July 2020 Part II

Click here or on Chilkoot’s photo to see more pictures

Chilkoot turned seven. He wanted to have breakfast in bed (probably inspired by Mother’s and Father’s Day breakfasts in bed). Cinnamon roll (with sprinkles), chocolate chip pancake (with sprinkles), bacon (probably with some splashover sprinkles), and chocolate milk (probably without any sprinkles. He opened some of his presents from nuclear family, and was really excited about things normal septuagenarians would be excited about: A new memory foam pillow, an economy pack of his favorite brand of underwear, and salt (to be fair, it’s a collection of flavored salts in test tubes, so it’s pretty cool). He also enjoyed some geodes from Grandpa, which he enjoyed smashing with a hammer and inspecting the shiny insides.

KrisDi and I took the whole day off from work. Chilkoot wanted to go to the zoo. In current regulations, the zoo is open, you have to have an appointment ahead of time for an entry time slot, you have to wear a mask the whole time (unless you’re eating or whatever, which should be socially distanced). Most of the paths in the zoo have been converted to one way to reduce cross-traffic. For the most part it was fine, a few spots where the path is too narrow to allow passing and there was something interesting to see created traffic jams. One of the more interesting specific sights was when some lemurs took interest in a passing troop of ducklings. The lemurs remind me of some famous actor who looks evil or often plays evil characters, but I haven’t been able to place him yet.

We held Chilkoot’s birthday party at Uncle P Dubs’ new house, since he has a bigger yard and a spacious deck. Of course, that meant we had to pack everything we wanted to bring. KrisDi’s side of the family and the False Alarms came. Some social distancing was exercised. At least it was pretty much all outdoors. Chilkoot’s theme this year was frogs, and there were a lot of frog things. KrisDi’s cake was again amazing, and this weird fruit-sculpture was also one of my favorites. Mostly, I tried to stay out of the sun and drink beer. Oh, and something of a tradition, KrisDi removed a tooth from one of the False Alarm kids.

The next day, we went out and bought a car. We agreed years ago we’d try to replace our cars before they hit 100,000 miles, so it was time for Trent. KrisDi wanted to get an SUV with a third row of seats, and she had her eye on the 2020 Subaru Ascent, although she had a couple other cars she was considering. One of our main concerns was whether or not we could park it in the garage. We went down for a test drive of the Subaru, and our sales rep didn’t feel comfortable with us driving the car all the way to our home to find out (though it’s not that far). Of course, we didn’t want to buy it without looking at the other cars or knowing it fit in the garage, so we were leaving empty handed, which always displeases car dealerships (*eyeroll*). “What do we need to do for you to buy this car today?” “Well, we need to find out if it fits in our garage.” And so we had test drive number two. Would have been more effective just to let us do that in the first place?

It fit, but just barely. The other cars that KrisDi had researched were all longer (by the published stats) than this one. We drove away from the dealer again and talked about it, decided not to bother checking out the other cars since KrisDi liked this one and the others would have been even more cramped in the garage. We went back to buy it.

Which, of course, is also really annoying. I hate car buying. Amazon could destroy this industry. From our side: We have decided to buy this car. If we need to, we can buy it outright with cash. If you offer us 0% financing, we’ll take it, because why not? We want to get rid of the old car. If you offer us a good enough trade-in, we’ll take it, because why not? We have an online quote from another dealer about 30 miles away for a certain price ($5,000 or so less than MSRP). If you can match or beat that, we’ll take it. If you can’t, we’ll drive down there and buy that one. It’s pretty simple for us. The price they offer is the only factor that could cause us to walk away, aside from grossly pissing us off.

The dealer couldn’t understand this. She kept asking questions and acting like she was frustrated with us for not being up front. It was really annoying. They gave us a low offer for Trent, and we said no, and she kept pursuing it like she needed to find a number that would make us happy enough to buy the new car. We just wanted to move on to the next step. Eventually, we showed them the quote, they matched the price, they gave us 0% financing with no money down, and we went home with both new car and old car after spending most of a day on it. So stupid. Now we need to plan out and re-do our garage storage arrangements, which won’t be fun but will be nice when it’s done.

The Ascent is now named Juliet (which is a recycled name, sort of — it was one of our choices for Chilkoot if he had been a girl, or it was one of our choices for Chilkat — I can’t remember which).

We embarked upon a yardwork project. The big tree in the front yard outgrew its root structure and has been leaning toward the street and pulling roots out of the ground. The tree closest to our house isn’t a problem right now, but will get there. Here they are. We borrowed a chain saw from P Dubs and cut down both trees plus a bush that keeps growing up against the house. I spent a large portion of the day cutting them down into manageable chunks, and I learned that chainsaws take some muscle to operate. We packed leaves and twigs into our giant compost bin, and our two neighbors, and more, and we still had to go through three compost pickup days before we got rid of it all.

This left us with stumps sticking out of the ground, and lots of roots still in the ground. Our neighbor helped us by pulling them out with his pickup and a chain (little one, big one). More chopping into manageable pieces. We had a stack of reasonable firewood-sized chunks. I tried to burn a bunch of the roots, and you can do it, but http://www.snaotheus.com/photo%20pages/2020/July/31/index.html#img=2020-07-28%203%20-%20Burning%20tree%20roots.jpg. We still have this giant chunk of root that I couldn’t effectively cut into smaller pieces.

Chilkoot’s scout pack had their bridging ceremony, and he’s now a Wolf cub. Everyone wore masks and no one congregated for the ceremony. Several of the kids stuck around to play at the park where the ceremony was held. I was amazed at how many people were at the park, how large and close together the groups were, and how few were wearing masks.

Random stuff:

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Posted by snaotheus

2 comments

Car buying is indeed a total pain in the patoots. Dealers haven’t yet caught up to the idea that nobody but they themselves want to hang around a dealership–even after the Internet’s been a strong commercial presence for 20 years or more. You’d think after that long they’d get a clue.

How about turning the unchoppable root into yard art with a gnome peeking out from behind it?

I love the lemur and duckling photo. The lemurs look shocked and astonished. 😉

Juliet did not get to go with us to the blueberry farm. Trusty old Trent went.

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