MLK Day open thread

What’s on your mind today?

Upcoming topics:

Tuesday  —  Put out to pasture too soon   (Rocky Mountain Stepmom)
Wednesday  —  Pantry pests!  (Rhode)
Thursday  —  Utilities failure   (WCE)
Friday  —  Admissions lottery for college  (North of Boston)
Sunday —  Politics open thread


101 thoughts on “MLK Day open thread

  1. Continuing the weather discussion on todays open thread. It is going to be about 5 degrees all day. Main roads are okay, but side streets not so much with a slick layer over the pavement Not sure what they can do to improve it for tomorrow when schools open. DH decided to drive in his sports car to the bridge club. I decided to save my wifely veto credits for another day, but sat by the phone and got his promise to call on arrival. . He got there, but i am not certain his car will manage the incline in the parking lot back to his assigned space. Luckily he can park at the foot of the hill in the visitor space. And before you ask, we dont drive each other’s cars.

  2. This should be about MLK and how he was not the law-abiding quiet little guy we seem to think he was, and about how much of his mission remains to be done.

    Unfortunately, I’m a little tapped out on those, as vital and true as they are, so this is another unconventional brag on my kid.

    He’s been hating school again ever since he and the girlfriend broke up. He misses having someone with whom to exchange eyerolls about the other kids, and he misses being at her 2-parent, 2-kid, very sane-sounding home. It was clear the parents like him, so I’ve felt bad that he was cut off from them.

    Today is her birthday. I thought it was going to be a rough day for him, but it turns out he got her a present and showed up with it at her door. He says the parents are thrilled he’s there, but she isn’t. Pretty gutsy (and yes, we will talk about “persistence”, being a pest, and harassing). I am really pleased, think the connection with her parents is a healthy one, and he found a way to be able to continue it. Awesome! I told him to get her dad’s phone number so he can still be in touch with him.

  3. We’re on our way into the city from NJ. It’s a bit chilly to do much walking around. We’re probably going to go to Spyscape and then have dinner at a shabu place in Queens near the hotel. We’re going to see the 9/11 stuff tomorrow and do some walking around.

  4. “It’s a bit chilly to do much walking around. “

    Yes! Not fun at all. Of course you can bundle up in layers but still.

  5. He drives a Miata?!?! When my sister had one, they called it “the skate” because of its winter performance. That’s how her husband started driving my dad’s Accura–she’d use his truck.

  6. I am frozen. We have every space heater on, and house still cannot keep up with the wind. What was that I was saying about never ever selling my house??

    Oh, and DH’s car failed to pass inspection, thanks to a perpetual check engine light that DH has avoided dealing with because it is the “remove the entire engine to fix” light. So now he has 5 months either to deal with it or to replace the car. Being DH, he spent the weekend researching cars, and a spreadsheet is promised. Fundamental problem is that he wants both a sporty drive and an SUV with sufficient space – oh, and a plug-in hybrid, of which there are not many in the SUV world. The Lexus family probably looks best overall – I love the look of the Lexus NX, but that is going to be way too small for him, but the 450 version looks ok. Except for that stupid grill that looks like a giant open jaw dragging on the ground.

  7. DH has avoided dealing with because it is the “remove the entire engine to fix” light.

    Has he pulled the code and know that for a fact? You can borrow a code reader for free from AutoZone.

  8. We are shivering here too but we are in the 40’s so perhaps that is balmy compared to the rest of you.

    Since today is a holiday I went to the 10am yoga class with all the fit older neighborhood ladies. So good! No wonder they all seem so limber and lean. It was hard but in a good way. Am going to try to make it twice/week.

  9. Whoops, that didn’t work. What did I do wrong? At any rate, it is the redesigned Toyota Rav4, which is coming out in a hybrid version later this year.

  10. @Rhett: yes, he knows the code, because he had previously taken the car in for that code before they told him how much it was going to cost. And no BMWs in this house, ever again, on pain of death. But year, the Volvos are on the list; I just recall when we last drove them, he didn’t like them, as they were built for, shall we say, European-type frames, and not DH’s linebacker/hockey player build.

    Personally, I’m still hoping he’ll look at the Infinitis. ;-) Or, you know, just get himself a Genesis and a cheap pickup truck for when he needs to do weekend projects and such. Don’t know why he’s suddenly fixated on plug-in hybrids; it’s not like our electric bill isn’t expensive enough already!

  11. LfB – DH has an XC90 and I have an RX. Granted, that’s a different Lexus than you are looking at, but I will tell you the Volvo is more fun to drive. And neither of us are blessed with ‘European builds’, but the Volvo is quite comfortable. I like it so much I may look at the XC60 when it’s my turn to get a car again. I tried to convince him to get that model, but he wanted the full size. I thought it was way fun to drive.

  12. DD, it is going to be a bit warmer tomorrow. I feel badly that you hit our fair city on such a cold day. The last time we visited Baltimore, it was similar temps, and that really put a dent in our plans.

  13. Rhett. Thanks for the snow tire rec. i dont need them, but for his car it would be a good idea. I will see who sells them locally. Parking lot looks okay now. He just called to say he was leaving to come home and agreed with you.

  14. @Rhett — already looked those up. ;-) Alas, the Panamera S is a $200K car, and IMO the Cayenne doesn’t merit the Porsche nameplate.

  15. Alas, the Panamera S is a $200K car

    It most certainly is not. The Panamera plug-in hybrid wagon starts at $108k. Decently equipped it’s $125k.

  16. “I’m still hoping he’ll look at the Infinitis”

    Well, for one piece of anecdata, I love my Infiniti. It’s a sedan but I’ll tell ya the auto-manual mode makes it fun (or funner) to drive vs regular automatic mode and is really helpful in snowy road conditions. And it has a ‘snow’ selection, too. They’re way behind on the hybrid/electric tech though i.e. non-existent.

  17. Rhett you are my hero. I’ll keep the old man around a bit longer now. We just ordered the tires (Blizzak). Pricey because it is a sports car and the tires are supposed to be “performance”, but the el cheapos that fit got bad reviews. We called the dealer first, he told us to use Tire Rack. And they are delivered to an installer about 5 minutes from the house with 5 star reviews. Should be available by Th/Fr.

  18. Went to the Boston Auto Show the other day with the kids. We all had fun looking at the “exotic” cars (McLarens, Lamborghinis, and the like). I was sad that Mini wasn’t there this year — I fell in love with them at last year’s show. But I did like the VW Golf, of which there were several on display. I’ve mentioned that I have never owned a car of my own, and someday I hope to have a cute little car that will be all mine!

  19. @Rhett — oh, cool, the S was the only one they were advertising as hybrid, I will need to look closer (was on my phone and website wasn’t playing nicely). You don’t need to convince me about the Panamera — if I had to drive a big sedan, that would be it (well, or a Model S). I have driven that thing on a track, and holy bejeebers does it NOT handle like a 6,000 lb sedan.

    The problem is is it really worth that kind of money for, well, a sedan? I mean, you can get a really lovely Infiniti sedan and a pickup for half that much.

    Actually, the real problem is that I don’t want him to settle. He made sure I got my awesome car and wouldn’t let me get in my own way. So I don’t want him sucking it up and getting a big SUV just because we need at least one practical car, and then picking a fancy, loaded version so he feels better about not getting what he really wants. It’s a shit-ton of money for something that is, in the end, a compromise. I’d rather he get himself a used Viper or a Corvette for everyday driving, and then we can just get something like a Honda Fit for when we need to tote people or make a Home Depot run.

    Speaking of “things I never thought I’d say” . . . .

  20. LfB, under things I’d never encourage people to do, I find “call the Fit your daughter’s car and have her drive it when she’s home from her urban campus on breaks”

  21. Rhett – DS and I both like Grace and Frankie and also Grand Tour/Top Gear. I would not have guessed there was a third person out there that likes both shows :-) DH likes Top Gear but not Grace and Frankie. And I should say DS LOVES Top Gear. We had Jan. 18 marked on our calendar for several weeks as the premier date for Grand Tour.

  22. “he wants both a sporty drive and an SUV with sufficient space”

    He might want to look at Mazda.

    “plug-in hybrid”

    If he has a short commute, long intervals between gas station visits is nice. My guess is that where you live, fuel costs will be lower running on electric mode than gasoline.

  23. “we can just get something like a Honda Fit for when we need to tote people or make a Home Depot run. ”

    Isn’t the Fit a bit small for that?

    OTOH, it is known for its configurability, and you could add roof racks.

  24. We did a ski weekend in WV with another family. It went well. In fact, the wife explicitly said that this morning, that everyone got along well because “sometimes, you never know, personalities don’t click.” So I guess we clicked. These are our rich friends.

    Sunday skiing was cold. Ski school would not take the kids unless they had some sort of face mask or covering. Fortunately, they had taken a bunch of the unclaimed ones in the lost and found, laundered them, and they were available for the kids. And the instructors weren’t necessarily looking to take them back, either. For what we pay for three kids in ski school, we deserve those to be comped. Anyways that was like 13 deg F with 20+ mph winds.

    This morning we woke to -15 deg F. That’s a whole different kettle of fish. We debated about trying a few skiing runs before coming home, but it was just. so. cold. We’re going back in Feb. with the same people. The car was reluctant to start. The brakes felt frozen, and took a lot of pedal force even in the parking lot. The passenger side sliding door was frozen shut. Digital displays take about 10 seconds to change the readout. A number of cars in the parking lot needed jump starts. One person, trying to get into his Hummer, had the frozen door handle rip off in his hand.

    Speaking of cars and hills and snow tires. We were visiting my parents the other weekend during the snowstorm. We drove them to go out to dinner after hanging out at home in the snow all day. The roads were mostly empty, and we had no problems until we got home. Their neighborhood is at the top of a long entrance hill. The van simply could not make it up. The kids, especially my oldest, can be nervous nellies and thought we were going to crash.

    My dad was in the back (middle row) and he and I came up with a few different strategies to try, starting with backing all the way down and building speed. Eventually we decided that the electronic traction control needed to be deactivated—it gets too conservative and protective in such a situation. So that, combined with some speed, and “when you get to the top, just keep going” did the trick. But it was the first time in a while that I can remember having such a problem on snow and ice.

    LfB – keep in mind that, in municipalities without emissions testing, cars with perpetual “check engine” lights maintain their resale value better than they do in stricter locales.

  25. Milo, is this the car that you selected after you retired the MDX? Is it a mini van?
    I drove the MDX this morning when I went to my Pilates class. It was 3 degrees and I had a tough time opening the doors. DH used his remote starter and I was finally able to get the door open after a few minutes. The Acura takes longer to warm up in extreme cold vs the BMW or Subaru. It is like a groggy person until it drives for about 5 minutes.
    We are still dealing with very high wind gusts here. We were fortunate that most of the roads are clear, but the winds are so loud in my house. I can’t wait until tomorrow because it is supposed to be “normal Jan” day.

  26. The discussion on keeping books inspired me to spend most of today clearing books from the bookshelf. We still have some shelves left to do but it is much better. I kept all exhibition catalogs, fancy art books still in good shape, the collection of Icelandic sagas as well as the many books of writings of early church fathers (these are all small Penguin paperbacks). Aside from that, we kept books that look interesting on the shelf, as well as those not yet read. So lots of medieval and Canadian history stayed, but the general audience fiction and non fiction mostly went.

  27. We ended up going to Spyscape, which is pretty neat but a bit overpriced (I know, it’s New York.) We drove around midtown a bit and then by Citi Field so DS could take some pics. Then we went to a really good shabu-shabu place for dinner that was very reasonably priced. Tomorrow we’re going to go to the 9/11 museum and do some other stuff downtown.

  28. My daugher’s sociial studies class is using an online textbook this year, and I have to say I really hate it. I am sure there are good online textbooks out there but this is not it. It does not have an index, and no real table of contents. Instead it has cards that roughly correspond to what chapters would be, and if you click on the cards, you get a page. If you then click various tabs with unexplanatory labels like Explore, you can start getting pages on subtopics. But if want to just find some piece of information, there is no easy way to do it except by clicking around. She has been working on a study sheet for the upcoming test, and since finding answers to the study questions is so hard, she ends up resorting to Internet searches, which leads to answers that are sometimes really strange. I tried to help her find the factors that led to Lincoln’s election, and realized just how hard it is to find something like this in her textbook.And to topit off, like many online textbooks, its scrolling controls aren’t that great, so it is kind of annoying to read the material. You would think that textbook publishers would emulate the great job done by the Kindle interface, but no, they want to get all fancy and hyperlinky.

    I hate packets! I hate online textbooks! Regular textbooks are so much easier to use. If we don’t want the kids lugging them, give them Kindles and load the books there.

  29. “It does not have an index”

    I would think that with a digitized text, the search function would obviate the index.

  30. Lauren – I never had an MDX. I still have my TSX — maybe that’s what you’re thinking of?

    The car I was referring to is an Odyssey. I’ve been feeling very pleased with all the van has done for us, almost like some people feel about the family house. It’s been all the way down to Orlando and Cape Canevral (multiple times), all the way up to Bar Harbor, it towed a camper as far west as Nashville… It’s doing great.

    But it’s not the best for going up a steep snow-covered hill.

  31. I’m laughing at all the cold weather talk. Just keep thinking about all the nuance bugs the cold weather is killing. :)

  32. SSM,

    The best part of this season of Grand Tour is they’ve abandoned trying to be anything other than Top Gear. They had one good idea. It’s paid them 10s if not 100s of millions. They just need to milk it as only they can.

  33. if want to just find some piece of information, there is no easy way to do it except by clicking around.
    That’s a good thing! Making them go through a series of related pages to get the little nugget they’re looking for would make it difficult (but not impossible) to look at that one little piece of info all on its own, as if context, chronology, and connection didn’t matter. It is much more popular to just pull out factoids to use as trivia, but our country really needs a much deeper understanding of history these days.

    Is the Odyssey the one that Honda intended to be for surfers and other young people traveling in packs/with lots of gear, and then were surprised to find that families really liked it? That’s the one that I meant to say would be good for LfB & hubby to have as an ‘extra’ and for their daughter to drive when she’s in town. The Fit might work for her, but not for all the hauling.

    When the boy came home from the ex’s, he had funny comments like that he felt like a dad in a 50’s tv show, with a drink served to him immediately when he sat down. Of course it was the mom serving him milk, not a sexy wife with a martini, but he said it still felt funny. The parents insisted he eat with the family, and were apparently upset with her later for not wanting to be with him. I wish everyone (him, her, and her parents) could calm down about the two of them dating and my son could just drop by occasionally. He has spent remarkably little time at friends’ houses, especially the last few years.

  34. It’s cold here too but warming up tomorrow.
    More importantly it has started to stay bright later in the evening. I don’t like driving in the dark and driving in rainy dark weather has been challenging. I need to get my vision tested. Haven’t had the need for glasses so far.

  35. “That’s a good thing! Making them go through a series of related pages to get the little nugget they’re looking for would make it difficult (but not impossible) to look at that one little piece of info all on its own, as if context, chronology, and connection didn’t matter. It is much more popular to just pull out factoids to use as trivia, but our country really needs a much deeper understanding of history these days.”

    I don’t think you understand. She already read the chapter. She understood the flow of events. She needed some specific pieces of information for her answer on her study sheet. I think it is very important for students to be able to easily locate information in their textbook. Textbooks serve not just to convey the story but also serve as a reference. They need to be organized to allow both. Because it was so hard to find anything in the online book, she ended up just Googling instead, which IMHO is the worst possible outcome.
    I also find the organization is not optimal even for deep reading because everything is set up in these hyperlinked cards. Students just end up randomly hopping from card to card rather than engaging in a narrative.

  36. The Odyssey is a standard minivan. I believe you’re thinking of the Element:

    That’s the one that I meant to say would be good for LfB & hubby to have as an ‘extra’ and for their daughter to drive when she’s in town. The Fit might work for her, but not for all the hauling.

    Unfortunately, they discontinued them in 2011. It was a CRV with a different styling and interior. It sold well initially, but they never did a real redesign, even though the CRV has been remade several times. There are so few fun/interesting/unique cars.

  37. Milo, yes! That’s the one. So I googled “hoda element surf” & found that it is indeed discussed on surfer websites as a good surf vehicle. But this article asked the same question I did at the time “of all of the 22-year-old males in America, how many do you think have a real, genuine interest in surfing and mountain biking to the point where it would be the single most important factor in their choice of vehicle?” But they think it”s ugly & I don’t.

  38. Need gift advice: One of my colleagues in my department got married over the weekend. This is someone who I do research with, and who also is as much of a friend as a co-worker can be. We have even, gasp, socialized outside of work which is not the norm in my department. She had been engaged for a long time but they decided to get married in a civil ceremony this weekend because her family was in town, so she just told me last night.
    I want to give her some kind of gift, but am out of ideas. She isn’t the sort for sentimental commemorative doodads, and neither am I the sort to give those. They have been living together for ages in a small apartment in Brooklyn, so I am sure they have most household items. I am trying to think of something that is tasteful, not too ostentatious, and signals that I am happy for her. Ideas?

  39. yeah…cars are expensive, so we can imagine that it’s hard for companies to make something specifically targeted to young surfer outdoorsy types when their most significant car requirement is probably going to be “used.”

    thinking about the very rugged interior…it’s surprising to me that, of all the changes and options we’ve seen with cars and trucks, the only flooring option in just about all cases is … wait for it… CARPET! The most hated thing on HGTV and Houzz, where every house snob just has to tell everyone “We’ll rip that carpet out!!”

    So why is it our only choice in cars? Even boats have shifted over to vinyl sea grass flooring, which is SOO much better.

  40. @Milo: ITA about carpet. I think one of the things DH is torn about is he likes the bling and tech of new fancy vehicles, but he doesn’t want something so precious that he worries about throwing plywood or muddy boots in the back.* I really don’t understand why they don’t do more durable flooring/cargo space, even if they keep the rest of it fancy.

    So last night I went and looked up used Vipers for him, and when he came home, I told him I’d found his car. And he hemmed and hawed and said he didn’t actually WANT a Viper and started talking about the Panamera! So I think I may have stupidly doubled our vehicle budget just because I didn’t like the options he was pulling up. Not that that addresses the precious/muddy boots issue, of course.

    *I’d point him to an upgraded pickup, except he isn’t a fan.

  41. So why is it our only choice in cars?

    I bet it has to do with sound deadening. If you wanted the same NVH without carpet there would be significant extra cost.

  42. Aside from having gone out for Korean once, I really have no idea what restaurants they go to. They live in an odd part of Brooklyn that I know nothing about. That is a reason why our department is so unsocial – everyone lives in very farflung places. I have one colleague who commutes down from upstate and a couple of others who come in from NJ.

    I also think of wedding gifts as things that are supposed to suggest permanence. We got married in the 90’s, and I don’t remember any food gifts. Maybe social protocols have changed?

  43. Maybe social protocols have changed?

    People have too much shit already. Presumably as a result a lot of people are doing registries for their honeymoon, house down payments, things like that.

  44. Mooshi – from Rhett’s article
    Eschewing gifts for cash is nothing new around the world—it’s common at Chinese, Indian, Italian, Jewish, and Muslim wedding ceremonies, among many others. For example, Mendez did not need to offer her mother the same explanation when she decided to forego a traditional wedding registry: Her mother is Chinese and was familiar with the tradition known as “red packets,” gifting the newlyweds crimson envelopes filled with cash.

  45. If it were a purely social acquaintance I would definitely go cash, but I don’t think it is a good idea for a co-worker.

  46. We had A Day yesterday since our flight home was delayed from 1 to 9 pm – we got the first delayed notice and arrived at the airport at 430 pm. Finally landed at 1215am and there was copious crying (all 3 kids) from then until they went to sleep in the car (luckily my parents picked us up). Then the heat in the master wasn’t working when we got home. Blerg! Kids are now sleeping and missing some school for an “unexcused” late arrival.

  47. And I am totally familiar with cash as wedding gift. On the morning of the day I got married, SIL gave me a white satin purse, and told me to make sure I knew where it was at all times. She said it was for the older relatives on her side of the family, so they could slip in “cards”. The next day, we opened up, and dang, there was a lot of money in there!

  48. It was wild.

    That was a flight from Chicago to Boston. They tried to land in Boston but there was a windshear alert and poor runway braking so they tried to diverted to Providence. They tried to land in Providence but there was another winshear alert so they tried to divert to Dulles. Then they figured they didn’t have enough gas to make it to Dulles so they declared an fuel emergency and landed in Philly.

  49. “That is a reason why our department is so unsocial – everyone lives in very farflung places.”

    I find that to be common in NYC. After work drinks socializing is relatively easy, but visiting each other often means a big commitment of time to travel.

    “I’m laughing at all the cold weather talk. Just keep thinking about all the nuance bugs the cold weather is killing. :)”

    I’m laughing because I spent too much time trying to figure out what a “nuance bug” is. :)

    Yesterday my flight was delayed several hours causing me to arrive home around 2am. But I stopped feeling sorry for myself when I saw one of my fellow passengers was a father traveling with his 1 yo daughter. That’s the thing when one parent flies with one or more young kids. A delay or cancellation can be a big deal imo. Trying to reschedule your flight or handle the constant airline/gate updates when you’re dealing with a fussy baby must be hard.

  50. @ MM – I would give a nice picture frame. I think Pottery Barn has really lovely ones, and they don’t tarnish.

  51. I would actually give 2 – the 4×6 and the 5×7. Useful, pretty, and the kind of thing you don’t always buy yourself.

  52. I think it’s the engineer gene — like the boy scouts, he likes to know he is prepared for anything. Which is why I think he is massively conflicted on vehicle choice, because he has a “fun driving” gene + a “show-off” gene + a “practicality/handle anything” gene; but reality is always an Engineer’s Triangle, and he can’t decide which two are most important.

  53. Rhett – we haven’t watched the West Wing but that’s a good suggestion. Thanks!

    A friend of mine recently had to sell her mom’s Honda Element. She said she was able to easily sell it for above blue book value – apparently they are in high demand in the Seattle area.

  54. Laura, ITA that wanting to haul wood and wanting to be ABLE to haul wood or bales of hay or steel girders or whatever are two different things. So why not look into the car he wants except for the carpeting and find ways to make it able to haul wood? They only have to function enough to be feasible or for 1 or 2 runs to prove to himself that he can do it. Like a truckbed liner for the interior of his fancy car. Can it be custom upholstered with something other than carpet? How about having canvas liners tailored for it? Getting the closets guy to take a look and come up with shelves for it? If it fits the “fast driving” criteria, is the engine powerful enough to haul a trailer? Get the trailer and a pair of trucks nuts if he wants them.

    July, I still haven’t figured it out.

  55. “And obviously to lease not to buy.”

    Why? Then we’d have to worry about dings and mileage and destroying the carpet and all that other stuff.

  56. @MM – I agree with Lark. There are lots of price points too, and it will be nice for printed wedding photos. The Tiffany plain pewter frames are under $100 as well & I have given those as gifts for people I don’t know as well. I have one that I got as a work milestone gift, and it looks brand new 12 years later.

    Milo’s story about the cars reminded me of when I was in college, and the temp did not go above 0 for 4 or 5 days over winter break. (end of january) My car froze solid in my boyfriend’s parents’ driveway, and we had to push the car into the garage and get the wood stove going to thaw it out so I could get back to school. Being from the “south” (aka one state south), I did not have a block heater on my car engine, but many, many people did.

    This cold also reminds me of when my friend and I were wandering around Boston on the day before the Super Bowl. (this was almost 20 years ago, when the Patriots were still terrible) It was in the single digits, and we wandered into a restaurant in the North End to get out of the cold & eat lunch. There were like a dozen old guys in there, with 3 or 4 cellphones each, taking bets. It was like being in a scene from a movie. The pasta was delicious. I’m sure it’s been completely gentrified now – that was when the Big Dig was still in process & you had to go under a bunch of overpasses to get over there.

  57. Why?

    Range Rovers are know for having high repair costs out of warranty. They are not something you’d want to own long term. As for dings, as far as I know they all have a policy that you can’t be charged for anything that can be covered by a credit card.

  58. @ Rhett that is a beautiful car but I don’t like the wholly touch screen aspect. I prefer the tactile sensation that lets you adjust certain controls without looking down.

  59. Thanks, Rhett.

    Strangely, I found myself wondering if a lease would be a horrible idea, even though my knee jerks so badly when I hear the word that I practically kick myself in the chin. Because the reality is that we only really “need” a larger vehicle for about 3 years, until DS has his license. So maybe getting DH a nicer leased vehicle would be a reasonable compromise for a few years until he truly is free to get whatever he wants.

  60. @ LfB – I think there can be financially rational reasons to lease. My mother and I were just talking about this the other day. She has long been (my entire life) a pay cash, drive it forever, type of person. But now that she’s getting older, and car safety/technology is advancing so quickly, she’s thinking she is better off safety wise in newer cars. If she wanted to get a new car every 3-4 years, based on the amount of miles she’d drive, she thinks she’ll actually be out less $$ leasing than buying and taking the depreciation. She’s still running the numbers, but that’s where she’s coming out and I think that makes sense.

    She said she’s starting to look at cars less as an asset to own, and more as transportation you pay for as you need it. Interesting perspective.

  61. @Lark — yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. You certainly eat the most depreciation in the first few years, so if you’re only going to own for 3-4 years, you’re going to take a big hit either way.* It makes the most sense to buy used and drive it forever so someone else eats the early depreciation, but DH wants all the safety features and connectivity and “luxury hybrid” and all that, and there really isn’t a lot of that used. So when you put that together with (i) the fact that he really doesn’t love anything he has seen so far because no one car will have everything, and (ii) the fact that our needs will change pretty significantly in another 3-4 years and free him up to be more frivolous, it might be a reasonable bridge.

    Ideally I’d like to wait and see whether DD takes her car to college with her, because if we have her generic 4-door sedan around, that addresses our practicality/people-moving needs. But he is likely going to have to fish or cut bait on the repairs before we know that.

    *Both his and DD’s current car were less than 1 year old when we bought them used, but we got like 20% off each because of that (plus an extra year’s warranty). My car was @2 years old, and I got probably 30%-40% off for that. So we are definite believers in that approach.

  62. Lark & Laura – this is my mom. Needed a replacement car when she was 80…never had had a new car, but now had the means. A 3yr lease was the right move, since who knew what her driving wants/needs/capabilities would be as she got older. That worked great and now she’s half way thru her second 3yr lease, different car. I think it’s been the right move and she will have spent less over the 6 years than what she would have spent had she bought at age 80. Actually, I think, assuming she’s driving till 89, she’ll be a bit better off financially with 3 – 3yr leases than buying once at 80.

  63. It makes the most sense to buy used and drive it forever so someone else eats the early depreciation,

    That hasn’t been true for 30 years. Depreciation is mostly linear now. If a car is 80% used up it sells for 80% of the price new. Then again that’s true for CRVs and Highlanders. 911s are highly customize-able and often purchased as a reward so the demand for one built exactly to one’s specifications is higher than one that was built for someone else.

  64. “911s are highly customize-able and often purchased as a reward so the demand for one built exactly to one’s specifications is higher than one that was built for someone else.”

    On the other end, if all you want is a basic trim-level vehicle, you may have difficulty finding a used vehicle that doesn’t have a lot of features you don’t want to pay for.

  65. Mooshi, I think you’re on the right track. She probably has all the stuff she needs, so something consumable that would be considered a treat makes sense.

    A bottle of champagne might be appropriate if she and her DH like that sort of thing; more generally, something celebratory.

  66. “That is a reason why our department is so unsocial – everyone lives in very farflung places.”

    And, I’m guessing, most of them do their own thing for lunch, and schedules may also make it difficult for them to have lunch together.

  67. @Rhett: that was just comparing list prices (we got one that had been sold back to the dealer after like 6 weeks, so it was literally sitting next to the same model new). They were also happy to negotiate from there, as they had already gotten their profit off it twice in two months (and, probably, happy to have the “used” competition off the lot so they could focus people again on all the more expensive new ones.

    This was also c.2011-2012, and I really don’t recall how Buicks were selling then.

  68. Mooshi, how about a couple’s massage before or after the wedding? Even if she isn’t usually that kind of person, she isn’t usually getting married.

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