new car key may screw me up

talley_sue_nycOctober 23, 2007

I have my keys all organized and working well.

I keep them all (at least the ones that I want to carry every day bcs I may need them at the drop of a hat) on a big ring. No "fob" or bauble.

The ring is big enough that the stack of keys will stack very flat--they don't splay out in all directions. And I can fold the ring over the heads of the keys.

It fits very tidily in my pocket, and even in my teeny little purse.

But we just got a new car--we took over my ILs mini-van.

and the key is one of those honking big black plastic electronic doo-dad auto-lock things.

I almost had palpitations when DH tried to give me my key to the car last night. I *CANNOT* function w/ that huge key! It can't go on my keychain. it's just too HUGE, and it'll fit funny on the ring, to boot.

He's going to check and see if we can get a *copy* of the key without the electronics; him saying that calmed me down a little bit. There's no alarm; all the key does is lock and unlock the doors, and I don't need that. I haven't had it for years, and I'll gladly give up the convenience to be able to keep my keys in the same organizational style that works so well.

What has changed in your world that threw your "systems" into a tailspin?

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Talley Sue,

Calm down. It's a key. You will learn to adapt.

My new key to the new car opens the car if I approach. It took me a few weeks, but I adjusted.

You'll adjust, just give it a week.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:57PM
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OOPS - I meant to add that I know you didn't want this vehicle to begin with, and you may be projecting some feelings onto it, LOL. I have projected many negative feelings onto many vehicles that "came into my life" without my permission.

I totally get that this key is 100% a PITA. But it is still just a key. I hope you can get a sub, but I'm not too confident - keys are changing, LOL!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:02PM
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The thing is the organization of my key ring geatly affect the size and shape of my purse.

The size and shape of my purse greatly affects my mobility and--more important--my SECURITY. In live in NYC; I "wear" my purse as though it's an article of clothing. It's harder for someone to steal it, bcs I never set it down.

This organization also means I don't have to *think*--all the thousands of things I have to remember what to do and whether to do, etc.--the keys are not part of it. I have them, off I go.

I'm absolutely not a fan of electronics. I still remember the colleague who couldn't go home, because the battery in her key had died. I *think* she then couldn't disable the alarm and electronic ignition. But she may also not have been able to unlock the door. She was miles from any store where she could buy a replacement batter, two little kids in tow, her DH on the road in the days before cell phones, and their house was 45 minutes away.

If my car won't unlock w/o an electronic doodad, I will seriously look into asking a locksmith to remove all the electronics from the lock system completely before I will risk being stuck the way she was.

i'm Ok w/ the car, I don't think I'm projecting onto the key. I genuinely will have to rethink tons of organizational routines and purchases if this key can't be replaced w/ a non-electronic one.

As I asked before: what unexpected changes in your world have meant you had to rethink your successful systems?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:25PM
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My car has 2 keys, one with all the extras for locking, unlocking and the alarm for the car. The other key has a larger top than regular keys and all this key does is lock, unlock and start the car.

Personally, I couldn't exist without my remote keys but that's what I'm used to. I like walking away from the car and just click a button and know the car's locked when it beeps. I recently had to get a new ignition starter in my car because the key wouldn't go into it. I gave the dealer my 2 remote keys and the 3 regular keys. When I got the car back, I had to reorganize all my keys, 1 set for my purse to always use, 1 regular car key in my purse and a set with the remote key that stays at home. My problem was getting these plus DH's set on a key ring. It took quite a while to get these thick keys and remote keys on the key ring.

Since I move every few years, I'm always adapting to starting over with my organizing systems. I've gotten a much better handle on it recently and hope that when I move again, I'll be taking more "systems" with me.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:44PM
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Could you attach the key ring (just the large one) to a ring or loop or something(maybe even the strap?) in your purse? I had the same kind of readjustment when I got my new minivan with the large keys. Now I only carry that key by itself and keep a separate key ring with all the other keys hidden in the car. And I like the buttons now, too (except for the one time I was standing in line at a store with no windows - just concrete walls. Someone's alarm went off and wouldn't stop. Turns out it was mine - who knew those buttons worked through my pocket and through a cement wall into the parking lot??!)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 8:12PM
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well, my purse is only as big as the wallet in it. I can wedge the current set of keys down underneath it, or to the side. But only just--if it gets the littlest bit bigger, it won't fit.

I'm hoping that the van will be like Marie26's, and I can just carry the one that doesn't have the electronics on it.

I have really valued having all the keys ona single ring. Well, that's not completely true; the church keys go in the church-music bag, bcs that's when I'd need them. And the keys to the fireproof safe-box are in my dresser.

But it's really important to me to have my car keys when I leave the house, and to only have ONE key ring to lose/find/remember. And to have that be very streamlined.

If I end up HAVING to have that key, then it'll probably cost me $250 to have a handbag made that will be both big enough and small enough. I'm pretty serious about having a purse that's not too large, and that is wearable,a nd won't annoy me if it sits on my lap while I'm at a restaurant, or on the subway, etc. The size I have now, I've had for 22 years or something, and it works. I had one, briefly, that was not-quite-twice-as-big (which is the next size up that I've ever been able to find), and it was really a pain in the neck.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 9:10PM
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Oh, the van doesn't have an alarm (and doesn't have an ignition cut-off, which we will need to get to better insurance rates, and just because I don't want someone to steal our car).

That's good--I hate alarms. We park on the street, sometimes on another block, and we'd never know it was going off. And our car would be right underneath someone's window, since this is the city.

Plus, I don't believe that an alarm ever stopped anyone from stealing a car. No NYer is going to interrupt a car thief because they heard your alarm.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 9:12PM
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I hear you, Sue. Our van came with the unlock button thing and I refuse to carry it. I have my keys set up to help me function and I wasn't willing to break my system to adapt to that thing. It sits in the spare key doodad in the cabinet.

My system is just the opposite of yours. I worked in locked psychiatric type facilities and there was no way I wanted a home key and a work key together. Security, issues just handled differently.

I also want to be able to put my purse on across my chest. We are a small town, but still pretty urban and I can't deal with some huge bag. I would make the effort to get the key made on a size you can deal with. The car dealer for that type of vehicle should be able to help you.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 10:13PM
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TS - I'm not sure I understand about the key situation.

My van has one of those electronic keys that strictly locks and unlocks the car via push buttons.

The seperate IGNITION key also locks and unlocks the car MANUALLY, like an ordinary key.

Does your van have an ignition key? Have you tried to manually unlock the car with this key?

Good luck with this "monkey wrench"!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:09AM
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I have heard that using a car ignition key that is heavily weighted down with a ring of other keys and do-dads can over time damage the key slot. The "car people" tell you to keep that key separate from your ring of keys.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:13AM
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My situation is the same as Maura's. I have to say I love my "clicker" no matter how bulky it is. I realize how spoiled I am when I have to open the door of my summer (older) car manually.

I do have a recent key issue, though. I've always had one key on my ring that unlocked both the front and back doors of the house. Then over the weekend the front door latch jammed and I had to replace the lock assembly. That means new key. Which looks just like the old key. So now I have my original key on the ring (to open the back door) plus the new one (to open the front). I hung the new one on its own ring, hooked on to my larger ring, and I hope that will enable me to tell the difference. As long as I remember which one has its own ring....

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:36AM
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tally_sue_nyc, I had to laugh because the keys to this new house of ours are the BIGGEST housekeys I've ever seen! More like the ones I remember from dorm rooms in college. I find it rather charming, but the first thing DH said is, "I gotta get a new key made; this just isn't gonna work for me."

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 9:24AM
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The metal key is fused to the electronic unlocker; it's as if the top of the key grew big, bulbous, and plastic. With buttons. The remote is PART of the key.

We owned our last car for 7 years, and having my 8-key ring never seemed to damage the ignition.

Alisande, I know that frustration of not being able to use one key for all doors. Our apt. bldg recently replaced two of the exterior locks on the side of the building so they'd use the same key as the main doors. That's a nice treat.

It would be more expensive, but it would have been nice to be able to replace both cylinders at the same time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Integrated key fob, is what it's called--sort of like this

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 9:37AM
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TS, I always have extra keys made when I get a different car, and I can tell you that you can get a key easily made without all the extra electronics. My folks would always get one made of plastic that my mom carried in her wallet so they'd have a spare if they ever needed it in an emergency. So don't worry, it can be done, and you can put the big honkin' one in a safe place to use as your spare should you need to.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 9:58AM
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Ditto what Claire de luna said. My husband has a car with the door unlocking fob thing and his keys have the blobby covers around the heads of the keys. I hate them, too. Got extra set for me that has no blobby head and fits on a keyring just like all old regular keys. Think of valet keys -- they're bare and simple.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 10:19AM
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When I was working I had a big keyring much like yours. When they changed the locks on the library, my new key was enormous and wouldn't fit on the ring. I was forced to keep it separate from the ring, instead keeping it inside the dollar bill section of my wallet, with the head sticking up. I ended up prefering that, can't really explain why, but it was OK.

I still have all my other keys on one ring, and that drives my DH crazy: "If you lose one, you lose them all!" Of course, he only carries one housekey and one car key in his pants pocket.

As for losing a system that messed me up - I haven't had a pantry for 13 years, and it STILL drives me crazy. I got used to the huge key in about six months, but losing the pantry will drive me nuts forever. What I wouldn't give....

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 10:27AM
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Aklisande, you can get keys in coded in colors. You can even get them with printed flower, patriotic, sports team, or mod designs. This can help locate the one you need in a hurry.

Talley, you can get a copy of the key without the electronics. You can even get auto keys made that do not have the thick plastic end on it so they are completely flat and can be tucked in a wallet better or fit nicely on a key chain. They even have *wallet keys* that only have the "key" part and it slides in and out partway of a thin plastic sleeve the size of a credit card.

Any hardware store will have them. Or check the Yellow Pages for a key shop.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 10:59AM
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"If you lose one, you lose them all!"

i wonder if this points to our expectations. I have become convinced that I *won't* lose my keys, precisely *because* they are all on one ring.

Since I only have that one ring, I find it easy to keep track of. Llikewise, in college, I discovered that if I only carried one pen, I never lost it; if I tried to carry several, I'd lose them all. And I once was sort of forced into buying a $12 umbrella instead of a $3 one; and I found that I NEVER left it in a cab or lost it; so now I always buy slightly expensive umbrellas. Ditto sunglasses. One really expensive or valued thing, and I never lost it.

Also, I never lose it, precisely because it is so small and tidy. it fits in a pocket easily, in my purse, wherever.

A cousin once came into my MIL's house w/ a big, bulky multiple-key-chain-fob mess of keys, and dropped them onto the sofa. Then said somethign about always losing them, having to hunt for them. She only had 4 keys--car & house. I wondered whether she could establish a rule or routine of putting them in her purse, "oh, but they're so bulky, to wrestle them into the purse," she said. I suggested streamllining them, so that it would be EASY to put them in her purse, and trying to train herself to always do that. Then, they'd be there. The next holiday, she pointed out to me that she'd tried it, and it was working. She'd been adding key chain after key chain to try to make them more noticeable and it actually made her less likely to always keep them in a safe spot.

I operate under THIS theory: "If I remember one key, I remember them all."

My sympathies on your loss of the pantry. I can see how that would be a system you'd mourn for a long time, bcs it would affect lots of toher things (how often you shop, how easily you can fix dinner when you haven't been able to plan.....

I can see that for one key like the one you describe, keeping it in my wallet might actually come to be a good system. Because I'd always have my wallet, and it wouldn't be that hard to get the key in and out, etc. But that integrated-key-fob key wouldn't fit there; it's SO bulky, it would become its own thing. I'm always looking to integrate into existing systems or tuck things inside existing objects, instead of creating new ones.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:09AM
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I carry a small shoulder purse, just larger than a wallet. I string the key chain through the shoulder strap with the thinking that if I have my purse I have my keys. Because the shoulder strap is long, I can start the car with it tethered to the purse. I only time I have to untether the keys is when DH uses my car or I leave purse in the car (I know, I know!) and put key ring in my pocket.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:56AM
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Alisande - my grandmother used to have 2 different keys to her apartment - lock & deadbolt. She put a spot of nailpolish on the end of one (the part you hold in your hand) so she could tell them apart.

TS - I know you don't want to buy a new purse, but what if you could find one with a small pocket on the outside big enough to hold the key? I have even seen some with a small pocket on the strap itself. If you go into the car dealer they should be able to make another key without the electronics on it. When I bought my car, though, they said NOT to make a copy in the hardware store or it would damage the electronics and I could not use that function any more (doesn't make sense to me either - maybe just a way to make them some $$ on new keys?). But that might not matter to you.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 12:14PM
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DH has to see an auto locksmith to get an ignition cutoff installed; I'm hoping he can get spare keys made then.

I've looked for a purse w/ a small pocket ont he outside, bcs that's where I want to put my asthma inhaler.

In fact, if I got stuck w/ that stupid key, I'd probably have to buy some Ultrasuede and make my own purse w/ TWO small pockets on the outside.

Then, we'd finally give in and get a cell phone, and I'd need a purse with THREE small pockets on the outside.

Really what I want is my friend's purse that has a not-huge main pocket, and a flap that is the wallet; then I'd ditch the wallet completely, and put inhaler, cell phone, clip-on sunglasses, and keys in the center pocket. But I haven't seen a purse like that that's small enough; they're all just about 2 inches longer or 1/2-inch thicker, or somehow bulkier some OTHER way, than I want.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 12:23PM
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When I had problems with my ignition, the locksmith could not get the parts to repair it. Apparently, it could only be fixed by the dealer since the dealer was the only one to be able to get the needed parts. I'm assuming my car is one of the few that would require this but I don't know.

While out, I've gotten into the habit of putting my keys into either my jeans' pocket or my jacket pocket. When I'm at home, I put the keys into my purse as soon as I get out of the car.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 2:21PM
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Talley Sue,

Like you, I choose not to carry a large handbag. I carry a bag made by Tumi, model 92102. It has the organizer in the back, and I don't even carry a wallet anymore. The main compartment has a key attachment thingy so you can clip a ring to it if you want. Keys, phone, small hairbrush, glasses in the main pocket, checkbook and cash in the front pocket, credit cards and a pen in the back section. No coins, but I use to have a small coin purse in the main pocket. It's pretty pricey, but they come up on e-bay fairly often. I've been using mine on a daily basis for about three years now, wears like iron. It also comes made in ballistic nylon for a lot less. There is one on e-bay right now, but they state it is not the organizer, meaning the back pocket doesn't open on three sides. The organizer is a great feature. And I don't work for Tumi, wish I did, could use the discount!

I got my first car with an alarm on 2004. The remote is not on the key. I feel so much safer being able to open the door by remote and not having to stand there and fumble with the key and lock. I encourage you to give it a try for a week or one really bad rainy day!

The statement made earlier about the keys harming the ignition....if it is a really heavy set of keys, the weight in time can cause the ignition switch to wear from the key 'swinging' back and forth from the motion of the car.

If you are really concerned about the battery on the key dying, you could make it part of the 'changing the batteries on the smoke alarms' ritual on New Years Day.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tumi

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:29PM
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Talley_Sue -- Have you looked at Fossil bags (big selection at Macys). I have the bag (linked below) and it sounds like the one you described that your friend has....

Fossil has several cute (and small) bags that seem to have the wallet section attached to a "Main" section that might fit the items you listed.

Check them out on They give several views of the bags they offer, including interior views.

Hey, we should start a new thread and write a "review" of our current everyday bag, complete with description, pros & cons....

Here is a link that might be useful: one of many fossil bags

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:39PM
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Maura, I like that handbag-thread idea!

It's your idea, so you start the thread.

And thanks for these handbag ideas, everyone--I'm going to look into them.
(the Fossil one at the link is too big--maybe, bcs it's hard to tell scale. I'm
wondering if I can find one to look at in real life. and I see they've got an mini Organizer--that might be my speed. Bcs, you see, there's a Fossil store a block and a half away from my office!)

I've heard of the nylon bags, but though they're light, I just don't really like them. they don't feel substantial enough.

I drive so infrequently that I don't know if I'd care about the remote. The one benefit to the remote might be that DH says you can't lock the hatch w/ the key; you can UNlock it, but he says he couldn't get it to RElock with they key; only w/ the remove.

Oh, and--apparently there isn't a key opening on the passenger-side door.

If that's the case, then I'd rather have the remote as a separate thing (NOT as part of the key itself), for those times when we're actually traveling. But you know, even then, i think the idea of a non-bulky set of keys would make me walk back up to the driver's side door and push the auto lock.

(DH wld have a cow if I asked him to investigate getting separate fob that wasn't attached to a pokey key)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 10:25AM
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Well, I got my new key. Without the integrated fob, yay!

However, this thing is almost THREE INCHES LONG! It's 2-15/16" exactly.

The next longest key on my keychain, my office key, is 2-1/2"

My old car key, which I thought was plenty long, is not quite 2-3/8".

A basic house key is just under 2-1/4" long.

So of course I hate it--it's a half inch longer than everything else. It's going to rip holes in my pockets.

Fortunately, there's a hole in the middle of the key, as well as the slot at the top. So I've looped it onto the rin through the hole, which means that the point lines up w/ my office key, and the part that sticks out is the rounded head of the key. Problem averted--as long as it will fit into the ignition slot w/ the ring there.

(the head of the key is 1-1/4" all by its lonesome!)

Cordless phones for the home get smaller (and harder to hold, plus easier to lose), and car keys get bigger (and harder to carry around). Go figure.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 5:33PM
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Talley Sue, I had to measure my car key and it measures exactly the same as yours. I guess that I've gotten so used to all the various sized car keys that it only bothers me when I have to take them off or put them on a key ring. I only use those rings that you can't open by flipping the top because I'm afraid of it opening one day and losing keys.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 8:12PM
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Hi Tally Sue,

I do not have time to read through the whole thread. Just wanted to say I SO understand because I went through the same thing with our car.I totally freaked. I also use a tiny purse. I had hubby make me another key and even told him I did not want the EXTRA cost of the rubber thing on the rounded end. Just a silver key. If it has been said before forgive me. I think you can get a standard key from the manufacture. We got my key from Wal-Mart. They looked it up in a book. Still the key is LONG and honking big but not nearly as bad as with all the added plastic buttons bells and whistles on it. Sheese They need WOMEN to confer with when it comes to making a proper key!!!!


    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 9:52PM
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well, I tried to use my new skinny key this weekend, for the first time--and it doesn't work.

Apparently there's some sort of passive security ignition cut-off in the electronic key that tells the car it's OK to turn on.

I will * have* to use the big key, I think.

Now I'm going to really have to think about this.

My car-key situation is probably VERY different from most of yours.

We own a car, but we do NOT use it daily.

*I* only use it once a week. On Sundays, coming home from church, usually (not even going there). So that's ONE TRIP in which I actually use my key.

About one other time a week, I *ride* in the car, so it would be useful to have my key w/ me in case we need to switch drivers.

So carrying the key w/ me all the time, as I've done in the past, seems like an a pain in the neck now that it's so huge.

However, if I keep the key separately, it'll be much more likely to get lost, or for me to forget to bring it with me. And it'll be two objects to keep track of.

Maybe I can try out the idea of leaving it in the bottom of my purse, under my wallet. If it's flat enough. Then it'll be with me (I might go out back in the garden of our apt. complex w/o my wallet, but I'd never go in the car, to the store, etc., without it).

I used to keep my loose change int he bottom of my purse, but w/ this purse, there's a little side pocket, and I put my change in there. (I honestly think this key would be too big for that side pocket, it's so huge!)

I agree, Chris--they have deficient design teams. But I'd think the GUYS would be the ones complaining about a too-huge key because they're the ones who put it in their pockets, and would be ripping their pockets out w/ these huge things.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 9:32AM
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I know what you mean. It's a key, it doesn't stop the world from spinning, but it adds something to your list of things to think about, changes your routines.

I know what you mean about keeping better track of something when you make it more valuable to you. I used to have a habit of losing my keys. Then the bank sent me one of those tiny debit cards with a hole to put on your key ring. I loved it! When I went into the store I only carried my keys. And while that debit card was attached I *always* had my keys in a safe place and knew where they were. I never left them on a counter or table and forgot about them. Eventually the little card cracked and wouldn't stay on the ring anymore, so I had to stop using it. I'm back to misplacing my keys! LOL! I only have 4 keys on it, that's just all I need. Including the neighbor's key. She wants me to have a spare to her house, but if I don't keep it on my key ring I know I'll lose it and be of no use to her in having it!

I'm trying to think of something in my world that has done that to me, messed up my system. But since I don't have very many systems, they don't get screwed up. ha ha ha!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 6:30PM
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Stephanie, maybe you need to get your DH to buy you a small fob of a semiprecious stone to attach to your keychain. As a token of love. Not THAT expensive, but maybe $25?

I'm going to try the bottom of my purse tonight, and see how it goes.

The one good thing--it turns out we have a passive security system, so we ought to get a break on our insurance, and we don't have to go have one installed.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 8:39PM
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