Good freakin' glory but cars are expensive things to have. In order to go from my father's unmaintained car in Illinois to the Massachusetts-native Melmobile (which is going to be taken care of, because it's going to be used, hard), I had to get a registration, inspection, the fluids dealt with (oil change, plus a jug of windshield wiper defroster - I'll hunt for the spout to pour it down when daylight comes again), and assorted Well You Drive In Boston Now equipment like an ice scraper and a folding shovel. I don't really like spending money, nor do I like getting More Stuff, so this was a reluctant "mrgh, I guess I need it, so... fine, fine, okay" series of moments. When did I acquire so much stuff?

The Melmobile is a way nicer car than anything I'd ever expected to drive - sure, it's 16 years old, but it's a Lexus. And it's held up well, despite my dad being somewhat oblivious to maintenance. Also, it has heated seats, which I greatly appreciated today. I paid the KBB value for it (my parents and I agreed that was the fairest way to do things) and it cost about as much as a nice laptop, so I really can't complain. I read the service records and two books on car maintenance and everything checks out all right, and I have a reasonably good idea of what maintenance schedule I need to keep this up, and what I need to watch for. It's important for me to (literally) watch for things, because a lot of "uh oh, warning" car noises are Things I Can't Hear. (Mom: "What's that screeching? Has it been doing that for long?" Me: "Whuh?") So it will be interesting to see if I can find any deaf auto enthusiasts and see what signals they look for in lieu of auditory feedback.

I like knowing the tools I use, so it bothers me that I don't know how to maintain my car myself; I can jump a dead battery, change a flat, and figure out where to pour fluids into, but I can't change my oil or anything else. I'm not masochistic enough to learn right now, as access to a heated garage is a luxury I certainly don't have, but come spring, the learninatin' will begin. I think I'll get some Boston-area buddies to do a Car Day with me - collect tools for a day, everyone learns how to do as much basic car maintenance as possible by doing it. Maybe a combined Bike/Car day, even; my bikes will be due for another overhaul after the thaw anyhow.

Winter's hit for good in Boston, so I'll be driving more than biking 'till the snow melts out. I did replace my worn-out gloves (with split seams and the fun, fun feature of absorbing icewater and passing it directly to your hands, it was high time to do so) with beautiful waterproof ones, so shoveling has become a far more pleasant experience. They're just very nicely made gloves (and I tested their waterproofness by sticking them under a running sink, just to be sure). Small, simple, well-designed and well-constructed things give me a lot of pleasure - whenever I eat with the Japanese-style chopstick set I picked out in Seattle as a high school student, it just makes me happy because of the sliding box and the tapering shape of these particular utensils - so when Diana (in the wee hours of Monday morning when she and Mo and I were talking about design) waxed poetic about the elegance of the packaging design of her favorite type of gum, all three of us Just Understood.

In other news today, Sebastian likes bagels, I'm far more distracted / scattered without someone standing in front of my computer telling me to go to sleep, and I'm writing in order to get myself back to finishing the FUDCon expense report already. I wonder how Sebastian is enjoying his Olin visit - I can't wait to hear the stories when I pick him up tomorrow. We've got a deployment visit planned on Friday morning (the first time he'll actually be able to see teachers and students using his work) and I'm reading through the book he got me as a Christmas present (Stones Into Schools, by Greg Mortenson - I got him his copy as a Christmas present, too; neither of us would let the other buy their copy at the bookstore; wir kann sehr stur sein).

Audrey has an experiment she wants to do with bubblegum later this week if we can find a sensitive enough kitchen scale (question: does gum weigh more or less after you chew it?) and Melanie is looking forward to testing Mo's Inkscape curriculum for middle-schoolers, and is thoroughly addicted to theater tech. It's also fascinating to watch my aunt learn how to explain open source to the other teachers at her school (actually, I'm quite surprised to return from DC and find out she's doing so; this is not something I'm pushing, though I'm certainly supportive of it). They're at the point where she can use wikis as an analogy-tool now - that is, they understand wikis well enough that aspects of a wiki can be used to explain other things.

Several hours later, after reading a bunch of emails...

...I am surrounded by wonderful people - friends who have the rare ability to make me not just ridiculously excited about what we're working on, but also do these little things that that stop me in my tracks with tiny heart-yanking tugs that make me go "my god, how blessed I am that we are going through this world together."

And on that note, I'm going to bed.