We've had some problems with our station wagon recently. We had to get the battery replaced, although I think that may have been due to my leaving the lights on once too often. The car has been making a god-awful racket, which we are pretty sure means the catalytic converter is shot. There is a known problem with the right front CV joint. Plus, there's all the usual aches and pains associated with a 14-year-old, high-mileage vehicle.
After a few weeks of searching, and a few test drives, Kat found the car she was looking for: a new Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, mellow yellow (sort of a dusty yellow) with gray top. It is literally the exact car we wanted; we had built our car on VW's website the night before, and she happened to see this car on the lot the next day. Therefore, the car's nickname is Kismet.
It's a really nice car, with lots of amenities: automatic transmission with Tiptronic shifter (you can manually upshift or downshift without a clutch), seat warmers (oooh, those are nice!), power everything, and a CD player with an input jack for an MP3 player. I've driven it twice, and it's got a decent amount of pickup. Kat's had it for less than a month, and I think she's put almost 1300 miles on it. I can't wait for the warmer weather, so we can take a road trip with the top down.
There are a few downsides. The back seats are really small; I have to sit sideways to fit. The trunk opening is tiny; I'm looking at my 17-inch computer monitor and I think the screen is about the same size. OF course, the biggest drawback is that we have another car payment. We were just about done paying off the Insight, and I was looking forward to getting the $500 a month back in our budget. That car isn't paid off until August, so for the next six months, we'll have combined car payments that are almost as much as our mortgage.
Still, we knew we would have to replace the wagon this year, or spend a few thousand bucks getting everything fixed on it. That's more than the wagon is worth. For now, it's parked in the driveway. We'll either sell it privately, or donate it to charity and get the tax benefit. The Beetle payment is actually about 35 bucks less than the Insight, so our overall budget won't change too much. Now if we can hang onto the Insight for a few more years, we'll be fine.
Kat and I were married over 9 years ago, in a civil ceremony (alright, it was more a drunken love-fest than a wedding, but it was legally binding). However, our marriage is not recognized in the Catholic Church (Kat was a non-practicing Catholic, I was a practicing pagan). Long story short, Kat wanted to get back in the Church's good graces, and in order to do that, our marriage needed to be "validated". In order to do THAT, I needed to attend religious education classes. As a result of the classes (and a lot of other things), I have decided to convert to Catholicism.
First things first. In order to receive the sacrament of Confirmation and Communion at the Easter Vigil, I need to be free of any moral sins. Since our marriage is not recognized by the Church, that's a biggie. That situation needs to be corrected.
Therefore, next Thursday (3/16), at 10:00, Kat and I will stand up before the parish priest (and about a dozen friends and family) and do...something. (The ceremony is a Marriage Outside of Mass, but I'm not quite sure what it is we will be doing. I need to sit down with my missal and read that section.) After the ceremony, we are all going over to Santorini's Greek Kitchen and having our reception. We ordered our wedding cakes from Heidelberg Haus; black forest cake, German chocolate, marzipan and apricot, mandarin orange, and amaretto cheesecake. (It's a truly international affair. We're getting married in an Italian parish, by a Latin priest, then having Greek food, German cakes, and French champagne.)
Amazingly, it's not the wedding or the reception that has me worried. Before we have the ceremony, the priest wants to hear our confession. I've never done a Catholic confession in my life, so I'll be stumbling over the right prayers to say and the correct form of the sacrament. I'm 37 years old, and I've done a lot of things, big and small, that I have to confess. I've spent the last few months examining my conscience, and the past week or so preparing a list of things. Some of it were acts of stupidity or ignorance, but there's quite a bit that I am ashamed of, things I haven't wanted to admit to myself, let alone someone else. Finally, the priest is a very quiet, scholarly man, but he intimidates the heck out of me.
I guess the worst that will happen is that he'll make me say Hail Marys and Our Fathers until I am hoarse, and genuflect enough times to make my knees ache. Say a prayer for me anyway.
Well, that's what I've been up to. It's been a heck of a month.
181 days until football season
296 days until 2007