Sunday, November 11, 2012

Carless in suburbia update

I survived October without a car!

So far, I haven't really missed not having one during the week. We had a fairly mild October, except for the last week with Hurricane Sandy. When the temperature drops below 45 degrees F, my exposed skin gets very cold. I was going to knit a balaclava since I couldn't bring myself to spend $50 to $75 (!!) on the ones I saw at our local bike shop, but then this weekend I spotted one for $15 in Ace Hardware of all places, so DH bought it for me as a birthday present. Awww. The last two "skin-saving" items on my list are gloves (can I knit them? Maybe lobster claw-style ones?) and goggles, which I'll have to buy.

A couple weeks ago I decided to visit my  mother on the Connecticut shore. A perfect opportunity to test run a car rental! I rented a Toyota Yaris through Hotwire. We picked it up on a Saturday morning at the Enterprise rental location, and returned it on Sunday around 9 p.m. The total cost came to something like $45 plus $26 in gas costs, which my husband says we shouldn't count because I would have spent that much (probably more) driving down with the Subaru or his car. Not bad -- and this included insurance. The Yaris was one car I wanted to test drive during my carless experiment. The best thing about it was the gas mileage, and it had good zip. Unfortunately, the seat wasn't very comfortable (I'm spoiled with my Subie's plush leather *heated* seats) and there was a lot of road noise especially on the highway. When we dropped the car off Sunday night, I noticed that someone had returned a Fiat. I love the look of the new Fiats, so I hope I can test one out at some point.

The difficulty I'm having with my carless experiment right now is that I have to get out early on my bike because it starts getting dark so early. My goal this month is to get a little more organized about my errands so that I don't have to kick myself around 4 p.m. for not getting down to the store to pick up milk. The new bike bag has made grocery shopping a lot easier so I'm feeling better about spending the $80.

I also resolved another challenge last week. My cats' vet is a half-hour away and their weekend hours are spotty. I can't ask my husband to take a day off from work so I can take the cats to the vet, so I found a new one down the street that has Saturday hours and is close enough so that if I had to walk (with a pissed-off cat in a cat carrier in hand, ugh!), I could. I felt bad leaving my old vet since we've been going to her for years, but they understood our situation and were kind enough to fax our cats' records to the new vet for a Saturday appointment.

O has a student council meeting every other Thursday at 8 a.m. We were lucky that my brother had left his truck at our house when the last meeting occurred, but now he's down in Staten Island doing hurricane relief work. We may actually have to walk to O's school this Thursday, but my husband said he may be able to go in late. Fingers crossed!

And speaking of my brother ... thank you today to the veterans who've put their lives on the line to defend our country. In my family, that's my brothers Matt and Kevin (U.S. Marine Corps) and my father and stepfather (U.S. Navy).



  1. I am down visiting my mom, so have gotten sort of behind in my blog reading. I have enjoyed catching up on your posts! Happy belated birthday to your son, and I love the hat you knit. I'm like you and don't like pictures of myself, but my blog has sort of gotten me past that. Sort of. :-)

  2. Just catching up and thought I had better say- I own a Yaris:my third. They are so practical. Yes the seat is not as good as in some cars, but I have met worse, in more expensive motors! Road noise is a shame, but I am prepared to put up with it for the economy. I love the way it is way bigger inside than it is outside. Most of all I love the way it kept me safe when I crashed. (I don't know for sure about Fiats, but gather they are not quite so dependable).

  3. Jean, we call Fiats "Fix It Again Tony"s around here. Their reputation in the past hasn't been great, but from a design standpoint, I do love the new ones. Worth a rental, but not sure I'd buy. Thank you for your positive review on the Yaris and glad it kept you safe. Toyotas are wonderful that way. I didn't dislike it, but I recall being more impressed when I drove a Honda Fit. I'll have to give both second tries, which I'm sure I'll have the chance to do over the next year.


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