Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I look good.

For the first time in my life, I have a car which I bought not because its predecessor was dead.

I have never owned a new car. I do not believe, philosophically, that I ever will.

My first car was a 1965 Chevy Impala, four door sedan with a 327 automatic. It was white, and boat-like in its handling. It was traded to my parents for a 1972 Chevy station wagon, because they wanted to sell it, and it wouldn't sell, but my car sold quickly.

The station wagon was on its last legs when my father found a 1974 Pinto. It was charming, in that Pinto sort of fashion, with a starter that would vibrate off from time to time, and at one point had one yellow door on its basically brown body due to a spin-out into a pole at the side of the road during a downpour. I sold the dying Pinto (soon after it actually launched one of the spark plugs out of its socket), and got a late '70's Chevy Monza.

The Monza died an interesting death. I was driving to work on the freeway one morning, and as I shifted from third to fourth gear, the clutch cable broke. I got the car to the right side of the road, but by the time I got stopped, I was actually on the painted safety area between the roadway and an entrance ramp. I got out of the car and began walking up the hill alongside the ramp (the days before cellphones, don't you know) when I heard a large BANG! and I knew precisely then that the Monza had met its end. Some genius was pulling onto the freeway and looking backward over his shoulder for oncoming traffic, and moseyed over onto the safety area and creamed hell out of my car. When I went to look at the remains, the vanity mirror that had been on the shade of the driver's side was in the back seat. Had I been sitting there, I assume it would have gone through my parietal lobes to get to its ultimate resting place.

The Monza was replaced by a '73 Monte Carlo. I loved that car for a couple of reasons, the best being that it was the only two-door car I'd ever had with swivel bucket seats, which made entering and exiting a much more pleasant experience.

The Monte Carlo went to my brother, and I had a VW bug, year indeterminate since they all looked the same. The distinguishing characteristic of this one was that the heater not only didn't work, but wasn't hooked up, so one had to dress for survival. The other distinguishing characteristic was that, from time to time, the left headlight would fall out, crashing dramatically to the pavement.

The Bug was replaced by The Benz. The Benz was more than 20 years old when we bought it, and we put another 125k miles on it before it ate its own timing gear. (Not to digress, but I'm becoming aware that I have had a rather large number of brown cars. Not that I like brown. Maybe they're just cheaper than other colors.)

The Benz was replaced by a Ford Taurus, and a more dreadful car I have never had. It compared poorly against the Pinto.

I would like to add parenthetically here, however, that during this period, I acquired a husband with a different automotive philosophy than my own. I am a utilitarian, believing that automobiles are a form of transportation. He believes that his autos are an expression of himself, and thereby has chosen to drive such things as a half-ton Dodge Ram (the two actions necessary to drive successfully in Florida), a Triumph Spitfire (in which he looked a great deal like Fred Flintstone), and a Fiat Spyder. In fact, he has owned two Fiats, not reflecting well on his judgement, in my opinion.

The Taurus was replaced by a Chevy Corsica, which had its own issues, having had the head re-ground and the head gasket replaced three times in the first thirty thousand miles. We gave up on it and gave it to Public Radio, where Click and Clack could use it as a bad design diorama.

After the Corsica, we became an all-Volvo household. I had a 91 740 Wagon, and he (still) has a 92 960 Sedan. They are very dependable, solid automobiles. They are not sexy.

I decided a little while back that if I was going to have to have a dread disease, I was going to look cool while doing it. So, I have a very cute Vera Bradley knockoff backpack strapped to my oxygen cart, with a matching shoulder bag in a bright yellow and blue Proven├žal print. And last Saturday, I picked up a 1994 Jaguar XJ6, champagne-colored, with 57,000 actual old-lady driven miles on her.

She is lovely.

And I look FABULOUS in her.

Perhaps my husband's automotive philosophy is rubbing off on me.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Latest Movement of the Organ Recital

Well, I got the results of some tests last week, and they look better. My original pulmonary artery pressure in January was 125, whence the normal range is closer to 18. I had an recent echocardiogram, which is not the most accurate measure of pulmonary pressure, but a good one nonetheless, and my pressures appear to be nearer 25, which is very good.

I'm now on three grossly expensive medications, but, after all, it's only money.

I also now have my own collection of meters. I have a blood pressure cuff for my wrist, a blood sugar meter, a pulse oxymeter, and a thermometer. One of my co-workers followed me in with my little oxygen cart, and said "Are you opening your own mobile hospital any time soon?"

I do not plan to do this, but it's an idea, and if I can charge rates anything like big immobile hospitals, I'll be a mill-yon-air.