Almost exactly two years ago Kelly and I bought a very nice car. Bella as we called it was a 99 Subaru forester with 65,532 miles. She was the nicest car either of us had ever had. She turned out to be the perfect car for us. Good mileage, fun to drive, safe, comfortable on long trips, great for poking around in the woods, and a ton of space for whatever. Today with 117,670 miles, we traded her in for a brand new model of the exact same car. It is a nice light gray. "Urban Gray" as they call it. It reminds us of a black pearl so we have decided to call it Pearl. The thing that we like the most about it is how much it is just like Bella. It drives very similarly, and sitting in the driver seat just plain feels the same. In a way it's kind of a let down. It my first new car and it's just like my old one. On the other hand we loved the old one. Almost every thing about it was great. This one does have a few very nice improvements. Our only complaints about our preveous car were that there was a lack of usable cup holders and poor cruse control layout. Technically there were four cup holders but two were in the back and one was right where your right elbow wanted to be when you shifted. The forth while convenient enough to use, pulled out right above the climate controls making them hard to use and making it so any spilled soda from a speed bump ended up on the stereo. The cruse control button was down low on the dash and behind the steering wheel, and the indicator light for the system was on was the danged button. Pearl has addressed both of these problems. The cup holder situation is almost overkill. There are two very usable holders in the center consol and one in each front door as well as four more in the back. The curse control is way better, with all the controls on the little lever by the driver's right fingertips and clear indicator lights in the instrument panel. We bought the extended warranty so she will be covered for 100,000 miles bumper to bumper. It is so nice for me to know that Kelly is driving a safe reliable car that handles like a dream. Pearl had 7.7 mile on her when we picked her up this morning and at least 2 or 3 of those were from us test-driving it last night. As it sits in the driveway right now it has 232. We drove down to show it to Kelly's family in Modesto this afternoon. I'll have to try and get a picture or two tomorrow.
The holidays are over. Tomorrow it's back to work. For Christmas we spent the weekend at Kelly parents house. It was nice… relaxing. The week before had been very stressful at work and the next few weeks promised to be more of the same. I'm in the middle of a big production cycle and I'm kind of chronically a day and a half behind. I really just enjoyed the long weekend away. Kelly's parents gave me an Ipod nano so I am now one of the cool kids, and I got a lot of other nice things. For New Years Eve, Kelly and I didn't go anywhere. We did stay up and toast the New Year before retiring but we didn't even bang pans or yell and whoop. Why is it that we feel it necessary to welcome the New Year with noise anyway? Today we got up at the crack or 10:30 and finally rolled out of here by noon on one of our no planning adventures to go play in the snow. We drove up through the El Dorado National Forest to Wentworth Springs Road and then took that over to Ice House Road and on up to Loon Lake. Along the way we met up with a guy in a jeep Cherokee and invited him to come along with us. It's always nice to travel with another vehicle so that if one of you gets stuck in the snow there is someone to give you a yank. By the end of the day though this guy was driving us nutty. I don't know for sure if he was just a few eggs short of a dozen, if he had had one to many beers, or both but he talked non stop, and was just kind of a know it all. Anyway… and thus we welcome the New Year and prepare for the coming week.