Just like riding a bike

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, August 24, 2016 9:31 PM

Kevin took the motorcycle out today. First time since July 4. That’s an unusually long time between rides for him. He loves his motorcycle, this one more than any of the others. Ever since that fateful Sunday I came home from dropping movies at Blockbuster and sat next to a couple on a bike at a stoplight on Agoura Road, he’s been back into motorcycles. I say “back into” because he evidently had a bike when he got out of college. I think he got rid of it when he got married the first time; I know he hadn’t had one for a long time. I think we went to look at motorcycles that day. We had our first bike by the following Friday. A Suzuki Intruder 800. 

Within six months, we’d upgraded to a 1500. It was a beautiful bike but not very comfortable for the passenger also known as me. Within about a year and a half, we sold that and bought our big Kaw (pronounced “cow”). A Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad 1500 chipped. So it was fast. It was also built for two. Whereas the big Suzook had a seat on the back, it always seemed like an afterthought. This new bike had floor boards from the driver and the passenger. Big saddlebags, a backrest for the passenger also known as me. We put white wall tires on it and it was gorgeous. Black metallic paint, lots of chrome. How we loved that bike. 

But once we moved, we knew we’d have to sell it. The roads here are atrocious and the ride was just too rough. It took all the fun out of cruising.

Enter the car on two-wheels. The love of Kevin’s motorcycle life. His favorite bike ever. The beloved Honda Goldwing 1800. This thing is amazing. It’s a touring bike versus a cruiser so it’s cushy, built for long rides. It has six cylinders, a tremendous amount of power. A six-CD changer, an AM/FM radio, an AUX hookup for an iPod. There are four speakers. It has a trunk to go with the two side pods. If we wanted, there is space for a trailer hitch and we could pull a small trailer. It has cruise control. The only thing it doesn’t have is air conditioning. 

We used to go out fairly regularly but since we moved, we don’t. Whereas our weekends used to consist of hopping on the bike to go to Ojai, usually for gas, our new weekend adventures consisted of driving to tile stores and hardware stores and paint stores. We needed a bigger trunk. Plus the no AC thing in the summer made it less enjoyable. 

Since we moved into our house, the weekends often consist of weekend things. Working outside, working inside. Socializing. And the bike sits in the garage, getting dusty, looking sad. I was looking at it the other day and I mentioned to Kevin that it had been a long time. I was feeling nostalgic. I was wanting a ride. 

We decided that over Labor Day weekend, we’d take a day, drive up to Apache Junction, have lunch, then wind our way back. 

Today, Kevin had to run some errands. 

“Which car are you taking?” I asked since we currently have three. 

“Not,” he said. “Taking the bike.” Then he grinned. “I just hope I can remember how to drive it.”

Whenever he goes out on the motorcycle without me, I’m adamant that he call or text me when he arrives at his destination, and again when he’s leaving to head home. Then I have an idea when to expect him. That way, if the time goes too long, I know to worry. 

He got to his destination. I got my text: “I remembered.”

“Just like riding a bike.” I texted back.

Anniversaries and stuff

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, August 23, 2016 9:07 PM

Three years ago today, we changed our lives. Again. We had of course, changed our lives previously when we met, and then again when we moved in together. We changed them when we got a dog and bought a house. We changed them when we got married. One of the ways we were able to remember the sequence of events was that we had Maguire, we grew out of the townhouse, we bought the Oak Park house, we got engaged, and a year and a month after moving into the house, we got married. Maguire, house, wedding.

We got Maguire in February 1997, the house was August – we moved in the night Princess Diana was killed in Paris. We got engaged on my birthday of that year, and married on September 26, 1998. Justin started high school in 2005, and graduated in 2009. We moved him to the University of Arizona on August 21, 2009 and he started classes on Monday the 24th. 

On Saturday, August 22, we fell in love with the town that would eventually lead to us changing our lives again. On May 10, 2010, we bought 3.8 acres of hillside property on the Northeast side of Tucson with the resolve to eventually build a house. It was our dream.

While Justin was in school, we lived our California lives. We lost our precious Maguire on March 6, 2012. We got Cooper on October 26, 2012. We visited family, we had friends over to the house often. We hired an architect who designed our dream house. Justin was supposed to graduate in May of 2013 but he transferred schools and had to take an extra semester. Still, 2013 was the year. 

For a long time, we convinced ourselves that we would never really be able to move; we weren’t even sure we wanted to. We were sure we had nearly 4 acres of beautiful property that we would never actually use. I asked Kevin once if he thought we’d ever build the house, ever move. His one word answer: No. 

I never asked again because I didn’t want it to be true. I also didn’t want to have spent the money on something we gave up on. 

Finally, we made the decision. We wouldn’t have any more tuition bills after August. It was time. We sold the house in Oak Park, we packed everything up and on Thursday, August 22, the movers came. We were up all night, literally, and at 6:45 the next morning, we left. Kevin was driving a U-Haul and towing the Porsche. I was driving the Range Rover, loaded to the roof. I couldn’t see out of the back window. Cooper was curled up on the front seat next to me. We had to beat the movers who were also driving on Friday in order to meet us at our rental house in Tucson. It was one of the worst experiences we have had as a couple. No sleep, a 10-hour drive across the desert. In August. 

August 23, 2013. Three years ago. 

The Michels, August 24, 2013. And our jam-packed U-Haul.

But it was the start of our greatest adventure, our new lives, and so along with our other anniversaries, we celebrate it. We celebrate this day. We remember with horror our lack of sleep and the drive. We remember arriving at the rental in 100º weather to find that the landlords had left us wine (red and white), crackers and cheese. We remember thinking maybe this might work out after all. I think it has.

Happy Anniversary to us. And stuff.

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live out loud

Riley on Ice and Fresh blue Wubba

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 20, 2016 8:47 PM

Riley’s favorite toy is Wubba. His love affair with the octopus-like creature started the night he came to live with us. We welcomed him at the front door. He was skittish at first but seemed to take to us quickly, especially Kevin who remains his favorite dad ever. We took him around the house, introducing him to his new home, showing him where his water and food bowls were, where his bed was. Then we turned him loose to let him explore on his own. He disappeared into our room. He was gone for a few minutes, and then he came running down the hall with a Wubba in his mouth. That Wubba had been Cooper’s, but that night, Riley made it his own. He has been through approximately five Wubba’s in the year and a half since. 

It is a remarkably resilient and tough toy. There is a large ball, topped with a smaller ball, and four long tentacles. The one Cooper had was covered with faux fur and had a little face on it. It was cute Wubba. But Cooper was older and more refined when it came to his toys. While they all eventually got destroyed, it took a while. Not so with Riley. 

Riley can destroy just about anything within a half hour. Except Wubba. Wubba tends to last a couple of months, perhaps because of the tough canvas-covered Wubba’s we now buy. During those months, there are still hints of impending death. The tentacles begins to fray, the fabric covering Wubba’s other body parts becomes thin. Threads appear. 

But Wubba soldiers on.

I always keep a spare Wubba in the pantry, for when the current Wubba dies valiantly. Such was the case over the past few days when blue Wubba was unleashed into the house. Blue Wubba is so-called for obvious reasons. For less obvious reasons, Kevin has taken to calling the toy Fresh-blue Wubba. I suspect this is because the water and food bowls we have are dark blue and when there’s water in the water bowl, it looks fresh and inviting. We’ve had these particular dog bowls since Maguire. And whenever we’d fill the water bowl with cool water, Kevin would always make a big deal of telling Maguire: “There’s fresh-blue water in your bowl, sweetie.” Maguire, for his part, would usually just stretch, roll over and go back to sleep.

Riley races around the house with Wubba. He grabs one or more of the tentacles and whips it around so that the rest of the toy bounces off of his back. We call this “opus dei puppy.” It’s a fun game, one that he plays by himself daily. 

Today, Fresh-blue Wubba was in the living room. Riley was racing around on the walkway that runs the entire length of the house, something we call the most expensive indoor dog run ever. He was spinning around, air snapping, wanting to play. This is usually cause for Kevin to say: “Get a guy!” 

Riley, like many young dogs and golden retrievers in particular, needs a job. He needs to be busy. Guys, which is what Kevin calls his toys, keep him busy. Here was the conversation:

Kevin: Get. A. Guy. 

Riley: (air snap) 

Kevin: Where’s Wubba? Get Fresh-blue Wubba.

Riley: (air snap; spin) 

Kevin: Get Wubba!!!! 

Riley: (air snap; spin; air snap) 

Then he bounded down the two steps, racing toward Fresh-blue Wubba, ready to pounce and grab and engage in some opus dei puppy. He hit the brakes as he grabbed his toy but lost his footing – feeting? – and wiped out, sliding across the tile like it was ice, Wubba nudged up and now flying through the air. The dog turned to look at us as Wubba crashed down on the couch table. 

Riley: (air snap) 

Kevin turned to me: And that is what we call Riley on ice.


Date night

by Lorin Michel Thursday, August 18, 2016 9:52 PM

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, we instituted date night. I think it happened over one particular summer when Justin was little and we spent much of our time shuttling him back and forth to camp and to friends and having his buddies over for sleepovers. We wanted to make sure that we had time for just the two of us, at least once a week. We started going out to dinner on Friday nights, and did so for years. It became a ritual, something to look forward to. And we did. 

When the economy crashed in 2008 we stopped going to dinner because it was too expensive, but we didn’t stop date night. Instead, we started going out on Thursday nights. We had discovered a wine tasting place in Thousand Oaks called The Wineyard. It was a renovated Taco Bell building right on Thousand Oaks boulevard. On Thursdays they invited winemakers from wineries all over the state to come and pour and share their stories. We were introduced to some phenomenal wines that way, and we loved it. There was a regular crowd there on Thursdays and we all got to know one another. It was like a big cocktail party every week that only served wine. 

Then we moved and it became a quest to find some place, any place where we could go on Thursday nights to taste wine. Tucson is not a big tasting town. They’re not as into wine here as other cities, perhaps because it’s not a big town period. We’ve gradually found a couple of places we like to go but none of them are tasting places. They’re usually restaurants that happen to have a nice bar and a good wine list. It works and besides, we pacify ourselves with the knowledge that even if we were still in Oak Park, we wouldn’t have the Wineyard anymore. They closed not too long after we left. We don’t think there was any connection. 

I am a big advocate of couples taking the time to just be together, to get away from the daily routine and grind of that thing we lovingly refer to as life. Kids take a lot of attention and time, rightly so. But if all of your time is devoted to them, I don’t think you’re showing them what a good relationship should look like. You’re showing them drudgery. If kids see that their parents take time for themselves, and do it regularly, then I believe you’re showing them that that is what real life should be. Everybody gets time because it’s important. 

I also believe that if you don’t take time together, once the kids grow and leave – and they will and should do both – then you’ll be left looking at each other blankly. Who are you? What did I ever see in you? Do we even have anything in common anymore? I think that’s a bit of what happened with my own parents. My mom devoted most of her time to raising me and my siblings, and she did so willingly, happily. I think she wanted to be the kind of mother that her own mother wasn’t. But all three of us did what kids do. We grew up. The daily purpose of her life moved out, and she and my dad realized that there wasn’t anything there anymore. They got divorced. 

Kevin and I have been very cognizant of having quality time together. We spend every day together, of course, but that’s different. I’m talking about putting on nicer clothes, and driving somewhere, sitting in a restaurant or bar or a restaurant’s bar, and having a glass of wine, maybe an appetizer. We talk. We laugh. We don’t check mail every two minutes; we don’t look at breaking news. We just be together. And it’s lovely.

Tonight is date night. We’re going to a place called Caffe Torino to have a glass of wine and an appetizer. We’ll wear nicer clothes, I’ll even put on some makeup. We’ll only be gone an hour and a half or so, but it will be enough. And it’s always worth celebrating.

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live out loud

The trimmer

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, August 16, 2016 9:46 PM

My husband is such a girl. I say that with a great deal of love. Also completely tongue-in-cheek. He bought a sewing machine today and he’s very excited. It’s an old Singer, made back in 1947. It was on Craig’s List for $75. Yesterday, he contacted the woman who listed it, an older woman named Mercy who has owned the machine since she was 11. She doesn’t sew anymore so rather than have it end up in landfill, she decided to sell it. She listed it two months ago. Today, she sold it.

About three weeks or so ago, as regular readers may remember, the husband unit flew to California to buy a 1992 Range Rover Classic. He loved the truck, even though it needed a bit of work. Cosmetically it looks pretty good. It was recently painted. There are a few dents but for a truck that age, and for the cost, the issues are negligent. The motor is strong. It drives very well. It has all of its parts. (You’d be amazed at how many Classics, as well as other types of cars and trucks, are for sale out there that don’t have everything they came with, even if those ‘everythings’ are cracked or broken, or not working.) 

But the seats are pretty rough. The original leather was called Sorell and it was quite beautiful. But too many years of use and probably neglect have left it ripped and worn. We put seat covers on both front seats as well as the bench in the back and that helps make everything neater, less old. But they’re cheap covers, not made specifically for the seat but rather for “most SUVs.” They work. But they are a band-aid. 

About a week and a half ago, Kevin decided that maybe redoing the seats was something he’d do sooner rather than later. He called an auto upholstery place down on Speedway, and they gave him a rough estimate over the phone. Probably several hundred dollars for each. I thought that sounded reasonable, considering the shape the seats are in. 

Kevin is frugal. Some might say cheap, but not me. He doesn’t like to spend unnecessary money, which I completely understand. But this, to me, didn’t fall under the unnecessary category. The other issue, to his credit, is that he’s very handy. Not only that, he’s very good at being handy. In many cases, he can make things as well if not better than what he could buy. It’s a bit like I am when it comes to cooking. I can see something in a magazine or online, taste something in a restaurant, and figure out how to make it. 

So he decided to redo his seats himself. He started doing research, started reading, taking notes, deciding what he needed to do, what he needed to buy in terms of a machine. He ordered samples of faux leather from a place in Minnesota. They came yesterday. He started looking at Craig’s List. Today, he found his Singer.

“So you’re going to be a seamstress?” I asked, teasing. 

“It’s called a trimmer,” he replied with a smile. His research has already taught him that. 

So my husband, the handy man, is going to take up sewing in order to make his new old truck some new seat covers. He’ll measure and cut, and then he’ll sew. And I have absolutely no doubt that whatever he makes will be phenomenal. It’s what trimmers do.

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live out loud

A theory on being social

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 13, 2016 7:37 PM

“Look at you being social!” That was the text I got from my sister a couple of weeks ago. She had asked me what we were doing for the weekend and we had plans to meet another couple for dinner on that Saturday night. A week later, we did it again, meeting some other friends. Then last weekend. And now this weekend. To which my sister can only text: “Again? Wow!” 

I am not a social creature by nature. I like my people-time limited, or at least I used to. I was perfectly content in California to have Roy and Bobbi come on Friday nights for Fritini. Sometimes Diane would join us; occasionally, when he was in town, Gene would, too. On rare occasions, we had another join us as well. We would sit on the patio, drink martinis and eventually uncork a bottle of wine and then another as we had dinner. Knowing that we had Fritini and knowing that Roy and Bobbi would be there nearly every Friday was all the social I needed. It became the punctuation at the end of the week. No matter what had transpired, good, bad or otherwise, Friday we could relax and talk and share and bitch and moan. We could all be together. 

Then we moved. And my people-time became nearly non-existent. I didn’t realize how much those Fridays truly meant until we didn’t have them anymore. I knew I would miss them; I just didn’t know how much. Suddenly, here we were, in a town that we love but where we didn’t know anyone. It became very important for me to find a way to meet people; to make friends. 

Diane always says you can’t make old friends and she’s absolutely right. It’s impossible to have new people in your life who know all of the history that the ones who have been around longest know. And still want to be in your life.

I do believe, though, that you can make new friends and begin a new journey. You still have the friends you’ve had forever; you still talk to them; still consider them family; the best friends. New friends are the new friends that might someday also become old friends.  

I realized after we’d been here a year or so that much like dating, making new friends has to be an organic experience. It just has to happen. It can’t be planned. It can only be a lovely surprise. Once I came to that realization, we started making more friends. We have new friends who are moving here from Chicago. I have several girlfriends that I meet for lunch or a glass of wine every once in a while, one I knew back in high school, another that I met when I took a pottery class, another who is in the dog rescue group that brought us Riley. We have become friends with the woman who was our real estate agent a long time ago. She and her husband are wonderful and we have so much fun with them. And we’ve become social with several of the couples who live here in our neighborhood. One of them is coming for dinner tonight.

So here’s my theory. When you have friends that you see regularly, you take that for granted. Because it’s easy and always fun. Because they’re there. And when they’re not, you realize how much having people to share an evening with, to share a meal with, a bottle or two of wine with, means. I think that’s why we’ve suddenly become social. Because people are better than no people. 

I’m enjoying our newfound social status, tremendously. I’m enjoying our new friends, and look forward to them becoming old friends. Roy and Bobbi and Diane and Gene remain our dearest friends, always, but I now know that, like jello, there is always room for more.

“Look at you being social again!” my sister tested yesterday. I am and we are. And we’re loving every minute of it.

We have a cactus down

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 13, 2016 12:00 AM

One of the things Kevin likes to do most is work in his yard. Of course, living in the middle of the Sonoran desert, the word “yard” is relative. We have no grass save for the hideous weed buffelgrass which can take over the world. It’s tall and green, especially after all of the rain we’ve received in the last two weeks, but it’s weak and we are in the process of destroying it, both on our property and in the entire development. Kevin has been working diligently the last few Saturday mornings, digging out clumps of buffel in order to clear it away from the rip rap below the house. There is much more to do and eventually we’ll have to hire someone. He’s just not up to removing buffelgrass from nearly four acres. 

He loves to work with all of the natural rock we have here. Called Catalina Gneiss, it’s a form of southwestern granite. The house is built on it. It surrounds us, to one extent or another, and we love it. It was one of the things we loved most about the property when we first bought it. Yes, it can be difficult because building on a mountain can require a lot of hammering, something our soon-to-be neighbors below found out when they spent nearly four months and double their initial hammering budget hammering out a buildable pad. 

Kevin uses the plentiful rock to create swales, rock ditches to help manage the flow of water. When it rains here, it is rarely nice. It’s often a violent, angry rain that dumps enormous amounts of water on us in a very short period of time. It pounds us from the sky and rushes down on us from the hillside above. We had some drainage when we moved in; it wasn’t enough. So he has been building up our rock-swales to divert the water away from and around the house. He’s done a remarkable job. 

On Saturday mornings, he gets up and puts on his work pants, heavy canvas to make the possibility of getting “bit” by all the many creatures and plants here less possible. He puts on a long-sleeve white t-shirt that long ago ceased being white. Steel-toed work boots. A hat. Heavy-duty gloves. And outside he goes for several hours. He sweats. He consumes large amounts of water. He strains his muscles. He loves every single minute of it. 

It’s his yard. He loves every aspect of it, too. 

Whether he’s rocking or buffeling, he is always mindful of the creatures, not seeking to disturb or harm any (except for maybe wasps, which let’s face it, must be destroyed). He is equally mindful of the various species of cactus that populate Southern Arizona’s Sonoran desert and thus our property. When someone who was attempting to put in the beginnings of a road above us, a project that has since been abandoned for its obvious folly, the guy flattened several ocotillos and prickly pears. Kevin grabbed them and replanted them on our property. Most if not all took and are now thriving. He had to move a tree once. He built a rock planter for it, and replanted that, too. And it is growing once again, lush and thick. He loves these plants, perhaps none more than the towering saguaros, the cactus synonymous with this area. The house being built below us had to remove several saguaros, and they hired professional saguaro removal teams. It’s a thing here. They’re protected. They can’t just be pushed aside. They have to either be moved or replanted, which is easier when they’re smaller. The 20, 30, 40 or 50 foot saguaros are almost impossible to move. 

When we built, we purposely built around several saguaros, taking them into account with the design of the house. We have three in the center of the driveway, one of which is at least 20 feet high if not taller. We also have a number that we built the lower rip rap around. They rise up so close to the house, right off the deck, that you can touch them. 

And yesterday, we lost one. I had gone into Kevin’s office in the afternoon for a reason that currently escapes me. I was looking out the French door that leads to his portion of the deck and something caught my eye. At first I wasn’t even sure what I was seeing. My brain couldn’t comprehend. I just knew that what I was seeing wasn’t right. In fact, it was very wrong. Oh. My. God. I said as I opened the door and stepped outside. 

One of our precious saguaros, the one that has been right outside the guest room, had fallen down into the desert, snapping at its base, taking its massive height and several spires (arms) down with it. We have no idea what happened and Kevin is beside himself. He loves these majestic plants.

So we have a cactus down. Our first one since we started building in December of 2013. We have pacified ourselves with the fact that even in the cactus world, there is a circle of life. This one has come to an end, but we will plant something in its place, and hopefully it too will grow and thrive. And reach for the sky.

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live out loud

Learning to exhale

by Lorin Michel Monday, August 8, 2016 10:01 PM

In the 1980s, Los Angeles was alive, vibrant. The music scene was the best it had been since the Whiskey a Go Go and Jim Morrison’s Doors took the city and the world by storm in the late 1960s. Some of the most famous restaurants in the world were serving customers at all hours, including Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s famous haunt up and behind Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard. The Marlboro Man billboard still stood stories high, also on Sunset; smoking was still allowed in restaurants and bars. 

Always a car culture, the freeways bulged and the beach overflowed. Surfers surfed, artists made art, the city was teeming with youth and energy. There was also a lot of crime, crack and dirty grit. Downtown was mostly a disaster, but the West Side, Beverly Hills, and the Strip were happening. The weather was great, the atmosphere welcoming. It was the coolest place in the country to live. This is the LA that I moved to in 1986. I always felt so cool telling people back east, people I went to school with, people I’d just run into in the grocery store when I visited, that I lived in LA. It was glamorous, even if I wasn’t. All the beautiful people people lived in LA. It made me beautiful by proximity. 

I lived in Los Angeles for 27 years, the longest I ever lived anywhere in my life. It was very good to me. I started my career there, I made my closest friends there, I met my husband there. There was where my own family was created. 

Somewhere along the way, the city lost some of its shine. I think it happened when I started to get older. Like I said, LA is a young-town, obsessed with youth. If you’re not young, you don’t have a lot to offer. If you don’t have a lot of money and you’re not young, you definitely don’t have a lot to offer. I wasn’t and I didn’t. It started to become harder. The traffic was so bad that we never went anywhere. It became almost suffocating. We had the ability and the means, and so we left. We’ve been less stressed ever since. We’ve been able to exhale. 

I spoke with my friend Diane today, about this concept of exhaling. She and Gene had a similar reaction to Los Angeles, also having been there in its glory days. The city sparkled and glistened. Gene was a musician; Diane worked in a recording studio. They were the definition of LA. But they, too, grew older, and the city stubbornly refused to grow with them. With us. They, too, left, moving to Oregon. 

The weight of the city has been lifted from us. Suddenly, we don’t have to compete to be the youngest and the hippest. Now, we’re free to simply be the ones with the best lives. We have homes with yards or in our case, land. We’re making friends. We’re working but we’re less stressed about it all; about life.

We’ve learned to breathe, to enjoy, to live it out loud. 

We’ve learned to exhale.

From the what the hell is wrong with us file

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 6, 2016 8:02 PM

Kevin and I are strange people. Those who know us best would concur and are probably nodding their heads in agreement. The ways in which we're strange are numerous but for the purpose of this post, I'm going to stick with one.

We detail our own cars.

We spent the better part of five hours working on the Range Rover Sport today. This after spending the better part of last Saturday working on the Porsche and the new old truck, the Range Rover Classic. Those two vehicles looked great after we were done. The Classic was in desperate need of some love. The paint is pretty good and the guy Kevin bought it from had clay-barred it about three months ago. It still feels silky. But there were water spots along the passenger side and the interior was a disaster.

The Porsche is going to be sold. That makes me very sad but it's just not logical to keep it. We don't drive it very much. Kevin needed a truck and I have the current love of my automotive life: the Sport.

Once upon a time, I was a sports car person. Hence the Porsche, my second one. But as I've gotten older I find that I really like an SUV. It's not practical, though neither is the Porsche. But I like sitting up high rather than down on the road; I like the ride. And since we don't drive that much, I don't even mind the gas mileage.

After last week, when the two other cars got so much attention, I heard the Sport muttering under its breath the other day, a hiss coming out of the front grill. It sounded something like "what am I, the red-haired stepchild?"

Now first of all, that's an insult to red heads and step children everywhere, never mind that the Sport is actually red. Very red.

And second of all, I assured it, we had a whole day of spa treatments lined up for today.

Ordinary people would take the car to a detail shop in much the same way that ordinary people hire cleaning people to clean their 3700 square feet of house.

Did I mention that we're strange?

The fact is, I did look at taking the car to a detail shop. But I didn't know anything about any of them, other than Yelp and Google reviews. And the Sport, as previously stated, is my big red baby. I didn't want to take any chances handing it over to a stranger. That was all the incentive my husband needed. Off to the auto parts store he went. He came home with clay bars and liquid wax, both from Meguiars,  and a packet of microfiber towels.

This morning, I washed the wheels, then we washed the car. Easy enough. I put it back into the garage and we got to work. Kevin working the clay bar over the entirety of the paint, no easy task because the thing is a monster. I followed behind, applying wax, allowing it to dry, and then buffing it out.

We then applied armor-all to the tires, and the rubber trim. We detailed the interior, wiping down the leather, the doors, the dash. Kevin vacuumed; I did the windows. Five or so hours later, we were done. And exhausted.

Ordinary people don't do this. Ordinary people hire other people. Ordinary people spend their Saturday's going to the movies or out to lunch, maybe happy hour.

The truly strange thing is that we actually enjoy doing things like detailing the car(s) for the same reason we clean the house ourselves. We're very meticulous about how things are done and know that if we do them ourselves, we'll be happier with the result.

And I for one am thrilled with how my Sport looks.

Next weekend, maybe we'll finally getting around to doing something fun. Like painting.

The daily dilemma

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, August 2, 2016 10:42 PM

There are some weeks when I am firing on all cylinders, as the saying goes. I have energy to spare, my fuel-injectors are injected with energy or whatever. I’ve got it going on. And then there are weeks when getting out of bed is a chore. On the days of these weeks, and today was one, I just don’t have it in me to do much of anything. I work because I have to. Starting laundry, something as simple as throwing clothes into the washing machine, topping with detergent and pushing the button, is deemed too taxing. I think it’s the rain. 

When I was younger and lived on the east coast, I could tell it was raining even before I looked outside. I would wake up sluggish. As if someone had filled the tank with mud. 

Yes, the car metaphors are already wearing thin. Did I mention that today was a sluggish day?

Rain affects me and always has. I love it now that I live in the west where it doesn’t rain very much. In the east, where it can rain seemingly for weeks, something happens to the air. I want to say it’s heavy but I know, scientifically, that’s not actually correct. It simply feels heavy. Maybe it’s the lack of sun. I just remember feeling leaden when I would get up when it was raining. 

Coincidentally, it’s been raining here for days. It started last Thursday. Friday’s storm was horrendous, with 52 miles per hour winds and 2.73 inches of rain in about an hour. It rained on Saturday. Sprinkled a bit on Sunday. Stormed again on Monday during the day and into the night. This morning, the sky was low and thick. Eventually it would rain and do so for hours. It was coming again. It never really left. 

I woke up at 6:25 because of a certain blonde furry head that appeared on my side of the bed. You up? I wasn’t but I played along. I realized I had slept through the night, something that rarely happens anymore. We went to bed at 11. That’s seven and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep. I should have felt refreshed; I should have felt good. Ready to get up and tackle the day. Instead, I felt run over and worn out. 

And it was only Tuesday. 

So I was dragging a bit all day. So much so that when it came time to fix dinner, I had no energy to really cook. This is not normal for me as a) I like to cook and 2) do so nearly every night, concocting something, sometimes from not much. Tonight I contemplated what I had to work with. Sometimes I know exactly what I’m going to make. Sometimes, I’m inspired. I’ll have an idea and put it together and it will be pretty good. I made stuffed Portobello mushrooms on Saturday night. I soaked them in balsamic vinegar, and filled them with a sautéed blend of mushrooms, Italian squash, onions, garlic, a hint of jalapeno, parmesan and goat cheese. I topped them with more grated parmesan and fresh blueberries. Kevin said they were some of the best mushrooms I’ve made. 

But tonight I was uninspired. It is the daily dilemma. What do to for dinner. I gave him a choice: pizza or Chinese. 

He chose Chinese. So naturally I made pizza. Tired and cantankerous. 

I have to have some control, after all. Something to celebrate on this tired day.

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