What Do You Think?


1. My daughter told me that my new car looks like a Storm Trooper. My sister told me it looks like a bullet. What do you think?

2. I’m trying to ignore it but now that I see it from a semi-aerial viewpoint, the 7 foot long x 3 foot deep trench between the oak trees that I raised from little acorns are doomed to die. What do you think?

3. It’s only one day plus one month until the first day of spring. I would like to know what’s taking so long for the stores to put out their flower pots and other happy hour patio accouterments already. What do you think?

4. This is the chair I’m going to put on my happy hour patio. I’m considering all colors except white and dark brown. I’m not sure I have the nerve to go with the impractical-for-the-future but oh-so-appealing red one. Or maybe the yellow one. No – red. Definitely red. Or yellow. What do you think?


Remember that orange car that I was so hell-bent on buying? Well, I finally bought it only it’s a white one. Whatevs! I am greatly pleased with it. It’s comfortable, it’s pretty, it sparkles in the sun and I can heat my ass up while I drove around.

Things have gotten off to kind of a bad start, though. First, when I walked up to meet it, it had pinstripes applied to it. Pinstripes! That is such a big no to me that the salesman himself got up from his desk to remove them because he thought I might actually have a stroke. It snowed the night I brought it home and the next day, Sami and I were squabbling about what to do with the 8″ of snow covering it in the driveway ( him: use the filthy garage pushbroom to sweep it off; me: just let it sit there until it melts lest it get scratched up on Day 1) and I almost won when we looked out the window to see our helpful neighbors blowing the driveway and using their own brooms to clean off the car.

Those are single occurances, though and you cant change the past so no use fretting over them. There’s one more troublesome thing that happened and I hope to God that it’s not the beginning of a trend. It is this: the next day, we were driving along a wooded section of Route 80 in PA and without warning, a big red tailed hawk flapped up from the side of the road and flew straight for my car.

Fullscreen capture 2132013 42628 PM

I thought for sure it was going to smack right into me but it’s trajectory was the few inches above my car that it needed to be. It was weird – I never saw one that close before. It was like a feathery artillery shell headed whizzing past me. I was doing about 75 and he was flying fast enough to go from ground launch to right past me sideways in the space of a split second.

Here’s the thing: remember that one summer where birds kept trying to commit suicide by flying in front of my car? I missed most of them but one unfortunate pigeon succeeded with a grand thump against my grill and then took his final ride on my front bumper, the wind lifting his lifeless wing up when the car was in motion and letting it fall when we were stopped. The thing is that that car was white, too.

Do birds have some kind of fatal attraction that compels them to fling themselves at their own peril towards white cars? Does this happen with all white cars? Does it happen to you? Is it going to keep happening to me? Do pinstripes scare aware birds? I don’t mind taking out a sparrow or a robin once in a while but if it’s going to be hawks,then were going to have some big messes all over my pretty sparkly car.

Soup Chat. Any Chat Except Disaster Chat.

I’ve caught a few glances of TV ads for something quite intriguing: Progresso Light Chicken Pot Pie  Soup 100 Calories Per Serving. So many words that don’t belong together in that sentence. Historically, I’ve been Team Campbell’s all the way but I do like a good pot pie. However, I am afraid that this will be nothing but some anemic chicken chunks floating around in a milk-like liquid. People who are attracted to chicken pot pies are not necessarily interested in 100-calorie serving sizes.  They’ve also got a Light Creamy Potato with Bacon & Cheese Soup 100 Calories Per Serving. Now you tell me.

[Okay. A little disaster chat. But it’s new disaster chat, meaning the new nor’easter disaster, not the old hurricane disaster or the older creek running through my basement disaster, or the older yet bullet in the wall of my childhood home. I suppose I didn’t mention that last one to you before. Sorry – it got pushed down the list as each new disaster burst onto the scene.]

Hurricane/Nor’easter update:  Day 12 without electricity. Fortunately, the area where my son lives went back on the grid. Here’s a joke:  so we relocated there just in time for a nor’easter to knock a tree down on top of my car. Here’s the punch line: all tree services are still busy with hurricane cleanup.  It’s 3 week wait.

If I had an orange car, you’d be able to spot it here more quickly.

UPDATE: the Homeowner’s Assn landscaping crew came around and freed my car from its bancheous prison. Don’t feel sorry for me – feel sorry for the tree. That thing was a double flowering crab apple and it was magnificent.

What It’s Like To Be OnThe Frontlines Of The Real War On Women

I am off work this week trying to throw money at car salesmen and they in turn are trying to downsell me.

Incident 1. You already heard that when I was trying to buy a car with a built-in navigator, the Hyundai salesman asked me why don’t I just use a Garmin? value: $2,700 msrp (It’s more than a navigator – it’s bluetooth for my phone and a back-up camera and a music identifier and I want what I goddamn want, ok?)

Incident 2
. I went to a different Hyundai dealership and the salesman there also tried the Garmin line PLUS asked me if I thought that I really really needed all-wheel drive. value: $1,750 msrp PLUS he told me that I would be more visible to the police if I insisted on an orange car. Hello? It’s my own little personal red hat thing, junior. (When I am an old woman, I shall wear highlights #12 and lowlights #7 with an orange car that doesn’t suit me and I shall spend my pension on gin and orchid corsages.)

Incident 3.
Today I went to verify that I love the 2013 Nissan Rogue which I got to know as a rental on two long business trips. The salesman thought I’d save a lot of money if I bought the 2012 because it as essentially unchanged. I told him no, so he went to retrieve the car I asked for so I could try out the equipment I wanted and he brought back a 2012 for me to test drive. value: undetermined I didn’t stay to hash it out because I had to leave when he referred to my fatness. (Yes he did.) ( The one absolutely unlivable thing about the Rogue is that it has crappy fabric like a  reusable grocery bag on the door handles and console cover when I was explaining that my current car has that and its a problem with hand prints and wear, he said something like  “Larger people like you and me have special problems and we need a lot of room to maneuver around.” Dude, I might be fat but I’m not so fat that I rub the fabric off of car doors.)

So there we have it. I have money (cash money) that I am just dying to throw at a car salesman and apparently I am so stupid, uninformed and/or hideous that they can’t bring themselves to take it from me.

Gong Show

Notice: Capitalist Elite People’s problem ahead

get it on

Last night, I went to check out the orange car I have been dreaming about getting. Let me say right up front that the place had a big gong on a stand and somebody got to bang it while I was there, so that was pretty cool. Really. It was. Also, the dealership was right next to the new Dress Boutique location. sigh

But other than that, the whole excursion was a disappointment*. I was obviously too early. The 2013 models arrived just this week and the salespeople didn’t know a thing about them. I was obviously the first one to test drive it. Plus, they had no brochures yet so they couldn’t answer my main questions.

Here’s my list of must haves:

  • in-dash navigation
  • auto-dimming mirror

Here’s my list of absolute no-nos:

  • leather seats

Anything else I could take it or leave it. Sure 12-speaker surround sound would be nice but I won’t wither without it. Panoramic sun roof? I have a sun roof in my current car and you know what happens when I open it? THE SUN SHINES RIGHT ON ME. Ew. So I never open it. Heated steering wheel? Heated seats? Never gonna use them. When will they offer cooling seats? That I might invest in.

Now I think that we’re all pretty much resigned to the idea of packages – bundling of features that you have to buy in in order to get the thing you really want. But here’s a new twist: for this car if you want the package that has the navigation in it, you are required to get the package that has the leather seats. Is that bullshit or what? And there’s no getting around it.

So my main question was: if I get the model with cloth seats, can you install the navigation into that one? Answer: yes. Well, I don’t know. Maybe. Probably. We have to check. Then the floor manager had to get involved and suggest that I get a just go out and get a Garmin Nuvi for myself instead.


[Okay. Let’s pause here to ponder the personal journey of Suzette. I always believed the folk tale that car salesmen were slick and too skilled in manipulation for you to get anything except what they want to sell you. Top that off with the patriarchal bullshit that women are sitting ducks for extra charges of because they are car-dumb so don’t even try it, lady. Turns out that’s not true. I wasn’t even trying to match wits with them. I was only going to nail down the model and features I wanted and to make sure I like the shade of orange. Once that was done I’d go home and I’d send in Mr. Born In The Shadow of The Khan Kalili And I Don’t Mind Keeping You Here Haggling For Five Days to talk money.

Now in all honesty, I’m not much to look at. On a good day you might say that I upgraded my look to “unassuming”. I came wobbling in with my cane, didn’t even have my giant-but-believable QVC diamonique ring which I sometimes wear to quietly intimidate people and I wasn’t wearing any make-up. So I guess I came across as the type of person who doesn’t understand the difference between a built-in 8″ touch screen and the must-have Walmart bestseller of 2004. Maybe I brought it on myself. After all, I willingly appeared to be mildly astonished as the salesman explained how I could hook up an iPod to “play my favorite music anytime I wanted to hear it” but this was too much. 

In a not-unpleasant way, I let them know did my field research on countless rental cars so I knew exactly what I wanted. I didn’t really want to burn let alone scorch anything so I stopped there but I can’t help it if my natural expression is the Unblinking Lithuanian Stare-Down.  Hell, THEY should have been wearing makeup to see ME. In the end, I gave them two action items and a target date to get back to me. BOOM. How you like me now?]

The salesman went out to check the price of an after-market navigator and the manager came back with an option for a fancy oversized rear view mirror that had a navigator on 1/3 of the mirror. Like ok, if you go to a restaurant and ask for Chateaubiand and the chef comes out of the kitchen to say they don’t have it but here’s a nice meatball – that the same thing, right?

In the end, the price of an added navigator – if they could even do it – came back to be more than the on-line MSRP of all the packages together. I do not have total confidence in the competency of that sales team. Maybe they were just tired and didn’t really need my business. Next time, I’m going to a different dealership early in the day. And I’m going to wear the ring.

* Not really. I was thrilled by the tight little turning radius. That is a thing that’s very important to me because I don’t like to back up** unless I really have to so I do A LOT of tight turns. And curb jumps. Whatever. At least I’m not backing up.

** or turn left. I do it if I have to but I try to arrange things so that I don’t have to. It’s just how I am.

Also, the orange color turns out to be Copper Canyon. And it is the dullest, most sedate orange that you can get and still be orange.