Friday, August 29, 2008

Wrapping it up for August

Ethan takes his first stripe-test in karate today. Eddie, or Grand Master to the rest of us, has the students take a test each Friday on what they learned that week. Very cool. Good luck, Ethan, and congratulations on a great first week. The picture is a self-portrait taken in May. Heck of a good job on that, too. On the car front, the news isn't really as good. I found a smart car with a micro-hybrid drive, which gets 70+ mpg, but (of course) it's not available in the states. This makes me want to spend Thanksgiving in the UK (o the irony in that statement), buy the car while we are over there and ship it back. Frankly, it would likely still be more affordable than buying a smart car on the lot in the US, where price gouging is selling the 13 - 15K car for 18 - 24k. I'm all about opportunism, but there does come a point where business is driven elsewhere. And 70 mpg is a real consideration for me. Gasoline prices rose for the first time in more than a month, and while it wasn't a large increase as these things go (nine-tenths of a cent), it marks what is likely the end of the relief, such as it was. "Overall, gas prices have fallen off their highs in recent weeks. But prices at the pump are still 33% above the same time last year, when a gallon of gas cost $2.769." When David and I sit down and go over our budget for the coming year, we plan on seeing $4 gas again soon, and take into consideration the very real possibility of $5. While our incomes aren't stellar or anything, they are certainly considered a living wage. How do other families do this? Whatever their strategies or secrets, other families apparently are seeing the end of the relief as well: "Personal income fell in July by the biggest drop in 3 years after surging the prior two months". Overall, things aren't looking great for the coming few months. Speaking of the coming winter, it was cold and rainy this week. Thankfully, it will warm up a bit, but it is obviously autumnal warmth at that. I refuse to turn on the heat before Labor Day, and thus begins my annual battle to see just how long I can go before I break down and say sweatshirts and exercise are just not enough.