Thursday, August 27, 2015


First day of 2nd grade and 4th grade, for Peter and Eddie, respectively. They are attending school where Melanie teaches, which means it’s a brand new school for each of them. Neither one is too enthusiastic about being in school, but they are doing well with it, considering.

First day of preschool for Creegan. Being the third child, transitions are easy-breezy for this guy. No big whoop. Creegan was excited for preschool and never once gave the tiniest hint of a faint glimmer of a crap that I was leaving him behind in a building he’d never before seen with people he’d never before met. He’s also been doing an online preschool, and I’m proud of how positive he is about it and how well he’s doing. It’s been fun for me to be the one taking him and picking him up from school every day, and also working with him as he does online preschool. There are times I really relish my current stay-at-home dad status.

First trip to R&R BBQ. Ever since word of mouth and a few local media resources led me to believe R&R BBQ is the premier BBQ restaurant along the Wasatch Front, it has ranked quite high on my list of must-try eateries. After tonight, I can happily move R&R BBQ to a spot high on my list of verified good SLC eats. It was very, very good, in fact. I wish I had tried more of the standard BBQ fare, but I opted instead for the Caveman burger. I had two reasons for doing this: (1) the burger has been highly recommended by friends, and (2) it happened to be the special of the day. Those two reasons acted as the spermatozoon and ovum that coalesced in my mental womb and left me pregnant with a decision, a decision to which I would shortly give birth when asked, “Can I take your order?” I also got some fries.

Melanie ordered the beef brisket with a side of hush puppies and mashed potatoes. I had a small bite of each and found them all quite tasty. I can hardly wait to go back and get some brisket myself. Which is not to say I was disappointed with the Caveman burger. Not at all. It was a yummy and indulgent burger featuring not only a ground beef patty, but butterflied links of smoked Andouille sausage and a helping of pulled pork, all topped with fried jalapenos, melted Monterey Jack cheese, and sweet BBQ sauce. The logistics of getting such a monstrous sandwich into your mouth is something that must be worked out with care and precision, but it’s well worth it. And the side of fries, which usually leave something to be desired at BBQ places, was thoroughly enjoyable as well. I’m sold.

Our first Honda. After spending an exorbitant amount of time researching used vehicles, two things became more and more important and non-negotiable for me. One, I wanted the car to be certified. A certified used car is backed by the original manufacturer, albeit not to the extent that a brand new car is. Still, most certified cars have enough warranties in place to dispel any paranoia one might have about unknowingly buying a lemon—something I’ve regrettably experienced in the past. In addition to peace of mind, buying a certified used car made me feel that taking the vehicle to a mechanic before committing to a purchase was unnecessary. That would save oodles of time and hassle, and that’s what I wanted. Two, I wanted a car I felt confident could go 150,000 to 200,000 miles while remaining a decent car. I wanted reliability and dependability, and that meant I wanted either a Toyota or a Honda. I had eyed several other vehicles, but I just didn’t feel as safe or reassured about them. Once I knew I wanted a Toyota or a Honda, I knew it would be either a Camry or an Accord. Both are extremely well-reviewed by the likes of U.S. News & World Report, J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book Expert Reviews, and a host of others, not to mention their outstanding word-of-mouth reputations. With three growing sons, Melanie and I also felt it time to upgrade to a midsize, which meant Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics just weren’t going to cut it. All along, I had been determined to get a car with decent gas mileage, a low odometer reading, and a squeaky clean Carfax report. I found some Camrys that came close to fitting the bill—ones that we probably could’ve financed for $35–$50 less per month—but they either had twice the mileage of the Honda or they just plain looked shoddier. Usually both. Maybe it sounds picky, but I didn’t want a ketchup red car with beige, slightly stained seats. The best Camry I found had approximately 3,000 fewer miles on it and would’ve been about $18 less per month (I assume) to finance than the Honda. But despite having a black exterior, it also had the beige, stained interior and was a year older than the Honda. With these things in mind, the Honda beckoned. And beckoned. And so, around 7 PM on Wednesday night, I took to the Honda dealer and test drove the Honda. It felt silky smooth, whether on the freeway or in stop-and-go traffic. Looks-wise, it couldn’t have been a better fit for me: silver on the outside, black on the inside. (I’ve long dreamed of owning a silver car.) A bevy of fun little features added to the appeal, although they certainly weren’t important enough to make or break the deal. Such features include radio controls on the steering wheel, a rearview camera, a screen that displays not only what radio station you’re listening to but (depending on the station) the artist and song, precise temperature control with the A/C, and cup holders. Okay, I’m kidding about the cup holders: they weren’t negotiable. The cup holders in our Corolla folded out but had become inoperable and thus hadn’t been usable in years. As lame as it may sound, the cup holders in our new Accord are among my very favorite features. I absolutely love ‘em!

So, yes, Melanie and I decided to push forward with financing the Accord. I’ll spare you the details and say simply that I left the car dealership at 11 PM feeling quite good about the deal I had gotten. Make no mistake, I was feeling very anxious, too. There’s no way I could buy a car without feeling anxious, regardless of the price and regardless of the suspected reliability of the car. It’s just too major a purchase to be calm about it. But I was pleasantly surprised with our APR—turns out we have a pretty decent credit score!—and walked away with some nice incentives, such as free safety and emissions testing for life, free oil changes for the next several years, etc. Knowing it’s a Honda also makes me feel way better than I otherwise would. I trust that we have made a sound investment, which is not how I’d feel if we had purchased almost anything else.

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