One Hundred Minus One

Today is the 99th running of the Indy 500. As in most previous years, we will be watching it from the comfort of our home. It’s very exciting to see Scott Dixon starting from the Pole. Of course the only thing that really matters is being in the front at the very end and 500 miles is a very long race.

After the marathon cleaning and shredding yesterday, we were both ready for a little quality TV time. It wasn’t relaxing unfortunately, watching a race never is. It also did not start out well, as one of the four Ganassi drivers got taken out during the first lap when another driver tried to make a ridiculously aggressive, three wide pass. Who does that in a 500 mile race?

Another one of the Ganassi drivers crashed toward the end of the race. The remaining two finished third and forth. So, not a terrible result, but not the victory we were hoping for. I think we got the better end of the deal by being there for qualifying rather than the race.

Getting All Watergate

Wait, did the Watergate scandal involve shredding paper? Maybe I’m thinking of Wall Street. At any rate, I was back at the shredding again today. I managed to get through the entire stack of bank statements, dating back nearly ten years. I now have six kitchen garbage bags full of shredded paper.

While I was in the house doing laundry and shredding paper, my husband tackled the onerous task of starting to clean the garage. Now that we have one big shiny new car in there with another one on the way, we need a little more elbow room.

He managed to get the front and one side cleaned out and organized, completely filling our huge trash dumpster in the process. I packed up all of the books I had stored in a bookshelf in the basement and we brought the shelf up to use as temporary storage. By the end of the day we were both sore and exhausted.

But our garage is looking pretty sweet – a suitable home for our new babies, Nikki and her yet-to-be named little sister.

Just an Average Friday

Today was a typical busy Friday. I bought gas, got my car washed, bought groceries, had a session with my personal trainer, bought a car, had a facial and then went home and made dinner. Wait, what was that bit hiding in the middle there? Yes, after spending last night agonizing over Porsche vs. BMW (talk about first world problems) I finally made a decision.

In some sense, the decision was made for me. While trolling online to check listings for available Cayennes, thinking I would have more luck if I expanded my search radius, I found one for a GTS model. Amazingly, it was at the same local dealership we had visited previously. So I called the salesman and asked about it. He called back yesterday while I was test driving the BMW X6.

It turned out that the Cayenne was on a boat and due to arrive at the dealership in 2-3 weeks. And it was available. I studied the build sheet with a critical eye. The car had all of the options I really wanted with no frivolous price-inflating extras. More importantly, it wasn’t black. Okay, it was a really dark blue, but not black. I hate black cars. So went went back to the dealership today to see the color in person and take one more test drive. We made a deposit on the car.

Technically, I’m not on the hook to buy it. I could back out if for some reason I don’t love the car when it arrives. But I feel pretty good about the decision, if not the final price tag. At least it’s one less thing I need to think about right now.

To Car or Not to Car

We’ve been dealing with three cars in our two car garage house ever since we brought home the Tesla. Since Tesla doesn’t have dealerships, it didn’t really make sense to trade in my husband’s BMW, as they would only give us the wholesale value for it. He asked the BMW dealership to give him a price for a straight up sale, but wasn’t too impressed with their offer. So we’ve been playing musical cars while we figure out what to do. For now, the BMW has been languishing on a wide concrete patio adjacent to our driveway.

I was planning to wait until we were in our new house before buying a new vehicle. Mine is eight years old, but I still really enjoy driving it. Plus it just seems a little extravagant to buy another brand new vehicle when we are going to be spending all this money on the house. I also hate the whole process around selecting and purchasing a new car, so I prefer to put it off as long as possible.

However, with our one car too many dilemma, we started thinking about trading in both of our “old” cars for one new one. My husband had identified the Porsche Macan as a potential replacement vehicle for me, so before we left for Indianapolis, we visited the Porsche dealership to check one out. Short version – we decided it was a little too small, so we started looking at the Cayenne. I test drove several, as it comes in no less than seven different versions.

Unfortunately, most people who buy them order them, so they didn’t have any I would consider purchasing laying around for sale. We left with a little more information, but no decision. Today we decided to go look at BMWs. I’m not a huge fan of the X5, but I had seen an X6 when we were out to dinner last night and I was kind of intrigued by it. So I test drove one. Again, they don’t have any stock available, but I could order one and get it in 4-6 weeks, as opposed to the three months it would take for the Cayenne. Plus it’s quite a bit cheaper. But I don’t love the look of the interior. The indecision continues.

New, Big New House

We had a meeting with our architect this afternoon. He works out of his home, which is in a northern suburb, so our meeting location was a Caribou Coffee that sits about halfway between our homes. He was less than ten minutes late, which I think is the closest he’s been to on time for any of our meetings so far.

It was worth the wait. This latest iteration of the house manages to fit nicely inside most of the tree line, preserving the ridge of white oaks on the north side. It also came down in square footage overall, even with the greenhouse. We now have six garage stalls – a two by two tandem under the main house and two additional spots under the guest house. Plus parking for six more right outside. Party central.

Of course there is still a lot of tweaking needed. But we feel pretty comfortable that the footprint is 90% there. Major, major progress. With any luck, we can be submitting the plan for a permit by the middle of June and maybe break ground by the end of July. But I am not holding my breath.

You Win This Time, Minnesota

I admit it, I caved. When we returned home after our 10+ hour drive, it was 64 degrees in the house and the overnight low was forecast to be perilously near freezing. I surrendered and turned the heat back on. I was a little too hasty in switching over to air conditioning.

We took a completely different and slightly longer route home via Iowa, in the hopes of avoiding the major road construction and traffic we had encountered on the way there. It worked, for the most part. Yes, it added about 30 minutes to the drive overall, but a lot of that was due to my ill-chosen location for dinner – a Panera that turned out to be a lot further from the interstate than I recalled.

The good part about driving through Iowa over Wisconsin is a higher speed limit, less traffic and less cops, the bad part is the shitty low octane ethanol polluted fuel. We filled up right before the Indiana/Iowa border and managed to coast into Albert Lea on fumes. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, we had just over three gallons left in the tank. But I think this is only the second time I’ve seen the low fuel light.

It was a great weekend, but it’s good to be home. I’m looking forward to a long night’s sleep in a comfortable bed.

Let’s Try This Again

With yesterday’s inclement weather, all official qualifying attempts were postponed until today. We arrived at the track even earlier than yesterday, just a few minutes after 8:00. Practice was already in session. As we were walking to the hospitality unit, we heard a loud noise. It could have been a car backfiring or a crash. Then we saw the safety car heading out. Yep, definitely a crash.

The crash was bad enough to damage the wall around the track. So there was a delay while the wall was being fixed. Qualifying was supposed to start at 10:00. By 11:00 we still hadn’t heard an update. We were eating lunch before the announcement came out that practice would resume at 1:30 and qualifying would start at 3:15. Each driver would get one attempt and that would set the field, with the exception of the last row. Bye-bye Fast 9.

It’s really hard to stay enthusiastic after so many delays and so much bad weather, but we tried. When 3:15 finally rolled around, we were out on pit lane, watching qualifying from a golf cart. Scott Dixon went out 4th and posted a really strong time. We watched as 29 more cars went out and failed to beat his time. After five years of attending Pole Day, we finally won the pole. It made all of the rain and all of the delays disappear. This is why we love racing.

(Not) Pole Day

Today has traditionally been Pole Day – the day when the first two thirds of the field for the Indy 500 is set. Sunday has always been bump day, when the last 11 spots are settled. But when you barely have enough cars to fill the 33 car field, the idea of a bump day kind of loses its luster. So the tradition has been shaken up a bit. Today is all about the fast 9 – getting one of those spots guarantees you a position in one of the first 3 rows.

The actual order, including pole, will be determined tomorrow. This means that someone who starts 10th could actually be faster than the first 9 starters. Yes, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but such is Indy. When we arrived at the track this morning it was cool and the skies were threatening. Not an auspicious start. I had planned on buying a new team hoodie, so I left my jacket in the car. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the merchandise tent, they still didn’t have any sizes, despite yesterday’s promise of restocking. (No women’s medium or large or men’s small, really??)

The day just went downhill from there. The highlight was watching a car parked next to the hospitality unit getting towed. Some jackass without an authorized parking credential had been parking there for over a week while he hauled merchandise around for drivers’ signatures. He was confronted by one of the hospitality workers and still wouldn’t back down. So someone called to have him towed. He got off lucky in my opinion. They only towed him to a remote corner of the track, not some sketchy neighborhood in Indianapolis.

Two cars completed qualifying attempts in the afternoon and the yellow flag was thrown during the third. The skies opened up and we were deluged with rain. I half expected our table to start floating away. After hours of nearly relentless downpour, they finally called off activities for the day and we left the track at 3:30. We made a quick stop for some Chinese takeout and retreated to our hotel room. Let’s hope the weather is a little more amiable tomorrow.

Back Home at Indy

Why is it that when you can sleep in, you can’t? We had absolutely no reason to get up early today and yet both of us were wide awake by 8:00. I felt like I had been beaten with a club – a vicious combination of the long car ride and overly firm hotel mattress.

We dragged our feet getting up and out and by the time we finished breakfast and arrived at the track it was 11:15. Our first stop was the credential office. We did not request team hardcards this year, but we did get coupons for the coveted silver badge. This gives us pretty comprehensive access, but at half the cost of a hardcard (which is good for the entire season) it’s not much of a bargain.

They’ve made some changes to the track access, replacing a signal light with a roundabout and making the road we normally take into a deadend, so it took us a bit of circular driving to find our way in. By the time we parked and took a shuttle to the pagoda it was noon. Since practice was starting then, we headed directly to the pits.

Scott Dixon went out about 45 minutes into the session and promptly posted a lap just over 230 mph – the fastest of the month so far. Watching that pretty much made the whole trip to the track worthwhile. We left a little after 3:00, keeping in mind that tomorrow is going to be a very long day. Let’s hope it’s a fast one.

500 Miles to the 500

After more than 500 miles and 10 hours on the road today, we are back in Indianapolis for Pole Day. We have a pretty busy summer ahead of us, what with the big new house and all, so once again we will not be attending a lot of races. But there is something special about watching qualifying for the 500.

It was a relatively uneventful drive, except for the normal crappy stretches of construction and some really gnarly traffic around Chicago. It’s been a while since we’ve done a long road trip, so somehow this one just felt a little bit too long to me. Every time I got out of the car I felt every one of my 50 years.

We’re staying at the same Hampton Inn we’ve stayed at for the past five years. This year we have a one bedroom suite, not because I felt like splurging, but because that was the only room type available when I made our reservation. It is nice to have the extra space, since the weather forecast for the weekend is pretty iffy and we may end up spending quite a bit of time holed up in the room.

Here’s hoping for good weather and fast cars this weekend.