Monthly Archives: October 2014

Car rental weekend: Pumpkin farm, bike race

We do drive cars sometimes. This weekend was one of those times. Friday night, Erik and I were chatting about the next few days and realized we had some places to go. Places that might not be a breeze via bike and public transit, or at least not in the timeframe that was shaping up. So I hopped on Priceline and found us a Chevy Impala for, well, not the best daily price we’ve ever gotten, but not a terrible price either.

Saturday afternoon we drove to Alameda Point to show some friends our new favorite hangout, Rock Wall Winery, and pick up a couple of cases (since we had a car with a huge trunk and all). The kids commenced acting like jerks the moment they were strapped into the back seat. There was hitting and spitting. I reminded them countless times that the main reason we had a car today was to take them to a pumpkin patch after this. So many shits were not given by them. All of them, in truth. All shits were retained.

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Despite their crappy behavior in the car and at the winery, we still drove to a pumpkin patch afterwards. This is a downside of relying on rentals when you need a car: We couldn’t really say, “We’re not going to the pumpkin patch because you guys have been acting like jerks,” because we didn’t want to rent another car on another day to go instead. We wanted to get our rental money’s worth. So we went. Sunday morning bright and early, we were back in the car, headed to the Presidio, where I was going to observe and write about the Disaster Relief Trials, a race that demonstrates how very useful cargo bikes can be after that big diasaster that we all know is going to happen here sooner or later. (Later, please.) As we drove in, I lowered the windows despite the fog and breathed deeply to get that cough-drop flavor of all those eucalyptus trees. While I was using the car to chase bicyclists all over town, Erik and the kids checked out the newly-restored Officer’s Club, which has a cool little museum and a kids’ craft area where the kids made their very own adobe bricks. The O club might just be the oldest building in San Francisco. Then they walked to two different playgrounds and met up with some friends who live nearby.

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On the way home, we wanted to hit up El Faro in Fruitvale for dinner, but both our cell phones had run out of battery and we couldn’t find it without GPS. We were within a block of it at one point and didn’t see it. I wanted to ask some guys standing on the corner for directions, but Erik refused just because they were counting a big pile of cash. Who says drug dealers don’t know where the burrito store is? Usually we would rent a car for just the weekend, but since one of us had a work-related trip to make on Tuesday, we held onto it. I was really busy Monday, but I squeezed in a big grocery trip to make use of the Impala’s roomy trunk. We’ll return it tomorrow morning. It cost us nearly $200 this time, but since two of the days we used it were work-related, we can deduct that from our taxes. As always, I’m happy to be able to say goodbye to the car without having to clean it, change its oil or do any maintenance.

Car-Free day off

There was no school Monday, because of Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples Day, or Syphilis Day, or what have you. So the kids and I joined Car-Free Dad for his ferry ride into San Francisco.

Erik usually leaves on his bike about 30 minutes before the ferry pulls out, but Toth is still a pretty slow rider on his tiny little bike, so we left the house by 7:30 for the 8:30 ferry. The morning ride across the bridge to Bay Farm Island, then along the bay trail, was divine. We watched egrets picking in the mud along the shore, and passed by the Harbor Bay Club were the kids were amazed to see people swimming laps in the chill morning. We got to the ferry in plenty of time and locked up my bike and the kids’, because we wouldn’t be using them in San Francisco.

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Writing about the car-free life elsewhere

Today I want to share a couple of blog posts I wrote elsewhere about our car-free life:

How the Car We Never Bought Changed My Life

I was thrilled to share this story via Citi’s Women & Co. because I think it is the smartest financial move that we never planned to make. Our story shows not only what you can achieve if you consider a temporary stretch of going without a car, but also how much less stressful financial setbacks can be if you don’t have a car payment. Continue reading

I don’t have a car and I need to go somewhere tomorrow

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Most days, not owning a car makes my life more relaxed. I hear other parents at school drop-off fret about taking a car in for an oil change or repairs, and think, “That’s one thing I don’t have to squeeze in today.”

But tomorrow, I have to go somewhere that’s more than 5 miles from my house. This is when not owning a car causes me a little extra work. I have to plan it. Continue reading

Walk & Roll to School: Fun or a drag?

This morning I allowed myself to get roped into volunteering for this year’s Walk & Roll to School Day. As a Bad Attitude Mom, in general I am unenthused about school events. I like dropping my kids off and then getting to work at home. I like letting them play at the playground while I sit on a bench reading. I do not love events that require me to put in any effort, and I hate events that require me to attend meetings.

Luckily, this volunteer gig did not involve a meeting, just showing up a little early for drop-off, so fine. The mom organizing it at school is a fitness blogger who I admire. But I must admit, I have a hard time getting the kids excited about this event. OK, I’ll admit it, I don’t even try. Continue reading