Rental cars and stuff

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, November 25, 2014 9:30 PM

On Thursday, Thanksgiving, we’re embarking on a road trip. About a 10 hour road trip.

Pause while Pam cleans up the coffee she just spit out of her mouth.

We’re driving to Paso Robles, on the central coat of California, to go wine tasting. It’s the first vacation we’ve had in a while, at least two years and perhaps more. We’ve been away but it was mostly to visit family. The last vacation we had may have been the long weekend we spent in Paso when I turned 50. That was nearly three years ago.

We rented a car today to make the trip. We did this for a number of reasons. First, it’s cheaper. Our Range Rover weighs nearly 6000 pounds and thus doesn’t get great gas mileage. It also takes only premium gas which is more expensive. A rental car takes cheaper gas, and because it’s a car, not an SUV and thus lighter, it gets better mileage. We rented a 2015 Nissan Altima. It gets 38 mph, about 600 miles per tank.

Second, it’s less wear and tear on our car. And since it’s cheaper why put the miles on our tires? Why put the miles on our oil? Why put our car out there in the elements when it can stay safely behind and we spend less money?

The car is, coincidentally, the same color as our Rover. A deep metallic red. The interior is black, also like the Rover’s, only this interior is cloth. It doesn’t have satellite, but we have cell phones we can hook up to the aux and listen to internet radio.

On Sunday, we downloaded the Tunein app so that we can tune into the Bears/Lions game on Thursday and the Packers/Patriots game on Sunday. We have all of our cords.  We have our USB cigarette-lighter, 12V plug. Everything works; we’re ready. Let the listening and road-tripping begin.

We’re doing laundry tonight. Tomorrow I’ll make the twice-baked potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. We have everything else we’re in charge of as well, including pears, cranberries and goat cheese. We have rolls. And packets of gravy in case we need it. We have snacks for the road. We don’t do fast food when we travel. We try to eat healthy. So I have ham and cheese to do rollups. I have raisins and grapes. We’ll take water.

Cooper will need to be packed, but he should be pleased to have the entire back seat to himself. We might take up some room on the floor, but he doesn’t use the floor anyway. He’ll be able to get in more easily because the car is very low to the ground, much lower than I would have thought. He should just be able to step in and up, settle himself down on the blankets we’ll put on the seat and watch the desert go by.

We have a rental car. Tomorrow it will be full of stuff. Thursday we’ll leave around 6 am. Can’t wait.

Peaceful, easy feeling

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:29 PM

It occurs to me that I don’t know how to celebrate something today. I’ve lost my best (and only) guest blogger; and I’m lost without him. I know the fact that we are healthy is something good; I know that the day was crisp and cool and sunny, that there were no catastrophes in the country that I know of are also causes to celebrate. But we’re still sad; our hearts are breaking.

I started this post a thousand times and erased it as many. Didn’t know what to write; didn’t know how to smile; wasn’t sure I could celebrate. Then I thought of my vintage puppy, that wondrous dog who filled our lives with love and dog drool for over 15 years, and I thought: celebrate that.

Celebrate his memory and how he was loved by so many. Celebrate his legacy as the best dog on the planet. There will never be another Maguire Michel, and there shouldn’t be. He was one of a kind, a true marvel in fur, and we loved him more than life. We still do. Celebrate that.

Tonight as I came downstairs, a bit dazed as I tried desperately to smile, I noticed something in the front yard. The front porch light wasn’t on but the lanterns alongside the garage were blazing brightly. It was probably close to 7 o’clock, maybe even a little after. At first I thought it was a large leaf or a branch ripped from the tree during today’s winds. But there are no leaves at this time of year, even with the warm winter we’ve endured, and the winds weren’t that strong. I walked into the kitchen and in the darkness, walked to the front bay window. I could see it was an animal. My first thought, naturally, was “oh my god, it’s a puppy.” Maguire had been found in Oak Park more than 15 years ago and someone had taken him to the Agoura Animal Shelter. But it wasn’t a puppy; it was a rabbit. He was sitting straight up in the air, his front paws tucked against his chest as he stared forward. A statue, a real-live chocolate bunny, poised and waiting, for what I had no idea. Maybe for the dog who used to live here.

After a minute, the rabbit crouched down. I looked away when I thought I heard something, and when I looked back, the rabbit was gone.

The kitchen was dark, only the light above the stove glowed, enough to cast some shadow but not enough to illuminate the room. Again I thought I heard something and thinking it was Maguire, walked toward the sound to make sure he was OK. I was nearly there before I remembered.

I kept walking anyway, straight through the house and out the back door. The full moon glowed through the trees to the left, still low in the sky, casting brilliance and wonder from the heavens down to us mere mortals below. To the right, high above, two glowing stars so close and yet so very far apart.

My brother texted me today. He said he’d gone to visit my dad in the cemetery to tell him to look out for Maguire, to take care of my dog. I couldn’t help but wonder as I looked up in the sky if maybe my dad was welcoming Maguire, and that the two of them, my stars, would be just fine, living somewhere in the universe where the fairways are long and straight, where they can walk together in perfect temperatures, where dad can have a cold beer and Maguire can have a pizza bone. So I celebrate that.

It gave me a peaceful easy feeling, one that I know won’t let me down. Because I’m already standing on the ground. 


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