Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

Snow on the Ground!

Subtitled: oh yeah, and a new car!

Nellie and I woke up this morning excited to jump in our brand new car, head to Starbucks, and try it out around town (obvi not with beverages inside the car).  G, who was already awake, put the kibosh on that idea quickly, as he pointed outside.


It hasn’t snowed once this winter, and it’s February 12.  The first morning with a new car, and we woke up to snow?  What a crock.  So we’re sitting inside looking at the car instead of wheeling around town.  I have homemade hot chocolate, and Nellie’s baby food cooker is steaming away on a mission to make some peas.  G is catching up on the work he was supposed to be doing when we were actually out looking at new cars.

Oh you didn’t know we were getting a new car this weekend?

To recap:

Last summer one of G’s colleagues begged us to sell asked whether we would consider selling Mini Monster.  We definitely weren’t ready to sell it then — it was our last summer of dock bars and top-down drives.  But it started the conversation about whether or not we’d keep it in 2012.  Since convertibles don’t sell so well in December, we pushed the decision off for a while, but this weekend we put it back on the table and decided it was time to make the switch.  Mini Monster was about to have an expensive year of ownership, and we simply couldn’t enjoy it fully anymore now that convertible tops and baby seats don’t go so well together.  Plus, even on regular days around town, it’s difficult to get Nellie in and out of the backseat, and I found I was constantly defaulting to the Element, even on lovely days.

And so, we found ourselves weighing the options and considering the wide range of cars that fit the bill of slightly larger, still fun to drive, four-door vehicles that also looked a bit snazzy as they zipped around DC.  Things we didn’t want: another SUV, a heavy four-wheel drive vehicle, anything that got crap mileage, or a plain car with no frills.  Yanno, we already have the El for those slogs in inclement weather and for those big loads of groceries — we don’t need another one of those.  Besides, it’s gray.  We looked at a ton of vehicles and focused in on three in particular, but in the end, we wound up driving home with the vehicle that started our search.

We’ve been keen on this car since we saw it last May at the dealership (I believe the phrase ‘wanty…’ may have escaped my lips at some point when we first saw this car in person), and as each new one popped up around town, we watched it drive by with an ‘oooh’.  That we’re loyal to the brand shows just how much we loved our dear, orange Mini Monster, and last night we found a dealer willing to work with us on price and trade-in (though I think they mostly were desperate just to get us Out The Door since it was well past closing when we sealed the deal).

And we drove home in Mini Monster 2.0.

The Countryman.


Nellie slept the whole way home from the dealership last night, and I have to say, there is SO much room in the cabin of this car.  Super foot room, super head room, super comfy seats.  It’s our mini monster — just supersized.  And a little redder.

Also, I am well aware that this post doesn’t scratch the surface of updates that are due.  G finished the fancy bathroom remodel (and it is awesome), the new ginormous bed is in place in our bedroom (and it is awesome), Nellie turned six months yesterday and has some super duper (awesome, obvi) six-month pics to show off, and she’s also got more pictures of her eating real food (because taking pictures of goopy food smeared on her face is awesome, of course.)


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Ghosts and Pumpkin Beer

Happy Halloween! It doesn’t seem very Halloweeny today, and I’ve decided that Halloween on a Sunday blows.  Instead of staying up all night watching scary movies (a la last year), we’ll watch Sunday night football.  Instead of cooking up Halloweeny food (idk, pumpkin soup?), we’ll have a normal dinner.  Because, yanno, it’s Sunday. 

I spent the morning writing — it’s almost NaNoWriMo time! — and then I went to Giant and stocked up on all sorts of G foods.  I leave on Tuesday for (gahhh) 9 nights, and I’m not looking forward to it. But the house is stocked with soups, chili, meatloaf, potatoes, pumpkin pie, and other ‘can be prepared by microwave’ foods.  I also got dog food (looking out for the little guys this week).

Now we’re watching football with pumpkin beer and bison burgers, and it occurred to me I hadn’t shared pictures from the El’s first road trip. I never got my Petsmart gift card in the mail — maybe it will come soon, since it’s been like 6 weeks?? — so I had to get creative with my doggy-proofing.

A step by step guide to making your car three-lab-proof:

1. cover head rests of front seats

2. cover rest of front seats with old t-shirts, and cut slit in front for seatbelts — bonus points for shirts with writing

3. fold up back seats

4. cover back seats with trash bags

5. position baby gate vertically in the center between front and back seats to prevent dogs from getting into the front

6. stack up luggage on either side of baby gate to reinforce it and further protect front seats

7. jam the back area with dog pillows and blankets to create one giant, comfy, three-dog crate

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El Bling

I raise my right hand and solemnly promise to keep the El cleaner, less stinkier, unhairier, and more sittable than the toaster. I will wash the floors, keep the seats off the ground, and keep the puppies away from the front of the car. And I will achieve that last item by an arsenal of puppy-proof tools. First: a large fabric barrier that hooks under the head rests and spans the width of the car, keeping seat backs clean and paws on the ground. Second: head rest covers, so those critical stops stay drool free. And third: something for the middle to keep Linus from leaping over rainbows to join us. I’m waiting on #1 for my Petsmart gift card (pleeeeease come before I have to pack for the Poconos!), and #3 is yet to be determined and based a lot on the fit of #1. But I could order #2 now.

And I did.

And since I like free shipping on Amazon.com, and Amazon.com requires a purchase of $25, and I happened to want something else for the El that matched item #2, and since it was like a perfect little package of El bling…

Well, you get the point. I ordered other stuff too.

But doesn’t El look cute?

The El mostly still sits at home. It’s been to Starbucks a couple times, and Sneades for paint. (Oh yeah, did I mention I’m redoing our bedroom?) Anyway, when it’s finally the El’s turn — WINTER!RAIN!INCLEMENTROADCONDITIONS! — it is all blinged out and ready to go.

It’s a shame the Ravens don’t look as sharp as the car.

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Big car, long roads

Mostly I would like to take a week off work and drive my new car around. That, of course, is not happening. For now, I will have to be satisfied running errands and parking it in faraway lots where doors, carts, and other mayhem can’t touch it. I also like to look at it in the driveway. And take pictures. Like these:

Look! No carpet!

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New Wheels

The toaster was a very good car. It lived a long(ish) life with a high-mile kind of style. I firmly believe trading toasty in was the right decision, but I thought it was unnecessary for the dealer to write in the appraisal comments section such notes as “tore up by dogs” and “dented by animals”. I mean, come on. “Well-loved” and “rural” would have sufficed.

But the toaster is headed to the auction block for a new family (apparently cars with 100k+ miles on their car don’t get featured on the high-profile platform for used cars at the dealership). And our driveway is now home to a 2010 Honda Element EX 4WD in Polished Metal Metallic, which is a fancy way of saying dark gray.

My favorite features of the new car:

– Washable everything. Praise the car gods: carpeting is gone.
– Fold-up seats that hang from the ceiling far far away from doggy paws.
– The set-up in the front with holders for glasses, beverages, ipods, phones, purses, and more. It’s so organized.
– Rear hatch which opens in two pieces (top window can be opened on its own without pulling the whole hatch up).
– Big windows and a big square shape so I’m not losing much of the visibility I had with toasty.
– 4WD. Even though this pretty much guarantees it will never snow again in Maryland, even the non-wintry years leave us slipping just a bit on some of the windy roads near home. I’m thrilled to finally have a car for the elements. (Get it?)

There are definitely some things to get used to, namely the size. The ‘El’ is 14.6″ longer than the toaster and a whopping 1,210 lbs heavier. And of course, from rolling low on the ground to sitting high above the world, it’s a bit of a new experience in a real SUV.  (For the spec-obsessed, it’s also about 6″ wider and 6″ higher.)

Oh, and I forgot one of the best things about buying this car (which my dealer didn’t even tell me): with the purchase of a new Honda Element, I get a $200 gift card from PetSmart, one of Honda’s partners. If that’s not reason enough to buy the car, what is? First purchase will be a doggy barrier to keep those front seats clean from the get-go.

I’m inclined to think this is the absolute best car on the market for a family with three labs and a tendency to enjoy road trips, mountain drives, or just wintry commutes. I’m also inclined to think I got the best deal I could. My dealer even threw in a package of dog bones.

More pics tomorrow when G brings his camera home. 🙂

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Orange Stars

This evening,

orange mini monster zoomed home, 

dinner was accompanied by a delicious glass of red wine,

the puppies are sitting hip to hip chomping on their bones,


I got a “just because” present from my husband.  

IMG_0527 [Desktop Resolution]

Today was perfect.

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Health and Wellness

No, not our health and wellness — and not Linus’ either, though you might have thought otherwise.  Today’s post is brought to you on behalf of Orange Mini Monster, who is currently at the doctor getting poked, prodded, and fixed.  We were originally headed to Annapolis, but decided instead to visit the new mini dealership in Alexandria.

Based on our experiences so far, Mini has found a new lifelong friend.  Just look how happy this place is!

mini doctor 1

mini doctor

I should note that these pics come from facebook (yes, this dealership has its own page full of coupons and wonderfulness).  The facebook page also notes that this is the funnest mini dealership around.  Just a glance at the above shot of the colorful mini hospital has me agreeing.

See you soon Mini Monster!

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