Thursday, January 24, 2008

Looking for a New Car

I'm still dealing with insurance stuff after the accident, which is something I could just as happily never have to do again. AAA actually gave me a pretty generous evaluation of Gloria's value, though their cutoff on what they'll pay for repairs is rather lower than that total value. Today I heard back from the shop that they found suspension damage as well, which raises the estimate considerably, and more to the point, puts it over what AAA will cover. My options at this point are:

(A) Take a check for the amount AAA is willing to give me for repairs, pay the rest out of pocket, and get Gloria fixed. She'll have a salvage title, putting her value down to a fraction of what it was. Pros: I can probably get lower insurance premiums for a salvaged car, and of course I'd get to keep Gloria. Cons: I'd be out at least a few hundred dollars. I wouldn't get very much insurance coverage at all for future accidents and probably wouldn't be able to sell her for much if I wanted to.

(B) Take a check for the (larger) amount AAA is willing to give me for totaling Gloria (which includes the salvage price, since they tow her away). Then go buy a new car. Pros: More money from AAA. Could end up with a decent enough car. Cons: Don't know if I'll be able to get as good a deal as Gloria for the price. Have to go car shopping with a limited amount of time (I get to keep the rental car for a week now, though I'll ask if I can extend it). No more Gloria. :-(

So option (B) seems like the most reasonable way to go, though I'm not too happy about it coming to this. If you happen to know of anyone selling a decent used car in the $5,000 range, let me know. Meanwhile, I'll be on Craigslist.

Oh, and I heard from the insurance company of the fellow who hit me. He's claiming a bus hit him first, sending him out of control. Entirely possible, since I didn't see what went on behind me, but I know there were multiple vehicles involved. Better than being drunk, I suppose, though who knows what the bus was up to at the time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I've Got a Date! (Or Three)

I now have an official date for my last day at work: February 20th. It gets a little more scary and considerably more exciting the closer it gets.

In somewhat related news, I also got accepted to this volunteer trip with United Planet to Romania. I'll be there April 21 - May 5 (and maybe I'll tack on a bit more time to see somewhere else afterwards).

And one more thing: I just signed up for a 10-day meditation retreat, March 19-30.

I think my unemployed "free" time is on its way to being sufficiently full. :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shaken But Okay

Perhaps it's just our magnetic personalities, but the Waldon kids seem to have been working out some collision karma recently. Thankfully I came out of mine in better shape than Lacey did, though Gloria is going to need some work.

I had gone shape note singing this afternoon, which should be the subject of a happier post, since it was nice to be back there after more than a year. At a little before 7:00 I was on the Shoreline exit (from 101/85 North), nearly home. The curve there is always one to pay attention to, so I was slowing down and watching the van ahead of me to make sure he stayed in his lane. Then some other car zipped out of nowhere, way too fast for that exit, and came up from behind me at an angle, hitting poor Gloria all along the right front side. I was sent into the next lane, but kept enough control to keep from hitting the barrier, and the car careened on ahead of me to hit the van. They both ricocheted around a bit, with the van pulling off to the left and the bad guy car whacking up against the barrier on the other side of the road. I pulled over briefly, but then realized Gloria was still functional and decided to get the heck off that exit ramp, so I pulled into the parking lot of the Computer History Museum, which is right there on Shoreline. Some stuff was thrown around inside the car, but I didn't collide with anything myself, and luckily the windows didn't break.

The cops were already on the scene once I got back to check on the folks in the van and see if they were alright. I think they had gotten calls about a reckless driver and were already after him. They spent a while dealing with him, though I never heard if he was drunk or what. Eventually they checked everybody out and got statements from us all, though I was at the end of several folks who were hit. It was an hour before I got to head home.

The headlight that was crunched still gives basic light, so that was good for getting home. The passenger door doesn't open more than a few inches, though, and she's pretty bashed up along that side. The guy had insurance, so I'll start hashing out how to get everything fixed tomorrow probably. Sigh. Even if I don't have to pay for it I'm not looking forward to the inconvenience. As for myself, I'm kind of shaken and feeling a slight ache in my legs, which may just be aggravation of recent stress (from dancing and starting to jog again recently). I may notice something more once I've slept and gotten the adrenaline out of my system. I'm going to try to go to Dr. Shawn (my chiropractor) tomorrow a day earlier than usual, just to get a check and an adjustment as soon as possible (and before I give up Gloria to a repair shop).

Interestingly, at the singing today I found out that one friend wasn't there because of a brain tumor. His wife was telling me how the first seizures came out of nowhere, and remarking on how you can have all the plans you want for the future and they can still just be wiped out in one go by something unexpected. Getting blindsided by a reckless driver half an hour later really drives home that point. I'm glad and grateful that I can walk away from it and continue to appreciate the life I have. Be thankful for what you have while you have it, and don't take your time here for granted.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Camp Harmony

The Harmony Stump This was our last year of having Camp Harmony at its long-time location in the Santa Cruz mountains. The new location will probably be very nice, I'm sure, but this year's camp was tinged with a bit of sadness at the thought that we won't be back again. Aside from the fact that I inherently like redwood forests, there are 13 years of memories there for me. But moving on from that thought, this was a very good year, so I'm pleased that Camp Campbell is going out on a good note. I think I got a good mix of everything I usually want out of camp, plus the weather was beautiful and nobody got significantly sick.

Budget Fiddlers Music-wise, I played a lot for the Irish dance and classes again. This was mostly fun, though there were some interpersonal frustrations with the pickup band on the dance night, but we worked those out. Had a good session after that dance, too, and in general I felt that my fiddle playing was in surprisingly good shape for the modest amount of practice I've had recently. I learned another awesome Liz Carroll tune, and wrote down a gorgeous waltz that I haven't had a chance to actually learn yet. I also resurrected a number of Québécois tunes at a workshop, though most of them have left my head again already. Quena and I experimented with two-person, one-fiddle duets, which was amusing.

With the singing, I was lucky in that there were two shape note sessions, since I missed the first one. I experimented with singing tenor this time, which worked fairly well considering how we pitched most things fairly low. I need to try that again when I start going back to the Palo Alto sings (soon). I was unluckier in that Madge and Tom weren't at camp, so there was no Balkan or Barbershop, which I really wanted to do again. But Katherine did a Weird Al songs workshop, and that was fun.

Jonathan and Quena For the dancing, there were some very nice contras (thanks partly to Quena's calling). I also had some nice waltzes, mostly in the post-midnight New Year's dancing. Cass had hurt both her ankles recently, so she hadn't been dancing. So on that last night Quena and I picked her up and carried her through a waltz, so she wouldn't be left out. No swing this year, but there was some Scandinavian dancing, which was a nice change, and even included a couple nyckelharpa players.

I did some more teaching again this year. I didn't do a whole series of music theory classes, but instead just went for a single class trying to explain the concept behind music theory itself, rather than just giving people the rules that result from it. That might be an interesting thing to do another blog post on. Lacey and I also did an intermediate waltz workshop, mostly focusing on rotary waltz technique and a couple of moves (underarm turns and canter pivots).

My Mask I even got some good artsy-craftsy time in. Quena led a mask-making workshop, and we made some fun masks for the New Year's Eve party. I was quite proud of mine. It's cut out of a large manila folder, with a collage of cut-up origami paper on it. The paper had a fade-out on the colors, which added a little extra dimension to it.

Bob Reid's concert was a high point as usual. He jokes that he doesn't actually get any kids at the kids concert anymore, but he does. There are just a lot of us 20-somethings mixed in there as well. Some of those songs will never stop being wonderful, or bringing the occasional tear to my eye or grin to my face. Lacey and I came up with a new verse for the Foolish Questions song as well, which we wrote entirely on the walk between the dining hall and the concert, and Bob let me sing it for everyone at the end of the song.

The New Year's Eve celebration was exactly the way it always should be, though we cut it closer than ever, running in from the dance hall at the 12 second mark in the countdown. Singing with and hugging so many of your best friends and family is the best way to start a year, I think. And then a good two or three hours of waltzing, of course. We drew Angel Cards that night, rather than waiting until morning. Mine is especially appropriate for the way this year looks like it will unfold: Adventure.

On New Year's Day, after leaving camp, Lacey and I came back to my apartment and invited along Quena, Cass, Jonathan, and Antonia. We called Mom and Rowyn and had them come over to join us, making 8, which about maxes out the chairs here (including piano bench, though there was still the couch, I guess). Then we improvised a tea party with various snacks Rowyn and I had left over from different parties, gingerbread Antonia had made, a gingerbread house Quena had made, a bit of stuff we brought from camp, and of course, tea (I at least had plenty of that). This was a very satisfying way to end camp, easing the transition much better than a cold, empty apartment. It was still a bit of a wrench to go to work the very next day, but at least I was in good shape for it.

Happy New Year!