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First time, long time.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
First time, long time....
This day began with animals behaving badly (#tmi), and ended with some Frankly (Sunny Italy) amazing chicken and pasta at probably our favorite celebatory place (which also included some brief #tmi that has added "Boy, I ate too much" to our lexicon).

I'm here for the middle, though. In the middle of a workday full of long drives, office bureaucracy and running-the-gamut of clients, I did something I've never really done in my previous 56 years:

I sold a car.

Since my first purchase in my own name in 1980, I've traded in many, scrapped one or two, donated a few to friends or charity, and sort-of "sold" one to a family friend after buying my first new car, but I'd never done the full drill of advertising, vetting and ultimately agreeing on a price and closing a deal.

That happened for the first time today, to this longtime member of our "family":

His name was Heshie- the H in a sequence which goes back to my first new-car purchase in 1985 of Bessie, and which continued alphabetically through Claire, Cruela (de Bonneville), Dorothy (it nagged like my mother did), Elsinore, Frankie (the first Focus, evilly renamed "Gomer" by friends who didn't understand the system), and Goldie.  He's been followed by Iggy, Janis (the kids' first and sadly-totalled car), and my current Kermit.

We got him in 2006 with a year and about 16,000 miles under his timing belt, right before I started my solo practice and finances got really dicey for a few years.  In time, he was paid off; for over seven years he was my sole means of transport for my stupid weekly bi-city commutes; and for the past two, he replaced Janis in Emily and Cameron's lives.

When they bought Smaug in November- they have their own naming conventions- he became expendable, and he's been here ever since.  I Craigslisted him around Thanksgiving, in both Rochester and Buffalo, and waited for the offers to pour in.  None really did: I got a couple of email tire-kickers from the Buffalo ad last weekend, and the other day brought a Nigerian Businessman-style scam mail involving certified checks ::boing:: but I was close to calling junkyards, until I noticed an unknown 585 number had called a couple of times.

She sounded interested, but more important, she sounded genuine.  When the quick details from the ad and call sounded right to her, she asked to see it in Rochester- at a time convenient for me.  I said eleven, and though she was late, she called to tell me so.  These alone are rare signs in the usual Wild West of Craigslist ettiquette.

Turned out she does this fairly often for a human services agency in the Rochester area, which finds and buys cars for low-income clients of theirs to use.  She brought the ultimate driver with her-who liked the car, drove it round the parking lot, even had the radio switched to her favorite station by the time I checked the final mileage on it.

Ah, that: I missed 200,000 miles by THAT much:

She asked for a small reduction in the asking price. Because of all the nice in the transaction, I agreed; I didn't even count the wad of twenties before they left (it was correct, as I knew it would be).  The only foulup was me forgetting to bring the plates back home with me when I left the office there at the end of the day; at least I remembered to get them off the car.  (I can't take Heshie off our insurance until I turn them in at the DMV and they give me a receipt to bring to the carrier.)

A co-worker drove me halfway home, and Eleanor met me at that point for the rest.  We toasted Heshie, and other potentially positive developments I'll leave for her to describe, and ended the evening with the aforementioned Italian with a side of Fargo.


The other odd thing was having to engage in awkward human contact for the first time in years.

Toll roads and bridges, both in this state and a big surrounding swath, are now made less painless by transponder technology.  We call ours EZ-Pass, as do many; others go by FastLane or IllinoisPass or whatever, but the concept is the same. You prepay your toll money into an online account, and the toll lanes deduct as needed as you go.  In these parts, for the distances I travel (reduced in part by a commuter plan that mostly gives me the first 30 Thruway miles toll-free), I budget 10 to 15 bucks a month; if I take a trip to Long Island, I'll triple that in a day.

I left Heshie's tag at home today, for a simple reason: my coworker's drive to the halfway point, and then Eleanor's return trip, both included stretches of the 90, and the lanes would have gleefully read and charged both transponders if they'd gone through at the same time.  So I took a ticket, from a handsomely paid Thruway employee in Pembroke, and handed over actual cash money to her counterpart in Palmyra an hour later.  They smiled and thanked me- as I'm sure the drivers of horse-drawn ice trucks did right until the final battle with the Frigidaires.


So I'm happily home with a much clearer driveway and insurance budget from here on out.  The only remaining chore is to get back to the Nigerian Businessman scammer now that I've got the car sold; I'm hoping to waste his time and online resources chasing my small but lucrative pot of gold. If I'm lucky, I may even get him to hold up a sign like the ones in the 419 Hall of Shame:

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