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Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category

My family thinks me evil, but I just feel done.  Zipcar is fun, and it’s useful, and it’s served us very well.  But yesterday, I had to set my alarm for 8 a.m. and call a cab to take me to the car that zipcar switched my reservation to.  It cost $10 to get there, and then tonight, at 9:15 p.m., another $10 to get me back home from the new reservation spot.  It is a reimbursable $20, but it takes time for me to 1) take a cab, 2) wait for cabs, and 3) submit receipts for reimbursement.  I don’t like it.  I am glad that the car I reserved wasn’t allowed to stay on the road with bad brakes, but I don’t know why they couldn’t move a working car into the spot I had made arrangements for – a spot that is 2 blocks from my house.

Also, the new house has 2 parking spots included in the rent.  At our current building, we would have to pay $170/mo for one parking spot.  It was so easy to smile at the fact that we didn’t need to pay extra for a spot.

Also (oh, my list is long), the new house is .4 miles from our current house – but it’s .4 miles further from the center of town, further from Trader Joe’s, further from Whole Foods, even further from Stop & Shop (ick).  The only useful businesses it is not further from is a) a CVS (pharmacy) that sucks and never has anything and that has employees that are so slow and so non-responsive so as to make every visit an exercise in patience, and b) an awesome liquor store that I likely shouldn’t live so close to.

Also, the girls want to play more and more sports.  Next year, both of them will be on soccer fields far away from home.  It’s nice that we have a great social network that allows for carpooling and ride sharing, but I think the older they get, the more they’re going to want to do, and I am not that comfortable with just relying on others to transport my kids – I have always pitched in, but people always feel weird about it when they know that I’m “renting a car” in order to drive.

Therefore, I’ve made the proclamation:  In 2009, I’m buying a car.

I know I can’t get away with (nor do I want) anything but a Hybrid.  But while I love the Prius, Beloved does not.  He doesn’t like the mirrors – or something.  I looked at the Hondas, but they both (accord and civic) had negatives that outweighed the positives.  The Car & Driver reviews spent the whole thing talking about why the Hondas weren’t as good as the Prius.

So Beloved said, “check out the Volt!  Let’s wait for the Volt!”

So I checked it out.

Uh….

voltfront2.jpg

I think it may want to eat me.  I decided that considering that you can drive up to 40 miles a day without even touching a drip of gas, and considering that it’s really freaking cool and the beginning steps at non-gas driven vehicles, I could deal with the scary look of it, and be proud of my electric car.

But then my research showed that it isn’t expected to be for sale until 2010, and right now is looking like it could come out at around $45,000.  The more digging around I do, the more I see that we will certainly be dealing with a “waiting list” situation, and that it likely won’t be widely available for at least a year after that.

Hey!  I didn’t want to pay $45,000, and I didn’t want to wait until mid 2011.  Hell, I don’t want to wait until January of 2009 – I want a car NOW – but I’m not willing to screw up our finances while we’re looking forward to our move in July and hopefully a week in Maine in August and and and.

This is our new deal:  I get my Prius in 2009.

prius_image1.jpg

If Beloved really hates it that much, he’s welcome to keep using zipcar.  Then, in 2011 when the Volt comes out, he can have that.  Perhaps (she says after hearing the girls yell in disgust at the idea that we would have two cars), we will lease the Prius for 2 years, and then return it and buy a Volt in 2011.

The girls are pouting, Beloved is slightly scowling over the fact that I essentially made this decision on my own, but I am looking forward to being able to grab my own keys and walk 2 feet from my own door to hop in a car to run to Target or to the Apple store, rather than make arrangements a week ahead of time.  Heck, I could even decide last minute to go and visit my nephew!!

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Beloved and I went out to dinner tonight.  First he came and collected me at my office.  That was fun.

As we were leaving the office, at 7:15, my phone rang.  I was assuming it was my office mate, who had just left, and so I answered the phone.  Oh, no, I was wrong.  I should not have made such an assumption.  I ended up sitting at my desk, with my coat on and my husband in the [empty, dark] office next door, taking notes frantically and negotiating what documents I would be receiving possession of before next week’s depositions.

But then there was dinner.  Where we discussed Barack (our boyfriend), Beloved’s Book, my evaluation process (eek!!!), food, and – for one brief moment – the children.

This was the context (boy=blueish; girl=pinkish]:

Who would be the weirdest person you could run into in this restaurant, right now?

Does it have to be someone who would be in Boston?  

Yes.

[random classmate from school.]  What about you?

[J’s teacher.]

Much laughter ensues, at the thought of running into J’s teacher in the restaurant.  His was funny.  Mine wasn’t as funny.  I wanted a do-over.

E!!  E would be the funniest person to run into!  

more laughter.  

E, in the corner, with a book and a raspberry brandy.

No!  She would not!  She’d be saying, “can I have more ice cream?  Those three balls of sherbet were NOT enough!”  

No, she would say, “Mom!  Can’t I have some PRIVACY?  Geez!!!”

_______________________________________

We took a cab home.  The cabbie gave me Swedish fish.  Seriously.

Once home, we quick changed into comfy clothes, threw on some totally inappropriate shoes considering the 19 degree weather, and ran outside to gaze at the eclipse.

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J had soccer at 10 a.m. this morning.  I had been a little slow, due to intensity at work, about making a Zipcar reservation.

Her soccer field isn’t that far away.  It’s probably a 20 minute walk.  We never used to get a zipcar to go.  She and Beloved have ridden their bikes, and we’ve done the walk.  But E’s field is super-far away, down in the burbs, and a car is pretty much mandatory.

Today, E is missing soccer, because she went to NYC to see a movie (snark), so perhaps I should have reverted to just walking to J’s game.

But it’s 32 degrees outside.

And a friend called, and asked us to bring the BFF, and she’s not used to walking as much as we are.

So I wanted a Zipcar.  I ended up with one kind of far away, since I didn’t make the reservation until 5:30 yesterday afternoon.

I wasn’t looking forward to leaving the house at 8:30 to take the T to get the car.  IT was cold out.  I wore a down coat.

I got to the car at 9:20, and had 10 minutes to drive home, grab J, grab my wallet (so I could pick up $100 worth of dry cleaning on the way home!!!!), and go get BFF and get to the field by 9:45.  Time was sort of tight.

So I get in the car … there’s no key.

This is the way the  cars work:  Everyone has a card.  There is a swipe/scan box on the windshield, and when you scan your card, the doors unlock.  Once you get in the car, the ignition key is on a draw string doo-hickey hanging from the steering column.  Soemtimes, the doo-hickey breaks, and instead, the key is in the cup holder, or on the seat.

This time, there was no key.  It was nowhere.  No key.

But but but … I don’t have TIME for this.

I called Zipcar.  After confirming 15 different things about my card, my car, my mother, my cat, and my daughter’s birth story, I was finally able to talk to a person.  Who said, “okay, so, can you please check the cupholder?  Now, open the glove compartment, take the books out, and make sure it isn’t in there.”

I told her that I looked EVERYWHERE.  That I would not have called her if I did not look EVERYWHERE.  I looked in the sunglasses holder, I looked in all 4 cupholders, I looked in all 4 door pockets, I looked under the seats, I looked in the cushions of the seats, I looked in the glove compartment … there was nowhere left.

She put me on hold.

I now had 5 minutes to get home.

She asked me to look in a hidden compartment UNDER the cupholder.  I asked HER if I could transfer the reservation to the car sitting next to me.  She said uh, no.  Someone had it reserved for 10:30 (It was now 9:35).  I asked if we could give me that car, and them bring another car to fulfill the 10:30 reservation.

She said no.

She said maybe someone could bring me a key.

I said “Their game starts in 15 minutes!!!!”

I ended up having to hang up on her, call Beloved, tell him to call a cab to take him to BFF’s house to get BFF, and then take them all to the soccer game, and I’d be there as soon as I could.

He was less than thrilled, which pissed me off, because I had no other options at that point.

Then I called BFF’s mom to say we were running behind.  She said her husband was still home, and could run and get J. I told her I’d have it all worked out in time to be at the soccer field after the game.

Then I called Beloved, told him to forget the cab, that BFF’s dad would swing by in a minute.

Then I called Zipcar back.

She told me to look in the cupholder.

Then she told me to look in the glove compartment.

I told her to go to hell, and get me a new fucking car.

No.

I said, “I looked everywhere, it’s not here, I want a different car.”

She transferred my reservation to a different car – I had to take the T 4 stops back toward home, and then walk 1/2 mile to the parking spot.

Not.

Happy.

At.

All.

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I Spy

E had soccer practice today.  It is held at a field relatively near to the school (probably 3 blocks away, one of them along a very nice neighborhood park).  Several of her class mates are on her team.

She said she was ready to walk on her own.  We said okay.  Today was the first day.

I wasn’t worried about the way there, because I knew a bunch of kids would head over together.  I was a little more worried about the way back (she was to stop back at the school and get her sister, then walk home together), because while one block is along the park … several small streets shoot off from the park, and if she took the wrong one, she might get turned around.

When I voiced that concern, she rolled her eyes at me.  “Mom, I know my way through the park, I go there all the time, we’ve been walking around this town for almost 4 years now.”

But when 5 o’clock rolled around, I found myself getting a little nervous.  So I left my laundry unfolded, collected my library items due today, and I “went to the library.”

Funny, how “going to the library” means running inside, dropping my items off, running back outside and across the street to the park, where I then find a large tree to hide behind and watch as my 6th grader walks through the park with a friend.

She was more than fine.  Her friend lives right next door to the school, and they’ll likely walk together like they did today every week.

She then got her sister, they walked home, let themselves in, and promptly answered the phone to find their mother on the other end.  “Hey mom, can we make hot chocolate?”

Phew.  She was fine.

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I do not understand why things can’t be simple.  I do not understand why, despite the plans I make, things must always go wrong.  I just don’t get it.

J’s dentist appointment was at 2:30.  School gets out at 2.  We have been at this office several times, using 3 different modes of transportation:

  1. The lovely MBTA, green line trolley
  2. The lovely MBTA bus
  3. A taxi-cab.

The taxi cab was infinitely more expensive than the other options, and really not all that faster.  But there was a time that I left the house without my wallet (b/c I am a dork) and got all the way to the girls’ school before I realized it.  I would not have made it on time if I had to get J from school, walk back home, get the wallet, and then walk back past the school to the appropriate T line.  The bus that makes a direct line between us and the medical area is notoriously slow, and only is scheduled to come once every 30 minutes … so add slowness to that, and I have been known to wait for up to an hour.

Today, however, I was afraid of the time crunch.   So I called cab company at 12:40 and told them to pick me up at 2:10.  In order to get out of the school dismissal crowd, I told them to pick me up around the corner at the library.  they said fine – you’re all set.

At 2:04, J and I get to the front of the library.  At 2:07, I notice that some girls flagged down a cab 1/2 way down the block and thought, “I hope that wasn’t my cab … but it’s early, so if it were, it wouldn’t take another customer.”  At 2:16, I got nervous.  I called the cab company.  The dispatcher said, “it’ll be right there.”

At 2:22, I called again.  he said, “I’ve sent two cabs!  You must have gotten the address wrong!”  I didn’t.  I was there.  On the street.  He said he’d send another one.

At 2:28, we gave up and started jogging to the T station.  It was a good 5 blocks away.  I was not happy – I had to really fight for this dentist appointment, and if we were so late so as to count as a cancellation, J wouldn’t get her braces on as scheduled.

Fortunately, the T came right away.   We only had to go one stop.  I realized that I really should have done it this way from the start.  But I hate waiting for trains when stressing that I’m going to be late for an appointment.

So much better waiting for a cab.

We got off the T, and had another good 4-5 blocks (long ones) to walk.  I said, “come on, J, let’s run” and started off at a trot.

For about 12 steps.

Then:  pop, crunch.

My ankle.

I turned it in a pothole on the sidewalk.  It hurt so bad, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk, let alone run the last 3 blocks.  It was 2:42.  I stood on the other foot while waiting for the cross signal, and found that I could in fact walk.  It hurt, but I could move.

We arrived at 2:50.  J was seen.  Separate post to follow.

When we left, we were joking that we would not take a more than one step per MINUTE after jogging to the appointment, and we were walking reeeaaaallllly slowwwwwlllly.  I was glad of that, because my ankle was still throbbing.

But we walked to the T, we walked from the T to the school to get E.  We walked from the school to the pharmacy to get J some tylenol because her mouth was sore.  We walked home from the pharmacy.  I knew my ankle was a little sore, but I didn’t feel like I couldn’t walk.

Upon getting home, I came straight to my bed with my computer (E has a friend over, and they’re watching t.v.).  My ankle is THROBBING.  It hurts so bad.  I got up after emailing my sister to get the mail, and I could barely walk.

Great.  Just great.

I am not out of shape anymore.  I don’t understand why I can’t fucking walk without all the drama.  I exercise every day.  I hike.  I walk everywhere I go.  WHY OH WHY does this happen to me?  Note an excerpt from a post I wrote earlier in the summer:

In November of 2002, I stumbled down the steps of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I had on Dansko clogs, and my foot twisted onto its side in a way that [i think] pulled every single muscle and tendon in my foot. It hurt so much, I could barely walk for a week. I went to the doctor and had x-rays taken, thinking it was broken, but there were no breaks.

It’s bothered me ever since.

I have changed my shoe-buying habits since then. I often go for brands that are known for their sturdiness rather than for their fashion-quota … although I try to bridge the two. I still wear Danskos, but not that same heel, b/c I do occasionally turn my foot in them, and when I do, it sparks every bit of pain that I had on that day of the fall. I hear from many of my friends that they also turn their feet in those shoes, so then I don’t think I’m that clumsy.

See?  This is a theme, and I’m really sick and tired of it.

The foot today – same foot I hurt in ’02.  the shoes I had on today?  Loafers.  100% flat loafers with grippies on the bottoms.  They’re Borns.  totally conservative and safe shoes.

Yet, here I am wondering if it’s too tacky to ask E to bring me tylenol and a glass of water when she has a friend over.  Because I don’t want to get up and walk to the other room.

Because it hurts.

I will never again call a cab in this town.

I would also like to point out that this is not a side effect of not having a car.  If I had a car, and if I were to take J to the dentist right after school – we would have been later than we were.  Not because my car wouldn’t have picked me up, but because I would have been driving into one of the most congested parts of Boston, the medical area, with the least amount of parking.  A cab could have worked (you know, if it showed up) because it doesn’t have to park.  A car would not work, and driving from their school to this doctor’s office in a car that I would be required to put somewhere while inside would not have been feasible.

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