Friday night, Jeff and I went to the Grand Asia Market in Cary … many, many interesting bits! I bought a bobble-headed kitty (it’s actually a little good luck kitty in a basket that bobbles up and down) for Jeff’s dashboard. At first I think he was unconvinced of its wonder, but it’s grown on him. (What’s supergreat is that the kitty bounces happily even when you’re stopped at a light! Whee!) Then on to Shabu-Shabu for dinner, again on the Asian side. Sushi goodness and Shabu-Shabu goodness. (Again, I was struck by the irony of going to a restaurant to cook your own food.)
Saturday was go-to-Winston Salem day, mostly to look at a MINI, though I convinced myself that the real reason we were going was so that Jeff could get his tire changed at the BMW motorcycle place in Greensboro. (We actually took the car, but put the wheel of the bike in the truck.) That having been done, we went to Winston and waited for a salesdude to become available. I drove the MINI with the CVT and, honestly, I was a little thrown by what I perceived as a lack of responsiveness.
Background: My Saturn acellerates pretty normally until you really hit the gas, at which point it kicks into “Oh you really mean that” mode and goes *zoom*.
So when driving the MINI, in regular mode (IOW, not using the CVT functionality), itI just didn’t *zoom* from a full stop. In CVT mode it was a little better, but still was more sluggish than I expected. When we got home I looked at the specs and my saturn actually does have more horsies, but is approx same weight, so that’s at least part of the explanation. Jeff also pointed out that the CVT itself gets rid of some of the “oomph” as it’s designed to be smooth and has no distinct gears (he explained it by saying that it’s like the gears are one big cone, rather than distinct wheels… there’s no “steps” just a continuous surface, hence “smoother” ride. There’s also something about the engine breaking in and it getting more “peppy” after that.
I then wanted Jeff to drive the manual MINI to see how much of a difference it was. He said “maybe 10%” and then I talked the salesguy into letting me drive it around the parking lot.
More background: First off, I don’t really like driving. If I could teleport everywhere, that’d be just swell with me. I don’t understand the “good time to ‘be alone and think’ business, because the second I start thinking something interesting (like how to fix a problem), I want to *do* it, and that’s usually incompatible with driving (see first point below). Driving has been, for me, a relatively efficient way of getting from A -> B (relatively because it’s quicker [and less sweaty] than walking but slower [tho admittedly less expensive] than flying).
I can drive stick; I’m just not all that comfortable with it yet. Stephen taught me (a million years ago) on his Saturn, but broke up with me before it became instinctive. And then I pretty much didn’t drive a stick shift car for a decade. Recently I’ve persuaded a friend of mine to take me out in his manual Saturn (which went swimmingly) and I’ve attempted to drive Jeff’s Audi A4 (which went not-so-swimmingly. VERY
*fussy* responsive car.) So now I have this quasi-fear-of-stick.
One the one hand: I *hate* driving because it’s boring. Boring, boring, bor-z-zzzzzzz. This leads to one of two things happening:
- I start doing things other than paying attention in order to stave off the boredom (like, oh, I dunno, putting on lipstick or making a list); or
- I start getting very very sleeeeepy.
This is Not Good. So, in some ways I think having a stick might be good… it might make driving “fun” (and/or interesting).
OTOH, if I don’t like driving anyway, perhaps this would be more of a bad thing. (Bad enough to have to drive, but now also have to contend with this tricky hand-hand-foot-foot-coordination thing.) Or maybe I’ll never get good at it! That would be sad (though unlikely, I’m told.) And I know it’s harder, as was demonstrated right before we went to the dealership (of course). We went to the McD’s drive-thru (sustenance food) and it had an unfortunately slanted bit leading up to the window. Jeff had trouble getting going without rolling backwards (and he’s an expert driver).
The thing is, *if* the manual MINI is more peppy, the whole thing becomes a lot more attractive. And furthermore, you can only get a Copper S (the more-horsepower version) in a manual (so I hadn’t even considered it before now, as I hadn’t seriously been considering getting manual car). And, of course, the S costs more too, throwing another wrench in the thinking.
Once I’d gotten myself thoroughly confused (and we’d run out of time for me to do a proper drive of the manual one, as they were closing), we left the dealership and headed for Dewey’s Bakery, home of the best cream horns on the planet. Imagine my complete and utter distress upon discovering that the shelves were practically bare. They had one wee tray of baked goods (we did get a slice of cake and a cupcake, which were both good). Apparently you have to order ahead for cream horns on the weekend!
So, in a last-dtich-perhaps-some-retail-therapy-will-rescue-this-day move, we went to the Steinmart, where Jeff scored some nice “everyday” shirts for *darn cheap*. (And I got two sets of Christmas presents for next year — whee!) Then onto Bed-Bath-and-Beyond, where we used two of the 20% off coupons that they send us every three or four days to get two drapes for Jeff’s bedroom, which was suffering from an overabundance of morning light.
On a whim we went into the pet store next to the BB&B and (on a further whim) I asked if they had any hedgehogs.
Background: (makes you wish you could just read The Life of Gina, vol. 1-35 doesn’t it? No? ;-) I am allergic to furred-n-feathered creatures. *Violently* allergic. Get-hives-if-I-sit-on-a-couch-that-a-cat’s-been-on allergic. Take three-24-hour-Claritins-and-start-wheezing-within-an-hour-of-arriving-at-a-dog-and-cat-both-live-here-house allergic. I’ve tried shots (twice). The first time ended because it seemed like a good idea that Dad would give me the shots. And though he shot the orange with great mastery, when faced with his (at that time) 10-year-old daughter, he completely wimped out. And tried to “ease” the needle in. This did not work, and within a few months led to much crying, aversion and general stress around the whole thing. So we quit.
The second time was a few years ago, when I’d go from work to a place and get them. That time I ended up quitting (after two years or so) because my job got crazy and I simply couldn’t afford to take an hour-and-a-half in the middle of the day once a week to go deal with it.
End result: I’m still very allergic. I’m invistigating a sounds-too-good-to-be-true thing where a doc in Denver makes up a specific solution for you which you take orally and which desensitizes you just as well (or better, they claim) than traditional immunotherapy. My allergy doc doesn’t use it, which seems a little odd, if it’s so wonderful, and they can’t (/won’t) give me study/clinical trial information. That being said, there are people who swear by it.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, I have heard from Jeff’s friends Paul & Kate that hedgehogs are non-allergenic. (FWIW, I’ve heard this about other creatures too, most notably Yorkies; however, at a baby shower recently I held a Yorkie for about 45 minutes and everywhere he licked me had monstrous hives.) However, Paul is violently allergic (why do we use that phrase? it’s not as if we get violent upon seeing creatures) to cats and he swears he has no problems with their hedgehog, Huff (they call them hedgepigs in the UK).
However, I’ve never met a hedgehog (or pig), and Paul and Kate are in England, which leaves me back asking the pet store if they had hedgehogs.
They didn’t, but another pet store in Greensboro (on our way home anyway) did. So I went to meet my first hedgehog. First off, those really are spines and they really do hurt! I had been told they’re like a hairbrush, but that’s only the case if your hairbrush has sharp points (in which case I suggest you get a new hairbrush). The little guy I held hadn’t been well-socialized (which isn’t uncommon, apparently, among hedgies at pet stores. *If* I get one, if will be from a breeder who hand-socializes the little hoglets, but this was good for an allergen test). The good news is that if I did react, I didn’t react much. It was hard to subtract out the abundance of other allergencies (kitties and birdies and ferrets and puppies and gerbils, etc.) and I did pre-Claritin, but I still only got a wee bit sniffly. No hives, even though he put his little paws on my chest. The bad news is that it was really hard to evaulate “hedgehogs” as a class because this little guy really didn’t want to unroll from his little ball. He was all prickly and huffing most of the time. We did OK when I took him back to the much-darker and somewhat quieter fish department (they’re noctural) at Jeff’s suggestion, but it didn’t take much to curl back up.
All of which nets out to this might be worth further investigation. I changed shirts in the car, and saved the one that’d been thoroughly hedgified. I plan on doing a “clean” test (no other allergens present) whereupon I bury my face in the shirt and see if I explode. Soon.
I’m too tired to say much about Sunday except: (A) we added a UPS to my stereo set up (and in the process Jeff rationalized the cord spaghetti — yah Jeff!), (B) I made a new pair of earrings and (C) a bottle of white wine and four or five episodes of Whose Line Is It, Anyway? is a good combo.