January 2003 Archives

My Non-Stick Car

I love my car!

I taught in Boucherville yesterday and today, and I am so indescribably happy to be able to drive there and back! I may even indulge in excessive use of exclamation points! Woohoo!

On my way home today, I stopped at Canadian Tire, bought new Teflon wiper blades and this new Teflon windshield wiper washer fluid. I can not only see better, I can now bake cookies on my windshield.

Oh, and just for fun - try saying "windshield wiper washer fluid" ten times, fast.

Adventures (almost) in our nation's capital

Mine is a long, sad tale...

Shortly before the holidays, I got a call from La Cite College in Ottawa, asking if I was interested in teaching their Business English Cont. Ed. class. I agreed, and shuffled off to Ottawa to meet with the coordinator of the program.

While I was there, she contacted my references. After speaking with my former boss and with the people at Concordia, she said that rather than the Business English class, she wanted to offer me a course called Correspondance Anglaise - because she didn't think I had enough teaching experience to handle the original course. So whatever my references said must have been stellar. Just kidding, really - I know that Andre has a very good opinion of me (God only knows why), and the coordinator told me herself that the Concordia people told her my teaching evaluations are very positive. Essentially, she said that it was the 5 year gap in my experience as a teacher that made her worry.

Anyway, I said I would accept the second course, and left expecting a call regarding the contract and some other details.

On Monday, I called and left a message with her, since no one had called me to sign my contract, and classes start January 13. She finally returned my call Tuesday, only to tell me that due to a lack of registration, they were cancelling the Correspondance Anglaise course. But, she said, they needed a teacher for a conversational English class, if I was interested.

Keeping in mind that the whole point behind taking any position in Ottawa, a two-hour drive away, is to establish some recent college-level experience, in the hopes of landing some teaching positions closer to home, I said yes, I was interested. The first class meets tomorrow, so the plan was I would arrive early, get the course outline, and sign my contract.

Now the problem was that this class meets two nights a week - the first and second ones offered met only once a week. Originally, my plan was to work out some kind of deal with a car rental place, having investigated the bus and train options and deciding that renting a car was comparably priced and way more convenient. But to go to and from Ottawa two times a week, along with driving to and from Boucherville for the substitute teaching gig, I decided that we had to bite the bullet and invest in a second car.

This is the fun part.

I called my dad (as many of you know, an expert of superb qualifications car-wise) for advice. He called his friendly Subaru dealer - so far, my mother, my sister, and my brother currently drive Subarus, and this has been the case for about 17 years. I was the last hold out. Meanwhile, Andrew called the bank to arrange a loan, based on my web surfing, to plonk down about $7000 on a reasonable car from the mid-90s.

Wednesday afternoon, after teaching in Boucherville, I went in to the Subaru dealer and had a chat. He said he might have a lead on a really good deal - a 1990 Subaru with 68,000 km (that's 42,450 miles).

Thursday, I called him again, to see whether or not he had any news. He did - the car was at that very moment being inspected by his team, and I test drove later the same day. It was great! So, Thursday evening, Andrew and I went in to have a number-crunching talk with the dealer, which resulted in a really, really good deal - all told, taxes in, we got the car for under $2500. I picked it up Friday afternoon.

This is the stupid part.

I drive home from the dealer in my new car (yay!), congratulating myself on how quickly and how well this all fell into place. I get home to find a message on my voice mail - any guesses?

The coordinator from Ottawa called while I was handing over a wad of hundred dollar bills to Subaru. Lack of registration - course cancelled.

I'm staying very positive about this, given that I still have a new (old) car that I got for about $5000 less than I had expected. I took it and the kids out to my dad's place yesterday - with a terror of Dad taking one look at the car and saying something like "why'd'ya buy a 13-year-old car, you idiot."

This did not transpire. In fact, Dad took it out for a spin and came back to tell me I made the best deal ever, the car was great, and drove and felt like a new car. His only complaint was that some moron had installed a vent-mounted air freshener, and that I should remove it ASAP. Of course, since I'm the moron who installed it, I have no intention of getting rid of it.

I love my car! It has everything - great sound system, sunroof, cruise (not that I will ever use it), power locks and windows, A-C... and the dealer, to whom I'm thinking of erecting a shrine, included in the price the following: complete tune-up, new discs and pads, new battery, and new snow tires on separate rims. All's well that ends well.

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I got immense Satisfaction last night at the Stones concert. Of course, every concert I attend invokes the fantasy that some one on stage (in this case, Jagger) will look up into the stands, see me, and stop everything until I agree to come up on stage to sing and dance with him. Alas, this fantasy continues to be unfulfilled.

I sent the following as e-mail to CHOM this morning - Terry quoted me extensively, so at least my radio fantasy is partially fulfilled:

I just wanted to address the idea that the Stones are “old” or “past their prime” – this is not some pathetic come-back group playing to a half-filled house at Café campus. This is a vibrant, energetic group that still has what it takes to sell out the Bell Centre. The Stones are still writing, and God knows they're still selling.

I think that the idea that they (and The Who, McCartney, and so on) are “old” is based on the idea that rockers are supposed to be angry young men from nowhere – but isn’t that because when rock really made it as a genre, that’s what the Stones et al were?

These guys started it – rock has only been with us since the ‘50s. It’s taken us 40 years to reach a point where there can be “old” rock stars. The Stones and their “contemporaries” from the 60s and 70s are still around because they have the talent, the perseverance and the following to keep going. They set the precedent 40 years ago, and they're still breaking new ground, if only by being as old as my Dad and still kicking butt.

If they can still fill every seat in the arena, then I say more power to them! I could go on and on (for example, did people tell the elderly Picasso to stop painting, dammit, he was too old?) but for now I’ll stop there.

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