April 11, 2013

Let's Hear it for the Boys

First, let me get this out of the way. I have now watched multiple videos on how to tie a bow tie and whereas I think that it is not complicated and definitely 1) a skill my boys should know and 2) something easy to master, it is NOT like tying a shoe.


At no point do you throw a shoelace to the side or over a shoulder.

Only that first part where you do the overlappy thing is it the same. After that, it is not.

So, getting Bones on Video doing his first experiment of tying it like a shoe has the potential of being very very funny.


T's math class is kicking my ass. It's time for him to take Calculus. I might have a prayer.


Ringo's Eagle Board of Review is Monday night.


I'm obsessing about what kind of car I want to buy in 3 years. I'm pouring over Consumer Reports and what I've realized is that the auto industry is just not where I want it to be yet.

I really want a car that gets 40 mpg, is reliable, and is not a hybrid.

And I was going to buy new since I obviously drive my vehicles into the ground. I'm approaching 225K. By the time I get rid of it, I should be at 270K if my transmission lasts that long.

So I'm obsessing. Every time I park at work I look at the cars around me and see what everyone is driving. I come home and look things up in Consumer Reports to see what kind of gas mileage they really get and about how much they cost.

Scion has a cute little car now, an FR-S. It's too much money, but it's fun to look at. And I'm still playing with the little Mazda 3 in my head, although my mechanic told me not to and I'm not sure the gas mileage is worth the noise.

I'll be looking at used now as a crossover until the industry gets to where I want it to be.


Ringo was in his car tonight coming home when T, Bones and I were coming home too. He pulled up beside me, looked into the car and grinned.

He has spent extra money replacing his tailpipe and all sorts of things. His car is loud and he and the boys like it.

I hate it.

I tell him when I ride in the car that I can't hear a damn thing and I think I'm going to have a notch in my hearing from that low rumble pitch.

So it was dark and he pulled up next, grinned, and slowly gunned the motor just ever so gently so it made it sound like he wanted to drag me.

And to picture this... there are cars all over, he and I are at a stop light, he in a muscle car that is sparkly clean and all dark gray testosterone, and I'm in a 2004 sand colored Toyota Sienna mini-van.

He a young 18 year old good looking man, grinning.

Me a 47 year old non-descript mom looking person, shaking her head.

And it completely looked like he was gunning me to drag... muscle car young man vs. asexual Mom-mobile Mom.

It had to look absolutely absurd.

I shook my head and said to his brothers, "Everyone around us has got to think he is the biggest a-hole."

Honestly, it was really funny.

Posted by Boudicca at April 11, 2013 09:15 PM

"...gets 40 mpg, is reliable, and is not a hybrid" tells me nothing about what you really want in a vehicle.

What about cargo space, payload, safety ratings, small or large or sporty or... NOT asexual Mom-mobile, right? ;)

Hubby drives a Wrangler, I drive a Grand Cherokee... but for some reason he'd love it if I suddenly decided I want to drive a Mini Cooper! LOL!

Posted by: pam at April 12, 2013 05:49 AM

No, that really is the criteria! Safety matters... but the rest, it really doesn't! Those were my criteria... and nothing really meets it, so now I have to drop back.

If I could find a group of cars that met that criteria, I'd hone it down with other criteria such as "This one is roomier" or "This is sportier...", but none of that really comes into play.

Bones gets his permit next year. I figure it'll take him a year to drive, which gives me actually about 30 months before I take the gloves off and can get rid of this car.

If you're going to get a mini, get one of the newer ones. The older ones had some horrible engine problems.

Posted by: Bou at April 12, 2013 06:12 AM

what about the ford fiesta?

and what kind of math is T doing right now?

Posted by: rae at April 12, 2013 06:48 AM

Rae- I'm actually keeping an eye on the Fiesta. We'll see how it pans out.

He's doing this IB Math that is Pre-Calc on steroids. I'll send you the problem that kicked us last night. It's a comparison of arithmetic and geometric sequencing as in, 'what is the lowest number where the geometric sequence is greater than the arithmetic', except I end up with n as an exponent, which leads me to believe I have to go the logarithmic route and that went poorly.

Posted by: Bou at April 12, 2013 08:08 AM

bou -- i got a new fiesta in 2011, and have been enjoying incredible gas mileage / overall happiness.

i look forward to seeing this problem!

Posted by: rae at April 12, 2013 09:46 AM

The number one thing to do when buying a new car is ... DO NOT TRUST CONSUMERS REPORT.

They have such a history of bias for Toyota and hating american cars that they are not a good source for cars.

The americans have small cars that reach at/near 40mpg and are not hybrids.

If you do go american and happen to pick Ford I can get you friends discounts,which is usually a few thousand off the price in addition to the other rebates they offer.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at April 12, 2013 11:58 AM

Keep an eye on the Ford Focus. I'll ask my husband if he knows of any others you should think about (he seems to know these things... like osmosis or something).

If you don't do the majority of your driving as - in town stop and go - then a hybrid will do you very little good. Hybrids excel as city cars not as suburban or highway cars. So if you look at a hybrid and you don't do a lot of stop/go driving, you need to find the numbers that tell you how many mpg you get with the gasoline engine.

Also, you may want to keep an eye out for diesel engine cars (generally German) they get much better gas mileage, but we don't get many of those models here in the states since they don't tend to sell as well. The new diesel cars don't sound like Mac trucks and might be worth a look if you can find them. VW I'm pretty sure has a model they sell over here.

Posted by: Teresa at April 12, 2013 01:51 PM

QW- It depends on how you use CR. Like anything else, it's opinion. However, I like to read what features are in the cars and the nice thing about CR is it's all right there. I can look at all the models. Also, I look at the empirical data for the used cars, not their new car data. I don't tend to buy first model cars.

Teresa- I am looking diesel. VW at One Happy Dog has one. I think she likes it.

Posted by: Bou at April 12, 2013 03:20 PM

The tie... can NOT be a bow, because you do not throw anything over your shoulder and does tie like a shoe... sort of.
You must be doing a windsor knot, which is something I think every man should know (along with a bow tie and changing your own oil), of course, I'm a little old fashioned.

Car: I drive a jeep wrangler and love it. I do not get great gas mileage, but it's old and I drive like a crazy person. the new ones do better.
Red has a Smart Car (or as we call it the smaat caah her being a Hahvahd grad and all) and she loves it although she has been eyeballing Jeeps recently. It gets about 45mpg, has a push button convertible roof, only seats two (it seems in the back of my brain you mentioned that once) but like Doctor Who's Tardis it is bigger on the inside. The guy we test drove with was 6'8"... Not an issue with your family. I don't like the gearbox, but that really isn't an issue if you're a careful driver unlike me. It came with heated leather seats (also not an issue in Fla) and a 6 disc CD player with aux input. It's a very safe car with a heavier duty frame than my Jeep, and you'll be fine as long as you don't allow yourself to be sandwiched between two dump trucks (do NOT google that... Trust me) It's a 3 cylinder 1.3 liter engine, 2 door with rear storage that will hold 1 90lb Bouvier comfortably or a bouvier and a blue heeler tolerably.

Posted by: K-Nine at April 12, 2013 04:10 PM

After talking to my husband (who - being an engineer gives the caveat of "I don't know about all the cars out there") he adds Chevy Cobalt and Chevy Cruze... Fiat 500 (we drove one in SF and it was fun, but the size freaks me out). He said for getting the best passenger space to mileage ratio you will have to look at diesel. :)

Posted by: Teresa at April 12, 2013 06:43 PM

Knine- Nope, it's a bow. Go on youtube and look at videos for tying a bow tie.

Honestly... I do not think I can buy a car where one google's sandwiched between two dump trucks! I am very very in tune with my mortality. I think in this particular case, bigger perhaps might be better. At least slightly...

Teresa- I'm definitely not knocking out diesel. I do tend to be a Ford girl when I buy American.

I have three years... and then I start putting together my matrix. That's if it lasts that long. Sometimes I think there is something going on with the motor that's not quite right. I just have to eek it out 70K more...

Posted by: Bou at April 12, 2013 11:13 PM

Ah. You tube.
Yeah, that's not how I learned... And I think it is a little silly, but to each his own.
Last Christmas red and I attended a black tie wedding in Sacramento and all the men were amazed that I could tie mine blind (no mirror)... But I'm (according to Elisson, and who can you trust if not mr. Debonair?) an old soul.

I figured on the smart car, but I had to make a pitch.
Oddly, for some reason I see you as a small Toyota truck girl.
No rhyme or reason for that other than small, reliable, good mileage, and it would haul a large metal chicken statue.

But that's just me.

Posted by: K-nine at April 13, 2013 12:13 AM

Bou, you have a number of college years in your (okay, the boys') future. Do you have a vehicle that can be loaded up with their stuff to move them in? My downsize from my old Ford Aerostar was the Toyota Matrix. LOTS of room in that baby. I love it! And re: the "american" cars...it's a fine line these days. All (or most) manufacturers have a mix. Many "foreign" manufacturers assemble them here, with many "american" parts. So it's hard to distinguish between the two anymore.
Can't wait to see the bow tie video!

Posted by: Peggy K at April 13, 2013 05:24 AM

I do so wish I could send you our youngest son to help Ringo with his sartorial predicament. Youngest son is a debater, and he has an enviable collection of neckties. He does love to dress up. Worse than the girl child, I tell ya!

Posted by: PeggyU at April 14, 2013 12:47 AM

There is so fine line between foreign built here and american.

Foreign cars built here contain mostly foreign built parts, american cars contain mostly american built parts. For a huge example take the tunsanmi in Japan 2 years ago, all the Japanese firms were running below 50% production because they didn't have parts avilable, americans it didn't even bother.

Plus Foreign built here, the profits still go back to the parnet companies in Japan.

Plus Foreign plants here are no where near as charitable as the american companies, I am talking at least a 50% difference in contributions by the companies.

Yes I am biased, I am from Michigan how can I not be. I have worked in the auto industry for 20 plus years now and I have worked for both Japanese and American companies, the only differnces being what is stated above. Plus with Toyota recalling more vehicles in the past year then Ford and GM combined and more vehicle in the past 2 years then they have made in the past 5 years I would really take a hard look at not buying a Toyota. They have gone all GM and have gotten to big and forgot about quality.

Also I am very biased towards Ford as I worked there for 10 years plus hubby has worked there for 23 years and all I have ever driven are Fords.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at April 14, 2013 10:55 AM

K-Nine- I do love me some trucks. But... the mpg on a truck isn't so great. As my Dad says, "every home needs a truck for hauling".

Peggy K- It is very much a fine line. I guess that's why I'm not so much focused on the brand, as I am more the reliability as they age and the mpg. And you bring up good points about space. I may end up renting cars to move the boys back and forth. I know this summer, we're renting a vehicle for my annual southern tour. I just can't put those kind of mile on this van anymore and expect it to last...

PeggyU- I have a feeling, knowing what I know of your younger son, if he were here, we would laugh a lot as we went through this tie situation. What I expect out of this is for Bones to become a bow-tie kind 'o guy. It could convert all three... which Mr. T thinks would make my Dad and Brother grin since they are both bow tie guys.

QW- You bring up all very good and valid points. It's funny, but my mechs are these great guys from Scotland, only work on Japanese, and they also told me to stay away from Mazda. They said there was some quality issues.

My husband drives German and I'm not impressed. He buys used and its a big dang sedan, but I the quality issues drive me bat sh-- crazy. He keeps saying to me, "I don't understand what your problem is. It's covered under warranty and they GIVE ME a car to drive while they fix it." But it just irritates me to no end that they've had to rebuild the front end TWICE, once at 40K and once at 80K. Meanwhile, I'm humming along at 222K and to date they've replaced my alternator, my thermostat, 1/3 of the catalytic converter, and the driver's side window regulator. So there isn't even a comparison of reliability.

What I truly think will happen is... I won't LOVE any of the vehicles in 3 years... and I'll buy used to try to hold me over until I find a car that meets my specs.

And it will probably be a: Ford, Nissan, Scion, Audi, VW, Kia or Hyundai. I just need to research it some more and beat this dead horse some more...

Posted by: Bou at April 14, 2013 11:18 AM

You do know in 3 years all new models of the ones you are looking at now will be out.

Nothing new small in the Ford pipeline, but they have enough small now.

And being a quality engineer it drives me freaking crazy for any defects on a car and am not shy about stating that to the service people, which is probably why I am not allowed at 5 dealerships for service now and only allowed to talk to the service manager at our current dealership.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at April 15, 2013 09:54 AM