Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fighting the Flu

There is one thing according to the pitchmen that children will share in a Daycare and that is a virus. And they do. With everyone the caregivers included. And since Ellen is a caregiver she gets her share too. But she has been there long enough to be relatively immune to what ever the little darlings can dig up. And I do mean dig since most of them are hard rock nose miners! But since Ellen is semi immune she becomes a carrier only. And I wind up with the little gifts that keep on giving.

But I must be developing immunity too. There is something going round the office and nearly everyone has or had it to one degree or another except me (knock on wood). Or if I did get it it was a very mild bout. (But I am worried that I may just be the last in line for this bug so when everyone else is over it I will be sick. If that happens it happens.)

Now building up immunity vicariously is a good theory but an alternative might be it might be the walks. I walk the girls every day three times a day weekdays and twice a day on weekends, (that is because they usually get longer walks during the day on weekends and I like to sleep in till 6:30 or 7:00 on weekends). I think the daily constitutional is having the effect of keeping the cold bugs at bay. The cold weather especially makes you tougher and the fresh air is less contaminated than being inside the house every day. I think that the little break from sitting in the house all day gives you just enough of a break for you to beat the bugs.

I think it works that way for the dogs too, when we first got them, both of them, they got bouts of vomiting a diarrhea, but after a few months of daily walks they are in fine shape. A little sleepier than some but in the pink otherwise.

And now that it is flu season I am going to keep up the walking. If it is the way I think it is I should be able to walk away from the flu. Just 20 or 30 minutes (depending on stops right girls) 3 times a day should do it. If it doesn't I could try an apple a day.

So where did those leashes go...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

"You load 16 tons and what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt"

Well except for the 16 tons that's me today. I upgraded the van yesterday. Traded the old on in on a leaseback with a lot fewer kilometers. We also stepped up a model to the Grand Caravan now that we don't have the truck I thought we could do with the extra hauling capacity. The fact is that the van can carry more than the Truck because you can get a full 4X8 sheet in the back of the Grand Caravan. My truck only had a 6 foot box and with the cap on it could haul less than the new van.

So some time tomorrow I will become the proud owner of yet another used car. Oops, "Pre-owned" vehicle. Ellen particularly likes that phrase and gets a kick out of it when the sales guys try to make a used car sound better than it is by using the old "pre-owned" when they know full well it means "used". But then again the difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is the car salesman knows he's lying.

At any rate the new van is a 2007. A lease back with 30000KM. Hardly broke in. I have 2 years left on the bumper to bumper warranty and the balance of the 5 year 100000KM drive train warranty. And who ever took out the lease ate the biggest chunk of the depreciation. So I saved between 5 and 7 grand over the price of new maybe more. I don't know what that is in American dollars. Ha!

The salesman was also surprised that I was not concerned with the color. This is the bright ruby red that you see in all the dodge ads. Their flagship color. I just did not want a real dark color because it gets hot fast and we sometimes leave the dogs in the car. So the red is a change from the white I have had and not too dark I hope. It will look good with the red and white Alberta plates.

This van has the stow and go seating. On the plus side I can fold the seats away and have lots of room real quick, on the down side the exhaust is hung real low and might be a problem when I have to take a load to the dump or when we have our annual 2 foot dump of snow in March or April. But the sales guy was quick to assure me that they have not had any problems with it. We will see. I'm sure that with my luck I can have a problem.

As a lease back it has lots of toys, bells and whistles. That's how the lease system works. You lease all the toys you want then pay for it for a long time then trade it in so you can get more toys and bigger payments. The guy who comes along behind you gets a good deal on a "pre-owned" car with all the toys. Good for us Johnny-come-lately's. Not so good if you are keeping up with the Joneses.

My old van they gave me 3000 and change. That seems to be the going rate these days. But with 224000 KM or 140000 miles no one will give you much even though the thing is still basically sound. It's road worthy and I probably could have had another couple of years out of it. But without the truck it did not have the hauling capacity I wanted. You get to rely on a truck pretty quick. I don't know how I got by without it before. Not often but when you need it it is nice to have. And my service guy (Mike at the Certigard in Douglas Square always gives you a square deal I recommend him whenever I can) said that there were a few things coming up that were going to cost about a grand fairly soon. Just maintenance things. The idlers on the fan belt were making noise and the belt was due for replacement. The belt isn't so bad but the noisy idlers were stuck and would have had to have been replaced a 300 dollar touch. And the timing belt on the engine is inside the engine you usually get 150 - 200 000 kms on one of those before it goes. That is another 500 dollars. The Struts were due, 250 each minimum 2. So it seemed like time to look at putting the old van out to pasture. Nothing really wrong just wear and tear.

But I did give the guy a deal on the old one. I left all the dog hair in the back. There must be near 50 pounds. More than enough to knit a whole set of car seats! But can you imagine he was ungrateful. He actually complained about it. Just goes to show you he doesn't know what a real treasure he has there. Imagine genuine beagle hair seat covers a rare prize indeed! Just like the ones in my old van and the truck when I sold it.

On the edge of my seat waiting for the new van....