Well, looks like we’re going to need to purchase a new car for Tom sooner than later, one that I can use to get to and from school in the fall until the car we ordered for me is available.

Even when things appear to be running smoothly, so many things can be out of one’s control. There are reasons … that I really cannot go into at this point, but suffice to say we need another car. Soon.

New cars are not cheap, but they come with advantages for people who have been driving vehicles older than 10 years. For example, they have warranties – if they malfunction or break down the manufacturer will repair them. They are less likely to malfunction or break down… reliability, particularly for a person who sometimes needs a wheelchair and always uses or carries mobility aids, is key when driving long distances on rural and semi-rural highways and freeways (no exits, let alone services, for miles…). And of course, they are more efficient.

Almost anything that is mechanical gradually loses functionality, but in addition over the course of under 5 years technologies that are used in many common items move forward to dramatically improve efficiency as well as usability. At this time, almost any new electric vehicle has much better batteries (charge faster, last longer, etc) just as most gas-powered vehicles are now more efficient.

Although we live in the United States, and in a state (on the side of the state) known for overcast skies and rainfall, we are fortunate to live in a time when the electrical-generation infrastructure is moving away from coal/fossil fuel/combustion and toward wind, solar, and other sustainable sources. Which means that for us, an electric vehicle helps us reduce our carbon footprint. Reducing our impact is important to us even as we know we have at least another 15-20 years needing to maintain our ability to travel for work and as we reach the first threshold for “new house” repairs and upkeep: exterior paint, filling in holes in the driveway, general upkeep and repairs (for example, removing about 10 dangerous and dying trees 3 months ago). And everything we have delivered or purchase even in town, and everything we travel for, increases our carbon footprint. Everything has a cost that is borne by the earth.

Back to the vicissitudes of existence:

We have had plans all along: work a few years as a couple, build up a nest egg, and then have kids. Enter: Matthew who needed extra care, far earlier than we had planned. It resulted in my losing my job, and our family being eligible for Earned Income Credit until Tom landed a decent job (with health benefits, important for a child with extra health needs).

About 20 years ago we received a windfall that allowed us to purchase land and a mobile home. We have been happy here, even though Tom’s income was frozen (a disadvantage of working for the state during an economic downturn) for several years and we eventually were almost eligible for EIC again….

We had plans to improve the house (and had started to when Tom’s income started to catch up to inflation!) and I had plans to get my teaching credential so I could do more than tutor people… but just as teaching was in reach: a housefire and a recession. No house, no permanent jobs opening up.

New house, and a sad reason for a permanent opening where I now teach, and we were back on track, although now instead of 15 years or less to pay off the mortgage we were back to 30… There is nothing like suddenly needing work until 80 to afford a home to make life interesting. Bear in mind that my grandparents lived into their 80s and 90s, and our parents are in their 80s now (starting to show it, but physically healthy).

Life, it seems, has twists and turns aplenty!

Which brings us to today, at the beginning of the third (or fourth, or fifth, depending on where you live) wave of the Covid Pandemic. After teaching remotely all last year, I have a chance to return to the classroom – maintaining my seniority and position in the school. Were I to change districts at this point, I would again be a “new hire” although my income might increase. “New hires” are always in jeopardy if the economy or the student population take a downturn. I was concerned that I might not be able to return to the classroom… hopeful that it will happen!

Today, about 11 months after a relative suffered a life-threatening accident and our lives were turned upside down in order to facilitate and coordinate support for that side of the family.

Today, about 12 months since a high school friend died, 9 months since my grandfather died, 8 months since a teaching friend died, 5 months since an older relative died (supposedly of natural causes, but we are a peculiar family – she lived alone and wasn’t found for some time…), less than a month since a brother in law died… and grief hit. Every single time.

Today, a couple days after I realized that we were going to need that car sooner than later (next summer would have been better timing…).

Today, the day the mother of one of our sons’ best friends is buried. And another friend is finally able to hold a memorial for her son.

Today… I have plans for today, but we never know what will play out. If we are successful in acquiring a vehicle, I’ll add a pic to the end of this post.

And we had success. It took over 6 hours, but… success!

Tom sits in the driver’s seat of a Shiny New black 2022 Chevy Bolt EV on 17 July 2021. It’s the base model, just the “comfort package” (heated steering wheel and seats!). Tom is smiling.

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