On the Road Again

IMG_3342Northern NY, Connecticut, northern NY, West Virginia, northern NY  (with relatives visiting) then western NY. Those were our past two weeks. Very fun and very full. And I fully intended to write, but somehow when I finished my work each day, I was packing, unpacking or just plain ol’ hesitant to crack a computer. I’m a wee bit fried, but it’s all good. Loose ends are finally getting wrapped up, and our lives on the western front (of NY) now have an expiration date.

I’ll do this in catch-up pieces so it’s not too bulky. Let’s start with the car. Times are changing. My man can fix anything, and we live accordingly. In our now 25+ years of marriage, we get a mini-van every few years. They are rust buckets he fixes up, and once we bought one with less than 100,000 miles on it. It baffled us. We kept thinking something was wrong with the odometer. But you know what? Chris is so swamped with our life changes–adjusting to a new home and weeding through generations of treasures from the family (now that we live in a home once owned by his grandparents), that he just doesn’t have time for the car maintenance. And now we want to spend time we have traveling and visiting our grown kids. This last trip to Utah was an eye-opener. It’s time for things to change in our arena.

So we opened our minds to alternative choices.

CJ has been raving about his car deal and telling us it isn’t a horrible move getting an other-than-rust-bucket. And Zeb and Bri (Zeb’s girlfriend) have been saying the same. Bri has had a Honda Fit for many years, and adores it. The more they talked about it, the more we realized it might be the perfect Fit for us (see what I did there? Haha). The mileage is excellent (42 mpg on highways) and with it’s high roof for a little car, it holds a ton. Depending on how you configure the seats, you can easily fit snowboards or bicycles inside the little thing. And the front seats recline so they are almost completely flat in case you want to sleep in the car (which we do in our minivans when we camp). Aaaand we’ve found quite a few Fits for sale with around 250,000 miles on them. Apparently the engines last forever.

We hit Craigslist and dealer sites and found a dream deal in Ct. It seemed so good. We called in the morning, and they said it was still available so we hopped in our broken minivan and took the 4-hour trip to Ct. Only to find out that it was sold the day prior.

Yeah, you read that right. The day before.

And we are very proud of ourselves. We didn’t let ourselves get too depressed, and we didn’t blow up angrily or lash out — all of which are natural instincts. Instead, we parked at a gas station, pulled out the mi-fi and our computers, and really started researching. Connecticut has a lot more Fit opportunity than northern NY. After a half hour or so of dedicated research, we found a place with a beautiful red Fit. I hit their live chat (which I love to do since I do live chat in my job — it’s fun to be on the other side of it). The car was there, and twenty minutes later we were there.

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What a difference from the first place, which made us feel like we were in a machine (one with false info). This place was down-to-earth and friendly. Yet professional. We drove the vehicle and loved it. We didn’t feel pressure, muss or fuss, even though we were getting close to their closing time. In fact, it was only upon our questioning wherein they let us know of other options. And we fell in love with a black one. With tinted windows so my computer won’t get overheated as I work while traveling. And lots of USB ports and charging areas. As a worker-often-on-the-road I was sold.

Chris was sold after seeing the moon roof.

We drove back the next day to pick it up and had a delightful experience at a local coffee shop as we waited.

So yeah, we have officially entered the world of grown-ups. Thanks to our kids. And now have a reliable car. That had 26,000 miles on its odometer (now it has 28,000). This is perhaps a dangerous thing. But it’s amazingly fun. Thanks for the prodding, kiddos!

PS. Not gonna lie, it was a bit embarrassing to realize that we are so outdated and behind-the-times that when we went to leave the lot, we realized we didn’t know how to start the thing. Had to ask for help. How embarrassing, yet funny. I get that.

 

 

Kind People Running Coffee Shops

When I visit Europe, it somehow seems magical. Although I know that the people there are the same as the people here, the parks, restaurants and homes seem to have a bit more enchantment. As a result, I am now deliberately seeking similar spots here in the United States. To my delight, I’m realizing that it’s not too difficult. Charming places abound — such as this great little coffee/bagel spot we found in Oakville, Ct. The kindness of the people there was inspirational, and I’m also thankful for the experience.

Chris and I had to kill a few hours while our new-to-us car was getting touched up, and the mechanics at the dealer recommended a place up the street where we could work and grab a bite to eat. We headed up the road, past an old mill  that seemed steeped with  history.

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Shortly after that, we stood on a bridge to watch some geese swim. Locals have clearly been feeding them since they all started swimming towards us as soon as we stopped.

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We made it to our destination and were welcomed like family. The food was freshly cooked, and the Internet was strong. Sometimes when I work at a place of hours on end, I feel a bit intrusive. But at this place, the woman who was running the place actually came over to us and thanked us for working there. She told us that it was so nice to see the place being used like that (then she offered us free coffee–isn’t that amazing?).

As the hours drifted on, we ordered lunch there as well. Equally as good as breakfast. They even has fresh old-fashioned-style ginger beer.

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People drifted in and out — each person welcomed sincerely. Some brought gifts such as fresh herbs from a local farmer’s market. The small-town “let’s all work together to make each other’s life better” vibe was certainly strong.

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The woman running the place stepped out with a patron for a moment, and they graciously posed for a picture for me.

If I’m ever back in that area, I know I will be stopping in at Baked and Brewed.

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