Friday, January 12, 2007

What's new

Well, thank you all. That was considerably more satisfying than last year, I must say. I didn't actually intend to stay away all week myself, but oh my goodness, look at the time.

So, to catch you up, here are the two most eventful occurrences of the week here in the Coasting Richly household:

  1. Alex and I signed up for a month-long beginner's dance class (covers salsa, merengue, cumbia and bolero). We had our first two classes this week, and they were fun. My friend Jan and her husband signed up for the same class, and last night we all went out for dinner afterwards.

  2. My in-laws bought a car.
Now most you are sitting there in your computer chairs thinking, I'm sure they're very pleased. *Yawn*

However, my immediate family are out there leaning slightly back in their computer chairs, raising one eyebrow and saying, "Say what?"

My in-laws, you see, don't drive. They don't live with anyone who drives, and they have no intention of ever learning how to drive. Furthermore, the space between their house and the sidewalk is...wait. I'll draw you a picture.

There. This diagram goes all the way out to the property line in every direction, and shows the street and sidewalk out front to boot:

Let's just meditate for a moment on how long this whole situation is going to last.


Dad January 12, 2007 5:44 PM  

Okay, okay, I'll bite.

(I've meditated on this as long as necessary...a moment was sufficient.)

I've been at that house. I've seen how far the gate opens. (I don't recall the front door opening outward, but I'll take your picture for it.) And I know that in Costa Rica it's not uncommon to see a car threaded into a front patio "garage" that way.

But you didn't tell us *WHY* they (say they) bought a car! You CAN'T just leave us hanging!!!

Are they going to register it? Does it even run? Is it to keep the vampires away?

Tell us! Tell us!

Erin January 12, 2007 6:01 PM  

I'm with Dad. Given the picture, we need the backstory. Is this a second living room? Are they going to sit in it to listen to the radio? What is the purpose of having a car that no one can or will drive? What were they thinking?! (Though you may be asking that one yourself...)

Welcome back. I missed you. I almost sent you an email asking where you sneaked off to. :)

Jennifer January 12, 2007 6:46 PM  

Yes, it runs. Yes, it's registered and insured.

Good memory Dad! The front door of the house does in fact open in, but they also have a gate made of the same bars as the main one, and that opens out.

Alex and I went over when the insurance guy came yesterday just in case they needed any help with the forms or anything.

The car was sitting at a slight diagonal and I could just squeeze past the rear bumper on the street side. The front right corner of the car was just grazing the wall in front it, and when Robin opened the passenger door all the way, it hit the door frame of the house.

Then the insurance guy needed to photograph the car from all sides, so we had to shimmy it around.

But it turns out that there's some magic hidden anti-theft button which, unless you know how to disengage it, prevents the car from turning over. José knew about it, but we couldn't find it. So I sat inside steering while Alex and the insurance guy pushed it back and forth by about 18 inches at a time to try and ease it out into the street.

We were not successful, but we did get it into a position that let the guy take the picture he needed. Someone else was coming over later to take José & Yolanda out for a spin, so we left it hanging half in and half out and went to our dance class.

Oh, and when I made the diagram, I neglected to add the bookcase-like shelves full of potted plants under the right-hand window. Yolanda will be moving them to make "room" for the car, so I didn't bother putting them in the picture.

So. The why of it all.

Well, the idea is that we don't all (six) fit into the family car. Our Montero legally seats four, and more or less comfortably seats five (one beltless). While we'll squeeze all six of us in to drive a couple of miles to a restaurant, we can't go on trips with it.

José says sales were good this year (he is a member of a cooperative that sells lottery tickets - the lottery itself is controlled by the government). He explained that when he has some extra money saved up at the end of the year, he likes to invest it in something tangible, like home improvements, furniture, or whatnot.

This year, he decided that he wanted to have a car so that we could all go on trips to the beach and things.

Alex's cousin Randall is the other potential driver (in addition to Alex and myself), probably more for in-town jaunts.

The car itself is a 1994 Hyundai that was used as a taxi, so it's got a lot of miles (over 200K) on it, but they had it checked out and the mechanic said it was in fine shape.

Plus, for the amount of use it's going to get, it's one lucky little taxi. Like a racehorse that's been put out to pasture.

Dad January 12, 2007 8:28 PM  

Hmmm. A retired taxi. So presumably it's red, with a yellow COOPE emblem on (or still slightly visible on) each front door. Is this a six-passenger van, which would enable you (all) to (legally) go to (for nistance) the beach together?

Can we assume that they'll soon tire of having to snake around it or go in and out of the house via the alley) and will decide to put it out to pasture in YOUR pasture? And let you keep a set of keys. And drive them around in it from time to time. And drive it around WITHOUT them in it from time to time?

Voila! Your second car?

Anyway, please tell Jose congratulations for me! (BTW, what does Yolanda think of this??)

Jennifer January 14, 2007 10:00 AM  

Yes, it's red. The yellow triangle was peeled or scraped off or something, so there's actually a patch of bare metal they need to get painted, but it's just on one door for some reason, so that's good.

It's a five-passenger automobile, so we'd have to take both cars to go somewhere all together. But (and this is very unusual for a taxi), it has all five seat belts still installed.

They're both happy about it, although it is José's project. I'm not sure which of them will get sick of having it sitting there first - José sits out in the front porch area more often, but Yolanda's the one who cleans it and deals with the dogs who usually spend most of their time out there.

Alex gives them three months before they send it up to our "pasture." I say less.

Julie January 14, 2007 12:53 PM  

And then you can use the car as an illegal taxi to earn a bit on the side! Make some money when you're taking the girls to school.

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