used it, even, so I know about how it works).

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Life08:03 AM - Nice little saying I must share

Got this from a rant thread on the forums about the lack of (proper) turn signal usage:

As I always say, "Your signal light should predict the future, not be a damn history lesson!"

This is an absolutely great saying, and I vow to teach anyone and everyone I know about it. :D

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Web Quizzes01:39 PM - Design your own circles of hell

I didn't bother adding my own custom stuff to the list, so this is what I managed with the defaults:

Greens, Libertarians, Democrats
Circle I Limbo

Republicans, Creationists
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Gray Davis, George Bush
Circle IV Rolling Weights

The Pope
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

General asshats, Parents who bring squalling brats to R-rated movies
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

NAMBLA Members, Militant Vegans, PETA Members
Circle VII Burning Sands

Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

Qusay Hussein, Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

(And seriously, while I think it's a good move that the quiz creators are actually attempting CSS styling... yeah, they need to read up a bit more. If you want a 20 pixel margin, you need 20px, not 20. Even IE didn't render correctly what the code was asking for, because there were no px after size numbers. Oops.)

Monday, July 12, 2004

Life01:36 PM - On a more serious note (though not deadly serious)

We did end up buying the car at Lou Fusz, for $23K and them paying closing costs. We just put a grand down, 'cause 2K more would've made very little difference in both payments and overall interest. As the financing guy said, "Save it for the sales tax." And boy howdy, is that gonna cost a lot. The DMV has a sales tax estimator for where you live, and they estimated about $1500. So... yeah, ouch. On the upswing, the insurance isn't going to be as much. For starters, she put "preferred" status on our auto account for having homeowners, which gave us a $240 drop in just the policy we already had on our existing cars, and then between that and the new one having a car alarm it came down from the ~$1200 estimate to $986. Still more for that car than the other two combined, by $50, but it's a lot more manageable.

I seriously need to update my Resolutions page and my weight loss journal. I haven't since we left for our trip. I kept logs of about the first half of our trip, of everything I ate and did in terms of exercise, but I haven't done that much since then. I think this is the longest I've gone without updating the resolutions. So I'll probably start with the last week or so and then backfill a bit at a time.

Bleh. I also need to try and remember to go to the DoR office and get copies of my 2002 and 2003 property tax receipts for my car, so I don't have to spend a week trying to find them. I'd much rather get my plates taken care of at least a week before the end of the month, rather than wait in hour long lines at an inspection station, an emissions inspection station, and the DMV. Seeing as my plates expire at the end of this month, that doesn't give me a lot of time before the lines start getting long.

I'd also like for us to be able to get new cellphones, but I need to call a Verizon company rep (i.e. rep to where I work, since I got the plan that way with a discount for employees), to see if I can just go through the website, or if I have to go through them. We have had our phones long enough to qualify for free upgrades, or at least normal customers do, but I don't know if we have to do anything special since we didn't just sign up through a store or whatever.

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Web Quizzes08:46 AM - "Your love is" meme

Dunno about mysterious, but...

Your love is... by ChibiMarronchan
Your name is...
Your kiss is...mysterious
Your hugs are...warm
Your eyes...light up a day
Your touch is...heart warming
Your smell is...beautiful
Your smile is...entrancing
Your love is...everlasting
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Life09:30 AM - Cool caterpillar-to-cocoon-to-moth pics

Saw this link on the PvP forums (yes, it's SomethingAwful; no, it's not NSFW, nor is it a paid area). Very cool. It's the biggest caterpillar I think I've ever seen, and the resulting moth is just beautiful.

Web Quizzes09:17 AM - Memes like I promised

You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.

Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.

You are not to be messed with. You may explode.

A personality test of a different sort

Is maith liom bananai - 'I like bananas.' You're laid-back and you enjoy the simple things in life. Some might say you're a little too laid-back. Just what is it you're smoking, anyway?

Take the quiz: Which Random Irish Gaelic Phrase Are You?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Life10:04 AM - Quick car buying update

Just talked to J. Lou Fusz offered us $23K flat for the car, plus no covering any and all closing costs. Yea! So good news: I'm meeting him at LF this afternoon to sign stuff. Bad news: I have to tell the WG we changed our minds. (At least their FAX machine was down 'cause power's out, so they haven't even started buying the car.) Basically, I'll be giving him a line: Insurance plus whatever car payments plus our other obligations mean we can't afford a car that costs this much to insure; we're gonna start over and try and pick out a car that's a lot cheaper to insure. I hate doing it, and I wish J were making the call, but that's how it stands. And ya know? I shouldn't feel guilty saying No. I really shouldn't. I guess that was part of what I didn't like about being at WG -- they make you feel guilty for changing your mind. At LF I didn't feel anything but at ease. *le sigh* I think I'll wait for the insurance company to call me back first.

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Life09:40 AM - Super update (vacation, car buying, etc.)

I've been super lazy about updating any web-type stuff, so here goes with ze bigass update. Our anniversary vacation to Vermont was fantastic, relaxing, and any other positive adjectives you care to add. Oh, and y'all may think we're crazy: we drove 1860 miles in the rental car between Friday the 18th around noonish, to buttfuck early at arond 5am on Sunday the 27th when we returned the car (after gassing it the night before) to the airport rental car parking lot. That includes a trip to Portland, ME and back. (All times Eastern Daylight Time, of course.) The flights were small, and bloody early (we were up at 4:30 CDT to catch the plane out, and up at 4am EDT to catch the flight back). But everything else was pretty damn awesome. Note: New Hampshire seems to have a lot higher population, and hence a lot more traffic on those little state highways, than Vermont. So driving in Vermont is a lot more pleasant. That said, it was worth it to get to visit with my husband's parents, brother, grandmother, and an aunt & uncle in Maine when they stopped for dinner on their way to Nova Scotia.

Our anniversary itself was pretty sweet, though it was kinda rainy in the afternoon. But we got to see some awesome stuff that day. There was this amazing public library cum art museum that was huge! I mean, I could only dream of having a public library of that size. And the art museum/gallery area was neat too. They had a bunch of paintings all over the walls, plus a few little statues that were replicas (I suspect all the originals are in places like the Louvre). Then they had laminated 8.5x11" cards with a key to everything, and the guy there just told us where to start and which direction to walk in around the room (all the paintings and sculptures were numbered, but nothing was in numeric order, so the key cards were in order around the room, not by number). Amazing stuff. And we went out to dinner to a nice seafood restaurant that had all manner of good stuff on the menu. It was so hard to choose! I ended up getting the lobster ravioli -- whoever invented that should be given a medal. And we had a good local white wine, and dessert, and... yeah, it was wonderful.

I'm not promising pics this time, since I never got 'round to it last time, but I won't promise there won't be pics either. Though I may just upload 'em as a whole directory and link to that...

I could go on and on about our trip, but I do want to get to other things.

Now that we're back, it was decided J actually start doing his car-shopping research and get ready to test drive a car. We had an "extended test drive" of a 2004 Subaru Outback while we were in VT since it was a cheap upgrade from what we'd reserved (Subaru seems to be the state vehicle there, btw). So he had an idea between that and driving his parents' Forester of how a Subaru would drive, in general. However, he still was the most interested in an Impreza WRX, also 2004 if we could get it because it'd be cheaper, with bigger rebates, etc. since dealers are all making room for their 2005 models.

So J looked around at places like Kelly Blue Book and Motor Trend, plus of course Subaru's website. That way he could get all the details of what came standard, what options were, and an idea on price at least from what Invoice and MSRP were, and what incentives Subaru was offering.

Friday night I suggested to J that we go for a test drive, since most dealers are open late on Friday nights and it was threatening rain so there'd be less people out looking. So we went to Lou Fusz first, since they were closest. They had 5 2004s left. J said he was on the fence about getting a manual, since it'd been 6 years since he last drove one and had only ever driven one a half dozen times. On the other hand, getting an automatic added a grand to the price. But, they had one in silver, without the spoiler, with options he likes, in a stick. So, he test drove that. (This is after much sitting in the one they had in the showroom.)

He did quite well for someone who isn't really accomplished with driving a stick, and he also found that the clutch and transmission are very forgiving, adding to that. He only killed it twice: once first starting out, and once trying to pull away from a stop on a slight uphill. He kept worrying about it, and saying sorry when the shifting wasn't perfectly smooth, but the salesman was very encouraging and told him not to worry about it and that he was doing fine. :) And in the rain even. He even got to get into 4th gear once on Lindbergh, and he did well in downshifting, and even better when it was pointed out you have to add a little gas when downshifting, as opposed to getting off the gas that's done when upshifting. I was impressed.

Anyway, he really liked it. But, he said he wasn't 100% sure, and we wanted to check with the insurance company on how much more this was going to cost (going from liability-only on an 8-year-old, 170K mile Sable to comprehensive on a new, much higher HP car -- though with better safety features all around). So we left, got back really late, etc.

Saturday we went all the way down to the Webster Groves Subaru to see if they had any 2004s left. Over the phone beforehand, the guy on the phone guessed they had 3 or 4 still; when we got there, they had one. That's it. Silver, with options he didn't really care about, and in an automatic. Not what he wanted. However, the salesman (who was filling in for the guy who'd taken out call who was with another customer when we got there), said not to be hasty and to name a price and he'd search the several-state area for the price (after the $1500 rebate Subaru's offering on 2004 Imprezas) and bare minimum since they could always add options for as cheap as the raise in price to get the options straight-from-factory. He actually found one in Illinois somewhere in a manual, in silver, with options he'd already wanted (though with a spoiler; at least it's a little one and doesn't impair visibility too much).

At this point, he had us give him some info so they could get the ball rolling on buying it and bringing it here, assuring us the whole time that if the insurance is going to be too much or whatever, we can change our minds. I'm a little apprehensive about it, because the guy seemed so nervous and overeager to talk us into it, but I think we can back out as long as they haven't actually bought the car for us yet.

As I type, J should be over at Lou Fusz (they open at 9 and he wanted to get there a little before then), talking to a sales rep. Lou Fusz offered us $23,900 for the one J test drove. Webster Groves offered us $23,300 for the one they're bringing from IL, and it has slightly more options. He's going to see if he can get them down by $1K (or more if possible). He'd rather buy from LF because he felt a lot more comfortable with the sales staff there than WG (I can't blame him; I did too). If they do go lower we'll probably buy from them and cancel with WG. Otherwise we'll buy from WG.

Also, I just got done talking with our insurance company, and the picture ain't pretty. J's car is really cheap to insure right now, because it's on just liability and is a much older car in a much different class. I think altogether it's maybe $400 a year. Without a VIN number since we don't have one yet, based on having the car alarm option but just to insure it by itself, she said ... you better sit down ... $1200 a year. That's more than our cars currently cost together ($1178 is this year's price -- it just took effect, actually). I'm now waiting for her to run the numbers taking the multi-car and homeowners (we have that with them too) into account, to see how much a difference it'll make. But, damn... that's gonna bite.

Add to that, the guy at WG just called me right after I hung up with her. Their power and the whole area's power is out because of last night's storms (they were horrendous to listen to here, and it was worse there -- whole, old and big trees were friggin uprooted down there!). So he was calling me on his cell. Their fax machines are down, etc. He wanted to know when we'd get back with him, kinda worried that he won't be able to get hold of the place in (he just said) Springfield to buy the car ("It's the only one in the whole area like it."). I told him I was waiting to hear back from the insurance company, and needed to talk to J about the insurance hike (are we sure we want this car? and another one like it in a couple years?) but that we'd get back with him later today if at all possible.

*sigh* And we don't know how much our monthly finance payments are gonna be, either. We can probably get a low rate, and we can put about $4K down (I think -- that's so we'll still have a small buffer). But even so, we're still looking at a $19K or so loan. Hopefully we can go with a 5yr loan, to get smaller payments, but then pay extra whenever we can so we can pay it off early and save on interest. Even with a 5yr loan at <1% interest it'd probably be an over $400 payment a month. Plus you figure adding $100 or so a month to our monthly insurance bill, and you get a $500 jump in our monthly budget. I know we can handle it, but damn our savings is gonna grow a whole helluva lot slower. House payment + new car payment + total new insurance payment = almost half my monthly pay after taxes.

I definitely won't be buying a new car in another year. Maybe 2, probably 3 as long as the Toyota lasts that long.

We did go shoe shopping Saturday, before the Webster Groves visit. I got some new sneakers (New Balance walking shoes; gonna wear 'em both as everyday and walking on the treadmill), and a new pair of navy dress shoes. Damn, these inserts (for the heel spur) make it impossible to find dress shoes. And the brand the foot doctor recommended (it turns out, because the sole is removable so the insert is more likely to fit) isn't really doing dress shoes right now. Almost every single shoe I tried, either I couldn't fit the inserts in, or my heel came popping right out every step I took. I finally found some that were a sort of kid leather (super ultra flexible leather, on the thin side) that was very forgiving. I still need a heel grip on my right foot (apparently it's just a wee bit smaller) because it was popping out some, though not with every step, but I can actually make these work as long as I'm not trying to speedwalk in 'em. :) I still need a pair of black ones though. So that's on hold. Maybe a pair of light tan ones (for light colored stuff -- no, I don't want white shoes!), and some dark brown ones as well.

J got some running shoes while we were out, too. His everyday shoes were running shoes once-upon-a-time, but they've seen far too many miles for him to still run in them. He snagged a pair of Asics that he seemed to really like. He even ran 3 miles yesterday afternoon, with no complaints. He's hoping to get in enough shape to run a half marathon in September, so this should really help.

Next up: Meme catch-up.