Danny & Family

Just Some Random Stories About Me and My Family

Friday, June 27, 2008

Commute to Work - Day Two

Well I stuck with my plan to take the bus at least once a week.  That's right, I didn't give up and go back to driving my car every day.  And depending on my schedule, I might even be able to ride the bus twice a week later in July and August.

This week's ride was almost out of necessity.  On the way home from work Wednesday, my car started overheating.  Steam was billowing out from under the hood.  I reduced my speed for the rest of the trip home, but when it started looking worse (the gauge kept climbing) I parked the car and walked the rest of the way home.  I was only two blocks away by then, so no biggie.

So this week my bus trip was on "Ride Share Thursday".  That's what I hear it called on TV and the radio.  Well the trip was noticeably more crowded on the first two buses.  Since my car had given me trouble the night before, I got a ride from my next-door-neighbor to my starting bus stop.  That first bus, a Norwalk Transit bus, was picking up more passengers along the way than what I observed last week.  I also rode it one stop further than last time because I discovered that the next bus stop is shaded.  Either of these two stops will allow me to catch my second bus.  I would rather sit in the shade than in the morning sun - especially on the way to work.   On the way home I wouldn't care.

When I got onto my second bus, a Metro bus, my intention was to purchase a one-day pass, which would allow me to ride the rest of the day on Metro without paying any more fares.  Well the machine that takes dollar bills was broken, so the driver allowed me to ride for free.  (Not just me, everyone who needed to purchase a fare using bills).  There were passengers with bus passes, and some who paid with coins, but they were not affected.  So when I got to my next bus stop, I just paid for a one-time fare for that last bus that would take me to work.  I figured that I would need to pay 3 one-time fares for the rest of my day, including the ride home.  That worked out to less money than if I were to have bought a one-day pass.

Things got even better on the way home, because the first bus I got on ended it's route before I reached my destination.  This was my oversight for getting onto this bus; I should have waited for the next one which continues further east on the same route.  The bus driver graciously gave me a one-day pass for free so that I could continue my trip when the next bus came along.  So my net cost on Metro yesterday was $2.50 (instead of $5.00).  I'll put that towards the cost of fixing my car, which my mechanic estimated today at just over $300.  Oh well, at least I feel better about doing the right thing by taking the bus.  Maybe I'll bring my camera on the next trip.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Dump the Pump

Did you Dump the Pump on Thursday? You know, leave your car behind and use some kind of public transportation to commute to and from work or school. Did you even know there was a public awareness program to do so? I didn't hear much about it before hand, and I watch the news daily. I heard more about it after the fact.

Well I don't feel guilty about not participating - because I took the bus to work on Wednesday! Yes, that's right. I've taken the first steps into a Greener world, and I survived. I feel good because it was the right thing to do, and I saved some money (on gas) and wear and tear on my car. I also avoided some stress on myself, and it really only cost me some extra time.

Just in case you don't believe me, here's my bus pass for Wednesday, June 18:

Allow me to share a little background. 1. Gas prices have been rising for a while now. 2. The company I work for has a Green Initiative, and has recently been promoting ways to conserve energy and otherwise do things that are good for the environment. 3. Gas prices have been rising for a while now. 4. One of my colleagues at work was tasked with something regarding the Green Initiative, and felt it was important that she also personally participate in public transportation. She provided me and other employees with information and feedback regarding her commute to work using the bus. 5. Gas prices have been rising for a while now. 6. I decided to give the bus a try.

Months ago, I commented on someones blog in response to their topic of taking the bus to work. I think I said that it wouldn't be feasible for me because I would have to take several buses and it would take a couple of hours. Well after researching numerous bus lines, routes and timetables; I found a route that worked for me. It only costs me $6.20 in bus fares, and takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to my office. The down size is that I have to leave a little earlier and arrive little later than normal, and there's the possibility that I will miss a connecting bus. That will further delay me.

The up side is that I am saving money. When I drive my car to work, it's 16 miles one way, and takes me 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic volume. My unofficial conservative estimate on gas mileage for my car is 15 miles to the gallon. At JUST $4.60 per gallon, I figure it's costing me at least $9.00 per day to drive to work, + wear and tear on my car, + stress from all the A-holes on the road.

So for now I'm saving about $3.00 per day, and I'm only getting home about a half hour later than normal. Not too bad, and worth it to me. More stories of future commutes to follow with pictures, of course. All my best, Danny.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Hi everyone. It's been nearly 6 months since I've posted anything on this site. I guess I never really went away. I stopped reading blogs for about a month, and then slowly started reading blogs that I've always liked to visit, and finally dropping comments on them again. I've posted occasionally on my off-road club site, but those posts were few and far between - until recently. And I'll be posting there more often over the next couple of months as I share pictures of our last club outing.

I figured it was time to post something on this - my family blog site, and why not in honor of Father's Day? After all, I'm a father, and I should be able to do anything I want to . . . today. It's also a day that, in the past, I've posted something in honor of my father, Carlos Aguirre, or as everyone in my family affectionately called him: Papa Kirk. If you care to read my earlier post, posted on Father's Day
2006, it was dedicated to him.

In another post, not having anything to do with Father's Day, but one that was also about my father, reader
LA wrote me a nice comment, to which I replied and promised a story about how Papa Kirk got his nick name. Here's that Earlier Post in it's entirety, and here are the comments I just referred to:

LA - "Bittersweet indeed. Anniversaries are hard, but it's nice to memorialize our loved ones. That's a sweet picture of you and your children."

"Sometime will you explain why you called your dad Papa Kirk even though his name was Carlos?"

Me - "LA, I'd love to share the story of how the name Kirk came about. It will be in a future post."

Here's the story:

When my dad was born, he was named Carlos. In his young adult years, he hung around with a group of friends. They were the ones who called him Kirk. I really don't know why, and neither does my mom. My mom met my dad after this nickname came about, and my dad's family had a different nickname for him: Chali. (Chali, roughly translates from Spanish to English as Charlie.) So no big mystery, his nickname Kirk came from his friends; the boys he used to hang with before he met my mom, more than 50 years ago. Here's a picture of them:

My Papa Kirk is the short one in the middle of the back row. Sorry for the quality of this photo. It's a digital image of a restored photo. Here is a close up of him thanks to the zoom feature on our digital camera:
Now the "Papa" part of Papa Kirk came about after my parents met and got married. Their first child, my older sister Diana, is responsible for the "Papa". When Diana was learning to talk, she added that to his name. Similarly, she added "Mama" to our mom's name, Norma. To this day, my mom is referred to as Mama Norma by all of her kids, grand kids, and many nieces and nephews. And up until his death in 2000, and in fond memory of his life, my dad was and is referred to as Papa Kirk.

If you're a father, I hope you had a great Father's Day. (I did). If your father is still with you, I hope you wished him a Happy Father's Day. And if your father is no longer with you, I hope you thought of him today. Thanks for stopping by and reading this. All my best, Dan.

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