I finally did it. After 15 years, I put my old car out to pasture. It was a hard decision but the time had come when I determined it would take 2 to 3 thousand dollars to keep it going. After toying for months (ok years) with idea of a new one, I bit the bullet and paid a visit to the dealer. The old one had close to 181,000 miles on it, needed 4 new tires, a gas tank I couldn’t fill or it would overflow, and showed the wear and tear of a 15-year-old car. Therefore, the reality of getting anything for a trade-in didn’t exist. I decided that I would donate it to a good cause. In light of what happened this past week, the decision was an easy one.
Searching online, I found a number of organizations that accept cars in all condition. Before Hurricane Sandy obliterated the northeast coastline, I wasn’t sure which charity to I was going to choose. After sitting in the dark and cold for 6 days, and seeing the devastation in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, The American Red Cross became the obvious choice. This is an organization that immediately springs into action when people are in need. Last October they were set up in our local high school and help many people in the town. I became acutely aware of the valuable service they provide. This week was no exception.
Donating is easy. You simply fill out an online form with information about yourself and the car. Within hours I received a phone call. A date and time was arranged for pickup. In my case it happened the very next day. I had the title, and could be home so the plan was set. They gave me a 4 hour window and called before they arrived. All occurred without a hitch. Eventually a form that serves as a tax deduction will be sent. The process is then complete.
I had mixed feelings as I saw the car being towed off. That car saw me through my marriage, took my babies home from the hospital and went on many adventures. It caused little to no trouble in terms of repair. On the other hand, I really like my new one. It drives smoother, quieter, and has more conveniences. What I do feel good about is that I gave my old car away to an organization that helps people when they are in their hour of need. Could I have made of few bucks selling it myself? Maybe, but in giving it away, the payoff is so much greater.
Here comes Sandy. Last year at this time, the northeast experienced a freak October snowstorm that took down trees, and knocked out power to many. My family went without power for 9 days. It was frustrating as everyone around us seemed to luck out, but a small group of homes were left in the dark because of a large tree that fell on our road. I thought I was prepared for the storm, and I was ok for about 4 to 5 days, but around day 6, things got harder. My house got colder, I was running out of water, eating was a challenge, and a certain kind of fatigue set in. There were lessons learned, and the experience taught us to always be prepared.
I always have a large supply of bottled water stored away. We use it at times during the year, but it is replaced as soon as it is consumed. Those of us with homes that run on a septic system know how hard it is to deal with a lack of water. Last year I filled the tubs and collected water from melting snow. This year, I already have gallon containers of water in the basement, numerous buckets and containers filled, and the tubs will be filled. I have a stash of nonperishable food and all my laundry is done. I have flashlights, but I have found battery operated LED laterns that provide more light and are easier to carry around. The only item I have not invested in is a generator. I don’t have a baby, anyone ill or elderly, and we seemed to survive last time without one so it hasn’t been on the top of our list. I will however, crank the heat up if the storm seems to be strengthening just to keep the house warmer longer.
Despite all the upset, my kids are taking it all in stride. Having gone throught it before, they are loaded up on books, charged up some games, and put batteries in a couple of old boom boxes. I’m hoping that it will not hit us too hard, and that all the tree work that was done on my road will prove to be adequate. I’m still leary about the 2 or 3 dead ones I see standing, but hopefully they will not fall. My philosphy in these situations is that there are always those worse off. I will probably fare better than my cousins in New Jersey. I know that the people near coastlines will suffer damage to their homes. I also know that for my area this in not Katrina or Haiti, and that I will not suffer for years to come. It’s all perspective. I’m praying that all survive.
There are members of the Republican Party pressuring Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to run for President. I am an unaffiliated voter. I usually decide who to vote for based on who I believe will be the best leader for our country. I give all candidates a fair chance after I have listened to their platform of thoughts and ideas. So far I know nothing about Chris Christie except that he has a weight problem. That is putting it nicely compared to some of the words used by comedians and political pundits. As I listen and read these comments, I can’t help but think that these adults are engaging in a blatant form of bullying.
There is much in the news lately of young people being bullied in school, the playground, and the internet. We are appalled that such behavior takes place and call on legislators to produce acts that involve consequences for those who engage in and create these painful situations. I am surprised that in this climate, adults have resorted to same tactics as children who need to be taught better. If this was the workforce, charges of discrimination or harassment would be filed. Audiences laugh when words like “fat” are used. Is this what we are teaching our kids?
Politicians are now using the “weight” card to discredit a potential candidate. This is a new low in the seemingly endless ways that parties try to sway voters. It is disgraceful and does nothing but continue to turn off voters such as myself. I wonder how many people of intelligence, common sense, and ingenuity; decide not to enter the arena in order to avoid such scrutiny for themselves and their families.
We cannot expect children to grow up to be tolerant, accepting, and empathetic if we do not model these traits ourselves. We need to stop hurtful words and acts from a very early age and act as a moral compass when it comes to teaching kindness towards others. I hope the focus on Chris Christie’s weight gives way to his record and ideas on how to run the country. That is all that I want and need to hear.