A Moment of Jen
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Sunday, January 26, 2003
posted by Jen at 1/26/2003 01:08:00 PM

Let this be a life lesson for me -- never make bets against my husband. Because no matter how sure a thing I think I've got, I never, ever win.

Friday night was trash night in our little corner of Philadelphia, and because we just got a brand-new bed as part of our grand Buying Everything We Could Ever Possibly Needs Before the Baby Comes And Can Never Leave The House Again plan, we had a box spring to dispose of. Now, our trash collectors are notoriously finicky. Generally speaking, they won't take anything that's not in a trash bag, tied up, unless it's a Christmas tree, which we don't have. And you can get fined for trying to, say, throw out the giant box your new television set came in if you don't break it down, chop it up, and put it into trash bags.

So I asked Adam how we were going to get rid of the box spring, and he said, "We'll leave it out on the curb." No way, said I. The trash guys are never going to take it. Oh yes they will, he said. Oh no they won't, said I. So we wound up making a five dollar bet that, by Saturday morning, the box spring would be gone, taken by either the trash collectors or a trash picker.

I woke up Saturday morning, eager as a kid on Christmas day, and hurried to the bedroom window, and eased the shade open and saw.....nothing. The box spring was gone.

"You can pay me with a five dollar bill," said my husband. "Or five one dollar bills. Or twelve quarters and two one dollar bills...."

Boy, I hate a smug winner.

Then it was on to part two of Buy Everything Before Baby Et Cetera: car shopping.

When I got my first book deal, people asked me all the time: are you going to buy a new car? Well, I didn't. Spending big bucks on a fancy ride when you A., live in a city and B., park on the street just never made sense to me. I have a perfectly good, extremely reliable car -- a 1998 Honda Civic, in case you were wondering. It's got air conditioning, power windows, four doors and a CD player, and it fits nicely into even the tightest of parking spots. What else did I need?

Except now, with the imminent arrival of the Bun, it felt like it was time to start shopping for something larger, and safer, with easy-to-reach storage space for the two tons of paraphernalia that travel with babies seems to require. And I really like the look of the Subaru Forester -- it's big enough, but not ridiculously big, and it's got kind of a retro boxy look that appeals to me, and I could picture myself tooling around town in one with the Bun in the back seat.

So off we went to the Subaru dealership, where I was shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- to learn that the nifty little Forester is actually....an S.U.V. The horror! The horror!.

I'm not necessarily an anti-SUV militant, although some of the more gee-normous ones seem a little obnoxious and unnecessary. Does anyone who's not transporting Marines or living in the wilds of Canada really need a vehicle that's three feet off the ground, a lane and a half wide, and impossible for anyone else on the road to see around? Plus, they just don't make sense for city living -- the mileage isn't great, the four-wheel drive isn't necessary more than the one or two times a year Philadelphia gets significant snowfall -- and, more importantly to me, you can't park the things.

But the Forester's brochure proclaimed it, plain as day, to be part of the forbidden circle of cars. I couldn't believe it.

"It's an SUV?" I whispered, looking from the brochure to the car and back again.

"What did you think it was?" asked Adam.

I thought about it. "Ambitious station wagon?"

He started laughing. The car sales guy started laughing. Adam told me I could pay him his five dollars in a hundred nickels, or by traveler's check. Dammit!

And now I don't know what we're going to do about the car situation, because we drove the Forester, and I really liked it. The visibility was terrific, the moon-roof was cool, and I liked being a little higher off the ground than I'm used to, while not feeling that I was in Ben Hur's chariot. But can we justify the purchase of something that Jesus wouldn't drive? ("We're Jewish," says Adam. "That's not the point," says I).

Hmm. Must do more research.This website says it's an SUV with a conscience. But this one points out that SUV's spew an average of 47 percent more smog-forming exhaust and 43 percent more greenhouse gas than cars, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. But this site says the Forester isn't a real SUV, just a tall station wagon -- see, just like I thought!

Anyhow. Last but not least, I finally got to see last Tuesday's "American Idol" (we've got childbirth classes every Tuesday night during Idol hours, which could have been pointed out to be oh, back last August), and yay! There's a gorgeous big girl going to the next round! Did everyone get to see Frenchie? She's beautiful and confident and self-assured, and when can I start voting for her already?
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