theautolounge.net
January 20, 2018, 06:48:52 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: SMF - Just Installed!
 
  Home   Forum   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11
  Print  
Author Topic: A glimpse inside Todd's Cathouse . . .  (Read 36760 times)
Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« on: October 23, 2011, 01:43:29 AM »

I have been part of the TAL family since I made my first post on August 9, 2009.  It has occurred to me almost two years after the fact that I have yet to post anything in “The Garage.”  Sure, I have threads elsewhere relating to the car purchases I have made, (two to be exact).  I’ve also posted comments, concerns and other insignificant tidbits of information about my rides.  But I’ve never gone any further than that.  

Regular readers know that I love to talk in “story” format.  Posting a short description along with a photo or two just won’t happen with me.  I’ve decided to have a little fun with this idea and tell you a tale of how I got to where I currently sit.  And, in typical Todd fashion, what follows is an outrageous, totally excessive, way overboard glimpse inside my home, which I affectionately refer to as my “Cathouse.”

As usual, hit the restroom, grab a beverage, and find a comfy chair.  You’ll be here for a while .  .  .
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 10:51:17 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 01:43:48 AM »

My Happy Home





Regular readers will find it obvious that I’ve chosen the name “Cathouse” to describe my surroundings.  I reside in a nice older neighborhood in Athens, GA.





I’ve said previously that my back yard, although nothing really special or outstanding in content or appearance, is a place where I find calm in the otherwise train-wreck my life has become.  I can’t tell you why.  I know that I just feel good out here.





I live in this paradise with my two supervisors, Opa .  .  .





.  .  . and Topaz .  .  .





My then-wife and I rescued them in January 2010.  Since that time, it has been a pleasure serving as “staff” to meet their needs and make their every request become reality.  As supervisors, they are really great to work for.  The days aren’t too stressful.  My job is to keep their appointment calendars clear so time can be devoted to the finer things in life.








They appear to be quite satisfied with my job performance as a whole.  A moment or two of dissatisfaction does occur when the dumb human does something he's not supposed to, after which he gets summoned to the office and reminded of the official hierarchy.








I don't need a lot of space.  My now ex-wife is remarried and living on the other side of the globe.  And while Opa and Topaz consider this dwelling part of their kingdom, it is a vast kingdom, relatively speaking.  The inside of my Cathouse is definitely not what you would call "crowded."  The garage, on the other hand, is another matter .  .  .








Go Big or Go Home
The 2004 Jaguar XJ8 sedan finished in atypical Seafrost Green became part of the family on March 20, 2010 after an intense search, the details of which have been chronicled in my 2009 Car Search Thread.  I was looking for something to replace my 1998 Jaguar XJ8-L, and was immediately taken by this beautiful color.





Since that day, life with the larger of the two cats has been a wonderful experience paired with a couple of scary moments thrown in just to keep me alert.  My troubles have been limited to two ventures into Limp Mode, (one “explained,” the other “unexplained”), and a Pennsylvania winter-related air strut leakage issue, both of which have been chronicled HERE.  

But as far as actual problems are concerned, that’s it !  I perform my own routine maintenance and repairs religiously.  And aside from a Jaguar’s tendency to eat headlamp bulbs, I have no other issues to report.  The car has performed flawlessly since the November 2010 venture into Limp Mode on Interstate 85.  The one year and 12k miles that have followed since that incident, (including 3 trips to Altoona, Pennsylvania in 3 months), have accumulated 100 percent issue free.

So if you ask me how I feel now, I am very satisfied with my XJ8 despite the fact that I would not have answered that way in November 2010.  Truth be told, I have driven few cars that perform as well on the open road.  Under the hood sits the 4.2L version of Jaguar’s wonderful V-8.  The 294 hp and 303 ft-lbs of torque contained within are sufficient enough to propel this car through the quarter mile in the low 15 second range.  Yet those horses are super smooth and quiet enough not to disturb the neighbors as I am coming home from work each night at 11:30 PM.





The all-aluminum construction, (of both the engine and whole car structure itself), dual overhead cams, coil-on-plug ignition, and sophisticated powertrain management computer allow this 3,900 pound luxury car to post some amazing fuel mileage numbers.





The traditional beautifully crafted and well appointed Jaguar interior retains its top quality leather complimented by real wood on the doors and instrument panel.    





A full host of creature comforts comes standard on this car including leather, power everything, ABS, moonroof, and a CD player. Even without the optional long wheelbase, there is plenty of room for rear seat passengers.  Jaguar’s already amazing ride quality was further enhanced in 2004 with the addition of air-ride suspension at all 4 corners.  

The result of all this goodness is a car that begs to be taken on long trips.  With its combination of a heavenly ride, loads of power, and 31 mpg thriftiness, it’s hard to find a better car in which to travel.  If I had to complain about anything, the trunk is not nearly as large as you would expect from this class of car.  Although much larger than that in my ’98, (which wasn't that difficult to accomplish), the luggage compartment is seriously lacking.





But you know what ?  After 1 ½ years and 20k miles, every time I open the door, I still smell the high-end leather.  Every time I get behind the wheel and open the moonroof, I smile.  Every time I stand on the throttle, I am planted in my seat.  Every time I travel, I can go almost 600 miles on a tank of fuel.  And, since my car has been completely trouble-free for the last year, I have had absolutely no reason to complain .  .  .





Reviving Some Great Memories
Most of us know someone who doesn't just "ride" a motorcycle, but “lives to ride,” and considers experiencing the open road from atop two wheels as one of life’s simple pleasures.  A motorcycle offers a unique way to relax and unwind as well as explore the countryside.

That is precisely how I feel behind the wheel of a convertible.  I can’t pinpoint why.  But riding with the top down has done something to me for the last 25 years.  I still remember the day I brought my first car home  -  July 21, 1984.  It had bees in the trunk.  The rusted exhaust system might as well not have been there.  The stream of coolant coming from the radiator made a mess everywhere.  The hard right turns with application of the brake pedal made for interesting maneuvering in traffic.  The front tire that kept going flat limited the length of my trip.  But my 1965 Cadillac Deville Convertible ran well enough for me to enjoy the short, but somewhat scary ride home, top down of course.  I was hooked after that and haven’t looked back since.  Even my late Mom, who just shook her head when I came in the driveway, lent a hand in getting my project cleaned up.


July 21, 1984



An additional 17k miles accumulated on the odometer with me behind the wheel.  The "project" nature of the car meant that more than a few dollars was added to the total price of admission.  After 15 years of ownership, I waved goodbye as it headed to it's new home in Washington, DC on September 11, 1999, top down of course.  


September 11, 1999



I remember posing for the above picture, what I call a bittersweet moment for me.  A significant part of my life was disappearing.  But circumstances at the time dictated the sale, the proceeds of which would be used to finance the schooling for my new career.  The Greater Altoona Career & Tech Center's Automobile Technology course I enrolled in would jump start the plans my almost-wife and I had established for our future together.  I would hit the workforce as a tech while she finished her undergraduate studies.  Looking these plans and the course we plotted for our lives together, the sale of this car was “Step 1.”  This car gave me much, much more than a few smiles behind the wheel.

Fast forward 12 more years.  Life had been proceeding just fine until the calendar turned to 2011.  My Mom passed and my marriage ended in the same month, casting a somewhat dark shadow over my corner of the world.  I needed a very quick and effective mood enhancer, and turned to the one method I knew would get the job done.  I became a convertible owner again one week shy of precisely 12 years after I sold the Cadillac.


September 3, 2011



I found this 31k mile 1996 Jaguar XJS Convertible at Hilton Head Mazda.  The stunning combination of Rose Mist Clearcoat with Parchment Leather caught my eye.








Motivation comes courtesy of Jaguar’s tried and true 4.0L Inline 6-cylinder engine whose roots can be traced back to 1949.  Having to move 4,100 pounds with only 237 hp available to complete the task won’t result in any whiplash injuries.  However, the 282 ft lbs of torque has had no trouble doing its job.





The traditional Jaguar interior is present and accounted for.  The beautiful Parchment Leather has only 31k miles of wear and tear, and looks great.  The wood on the dash is real, and showing no imperfections.





While not nearly as spacious as my XJ8, Jaguar stylists and engineers made the most of what they had to work with.  I have just enough head room with the top up, (which doesn’t occur that often), plenty of leg room, and enough shoulder and hip room to be quite comfortable.  Jaguar also did a great job with the trunk.  Mounting the full-size spare tire and matching wheel vertically in the "boot" made the smallish luggage compartment substantially more usable than expected.





The back seat .  .  . well .  .  . we won’t talk about that.





It took 12 years.  But I finally found myself behind the wheel of a convertible again.  Not only was I getting a mint condition car, I was simultaneously preparing myself for a lot of intense rehabilitation therapy.  And during the first two months of my ownership, I have done just that.  The first of those rehab sessions began immediately after taking delivery in Hilton Head when I spent some time cruising around the island.


September 3, 2011



I headed to the town of Madison, GA two weeks later for the Country Road Cruiser’s Car Show.


September 18, 2011



The following weekend, I took a great cruise to the lake areas of eastern Georgia.  Lake Richard B. Russell is one of several very large recreation areas that separate Georgia and South Carolina.  I parked at the Shuck Pen Eddy Public Boat Ramp to snap a few pictures.


September 24, 2011



I love the water, not because I need to be in it, but because sitting on shore looking out over the lake and letting my mind wander is a wonderful way to relax.





Lake Richard B. Russell has a nice Visitor’s Center that provides a detailed history of the Dam, power plant, and lake area in general.





The Visitor’s Center also offers another great view of the lake.





The observation area at the Russell Dam and Power Plant just down the road from the Visitor’s Center offers some more great views.





Looking down-river from the Dam, this body of water now becomes Clarks Hill Lake.





After taking in the sights, I hopped back in the car and headed north toward Anderson, South Carolina.  This abandoned home in Lowndesville, SC caught my eye.





The Lake Hartwell Dam and recreation area sits about an hour north of the Russell Dam and Power Plant.  I parked at the Hartwell Dam Overlook and took a bunch more pictures.





The view from above the parking area is spectacular.





A short ¼ mile walk down the paved walkway takes you to the Dam .  .  .





.  .  . and another awesome view of the lake.  So far, so good for this therapy thing.





I hit a few more car shows over the next several weekends, the first of which took place in Covington, GA.


October 2, 2011



The Corvette Cruisers of Atlanta host an annual car show at Maxie Price Chevrolet in Loganville, Georgia in October.


October 8, 2011



The next day, I hit the “Cruise-in” at The Varsity restaurant in Athens.  


October 9, 2011



I've been to the monthly car shows at The Varsity quite often.  But this time, I decided to participate.  I paid my $5 entry fee and parked with the rest of the show cars.





I haven’t participated in a car show since the mid-1990s, when I still had my 1981 Corvette.  It felt good to be a participant instead of just a spectator.  And, for my efforts, I was selected as one of the Top 20, and received a plaque.





If I’ve learned anything over this past year, it’s that life continues on with or without my active participation.  I might as well make the best of it.  And “make the best of it,” I definitely shall.  Therapy sessions for 2011 will probably be ending soon as cooler weather settles in.  But spring 2012 will be here before I know it .  .  .





A Really Nice “Beater”
I've got an awesome road car, and an awesome therapy car.  But what do I do about rain and snow ?  What do I do if repairs have to be made to one or both of these cats ?

My ex-wife and I purchased a 2000 Chrysler Cirrus in January 2003 from Bedford Ford Lincoln Mercury in Bedford, Pennsylvania where I just happened to work.  We had been looking for something to replace her aging 1996 Chrysler Concorde, and stumbled upon this 12k original mile one owner Cirrus that was bought new and serviced across the parking lot at Bedford Chrysler.


January 23, 2003



Later that summer, the Cirrus made the 800 mile journey to Columbia, Missouri for graduate school.  Six years after that, it made the 700 mile journey to Athens, GA when my then-wife got a job at UGA in 2009.  Fast forward to today where my now ex-wife is now married again and living in Saudi Arabia.  Shipping the car 7,000 miles would have cost much more than what it’s worth.  But even if it didn’t, she tells me that no sane westerner would want to drive in Saudi Arabia anyways.  She gave it to me before she left Athens, something I really appreciate.


October 22, 2011



Thanks to her relocation, and the fact that we really have parted as good friends with no ill feelings toward each other, I now have a car for “normal” use.  On rainy days, during the occasional snow event, or at any other in appropriate weather condition, I am covered.  If I have to order Jaguar parts off the web, wait for them to arrive, and then initiate a major project to install them, no worries.  But best of all, if I happen to come across a collector car or another convertible, and feel the urge to trade the XJ8, I can do it.  

But more importantly  -  and I don’t know if she thought about this at the time  -  giving me the Cirrus allowed me to buy the convertible I view as “therapy,” which I really needed after my Mom’s passing and our divorce.  Having a “normal” car in the garage effectively removed any conditions regarding daily driving and reliability from the search process.

Around 57,000 miles have been added to the Cirrus odometer over the last 9 years of ownership, bringing the total to 69k.  This car was my ex-wife’s transportation to and from work and school.  It did get some highway duty on occasion, including one trip to Pennsylvania in August 2006.  But for the most part, the car has stayed local, wherever “local” happened to be at the time.  

It has also remained in mint condition, thanks to rigorous maintenance and servicing.  The oil has been changed every 3,000 miles.  The paint and interior are still beautiful.  The a/c blows ice cold.  And everything works the way it did when it was new.  In reality, this car is way too nice to be called a “beater.”

I do feel bad about one thing.  After all those years in a nice garage, the Cirrus now spends its days and nights outside.





Hopefully, I can motivate myself to keep up with washing and waxing in order to preserve it.





Epilogue
And so ends the tour of Todd’s Cathouse.  As usual, I have gone completely overboard.  But I hope everyone enjoyed the read.  I’ll update this thread as circumstances dictate.  As of right now, the only change that would be made is if I can find an actual collector car at a dealer that will take my XJ8 in on trade.  If that happens, I’ll post it here.

Thanks for reading .  .  .
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 11:43:01 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Scooby
Senior Member
****
Posts: 317



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 06:57:16 AM »

as always, a great read....you know, the way that therapy car therapies you, you reads kinda therapy me....its just so relaxing.....I also love those places you've visited, the dam and lakes....i wish our country was so divers...Sad....

this also reminds me...i need to open a "Garage" thread of my own....
Logged
Fluxx
Grand Master
******
Posts: 1901


Lasciate Ogni Speranza


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 10:35:24 AM »

I love your place, immigrating to Nevada has really made me miss having trees.
Logged
mrs-michelle
Master
*****
Posts: 705



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 02:22:38 PM »

I read every word. And I felt like I was sitting next to you, listening to your story. Until the baby woke up, and brought me back to reality.  Smiley

Driving any car has always been "therapy" for me. Something I cannot even describe.

I cant wait to hear more updates.
Logged

MayberrySS
Grand Master
******
Posts: 1511


RIP 98 Z28!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 04:18:57 PM »

Very interesting view of your life with your cats and home. I feel that you have quite the life of enjoying what so many people take for granted or simply overlook and miss. Very clean cars!
Logged


2001 Camaro SS H/C/I/E
Sting Ray
Master
*****
Posts: 656


Resident Beanpole


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2011, 04:36:49 PM »

Finally got the Cathouse name. 2 cats + 2 Jaguars.

Very funny.
Logged

"Every second I'm talking to you is another second I'm not at Waffle House." - Wayne Chism
RatherBNarizona
Master
*****
Posts: 990



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2011, 10:30:09 PM »

Good stuff, as always
Logged

Mac
Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2011, 11:52:50 PM »

Thanks everyone !  I'm glad you enjoyed the read .  .  .





as always, a great read....you know, the way that therapy car therapies you, you reads kinda therapy me....its just so relaxing.....I also love those places you've visited, the dam and lakes....i wish our country was so divers...Sad....

this also reminds me...i need to open a "Garage" thread of my own....

Thank you very much for the kind words.  I'm glad you get some actual use from my writings.  Relaxation is, indeed, a good thing.  I've got a bunch of stuff I want to post.  The problem is that I just can't get it done in a timely manner.





I love your place, immigrating to Nevada has really made me miss having trees.

Thanks Ian !  I think I have an idea of what you mean by your comment about "trees."  In 2007, my ex-wife had to attend a conference in San Francisco.  We decided to take some extra time and see the sights.  We toured San Fran after the conference, flew to Los Angeles and spent a couple of days there, and then took the Lux Bus from Anaheim to Las Vegas.  If I remember right, we spent something like 4 hours on Interstate 15 traveling through the High Desert.  It became clear why that area is called the "High Desert."





This is, pretty much, all that we saw on our way to Las Vegas.





Not exactly the most hospitable terrain .  .  .





We did see a few trees here and there.  Not a lot of them, but there were a few scattered throughout the journey.





Don't get me wrong.  There was some scenery, not a whole lot, but some .  .  .





Actually, this looks like fun !








I read every word. And I felt like I was sitting next to you, listening to your story. Until the baby woke up, and brought me back to reality.  Smiley

Driving any car has always been "therapy" for me. Something I cannot even describe.

I cant wait to hear more updates.

Thanks Michelle !  I'll update this thread as circumstances dictate.  I also have a whole bunch of stuff I want to put to print, which I'm working on.  I'm glad you enjoyed the read .  .  .





Very interesting view of your life with your cats and home. I feel that you have quite the life of enjoying what so many people take for granted or simply overlook and miss. Very clean cars!

Thanks Derek !  You're exactly right  -  despite everything that has taken place this year, my life is good.  My goal is to always keep this vital piece of information close by and easily accessible .  .  .





Finally got the Cathouse name. 2 cats + 2 Jaguars.

Very funny.



"Thank you, thank you very much !  I'll be here all week .  .  ."





Good stuff, as always

Thanks Ryan.  Glad you enjoyed it .  .  .
Logged

Fox
Guest
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 12:15:05 AM »

Very inspirational post!

I don't know whats wrong with me, but the Chrysler (see picture) doesn't look to pleased being left outside the garage.  Cheesy
Logged
irish evo6's
Master
*****
Posts: 680



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 12:25:03 AM »

Thats what i was thinking when i saw it. The design of the lights and the way its parked makes it look like quite the envious car. Great read todd. Cant wait for some of these topics your working on. Im sure they will be a very interesting read as always.
Logged



"when the world says 'give up', hope whispers 'try one more time'"
Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2011, 10:54:20 PM »

Very inspirational post!

I don't know whats wrong with me, but the Chrysler (see picture) doesn't look to pleased being left outside the garage.  Cheesy


Thats what i was thinking when i saw it. The design of the lights and the way its parked makes it look like quite the envious car. Great read todd. Cant wait for some of these topics your working on. Im sure they will be a very interesting read as always.


Hmmmm.  A scenario I had not considered previously.  I wonder if I should be watching my back .  .  .








lmao


Thanks guys !  I'm glad you enjoyed it.  I'm trying to get my act together and get some other stuff posted .  .  .
Logged

Imran
So nice to meet you.
Global Moderator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 2506


So nice to meet you.


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 10:42:36 PM »

First off, that was a great read!

Second, I don't know about you but I loved driving for a bunch of hours from L.A. to San Fran back in 2010, because I absolutely love mountains as I have said hundreds of times before. I would take mountains over tree's and flat swamp land/forests any day, which is all that is Houston/Sugar Land lol
Logged
Sting Ray
Master
*****
Posts: 656


Resident Beanpole


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 10:50:59 PM »

I agree on the mountains, except Pennsylvania. I've driven through that state 3 times while actually driving, and at least 50 other times as a passenger.

Those mountains are dead to me. And always under construction...
Logged

"Every second I'm talking to you is another second I'm not at Waffle House." - Wayne Chism
03_TrueBlue_GT
Grand Master
******
Posts: 1834


Doug


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2011, 11:13:20 PM »

I thought by cat house you meant nekkid ladies and I didnt see none...









 Grin

Great read Todd as usual your journalistic side is very good! I wish I could write that well...
Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 11
  Print  
 
Jump to:  


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.2 © 2008-2009
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!