Monday, December 29, 2008

I Believe in Angels

My mom tells me that when my brother and I were infants, our parents would put us into a wicker picnic basket and set us on the back seat of the car to go places. No seat belt. No molded plastic protective bucket. No federally regulated standards with which to comply. Frankly, I'm not sure how we survived. I'm pretty sure now, since the wisdom of science and government regulatory bodies have shown that it's dangerous for babies to ride unprotected in the car, that everyone in the past three generations had hosts of angels defending them from all the sources of horrible death that can happen in a car. I am living proof that angels exist.

Today, if we got stopped by a state trooper with our kid in a wicker basket loose on the back seat, the conversation wouldn't center on the power of angels. We'd probably be thrown in jail for reckless endangerment and have the child taken away from us.

So we're doing what all soon-to-be new parents do: putting car seats in our vehicles.

Our birthing class teacher told us that we ought to be prepared to take at least twenty minutes to put in a car seat correctly. It's complicated after all.

There are straps, hooks, buckles, and various kinds of seat belt systems (retro-locking webbing is good; free-sliding webbing is bad!). There's the give of the seat under the base of the infant seat, which affects both the rigidity of the seat and the level. There's the question of which seat has the most stylish trim. (I think the most stylish car seat is the one given to you by a friend.)

Lisa (our birthing class teacher) told us--all right, it was really directed toward the dads--to be prepared for some salt-of-the-sea cursing as we tried to obey all the instructions and regulations. I think I had to undo and redo the belts in the Hyundai three times to get it just right. Sara helped by taking pictures.
Of course, to make sure that one's infant seat can handle a seven-pound-somethingish child, a 155-plus-pound man has to put his full weight on the plastic base in order to get the belts tight enough. Did I tell you that I'm over six feet tall, and I'm trying to install this thing in the back seat of a Hyundai Elantra hatchback? At least I know that I don't have to worry about teenage hanky-panky happening back there. There's no room.

I've got to hand it to those federal regulators. They've examined the car seat safety issue down to the last iota. The base even has to be level, with about five degrees of tolerance. In the picture below, since there's no orange showing between the two curved arrows, I've found the sweet spot:

Well, it was sweet until I realized I needed to put the car's seat belt across the base, in addition to the belt that's included with the base. So now I need to climb up and strangle it to the seat again. (The base is much less comfortable than the infant seat, I'm sure, especially to a guy with bony knees.)

After forty-five minutes (that's for two bases in two cars, by the way: eat that, Lisa!) and a sore back, I now know our baby will be safe in the car. We can now look down our noses at past generations, who didn't realize just how much danger they were putting us in.

With federally inspected car seats, what do we need angels for?

To boot, Sara and I will be safe from jail terms for poor parenting. At least until our kid learns to drive. Then all bets are off.

Maybe we'll need those angels after all.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!  We are settled in having a happily lazy day, the ham is in the crock-pot and the bread dough is rising.  The dog's settled in and asleep, and Emrys figured out how to assemble the Pack-n-Play.  Emrys' mom is snoozing in the side chair and The Kid's kicking around.  I'm taking this moment of peace to send a quick blog :).

To all - we send our love this Christmas and pray blessings and health to you and yours in the coming year.  Stay tuned for updates, as the arrival of The Kid is rapidly approaching (4 weeks if it decides to be on time!)

Sara, Emrys & The Kid

and for encouragement that the generosity of strangers can make miracles happen, check out this news story!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Christians believe they are redeemed from sin by Jesus Christ. At Christmas, they celebrate the fact that God showed up in order to transform everything about humanity that is wrong into something better. To do so, God put on humanity, becoming "enfleshed," or incarnate. This is the miracle of Christmas.

In order to believe that we are redeemed and transformed, we must believe that we are redeemed from something, transformed from something. We are redeemed from wrongdoing, error, sin. The understanding and perception of sin are central to the Christian faith, even though as one writer put it, it is the doctrine least accepted, with the greatest evidence to prove it. And I find myself in the camp of people who would rather not believe in sin, would rather say, All people are inherently good. Then I open my eyes to experience.

There are two essential categories of sin. At root, sin is failing to give God primacy--putting something else in the place of or above God. By what we place above or before God we determine what variety of sin we have. To put something else in the place of God is called idolatry. When I give absolute primacy in my life to money, entertainment, pleasing another person like my girlfriend or spouse, or acquisition of stuff, I commit idolatry. These things, while they have roles in the cosmos, do not command my ultimate allegiance. Only Yahweh gets that. To put another thing or person in that place is to commit sin, and a sin that will have certain consequences.

The other variety of sin occurs when I place myself in the position of God. I put myself in charge of my fate, my destiny; I make myself the ultimate judge of morality or rightness; I declare that only I am fit to decide what is good, for myself and perhaps for others. This version of sin is called tyranny. And, contrary to the popular use of the term, it can take one's life in quiet, seductive fashion.

I noticed recently that in my line of work I am often called upon to help solve people's problems. They come to me asking for advice, for comment, for suggestions; sometimes this request comes with a concern about moral rightness. What is right in this situation? Would doing this be right? Would doing that be wrong? And part of my job is to help people discern answers to these questions.

And while I do so, in good conscience, I find a great temptation lurking. I find a riptide of tyranny seeking always to grasp my ankles and suck me into the tide of humanity's corruption. For in my privileged position as advisor, I find it all too easy to assume that I do know what's right in every situation. I hear stories of relationships gone awry, love spoiled, hearts broken, and anger severing bonds of friendship. I begin to think that with my objective point of view I can tell them all how to get it right, how to heal, how to be at peace again. In perceiving places of potential healing, I begin to think--and it always starts with a still small voice in the bottom of my heart--that I am the healer. If they would only listen to me, then I could solve their problems. If they would only do what I say, then everything would be all right! Don't they realize that I have an objective point of view? Why can't they see me as a wise counselor? Why don't they listen to me as a voice of truth? Why won't they respect me as--

Perhaps you can see where this is going. Tyranny. Who's in charge here? It is the question of the ages. Adam and Eve got it wrong in the garden. Cain got it wrong at the altar. Jezebel got it wrong in the throne room. We've all been getting it wrong in every generation.

The awe-full thing about tyranny, for me, is that it masquerades as concern, as love. I truly believe I can make things right--that I've got it all figured out. I really convince myself that I have an objective view of things.

But I don't. Only one person (all right, three-in-one) has that view. To assume that I have it puts me in her position. So I need to step off the throne of tyranny and give it to the Lord. But how can I give up control? How can I know that in my humble humanness there is still hope that God is working?

Because we have Christmas, when God became human. To step from the throne of deity into the seat of humanity is not to give up hope. It is to give hope to the one who left the throne of deity and joined the walk of humanity so that we might be healed.

I celebrate my deliverance from tyranny this Christmas.


Seventh Anniversary

According to lore, every wedding anniversary has a representative material. The only ones that the jewelry industry really pays attention to are the 50th year (gold) and the 60th (diamond). But in fact every year that passes in a marriage has its own stuff to commend it. Last year's was iron; this year: wool.

I have challenged myself to make a gift for Sara every year, composed of the material for that year. Since I don't knit or crochet (yet), the demand to make something of wool yielded only really to weaving or felting. I chose the first course, with some help from friends who have done a lot of work in the textile arts, Jim and Sandy. Kudos to them, who showed me the way. None of the errors which follow are theirs. I claim them all!

To weave a scarf (my ultimate goal) on the Structo Artcraft Loom that Jim and Sandy so graciously gave to me, the first task was to lay out the strands which pass through the loom, called the "warp." Since the production of a five-foot piece of fabric requires lots of extra length for the loom, I had to lay out eleven feet of warp strands. Here they are on the guest bed, green yarn from Sara's vast horde:
The next step was to run each strand through the loom and attach it to the spool on the far end. It was at this point (after cutting sixty-some eleven-foot strands of yarn and laying them out parallel so as not to get tangled--aarg!) that I discovered a major flaw in my plan. Yarn is too thick a fibre for this type of loom. The "heddle," a rack which the weaver pulls against each cross-wise strand (the "weft") to tighten up the weaving, had slats that were too narrow for the yarn. I needed to cram each thread between the slats with a toothpick. Trouble was brewing as I stubbornly stuffed every strand through anyway:

Here's where things begin to show up poorly. Pulling the heddle to the right (in the following picture), I discovered that the yarn would not pass freely as it should. Instead, the friction against the heddle gathered the yarn on the right side, and increased the tension on the left:

But did this stop me? No! I had cut three miles of yarn, and I was going to use it! So I carried on. The following photo shows every strand of yarn now tied to the loom. Note how densely the fibres are packed on one side of the loom. Given that I wanted a loose weave, anyway, I ought to have skipped a slot in the heddle between strands. Sigh. Next time, maybe. (Ha!)

Here's the scene before I began to wind the strands into the loom:

I finally got all the strands wound up. None of them tangled (praise the Lord!), so I could set about tying the other ends to the other end of the loom. I moved down to the kitchen counter for this phase:

I took the orange yarn we bought in New Zealand and began to weave. Now, if you have any experience with a loom, you will see from the following picture that I'm using the loom backwards. (Art teachers would have rolled in their graves if the ground weren't frozen.) I had to do this, in fact, even though it meant using my fingers to tighten the weave after every pass of the shuttle (which carries the orange weft thread). I could not move the heddle without doing damage to the weave, so I did the weaving on the wrong end of the loom. It was much more laborious that way--but it's all about the journey, right?

About an hour after I got my backwards weaving system (patent pending) going strong, I had used up the warp and had to cut the far end. I tied the loose ends of the warp into tassles, so that it won't come unravelled--at least not until Sara decides she wants to reclaim the orange yarn for a higher quality project. Note in the following photo how one side of the weave is really (too) loose. I docked myself an hour's pay for that:

Et voila! Happy Anniversary, with another anniversary gift adventure:

And here's a close-up of the finished product. You can see how loose some of the fibres are compared with others:
I don't think I'm going to be hired yet into the international weavers' union. But it's another adventure, inspired by that folksy list of materials for wedding anniversaries. And what fun to discover how many ways I can screw up weaving! Sara's been very kind so far, not immediately dismantling the scarf for a different knitting project.

By the way, if anyone wants to borrow a Structo Artcraft Loom with instructions on how not to use it, let me know!

Next year is our eighth anniversary. The material: bronze.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Sewing Projects

Today was sewing project day.  I have a list of sewing projects running and today I was working on checking them off.  One of the projects, Emrys has been geared up about since I started talking about it so he was home this afternoon and we worked projects.  

My first project was warm little beanies (hats) for The Kid.  We have lots of the little light weight keep the head warm at home hats, and a couple of heavier weight ones that, while super cute and I can't wait for them to fit the baby, for my own sake I hope don't fit on Kid's head until WAY after delivery! I was also gifted a nursing pillow (aka Boppy) and wanted to make a cover for it.  So I had some fleece and fish fabric so I used those for the cover I finished today, I have plans to make a second cover too with the same orange and speckled fabrics from the nursery that Granddad helped to pick out.  

Those were the warm up projects.  Then Emrys got home and we moved on to the MaiTai (and no, not the drink).  It's a baby-carrier.  We'd found some online but decided that we wanted to make our own so we could pick some fun colors and we're crazy and enjoy projects like this. I'm thinking that when I'm done carrying Kid for the first 9 months, then Emrys get's the next 9- or something like that.  While I'll let him give you the nity-gritty on the process, here's a picture of Emrys trying it out with his "baby". 

and the 34 week belly shot.  It's getting kind of  hard to pick stuff up off the floor :D

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December Already!

Where does the time go.  It's December 10th already.  I'm 33 & 1/2 weeks pregnant which means The Kid is (hopefully) less than 8 weeks away!  Days have come and gone and we've been putting together baby gear, 

 decorating for Christmas, 

and trying to figure out The Dog, who's trying to figure out what's going on. (Or she's just trying to get us ready for being up in the middle of the night and giving us practice at the "why's the baby crying" game) 

I've been trying to get a jump on my year end accounting, processing candle orders, baking, and today, catching up on blogging and photos.  Make sure you click on the November tab to the right to catch up with us!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Baby Shower!

Most of you know that my Mom and Sister in Law have been the brains behind our ongoing online baby shower.  Well the fun hasn't all been online.  On Friday, after Thanksgiving, I was kicked out of the house so they could do their thing.  Dad and I wandered through (a relatively empty) Lowes and Stu Leonards to pass the time and when we returned, the family was ready to party.  

The living room was decorated in rubber duckies, balloons, baby clothes and streamers.  

The Niece and Emrys had a lot of fun with the gift opening.  

We were lulled by the womb-sounds teddy bear

And Emrys is still learning what all this stuff is for!

We are thankful to all who have contributed to "equipping" us as we prepare for the arrival of Little Tyler!
Be sure to check out the online baby shower for more pictures including the belly measurements (we had 3 cameras going!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Thanksgiving I'm Thankful For...

... a clean 3 year check-up from the oncologist.
... a healthy baby on the way in January.
... family and friends.
...and so, so much more...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!  

(Senor Mysterioso incognito)

We've been tagged by JennyMark! Here's h
ow it works:

The Rules:
go to Your Pictures file
go to the 5th folder
open up the 5th picture and post it
then tag 5 people when you are done

Many of "my readers" do not have a blog...but those of you who do...I tag Patty, Mary M., David A., Wes K., and Margery E. No tagbacks!


Friday, November 21, 2008

November Getaway Part II: Richmond

We arrived in Richmond on Saturday evening, checked into our motel and crashed.  On Sunday morning we visited the contemporary service at Third Presbyterian Church, where one of Emrys’ colleagues was preaching and then it was off for Mexican for lunch and it was fabulous.  When in a city, one must take advantage of all dining options!  The rest of Sunday was relatively restful as I was still recovering from over-doing it in DC.

            Monday we checked out of our motel and headed out to take in some of the sights in Richmond.  We started in Carytown – a cool little section of town full of gift shops and kitschy shopping options.  We had lunch at Carytown Burger (see Emrys' post) which had come recommended by our friends Sophie & Jen who spent their undergrad years in Richmond and it was a wonderful meal! 

After that we strolled down Cary St. and visited some of the many shops that specialized in everything from all Christmas stuff to all handmade crafts to books, games, spices, kitchen gadgets.  You get the idea.  In this area of specialty shops, I spotted For the Love of Chocolate.  You got it – all chocolate!  I’m not even blaming the need to stop in there, or my subsequent purchase on The Kid, it was all me!  This little store had candy from around the world including the Cadbury Crunchy Bar that we’d only seen in New Zealand and Australia, Ritter Sport from Germany, Lindt extra dark yumminess and truffles and any other kind of chocolate you could imagine.  It was awesome! 

Sweet tooth sated we headed for Maymont Park.  Since it was off-season and a Monday, there wasn’t a whole lot to see but we did enjoy wandering around the gardens after a brief rest in the visitor’s center.

From there we headed off to Richmond Hill where we spent the rest of our getaway in their community.  Emrys was in meetings and discussion with his Company of Pastor’s group

 and I spent the time mostly relaxing with knitting projects and my mp3 player.  It was wonderful retreat and time of rest.  Thursday I wasn’t quite ready to head home but was glad that I didn’t need another two days to recover from our vacation.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

November Getaway Part I: NY-Washington, DC

I’ve found that two marks of a good vacation are 1) you are ready to go home and 2) you don’t feel you need a vacation to recover from your vacation.  While I can’t honestly say that I’m ready to be home, I do feel refreshed and that I won’t need to “recover” from this time away. 

We ran away on Thursday of last week and spent the evening with Emrys’ mom and family friends for dinner.  It was a wonderful time of delicious food and story-telling.  Friday we meandered down to the Reston, VA area and visited with a couple we knew in passing while we were at Fuller and since have connected with recently over topics of life, family and new babies that are expected within weeks of each other.  It was a wonderfully relaxed drive and we ended up in a shopping mall so I could walk out the kinks in my back and so we could finish up some Christmas shopping. 

After a wonderful evening of visiting and a great night’s sleep we were off to do some sight-seeing in Washington DC.  I hadn’t been to DC in, well, a very long time. I know we went when I was in 5th or 6th grade but I’m not sure if I’ve been back since.  I have a vague recollection of a week there in college but I think most of my time was spent interviewing for post-undergrad jobs, not sightseeing. 

Any-who, we met up with one of Emrys’ friends from McGill for lunch then it was off to wander the town.  I tried to keep up but ended up crying “uncle”.  Carrying around the Kid in the belly took a lot more energy than I planned on.  So I hiked it from the train station, to lunch, to the White House

to the Washington Monument, to the WWII Memorial, 

and to the Vietnam Memorial. 

I didn’t spend much time closely inspecting the sights.  Instead, I’d sit in the middle, soak up the warm fall day and the sights, while Emrys went off to do the close inspection and photos.

The warm fall day gave way to a crazy down-pour that was kind enough to start while I was making one of my many restroom stops.  So we waited for it to pass and wandered through the drizzle to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  The Smithsonian Institute had recently finished a remodel/restoration/update of the museum and the finished product was pretty neat.  After a stop in the snack-bar for a brownie and milk (really, really good brownies!), we explored the exhibits on ocean life (giant jellyfish model)

 and geology (lots of really cool formations).

            By the time we were finished with those exhibits, I was done.  So we headed for the train station (where Emrys took this photo of the Post Office building)

and took the train back to our car and headed south towards Richmond, with only one stop on the way.  Romano’s Macaroni Grill – one of my favorite chain Italian restaurants that doesn't do business in our neck of the woods!


Brie Burger

During my fifth year in university, I lived in a dive apartment with two friends in the Portuguese neighbourhood of Montreal, Quebec. A two-block walk got us to the nearest grocery store. The store was the kind of urban market where you had to check the date on all the liquid dairy products before you put them in your basket (I learned this the hard way) and choose the right day of the week to shop for produce. But like most stores in Quebec, the worst cheese was better than most you can get in the surrounding provinces and states.

When I went shopping for groceries, I often passed by the cheese section on my way to the cash registers to pick up a hunk of brie cheese. It went on the top of my basket, and when I loaded up my grocery bags for the short walk home, the brie remained in my hand. With one hand carrying the sundry foods as I strolled the two blocks to our apartment door, the other hand held that half-unwrapped chunk of deliciously sour and creamy cheese most often reserved for party plates. A quarter-pound slice cost about $5 Canadian ($3-4 US at that time)--and it lasted barely two city blocks.

I really enjoy brie cheese. I know that it's one of the most fattening and cholesterol-laden dairy products on the planet. But that flavour--firm creamy lovin' hiding under that tough sour shell--keeps me coming back any chance I can get. And the opportunity to partake of that marvelous milk product always takes me back, at least for a moment, to Montreal days and the grunge of college city living. Back then, a hunk of brie on the walk home made the whole week worth it.

Imagine my elation when I see "Brie Burger" as an item on the menu at a burger joint. My mind tried to put the flavours together in my head, but got lost in the excitement. My salivary glands quivered in anticipation.

We had taken a friend's recommendation and hunted down a burger joint in Richmond, Virginia called Carytown Burgers and Fries during last week's sojourn in that city. Here's a picture of the facade, nestled into the backside of a block on Cary Street, an historic and ritzy shopping district in centre-city Richmond:

We arrived at 11:00 in the morning, just when the grill was getting fired up. The staff looks like a bunch of college students--unconcerned with the aesthetics and formalities normally found in top-ranking restaurants--who had decided to open a burger joint. The restaurant, two stories of the rear end of what looks to be a reclaimed late-19th-century building, has ramshackle decor so rushed that it's endearing. It's as if the proprietors were so eager to make their burgers available, they cut every corner they could on interior design. The dining room (upstairs from the cramped kitchen and ordering area) had a coat of French's-mustard-yellow paint on walls and ceiling, with long drips dried in place. The windows, one which is pictured here, had accents of ketchup on the yellow sash:

As soon as I saw "brie burger" on the menu, I put it down. Why should I look further? My gut instinct choice did not disappoint me. Or, more accurately, the friendly, highly skilled chefs of Carytown Burger did not disappoint me. My burger, a tasty piece of quality meat in itself, carried a generous load of my favourite cheese. Here you can catch a glimpse, next to our crispety crunchety onion rings and "famous fries":

Note the vinyl picnic tablecloth and the vintage mid-century Coca-Cola poster peeking out behind Sara, both adding to the strange minimalist ambiance. 

I never would have thought to put brie on a burger, so I am thankful to the chefs at this award-winning establishment for introducing me to this heretofore undiscovered melange of flavour. All the best results of a cow put together. Amazing! Sure, I've got to eat vegan for a month to bring my cholesterol down again, but it was worth it. If you ever find yourself in Richmond, go to Carytown Burgers and Fries. You'll discover why it's famous.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

We don't own stuff;

stuff owns us.

In the human life, necessity dictates the accumulation of a certain amount of stuff. We need things to survive: we need clothes, we need food, we need shelter. In order to secure a reliable flow of clothes, food, and shelter, we acquire other things--more stuff--in order to procure the basic necessities. For instance, most of us acquire a car at some point in our lives, for without such transportation, the work which brings home the bacon would become economically infeasible or impossible.

When we acquire stuff, we use the colloquial phrase "I own thus-and-such" to indicate that we have purchased the stuff. So we might say, We own two cars.

There is a certain amount of truth to this. We hold the deed to the car. The car only goes where we direct it to go. And if someone stole it, we could file charges and get it back. So in an important sense, we own our car.

In another important sense, our car owns us.

By simply failing to perform or behave as cars optimally ought, our vehicle can command time, money, and energy to fly from other places in our life. With a single obedient application of the law of entropy, our car can force me to spend hours, dollars, and effort that I thought had already been allocated elsewhere. When it does that, it becomes clear that our stuff owns me.

Let me give an example.

A few weeks ago, I had just pulled out of the church parking lot for a 30-minute drive when both headlights went out. That's right, both of them. Daylight savings had just changed over, so it was dark. I had to become "that guy" who's always on the other side of the road from you who's driving with his high-beams on. And the next day, I had to hunt down the right bulbs to replace the halogens in our 2005 Hyundai. When I took the casing for the headlights out, I discovered that the right front casing  had broken two of its plastic mounts. Now I had to replace the bulbs and glue the mounts back on.

Here's the pirate car, midway through the ocular operation. Aarg!

While I was under the hood, I decided to do some repair work that I've been stalling on since we bought the car. The last owner had modified the car to have a more urban appeal. About a hundred yards of speaker wire run underneath all the seats in the car; on the inside of the visor were "beer pong" stickers; and under the hood was an air intake:

This device is meant to increase power. However, it requires cleaning every week. The standard air filter--which the racing enthusiast took out--only needs changing every six months or so. I wanted the old-school air filter back.

While I was taking the air intake out, I glued on the mounts for the headlamp casing and clamped it with a clamp not designed for the purpose. But it worked--for the time being. Here is it chillin' in our living-room-come-auto-shop:

I got the air intake out with ease, and then set about the task of installing the air cleaner box. This had been procured from a local parts store:

After about twenty minutes of wrestling with the mounting screws to get the air box on, I made the following discovery:

Can you see what's not there? That's right: the elbow that runs from the air cleaner box to the engine block is missing. Funny, when I ordered the box from the parts shop, they didn't tell me that I might need that part, too.

So I called them back and told them what I needed. Alas, they did not have one on hand. So I called up the Hyundai dealership, who told me that ordering one would take three days. Sigh. When I gave them my credit card number and shuffled my calendar, I thought I heard a mechanical giggle from our driveway. Who was in the driver's seat now?

I put the air intake back in, so we could continue driving the car (albeit dirty) until I could get the elbow joint.

Meanwhile, I replaced the headlamp casing, complete with sexy new halogen bulbs. The plastic mounts cracked again as soon as I tightened them down. Sigh. (A new casing costs $150--not worth it. The casing has survived the last 6 months with cracked mounts--why can't it last another 24?) But the car does have functional new headlights. At least I won't inspire crude gestures from oncoming drivers anymore.

Three days and one more 40-mile roundtrip to Binghamton later, I go to pick up the elbow piece. I get the piece out to the car, open up the bag, and discover that it's the wrong piece. I go back into the dealership and ask them what's up.

"Oh, you own that 2005 Hyundai Elantra GT."

Well, yes and no. I have one, but I don't own it. It owns me. And it's The Special Needs model. The one with an asterisk next to the part numbers on the "air filter" page of the manual. Sigh.

Three days later, Hyundai has the right part for me. (I am saved a trip to Binghamton to pick it up by a friend--thanks, Sharen!) So two weeks after I began the project of changing headlights and air filter assemblies, I've finally got the engine I want in our Silver Bullet:

And here's a close-up of my Special Needs air filter assembly:

I still had to jerry-rig the bolts under the air filter box. They gave me the wrong kind of bolts, too. But you know what? I didn't feel like waiting another three days for the right parts. And as long as I don't hear the air cleaner knocking against the underside of the hood, I don't care what's holding it in place.

Someday the Silver Bullet will do something to assert its authority again over my schedule and checkbook. But for now, we own the car again. I'm in charge of this vehicle. At least that's what I'm telling myself.