R.I.P. (1995–2007)

My 1995 Toyota Camry LE

12+ years, 213000+ miles

Cause of death:
Ummmm… 12+ years and 213000+ miles. Well, that and a bad transmission.

It is with more than a little sadness and a great deal of nostalgia that I said goodbye to my venerable old Camry this afternoon. It had run like an absolute champ for over 11 years, but last year, the transmission started to go; since the repairs would have run over $2000 (for a car with a book value of less than $1000), there was no way to justify fixing it up. So say hello to…

…my new 2008 Toyota Camry LE. (Not an original choice, but why mess with a good thing?) And it has quite a legacy to live up to.

And while on the subject, I would like to wholeheartedly recommend the great folks over at Acton Toyota should you find yourself in the market for a new Toyota here in New England. I went through their internet sales group (and let me tell you, they put any and every other internet auto sales group to absolute shame—it is a large but very efficiently run operation), and I have to say that it was unequivocally the most straightforward, most painless car buying experience of my life. They answered every question I had, and they delivered exactly what they promised. And all of this without the typical high-pressure sales spiel or “let me run that by my manager” crap that I was dreading—it was simply bang bang bang, done. I could not have asked for a better experience.

So again, a big thank you to the great folks with Acton Toyota’s internet sales group, especially Bob Rabb, the sales agent I had the great pleasure of dealing with. I guarantee you we will be looking them up again the next time we need a new car.

12 years and 213000 miles to go…

How I know she loves me

My sweetie got back last week after almost two weeks back in Texas to help her sister move into her new house. On her way back, we were chatting on the phone, and she told me that she had a surprise for me and that there was a story behind it. Oooooh, I love surprises…

So I picked her up at the airport, and as we loaded her bags into the trunk, she unzipped one of her suitcases and showed me the surprise—or rather, surprises. One surprise was a dozen kolaches (little—well, not so little—meat-and-cheese stuffed rolls) from Shipley Donuts. Now, you have to realize that there are about a bazillion Dunkin Donuts up here in New England, but none of them have donuts as good as those at Shipley. And I guarantee you that none of them have kolaches. (In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen kolaches up here… guess this area doesn’t have a big Czech population?) Anyway… YUM.

But then there was the second surprise. More food. (Does she know me, or what?) And even better than kolaches. Pep’roni rolls from DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks. And just what is a pep’roni roll? Think of a slice of pepperoni pizza. Now take that slice and roll it up like a crescent roll so that all the meat and cheese is on the inside, and the crust is wrapped around the whole thing. That, in a nutshell, is a pep’roni roll. And it is about as good as it gets. And the only place I’ve ever seen them is at DoubleDave’s, meaning there ain’t one within about 2000 miles of here.

And now the story: My sweetie called a Dave’s branch the night before she flew back home to place a pick-up order for the rolls. The guy who answered the phone asked rather hesitantly what she wanted to order. When she said she just wanted a dozen rolls, the guy said oh, no problem, just come on by in about 20 minutes. When she got there, the building was dark and the parking lot was empty—but when she peered through the front window, she could see the guy waving her in. (They were obviously about to close, and she thanked him for sticking around to take her order.) When he asked what kind of sauce he wanted with the rolls (mmmm, pep’roni rolls and ranch dressing…), she said she didn’t need any, as these rolls weren’t for her but for her husband (me!) back up in New Hampshire who couldn’t get pep’roni rolls up there (read: here). To which he said that he was now really glad he took this one last order. So am I, big guy, so am I…

So a big thank you to the nameless DoubleDave’s dude. And an even bigger thank you to my sweetie for bringing me back some gastronomic goodness.

(By the way, the kolaches and pep’roni rolls are all gone. Now I’m sad again.)