our metal friend

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you a post kind of like the last one. You may remember me from such posts as “The Long Darkness”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.
You can see how icy the paths are, still.

The warm weather has brought out a few flowers, and the sun came out this afternoon. Here’s Iris reticulata; this is a form grown from seed collected in the wild, I think.
And snowdrops, of course. There are more than there were yesterday.
There are a lot more to come, even though it’s going to snow. Most of these are Galanthus elwesii ‘Theresa Stone’ (pictured below)  and its offspring (crossing with other forms); they were planted twenty-two years ago.
This is what the “flock” looks like from the eastern end, though there are quite a few behind where the guy I live with was kneeling to take this picture.
Galanthus gracilis, ex Highdown, looking a little frazzled from all the cold weather.
Galanthus koenenianus. The very distinctively-ridged leaves have barely appeared.
Galanthus plicatus, from the Ukraine. The guy I live with said to say where this comes from.Those are the flowers for today.

In my last post, I forgot to mention something that some people might find strange: the guy I live with still buys presents for his wife.

He bought this book just the other day.
He said she would have loved it.

Several years ago, he bought this “poacher’s spade”, because she always wanted one. It’s never been used, and never will be.
There’s another thing that he bought for her. The car. She only drove it once before she died.
The guy I live with calls it “our metal friend”. It doesn’t even have fifty thousand miles on it.
There were issues with it starting, a couple of years ago, and that totally freaked him out. A car not starting when it’s in the garage is one thing, but not starting when the guy I live with is out somewhere quite another thing. He’s been thinking about getting a new car ever since, even though some people, naturally, said this was the wrong time to get a new car. We need a car.
Today he went to the store. The car had some trouble starting, but eventually it started. But when he left the store, the car didn’t want to start at all. Finally, it did, much to his relief (and mine, since I need my dinner), which is why it’s in the garage.

He called a friend who worked for Subaru for thirty years, and whose judgment he trusts completely. The last time it didn’t start, his friend said it was the fuel pump, so he had a new one installed. (The guy I live with used to work on cars but doesn’t do that any more.)
But his friend said that even though the car has low mileage, it is fifteen years old, and parts wear out.  The fuel pump that was installed may have gone bad, and even though that may be under warranty, it’s still an issue. The car has had to have non-cheap repairs three times in the last three years.
And that maybe it’s time to consider getting a new car.

So I guess that’s what’s going to happen. He’ll have to remember how to drive with an automatic transmission, because standard transmissions are rare these days.

That’s all I have for today.  I hope you found this post interesting.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me, and the box my bowl sits on, waiting for my dinner, which of course I got.

Until next time, then.

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24 Responses to our metal friend

  1. Bruno says:

    I hope you found this post interesting: yes, very interesting! Here to me only Galathus nivalis hélas! Greetings to all of you, both four and two-legged!

    • paridevita says:

      Greetings to you. There are some nivalis in flower here as well. The first crocuses have appeared, but snow is in the forecast, again.

  2. Mee-yow so many typess of Snowdropss Mani!!! Wee love THE Ukrainian flowerss!! Mee purray fore Ukraine to reemain free!
    Yore little Irisess are so cute!! Miss Monika an Sweet Norman an Elsa have lotss of Snowdropss an Irisess…youss’ must bee inn THE Snowdrop an Iris CAppytal of THE of U-Ess-A!!!!
    Mani you look so cute waitin fore supper!
    ~~~head rubss~~~BellaDharma~~~ an {{hugss}} BellaSita Mum

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I was trying to look cute.
      I get a sort of salmon puree added to mmy dry food. I bet you would like that. I do.
      The guy I live with said the snowdrop capital is probably on the east coast, since they don’t get so much snow that takes forever to melt, but there are a lot of snowdrops here, for sure.

      • MMMMM salmon puree soundss tasty fore sure Mani!!!
        An you due NOT have to werk hard to look cute 😉
        Wee ADOOR yore Snowdropss!

      • paridevita says:

        I get some First Mate, from Canada, on top of my dry food. Very tasty.
        The snowdrops are under snow again. Sigh.

      • Mee nevurr herd of Ferst Mate…mee have to look that up!
        An seereuslee?? Snowdropss are under snow??? Wee gotted 6 more inchess today too!! An iss chilly again ***sighss***

      • paridevita says:

        Yes indeed. Made in B.C. They have food for kitties, too. Tuna, and salmon. The guy I live with sometimes makes fun of me because he says I eat “cat food”, but it’s salmon for dogs. It’s really, really, really good. He makes a kind of salmony gravy to go with my dry food.
        There’s a whole bunch of snow here, and it’s supposed to get really cold on Thursday.
        This is not normal weather for us, but there’s not much we can do about it.

  3. ceci says:

    Our rule of thumb for replacing cars is that when the repairs cost more than the payment on a replacement would be for a couple years (and it looks like that trend could continue, e.g. the repairs aren’s for some big flukey disaster) then its time to replace. We keep our cars for a long long time as a result.

    Driving an automatic is pretty easy, but both our kids learned on standards and had a bit of an adjustment when they went to automatics.

    No snowdrops where we are now in upstate NY, just snow cover. Maybe later in the month!


    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with had a car with an automatic transmission, for a few years, but other than that, always standard. It may take some time for him to figure out what to do with his left foot…
      This situation is utterly intolerable for the guy I live with, for two reasons. (I know, because I hear him talking about it on the phone.)
      The first one is not knowing if the car will start. It started today. As well as the possibility of other things going wrong, which happened several times in the last few years. If his wife were still here, and there was a second car (there used to be; a white Ford Focus named Snowdrop), that would be different.
      The second reason is sentimental, and is causing the guy I live with a lot of unhappiness, because he bought the car for his wife, and getting rid of it is “like having another door slam shut”.
      It is just an object, but I guess it’s kind of like when he donated her watercolors to the Hunt Institute, or when he gave her bug collection to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
      All the snwodrops will be covered in snow again, by this time tomorrow.

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Rhody just got a new old car. It was not expensive, but because it was never a common car, it was difficult to find. Few who own them will sell them, so there are only a few for sale in America at a time. Most that are available likely became available because those who owned them no longer drive cars. Because Rhody can not drive it, I must be his chauffeur. Fortunately, Rhody only wants me to drive him to places that I need to go to anyway. I do miss my old car, which was my first car. I also miss the old pick up. Both should have lasted me for the rest of my life. It is a long and sad story as to why they are now gone. The new old car is the last of its kind to be built like the old sedans, with rear wheel drive. It actually feels just like an old car. Rhody might be a bit annoyed about a certain misspelling associated with emblems on the car though, even though he does not read. It reads ‘Roadmaster’ instead of ‘Rhody is master’.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, a 1949 Roadmaster like in Mulholland Falls? (Just kidding.)
      The car here does start; it started twice today. But it’s the not knowing that’s the issue.
      The guy I live with is now determined to get a new car, a new Subaru and nothing else, despite the emotional issues involved, but there are none available yet. Next month. It’s not like he goes out very often, largely because the car is getting on in years and the idea of being stranded somewhere is more than he can take.
      That’s because, back in the old days, he would drive cars until they were falling apart, which wasn’t the greatest idea in the world. He’d work on them, replacing starters, alternators, fuel pumps, brakes, U-joints, etc., but those days are long gone.

      • tonytomeo says:

        but that car in the garage does not seem to be too terribly old! Aside from the importance of the car, it seems too young to replace.

      • paridevita says:

        It does, in a way, but, because of the car’s age, the guy I live with has already shelled out about $5K in repairs in the last few years. It’s not the money, really, it’s the fact that things–relatively little things–are starting to go wrong, and that becomes intolerable.
        Like, he suggested to his friend that they drive to some nurseries, to stock up on plants. Las Pilitas in California, Spadefoot in Tucson I think.(His wife wouldn’t have wanted to do this, but his friend likes doing things like that.) I’d get to stay at my doctor’s, which I like.
        And then, half an hour outside of say, Needles, smoke would start coming out of the engine or something.
        Stuff of nightmares.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Oh, of ALL places! Needles is a bad place to worry about the reliability of a vehicle. Half an hour outside of needles is even worse.

      • paridevita says:

        Never been there.

      • tonytomeo says:

        It is like a very big litter box that even kitties are uninterested in.

  5. Always I read your posts, Mani, although often I save commenting for the time I can think of some. What leapt to mind is the guy you live with’s cavalier indifference–reluctance?–to read newly-acquired camera and cell phone manuals. He must read the new car manual! Tell him, Mani! New cars, newer cars have screens with all sorts of blinking lights signaling all sorts of different situations and car reactions for which it is best he be in the know. Under no circumstance should he turn that screen off. No! A light and noise is telling him a huge truck approaches on the side or something runs in the road in front or behind. He will possibly be driving you around, Mani, and certainly your food. Use the determined look you show us in the picture of you. Also, you may tell him the *iris reticulata* are especially lovely, and the snowdrops as usual are fine. I’m pretty certain I need a poacher’s spade. BTW, you definitely should be asked along on the car hunt, my opinion.

    • paridevita says:

      (Sorry, this got horribly messed up for some reason.)
      The guy I live with claims that not reading instructions is a “guy thing”. I just roll my eyes.
      The manual for the little Fuji camera is kind of like reading Principia Mathematica and Finnegans Wake at the same time. But he has driven a Subaru with the camera and stuff. I hear it was different. I think his friend’s car has one of those; he suggested she might consider a heavy, safe car because she drives her grandchildren around town. This was indeed advice, but directed at “precious cargo”.
      In truth, buying a new car isn’t all that much of a big deal, since he’s been thinking about it ever since he had to drive to radiation 39 times, except that one doesn’t just drive to a car dealer and pick out a new car. Supply chain issues, and all that.
      I guess poacher’s spades are also called “rabbiting spades”. The guy I live with says not to go into the edibility of rabbits, but that the spade can be found here:

    • paridevita says:

      This is the link. For some reason, WordPress kept messing it up, and no amount of editing would allow the link to appear properly.

  6. Also, Mani, please inform the guy you live with I care not where he lives, what he does with belongings or what kind of car he buys. Well, an excellent one, of course. Pointing out best practice is a fraught enterprise, I know. (best practice: read the manual.)

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with hates snow and cold weather with a passion (it’s snowing right now; predicted low of 5 Thursday night, so much for spring coming), but here we are, anyway. I talked about that in the post “Almost Normal”.
      He says the ice on the paths, which is three inches thick, and treacherous, will melt by July.
      Before he learned that new cars won’t be available until next month, he spent some time cleaning out the car. There wasn’t much to remove (the car is pretty clean), boxes in the back for plants, a couple of very old French fries, the baseball jacket his wife had made for her and which has been in the car since she last left it there, and in the glove compartment he found what I guess was meant to be a Christmas ornament, shaped like a bone.
      It said “Chess” on it.

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