Conserve This

I am not a car flipper by any stretch of the imagination. I had a very un-Carmen-like car flipping episode a little more than a year ago when my beloved Acura TSX that got me through seven years — three — THREE! — of which were Canadian winters — began to have issues, I forced myself to face the reality that I needed to buy a new car. I searched and searched, trying with great might to stay within my monthly affordability price range, and even toyed with going outside my monthly affordability price range when I took home a Mercedes GLK SUV overnight (and that I promptly took back and dropped off at the Service department at 7:15am the next morning, wrote the salesman a nice note something to the effect of “thanks, but no thanks”, picked up my Acura and left). I really wanted an SUV so I could more easily cart around my non-dogs, non-children, and because I like to pay for premium gas, and  and ultimately bought my third Acura — and fifth Acura owned in my family — a 2011 Acura RDX Sport Edition. It was a brand I was familiar with and a brand I dearly loved.

Some things, though, just don’t feel right. It felt like I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. While the sound and navigation systems were awesome, the drive was extremely bumpy, so much so that when my friends would ride with me, I could hear their voice “bounce” as we hit bumps. Granted, the car was supposed to be “sporty”, but it got to be uncomfortable. Plus, the tailgate was really heavy and was difficult to close with just one hand…not ideal when you live in a condo and usually have your hands full of crap that needed to be lugged upstairs. I took that car on several road trips and, every time I did, I disliked it more and more. So after just a year of ownership, I decided to trade it in.

Fast forward to February 2012. I’d fully returned to my Texas roots after moving back to Houston and determined I needed a giant SUV. I’d always loved the Chevy Tahoe. And I mean, what single girl doesn’t need a huge, gas-guzzling SUV? Amirite? So after about 752 hours of negotiating at MacHaik, I was the proud owner of a black 2012 Chevy Tahoe. And, true to form, I only bumped into two things from the giantness of it in the first three months — a concrete post at the Galleria, for which I kept taped on my car with clear duct tape until I shelled out $500 to replace it (!) and a dent in the hood when I was testing out the garage of a house I was looking to buy, drove too far forward, and barely tapped a piece of wood sticking out that caused a tiny dent. It’s still there. More on that later. Ahem.

I used to have personalized license plates, but gave them up years ago. Although small, it was an expense I didn’t really need or care to have. But after seeing all the cool new specialty plates on MyPlates.com, the itch became too much to scratch. First I wanted the State of the Arts plates, but when everybody and their sister got them, I balked. As an avid animal rescue advocate, I considered the Animal Friendly plates, but decided they were too juvenile for me; plus, being singel and spoiler of a 14-lb Canadian Tabby cat, I thought those plates might make me borderline “crazy animal lady”, so I balked again. I like the Hunt Texas plates, but I’m not actually a hunter; I really liked the “Come and Take It” plates but was told by more than one person that they weren’t at all “ladylike”. Right. And then I saw them — on a white BMW driving through West U, I saw the Ducks Unlimited Blue Heron plates. And I was in love.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 10.04.11 PMI am a huge fan of bird prints, especially Audubon. And Herons have always been a favorite. Plus, I’m an avid conservationist — of dogs, anyway — so the Wetlands Conservation plates were perfect for me. Once I figured out those are the ones I wanted, I ordered them so quickly, I practically blew up my keyboard.

So it was all fun and games until my work-husband and I went out for lunch recently. He noticed my new plates and said “oh yes, Ducks Unlimited — they’re the group who protects the birds along the coast so they’ll be plentiful for hunting.” Um, exsqueeze me? THEY PROTECT THE BIRDS ALONG THE COAST SO HUNTERS CAN SWOOP IN AND KILL THEM?! My work-husband witnessed the launch of “Operation Shock & Awe” right then and there. I called a friend who is a big hunter and he too confirmed this was the truth. Oh. Em. Gee.

Don’t get me wrong, y’all…I’m not opposed to hunting. In fact, I am a bonafide CHL holder and took Riflery for two semesters as my kinesiology credit at Texas A&M (whoop!), so I can handle a gun and *will* one day hunt an animal. However. I was none too pleased that I was now driving around Houston promoting the death of birds the world over. So I did what any smart girl would do: I consulted the Google. And, I have good and positive news to report; not only does Ducks Unlimited promote conservation of areas so there will be plentiful flocks for hunting, but they ALSO promote conservation so waterfowl habitats can flourish.

Now, these two things may or may not be nearly identical, but no matter — I’m sticking to the idea that the $30 “donation” I made to get my over-thought-about-fancy-license plates is going to helping the birds along the Texas coast rather than kill them. The point of this overly-long and drawn out story is this: if any of you think anything contrary to what I’ve just said, then my message to you is conserve this! Please and thank you.

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