Monthly Archives: November 2005

November 2005 Books

9 books, more comfort reading. Actually, mom ditched a bunch of McCaffery’s on me and I reread most of them before donating.

79. The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffery
80. The Ship Who Won by Anne McCaffery
81. The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
82. Mistress Pat by LM Montgomery
83. The Strength of the Hills by Elswyth Thane
84. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
85. Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
86. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie
87. Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield

The GEMS this month are definately Captain Blood and Diary of a Provincial Lady. Tellingly, they were written in 1922 and 1931, respectively. Classic!


this buying a new car thing is not so fun. this is one of the most frustrating per dollar experiences I’ve ever paid for, actually!

So, 2 weeks ago after my last pros/cons post, I went ahead and talked to a dealer. Actually, I called the dealer in Albany where I’ve ordered the civic hybrid (still coming in, and I still get the first one!) and left a message, and I emailed 2 local dealers through the Honda website. No one got back to me. So the next day I called Metro Honda in Jersey City where I’d test drove the insight, and spoke to Horatio who was pleased to order me a car. No joke. I explained my needs (manual transmission, silver, and by the end of the month because my inspection sticker is expiring and I DON’T want to have to tape my rust holes up). He told me 2 weeks, for sure, and he’d let me know exactly when that week. I filled out credit information, gave him a deposit, and went merrily on my way.

And he never called me back. I left him a Very Important Message last week before thanksgiving in light of my knee surgery, and he never called me back. I called him yesterday, and he said oh, that car I told you you could have was sold that day, and I can’t find you another silver one. Mid-December? um. I HAVE A HONDA CIVIC HYBRID COMING IN THEN. I don’t want it, but if it’s there and yours isn’t….

Seriously, yo. you’d think, if I showed up somewhere waving roughly $22,000 around people would jump to help me! especially because I know what I want and I’m not playing hard ball about it. Really, the only special treatment I am asking for is that the dealer get me the specialty agriculture license plates, because if I have to drive in NJ I’m driving a stick shift with funny plates and the best darn gas mileage I can swing.

in other gearhead news, does anyone think I need to worry about the electromagnetic fields in the insight?

Tax Deductions? I hardly know them!

I’m trying to figure out if I’m getting a 2005 or a 2006 hybrid insight. Of course, a very pity and entertaining post regarding the lengths to which I must travel to get the insight follows, but here’s the info I’ve found:

I talked to the IRS, because based on this table the 2006 insight isn’t eligible for the tax deduction (that’s ending this year). Vehicles that are eligible are:

Ford Escape Hybrid — Model Year 2006
Mercury Mariner Hybrid — Model Year 2006
Lexus RX 400h — Model Year 2006
Ford Escape Hybrid — Model Year 2005
Toyota Prius — Model Years 2001 through 2005
Toyota Highlander Hybrid — Model Year 2006
Honda Insight — Model Years 2000 through 2005
Honda Civic Hybrid — Model Years 2003 and 2005
Honda Accord Hybrid — Model Year 2005

AND, according to the UCS analysis of the 2005 energy bill 2006 insights aren’t yet accounted for in the new tax CREDIT system, either, though it does look like the manual insight will be a bust there entirely. Something about it only being a ULEV instead of a SULEV, I think. Something. Although, frankly, if you consider pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions for a ULEV that gets 65+ mpg and compare that to a hybrid pickup that gets 18 mpg and a $650 tax credit, it might not seem like a really valid way of awarding tax credits, regardless of the complicated formulas that pop out these results. I’m just saying.

So, anyway – the IRS said that the list is constantly in flux. They said that Honda had to apply for the tax credit/deduction, and that they had just added new information. So, I called Honda to find out if they’d applied. And they said they didn’t have any more information but that there was a process in place. And gave me a case number (because my stepmom is in the computer at Honda as the original purchaser still! creepy!) and I can call back and check.

it’s a crap shoot, I guess – I could really try to get the 2006 model and hope that I get a deduction, or I could get the 2005 and be sure of the deduction. After my tax bracket etc. we’re probably talking about $500, but hey. Just another thing to research obsessively on the internets, I guess. Anyway, this is all a moot point if I can’t get my new car on the road before the end of the year, because then I could revert to the exceptional civic hybrid tax credit, and actually save a bunch of money.

thanksgiving to-done

here’s the big news: I’m having knee surgery on thursday. Apparently, I don’t have an ACL in my left leg! so I’ll get a donor from a cadaver (early payback for my mom’s donation of her body to science!) and will take thursday and friday and most of next week off. Daddy-o will come pick me up after the surgery on thursday, and whisk me home to the land of stocked larders and cable tv. I am getting a prescription for narcotics in the mail, so I should be just fine. And next week I’ll come home and have my internets installed and sit and knit and go to the doctors and try not to have to drive. Theoretically, I don’t have to, because my town has such a great main street. Also theoretically, I’ll be able to use the NJ Transit Trip Planner to plot my moves. Apparently I can take 2 buses to the doctors office in Paramus. You know, if it comes to that.

See, my car is a stick shift and my clutch leg is being operated upon. so I won’t be able to drive my own car for a month+, estimated time. I’m hoping to swap cars with someone locally, and if that doesn’t work there’s the kind offer of Mariss to borrow the pittsburgh civic, and if that’s not feasible there’s always driving the camper van. so all I really need to figure out is: should I do short term disability? how likely is it that I’ll be able to work 40 hour weeks from home ? should I take the train to mahwah and have someone pick me up? apparently, that option is WAY easier (and cheaper!) than traveling to edison for work.

Anyway, because of my imminent crutching around, I cleaned up my apartment. Yes! it’s brilliant. not totally cleaned or unpacked, but it looks GOOD. I even started to hang things on the walls! and I feel so great about slowly getting everything in order. I can’t wait to have a dinner party and serve ridiculously elaborate dishes and lots of dessert. I still have to paint my bedroom and sort out all the boxes in there, and find homes for all of my craft stuff (naturally) but it is coming along, coming along.

weekend chores

well, I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to. but I did make a big dent!

* paint at least one room, either hall or bedroom. Bedroom would be better, but hall would be faster. sigh.I finished the hall way! yay. it looks awesome. I took a photo, but won’t be able to post until tomorrow.
* clean the living room. Could absolutely complete this task if I painted my bedroom. Argh, priorities! Um, not so much. I did put SOME things away, but generally I just moved things around.
* mail some stuff to some special people. not so much again. but tomorrow, for real! at least by wednesday!
* go to the library and return/pick up things. yeeeah. see also above.
* drive plants and things to michelle’s house on long island. visit. Done! I had a lovely time with michelle and her family, they are beautiful and kind people.
* pre-drive, make a yummy chocolate cake (or two). I didn’t do this, but I did bring cupcakes to long island. it’s the thought that counts, right?
* finish off then bathroom, kitchen, and closet lists. This will involve shelving and wood cutting. hop to. Also, make a BIG dent on the hall list. HA HA HA! not so much. but I plan to take the wood cutting to albany with me this weekend, so hopefully it will be a piece of cake to knock out after thanksgiving.
* make stuffed squash for the company thanksgiving feast on monday. Did this after I got home from long island. the squashes came out brilliant, even though stop and shop doesn’t carry hazelnuts, apparently, so I had to use almonds instead. I’m in the feasting office today waiting for lunch to be served up, and I can’ t wait. I love potlucks. they’re so fun, I love getting lots of little bits of different kinds of food for the eating. LOVE IT.

weekend! whoot!

I need to get cracking on my poor apartment this weekend. Luckily, I have some lists to help me out. So this is what I REALLY want to do this weekend:

* paint at least one room, either hall or bedroom. Bedroom would be better, but hall would be faster. sigh.
* clean the living room. Could absolutely complete this task if I painted my bedroom. Argh, priorities!
* mail some stuff to some special people.
* go to the library and return/pick up things.
* drive plants and things to michelle’s house on long island. visit.
* pre-drive, make a yummy chocolate cake (or two).
* finish off then bathroom, kitchen, and closet lists. This will involve shelving and wood cutting. hop to. Also, make a BIG dent on the hall list.
to do lists lists - bathroom
lists - little closet lists - hall
* make stuffed squash for the company thanksgiving feast on monday.

um… is that IT? gosh. you know, I am really not LOOKING FORWARD to this level of effort, but I do know that if I get the living room clean and something painted and start to hang up things like the shelf that’s been on my bathroom floor since May, well, I’ll be in a better place. Especially with the hectic holiday season coming up. Besides, I told myself I couldn’t open my NEW SPINNING WHEEL until the living room is clean! So I’d better!

new car… for realz?

I just spoke to a fellow at metro honda who will get me a 2006 honda insight in 2 weeks for $21K.

WHEW. I know, I’ve been talking about this for a long time. But now that I’m getting close to dropping thousands of dollars on a car, well, I am seriously nervous about it! Car payments are scary, NJ insurance premiums are scary, and my little car still works really good. In fine karinajean fashion, I should probably make a list of why I need to get this new car.

1. I already have a mpg sticker for the insight.
2. there are rust holes so large on my car that I can stick my whole hand into the fender
3. similarly, the windshield is broken, and because the frame around the windshield is so rusty it will require a lot of extra caulking.
4. the speedometer doesn’t work. which isn’t a big deal, because
5. the dash lights don’t work.
6. the AC has never worked, as far as I know.
7. During my last flat tire repair (last week!) they cut the rattly heat shield off, and now the car sounds a lot more, well, old and rumbly.
8. When it rains my feet get wet. see also #2.
9. the rims are so dented that if I don’t have a skilled tire technician replace flats I have to reinflate my tires every few days.
10. the bumper is coming off, and the tape just isn’t cutting it anymore.

But it STILL RUNS. gosh. I don’t know. It’s so hard to deal this change in attitude, this getting rid of a car that still works! my stepsister told me that maybe I had a different definition of what “still works” means than other people, but is that such a bad thing?

The reasons why I should go ahead and get this new car are:
1. my car probably won’t pass inspection b/c of body damage, and it’s required at the end of the month.
2. it will be really easy to switch to NJ license/registration/insurance if I buy a new car in NJ.
3. I’ll get the big tax deduction ($2K) for the insight if I buy one this year before it’s replaced with the weird tax credit plan next year, for which the manual insight is apparently not eligible. yikes!
4. I have wanted a hybrid car for years, ever since they first came out. I can’t underestimate the street cred of getting 65 mpg, especially when I’m reconciling a NJ driving life style.
5. If I get this car now, at my leisure, I’ll get what I want. If I don’t, and wait to get a new car for mine to break, I might have to settle.

I guess that’s good enough. ARGH, car loan debt. ARGH, insurance payments with a car loan. Sigh.

secret superpowers

y’all might not know, but I have an uncanny knack of chatting up clients and subcontractors. Seriously. I have gotten EVERYONE’s PE exam story, I learn about favorite vacation spots and what people’s wives do for a living and also personal political philosophies. Between this and my knack of non sequitur, I guess at least the client is left equating MyCompany with Friendly Conversation. And best of all, one of our contractors sent us a couple of reports today and tied them up with pink marking tape. I heart them. It was such a nice surprise!


crafty present

for our surreal 6-yr anniversary, I gifted mr. matt with something he can REALLY use:

a foosball bowling-style shirt!


the back of the shirt (I printed out a b&w copy of a photoI’d taken earlier):


and a detail of the pocket:


here’s my Dear, with bug eyes and a curled mustache. This guy seriously needs to start waxing those handlebars!

scary matt

birthday shindiggery

oh, yes. We had a lovely time at mariss’ 30th birthday party. almost as much time as the birthday boy, I hope! I have some poor pictures here, and koray was the unofficial photodocumenter with photographs here.


pittsburgh was brilliant this weekend: it was wooing me back there. it was warm and leafy, and the colors were spectacular, and I still remember how to get places, and my CMU and nonCMU friends were warm and (in some cases really above and beyond) welcoming and happy and fun. Oh, Pittsburgh, you ARE the best place ever.