Selling a Car, Other Stuff


Can somebody tell me why every one with a .ru web address is a spammer?  Sort of a mirroricity thing to the observation about the ‘religion’ of terrorists.

Selling a Car

Saturday afternoon we sold Caution-Lady’s white 1993 Volvo 940 turbo sedan.  We’d had the car since 2002, at which time I was working as an underpaid reporter for perhaps the sorriest publication in the American Southeast.  When we set out shopping, Caution-Lady said, “I don’t want a white car – I don’t like white cars.”

Our shopping budget was $4,000.00, but we wound up paying about $6,000.00 which included tax, registration, and so forth.  The expense stretched our household finances, but we managed it.  When purchased, the car had 107,000 miles on the odometer – the standard break-in period for a 4-cylinder redblock Volvo engine and drive-train.   My wife absolutely loved the car.  I didn’t drive it much, but every time I got behind its wheel and drove it to the gas station, the mechanic’s garage, or on family trips, I found myself thinking, “This is a great car….I’m glad we spent the money to buy it.”

Well, if you’ve got even the sense to say and spell your name, you ought to know that the purchase of a car for daily driving is an expense and not an investment.  It typically loses value over time unless some disaster of biblical proportions destroys all the other cars of that model year, or unless that same thing happens over a very long period of time, or unless some half-witted administration in Washington implements a “Cash-for-Clunkers” program that removes a large number of good used cars from the marketplace.

The white car’s original bill of sale (found among its Volvo issued set of ownership publications in the glove compartment) listed a sale price when new as, if I recall this correctly, $22,9xx.xx.  In 1993 dollars.  I think Cadillac sedans were selling for about that at the time.  I believe that year I was driving a 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit diesel coupe and grateful to have it.  Our selling price for the car about 17 years later was $1,500.00 – a reasonable mid-range price based upon the car’s condition, mileage (158,000) clean Carfax, and a look at Kelley Blue Book, Edwards, and NADA valuations for that model car in clean condition.

My wife is a teacher, and in 2002 taught in her class the boy who, with his family, bought the car yesterday.  Although she said she felt sadness about the car’s sale, she said the fact that it had gone to a good home that would care for it made the loss more bearable.

Last week, we’d had it out to the garage to get a sun-visor replaced, driver’s side carpet replaced (it was torn-up when we bought the car and we never seriously thought about having the problem corrected), and a new fuel-pump relay (a known weak spot for these cars – we’d had a new one a few years ago, but they typically don’t hold up well in the southern heat of Middle Tennessee).  The weekend previously, I’d fueled and washed the car, vacuumed it out, dusted all the dust-gathering surfaces, cleaned the door-jambs, cleaned the wheels, dressed the tires.   Even after a week in the mechanic’s yard, the 940T looked good.  I felt a sense of loss as I drove the car back to our house thinking it might be for the last time.  I thought, “This is a great car.”

Feats of Comparative Urination

It may surprise some of you to know that I correspond with three or four groups of people on the Internet.  I used to find some pleasure (because a lot of people are dolts who will not apply their minds to issues) arguing about stuff like theology, the feminization of what I think of as a variety of small “c” cultural christianity that passes for the church in North America, comfortable and country-club orientation of much of that classification, and so forth.  While I still like exchanging ideas about boats, cars, garden tractors, theology, and culture, I’m a lot less het-up about issues of ultimate and eternal significance.  Probably I’ve already said everything I have to say about most of it, and I recognize I have a lot still to learn.

So at one of these online communities (and I’ve personally met a number of these folks and genuinely like them), when discussions devolve into arguments, I have lately refrained from commenting.  I do want to make clear, however, the following:

  1. I don’t believe God’s will includes my submitting to some kind of transformative experience that ends in my having developed what the character Mark on Ugly Betty might refer to as spiritual “lady parts.”
  2. While I agree with most of what Viola and the pollster (whose influence clearly kept Viola honest vis-a-vis their co-authored book) had to say in Pagan Christianity, I don’t think organic church requires the purchase of any more of Viola’s books or attending his conferences, or developing spiritual “lady parts.”
  3. One of the most annoying heresies is the notion that one can effectively forgive oneself.


I saw these photos juxtaposed on the Drudge Report this afternoon and spontaneously quipped, “Putin’s cool, Obama’s a tool.”

Obama v. Putin

Putin's cool, Obama's a tool

Just trying to keep it classy here, people….

Ruby Red ‘04 XC70

Friday night the auto-transporter rolled in to Stepford around 11:30 pm.  I met him at a Gypsy-owned Italian restaurant near that end of town’s first controlled intersection.  Demeanor very pleasant, the transporter worked deliberately and methodically to arrange unload and rearrange his truck before we drove my 850 and the XC70 out to the house.  The tractor trailer rig would doubtless have snagged trees and power-lines during the approach to our modest home in Plantation Estates.  I gave the transporter a ride back to his rig, he mentioned that his daughter, who plays for a traveling softball team, had a game Saturday in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  I hope the girl won and that her dad gets some rest today.

Here are a few photos of the new car.  A couple taken while the car was still on the trailer.  One of what appears to be a Crown Victoria held aloft and hanging slightly off the rear of the trailer’s upper deck.  The driveway photos were taken after I took the car for fuel and a wash.  I’m experimenting with tables again to insert photos.  My attempt with the previous blog post was unsuccessful in that on a computer without a wide-screen, the right-most column of photos and text is not clearly visible, although those cells may be viewed by tabbing to them.









Another Pleasant Stepford Saturday

I’ve said it before, here or elsewhere, for someone like me the great adventure is living the ordinary life in an ordinary way.

Yep, I’m adjusting all too easily to life in this established neighborhood not too far from the country club.  This morning I slept late.  Ate buttermilk pancakes made with wheat flour for breakfast.  Drove to the store and bought PVC adhesive, bug spray, ant traps (for the mower-shed), 2-cycle oil for the leaf-blower and line-trimmer fuel, a small yellow bucket and a small yellow sponge for Seventy-Six to help out with car-washing.  I drove to the gas station and bought gas for the mower and other equipment, then home where to pick up sticks, run the line-trimmer, mow the lawn, and clean up after an early lunch (sandwich) with Caution-Lady and Seventy-Six who’d returned from the store.

Seventy-Six has been potty-training this past week with mixed results.  He has not been enjoying the experience.

This bloom looks like it has been open a while

This bloom looked to me like a crown

The magnolia tree out front has two blooms; I photographed them.  While mowing the front lawn, Caution-Lady brought Seventy-Six outside, and I gave him a mower-ride around the house, then she let him play with his new pedal scooter.  Did I mention that a couple of weeks ago Caution-Lady backed over the little push-bike toy he got for Christmas?  He was getting to big for it, but he really liked that toy.  She thought at first it was my fault (and telephoned to scold me about it as I drove to work in Murfreesboro) but later realized she was the one who’d put the toy away last.  The new toy is a real hit, too, and Seventy-Six is big enough to work the pedals.

I finished the back yard and cleaned up while Seventy-Six napped, then washed Whitecar, the cautious one’s ’93 940T.  We’ve had the car for eight years.  I’m guessing it’s been at least one year since I washed that car by hand, although we’ve run it through automated car-washes a couple of times.  Since the car stays in the garage when not being driven, it doesn’t get too dirty.  But it was freaking filthy when we got it back from the mechanic’s shop where it’d been parked outside under trees for a couple of nights last week when there for service.  We’re planning to sell the car pretty soon, as soon as we locate a reasonably priced and mechanically sound XC70 with which to replace it.

I did something I’ve never done before.  I washed the garden tractor like I would a car.  I sliced the fire out of one of my fingers as I was using a sponge to scrub the frame under the hood.  The blood, which quickly overflowed a tight band-aid, I thought might take a stitch or two to stop would have stained the dirty wash sponge if I hadn’t rinsed it out.  After I finished washing and dried the mower, some tightly taped gauze finally got the bleeding stopped.

Shade-tree hull repair

Masking tape makes even the most inexpert repairs look workmanlike while in progress

Another snack, and by that time Seventy-Six had awakened from his nap.  I took him outside and he played with his new scooter, and I repaired the RZ96 hull using genuine German parts.  Hope the hull stays patched. LATER: Here’s an excellent thread on the subject of gluing to repair PVC hulls.  Wish I’d seen it first, but I should have had the sense to do a simple Internet search for: gluing pvc hull.

I showed the little boy his new bucket and sponge and predictably, although I was surprised, he insisted on using them on something to “clean-up Now.”  I asked him whether he wanted to wash his own car, and put about a quart of water in the bucket.  I let him sponge some water on Thursday, too.  Maybe I’ll get that one washed tomorrow.

Later, we watered the plants together using city water, but when the little monkey chose to rebel against my command to desist from jumping in one particularly muddy puddle near the front steps, I took him in to the house and gave him back to his mother for awhile.  She gave him a couple of crackers and a cup of water.

Brief Respite

Poster from Spiders:  The Golden Sea

I have been enjoying lurid entertainments

My brief respite from deadline related activity comes to an end Monday, and all I’ve done with the spare time is watch silent films on Netflix (currently Fritz Lang’s 1919 adventure serial Spiders) and had Thursday in for a 70,000 mile service that involved timing and serpentine belts, water pump, a hydraulic tensioner, and a problem with the circuit-board that controls the operation of the overhead interior lights.  That’s the most money we’ve spent on the 850 car since we got it in ’05 or ’06.

Cossentino's Figure 1 - Montessorian path to normalization. Cadged from COSSENTINO, J. (2006). Big Work: Goodness, Vocation, and Engagement in the Montessori Method. Curriculum Inquiry, 36(1), 63-92. doi:10.1111/j.1467-873X.2006.00346.x.

That’s not completely true – the other thing I’ve done during this deadline hiatus has been to spend every spare minute after work playing outside with Seventy-Six, or playing inside with him and his new tipi, as well as counting, singing, jumping, and reading books.  Outside activities include running around trees in the yard yelling “Oogah-Boogah,” blowing and chasing soap-bubbles, shooting baskets, playing catch, playing a game involving chasing the ball that is either kicked or thrown, running for the shear pleasure of running in the yard, drawing with chalk on the driveway, experimenting with very basic Montessorian activities like walking around a large chalk circle or on a long chalk line, various small child-powered vehicles, counting, and singing.

The mosquitoes are biting.

Thus, most of the time was well spent and may be considered redeemed to the extent that such can be said of ordinary human activity.

My mechanic has a 2000 Volvo Cross Country on his yard that a customer dropped off to sell.  We were interested in the car for Caution-Lady, but the owners are, according to Mr. Jim, insistent upon or “stuck at” their beyond Edmunds valuation asking price of $7,000.00.  I’d say the car’s worth closer to $5,500.00, so we’ll just keep the ’93 940T for a while longer.  We’ve had the 940 since 2002, and it has been a great car and a sold daily-driver.  It’s due for an oil service and needs sunroof adjusted, new driver-side carpet, and front brakes, but all that will come in at considerably less than $7k.

At work, two of my coworkers – one in my own office and one in another part of the state – have lost their spouses suddenly and unexpectedly.  It has been a sad time.  Last week, I returned to Cannon County on official business after an absence of about five years, on a hot day driving a car with no useful air-conditioner.  At Murfreesboro, I met the new hire who is replacing an old friend who tendered resignation last month.

In the electronic world, I’ve discovered that extreme privacy settings on Facebook are preventing people I actually like from “friending” me.  I’m going to have to monkey with that to see if the thing can be corrected.

Roof Better Now & Island Paddling

Island maze is visible at far right - click for larger image

Island maze is visible at far right - click for larger image

I got out and cleaned the rain gutters yesterday morning. After the roof shingles dried, around 11:00, Don came over and fixed the roof. I was going to act as his helper, but got preoccupied degreasing Thursday’s motor, then trying to figure out why it quit running as I’d left it in neutral, hood-open to dry out the engine-compartment. By the time I climbed up the ladder, Don had pretty much got the chimney work done. Then I got hung up trying to figure out whether to pay off this house, list it, sell it, before buying another, or do those things without first paying off the mortgage. Trying to think through emergency funds, investments, Seventy-Six college funding. By that time, Don had completed the work and I wrote him a check. I felt bad leaving him to do that work alone when his goal had probably been, in part, to teach me how to do some of that stuff. Somehow, when I’m trying to manage things, I often manage to disappoint myself and others. Maybe just myself.

Car started again, probably some moisture in the distributor cap that dried off after awhile, because the plug sockets were bone-dry when I checked them, earlier.

Around three o’clock, I loaded the car with gear, and roof-racked Campsis Radicans, took a check out to my Hillsboro mechanic to pay for that replacement radio I got a month or two ago from a smashed 850 Turbo in his field of parts cars. Brian and I talked about parenting, Tommy educated me on the finer points of engine-compartment beautification, I looked at an ’01 Cross-Country and ’89 745 that still had both corner lights and something I’ve never before seen on any 700 series car – the towing-eye cover. Yes, I wanted to buy both cars. Heck, we need a wagon. My dream car has always been a Volvo wagon. Caution-Lady would love a wagon. We could trade or sell Whitecar (’93 940T)…

A fellow named Denny paddling upstream from Dabbs Ford to fish

A fellow named Denny paddling upstream from Dabbs Ford to fish

Yeah, so about an hour later I made it to the put-in below Prairie Plains Road Bridge at Dabbs Ford, and saw something I’ve never before seen on Woods Reservoir – another seakayaker. Guy in a truck with a 17′ Wilderness Systems Unknown-To-Me model kayak on the roof racks. We talked about paddles, the unlikelyhood of meeting another long-boater at Woods. He paddled upstream to fish, and I paddled downstream to challenge myself with the maze of islands down at that end of the lake.

Entering the maze of islands where the Elk flows into Woods Reservoir

Entering the maze of islands where the Elk flows into Woods Reservoir

I didn't know turtles were such good climbers

I didn't know turtles were such good climbers

Because I don’t often get on the water this late, I didn’t have any clear idea how much daylight remained to me. I paddled down the Elk, past the small refrigerator that serves as a channel-marker, its door open and empty. Keeping left, I paddled to a shallow place, got out, and inflated the hip pads I’d forgotten to inflate when I launched. Climbed back in and continued. I saw three bird-boxes on posts in backwater channels and along the shore. I saw a fist-sized turtle clinging to the branch of a fallen tree. I saw duck blinds. Heard two sonic booms occurred one quickly after the other; these sounded, if possible higher because their shockwaves were not very intense. I saw herons and three or four ducks.

These red leaves attracted my attention

These red leaves attracted my attention

On the water only an hour and forty-five minutes or so, I didn’t feel like I’d had much of a workout. I drove out Prairie Plains Road to Miller’s Crossing with the low mountains of Grundy County ahead and to my right.