Home and Away

comments: 103



















Long birthday weekends are pretty awesome. Andy's involved cake (and yes, I must tell you that I truly think that the cake Martha made for us last summer trumps my longtime go-to chocolate cake, the Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake! I do still always make the Cloudburst Frosting (scroll down on that page a bit), though; I don't know if I'll ever love a frosting more than this one, but I'm willing to give it a go [I love frosting, especially frostings that are mellow, like this one]); lots of salad rolls, both take-out (as was the entire green-curry-shrimp birthday dinner) and homemade (I used this recipe, and added silken tofu, and it was wonderful); lots of driving (we got our new car); lots of waterfalls and gorgeous views (and babies signing "rain," as she is doing, above [draw both hands down with straight fingers, like rain falling]); and lots of backyard laziness and baby lovin'. It was such a nice weekend, and soooooo nice to have some time off, for both of us. Oh, so nice.

I don't think I realized how stressful buying a car was until it was over. I firmly believe that Andy and I are probably the worst possible car buyers on earth. Everything I read about how to act when you're buying a car is pretty much the exact opposite of what we did. I'm still feeling bewildered about why cars should have different prices for different people, depending on how they negotiate. It reminds me of when I was in Italy (twenty-three years ago), at the post office, asking how much it cost to mail a postcard. The post office dude literally looked me up and down, leaned back, crossed his arms, and said, appraisingly, "For you? Ninety thousand lire!" or ninety million lire, or ninety lire, or whatever it was. I stood there thinking, "No, not just for me, for everyone!" (And I swear, after I paid it, he just tossed the postcard over this shoulder, anyway. Okay, I might be exaggerating that. But seriously, Martha, did you ever get my postcard from Rome?)

And that's how I feel about car shopping, too. Shouldn't there just be a price, and then you pay it if you want to? And if you don't want to pay that you keep shopping? I don't know. There's this point in the process where you're basically like, "Okay, just gimme the damn thing already and let's go home!" Sadly, that point is reached about five minutes into the process for both Andy and me. We're looking at cars but we're thinking, in tandem, "Where should we eat? Is it gonna be sunny all day? Do you want to watch Psych musical again tonight?" and it's all kind of a cool-customer bust.

Eventually, by some miracle, I knew exactly which car I wanted. Certified pre-owned in the model I liked, 2013, and silver. Boom. But none were currently available within 100 miles. :( I stalked the web site of the dealer where we bought our first car (which actually was a pretty good experience, as far as I recall). Suddenly one came up — a miracle! — just when I needed it. I called the dealership so fast I could hardly talk: "Oh my gosh! Hold that car! I'm so excited! I want that one!!! Don't let anyone look at it! I want it!!!!!!!!" I had no idea what the price was, at that point. I told my friend what I did and she about fell off the phone she was laughing so hard. The salesman was probably like, "Awesome, easiest rent I've ever made in my life, lady right there in the blue."

And yeah, we did buy that car (amazingly, from the same guy who sold us our 1995 Volvo sixteen years ago). It is quite lovely. It has Bluetooth. I didn't even know what that was. Our old car didn't even have a CD player (and it had started breaking down every six months or so, and, lately, every week). I said from behind my new steering wheel to Andy as we wound through the gorge on the historic highway, through tall trees and forests of Queen Anne's Lace, watching the blue and green ridges fade into the haze of a perfect summer day,  "You don't even realize how used to all your stuff not working right you really get." And then we were all, wow, look at us entering the new millenium! Cool! It's an absolute delight to put a baby into a car seat without having to first fold your body into an origami crane, then bump her head on the ceiling of the car, then basically sort of toss her toward the seat in the middle, and hope she lands more or less square, then rearrange her from the side while your back is getting completely jacked, and then tighten the straps (while she's reaching for her doll, or her milk, or her shoe). She's always been a really good sport about being put into the car seat (I really don't know how, but that's kind of her style, and more proof that she does not have my DNA), but I see now that there were times when, especially toward the end of the day, I just didn't want to do it again. When I put her in the new car it's like boom, in, and I'm all, "What? That's it? People do it like this? And we can go to a place, and then maybe go to another place?" I don't know. Anyway, the new car feels very safe and very functional, and I suddenly want to go everywhere. . . .


Oh my heavens, that cake!!! It's beautiful with all that fluffy white frosting, flowers, and candles. I used to work at a bakery and I swear all you have to do is add flowers to a cake and people will swoon. Sounds like a lovely weekend!

Car shopping is the WORST! I'm with you on that one. :) Looks like a lovely weekend with your family. Those spring rolls look divine!

I just LOVE, love, lOVE, Love, LOve, loVE reading your stories.... I laugh every time. "Origami crane" and smashing the baby's head on the way into the carseat..... It is so what it was like when I my kids were little. Never mind the back aches and not wanting to do one more stop where they had to come out of the car seat only to be hurled back into it.... OMG... Your lovely little family trips are a highlight read. Thanks <3

Last time I went car shopping, I found myself wondering if they had any fabric with cupcakes on it at JoAnn's while I was waiting for the salesman to do whatever it is they do while they make you wait so long. I would say that if you are more worried about fabric than you are about buying the car, that isn't the car for you.

You always make such beautiful cakes! Your car buying tale made me laugh, though I am sure it wasn't fun at the time. I'm pleased it had a happy ending.

As I read this post, I'm sitting in Steve's dealership's waiting area while my car has it's 20,000 mile check-up! I almost laughed out loud when you describe your experience buying your car! I'm so happy you found the car you wanted- and the photographs, seriously breath-taking!

First Impression: oh-my-goodness... I am going to need recipes.
Second Impression: the Falls! Just today I took a screen shot of the Google Map, so I can debate and debate whether to add a drive to the Falls in our already really long summer trip to Oregon! I. do. want. to. go. to. there.
Third Impression: cake. Cake is good.
Fourth Impression: Happy for your new-to-you car bliss! Cannot deny the joy of the open road, and a reliable ride to take you there!
Lasting Impression: You keep such a dear and lovely blog. I feel lucky to visit here.

A great story! I love that you say about the wee sweetie, that 'she's always been a really good sport' this cracked me up. and that photo of her in the gumboots? Definite little good sport. I enjoy seeing photos of dear Clover too.

Congrats on the new car! Your story made me laugh, because that's exactly how it went for me when I bought mine last year. I was so stressed that I basically didn't negotiate at all; I don't know how they managed to contain their glee. But still- the newness, omg. Bluetooth! Air conditioning! Windows that go down and then back up! Amazing. It's such a relief to not break down every month too. :)

I hate car shopping. I don't understand most of what goes into the decisions. I just want something reliable, efficient, and comfortable to drive. I don't even care about the color. I'm impressed you guys got through the process. Now you don't have to even think about it again for years!

I do not enjoy spending large sums of money, especially when that pit in your stomach feeling hangs around - that lingering feeling that you've made a huge mistake! Sometimes though, the handing over of a large wad of cash is followed with a glorious sense of 'why didn't I do this sooner!" The second scenario is so much better.

OH MY GOSH - we had the same experience last year! We were driving around in a 2001 Civic that came with highway air conditioning (roll down the windows), and manual EVERYTHING. When our second child was on the way, we knew we needed more space. Our new car (which is a "crossover" - whatever that means) has bluetooth, power locks, A/C, power windows and something I never knew I wanted but now greatly appreciate - seat warmers (we live in Canada). It feels like we are driving a SPACE SHIP compared to our dear old Civic. Bonus: We no longer whack our kid's head on the door frame getting him into his seat.

Oh, your photos. I can almost reach out and pick up that basil from your chopping board.

My dear little car has started screeching. I used to think it was the brakes or after a spell of damp weather but now I'm not so sure. My husband has started making 'replacement car' noises and I've got a silly churning in the pit of my stomach. I loathe shopping for cars.

I love your postcard story - made me hoot with laughter!

Heather x

Oh that cake. And oh that sweet girl and her beautiful little clothes. I must now immediately bake something and sew a dress. Good job on the car. I had all that fun last year and basically did exactly what you did. 'Wrap it up, I'll take it! Right, where's the nearest cafe?'.

Heather Bond says: June 02, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I could not love you Paulsons more if I tried! I'm like you, just tell me how much it is and let me GET OUT OF HERE. Happily, my husband is a wicked good negotiator, I think he uses Jedi mind control. And that baby girl is crazy cute!

My daughter's car wasn't even as old, but the things she experienced were similar. She was doing the buying alone, searching the website for the perfect car and drove 80 miles an hour after the car was posted. The nice thing was it was a no hassle dealership and the price is posted and they don't haggle. I hope you enjoy the love of driving a dependable and well appointed car for a while.

The birthday cake looks so amazing! And the birthday dinner looks delicious. I love green curry and salad rolls. The perfect birthday dinner in my opinion! Amelia looks like an absolute doll... I love her outfit. Yay, for a new car! And it's exactly what you wanted... perfect! Oregon looks lovely as always.

I know exactly what you mean when you say that you get used to stuff working and are lost when it doesn't. A computer broke on Friday; today it was the car. Sigh. I do hope these things don't come in threes... We have a sixth birthday in this house this week, so I'm going to check out the recipes you mention. I know for a fact that anything with strawberries on top is going to be a winner. Beautiful photos as always Alicia, especially the falls and Mount Hood - exquisite. I loved seeing Mimi signing "rain". It reminded me that all of my little people learned to sign when they were small. The eldest always used to sign "more, more" for sultanas - to this day we call them more-mores. The youngest has no idea they're called sultanas! I hope you guys have a lovely week. CJ xx

You make the prettiest, loveliest cakes I've seen. It's like you can tell they've been made with love.

Oh your story about mailing a postcard in Italy made me laugh so hard! I had a similar experience on my last trip there. The lady at the post office charged me 2 or 3 euros per card, for "rush shipping" or something. A week or two later I was mailing more postcards, and I just bought stamps (maybe 50cents each?) at a tobacco shop and stuck them in a mailbox on the street. And you know what? -- that second set of postcards made it to the US two or three days before the first!

Congratulations on the new car, and happy birthday to Andy!!

I had to laugh with your description of awkward carseat access. I lived that for a long, looong time... folding yourself into an origami crane and tossing the kid towards the seat is so bang on! It made me smile. :)

The little button is looking so very sweet, as always.

So here's our car buying story: I had to go home to Tennessee to take care of my mom. We went to rent a car, the line was too long. Decided to get lunch, over lunch decided to see if we could buy a car. We went to the car lot, I said, " I want that one!" Salesperson says take it for a spin. We say no you better see if we can even get approved. Five hours later we drove off the lot inour first new car in 25 years. No negotiating, except that our note had to be under $400, it was $398. LOL! We left squealing OMG OMG they gave us a car!!!! Then it was wow maybe we should have shopped around, LOL! But four years and over 100,000 miles later, it's been a very good decision! Congrats on the new car!

I am in the market for a new car (similar to you, my old car is breaking down with increased frequency) and I am just NOT looking forward to playing the game with the car salesmen. I went to one dealership a month ago and they kept us there for 2.5 hours! And it wasn't even a car I wanted. I have to put on my armor and stop playing nice guy when I go again. I also heard you can negotiate prices of mattresses. What?! Why?! I would like people to just give us fair prices and skip the disingenousness of it all. I will be glad to have something reliable where I can go on a road trip whenever I feel like it and not be worried.

As always a joy!
That girl of yours..well I want her too with my 4 grandsons..I promise they would love her:)
All 4 of them..ad so would we~
Love her wellies ad that pic of your husband w/ his princess on his shoulders w/ that view?
You could sell trips there:)
When I bought my new car 3 yrs ago this Sept..I knew I would not be shopping around..
I knew I wanted that car:)
Stopped working so no need for client accommodations....no need for big ..but yes I want all my grandsons to fit in:)
It was done the same morning I went..
And the shpiels..Oh lala..
Anyways..I was very happy with the outcome..
But I HATED the thought of car shopping.
Aren't spring rolls so delicious?

Oh your tales of car seat origami made me giggle - it sounds so like what we were doing when Kitty was small before I decided that enough was enough and swapped for a car with more doors! My sole requirement for that car shopping apart from the doors was that the boot fitted the buggy so I think I might also have been an easy sale that time!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.