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November 18, 2000
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two years ago
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Range Rover Day

A very interesting day today. Fezzik was just fine for most of the morning, had fun sprawling outside to gnaw the ice off the back deck, with great big crunching and munching sounds. John had a Range Rover he wanted to look at in Longmont, so we decided to go out there and have breakfast and then test drive this Range Rover.

So there is method behind all this Range Rover looking. The main reason we've been looking has been because Borax is a great two-person car, but it has nothing for a child seat. It's rare, beautiful, and also rather expensive. John has a few folks that are interested in Borax, 'cause he's in great shape, but Borax is just not a real baby-friendly kind of truck. Besides, John already has the Stoat, who is also a rugged off-road kind of Land Rover and one that John would not feel nearly as bad about banging up a little compared to the pristine Borax. To have two vehicles that couldn't handle the Fish when he gets out would be a bit much.

Now, ten year old Range Rovers are much, much cheaper than their new counterparts, and, better yet, they still look and drive like a Range Rover, unlike their newer counterparts. They're solid, big, dependable, and pretty plush for a ten year old car, on the most part, and if they're in good shape to start, they keep their now much-reduced value very well. The one that we saw on the way to Fezzik's last chemo wasn't in such great shape, but then the car shop's point in life was to refurbish the things and make them be in good shape with all the work. The best thing was simply knowing that John knew what he was looking for, what he wanted to find out and that he knew, pretty much exactly, what he was willing to pay for what. We were only going for a drive, not specifically to buy the puppy, and we were going to find out exactly what it could do, what it couldn't do and what we wanted it to do.

First, though, was breakfast. There is a lovely little Creole place called Lucille's in Longmont. We'd been there once before, during my first trimester and the spicyness wasn't something I could handle then. They did have lovely beignets, and we got those immediately on sitting down, along with glasses of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Yes, I seem to be craving grapefruit, still. The juice was marvelous, tart and tangy and chewy with pulp. The beignets came hot and crisp and completely blanketed in powdered sugar. We then ordered cafe au lait and a mocha au lait and I made sure mine was decaf. I was utterly intrigued by the biscuits and gravy, which was served with red beans cooked with meat, and a pile of grits. John had an omelet filled with spicy things with grits on the side.

The food was wonderful. The gravy was filled with chunks of andouille sausage, spicy and flavorful, and it wasn't so cloyingly rich as to make me unhappy about eating it, but was hefty enough for a main meal. The red beans were redolent with meat and spices and the grits were perfect for cooling everything down. The espresso drinks came in New Orleans style bowls with two handles for picking them up with, and they were most intriguingly useful for drinking from. The extra area made the top of the coffee cool more quickly so it was easier to drink. It was really good.

Happily full, I followed John back to the car and we went to the used car lot. The sales guy was ebullient, half-laughingly abusive about John's propensity to wearing shorts in the 30-some-odd degree weather, and was everything I sometimes think a used car saleman is like, without going too far into mockery. He was pleasant, made lots of small talk, and tried his best to feel us out about any emotional pockets about the car or about other things. It was interesting to observe. John drove the first part of it, poking everything he could poke and trying everything he could try, figuring out pretty much every gadget, button, and lever while still going 60+ on the country highway and then 75 on the freeway. Occasionally drifting a little bit alarmingly for me, as he tried whatever caught his eye. We needed the freeway test to see if the engine was still strong.

I drove it back, and since I'm the precision driver of the family, I put it through a bunch of cones at a construction area and then rev'ed up for the freeway and did a few momentum and acceleration and even a braking test on the off-ramp. The salesguy got a little quiet with that and he was grabbing the strap pretty hard at moments. It handled better than our old Range Rover, had more power, and far more momentum but also better brakes. I then took it sedately back to the lot, though we ended up at the 'Other Lot' to do some talking.

I used the bathroom while John crawled all over the thing, pointing out a leaking this and a dripping that and a possibly repaired other thing to the guys that were trying to sell it to him. We walked off a little ways after that, and the manager asked us if we wanted a ride back to the other lot. I think we surprised him a little when we said, no, we're just talking some things over.

It was in great shape. Their asking price was a little high, but not unreasonable for the shape it was in. Admittedly, they'd already knocked three thousand dollars off it 'for John'. John thought it was worth asking a good fifteen percent lower than even that and sticking with it for today. If we still wanted it on Monday or whatever, we could always come back. There were two other Range Rovers for sale that would be interesting to look at if we wanted to in the meantime. I thought that would be fine, and so that's what he did. I always just get furious at sales tactics, so instead of sitting with him, I sat outside, in the sunshine while he did his John-The-Rock routine. Amazing what happens when it's just clear that you don't want to move, but are polite about wanting to make a deal. I'm just never polite enough, but I know it, so I just absented myself and about fifteen minutes later, John gave me the thumbs up, they'd sold it to him for his price.

Paper signing and all that, and lots of congratulations which seemed mildly odd to me, but then I may well be more used to selling or buying a car than most people. They also seemed really happy to be dealing with someone that actually knew what he was doing, which seems so odd. I mean, people like John can't be *that* profitable to them, or at least far less profitable than someone that had no clue. But maybe they really can and do respect someone that knows what they want and gets it without bilking them or disrespecting them. That would make a lot of sense. I guess I usually think of used car salesmen as just wanting to get all the money they can, but there must be other realities to them, too. Just like everyone.

So that had taken a while. A bit longer than we'd been planning, but we came home with two cars. I wasn't really hungry at noon, but I ate half a grapefruit and gave the other half to John. I then happily settled on the livingroom floor with Fezzik and watched the Good Eats I'd taped earlier to day. It was a hilarious piece that was supposed to have been a documentary taped after the infamous Romancing the Bird, where Alton Brown, his sister, the cast and the crew of the show are all stuck in AB's house after the taping due to a sudden snow storm in Atlanta. It just had me dying of laughter, even as it gave some really great ideas as to what to do with leftovers.

After that, we loaded Fezzik into Borax and took him to Dairy Queen and got him ice cream, which he ate for the benefit of the camera. I actually got shots of him with a mouthful of ice cream. Those are pretty good. I might actually put a picture book up on yahoo, sometime, of all my Fezzik shots. Anyway... he enjoyed that greatly and we then went to Safeway and filled in the last holes for dinner tomorrow. We're basically going to do a Thanksgiving feast with the 20 pounder, 'cause turkey just doesn't seem right without all the fixings and the fixings are pretty cheap, all in all. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, fresh cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and roasted yams. We only had to get a little spinach, cranberries, an orange and an apple for the salad, and the green beans, amusingly enough, we pretty much had everything else.

Home again, home again, and I did the prep work for tomorrow by writing it all in my planner, which amused John a great deal. He then did me the good favor of calling Bernard C. in Portland and putting in my order for chocolates with them because we weren't in Portland. Fezzik, once home, seemed to have lost a great deal in his hind legs, suddenly. I have no idea why.

I had a mild craving for scallion pancakes, but needed something more than just that for dinner. So I got out some mildly freezer burned flank steak, a few going to mushy tomatoes and one of the three pounds of potatoes for a buck and made beef, tomatoes and potatoes Chinese dish. It turned out really, really yummy and used up the things that weren't too good for much longer. We had it on rice and so the leftovers were pretty much Fezzik's dinner. He couldn't quite stay up on his rear legs long enough to eat the whole thing standing up, and it was interesting to watch him figure this out and then decide to lie down with a front paw on either side of the bowl and finish his dinner fairly easily. When he was done, he just dragged his front end over to his bed and watched us eat from there. He just seems to get used to what he can't do and do what he can. Definitely a lesson to be learned from that.

I also made scallion pancakes and they turned out really good. Flaky and crisp and just enough salt with the savoriness of the scallions. I added a little sesame oil to the shortening I used for making the layers and it added just a hint of depth to them. Really yummy.

After dinner, I settled in the rocking chair with my book and promptly fell asleep. Oops.

Fezzik wasn't doing well, in that he really wasn't going anywhere easily. It worried me a little, but John said that he'd take care of Fezzik and if I needed to go to sleep that I should. It was only seven. It would have been unheard of at the Con. I guess I am glad that I'm home for more than just Fezzik's sake.

I went to sleep, and slept very deeply once I heard Fezzik go outside and settle on his bed.

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