Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Attacking the Problem

I'm not sure whether anyone else has noticed, but the price of gas has gotten a little out of hand.

We have to address the crazy price of fuel somehow, but my coupon scissors are rusty. And who am I kidding? Coupons cannot dent this behemoth machine. Inflationary gas laughs in the face of flimsy newsprint 25-cent-off deals. Our fuel bill this month? $1334. No, I did not misplace a decimal.

Sarah suggested that the EGE might want to ride a horse to work. This could prove to be a good idea. I can see him now: calculator in one hand, reins in another, khakis astride a saddle, 19-inch laptop cleverly balanced on the horn.

The only real question is how to get the field crews out of their diesel-guzzling SUV rigs and onto horseback too. All the guys on the crew are outdoorsy -- maybe that's why they work on the field crew. It shouldn't be a far leap to equestrian surveying and engineering. I spy a new niche market. (Or not. I just had a mental picture of one of the 300-pound liberally tattooed guys tromping through brush while holding a big yellow tripod on horseback. Not exactly King Arthur's court.)

When we were 20-something newlyweds, kidless and fancy free, my husband and I drove 1966 Chevy Malibus. The cars were 20-something too, and super cool. Like salt and pepper shakers, his was gunmetal gray and mine was pearl white. They got approximately two miles to the gallon, but we looked goo-ood going down the road. At one point the EGE even told me that I needed to have more "attitude" in order to drive his muscle car coupe (mine was the four-door).

These days the EGE drives a sensible black sedan and I drive the oft-chronicled big white beast of a Suburban. Still like salt-and-pepper shakers. However, no one gets whiplash off a stop sign and no one flags us down on the interstate wanting to buy our cars.

But we only get marginally better than the two miles per gallon of our youth. Of course, at that point, gas was closer to one dollar a gallon than five. Sigh.

Back in the day (feeling older with each keystroke), the EGE was still in school, and I was a cub reporter at a daily paper. We earned about as much per hour as it took to buy a gallon of gas. Our rent on a quaint riverfront cottage was $225 per month. The EGE mowed and did yard work for our landlords to offset some of that. I swear we used to cruise the aisles of the grocery store, Sherm's Thunderbird Market, dreaming of the day we could afford name-brand groceries. My mother used to ship huge care packages of dry goods to the starving students, otherwise known as us.

These days, I cruise the perimeters of the grocery store once a month, plant a huge garden, avoid name brands and packaged goods like the costly plague they are, and dream of filling the gas tank for less than $150. And my secondary dream is feeding the horses for less than it costs to feed my children. This is why Sarah's suggestion of a mounted engineer was brilliant.

I can see us entering a whole new chapter of our lives, horseback and living off the land. Who needs a Suburban when I have a double jogging stroller and internet access? Really. This will teach those darn oil companies a lesson.


Barb said...

Um, can we borrow a horse?

Chickie Momma said...

The term Malibus. I wasn't sure at first what a Malibus was - I even got asked by another frequent reader of your blog but I was stumped. So, naturally I had to come here to read it in context (which I would have done eventually anyway) but then I was really stumped. It appeared to be something car-like, so I asked Mr Nice Guy - who is the smartest when it comes to cars. Especially old Chevrolet type cars. And the look on his face was strange, but believeable, and he said it was when you made your car into a bus. Now why would you do that?

farm suite said...

A Chevy Malibu is a hot rod. Ours were factory, not lowered or souped up or anything. Not buses. They sort of looked like GTOs. Am I the only one married to a car geek? He's been into vintage BMWs for a decade or so now. They're little and foreign and cost lots to fix, but they don't get great gas mileage either.

Anonymous said...

i think my hubby would like to ride a horse to work.. i might have to suggest that to him! lol
great post.. and yes gas ack!!!!

Farm Chick said...

Letter to the Editor:

In reading your post concerning the "Chevy Malibus", I think the terminology were looking for is Malibi and not the Mali-bus....As per previous discussions with other car loving readers we have decided

that you have an apostrophereical error.


farm suite said...

We drove Malibi?!?

You are cracked.

In a good way, but still...