Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Going blue and green

Grandma's new ride
It wasn't really my plan to go green when we bought our new car.
We just paid off our SUV and my little Mazda 3 had 120,000 miles on it so we went "shopping" to see what was out there.
I had noticed the Nissan Juke cars running around and was curious about the space inside and what it cost. I wanted to know if it came in chocolate brown.
That's when the salesman showed us a Leaf in the line next to the Jukes.
Marc was especially intrigued.
I agreed to a test drive where we noticed two things, it drove really well and it was so quiet that the teenager in the road in front of us didn't move for us until we honked.
But it is an all-electric car and we really knew nothing about them.
And we were on our way to other things (like a vacation to Maui) so we couldn't stay around and chat.
We left but not before the salesman pointed out we could get around $8,000 in tax breaks, never have to buy gas or oil again and help save the environment.
We went home thinking.
Everywhere we looked in Hawaii there were Leaf cars.
We started researching the possibilities.
Seems these have been for sale since 2011 and each year, the range of distance one can go between charges improves. One can plan on about 85 miles at a go between charges and there are various ways and plentiful ways to charge them.
We looked at the ways and means including the cost of putting a charge port in our garage and/or converting a standard plug to 220.
Marc checked out the less important things like how they work and perform. I wanted to know if I could get it in light blue and how my CDs would sound in it.
We came back to our salesman to get some answers and now we are the proud lessees of a pretty blue 2015 Nissan Leaf.
In some ways it feels like we just bought a grown-up toy though it drives and feels like a real car.
In other ways, we feel like we're moving into the future, changing and evolving. We're getting into the habit of plugging in our car each night and driving a sweet ride that makes no noise.
The back side
We're excited and proud and scared to death!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Snorkeling along

The kid was understandably annoyed with me.
He'd been whistling at me for 10 minutes and I had been ignoring him.
When I finally surfaced and peered at him from behind my snorkeling mask, he was ready to bench me.
I had apparently been heading the wrong way into the ocean, kicking merrily away and risking life and limb.
I thought I was doing good.
It was my third attempt at snorkeling in Maui.
The first time, Marc and I tried to just walk by ourselves into the ocean at Makena beach and the waves promptly knocked me flat.
I staggered out and tried to recover on my towel. I was covered in sand from head to toe and my pride was badly wounded.
Everybody on the beach that morning witnessed my humiliation. It was pretty sad.
I just didn't realize how different it would be to try snorkeling from a standing position. (I've done it once or twice before but once by tipping backwards from a boat and another in a bay of still water.)
The second time on this trip we signed up for a tour. I walked down the stairs from the deck and I had people around me to save me from disaster. I had a wet suit on and a noodle to rely on. Marc had shown me how to fit my bottom lip over the mouthpiece which worked better than just trying to bite harder and cover it with my hand.
I really wanted to succeed at snorkeling this time around.
It's never been easy for me. I always take on sea water but I'm older and wiser now, I thought, so I should  be able to handle it.
My biggest worry was about sharks. Some lady got bitten a couple of weeks earlier at the beach near Makena. I figured if there was one around, it would know I would be easy prey.
I didn't see any but I did see blue fish and yellow fish and little black ones with white edging. I was moving along steadily this time, breathing cleanly and avoiding panic.
Turns out my biggest fear should have been my lack of sense of direction.
"You should be more aware!" said the Hawaiian boy who was sent to fetch me. "We've been trying to get your attention for a while!"
I really thought the whistling was all about turtles. The Molokina Crater we were in has a lot, apparently.
I appreciated him coming after me. I didn't want to die or get washed out to sea. I didn't want to bang into the coral reef. I didn't want to get tangled up with anyone else or lose sight of the boat.
In fact, when you think about it, I might be a little offended. I doubt anyone in the ocean that day was more aware of the things going on around me than me!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The king and I

Cael and a cookie coming through
The first day he was here, Cael woke up confused and sad — for a toddler.
He didn't know what had happened to his mom, his sisters, his dad or his life. (They'd all gone to Disneyland and wisely left him at grandma's rather than subject him to two 10-hour car rides.)
Suddenly he was here looking at me and realizing if he wanted food, shelter and fun, he was going to have to live here.
It only took him a couple of hours to reconcile himself.
Now he's in complete control.
He gets what he wants and that includes visits to the park with grandma pulling the wagon, feeding the horse next door carrots, getting treats from the pantry and even a Tootsie Roll Pop at the grocery story.
He takes his meals on the run with grandma handing him bits of bacon and toast as he goes.
Cael's cousin Orange on left...
He reclines on his banana chair in front of the big TV in the family room to watch "Toy Story 1, 2 and 3."
He gets to decide whether the little TV in his room is on or off.
If he wants a ride in the car, he goes out and stands by the door.
If he wants to listen to the radio before going to run errands, he climbs into the Barbie car and flips on the station. Then he rocks out to his heart's delight.
When he wants his bath, he comes running when he hears water running.
When he wants a nap, he picks up his blanket and heads to the Porta-crib.
If he wants a hug, he just looks at me.
I'd say he's pretty well taken to the role of king of the house.
He's clear about his needs and doesn't hesitate to holler "No! No! Noooo!" when something's not right.
It's been exhausting and entertaining and all consuming.
I'd forgotten how life is with an 18-month-old in power.
And it's been so much fun.
He's a benevolent king.