Next year, it’s going to cost us almost $1,000 to renew our car registration for one year. The actual amount is estimated at $950. That’s insane. There is something called the Sound Transit RTA tax. It’s an excise tax calculated on the MSRP of each car that is within the Sound Transit zone. This zone covers the most populous part of Washington. Currently, we live a few miles outside that zone. When we move, we will be just inside its border.

Our state has no income tax. All of our taxation is regressive. We have high state and county sales tax. It’s 10% in our current county. Gasoline taxes are among the highest in the US. Gas is over $5 a gallon here. Where we are moving, gas is a more reasonable $3.50 a gallon.

We drive a plug-in hybrid vehicle. It runs on battery power for about thirty miles and then goes to hybrid mode. I think we have the best choice to reduce emissions under current conditions. Our state realized that people like us don’t buy as much gas. Isn’t that a good thing? Nope. It cuts back on gas tax revenue. So, our state government added a $150 charge to our annual registration to make up for the gas we aren’t buying. We also pay more because part of the cost of registering a car is based on its weight. Batteries make a car heavier. The state of Washington penalizes people who are trying to help the environment. A gas-guzzling, 6,000-pound pickup is exempt from the RTA tax and pays no surcharges like we do.

The reason we will have to pay an extra $590 a year is to pay for light rail expansion. This is the Seattle subway system that is supposed to connect people in the RTA tax zone with efficient transit service. My new address is in this tax area but is not served by any of the transit options. That’s right, no subways, buses, or anything else. We are expected to cheerfully pay for services that we will never get a chance to use.

It gets worse. Because I can’t drive due to my poor vision (glaucoma) and I can’t walk very well, I’m eligible for special transit options. Where we live now, that means a small bus or van will come to our house and take me where I want to go within the county. This is under a Federally mandated program. A similar system exists where we are moving. I applied and was accepted. I got a phone call that explained that I was outside of the Sound Transit pickup area, so if I wanted to use the special transit option, I would have to find a way to get to a location inside the service area to be picked up. They proudly informed me that the United Way offers such a service.

Getting the picture? We will be living inside a special taxation area that is paying for transit services for that area. However, our house is never going to be served by any of the services we are paying for. I’ve used the special transit services where we live now. It made it possible for me to get physical therapy without forcing Mrs. Lion to lose a day’s pay in order to drive me to the appointment and then take me home afterward.

If I want to do the same thing from our new house, I have to schedule a United Way pickup to drive me about a mile to a Walmart that is inside the transit area. I have to allow a 30-minute window for the pickup. I have to allow another 30-minute window for the transit van to get me at the WalMart. I need to make sure that I leave early enough to ensure I’ll reach my final destination in time for my appointment. So, if I have an 11 AM doctor’s appointment, I would need to get the United Way van to pick me up between 8 and 8:30. The earliest I could request a pickup at WalMart would be 9 AM. The driver could arrive at 9:30. I have to allow at least an hour for the trip to my destination since the transit van will be making other pickups and dropoffs before I get where I’m going. Exhausting. I have to repeat this process to get back home. If my appointment is over at 11:30, I will probably be lucky to get home at 3 PM. Not worth the trouble.

The disabled transport service is mandated to pick up people within one mile of the nearest bus/train stop. I am outside of that range, yet I have to pay for the transit system that will never serve me.

A car is an absolute necessity where we live. Using registration fees to support huge public works penalizes people who are struggling with marginal income. The law doesn’t care if you are a disabled vet living on Social Security or Bill Gates. If you want to be able to drive, you have to pay the piper. Mrs. Lion and I are well above the poverty level, yet a hit for $1,000 to register our car hurts. We’ll come up with it, but it will force us to do without something else that we need or want. Where else does it cost that much for license plates?

I promised myself that I wouldn’t write political posts. After all, this blog is supposed to be about our sex life. Right now, sex isn’t working well for us. It’s my fault. I have atrial fibrillation. It’s making me fall asleep at odd, usually inconvenient times. On the other hand, I’m getting more and more frustrated by the sad state of the American government.

We face some extremely serious challenges. Instead of focusing on them, our leaders are battling in a war of personalities. For example, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are disturbed by the flood of aliens trying to cross our southern border. To their credit, both parties forged a bipartisan bill that gives the president the tools he needs to keep them out. Good news, right?

Former president, Donald Trump is urging his party members to vote against the bipartisan bill. Why? He says that it makes it harder for him to win the upcoming election. He obviously thinks that his political success is more important than solving critical problems. I’m disgusted with this sort of crap.

That doesn’t mean I’m happy about Joe Biden’s management. He hasn’t found the strength to take decisive action on most anything. The good news is that he’s finally ready to close the southern border if Congress lets him.

I’m unhappy about the lack of choice I have. I’m a political moderate. That doesn’t mean I support open borders. I do believe the government has an important role in coping with climate change. It also needs to help support the modernization of our infrastructure. For example, over a decade ago the Chinese government poured billions into support for research, development, and manufacture of solar panels. As a result, thousands of cheap, good-quality, Chinese solar-powered products are for sale here in the US. We have no serious ability to compete.

Taiwan has a virtual monopoly on making advanced chips. No one else has the ability to make these strategically valuable inegrated circuits. The Biden administration convinced Congress to add a few billion dollars to the budget to help close this gap. Too little, too late. The extreme right Republicans oppose any government programs to help such things.

Another huge issue is climate change. Global warming is powering unprecedented storms that have been making people miserable. The Trump Republicans deny global warming and want to subsidize oil and gas exploration and exploitation. We need to find ways to quickly advance electric cars. To do this, we need rapid charging stations everywhere. Private industry can’t afford to do this on its own.

Trump paid lip service to controlling the cost of prescription drugs and made little progress while he was president. Biden made a little more. Still, big pharma is allowed to gouge Americans while they sell the same drugs in other countries for less than half of what we have to pay. I want that to change now. Neither party is willing to promise that.

Another huge problem for me is Biden’s age. He is an old man, and if he is reelected, there’s a good chance he will die in office. That would leave Kamila Harris in office as president. She’s way too progressive for me. I absolutely don’t want her to lead our country. I don’t want Trump to get another term. He’s announced that he expects to suspend the constitution so that he can consolidate power under himself and suspend future presidential elections. Nope, Kamilla is better than that.

I suspect that most undecided voters are like me. They face unpleasant alternatives in the upcoming election. Like most of them, I’ll probably vote for Joe Biden. If I don’t, I worry that the 2024 election will be the last we’ll ever have.

On Friday, our Internet provider (Comcast) took down the network for some equipment updates. We were warned, but I forgot. Mrs. Lion remembered. Fortunately, our T-Mobile 5g Internet gateway arrived on Thursday. My plan was to set it up in our new home (see my post from yesterday on that.). I decided to unpack it and use it in this house to get Mrs. Lion back to her job; she works from home. We had the T-Mobile box working in less than a half hour.

I haven’t been very interested in sex. I think the looming move has us both distracted. There is a ton of work to do before our scheduled move. I’ve been no help with packing. My low vision and poor balance make it dangerous for me to pack boxes. Instead, I’ve been working out our logistics. It’s surprisingly complicated to organize a move. Part of me wants to get rid of everything we haven’t used in the past year or two. Mrs. Lion is more of a pack rat.

We’ve been streaming “The West Wing.” It’s surprisingly relevant today. The storylines track very well all these years later, and the writing is amazing. If you haven’t seen it, it’s available on “Max.” Mrs. Lion and I haven’t been very physical lately. We have some “prescribed” kissing that comes when Mrs. Lion puts medicine in my eyes or brings me a drink. Otherwise, we haven’t had much contact at all. That has to change. We both need to feel close to stay balanced. Hugging the dog only goes so far in that respect.

Spanking is another physical contact sport that has also fallen by the wayside. It’s probably related to the absence of sex and affectionate touching. I don’t think it means that we are losing love or interest in one another. I think we never developed the necessary habits that make physical contact almost automatic. Another big factor is that Mrs. Lion has very sore shoulders. I think that the devastating experience I had with rotator cuff surgery is keeping her away from the doctor. It’s true that we would be in trouble if she was out of commission for seven or eight weeks. Still, I don’t want her in pain.

We will find a way to get back on track. We always do. That’s the good thing about being with your soulmate.

Several coworkers and I joke about burning the house down behind us when we move. It will be easier than packing. Just buy new stuff and move on. If only it were that simple. There are things we want to keep because they mean something to us. Most other things we keep because it doesn’t make any sense to buy a new bed or a new washing machine. And other things we can safely toss out. The problem is it takes time to go through everything. And room. It takes room to create a “keep” and “toss” pile. I’m making somewhat steady progress. The living room is pretty much done. The next, most daunting task is the pantry. That may take weeks to figure out. Unfortunately, we don’t have weeks. I’ll take some Tylenol and hit it as soon as I’m done writing.

Lion has been snoozing a lot. It didn’t bother me until this morning, as I was packing, and he was still in bed. The other day, I tried to make a kennel reservation for the dog for a few days during the move. She’s an escape artist who loves nothing more than outwitting me by sneaking out the door if I leave it unguarded for a split second. Obviously, the movers need the door open. She’d be underfoot anyway. It turned out one of the dates for the kennel was unavailable. Lion said it was because I waited too long. I then had the task of finding a new kennel. Why? I mean, I know we need to board her. But why do I have to do it? I’m working and packing, and Lion isn’t. Granted, he’s been doing the logistics of utilities and movers. This morning, I was just feeling like I had enough on my plate, and I wanted to tell him to get his lazy ass out of bed. I didn’t, of course. His ass was perfectly fine where it was. He wasn’t in the way. What could he be doing anyway?

Then I sat down to have a drink before I tackle the pantry. Lion asked me to look for a kennel. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Why am I looking? But I didn’t say it. I looked and found one close to the new house. I was looking at the dates we needed, and something didn’t seem right. I was off by a day. We need Monday night through Friday morning. I was looking for Tuesday through Saturday. Friday night was the problem with the regular kennel. I just did the new reservation and I’m hoping they’ll confirm it once they get back in the office later today.

Lion hates when I blame things on him sleeping, but I haven’t snuggled next to him lately because as soon as I get over there, he falls asleep. (Sometimes I do too.) And it’s such a process to get over there and back. I sleep with a weighted blanket and there’s a gap between the beds. My shoulder has been hurting so I can’t really snuggle in the way I used to. It winds up just being me sort of closer to him. But I need to put all that aside and get as close as I can get more often. We’re both a little (maybe Lion more so than me) freaked out about the move and we need to be closer.