Category Archives: My Story

Winter Blues

Winter

As I sit here in the coffee shop it is a gray January day with a light rain falling, promising to turn to snow.  This is an accurate metaphor for my mood of late.  I’m prone to depression, get treatment for it, but this is probably Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I haven’t been able to do much writing, and what I have written I haven’t posted.  This is unusual. My goal is to put something up every week and I haven’t come close.   

I used to have two of those lights which are supposed to help, but I gave one away and the other is over the bathtub I haven’t been able to use lately.  Why no baths?  Leaks.  The upstairs bathroom sink cold water faucet started leaking as well. 

For me, things happening around me are often related to the state of my psyche.  Water is also a symbol of the unconscious mind, and leaks are about something important trying to come to consciousness.  I am engaged in a struggle to keep things buried.  Thus, leaks I am slow in fixing, and gloom leading to inaction.  It’s easy to guess how my meditation practice is going.  

My meditations are supposed to have the goal of being totally in the moment-no thinking about the pas, the future, or Donald Trump.  I can stay with just observing my breath for maybe five seconds.  I usually am able to stay with my breath or a prayer for several minutes before drifting off to be with Dorothy and Toto.  I come back to the breath, stay there a while and drift off again.  Currently, I obsess.   

I think the real issue for me is aging.  I am 74 years old. Lifting a fifty pound sack of ice melt salt is hard.  I used to throw fifty pound sacks around.  I cannot go above the second step on the ladder for fear of falling off.  I sometimes cheat and go to the third step, no higher.  My balance is not very good.  I have stayed at the same weight for some time but the muscles are shrinking and the belly is growing.   

I forget stuff.  I have always been somewhat forgetful, an ADD-ADHD symptom, but it’s worse lately.  I am going to have to go back to writing reminders down, a habit I have slipped away from.  I also head downstairs to do something, do two or three other things and head upstairs with the task not done. At least I get some exercise going up and down the stairs all day.

I know this too will pass, but I am tired of waiting

 

 

Leadville

Leadville

Leadville

As part of our week in Breckenridge, we did a day trip to Leadville over Fremont Pass.  This country figures in my life.  My father grew up in Leadville, and I worked at the Climax Molybdenum mine one summer when in college.  Breckenridge is low country, around 9600 feet.  Leadville is over 10,000 feet in elevation, the highest incorporated city in the U.S. Climax is at the summit of Fremont Pass, 11,360 feet in elevation.  Some years, it doesn’t snow in July.   

Climax, Elevation 11,300 Feet

Climax, Elevation 11,300 Feet

Climax is at the foot of Bartlett Mountain, once one of the largest bodies of Molybdenum in the world.  Moly is used in alloying steel and as a lubricant.  Moly alloyed in steel makes it tougher, useful in high stress applications.  It’s first big use was in gun barrels during WWI.  Much of Bartlett Mountain is gone, hollowed out, crushed, had the metals removed, and the tailings dumped into a once beautiful glaciated valley.  Common with most mining operations, Climax has gone through several boom-bust cycles, and is currently just limping along.  Leadville is limping as well, still dependent on mining. 

I worked at the Storke level, 300 feet down the mountain from the original portal and mill.  I lived in a company hotel there. There was once a company town, but it went away as the milling operation took the land.  The store and the beer joint were still there in the mid-1960’s.    

I worked as a miner.  Drill, shoot, and muck.  That’s mining.  The drill was a jack leg, a pneumatic rock drill with a leg attached to be extended as the drill hole got deeper.  It was powered by compressed air, and had a water feed to keep dust down.  Drill holes in the face, load them with explosive, shoot, then remove the broken rock (muck).  I plan to go into the whole operation some time.  I did it for the money, and I can now say I was a miner. 

Leadville is down the pass.  What a place.  First gold, then a lot of silver, then bust as the silver market collapsed.  Mining has always gone on, from small independent operations to massive developments supporting a fairly large town.  My grandfather lived there for about twenty years as a railroader, a good Union job.  Born in 1903, my dad grew up there until 1918 when the railroad went broke and the family moved to Grand Junction.  Growing up, I heard lots of Leadville stories.  I will tell some more sometime.  If you go down the hill from the hotel on Harrison Avenue, the house at the bottom on the right is where my father grew up. 

Mining Hall of Fame

Mining Hall of Fame

When we visited, we drove around and I bored everyone with Leadville stories.  We ate at the Golden Burro, where I ate in the 1960’s, and went to the mining museum.  If you have any interest in mining, that’s the place.  Mostly, mining is taking metals and fuel from the earth and leaving a mess.  Leadville has lots of messes.  The worst ongoing mess is the water.  As it comes out of the mines it is highly acidic and loaded with toxic metals in solution.  It will have to be treated forever, at least in human terms.  Mining built Colorado, and we will always deal with the legacy.  Oh, what a mess we made.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Kermit

Kermit

“It’s not easy being green”.  I like to use that line with people who dye their hair green.  They don’t seem to mind, as they are extroverted enough to do such a thing and be seen in public.  I particularly like the phrase because I have a green pickup and my totem animal is the frog.  I even have a couple of stuffed frogs people have given me.  I have been kissed, but, alas, never turned into a prince.  I do tend to hop and croak, but draw the line at eating flies. 

I have found that at my age, I can initiate conversations with strangers I wouldn’t have dared to do when I was younger.  People just figure I am a silly old man.  Right on.  I am bald and usually wear a hat.  I walk up to African-American people, men and women, with dreadlocks and tell them I have wanted

Whoopi With Dreadlocks

Whoopi With Dreadlocks

dreadlocks for years.  Then I take my hat off.  I always get a laugh and a couple of comments.  It’s my way of connecting with black people.  It is also a way of showing respect for how they look in a humorous way.  I have had a lot of fun with it.  I also have a bit of a Rastafarian streak. 

Another joke I use with strangers is when I see someone with a college shirt on.  With the Denver University people I ask them why Colorado College grads keep a copy of their diploma on the dash of their car.  It’s so they can park in the handicapped slot.  Here in Colorado, it’s often CU and Nebraska.  By the way, that N on their helmets stands for nowledge.  

I used the joke with Duke-North Carolina, Auburn-Alabama, Notre Dame-Penn State, Denver Metro-CU Denver, USC-UCLA, and sadly after Saturday’s game, Washington-Oregon.  The combinations are endless.  I have had the most fun with Texas Tech-Texas A&M.  I told the joke to a couple, he with a Texas Tech T-shirt.  She screamed, “I’m an Aggie!”.  He couldn’t stop laughing.  I used Purdue with a guy wearing an Indiana shirt.  “My dad’s a Purdue grad and an engineer”.  He promised to use it on his dad. 

Then there are the Gingers.  I tell them they should rule the world.  Gingers are a downtrodden minority no one is really aware of.  The pure redheads are usually able to effectively protect themselves, given their temperament.  Of course many of them are Irish, which opens up a whole new area. 

Lincoln Tunnel

Lincoln Tunnel

I also have my New York joke, useful with anyone from a four-state region around the city.  “Do you know why the suicide rate is so high in Manhattan?”  “The light at the end of the tunnel is Jersey.”  Even Jersey natives laugh at that one.  Now, New Jersey truly is The Garden State, except for those ugly industrial flats across the river from Manhattan.  When in the Army, I was stationed at Fort Monmouth on the Jersey shore.  This child of the Colorado Plateau was overwhelmed by the lushness of that area.  I had never seen so much green. 

So, now you know how I make a fool of myself in public.  Try it, it’s much better than expressing panic about the election.

 

 

The Hurt, The Itch, and The Joke

It’s raining today, which means it is time for miscellany.  I always have a few short ideas rattling around in my head, and these days writing about them is the best way to get them out of there.  First, the itch. 

For years now, if it doesn’t hurt, it itches.  I have arthritis in several places and it bothers me from time to time.  Currently it is my left knee and my left wrist.  The knee hurts and is weak for the first few steps when I get out of the chair.  I get shots in the knee from time to time, usually good for six months or so.  I am left handed and the wrist is intermittently a real pain, usually when gardening.  I notice that my left hand is weaker than the other one (I won’t say right.)  as I am the official opener and fixer around the house, this is not good.   

Itch

Itch

The itch is the biggie.  I itch every morning until the Allegra kicks in, and every evening until the Benadryl kicks in.  I don’t know what the allergen is, and it is year around.  The worst spots are on my back over my kidneys.  Right now, the inside of my forearm and calf are itching.  The itch doesn’t drive me nuts, I was already there.   

I tried the allergy specialist with no luck.  The only things that help are the antihistamines.  There is a possibility the allergen is one of the medications I take.  Next time I see my doctor I will talk to her about doing an allergy elimination protocol.  I won’t do it myself, I take that stuff for a reason.  I don’t want to have a stroke while tracking the source of the itch. 

I didn’t itch when I was younger.  I even felt a bit smug when others complained about their allergies.  Maybe the whole thing is karma.   

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Now, the joke, my favorite of all time.  I see a person wearing a college t-shirt or sweatshirt and ask them if they know why graduates of the school’s big rival keep a copy of their diploma on the dash of their car.  They do it so they can park in the handicapped spot.  Here in Denver it is usually Colorado-Nebraska or Denver University-Colorado College.  Nebraska, of course, is the most appropriate.  That N on their football player’s helmets stands for nowledge.  Most Coloradoans know that joke, but it is fun to see the reaction when in Nebraska. 

I have used it for schools all over the country.  Michigan-Ohio State, Purdue-Indiana, Notre Dame-Penn State, Duke-North Carolina, Auburn-Alabama, USC-UCLA, and especially Texas-Texas A&M, as Aggies are right in there with Nebraska.  I have told this to dozens of people, and only one didn’t like the joke.

Declining and Arising

The Quarter Moon

The Quarter Moon

A few years ago Carol, my wife, her sister Judi, and I wrote a blog about caregiving for aging parents.  The aging parents are gone and so is the blog, but one piece I wrote sticks with me.  Watching the decline.  I wrote the piece about Frank, Carol’s and Judi’s dad who went into a serious decline in his ’90s.   

Frank is gone, so now I am watching my own decline.  I had it come home to me when I forgot where I parked the car in downtown Minneapolis and spent three hours searching for the damn thing. By the time I found it I was tired, relieved, and a bit ashamed.  Not finding the car has always been a problem for me, a function of my ADD.  I keep a little yellow ball on the radio antenna of my pickup so I can see it in the parking lot.  Losing the car for three hours is a new one, however.  Yes, I have a GPS in my cell phone. 

Losing the car is only one symptom.  My knee, wrist, shoulder, and back hurt.  I fall down.  I can’t remember names.  Carol and I make a plan every week, and I forget what I am supposed to do.  I go downstairs to get something, do three other things and end up back upstairs without what I went for.  Three times. 

I will be 74 in October.  What do I have left?  Ten, maybe fifteen years?  Aging is reality for me.  Usually I take these things in stride.  After all what is important is the moment, which is almost always pretty good.  The trip to Minneapolis threw me into something of a funk.  I got scared when I couldn’t find the car.  I went to help my brother-in-law, who is facing some aging issues as well.  I still haven’t recovered from the trip. 

My life is good.  We have a nice home and garden, good things to do, travel some, and have fun together.  I can write, which I was unable to do until the last few years after getting diagnosed and treated for ADD.  I have gone places and done things.  I can ( http://www.insightmeditation.org/ )meditate which I could not do for most of my life.  I have found an important role as family caregiver. Caregiving is especially meaningful because it didn’t exist in my family. 

The meditation has opened up a spiritual life I have sought since I first asked “Why?”.  I now  know the answer: Because.  The secret to because is becoming.  The sun is up every morning.  The birds sing, even if I have trouble hearing them.  The new in my life outweighs the difficulties.      Most of the time.  I get myself in trouble when I stare at that unknowable wall out there.  If I stay where I belong, here and now, I’m fine.  Events, however, sometimes present that wall-my brief time on this world and in this body.  I’ll get through it.  Writing this has already helped.

Minneapolis

I recently went to Minneapolis to help my brother-in-law.  He was on his bicycle returning from doing some volunteer work when he was hit by a car.  His leg was broken, and the ambulance took him to the Hennepin County Medical Center, a huge facility, where he had surgery on the leg.  There he was, in the hospital then in a nice rehab facility, immobile.   

I traveled from Denver to serve as legs.  He need his mail and things from his place and the police report for starters.  The mail and things was no problem.  He lives in one of Minneapolis’ hip neighborhoods.  Lots of bicycle shops and pizza joints.  The police report was another matter. 

Minneapolis City Hall

Minneapolis City Hall

The City website gave a wrong address.  I asked around, and was sent to City Hall next door.  It is quite an edifice, a big pile of brown brick meant to be in some architectural style.  There is nothing on the outside of the building to identify it as City Hall.  I found the right office and was told I had to have written permission from Jim to obtain the report.  So, back to the rehab center for the note, and back downtown.  A little later in the day, I had to park a few blocks from City Hall.  I said the location out loud to myself so I would remember.   

I got the report ($0.40) and headed back to the car.  I couldn’t remember where I parked the damn thing.  I walked around for three hours with no luck.  I even had to stop for something to eat as I was getting tired.  I asked for help at a police station and got nothing but sympathy.   

I finally got a cab and we found the car in ten minutes.  I was looking on north-south streets and the car was on an east-west street.  Later it dawned on me I could have pinned the location on the GPS in my phone.  I guess I will have to learn how to use the thing after three years.  I was as stressed out as at any time in my life.  I just felt old and clueless. 

I stayed in a hotel down by Mall of America and the airport, not wanting to stay downtown.  It is easy to go back and forth if it is not rush hour.  Minneapolis highways seem more congested than Denver, and the streets are in worse shape. It’s an older city and the winters are worse.   

The hotel restaurant was an Outback Steak House.  It was entirely too much noise for me.  I ended up at the Denny’s (!) down the street.  After running around an unfamiliar city, I was too tired every evening to even turn the TV on. 

Lots of years ago I spent some time in Minneapolis Searching For Truth.  I don’t know if I found truth, but I came to appreciate the city.  It is also where Carol went to high school and the University of Minnesota, so there are connections other than the one with Jim.   

As in every big city, downtown emphasizes the diversity of the population.  In Minneapolis, I expect to see blonde Scandinavians.  Nope, African Americans and Somalis.  The city has the largest Somali population in the country.  I don’t think they are Lutherans.   

The only complaint I have about Minneapolis is the climate.  It rained.  Several times.  Once, a lot.  This child of the desert can tolerate some rain, but not much.   What happened in Denver when I got home?  It rained.  Where is the justice?

Minneapolis Road Trip

Corn and Soybeans

Corn and Soybeans

I am back from a road trip to Minneapolis on family business. I will tell the family story later, this is about the road. People say I am a bit weird. I like road trips and enjoy not listening to anything but the sound of Diesel engines as I pass the trucks. I watch, listen, and as much as possible these days, think.

This time I was in a hurry to get there, so it was I-76, I-80, and I-35 to Minneapolis. I have done I-80 for you, and I-35 is more of the same-corn and soybeans. Some of the time it is soybeans and corn. The highway through Dezz Monezz is a bit dodgy, lots of turns and traffic.

The return trip a week later was more fun. I have known various people from Mankato over the years, but had never been there. I have always liked the name. The Native Americans were screwed in southern Minnesota more than many other places, being hauled off to Fort Snelling and imprisoned. We need to keep the memory of what happened to those people, here in the land of the free.

The drive from Minneapolis (I like writing that word, much better than MPLS.) to Mankato follows the Minnesota River for much of the way. The country is hilly and wooded, with farms on every available flat spot. Beautiful. Those of us from the West are a bit snobby about the Midwest, but there is beauty most everywhere you look. Except for the monotonous corn and soybeans. That country must be spectacular in the fall.

Close to Minneapolis, the Minnesota River is navigable. I like seeing ports in the middle of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine,_Nebraskathe country. West of Mankato, one finds corn and soybeans. My next goal was the Nebraska Sand Hill country and the Niobrara River. I followed the River from Niobrara to Valentine. It is farm country, but that River is always right over there.

Niobrara River

Niobrara River

The River is a national treasure. Designated a Wild and Scenic River, it winds through hilly country and is bordered by woodlands. There aren’t many people in that area, another benefit. One can get a sense of what it must have been like before the European Invasion. I am sure it was better then than it is now.

Valentine has 2700 people, but is the commercial center for a wide area. It goes on my list of nice small towns. There are several River outfitters based around there for people doing canoe trips on the Niobrara. I still want to do that in the next few years before I am too decrepit for that sort of thing.

 

The Sand Hills

The Sand Hills

The Sand Hills. So beautiful I almost ran off the road while taking it all in. It is truly hilly there. The northern Sand Hills get quite a bit of moisture and there is water. Like western South Dakota there is a sense of space. You are in the West, not the corn and soybean Midwest. Do I seem a bit biased?

Cow country. U.S. Highway 83 from Valentine to North Platte is 115 miles of ranch country. Thedford is 58 miles south of Valentine with no towns. There is a school about halfway. There are ranches all along the way, every mile or half mile or so, and lakes. There is a national wildlife refuge there. Sandhill Cranes and a lot of other wildlife. No antelope. There should be, but there are probably too many fences.
As you drive south it dries out. In late August it is green around Valentine, but fairly brown closer to North Platte. We are talking about a huge area of northwest Nebraska, and as good cattle country as anywhere. We should be eating grass fed beef from there rather than corn fed feedlot beef from along the Platte. There would be less corn across the Midwest.

The wind blows out there. I saw five or six huge wind farms making power in Nebraska. There was one in southwest Minnesota. I saw none in South Dakota or Colorado. The sun doesn’t always shine out there, but the wind almost always blows, even at night. All that wind from Wyoming has to go somewhere. I saw a number of trucks hauling those long wind vanes, so the wind power business is growing. Wind makes more sense than solar in more northern parts of the country. Home rooftop solar is good, you can’t have too many wind turbines in town. More wind power, less coal trains rattling through Alliance.

Back in Colorado, along the South Platte, there is lots of history. Gold rush wagon trains, Indian wars, farming and cattle. One of the small towns is Iliff, named for an early rancher who got rich raising beef for the miners. He was another of those Methodists who had a big role in early Colorado. Evans, Chivington. Iliff founded the Methodist seminary at Denver University.

I have to get out to Julesburg and poke around the history there then go up to Scotts Bluff on the North Platte, with a stop at Fort Laramie on the way home. Another road trip.

Changes

Equanimity2I retired five years ago.  I waited until I was 68 to pile up some more retirement benefits.  I also waited because I was scared of retiring.  When I retired I took two part time jobs which soon went to one.  I felt like I had to work.  That lasted four years.  Now, I am truly retired.  (Funny thing, I wrote tired instead of retired.).  

Another reason I retired from my career in water treatment was noticing I just was not as sharp as I used to be.  I have always been fairly sharp, except for the ADD brain lapses I have always lived with.  The lapses were more frequent.  One of my part time jobs required constant focus.  Not good.  The other one was working with elementary school kids, and meant unremitting joy.  I gave that job up because I didn’t want to work so many hours, and my bad back was complaining. 

Now my back still complains, but I can pace myself more and take a time out if I need to.  Right now it’s my upper back hurting after yoga and shoveling a pickup load of wood chips.  Today I am going for a walk where it is flat. 

About those lapses.  All older people complain about them.  The other day I made four trips to the basement to get something and never did come up with it.  Yesterday I was in the grocery store and upset because I forgot the list.  When I got home without some things on the list I found it in my pocket.   

Well, there is a reason for this.  As we age, our brains tend to shift from the executive function-running things- to inner processes.  It is certainly true for me.  I want to write, read, meditate, and enjoy happy entertainment.  There is a huge obstacle right now.  Politics.   

Prayer

Prayer

It’s hard to hold on to my equanimity these days.  Usually I deal with negativity by praying for the people creating the mood.  I have even prayed for Newt Gingrich.  I have yet to be able to pray for His Yellowness.  Praying for people doesn’t necessarily change them, although sometimes it does, but it does change me.  The changes I experience make me more able to live with myself.  I am even less of a jackass on the road. 

I have more peace.  My body doesn’t work as well as it used to, but I think my mind may be getting to a place where I can actually experience the inner connectedness of all life.  I can find joy in anyone.  Well, most everyone.  I also have trouble feeling connected with the Japanese Beetles who want to eat stuff in our garden.  I can’t go above the second step on the ladder because I tend to fall off.  Some of the evil critters get away because I can’t get high enough. 

On balance, aging isn’t so bad.  I have lived a life of constant stress from trying to be normal when I am not.  Now, I get to embrace being weird and getting weirder, and love life.  Mostly. 

I will know I am really on the right track when I can pray for THEM.

Japanese Beetles

We are being attacked.  When the weather gets hot, Japanese Beetles come out and eat roses, hollyhocks, buckthorn, linden trees, and grape leaves.  The poor roses hardly have a chance.  The new flowers are ragged by noon.  All that is left on some of the grape leaves are the veins.  The hollyhocks lose their flowers as well.   

Japanese Beetle

Japanese Beetle

It’s war!  They are relatively new arrivals here in our neighborhood.  They showed up last year and this year they are all over our plants.  The evil little beetles come out and eat during the hot weather, lay their eggs in the lawn, the grubs hatch and eat the grass roots.  Next spring, the grubs become beetles, and the horrible thing starts all over again.   

When they hit the peach and vineyard area around Palisade, the chemicals came out and the infestation was stopped.  They don’t talk about the harm done to beneficial insects.  We try to be organic, so the poisons are out.   

The first tactic we adopted is to go out with a small pitcher with some dish soap laden water, find the bugs, and flick the bugs into the water with a table knife.  It goes on all day.  The grape arbor is high, and I am banned from going up more than two steps on the ladder, so some escape.  I am not big on killing living beings, but here is an exception.

They are fairly round with an iridescent shell.  Ugly little beasts.  At the end of the day we have dozens floating in the water.  With a lot of research, mostly on University Extension Service websites, we discovered neem oil with a tiny amount of azadirachtin kills and repels the little beasts. 

As the grubs get active in the turf, we are going to introduce some nematodes that attack the grubs.  With luck, we won’t have those dead spots in the lawn.  The nematodes stay around, so one time for them.  

On my bug hunt one morning, I didn’t find one beetle.  The fortified neem oil is working.  After a couple of days they are back and it’s back to work. The neighbors won’t be killing the grubs, so we will have an annual battle.   

If you have Japanese Beetles, neem oil with azadirachtin works.  Straight neem oil works on lots of harmful insects, but not without some azadirachtin for our little buddies.  If you need neem oil and don’t have Japanese Beetles, we have a couple of bottles we will give you.  Good hunting!

Those Damn Cars

Tacoma. Mine has lots of brush scrapes on the sides.

Tacoma. Mine has lots of brush scrapes on the sides.

Living in the USA almost always means having cars.  It is possible to do without, but difficult except in New York, Boston, and San Francisco.  I was eighteen when I got my first car, a 1957 Ford.  I have lost count of how many since 1961.  I have had sedans, a panel truck, 2wd pickups, 4×4 pickups, SUV’s,  and sports cars.  I have also crashed a few.  It’s a combination of ADD and poor eye-hand coordination responsible for the crashes.  I was even in one crash that wasn’t my fault. 

My favorites?  Pickups and sports cars, sort of on opposite ends of the automotive spectrum.  I learned how to drive in a pickup, and their versatility appeals to me.  Lately, the pickups have been four wheel drive so I can risk my life on really bad mountain and desert roads.  Currently my four wheeler is a Toyota Tacoma.  It is just went in to get its rear springs replaced.  That is the third recall. 

Matrix

Matrix

Carol’s car is a Toyota Matrix, sort of a mini SUV.  It has had recalls as well, those Takata airbags that throw shrapnel.  I still like Toyotas.  They are reliable and are for the most part well thought out.  We have friends with Priuses, but I am still not sure. 

We have another resident in the garage.  It is a 2006 BMW 325i four door sedan.  Don’t be fooled, the thing is a sports car with four doors.  Power, handling, looks, and some snobbery.

That thing is fun.  I turn corners without slowing down.  It just turns, no squeal, no big deal.  The steering varies with speed.  At slow speeds, it hardly takes any turns to corner.  At higher speeds, you have to give the steering wheel more input. 

BMW 325i

BMW 325i

The BMW is fast.  I don’t have any comparison with, say, a Mustang, but it goes when you mash down.  To me, it has just enough power.  Passing those RV’s in the mountains is no problem at all.  Speeding up or slowing down to change lanes, zip.  I have never spun the tires to show off. 

It is helpless in the snow.  It has traction control, but no help.  The tires are wide, the car is low, and it just sits there and spins those rear wheels.  The BMW’s with an X in their model name have all wheel drive.  Carol’s daughter didn’t need AWD in Silicon Valley, where she bought the car. 

The thing is automated.  Everything is programmable, even the rear view mirrors.  There are buttons everywhere and a digital interface controlled by a knob you turn to scroll through options.  I think I can operate about ten percent of the stuff.  I keep telling myself to get out there with the owners manual and learn, but I haven’t done it in seven months. 

BMW’s cost too much, they are expensive to fix, not very roomy, and so much fun to drive.  We don’t need three cars.  We could probably be fine with one.  I don’t know what we are going to do.  we will probably sell the Matrix and the BMW and get Carol a cool AWD car.

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