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Other People’s Mail

July 23, 2005

Walking up the driveway last night looking at the mail I’d just taken out of the box at the curb, I was about to flip past a big postcard for Mr. Karen when I noticed that the pickup truck pictured in the greyed-out background behind the address looked like an electric vehicle; I thought I saw the little door in the grill covering the outlet for the plug. I looked closer; it was indeed an EV. Of course, then I just had to turn the card over and read what it said, even though it wasn’t addressed to me. I mean, really, if it was so secret, it wouldn’t be on a postcard, right?

I thought maybe it would be a survey for former EV owners (well, lessees, anyway) or perhaps an invitation to a reunion, but it was much better than that–there’s going to be a lottery. Former EV leaseholders are eligible to enter, and the prize is the opportunity to purchase a pre-owned electric Ranger, just like the one we had to turn in in fall of 2003 when we couldn’t get another lease extension. (Well, ours was new when we got it, not pre-owned, but they’re all used now because there aren’t any more being made.) I immediately thought, “Oh, yes–we need to enter this.” Now that I’ve slept on it, I think, “Oh, yes–we need to enter this. Definitely.”

The opportunity to pay thousands of dollars seems like a rather odd thing to want to win, but it would be so very cool to have an EV again. No need to stop at a gas station to refuel at 2-something a gallon; we’d just plug it in to the charger we’ve still got mounted in the garage. We take plenty of short trips that the EV is perfect for. I just checked the map still pinned to the laundry room wall with the lines Mr. Karen drew on it showing the summer and winter ranges; if we had an EV now, I could have driven it to Nia class this morning. I wonder if we could get an eye-catching green one like we used to have. Probably not, but I’d take one in any hue. That should tell you right there how much I want one–I’m usually picky about color.

Mr. Karen is gone on a kayaking trip so he doesn’t know about the lottery yet. Will he be as excited as I am? Will he agree we should enter or will I have to persuade him? He liked the EV, so I won’t have to convince him on the overall coolness of having one, but there are practical issues to consider, too. I’m not too concerned about the purchase price. We don’t have a new vehicle in our plan for this year, but this is a special case, and I’m sure we could get a loan, at least if the number of pre-approved credit card offers I get in the mail every week is any indication. I’m also not worried about getting service for it (though maybe I should be; Mr. K will have more insight into that than I do). I figure even if the dealer where we used to take it doesn’t handle them anymore, we do live in the Motor City so should be able to find someplace around here to get maintenance.

I do have some reservations, though. I don’t know if the charger they installed for Mr. Karen at work is still there, for one thing. If not, that would somewhat limit our use of the EV, since he couldn’t drive it to work in the winter. And what about insurance? When we leased it, the insurance came with the lease, so I don’t know how much it would cost to get coverage. Does the electric-ness matter from our insurer’s perspective? Do they even have it on their schedules to quote us a price? Logically, it should cost less insure than our non-electric vehicles, since the need to recharge means we can’t drive it as many miles in a year and so are less likely to get into an accident, plus thieves probably would pass it by once they saw the odd setup (and even if they did steal it, they’d run the battery down before they could get too far away and I can’t imagine there’s a big market for stolen EV parts even if they did make it to a chop shop). But I don’t know if the insurance company will see it that way, though; they may want to charge more because it’s exotic or something.

One last worry–to enter, one has to provide the vehicle identification number of the EV one leased (so they can verify eligibility). Do we have that number? We have a filing cabinet full of paperwork of all sorts, but does any of it have the VIN for the EV? If not, could we get it somewhere else? The dealer, maybe? It would be so frustrating to have that one little piece of information keep me from my EV.

There’s also the chance we won’t win the lottery, but I can’t control that. I wonder how many prizes they’re going to award; it could be there will be enough that everyone who enters will get picked. Too bad there’s not an essay portion of the application where I could impress the committee with how much we want to win. (Ideally, I’d convince Mr. Karen to do the essay, since he’s a better writer than I am.) How many people will enter? I don’t know, but I do know if we don’t get our entry in by August 31, we definitely won’t win. The drawing is on September 23rd, but if I’m reading the postcard right, we won’t necessarily know if we’ve won until sometime after that, when we’ll get a letter that a vehicle is available, at which time we’ll have 15 days to complete the purchase. The lottery is scheduled to expire December 31, 2006. 2006! That’s forever away. I hope they don’t make me wait that long.


One year ago, I’d just written about quilty things and had no immediate follow-up to that. I’d like to do another round of that block swap to get more variety (and use up more of my scraps).

Two years ago, I was taking a rest between my first and second post-surgery entries. At this point, I’m about 95% certain having the hysterectomy was the right choice; the doubt creeps in when I see the still-ugly scar on my belly.

Three years ago, I was wishing other people would be more considerate. Re-reading that, I wonder what things I do that make other people feel that same way.

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