I want to begin by giving props to a dear friend of mine. Judy Pancoast and I have known each other since the early 80’s. We have worked in radio together. Our children have grown up together. She and I share a love of pop culture, Top 40 radio, and The Carpenters. Judy is also a performer of children’s music, something she calls Bubblegum Pop For Sweet Kids. As I write, Judy is in England, performing music from her Christmas CD, “The House on Christmas Street”. After England she’ll be performing across the country, stopping to perform at select homes with immense Christmas light displays. If you’re curious about this extremely talented woman and my dear friend, visit her website: www.judypancoast.com
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My recent walk through the West End of town has confirmed my opinion: November is the month that sends procrastinators screaming into the night. I took advantage of a sunny day to walk along tree-lined streets, gazing at the stately brick homes and being serenaded by the whirr and whine of power tools. I counted a handful of work crews installing storm windows, building a cobblestone walkway, replacing fascia boards – all end-of-the-season jobs.
Autumn seems to be the busiest time for tradesmen. Roofers, carpenters, masons, and jack-of-all-trades never seem to be out of work in the autumn, due to last-minute decisions by homeowners to engage in a project. Why these projects weren’t underway in the spring and summer, instead of the 11th hour before the snow flies, is beyond me. It’s almost as if the homeowners were enjoying the luxury of an afternoon nap, only to be rudely awoken, suddenly aware of the work needing completion before Old Man Winter arrives.
For some workers, it’s a matter of finding the time to accommodate all the work. In my previous life, when the roof of my house needed replacing ( in November, of course), I hired a roofer who had roofed three other homes in my neighborhood, and he had another home lined up after he finished my house. Others don’t have it so lucky. I’ve seen more ads in the hometown weeklies for tradesmen of all ilks. There are a lot of ads. Too many hands and not enough work. God help those who are scraping by.
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The Jetta is dead! Long live The Mazda!
I’d had it with the Jetta. I was tired of dumping cash into that money pit on wheels. A co-worker told me that once he had put in $2000 in repairs, it was time to find another vehicle. It took awhile for this Middle-Aged Head to put the pieces together, but I realized that it was time to move on. The Jetta must die.
I scanned the Sunday papers for dealer ads. I patiently maneuvered the dealer web sites until I found a car I wanted: a 2001 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon. My brother had one similar to this. It’s the tricked out version of the Legacy that the US Ski Team used several years ago. I liked it, not because of good gas mileage, low mileage, or dependability. I liked it because…it had leather seats and a high-end McIntosh sound system. Oh, you silly middle-aged head! I had found this car on a local Subaru dealer’s website, so I emailed the dealer and said I was interested in the car. Long story short: the car was sold to another buyer while I was sitting with a saleswoman. We walked the lot and I settled on a ’05 Mazda3 that was, ironically, once owned by the saleswoman. She took very good care of it. I was a little nervous about the financing – everyone should be nervous about financing these days – but a loan was secured through My Credit Union –the very financial institution who had denied me a loan only one week before. Go figure!
I have enjoyed driving this car. I have enjoyed the fact that it will get me through the winter safely..and in seasons beyond. Most of all, I have enjoyed the remote car starter. Having a warm vehicle, free of ice or snow, and ready to drive on a cold morning, is a VERY good thing.
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Here’s a thought that has crossed my mind recently, and I have given the matter serious consideration: when the house is sold next year, take some of my share of money and travel in Europe for a few months. I haven’t got past the issue of retaining a job while I’m abroad. But I am seriously considering packing up the plantation and trying the life of an expatriate abroad.