We have had so many adventures lately and I've been too busy to actually sit down and write about them.
No word yet from BOA about our mortgage. I know that is your first question.
Our 2001 VW Passat finally died, or is as close to death as a car can be without actually being declared dead. We can't qualify for a car loan of any sort, seeing as our credit rating is totally in the shittah from this whole mortgage mess, so Doug found an auto auction located just over the border in NH.
We decided to go and check it out, see what it was like. We only had about 2000 dollars in cash that we could spend, so we didn't think there was going to be a vehicle that we could actually bid on. We were surprised by some of the prices, and bid on a few but got outbid and didn't take it above what we could afford. There were several really nice vehicles there that we could have gotten if we had a slightly higher budget.
The way this works is that the auctioneer (on the higher platform in the center in the picture here) has the seller/dealer to his left. The guy to his right helps watch the audience for bids. The guy standing in front of the car opens it up so people can come up and look at it inside and under the hood.
When the bidding kind of gets to the end, it is up to the seller to
accept the bid. A lot of times, the bids are way below what the seller
wants, so the car goes back into the lot unsold... if he wants 5000
dollars for the car and the high bid is 4000 he can refuse it, and wait
to the next bidding day.
The auctioneer was a bona fide auctioneer guy with the fast voice and the calling and the singing of the numbers. I've only ever seen really old men doing this, so it was fascinating to me to see a guy in his 30s or so rattling off the auction song.
There were so many different people there, it was an international show... Somalians with their wives in full hijab, hispanic guys arguing and talking, dads with their sons (black and white) who looked like this was going to be their first car bought for them. Meth head looking white couples, Cambodians, Indians, everyone! The people watching alone was fantastic.
We watched car after car go by, and got a feel for how this all worked. Some of the cars got people up into a froth. We saw a 9 month white or possibly hispanic girl get outbid by an Indian guy, and she started to fight with the auctioneer. Over a mini-van. I guess she really wanted it. I watched her carry on and on and on with all sorts of people on staff there. She didn't get her way and left in a huff.
Others vehicles didn't get bid on at all. We let a Dodge mini-van go by at a starting bid of 800 dollars. Doug didn't want a mini-van. I would have taken one.
We knew what our requirements were, has to be big enough to fit the giant children into the back seat, look like it is going to last a year, be under 2000 bucks.
One of the last vehicles to come across the bidding floor was a 1999
Jeep Grand Cherokee with about 186k miles on it. Opening bid was 1100
bucks. Doug bid on it, and a guy bid against him. They got to 1800 and
Doug decided to stop, and so did the other guy.
The seller/dealer was up on the dias with the caller and the auctioneer said "the seller is looking for 2000, if you're willing to negotiate with him." Doug decided he could go to 1900 and the other guy shook his head no. The dealer took our offer. We bought it.
It handles like a truck, the steering is loose, there is a weird "breathing" noise that Doug researched online, and it is a "known bug" as we would say in the web design world. It is a hose/vacuum thing related to the brakes, which makes me nervous but they work fine.
So I call the vehicle "Darth." Fitting and appropriate. Doug drives 7 miles to work each way, and we figure if this vehicle gets him there and back and we put a minimal amount of labor into it and keep it going, it's a good buy for 1900 clams. Hopefully by this time next year we'll maybe be able to afford another car, and this will be a backup or commute to train car for Jess. We'll see.
All told, the auto auction was a blast and I will go back again if I have a friend looking to buy a cheap vehicle. They had a few newer model cars that were in excellent condition going for a song at 4000 bucks or less. We could have gotten a newer model Jeep Liberty if we had about 3000 to spend, but that wasn't the case.
My diet is going well. So far I think my average blood glucose is a lot lower but still isn't down into the range where it should be (it should be below 110, but is around 130-140, Doug has gotten his down to 80). I had a meeting with my doctor and she was excited about the weight loss progress and the drop in the overall blood sugar. She said that she prefers the lifestyle change approach to the medication approach and encouraged me to keep it up. I was afraid she would say it wasn't low enough, and would put me on medication anyway, but she said that she would rather wait and retest me for my A1C in July (3 months after the last test). In early April my A1C was 7.5 and my average daily glucose was about 190... if I'm showing progress with lowering the number through lifestyle changes she'll encourage me to do it longer and retest in another 3 months. If the numbers do not go down sufficiently by July, I get to go on Metformin. And officially begin to declare myself a diabetic.
So my fingers are crossed.
Doug has lost about 57 pounds. I've lost about 17. But he started the diet 3 months before I did, so his results are from a longer period of time. I'm hoping to be able to show as much progress 3 months from now weight wise. And blood sugar wise.
The whole big thing is the absolute across the board diet change we have to make and stick to. It isn't just about losing the weight, it is about being 70 and having all our limbs and eyesight and not needing to be on dialysis three days a week. That's enough to make you stick to a diet, I'll tell you. So not having beer since before Easter is a big thing for me. I miss beer.
Work is going ok. I informed my boss that I planned on working this for 3 months, and my 3 months are up at the end of May. I'm willing to stay through June 22nd, but then on June 25th I had committed to being back at Create a Cook with Jo and helping rule the world through summer camp. My current boss is okay with that, because she's more than an okay human being so I'm blessed to have her. I am working with a couple of people that I have grown to love very much. I will honestly miss them when I leave in about a month.
I like how utterly unkempt he looks, like he has a mom that doesn't care for him. Jeesh. Ha.
Both boys asked me to do their invocations, and I was more than happy to. The one to the left here just lost his dad in February rather unexpectedly, and his mom has terminal cancer... so it upsets me greatly and breaks my heart. I would do anything for them, and love them so much.
The other one pictured here lost his mom when he was "a child" as he put it in his Eagle response speech, and he had his sister read him his Eagle Charge, and give a speech about him. It was absolutely stirring and beautiful.
I remember meeting him when he was in about 8th grade, and at the time I said to myself that was what Geoff was going to look like in 8th grade. Geoff was maybe in the fifth grade at the time... and so small. Now he's bigger and taller, but I wasn't far off.
They both graduate this year, and I hope they have fantastic experiences and adventures.
Our next Eagle is at the end of June... then it will be a little while before the next one as only one boy is in the chute doing an Eagle project, and I'm not sure what he needs merit badge wise to get to Eagle. He is our neighbor, and we're currently working with him as much as we can to help him out. This is one I will greatly look forward to celebrating.
I signed on to be a merit badge counselor for the Pets Merit Badge so next week we will have a "Pet Show" as requirement number 4 is to enter your pet into a pet show, teach it 3 new tricks or encourage a friend to raise a pet just like yours. So far five boys are signed up.
The last time we did this, Geoff set his guinea pig down and she ran off into the woods so we had 10 boys and 4 adults crawling around in the bushes trying to capture her. It was both funny and terrifying.
That's about it and all, one could say. Sorry for the wall of text, I really should sit down and write more frequently instead of doing it all at once.