Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Gotta Keep Moving

Sorry its been a few weeks since I last checked in. Since the last time I posted, there have been 2 big things going on that are post-worthy. No bus content today :-(

The company I work for moved my department a few miles down the road, so that created quite a bit of chaos and distraction. It's not terribly interesting, but its real life. I moved to Beaverton to radically reduce my commute from a 45 minute one-way drive. For some, that might feel like a dream commute compared to what you drive now. To me, spending 1-1/2 hours sitting in heavy rubber-banding traffic was too stressful. After so many years, I knew my odds of getting into a wreck, and recognized I'd dodged the odds for so long, I was due. So, I rented a place less than 2 miles from my office. Perfect. On a really bad traffic morning, it could still take me 30 minutes in a car, but I could ride a bike in less than 20 minutes consistently.

The new office is 8 miles away, in Hillsboro. The mass-transit options are few. The space is nice, but with an office so far away from so many of our respective homes, I wonder how long it will be before folks decide the commute is too far, and there are viable alternatives closer to home. We'll see.

Before the divorce, before the separation, before I was asked to spend a couple of years sleeping in a guest room, I had made a commitment to my boys to gift $1k to help them get a car. At the time, the plan was to get a $1k car which needed work, and then work on it together as a project. By the time the boy was 16 and ready to drive on their own, he would have a car that he had spent years getting to know it, and pouring sweat-equity into it so he would treat it well. He would also know how the systems worked, and how to fix many of them. Well... what was listed in the first sentence got in the way of the original plan. Fast-forward 4 years and the first boy is now 17.

Weekend before last (on Sep20), he and I drove to a small town outside Seattle to size-up a 1997 Audi A4. He had been looking at Subaru sedans. He and I agreed that Subaru's are grossly overpriced in this area, so he widened his search to other all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles. He discovered that the A4 is widely available, and not nearly as highly sought after in the PacNW used market. So, when he found this one outside Seattle, we went for it.

It took us 3+ hours to get there, trading driving responsibilities and connecting on school, college prospects, etc. The A4 is a black quattro with heated leather seats, etc. The couple who were selling it were deep Audi people. This one was their first. They have since owned at least 3 more, and were driving another one when they met us. Since this was the first, there were subtle customizations (HID headlights, lowering springs, improved speakers, etc) that further
improved the value. It had been in a low-speed nose-bump accident, but otherwise the exterior and interior were perfect. The test drive cemented our opinion of the car: it handled extremely well. The steering was smooth and responsive, the brakes were as well, and neither influenced the other. The gas was quick, the clutch acceptable (very short pivot point) and the power very good. There were some issues (power locks broken, the dented front, no heat nor AC and a broken wiper motor), so we offered a couple hundred less than his asking price.

T drove the new A4 home, leading the triumphant parade from Seattle down the I-5. He got it through DEQ the new Tuesday and got plates on Wednesday. The insurance for it was only $10 more a month than the Saturn he had been primary driver on. The final price was $1300. So far, worth every penny.

The commute I described at the beginning I now get to drive my old friend Flash (TDI Jetta). So, the longer commute isn't all bad. It's actually kinda nice to drive him again. I got home late last night from a trip back east. I'll post on that soon. That's it for today. As always, thanks for following along-

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