Wednesday, March 11, 2009

book report- The Tender Bar by J.R.Moehringer

This is a memoir that I picked up on sale at Barnes and Noble. I let the book sit for quite a while before I finally opened it up, and then when I did open it, I had trouble putting it down. If you look it up on Amazon, you will see it gets some pretty good reviews. I just bought it on a whim though, and had no clue how good a read it would be.

A story about a man who grows up without knowing his dad, a single mom having trouble making ends meet, abusive family members, and not a great start in life. Then Uncle Charlie is asked to help out, and takes him to the beach with his drinking buddies. The highlights of a young boy's life, learning from these men, and idolizing the bar. Only after graduating from Yale, and having a long period of not really advancing his career, does he realize the strongest man of all is his mom. She is the picture of endurance, of ever lasting love, of working even when you're tired and never giving up. It's not the guys in the bar. It's the mother, the grandmother, and those quiet ones you never paid much attention to. Like Joey D., talking to his mouse.

The epilogue was nice too. I've been a bit overwhelmed at times concerning things regarding 9-11, but his tie-in was well done, and relevant. While he was only one of a few fatherless boys growing up, there is now a whole lot of them in certain neighborhoods in New Jersey and New York thanks to the tragedy that day. Sad, but true, and hopefully the widows and community have come together to help raise those kids as a village should, could, and can.

I'm taking a writing class now, and my last class we talked about "specifics". This story did a great job of the specifics. I could see the bar in my mind, picture the main road with the bar on one end and the church on the other. I saw the duct-taped furniture of grandpa's house, and I could picture Gilgo beach although I've never been there. A great read! I definitely recommend it. It's not a new book, published around 2005 or 2006, but look it up if you like memoirs.

We got the new car! (and health update along the way)

Well after a full day of car shopping on Saturday, we were still not convinced. We had not found our "dream car". DH was determined though. We talked, hemmed, and considered our options on Sunday. Then on Monday he got back on the computer, and did some more digging.

Meanwhile, I wasn't getting better healthwise. I was exhausted on Saturday when we were done, and I spent much of Sunday on the couch trying to stay awake. Monday morning I called the doctor. Breathing was becoming an issue. No appointments were available, so I slogged off to "Urgent care" at lunchtime. They kept me waiting for an hour. and then more. Meanwhile DH was still on the car hunt. I spent the whole afternoon dealing with x-rays, breathing tests, and coughing and gasping for air. When I was all done, I was told to go to the hospital if I got any worse, but they weren't sending me to the hospital in an ambulance. I was handed a fistful of prescriptions, and sent on my way after a nebulizer treatment which only seemed to make breathing worse. I picked up DH from work, and he announced we were going to Keene to get a new car. We picked up Abby, and by then it was snowing. A long snowy ride up Route 63 and then Route 10 to Keene.

The dealership closed at 7pm, and we got up there a bit after 6pm. We stayed until after 8pm, and finally left in our old Accord. We hadn't finalized the financing in this meeting, so we had to leave the pretty blue Element in the dealer lot. A stop at McDonald's for a late, late supper, and then a long ride back to Massachusetts, still snowing. Abby finally fell asleep in the car sometime after 10pm, poor kid. I went to Greenfield to get the prescriptions filled, and then we finally made it home sometime after 11pm.

Tuesday morning was a little rough. We were all exhausted, and we had a repairman coming to the house at 8am. I told work I was going to be out sick, but later went in anyway. I let Abby sleep as long as possible since the repairguy was coming. Aaron dealt with him. We need to spend $200-$300 on a new water pump. Oh joy! Got Abby to school by 9:30am, and DH and I barely made it to work at 10am. I went to a meeting, and then finally made it to my desk downstairs. Wasn't there long, and then just before I headed off to class DH called to say the financing was set, and we were going up to Keene again. We decided to leave Abby in school for this trip, and as soon as my class was over, we headed back north again. This time when we left the dealership it was in our 2007 Honda Element, with remote car starter! I felt so guilty saying goodbye to the Accord. I know it's not going to the crusher though. Someone will give it the love and repairs it needs and hopefully it will see many more winters, but boy do I feel like a heel for throwing in the towel on her. She was a comfy ride for over 5 years. We got her just a few months after we got married. My first car loan. Sigh. Now I'm begging DH to try to keep the old plates. I hope we can get the paperwork straightened out to make it happen. I've had my dear 4646AI plates since ...? my first car? My second car? not sure. A long time. I hope I don't have to part with them now. It's the only bit of my old cars that I have left.

Abby didn't like the new car at first. Like us, she was sad to see the old one go. I did my best to explain that cars aren't forever, and some day this new one will be gone too. And then maybe she can have a green one again, or maybe red or yellow or who knows....

Anyway, the Element is pretty. Like a younger woman, she's very cute and charming. She has a remote car starter, a cd player, and 4 wheel drive. I like driving her so far, sitting up high, seeing the road. Abby will like the sun/moon roof I think, especially in the summertime. It was a good trade, and I hope the Element lasts as long or longer as the Accord did. God knows the loan might outlive us all! :-)