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Looking at a Jetta

I spent a lot of my weekend looking at potential cars to repalce my Miata with.  I literally probably looked at hundreds of cars, listings and dealer websites in this area.  I found two Jettas that I really liked which are at a dealer, and several that looked/sounded ok from the ad that were for sale privately.  I am going to look at the better priced Jetta on Monday and see if it is as nice as the pictures and ad say it is.  If it is, I am going to see if they will let me take it home overnight and have it looked at by a local mechanic, since its used.  Hopefully I’ll be taking it home tonight and straight to a shop to be checked out.  If everything is good, I may have found my car!  It is super nice in the ad, the pictures look great, and its the highest end model they made in that year, has all the safety features and leather with tinted windows… I can’t wait to check it out in person.

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The voice of practicality

Its taken me a while to get here, but I have something to admit.  It saddens me to say this, and I can’t believe I’m actually thinking about this.  Its like the voice of reason or practicality has broken thorugh my mentality about owning a 2 seater sports car in a family of 5.  Yes, you got it, I am thinking of selling my Miata and getting a more “family” oriented car.  I am NOT selling my Miata because I don’t like it, or I think there is anything bad about owning one, even in my family situation.  I just think it would be much more practical and convenient to have a 4 door family car.  I am definately going to miss the fun “zoom zoom” my Miata brought into my life.  Liz and I will both miss driving it, going on dates together in it, and all the other fun things we experienced with it. 

A few people who know me, know that I’ve had over 15 different vehicles in the last 12 years.  So I have a bit of a record of not sticking with something for long.  I assure you its not one of those “get a different car” itches.  The plan right now is to get something more comfortable for the family, something we can all fit in and go on a short trip without having to take the van.  It will be more economical, more practical, and will simply fit our family circumstances better than owning a 2 seater convertible. 

One day, when the kids are older, I will definately get another Miata, its just too much fun not to.  And for the people who scorn the Miata or men who drive them, all I can say is you must have never driven one.  Or at least never ridden in one with a driver who can handle the abilities of the car.  As for me, I’m sadly parting with my Miata, but will one day be driving one again. 

**UPDATE**

I was talking to my wife about cars and options for replacing the Miata.  My youngest daughter Abby said “Why does he want to get rid of it…I like the Miata”.  It breaks the heart!

Radiator install complete

On the way home Friday evening, I stopped by the local Advance Auto store and picked up some anti-freeze fluid for my new radiator.  I was also going to get new radiator hoses, but they don’t carry the hoses I would need for my Miata.  So I just got some shop towels and the anti-freeze.  Then I ran to sweetbay and picked up some distilled water to mix with the anti-freeze. 

When I got home, I got started right away on my task of replacing my radiator.  It took me a while to get started, as I was trying to figure out how to get access to everything I needed to get to.  At one point I thought I’d have to take off the cover under the engine compartment to get to the bottom of the radiator, but fortunatly I managed to give up on that and was able to do my job without having to remove the cover.  Getting the old radiator out took me the longest time, as I had some trouble with the lower hose which seemed stuck.  I finally got all the hoses and bolts and connections off the old radiator and pulled it out.  I installed the fans on the new radiator and then dropped it in fairly easily.  Then re-connecting a few hoses and wires and I was off and running.  I ended up doing a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water, but only by accident.  I read online that the miata radiator takes 6.7L of liquid, so I got three gallons of distilled water and a single gallon of anti-freeze.  I got way too much fluid and ended up not even using a whole gallon of each type of liquid. 

I took the car out for a spin and made sure there were no flow problems or overheating issues.  Everything works great and it was a much easier job than I thought it would be. 

New Radiator – same day!

I received my new radiator from radiators.com within 2 hours of me ordering it this morning.  I will be picking up some distilled water, anti-freeze and hoses tonight and begin the transplant procedure.  I hope the patient survives the surgery, I hear the surgeon isn’t that good.

My Miata is home sick today

Last night my Miata came down with a fever and a runny nose.  I pulled into the garage to find my temperature gauge all the way to the H and white steam was starting to roll out from the engine compartment.  I immediately checked it out and found a crack in the top of my Radiator.  It was spraying out white steam from the top of the radiator. 

Since my baby was sick, I had to take Sarah to school in the van and then drive the van to work right from her school.  I was only a little late for work which wasn’t too bad. 

I checked around online for some prices for a replacement radiator and found a website radiator.com which I used to contact them about a radiator for my Miata.  They are a direct to consumer distributor, and have price matching and guaranteed lowest prices which was good.  I ended up getting a new radiator, with a lifetime warranty for my Miata for $169 with free same day delivery to my home. 

The miata.net forums have a good garage section with a guide showing step by step how to replace the radiator on your own.  So I will save a little money by doing the replacement myself.  On the way home I have to stop by an auto parts store and pickup some radiator fluid and hoses, but most likely I’ll have it all done tonight or at the latest sometime tomorrow.  I really hope I can get it fixed tonight, because Liz and I are going on a date tomorrow night to celebrate our 9th anniversary.

Stressful Sunday

We had a bit of a crazy time this past sunday. Liz slammed the Miata car door on Abby’s fingers, so we were taking care of her, and during this whole ordeal, Michael went into the kitchen and opened the oven door and burned his little finter tips. Neither of the incidents were bad, they were fine in a few minutes, but it was enough to make the stress levels rise. Plus I hate seeing my “babies” hurting.

Miata's are awesome

I love my Miata. I have had very little negativity as a result of driving it, but I did recently get a “its a girly car” or its “a gay car”. In response to this, I put together a short list of links and quotes from people who would know best….Miata owners. People shouldn’t talk down about what they have no clue about. The quotes below are taken from the Miata.net forums…

“I think the Miata is just about the best kept automotive secret for those who are not car nuts, but a car guy (or gal of course) knows what a Miata is and what it can do, it’s no secret to them.”

“I’d rather have a car that attracts women more than men (not that there’s anything wrong with that ).”

To quote Louis Armstrong, ” If you have to ask what Jazz is, you’ll never know””

http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0e614c
http://www.miata.net/motm/2003/PFN.html
http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=250985&highlight=girly
http://www.miata.net/misc/girlscar.html




I’ve had girls shout their phone numbers to me …my girlfriend didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did though.

I have had this car for 7 years and absolutely love it! The car is nimble and incredibly responsive-the car takes curves wonderfully. The top is easy to lower – I have taken the top down while sitting at a long red light. Unlatch and drop it behind you. The gas mileage is good. I get up to 33 mph on highway driving. It is a roadster and sounds/feels like one. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, no frills car that is intended for driving enjoyment. When I bought it, the differences between the Miata and the (then) Z3 didn’t justify the $18K difference in price. I am glad I went with the Miata. Fully loaded with all options it was only $24K,

Miata is the most popular sports car in the world with well over 750,000 built to date. What if Mazda had successfully marketed it as a “guy’s car?” Probably would have stopped being built in the mid ’90s and Mazda would no longer exist….

“I have had a lot of friends make fun of the Miata. You know, the whole “it’s a girl’s car” and “gay guys drive them”. A lot of them said that until they rode in it and nearly pissed on them selves. I have thought about it and I have come to a conclusion. My car is black. So, I don’t think that it really falls into either category. The color has a lot to do with the girl or gay appeal. That is just my opinions. But, as you all know. Those are like butt holes everyone has one.”

“Heck, I’ll try to talk anyone into buying one given half a chance. “Oh, man, I LOVE this car! The tight handling, the chunky shifter, the size, the proximity to the ground making you feel like you’re going fast even when you’re not, so you don’t feel tempted to get a ticket – what’s not to love?” Then I get to tell them what a practically new-looking ’97 like mine is going for. (But wait, that doesn’t add to my cachet, does it?) ”

“I never turned a basher to a fan, but I did make some shut up. It was early morning and some of my family car lovers and I were headed out to a classic car show. Well my uncles and cousins have either classic muscle or new, as do I but its in the middle of restoration and not drivable, are all ready to go on our little tour to the show. We always take the back way to miss all the traffic, and have a little fun on the way there. I showed up in my Miata and was ready to go. I get there and get knocked a little for ruining the V8 line. But especially knocked by one of my cousins in a late 90s Z28. On the way there I figured I’d give him a run for his money. I told him to just keep up as the roads are pretty curvy. For most of the trip I sat on my uncles bumper, then at one point I slowed down. well my cousin was ready to go, revving his engine and popping the clutch. So after there was some distance between the front of the group I punched it. I tore through the curves like nuts and watched my cousin disappeared behind me until I caught up to everyone else. He never knocked it again. ”

“I was amazed when I bought my 99 NB by how sleek and attractive the car was and how nice the interior design had become. Not to mention the way it drove – and now with power mods done such as exhaust, CAI, and some other goodies (and working on piecing together a DIY turbo kit) I couldn’t be happier! Now I know to never bash cars without checking out what they can become, not what they are.”

“1 convert to date. Made fun of the car, said they were under powered and lame, I asked him if he’d ever driven one, and the reply was “No.” He then joined me in a car pool of friends driving back to Ohio from North Carolina. I drove the first two hours, then handed him the keys and told him whenever he wanted to switch, let me know. I ended up riding in another friend’s car for the rest of the trip while he drove it, and another girl who wanted to ride in it asked me if she could, so we switched spots.

The next day he asked me to drive it around again, and then started talking about his plans to buy one.”

“Two people come to mind. First, I took a kid with an EG civic with a B20 non vtec in it and took him on a nice easy drive down a twisty road. It was the last time I heard him ask ‘why would you want a Miata?’ ever again.

Secondly, several friends of mine and I autocross and both of them have Trans Am WS6’s. This past weekend, I went to an autocross school and the autocross that followed it. I made good use of the braking and turning exercises, and beat both of them by a fair margin(1 and 3 seconds on an average 55 second course.) They both promptly clammed up, and I haven’t heard either of them mention buying a ‘real’ car all week.”

“I have had numerous friends laugh at my “girly” convertible. Once I take the onramp at 70 mph and have to slow down to merge, though, the ribbing stops. Then after their first time behind the wheel, they keep coming back for more. It’s an addiction”

“Let your car explain it for you – have them drive it.

I have friends that still talk about having driven mine in 1991. I have a friend who restores muscle cars, vintage-races a 200 mph former NASCAR Busch Cup car, and considers 300 hp “almost adequate for a street car,” who drove mine a few times and consequently just bought a ’92 Miata. (He drives the Miata more often than the ’04 Mach 1 lately and calls me to tell me “I found this great road on the way home today.”)

I’ve probably let 75 people drive mine, including friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers who simply ask me about the car. “Here, why don’t you drive it and see for yourself.” I’ve taught probably 20 people to drive a clutch in my car (including my 11-year-old son.) Nobody has ever gotten out of the driver’s seat without a big ol’ smile.”

“I have been driving for 30 years and have never been interested in cars.
They were “transportation” from point A to B, and expensive to boot. In the fall of 1999 one of my co-workers wanted to show me his new-to-him 1996 Montego blue Miata. So one day at lunch I took a look, and then he took me for a drive around town…..3 days later I bought a 93 that I continually upgrade; new top, engine stuff, custom paint, etc. I still can’t explain it, but I will have this car the rest of my life ”

“As soon as I got past the “Miata’s are for chicks” thing, and learned about Mazda’s passion for good sports cars (and the rotary engine – which I know the Miata doesn’t have) all that bias lifted away and now I can’t wait for someone to buy my car so I can move on.”

That’s all I have to say about that…

Labor Day Weekend Summary

What a fast weekend! Friday afternoon Liz and I spent most of the time on our computers working on stuff. So we didn’t do much of anything exciting then. One exciting thing that did happen Friday night and Saturday morning is that I sold a bunch of stuff on ebay and got the go ahead from Liz to get a wii. So Saturday afternoon I called around to try to find some store that had any in stock. I called Toys R Us on Fowler, and they said they had one. When I got the store not 15 minutes later, the red shirt told me they were sold out. I am kicking myself now, because I bet if I had asked him to double-check he would have found the one the person on the phone said they had in stock. So of course when I get home and call more places and repeated the process on Sunday, no one I called had any!

I’m not going to get off into a huff about the whole eBay thing with all the wii price gouging going on, but sadly, if I can’t find one at a store by this weekend, I may have to buy one online. I hope it doesn’t come to that, as I really don’t want to support the price gouging, but I’d really like to have ours by next Friday, as we are having guests over and it would be great to have for company.

I don’t think we really did much of anything great on Saturday again, just kind of hung around the house and spent time together. I think Liz and the girls watched a movie.

Sunday, we were supposed to get together with some friends, but one of their kids got sick, so we didn’t get together afterall. I did however, go help build a set for MOPS and spent about 5 or so hours over there doing actual work! 🙂

Monday, we had a last minute get together with some other friends, but I needed to cut the grass. So I ended up cutting the grass in the late morning, while the kids went with Liz to go swimming. I got done cutting the grass and had to get a shower, and get something to eat. Once I got there to meet up with my family, they were all getting out of the pool and about to eat lunch. Then it started to rain. So I took Abby home with me in the Miata. The kids love it when they get to ride in the Miata. And its nice to get that one-on-one time with them. Liz put on more of the movie they watched the previous day and then we got them to bed after dinner.

Liz and I had been trying to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy again, so for the past 2 nights we had watched as much of the movies as we could possibly stay awake to watch. We got half way through the third and final movie last night, so we have to watch another 2 hours or so tonight to finish off the trilogy.

I put together a list of store phone numbers within a mile of my work that I plan to call daily to check wii inventory. If I can find a store nearby that gets a wii, I can hopefully run over there and get one before they sell out so I can pay retial price for it. I plan to call every day around noon or just before to check and see what they have. I only want one, hopefully I will be able to find one around somewhere amidst all this mad rush and inventory shortage.

Productive weekend

We had a busy but productive weekend! On Friday I had some work to do which took me until about 9:30pm; on and off a little after that or so. We watched a little TV before going to bed. Then on Saturday Liz went to a yard sale while I got the kids breakfast. We got done and loaded into the van and tried to go meet her there, to visit some friends and also for me to give Liz her cell phone which she left at home. We passed her in the Miata on her way home, but I waved her to follow me. We drove to a gas station and got some gas which both of our vehicles needed. Then once we got home we started doing some work, Liz got started on the playroom roof, scraping up the existing cauking and putting down a new layer of roof sealer. We talked to our neighbors a little while working on that project and then headed inside. We got some lunch and then headed off to Wal-Mart to buy Liz’s long overdue birthday present. We went to the New Tampa Wal-Mart and got her a nice new bike. It was pouring down rain while we were in the store, but fortunately, by the time we left it had stopped. We got home and I dropped her off at the curb by our house and she got to ride her new bike back to the house. Later that evening, I decided to start cleaning out the garage, partly beacuse it needed it and partly because we need a place to park her bike! Liz helped me and we got one side almost completely cleaned out. I’m putting out a bunch of trash tonight and we can continue working on the other half of the garage another day. Sunday we got to rest some in the afternoon and just spend time together. Liz is painting the girls room today so last night she broke down the kids bunk beds and hopefully when I get home, I’ll see a nice finished room.

Sarah's pre-birthday weekend

We had a semi busy, but nice weekend. On Friday we had Mike and Renee over again, and had dinner and talked. We played the wii again and had a good time watching Liz go nuts with boxing again. I had a few bad games of bowling, but I think we were tied at the end. Everyone got tired around 11 something but we stayed up talking until just about midnight when our guests left. Abby went ot bed on Friday almost normal time, and Sarah stayed up until midnight with us. Michael would have stayed up if we would have let him, he seems to have unlimited energy and does not “konk out” at all.

Friday night, Abby woke up a few times and caused Liz and I to only get a very few hours of sleep. Michael woke up early and we needed to get up a little early anyway as we planned to go to the Rec Center for the Family Fun day. So we got up, ate breakfast and got ready to go. I think we got to the Rec Center by 11 or so. I got the kids to the pool and when they were all set, I left them with Liz and went to hit around in the racquetball courts a bit before Mike and Renee got there to warm up a little. Well I ended up hitting my only ball out of the court into the parking lot, so I had to leave and go to Wal-Mart to get a new can of balls. It took what seemed like forever, and I didn’t get back until almost 12:30. At that point, Mike and Renee just got there, but the Rec Center had run out of food, so Mike went to Wendy’s to get something. When he got back, I was back out on the court hitting around a little more, and shortly thereafter it started to rain. At first, it felt nice, cool water hitting my hot head out in the sun. Then a few minutes later it was pouring! I walked back into the pool area to find the family and they were closing down the pool area, forcing all the people inside because of the thunder storm moving over. So we stood under a walkway for a while talking but decided just to go home. It rained hard and we got soaked getting out to the van. Mike drove me to our van from his, and it was coming down the hardest right about the time we made a run for it. We had a nice relaxing day indoors after that due to the rain which makes a lovely sound on the play room roof, and is ideal for napping on the couch.

On Sunday, I took Abby out on a daddy date to the Brandon mall. I’ve never been but had heard it was a nice mall. We went in the miata together, and had a nice ride, but left the top up and used the A/C as it was very warm! We got to the mall and went to a cookie shop and got a small bag of cookies. Abby rode a small train ride before we left for the food court to sit down and eat our cookies. We found that just like the Citrus park mall, they also have a large indoor merry-go-round and so Abby just had to ride that too. We got on and rode around for a while and then headed back to the car. It is a nice mall, but not as nice as Citrus Park. I did find some stores in there that I’ll keep in mind the next time I need to go shopping…