Sunday, June 08, 2008

Lifes little challenges and rising costs

I've been quite busy the past month. I've changed jobs, moving from SPARTA to MITRE. And the day before I started with MITRE (June 2), my wife went into the hospital to have her left knee operated on again for the second time in a year.

Judy had been in the hospital earlier in March due to a raging infection that pushed her temperature to 103F for days on end. They got it back under control, and traced the infection to her first knee replacement she'd been given in June of 2007. For whatever reason staph became lodged in the knee and had lain dormant it seems until March, when it started to exert itself. For the second operation we went to a different hospital and a different doctor. What makes it worse for Judy is this is not the permanent prosthesis. She has to go back for a third procedure in three to six months for the permanent second joint.

She went in on Sunday June 1, and I brought her home the afternoon of Thursday June 5. Today I'm preparing to pack my bags and travel up to McLean, Virginia, and the headquarters of MITRE Inc. Because of our prior experience with this procedure we knew what to do and she's in much better shape out of surgery this time than she was the first. My oldest is home and will help keep an eye on her while I'm on travel. And of course there are the neighbors who are aware and will help out if needed.

With all that happening I almost blinked and missed the $75 dollars in gas I put in my car Saturday. At a local BP station selling regular for $3.83, I finally hit $75 for a fillup when I put in 19.5 gallons of gas. And it stopped at $75 because the limit is built-in to the pump, not because I stopped. I drive a 2003 Kia Sorento, a 'compact' SUV. Compact means it fits well on the road with regular cars and gets about 20 miles/gallon average (24 when I'm on the highway). The car will be six years old in August, and it's been paid for now for the last two years. In fact all my cars are paid for, for which I am extremely grateful. But the one action I had hopped to put off until 2009, the purchase of a new car because of rising gas prices, has arrived a good six months earlier than expected.

And with today's headlines now screaming that nationwide the average price of gas hit $4/gallon, and the $10 spike in oil prices last Friday, it's going to get even more interesting as the prices keep rising. High energy prices impact everything. It's not just gas, but food and electricity for the house, and just about everything else in our society. Our society is based on cheap plentiful energy, and it's now become quite apparent that it's gotten expensive and constrained. Just in time for the Bush administration to bow out and for the Republicans to begin to snipe in earnest at how it's the Democrats who are at fault for all our energy woes.

My next car? Either a Toyota Prius or a Honda Fit (a.k.a. Jazz overseas). I tend towards the Honda because a base unit is nearly $10,000 cheaper. With a good down payment dropping the car note even lower, I can pay for a new car and afford to put gas in it for what I'm now paying just for gas. And that's the tipping point. As for the lowest priced Honda, it's because I'm in no mood to buy gilded automotive lilies any more. I just need an efficient base machine with air conditioning for Florida and I'm all set. And yes, I can comfortably fit my 6' 4" frame into the driver's seat of the Honda. So we'll see. There are bound to be other life-style changes over the next few years, such as moving back into the city and using more mass transit. Unfortunately mass transit in Orlando is a joke, and the Florida legislature just killed further funding for a light-rail system here in Orlando.

Links

Oil price to slow world economy
Energy ministers discuss fears of soaring oil prices
Oil price crisis: world powers trade blame, skirt responsibility
Surge in oil prices leaves economy facing stagflationary shock
Japan, U.S. agree to cooperate on methane hydrates
Oil hike sparks 'serious concern'
It's the Platform, Stupid: Baby steps are the way to energy independence.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sir:

    I hope your wife will recover nicely from this surgery.

    Prices on gas will still raise until there is a new goverment. Remember that Cheney's friends have just a couple of month to make a big diffrence so they are do it in full thrtle. They don't care and this goverment doesn't care neither.

    Good luck in your new job.

    Regarding Mass transportation, tyhe situation is a joke all over the USA besides the big cities like NY or Chicago, I don't know the situation in Boston.

    The system is not built to be used. The city you are going to visit, Mc Lean Va, is the poster of inefficiency in mass transportation.

    I hope the the raise of the price of tyhe gas, plus the raising recesion, will make those people up there to change their mind.

    ReplyDelete

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