After living here for a year, we decided to get our Land Cruiser running again. It served us so well in Africa. When we got here the battery was dead. I spent many hours trying to figure out where and how to get a new one and get the car insured and registered. It requires tons of paperwork. "Bureaucracy demands it!" Then there's the issue of insane Moscow traffic with gridlock and confusing road signs and roads. Occasionally a friend who has a car would take us to the bigger super markets or Ikea. Otherwise, walking and the metro suited us just fine. Especially when it's -7 degrees Celcius and there is hazardous ice and snow on the ground.
But there are some occasions where a car would be great to have. The battery ("accumulator") took 4 days to get. First it took 20 questions with 20 phone calls: dimensions in metric, how many Am's, plates, cold cranks, filter sizes, fluid volumes in ml... Then they search for parts. How to get it? I ended up paying them 200 rubles ($6) to deliver. And finally! Instant start after a year in hibernation!
But now there is still the issue of insurance and registration. The car needs to be inspected which means driving it to a mechanic. To do this though, you are driving it without a registration. You cannot insure the vehicle here until you have registration - so you're driving it without both registration and insurance. It must be perfectly washed inside and out for the inspection and it has to have a fire extinguisher and road side orange triangle and flares. These can only be bought at certain store locations which require someone with a car to take you there or a very long metro ride with multiple line changes.
On Wednesday I have an appointment for my inspection. Our friends had trouble because their tinted windows were "too dark" and they were told on inspection that they would need to replace all the windows. But a few extra rubles took care of that. Another friend had a blown engine replaced in another country before arriving here and the VIN# didn't match the engine block. It will be interesting to see how the Land Cruiser fares.
When I wear these with my Levi's, they really help me embrace the northern-California-white-trash aspects of my personality and there is no doubt I really like Lynerd Skynard. They are Timberland for god's sake. What convinced me to buy these was that the sales woman was wearing them, and she wore them all over super-snowy Portland last year and they looked fabulous and they are suade. The more worn out, the better they look. I can't wait until mine all are distressed by the the snow, ice and salt of Moscow. Really resisting buying them in black too.
Softer than expensive sheets from France, than any 600 thread count thingie I've ever tried or wanted to try. Bamboo jersey sheets from Target. Oh my god. Unnnhhhnnng. For $50. Unbelieveable.
"Can you please stop reading to me?!" I find myself saying to Stefan. I'm probably the last person to get on this band-wagon, and I don't appreciate the smart alec aspect, but whatever it takes: Stefan is reading fiction non-stop.
Other things I bought two of: Erath Vinyards Pinot Noir from Oregon. I'm hoping the high-end screw cap makes it home in the luggage without exploding like a corked bottle would. Orbit gum, sweet mint flavor, just mentioning it makes me have to go find some right now, it's addicting.
Woke up on Reed College Place, in the house we woke up in for four years. You can go home again, but it's really wierd: you won't remember where any of the light switches are.
Then I watched Stefan roll down the steep driveway on a skateboard, the whole time he wore a ski mask.
My mom called me and we talked on the phone for an hour, she gushed about David Cook, "He's talking about his dog!" she tells me. He was on the teevee twice today, he should be on tv twice everyday. In fact, he should just take over tv. He so wants to.
Then Camille, Stefan-still wearing the ski mask--and I hit the best Goodwill in the world, the one on Grand Ave. Stefan was hoping to find Pokemon cards, and indeed, found an entire collection of them. The partial reinforcement schedule dopamine hit he got from that find assures me that he is now a thrift store shopper for LIFE. Goodwill is my happy place, or one of them anyway, and today I was in there poking through the books while talking to Peter-in-Moscow-loopy-with-jet-lag. We discussed his length--of pants! Bought piles of books, cool clothes an old postcard of Crater Lake and Bauer bowl.
In Oregon cherries are such a bumper crop this year they are literally giving them away; they are glorious.
Peet's coffee for tea, Imelda's on Hawthorne for new boots. *swoon*
Then out to dinner with Peter's nephew Peter with his documentary-film-maker sweetheart. So how boring was it to discuss the creative process over pizza and wine? Yeah, right.
Now back at 6225 RCP, wandering around the house, drinking wine, eating cherries, listening to crickets, incredible moon outside one of my favorite windows ever, looking for light switches.
This story has a better ending than the Lake Tahoe baby bat we found impaled on our car antennae. In Davis, Philippe and Stefan were playing basketball and after making five or ten baskets, discovered that the thing clinging for its tiny dear life in the net was a baby hummingbird. Mike and Tanya spent half the day driving the bird to a rescue center where they fed it with the teeniest eye-dropper imaginable and workers there said they thought the hummingbird would be fine.