Death and car notes.
August 7th 2013
24 weeks pregnant.
We are all going to die someday. And while death isn’t the easiest thing to accept, I’ve learned the hard way that it is much easier for surviving family members/friends if you’ve made some preparations. For this very reason, I spent the day following my 34th birthday meeting with a dear friend of mine who happens to be an estate planning attorney. Laura met with Andy, Lee Kyle and me to discuss our needs concerning each of us developing a Living Will and Power of Attorney. Having lived through the death of both my parents and my brother, I am well aware that although it may be uncomfortable to discuss these matters, it is something that is necessary, and even more so if you have children. The lunch went really well and Laura was completely patient and thorough in answering all of our questions. Andy and I had a lot more experience with these matters than Lee Kyle, since he had helped me immensely with my father over the last year of his life. Oddly enough, considering my own death doesn’t entirely bum me out. I just hope that when I go, it’s quick and painless and I leave my loved ones in a decent situation. Lee Kyle had a lot of questions and I know he was easily the most uncomfortable, but he handled it beautifully. Having Wilder’s name picked out and taking care of that paperwork has given me a lot of relief.
Andy and I spent the rest of my post-birthday afternoon off at the bank opening up a joint account. This is the first time in my life that I have shared an account with a lover. Although we have spent nearly a decade together, in some respect, we have never combined our finances. We lead very separate lives in many ways. With the purchase of the house, though, we decided it would be nice to have an account for household expenses. We are such fucking grown-ups that it often blows my mind. I can remember when I used to give him hand jobs in lower Decatur Street bars, and now we are opening up a joint account, in a real bank. Times have certainly changed. Not that I still wouldn’t give him a handy. But he could now reciprocate his affection by transferring funds into our joint account, Real Housewives of New Orleans style.
In other “we are trying to become responsible parents” news, we made the decision to test drive a few cars in an effort to determine if we can agree on something that would be worth purchasing. The poor Malibu needed to go. I shouldn’t complain much about that car, seeing that it was given to me by my father when he was no longer able to drive. I explained to Andy that purchasing a new car brings me a lot of anxiety, because I’ve never owned anything entirely new. Every car that I have driven in the past was given to me, and I never really picked any of them out. The pressure to choose a vehicle that not only is practical but that I won’t detest driving is somewhat overwhelming. After internet research and phone calls to trusted car-owning friends, we narrowed it down to the Toyota Rav 4, Mazda Cx5 and the Subaru Crosstrek.
On Friday afternoon we started at the Toyota dealership since Andy has owed his Tacoma for almost two years and he absolutely loves it. The Rav 4 was nice enough, although immediately out of my desired price range when looking at the sticker number. A salesman quickly found us and assured me that he could get me into a Rav 4 for the price I wanted. We test drove an LE model and I was surprised at how well it handled. I wasn’t a huge fan of the audio display with backup camera or the design of the dashboard, but all in all it appeared to be a good vehicle. The turning radius is impressive. It comes with a lot of women-driver amenities that I wasn’t too interested in. Of course they really tried to get us to purchase one that day, but I’m a hard sell. There was no way that I was going to purchase a car without at least test driving a few options. I went to the Mazda dealership alone. I didn’t test drive the Cx5 because it would have required way too much of a time investment. The vehicle was clearly designed well but has a new type of engine, “Skyactiv,” that I wasn’t interested in owning. Call me a Luddite, but I’d rather have something that is tried and true and not working the kinks out. Also I inherited my mother’s Mazda Tribute when she died, and while it was a good car in the beginning, it completely fell apart at the end, needing a new transmission (which is why I no longer have it). This experience with the brand left a bad taste in my mouth that all the newest design and technology couldn’t erase.
Saturday left only one more dealership to visit before feeling that I could make an informed decision. I had spent some time looking at the models that Subaru offers and decided to test drive not only the Crosstrek but also the Forester and the Outback. Our experience at this dealership was starkly different from the other two. The salesman was completely laid back and accommodating. I drove the Crosstrek first. It was extremely similar to the Rav 4 except that I preferred the interior design of the Subaru much more. It handled well and was fun to drive. Our escort was very quiet for the test drive, which I appreciated. The Toyota salesman had continually explained features and commented on the handling, so that I had little chance to discuss anything with Andy. My only issue with the Crosstrek was that I didn’t feel the visibility was fantastic. We drove the Forester next, which has the best visibility I’ve ever experienced. I felt like we were in the glass elevator from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It handled well, but there was an immediate noticeable lag when letting off the accelerator. As minute as this may sound, I could easily imagine that driving me crazy while in slow-moving traffic. To Andy’s chagrin, I had decided that I liked the Crosstrek better. Our final test drive was alone (they totally trusted us by then) in a 2013 Outback. It was love at first drive. I hadn’t really considered the Outback because I was under the impression that I couldn’t afford it, but after inquiring, I found the base models fit into my desired price range. Of the three Subaru’s the Outback had the smoothest ride and felt like the perfect cross between a car and an SUV. After we both drove it, we decided to see what their inventory included in this model. I insisted on only purchasing a car with dark interior since we will soon have Wilder. Kids and light interior do not go well together. The salesman found a base model in my desired color (graphite grey) in Montgomery, Alabama. He made a few calls and said he could have it to New Orleans within the next few days, with no obligation for us to buy. We told him to go ahead and bring it down. After going through some basic paperwork, which assured I would be approved for financing, we left the dealership feeling satisfied and excited about the arrival of the car.
Amanda came over and helped me to organize my closet, which it desperately needed. Thanks to her tireless efforts and motivation, I only have about 4 boxes left to unpack. Andy, on the other hand has many left to organize. Baby steps. We spent the remainder of the weekend catching up on basic housework and relaxing. On Sunday, our friend Matt emailed over a copy of the flyer he is designing for the baby shower. We are going with a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory theme. I always ask Matt to design the flyers for any of my parties or functions because he is fucking amazing. The baby shower flyer was no exception and I hurriedly sent it over to Lee Kyle for his comments/approval. The original design included Clint on the front, but Lee Kyle texted me and asked that I remove Clint’s photo. Generally things like this wouldn’t really bother me, but I found myself feeling frustrated for a good half hour. I wanted to text back “It’s just a fucking flyer; tell him to get over it,” but the rational part of me knows that I need to respect Clint’s boundaries and try to be empathetic to his situation. I emailed Matt back and he was easily able to change the design, and it still looks just as fantastic as before. We are having our shower at Siberia Bar on Saturday September 7th from 2 pm till 5 pm. There will be a shot called “Cabbage Water” and maybe I feel just a little bit lucky I won’t be drinking it. Our registry is on amazon.com under the name Lori Tipton http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/baby/3CNSL0ASHDTEO I am super excited to be celebrating with our friends, it will be like old times except I’ll be sober. If I don’t have your mailing address and you want one of these fantastic invites, please email me.
Flyer by Matt Phelan
It appears that a portion of hell may have actually frozen over because there is talk that my employer is going to start offering health insurance. I highly considered actually dancing a fucking gig when I heard this news. As you may remember, my current insurance does not pay for any of my labor and delivery hospital costs, and after speaking with other recent moms, that bill could be anywhere between $8,000 and $12,000. The new group policy, if instated, will cover labor and delivery after the deductible is met. Holy motherfucking shit! Fingers crossed everyone. Money saved on health insurance and health care costs will be fantastic because we decided to buy the Outback. We picked it up today and so far I absolutely adore it. No more fearing for my life on the commute to and from work! It’s a brand new day.