Y’all, April has been a busy month. I’m looking forward to June when all we’ve got to do is have three birthdays.
So, let’s see. Earlier this month Steven went to a .NET conference in Portland, Oregon. Since his parents are super awesome and agreed to keep the kids, I got to tag along with him! I’m always ready and willing to travel somewhere new.
Portland is a great little city. I say ‘little,’ but Portland is pretty big compared to Birmingham, it just didn’t feel that way. It was very walkable and had a great public transit system. As I walked around I kept finding myself thinking, “Birmingham should do this! Birmingham should do that!” If only, man. If only.
While Steven immersed himself in programming awesomeness, I explored the city, beginning with Washington Park. Inside the park is where you find things such as the zoo, a children’s museum, a forestry museum, an arboretum, and a Japanese garden, among others. When I first entered the arboretum and found myself surrounded by humongous Douglas firs, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I was in my own personal heaven. For most of that day I walked all of the trails of the arboretum and then moved down to the Japanese gardens in early afternoon.
It was only when I was having to work my way back towards Steven that I realized how far I had gone. It was quite the hike back to civilization.
There were many great things to eat around town. I’m sure I missed a lot of great stuff, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. We feasted on huge hamburgers with avocado, spicy thai food, sushi, ramen, pizza, coffee, beer, wine, and a great sandwich from a food truck.
And then . . . there were these doughnuts.
And I’m not a doughnut kind of girl. I’ve never really liked the overly fluffy Krispy Kreme stuff. I know, I know — I probably need to turn in my Southern Girl card.
But these doughnuts. Ohhh my giddy aunt. There was a Mexican chocolate doughnut with cayenne. There was a doughnut with Cocoa Puffs on them. There was a doughnut shaped like a cock and balls (creme filled!). There was one with bubble gum. One with Rice Crispies. And on and on and on. And they were so damn good.
VooDoo Doughnuts, people. I didn’t believe the hype, but I was wrong.
I also found my second heaven in Powell’s Used Book Store. Four stories of books and books and books. It was very hard to limit myself, knowing Steven and I only brought one carry-on between us. I settled on Select Charters Illustrative of English Constitutional History, published in 1900, along with some smaller books for the kids.
Between my horticultural amusement and Steven’s progressively bushier beard, we would fit quite well in Portland. As an added bonus, Honda Elements seem much more popular there.
Very soon we were back in the humid South, and it was back to business. Steven hopped back to work while the kids and I tried to get back on a schedule.
And this is where I reach the second half of my story. What, you thought I was done? Ha ha ha. Ha.
Saturday morning the four of us pile into Steven’s car to heard towards his parents to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. Everybody buckled, ready to go . . . aaaaaaand the car doesn’t start.
Now, this wasn’t exactly out of the blue. Steven’s car, a 2004 Saturn we bought from my parents in preparation for an impending Lydia, has been acting squirrelly for the last six months or so. There’s been noises, vibrations, some flicking lights business, and on rare occasion it will refuse to start.
So we wait a few minutes and try again — nothing. Well. We decide to worry about this looming event later and hop in Elliott to attend the birthday festivities.
On Sunday, the car magically starts, no problem. Okay . . fool me once. Plans are made for a bit of car shopping later in the week.
Steven drives to work fine on Monday. We figure the car is on its best behavior since we were contemplating a replacement. Monday afternoon I’m at gymnastics with the kids when I get a call from Steven — the car starts in the technical sense of the term, but really bad things are afoot and it is essentially undriveable.
Tuesday we find ourselves test-driving cars. “Hondas are good,” my brother-in-law texted me that morning. “Also Nissans and Fords. And don’t count out GM.”
“Haha,” I texted back. “It’s a GM car we just had to tow.”
We tried out a Honda Civic, Accord, and Crosstour (sadly, NO.), a Hyundai something, a Nissan that really didn’t do it for us, and a Volkswagen (nah). Then Steven scanned across the sea of cars, pointed, and said, “Is that a Volt?”
Five minutes later we’re test-driving a Chevrolet Volt. And it was awesome. It’s a range-extended electric vehicle, which is another way to say ‘fancy hybrid.’
And it was a GM.
And yet . . . we drove off the lot with a Chevy Volt. Whould’a thunk it?? Not me. So, here he is! His name is Voltaire.
. . . get it?
. . . . .
As for the Saturn, that saga is still ongoing. It’s a sad affair that I hopefully will never bore you with.