Monday, April 30, 2012

The Prius

Recently I have begun to consider buying a Prius. My car is getting to that point where things are going to start breaking down with regularity and I’m tired of spending so much on gas…speaking of gas, if your wife ever asks you what you want from Costco and you’re on a new health kick because your blood work came back with a computer generated note reading “you’re on borrowed time” don’t tell her “get me a healthy snack food” because she’ll come home with a full pallet load of Fiber One bars that, when you eat one, will make you fart hard enough to literally propel your office chair forward a measurable distance.
So I’ve been talking to everyone I know who has a Prius and researching the internet about them. I asked a guy at work about his and he said it’s fantastic and later followed up via email to tell me how buying an environmentally conscious car can allow me to be a better salesman because it will help me to forge an instant bond over political issues. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the only political statement I’m making is “I’m cheap”.
When I want to buy a car I basically search craigslist every day for weeks to get a feel for prices and what year and mileage I feel comfortable with at my price point. I’ve been doing this with Priuses for a while now and I know what I’m looking for. The only problem is that as gas prices started to spike, the market for used Priuses went out of whack and the only way to get one for blue book price was to buy one with a rebuilt or branded title. I’m not going to buy a previously totaled hybrid car I know nothing about so I’ve been patiently waiting for a good deal to come along.
That’s when it happened. One Wednesday afternoon when the insurance world was quiet I ran my typical search parameters on craigslist and the perfect one popped up. It was a 2006 for the price I wanted to pay, which immediately led me to believe it was previously totaled. I was shocked and excited to see that had not been totaled. It had 98,000 miles on it, which wasn’t ideal but was acceptable because I know these cars can go a few hundred thousand miles if you take care of them.
 I sent the following email to the posting address…the person who posted the ad was named “Whitley” so I went with the personal touch:
“Hi Whitley, I’m looking for a Prius right now and yours seems to have everything I’m looking for. I wish it had a few less miles, but I would have to pay more for that. Are there any little nuisances or minor issues with the car? Pretty much all craigslist ads seem to read the same…great care, runs well…I’ve never owned a hybrid so I’m not great at knowing what questions to ask. I would be interested in taking a look at it this week if possible. Thanks, Keith.”
I received a reply not long after:
“It’s a good car. No issues that are not listed. Give me a call when you would like to look at it or if you have any questions. 503-310-XXXX. Thanks, Whitley Evans” (I added the XXXX so I’m not advertising anyone’s phone number on my blog).
Ok, sounds legit.
“I am unavailable tonight, but could come take a look/test drive tomorrow after work if that fits with your schedule. Let me know if that works. Keith (cell number)”
“Tomorrow night is fine. Give me a call when your free. I’m available all day.” (“your”…grrrrrr)
Awesome. The ad says this is in Gresham which isn’t far from me. I can head out there, fall in love with this car (because I’m already in love with the price) and buy this thing before the weekend.
The next day came and I thought I would cut out of the office a little early to go check this car out. I called the phone number and left a voicemail asking to come look at the car this afternoon. An hour went by, two hours, three hours. Hmmm….maybe this guy’s a flake. Oh well…you can’t throw a rock in the city of Portland without bouncing it off a Prius and having it ricochet off another Prius so no big deal.
I leave the office later that afternoon and head toward home. I’m not 2 minutes from the office when the phone rings. I look at the number and it starts 503-310 so I’m thinking it’s this dude, Whitley.
“This is Keith, how can I help you?” (it’s a work issued phone and it’s still technically business hours)
Young woman’s voice: “Paul?”
“No, this is Keith.”
“This isn’t Paul and I’m not your dad. Who is this?”
“Did someone call me from this number?”
“Are you selling a Prius by any chance?”
“Uhh…oh yeah! In fact I’m driving around in it right now! I’m sorry, my phone said my dad called me, that’s funny. I just told it to call him back and it called you. I thought you were my dad’s friend pulling a prank.”
“No prank here. Your email said you were available all day today. Can I still come out and see the car?”
“Uh, no. I’m busy today, but I’m available all day tomorrow. Text me when you’re available.”
“Ok, will do.”
Okay, that was a ditz. Did she really just drop a ‘who’s my daddy?’ on me??? I need to hit the Google machine to see if this is legit or not. Craigslist is a weird place and I don’t want to get jerked around. Well, Google didn’t have much to say. How about Facebook? Okay…here’s something. Here’s a Whitley Evans from Gresham…wait…Holy S. What the hell is this?

Ok, dude, is this legit or not? Apparently this Facebook account has been used when Whitley commented on some pregnancy Facebook site so I am led to believe it’s a working account. She’s describing herself as “Bomb Wife and Loving Mother” so it’s probably not one of those “come to my website to view the really good pictures” kind of deals. But seriously, why is this chick trying to seduce the camera with her cleavage as she’s sitting in the driver’s seat of the Prius I want to buy? It doesn’t add up, but I can’t think of how this could be a scheme so I’m still giving Whitley the benefit of the doubt.
So the next day I text, as instructed.

Yeah right…now you’re just screwing with me. Jerk…oh wait…I sent it to the wrong number. I was off by a single digit!

No reply. At this point the craigslist ad has been flagged for removal so I’m sure there’s no Prius for sale. Maybe Paul and Dad were really getting a kick out of the phone calls to Whitley’s phone. Who knows? The fact is I’m probably better off not test driving anyone’s car whose plunging neck line is that low. I’d hate to start giggling when asking about the front air bags. God forbid I can’t figure out the controls and I have to ask “how do I turn your headlights on?”
Enough…I’m still looking for a 2006ish Prius with 100,000 miles or less if you know anyone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Daddy has peanut butter running through his veins."

For most of my life I basically believed I was invincible. The most severe injury I’ve ever suffered is a dislocated shoulder. The most serious illness I’ve ever had is probably the strep throat. Well, now that I’m pretty much in my mid-thirties, it turns out I’ve outlived my invincibility. In fact, I’m highly vincible. I’m now just hoping I can delay vince as long as possible. Damn you, vince…which leads me to my next point:
I haven’t been feeling well lately. It’s part of the reason I haven’t been writing as often. I just haven’t had much energy. I have been getting headaches many afternoons. I feel lethargic. Everything has felt heavy and burdensome.
Cut to seemingly unrelated scene: I am on my wife’s insurance plan through her job at Providence. Embarrassingly, I paid for my own insurance at my current job for a year before realizing that I was free to add to Taela’s plan. Even more embarrassing? I work for an insurance agency. So anyway, Providence said they would give us each $400 in “walking around money”…or maybe it’s to pay for medical bills…if we each take a blood screen at Quest Diagnostics. Taela and I went in one morning only to be told that we are supposed to fast before the test. I said “I’m as fast as I’m ever gonna be” but it turned out they meant we weren’t supposed to eat or drink before they drew blood. I said “Edward didn’t care what Bella ate before he sucked her blood” but they didn’t think that we very clever so we left.
Taela went back and had the screening done. I went in by myself about a month later. I walked into the tiny little waiting room and there was an old couple there. The seats were set up with three in a row, then a small table then two more seats. The old people were whispering something to one another as I walked in. Apparently they didn’t want me to hear it because they shut the fudge up immediately when they saw my imposing figure step in. I was dressed for work which meant slightly worn-out business casual pants that are a little too snug in the waist for my comfort and saggy in the butt along with a recently ironed, but still somehow aggravatingly wrinkled  dress shirt.
So, anyway, I walked in and the old woman was startled by me and she scurried all 4 feet to the front desk to sign in. I signed in behind her and turned to sit down when I noticed something that immediately teed me off. The old man was sitting in one of the three seats to the left and he had his jacket and some sort of reading material laid out on the chair next to him. The old lady was sitting in one of the two seats on the other side of the small table. So, somehow, these two people have found a way to take up damn near all of the 5 seats in the waiting room and I have to choose between sitting next to the man’s crap or his old lady. After making a crude silent joke to myself about how these two things are probably synonymous (hardee har har!) I chose the latter. I figured if two people are going to take up an entire waiting area I was going to make it uncomfortable for them too, so I snuggled in next to somebody’s great grandma, laid my computer bag down next to her and proceeded to play Words with Friends on my phone. I mean, come on old people…you’ve been married for 75 years. Go ahead and pretend like you can put up with sitting next to one another.
When it was my turn I gladly followed someone in scrubs back to a little drab room and answered some questions...probably because I trust anyone in scrubs. Yes, I fasted as quickly as I could. No, I don’t smoke (and neither should you). The punk-rock-by-night medical-assistant-by-day who was helping me seemed disinterested but cordial enough. She put my arm in an automated blood pressure cuff and pushed the button. Literally as the thing is inflating to take my blood pressure she starts rolling up my sleeve and talking about the my veins and how she’s going to stick a sharp metal object in there in order to suck out my blood. I’m not a pansy about needles (don’t verify this one with my wife as she may or may not have the same opinion), but when you’re in the middle of taking a blood pressure test it’s probably best for accuracy’s sake to keep the thoughts of dermal penetration to a minimum. Well, it was all over in a minute or two (“That’s what she said! That’s what she said!” Michael Scott) and I was on my way after having nailed yet another test in my illustrious life.
Then the results came. Now I’m no scientist, but if I were I would tell you that when a test says your triglyceride level should be below 150 and yours is 585 you’re probably doing something wrong. Fortunately my cholesterol was right in the sweet spot of ‘expected’. It is supposed to be between 125 and 200…mine came in right between those at 199. My body mass index was above normal as well at a not-so-svelte 27.2.

This was all very shocking to Taela which is weird because she’s seen me naked. Then I realized something: I’ve been feeling like crap lately because I’ve been eating like crap and not exercising at all. Again, I’m no scientist, but I put this all together on my own. I thought back to all the Carl’s Jr. meals and bags of potato chips and midnight milkshakes and realized something…there are consequences to my dietary choices. Who knew…and why didn’t they tell me?
Here is a pie chart of my recent eating habits:
So now I’m basically going to get back to healthy by going on a diet I have titled “Not Eating Like a Jackass”. Every now and then I say “no I don’t need thirds” and I’m trying out something called “white meat” for a change (I know this sounds like overt racism, but in my research I have learned that this is an actual term for certain meats that did not come from a cow). It’s interesting…not quite like burger, but still very edible.
To tie it all back together, since the day my wife convinced my kids that I have “peanut butter running through” my veins, I have begun to eat more like a responsible adult and I haven’t had any headaches. I’m still slow and fat, but I choose to play the Wii games that make me stand up so I’m making some progress on the exercise front too. My sister told me to watch “Forks over Knives” on Netflix, but I said “hell no, I ain’t gonna be no Vegan!”
In closing, I will now blog more often because I have more energy. I haven’t had any headaches in two weeks. Soon the chins around my throat will shrink and my fat-induced sleep apnea will subside and I’ll be as energetic as that horrible little should-be-smashed to bits by a Louisville Slugger pink bunny from those battery commercials.