The cash for clunkers program was made for someone like me. My hand-me-down 1994 Mercury Villager minivan just barely qualified for the program by 1 mpg. I had always been contempt with my loveable clunker as I don’t drive very much. But when I started hearing hissing sounds when driving around in my van, I knew the cash for clunkers was the ideal way out. Unfortunately I came to this realization the week before the cash for clunkers program was scheduled to end.
Russell saying his final goodbye to his old minivan.
Cutting it close is an understatement as I was finally able to land a deal on Saturday morning, August 22nd. The cash for clunkers program officially ended two days later but many dealers were stopping Saturday night. Russel Toyota (no relation) was able to get me a Pacific Blue Rav4 that was in transit but still qualified for a $4,500 discount. Needless to say I jumped on the offer as every dealer within 100 miles was absolutely sold out of Rav4s.
I signed the paperwork, handed over the keys to my clunker, and updated my insurance in a 4 hour process. Since I no longer had a car, and my new one wasn’t there yet, the dealer gave me a loaner.
A Toyota Camry hybrid was my temporary ride until my Rav4 came in.
The loaner car was nice with leather seats and a built-in GPS system, but there were a few quirks. I was happy to part with the loaner car once my Rav4 was ready. Kristina and I picked it up last night just as the sun was setting.
The first morning home with the new car.
I’m happy I came out on top and I love my new car. The van did have one feature that I do miss: it was paid off!
This past Sunday Kristina and I visited the Brookside Gardens in Glenmont, Maryland. The park is a mere mile from our apartment so we enjoyed a brisk walk there. The last time we visited was almost exactly one year ago but this time we decided to check out the Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit. I lugged my big macro lens around to get some close-up shots. I ended up taking close to 600 by the end of the day.
Stepping into the butterfly habitat was overwhelming as it was impossible to avoid groups of butterflies zig zagging all over. Some would even perch on your shoulder. Places like this are great to practice macro photography. Here are some of my shots.
After an hour of dodging various winged creatures (and packs of people for that matter) we decided to continue on outside. There was plenty of different wildlife hanging out around the pond. Like this family of turtles…
We found a tree that was a caterpillar hotel. This one was chowing down on a green leaf.
The highlight of our day was spotting this Great Blue Heron up close. I stalked it for a long time and managed to snap 200 pictures just of this guy alone.
Of course we had to take a picture of just the two of us. In the background to the left is the Japanese Teahouse on the other side of the pond.
We had a great day visiting an exhibit we had never seen before, getting plenty of exercise in, and even enjoying our packed picnic lunch in the Japanese Teahouse that Kristina packed for us. It was just what we needed to get a break from the wedding planning.
Last Saturday I picked out and purchased my wedding dress at Brides Against Breast Cancer.Â Brides Against Breast Cancer is a non-profit organization that sells discounted wedding dresses to benefit the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation.Â I was able to not only find my wedding dress there, but I found a veil and tiara to match. I found out about the event in an article in The Washington Times which went on to explain “Brides Against Breast Cancer gowns typically sell for $400 to $800, a fraction of the retail price. Some gowns are worth as much as $8,000 … Many brides are looking for a deal, as well as a way to help someone. “Â Finding my wedding dress is truly the icing on my wedding cake. Oh yeah cake … I still have a lot more planning to do!
This is just half of the dresses they brought to the event at The Westin Hotel in Arlington, VA.
This is my Mom getting my dress, veil and tiara! The man in the back is putting my dress in the protective cover! NO peeking!
I got my wedding dress and we helped Brides Against Breast Cancer! ( From Left to Right: Me, my Mom and Dad)
Every 4th of July Kristina and I venture to Ocean City, Maryland, to hang out with friends and spend time on the beach. It has been a tradition dating back at least 5 years. This year we did lots of different things.
In the morning bike riders are welcome on the boardwalk so Kristina and I rented some bikes and took a stroll from 28th street to the beginning of the boardwalk and back. It took us just under an hour.
Every year we hang out and play with some family friends on the beach. I was in the middle of digging a really deep hole with the youngest one, Gracie.
Kristina and I tried our hand at boogie boarding though it was hit or miss. Taking this picture sure was easy though.
One night we watched the cops tow away a car whose alarm was going off every 5 minutes all night long. The owner eventually came out after it was hooked up to the tow truck. The tow truck took a half-an-hour to turn around in the small street. The car owner didn’t look to happy but we were all cheering from the balcony.
All you can eat crab feast at the Crab Bag. I ordered a steak and was finished before anyone got their first plate of crabs.
Group picture of the gang after gorging crabs.
Before heading out to the fireworks we had to take a patriotic picture on the porch of Katie Emery’s beach house. From left to right (Katie Emery, Ben Miller, Pammy Smith, Kristina Naude, Russell Heimlich)
One of my favorite parts of the trip was lounging around on the grass waiting for darkness to fall so the fireworks could begin.
This was one of the few years in recent memories that the weather cooperated for the fireworks. They were mesmorizing as they exploded in the sky especially the grand finale.
We certainly had a great getaway filled with friends and fun. I can’t wait for what is in store for next year.