fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
I park on the street, and every day I leave by backing into the driveway and peeling out at top speed, as if the seconds I shave off my morning drive time with the maneuver will somehow make me five minutes late for work instead of ten. It has never worked! I am always late! But I never just drive straight away, even though I can get to the main road that way too. It takes at least 20 seconds more, you see. And what was I risking by backing into the driveway?

The mailbox, it turns out. Every day in the past I've driven by it, often close enough that I could see the brush marks in the black paint, but never making contact. But today was different! Today was the day the mailbox met my passenger side view mirror, and surprisingly, in the conflict between the two, my dinky little side mirror totally took out the mailbox, which was sitting on a sturdy wooden platform (having been driven over in the past, I think by a delivery guy when we first moved in. It is not a lucky mailbox.).

Yes, the wood splintered, and broke, at which point I slammed on my brakes. And then I got all flustered and nervous and did that ditzy forgot-what-gear-I'm-in thing, and let go of the clutch/pressed the gas that last little bit needed to pull the thing clean off. It was LEGENDARY. I finally pulled my car forward, away from the carnage, and left it running with the door open while I tried to put the mailbox back together, hoping that somehow by lining it up juuust right, it would totally forget that it had been split down the middle and stand tall. This meant that there was a lot of fussing and fiddling and me-stepping-away-only-to-watch-it-fall-apart. Until I looked up and saw my father stomping down the driveway, a hammer in one hand, a bunch of nails in the other. And then we stood there together and nailed it back in place. My father didn't flip out at all, even though he would have been totally justified, since I was having a particularly late morning and hit the mailbox at approximately the time I should have been arriving at his office.

The other exciting mail-related news of the day was that I got my first season American Dreams DVDs in the mail today. I started watching regularly in the second season, I think, so it's, like, a newly released prequel to me, or something. I am still so sad American Dreams got canceled. Still! Why isn't it in syndication? Why? Because the music rights are too expensive, probably. But! It was such an awesome show!

Anyway, in other news, I am deeply troubled that I may have burned all of my Sports Movie Credits with my friends when I dragged two of them to see Invincible with me. I did not REALIZE how much I would want to see the one with The Rock and the prison football team! Dammit! Will I be able to cash in again? I have until September 15 to find out.
fearlesstemp: (the sea was angry that day)
I am about to wrap up terrifying cleaning task two of three (my half of the computer room), and seriously, people, NEVER AGAIN will I go through this. I've already invested six or seven hours in this GD computer room, I'm not done, and it's been sheer torture. I am going to turn over a new leaf. No more living in disarray and filth! I've kept my bedroom clean for a full week! I think I may be on to something.

Next up is my car, which, though smallest, has potential to be the grossest of the three terrifying cleaning tasks. Since I'm always running late, I tend to eat meals in there, and since I'm clumsy, food falls. I try to clean as I go, but stuff can get under the seat and out of sight and forgotten about. Every time I clean out my car, I fear reaching down and finding that a nest of squirrels have taken up residence under the driver's seat, subsisting on old PB&J crusts.

More news as it develops.

In other news: Did anyone else watch Broken Trail tonight? I keep wanting to call it Broken Arrow, and then I remember no, that's that terrible Christian Slater movie about a nuclear weapon, and then I think, Whatever happened to Christian Slater? And then I remember how much I loved Pump Up the Volume when I was in high school, and wonder whether I should watch the movie again, or will it have lost something? Probably.

But! The movie I meant to talk about is called Broken Trail, and it is a two-part western on American Movie Classics starring Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church, a.k.a. Lowell the dull-witted mechanic from Wings. Also, he was nominated for an Oscar last year for Sideways. But I liked Wings better, so that's what I choose to remember him from. The movie is about two cowboys trying trying to bring a bunch of horses across the frontier who run across five Chinese girls about to be sold into prostitution, and then take the girls under their protection. Drama ensues. Is anyone else out there watching it?

Okay, would say more, but it's late and I have to move some furniture before I toddle off to bed. And so off I go, to move furniture! Then sleep! Here's hoping I don't drop anything on my toe, like my father did last week in the office.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
.i. automotive dreams

Last night I had a dream that the first floor of my house was a used car showroom - I accepted this completely, as you do in dreams, mostly because the centerpiece of the showroom was a new car for yours truly. It was powder blue and beautiful, with a retractable roof and two doors. Very sporty. I loved it to pieces, and actually, truly believed I had a new car long after I woke up. At odd points today, I found myself thinking, "Wow, you know what's really awesome about my new car? I can listen to CDs in it! No more desperate abuse of the radio seek button for me! I better go downstairs and get - wait, no, there's no rotating floor in the dining room. Damn you, subconscious!"

I really want my powder blue, two-door, CD-playin' car!

.ii. automotive righteousness

This is the kind of friends we are: When standing in the cold bookstore parking lot last night, I didn't have to interrupt what I was saying to tell Annie the keys were coming before I tossed them to her, standing on the other side of the car. She caught them in one hand.

This is the kind of friends we are part two: Once we got into the car, and she finished whatever she said in response to what I had said before, she put on her seat belt and said: That thing with the keys, it was pretty cool, wasn't it?

And I said, Totally! I didn't even have to say -

And she said, I know! And I caught them one-handed!

It was pretty cool.

.iii. automotive history

Annie had been dropped off at the bookstore by her boyfriend on his way to her mother's house, where the two of them were spending the night before he went to a woodworking class in the area. I had to drive Annie to her mother's house, taking the same route we did when we would go hang out at her house after school. I hadn't been out that way in years, and almost missed a turn because they changed a flashing yellow light to a hard core regular stoplight, and we spent part of the drive talking about things like that, how long it's been since: she moved away, I graduated from college, we both met in high school. The rest of the drive, we sang along to Delilah's radio show, and talked about current life crises (hers and mine), past misadventures (mostly the ones we shared: such as all the times we raced each other to her house on the same highway we drove last night, going as much as thirty miles above the speed limit, in broad daylight), and the merits of our old cars (her Pontiac Bonneville, my Chevy Lumina).

Good times.
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
I have somehow managed to lose my cell phone and my house keys, complicating my life and leading to sure disaster. The cell phone loss is particularly tragic because I lost it just after finding it; I had misplaced it earlier this week, couldn't find it for a day, then remembered where it was (in my father's car!) and called my number to find it wedged under a seat. I happily hoisted it in triumph in our smelly garage, and then shut it off so I could charge it in the kitchen - but somehow the phone never made it to the charger just ten feet from the garage. Where did the phone go? Where? Did it vaporize? I have already made my brother lift a lot of heavy furniture for me to look under, but no luck. I now fear having to enter the scariest place of all - my bedroom - to find it. I've been attempting to clean my room all week, but keep giving up after forty minutes or so, when I realize what a lost cause it is. I am destined to be messy and unorganized, I think.

How much do people really change? Will I ever regularly put things where I can find them? Will I ever know where all of my important life possessions are? The other day, I drove my brother to a car dealership to pick up my mother's car, and in the course of our journey, I made a lot of characteristic errors, like losing one of my brand new leather gloves at the gas station, accidentally running up on the curb (which caused me to lay on the horn, also by accident) outside a restaurant, and dropping my car keys into such a spot under the seat that I had to get out of the car and practically lie down in order to reach them. All of this done amidst the wreckage of the last few months of my life, handily symbolized by the interior of my car, which is littered with Diet Pepsi cans, candy wrappers, books, papers, and receipts.

My brother laughed, watched me fishing for my keys, and made a few choice comments on how gross my car was. To have a male college student who will readily admit to going days without showering call something of yours gross - now that is a moment that can stop a girl in her tracks. In my case, in my fishing.

"Shut up," I said.

He just laughed and watched me go back to picking through the disgusting mess under my seat to find my keys. After offering him a Chewy bar I found under there, which he turned down, I found the keys and got back in the car, put the keys in the ignition and looked at my brother in triumph.

"It must be exhausting being you," he said.

And you know, it kind of is. I really believe that my life would be so much easier, so much less taxing, if I threw things away and remembered where things were (like my cell phone and keys). I've spent much mental and physical energy (more mental than physical, because I am lazy) on this lost-keys-and-phone crisis, mental and physical energy that could have been better spent thinking through a solution to our problems in the middle east, or exercising off the eighty-three pounds of potatoes I ate over the holidays. But no, I had to spend them walking myself back through the past few days - could my keys be in my bathrobe? I have been spending a lot of time in my bathrobe this week. There's no earthly reason for my keys to be in my bathrobe, but it's never good to look for an earthly reason when one is trying to piece through my past actions.

Speaking of keys: Earlier this week, I was involved in another key-related crisis that led to my mother's car finding its way to the dealership. I was going out, again with my brother (we are the dream team; putting us together on a task is the best way to ensure disaster – example, The LeBra Incident), this time to the bookstore, and was well onto the highway when I realized my mother's car was running on fumes. Why were we in my mother's car? There's a good reason for that. The reason is: My brother and I were lazy. My mother's car lives in the garage, while my brother's car and my car live at the end of the driveway, which is steep and snow-covered. Also, neither of our cars has a CD player (though my brother's does have a CB radio, which is entertaining, but not the same). So we borrowed my mother’s car.

We ended up at a busy Sunoco, where I turned the car off and filled up the tank (almost fell while walking backwards from the pump to the car’s tank, but stayed upright). My brother washed the car’s windows with the squeegee. All good things. And then I got back into the car, put the key in the ignition and – nothing. It would not turn. It would not budge. I jiggled, I messed with the steering wheel, I messed with the gearshift, I swore, I hit things, I used brute force, I made my brother do all of these things, I begged the gas station attendant for help, and in the end, yes, we were towed. After an hour of sitting parked at Pump 4, after making phone calls to friends and family for advice, after a good old-fashioned shrieking fit from the mom unit, after all of that – the car was towed to the garage, where it would have $600 of work done on its steering column. Not that I’m happy about my car costing my mother that kind of money, but it was kind of gratifying to hear that it was a common problem on the part of Fords of that year, and not the result, as she initially accused, of my brute force when turning the car off.

Because really, if a car’s ignition is that sensitive – we’re not talking about Lou Ferigno here, we’re talking me, Jess Who Last Exercised In June 2005 – it’s faulty.

I could edit this rambling heap of junk into something worthy of human consumption, but that would require time, and right now my parents are offering me a free dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s. My 25-year-old social life is so exciting that this is probably my best offer for the evening, and so I am off. Will try to post before the new year, but if I don’t – happy new year to all, and to all, a good night.
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith with book)
The Man is totally trying to keep me down. Was busted AGAIN by local powers that be for a driving-related-incident, bringing my total infractions up to five. It was my first speeding ticket - my driving record really speaks to my versatility.

We have:

-The time I ran a red light (benevolent cop gave me a seat belt violation instead);

-The time I made an illegal left out of the Hollywood Video parking lot, just like my former manager had EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and the ONE TIME I did it, I got pulled over (still bitter - the only slight mention of it happening I can find is at the tail end of this entry);

-The time I parked in an area marked "No Parking Between 9AM and NOON on Fridays" at 9:05AM on a Friday (more info on this buried at the end of this entry; and

-The time I parked on the street outside my aunt's house and got ticketed based on an UNFAIR, UNPOSTED LAW (still really bitter about that one, read a smidge more about it here).

I am not a particularly tough person and I am pretty proud of the fact that none of these events made me cry. All of them made me curse a lot. In fact, I kind of wonder if half the reason the local PD gave me a ticket instead of a warning yesterday morning was the volume at which I yelled, "FUUUUUUUUCK!" upon seeing his lights go on as I blew by him.

So anyway. Got a ticket. It sucks. It sucked a little more than usual because I got it while driving from one volunteer event to another volunteer event - I somehow feel like I should have been golden on this trip, covered by something like diplomatic immunity. Volunteer immunity. I seriously believe the amount I helped the community at the Literacy Volunteers' table at farmer's market (you know, by standing around listlessly with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cheese danish in another) TOTALLY makes up for the amount I may have endangered the community by completely ignoring traffic laws. Who cares if I sold more books to myself than I did to the farmer's market patrons? This fact is especially damning when I reveal that I only purchased two books at a dollar a piece. But hey! I GOT UP EARLY to attend the event!

I say it comes out even.

Also at aforementioned LV farmer's market table was my buddy G., with whom I've been in sporadic contact since we went through training together. We occasionally get together for lunch or ice cream to commiserate over how tempting it is some days to throw down your supplies and start screaming, "for the love of God, it's PUT! P-U-T IS PUT! NOT PLASTIC! NOT PAINT! NOT PLEASE! PUT! PUT! AS IN, PUT AN END TO MY MISERY AND LEARN THIS GODDAMNED WORD!"

Anyway, she's very nice, but her student has stopped meeting with her (this happens a lot, especially with Basic Literacy people), and she keeps trying to horn in on my tutoring sessions with R. She's all, "I know you're busy with school - I can tell by your e-mails - and I just think it would take some of the load off of you if I started meeting with him."

Her kind gesture has, of course, completely derailed me. Every time I contemplate her offer, I have the following reactions:

(1) Paranoia.

Oh my God, I SUCK! Literacy Volunteers Headquarters must be buzzing with how much I suck! Has R. complained? Does G. think I suck? If she comes to one of my sessions and sees how crappy my worksheets are, she will KNOW that I suck.

(2) Guilt.

Oh my God. I am too busy. I'm not doing a good job. I'm not dedicated. R. is going to rot in a gutter because I didn't spend enough mental energy organizing things! He'll never learn to properly blend! It's ALL BE MY FAULT!

(3) Possessiveness.

R. is my student! MINE MINE MINE! He looks like Santa Claus and we get along! And what if he likes G. better?

(4) More Guilt.

Oh, I shouldn't let my fear of losing R. as a student hold him back from a good opportunity. I should let him know and decide.

(5) Anxiety.

But what if he thinks I'm trying to get rid of him? I'm not!

(6) Anger.

Stupid G., making a kind gesture that surfaces all of my neuroses!

(7) Avoidance.

I'm tired of thinking about this.

At this point, I start thinking about Harry Potter or Diet Pepsi or that new cheesy Lifetime series, Beach Girls.

She brought it up again on Saturday, and I responded in my usual way ("Wow! That's so nice of you! We'll see!"). Post-farmer's market, and also post-speeding ticket, I met with R. and broached the topic a second time. He did not bite, and so I guess he's stuck with me for a while longer.

I would type up my other weekend activities, but it is late and I must sleep.
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith with book)
In list form because I've had eight hours of sleep total since Sunday morning, and my mental resources are lacking.

1. My car just had seven hundred dollars of repairs done. I think I felt a physical pain typing that sentence. I need a massive financial windfall. STAT.

2. Yesterday I had my first conference with my teaching lab instructor about the five-minute Anticipatory Sets my partner and I were supposed to come up with over the weekend. The lab instructor offered the kind of honest, direct critique one would associate with your run-of-the-mill evil overlord. She made my partner cry and I kind of want to throw up right now thinking of the revisions I have to do.

3. Said revisions are nausea-inducing in part because I showed my work to my methods teacher and he gave me contradictory advice.

4. SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.

5. Is anyone else out there watching Into the West? Anyone? I missed the first two hours so I'm still kind of confused about how everyone is related, but dudes, I LOVE IT. The writing is kind of, well, bad, especially the dialog, and there are lots of cases where you feel like they're trying to cram a history unit into a storyline, but the show more than makes up for it by having dreamy guys in lead roles and devoting a good portion of the second episode to a wagon trail expedition that was, basically, a live-action version of Oregon Trail. I devoted many hours of my elementary years to Oregon Trail. Awesome game. I could have offered such advice to the characters in the story. Don't try to cross the river! Take a ferry!

6. On the up side, I have high speed internet at home now. Sweetness! I just watched the Goblet of Fire trailer three times. OMG HARRY!

7. OMG really don't want to revise Anticipatory Set!

8. All I do lately is go to school (it's either four or eight hours a day, every day, except for the weekends, and we have a 5-10 page writing assignment due every Monday and other homework - like the Anticipatory Set lesson planning - to do then too, so those days fill up) and obsess over Into the West. I've already talked about Into the West, so I guess I'll talk about school. It's been an interesting experience so far for a lot of reasons. There's an overwhelming amount of information, and they ask a lot of us, but most of what we're learning is interesting and seems like it will be useful down the road.

9. That said, I'm really struggling with my perfectionist tendencies - I hate making mistakes, and this whole program is about making them and learning from them. No one can be perfect the first time. BUT I WANT TO BE.

10. As a result of (9) (yes, I am aware that these numberings are pretty arbitrary - too tired to structure more carefully), I find myself assaulting myself with a variety of self-help affirmations and encouraging statements. Right now the record playing in my brain has three tracks: It's Okay to Make Mistakes, This is a Learning Experience, and You'll Do Fine.

That is all for now.
fearlesstemp: (dusty sleeping)
If I had a little more energy, and if we lived in times where it was culturally acceptable to storm upon a person's house carrying torches a la Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, I would so totally be on my local meteorologist's doorstep right now. I WAS PROMISED A BIG SNOWSTORM. And I did not get one! Nor did I get the snow day I was expecting! It only snowed a little bit and I couldn't justify calling in, and anyway, the roads were fine, except for that one time I almost spun out onto a rotary. I would say my life flashed before me, but it didn't really, because my mental space was taken up with the thought every experienced winter driver has in such a situation: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck*.

It is important that it is not in all caps and that it is drawn out, because the key to winter driving emergencies is to Remain Calm and Avoid Sudden Movements. So while an emphatic, choppy, "FUCK! Fucking fuckers!" is appropriate when one is cut off on the highway and allowed to Get Pissed Off and Swerve Wildly, it is not appropriate when one is sliding slowly but surely over snowy roads and must, as stated before, Remain Calm and Avoid Sudden Movements.

Anyway, I survived! Made it into work, did mind-numbing tasks, got caught checking e-mail multiple times. Did not care. Went out to dinner with buddy from ERLF after work. Came home and watched The OC. I know there was other stuff I meant to say when I opened that, but so tired now. So tired!

*insert curse word of choice
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
Question of the day:

How cold is it lately? So cold that:

(a) car locks freeze
(b) Diet Coke cans explode
(c) temps in knee-length skirts seriously consider immolation
(d) pleather car accessories cease to function
(e) all of the above

If you answered (e), give yourself a gold star! I'm guessing that you, too, have spent time in a cruel wintry climate, where the day sometimes greets you with a car whose lock won't turn and whose interior is coated - yes, coated - with frozen patches of Diet Coke. Perhaps you, too, are equally forgetful about checking the weather and doing your laundry so that you always end up wearing the worst possible clothes combination for the day (a knee length skirt and tights isn't really the best ensemble for crawling across one's Diet Coke encrusted front seat, trying desperately to jar open the driver's side door from within - but is there a best ensemble for that?).

As for the pleather car accessories: I will get to that later.

So, did you know that when someone says a soda can exploded they really, seriously meant that it exploded? Because I didn't! I know I once left a soda in the freezer and forgot about it, which annoyed my mother to no end because she ended up cleaning it up, but I didn't really grasp what it meant. I thought exploding meant bursting at the seams in the gentlest way, foaming up and over like a glass of soda poured too generously. I did not picture the carnage I found in my car this morning. My gearshift, the emergency brake, the dashboard - all coated with icy Diet Coke. I had to use my ice scraper to turn on the radio because the entire display was covered by one particularly stubborn patch.

Cans seriously explode! Like grenades! With aspartame! It's crazy!

I was, of course, already running heinously late for work, which meant I could undertake no real cleanup. I grabbed some napkins from the house before leaving and while driving to work, the heat on full-blast, I dabbed at frozen patches and threw napkins over places where I thought the stuff would melt or, as the case may be, drip from above.

The strange thing was that I got in my car at the end of the day expecting to see/smell the effects, huge stains and stale sweet stench, but nothing! Or just about nothing - only one or two places where puddles had formed. Other than that, the car looked the same, which begs the question: Is the car already so saturated by Diet Coke that one exploding can is but a drop in the bucket? This is possible. I've been drinking a can a day on my way to work for the past two and a half years. To think of the amount that's already evaporated and made its way into the upholstery - but does Diet Coke even evaporate? Is it part of the circle of life?

Either way, I certainly spill enough that the evaporation could be a non-issue.

And now we get to the pleather car accessories: My big gift from my Dad this year, if it can be called a gift since it was really owed to me anyway, was a car bra (or, to use the manufacturer's term, a "LeBra") to cover up the damage to my front end. I was crazy mega excited about this until about 7:45PM tonight, when my brother and I decided to try to put it on.

"Should we put the car in the garage?" Said I, Wise Elder Sister.

"Nah," said Jimmy, Somewhat-Less-Wise Younger Brother.

I chose not to fight him on this because while I am Wise Elder Sister, I am also Lazy Elder Sister and I didn't feel like playing musical chairs with the cars.

"Should we use the directions?" said I, Wise Elder Sister.

"Nah," said Jimmy. "There are pictures on the box. Just prop it open and we'll use that."

I again agreed. My Wise Elder Sister status grows shakier by each turn of this tale.

Ten minutes later I was kneeling in the snow, pulling as hard as I could to get the bra to stretch over the front end while my brother pulled and pulled on the end to secure the last set of clips. He pulled and pulled and pulled so hard, in fact, that the end of the Le Bra RIPPED OFF IN HIS HAND, propelling him backwards in a manner that would have been comical had he fallen over, but was in fact horrifying because he stayed on his feet and WE BROKE THE LEBRA.

"Oh," he said when he found his footing.

"Huh," I said when I saw the frayed edges.

"Maybe it'll still work," he said.

This prompted another ten desperate minutes of us trying to figure out a way to get the rest of the LeBra attached in a manner that would not lead to it flying off of the front end and blocking the windshield a la that really funny scene in Tommy Boy - and I know I'm not the only one out here who knows exactly to what I am referring.

(Or maybe I am.)

We would have been at it for longer, but a parental (Mom) came to inspect what was taking so long.

"Why is it all frayed like that?" she said.

"Uh," the brother said.

"Hmm," I said.

"Oh my God, YOU BROKE IT," she said.

After that, my mother kept poking her head outside, saying things like, "It says right here not to put it on unless it's 70 degrees or you're in an enclosed space!"

Which was very helpful at that point.

And then she poked her head out and said, "Your father says to grab the receipt - he left it in the box. You can see if you can bring it back tomorrow."

In the box. Which we propped open in the subfreezing wind to better see the pictures. My brother and I almost toppled each other racing for the box which was, of course, empty.

Oh, the awesomeness! It was SO AWESOME.

For the next five minutes we searched the snowy front lawn. For the five minutes after that we performed experiments, dropping receipts from our wallets at the spot where the receipt was last spotted, in the hopes of detecting some route it might have taken. This sounds clever but was not very helpful because my brother and I are - now this may come as a shock to you guys after hearing the preceding adventures - not the most attentive of individuals, and we would naturally take a moment while tracking the new receipt's irregular progress to talk to each other, only to look up and see oh my goodness! A receipt! Blowing in the distance! So exciting!

And then we'd run it down and realize it was the Sunoco receipt we'd dropped a minute before.

The best part was how this was all followed up with dinner, which was spent with both parents looking from one of us to the other, trying to figure out how they produced such wonders.

"The best part is, this was a team effort," I said. "It took two of us to do this."

Tomorrow: The exchange adventure. Will my brother be able to come up with a convincing enough lie? Or tell the truth sympathetically enough that we earn an exchange?

Stay tuned!
fearlesstemp: (john doe mike)
I love Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for a lot of things, too many to name, but if I had to give a brief list: my health, my family, and my friends, including all of you.

notes from today's turkey day )
fearlesstemp: (cary and baby)
You know what I did today? I fought The Man (better known as the Treasurer's Office, which handles all parking ticket-related disputes in my hometown – but isn't The Man catchier?) I went down to City Hall this morning totally lacking mercy! Prepared to be brutal! Supported by plentiful documentation!

A brief retelling of this morning's ruthless, brutal, take-no-prisoners takedown:

Self: Hi, I'm here about a ticket?

Parking Ticket Guy: [Super-friendly] Hi! What's the problem?

Self: [Whips out Green Folder of Obsessive Documentation] I received this notice in the mail saying I was late on a fine, but I never received a ticket, blah blah blah, Tale of Woe --

PTG: [Looks at receipt] Yeah, that's something different. Well, it looks like you've had to pay enough already, so let's just dismiss the ticket altogether, all right?

Self: Uh, okay.

PTG: [Filling out form] How do you spell your last name again?

And that was it! I had two reactions: (1) The urge to do a silly dance right there in the office, and (2) Frustration that I didn't get to launch into my already-prepared rant on how completely messed up the city's procedures are. Only handling protests in person on Tuesdays between 9 and 11AM? That is so messed up! What a messed up system!

But that messed up system had dismissed my ticket, and so I just walked away. I feel like there's a deeper lesson about complicity in unjust systems in there, and I should probably feel worse about this, but – I got my ticket dismissed! Yay! Yay for warped, messed up systems that mean I don't owe the city $70.00!

And now it's time to go! I had other things I meant to ramble on about, including the fact that I spent last night having dinner with Kristen the Republican Bride, who came to the outing accessorized by the one of the cutest babies I've ever seen and a Bush/Cheney 2004 diaper bag. I am not joking. There was a bib too. It was so very hard not to react by, say, flinging the offending items across the room.

I kid, I kid, I would never do such a thing. First of all: How rude! And second of all: I've never had a good arm.
fearlesstemp: (fred and ginger pick self up)
Party up in here: My car just passed inspection! I am about to go have a celebratory bowl of popcorn and Diet Pepsi, but I had to share this with someone, and since my house is empty and my friends all have lives and are off doing things at the moment (how inconsiderate!), I must spew into my LJ. To all of you, also my friends! Just many of whom I've never actually spoken to using my actual voice.

I have to say, I honestly did not think my car had it in her – I sat there in the Valvoline waiting room reading Moneyball (which is fab so far, by the way), eating peanut M&Ms garnered from the little machine sitting in the corner (only got four for a quarter, which I thought was a massive ripoff, but who to complain to? Certainly not the people examining my little car), obsessing over what I would do if it failed. Cry? Possibly. More likely just look pathetic and then go home and have a consolatory bowl of popcorn and Diet Pepsi (a variety of occasions are accompanied by a bowl of popcorn and Diet Pepsi in my life).

But all the worrying was for nothing, because it passed! I feel like a mother proud of her child winning the spelling bee or something.

Speaking of mothers: Went to the big family party last night and while there held and fed Abigail, the cutest little baby in the world. She is also the most well-behaved little baby in the world, dealing with a houseful of half-drunk extended family members all poking their heads in her face saying things like, "Look at you! Just look at you! I could just eat you up!"

That last comment is kind of terrifying – why do so many of us say it when faced with a teeny baby? Why do proud parents take it so kindly when someone tells them he or she wants to devour their young? Something to ponder.

I was surprised by how rusty I was. I have babysat a lot in my life, but it's been a while since I looked after a little infant, and when it came time to burp her I was overcome with the kind of panic I always made fun of my male relatives for having. What's so scary about a little baby?

A lot! I kept worrying I wasn't supporting her head enough and she was going to flop around and sever her spinal cord. Is that crazy? Probably. Either way, spinal cord remained intact and Abby burped proudly twice for me, and the third time was a little less forthcoming with the gas, and had to be handed over to her mother. But it was still lovely to hold her.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
How can Groundhog Day only get two and a half stars? I checked the info-on-demand thing on my aunt's digital cable while I was watching the movie, and that's what the info-on-demand Gods had given it. How is that possible? How?

It's one of the greatest movies ever! At least I think so. And does anything matter but what I, personally, think? An emphatic "No!" is the correct answer to that question.

(I say this all in good fun, of course; other things matter too. Can't think of any right now, but that's just the kind of mood I'm in. I'm sure I'll think of something tomorrow.)

It was very necessary that I saw this movie tonight, since I was feeling all torn up inside after finishing The Poisonwood Bible today. Groundhog Day and The Poisonwood Bible both made me cry today, but they were different kinds of crying, and it's good that Groundhog Day came second and at the tail end of the day. I loved The Poisonwood Bible and everything, but I've gotta tell you, and I don't think I'm spoiling those who haven't read it yet – a book about missionaries and postcolonial Africa? Not going to be happy go lucky!

Other notes: House- and pet-sitting continues on. Sprout the kitty woke me up several times before my alarm this morning. It is a testament to my animal-loving nature that I did not maim, kill, or bear any ill-will towards him, since waking up before my designated wake-up time is one of my least favorite things to do. Especially on a Saturday, when having an alarm set at all seems cruel. But I had to be up to let the dog out, and so I had to set an alarm; I've been known to sleep for thirteen hours at a time after a long week, and this week was definitely a long one, what with smelly attorneys and dogs flipping out and my grandfather having surgery (he's doing okay now) and my car being towed (details below). Leaving the dog in the house for thirteen hours could only lead to messes I would have to clean up.

When my cats want to wake me up, they usually sit on my head. I get used to that after a minute and generally go right back to sleep, but Sprout was more determined and also more polite. Sprout sat quietly next to me, and patted me on the cheek with his paw until I woke up, blearily waved my hand in the general direction of his head in an attempt to pet him, and then rolled over. Two minutes later, just as I was drifting off, he'd do it again: Sit there, stare at me, and pat pat pat until I opened up my eyes.

I did this four or five times and then finally just scooped him up in my arms and put him under the covers with me, giving him a big old hug. This freaked him out, as I knew it would (cats only like so much personal attention), and he promptly stalked away to the foot of the bed, where he slept at a dignified distance until I woke up for good two hours later.

Frankie the dog continues to be the height of adorableness, even if he did tear through the contents of my bag tonight. I, being the super-observant dogsitter I am, did not notice until he plopped down three feet in front of me and started chewing on my bottle of ibuprofen. Thank God he didn't get it open or break the bottle. All I ask of this trip is that I don't kill the pets or break a major appliance.


Note: Bringing Up Baby is on now and the info-on-demand people have given it only three and a half stars, which is also sheer madness, because if there ever was a four-star comedy, this would be it. Oh, it's the great phone conversation about the leopard! Everyone should see this movie if only for this scene, and also the part in the jail when Katharine Hepburn pretends to be a gun moll, and also the part where Cary Grant wears a women's robe and jumps up saying, "Because I just went gay all of a sudden!"

Okay, you should just see the whole thing. "There are only two things I have to do today: Finish my brontosaurus and get married at three o'clock."

How can you not love a movie with that line? And this exchange, which I think I've quoted before:

[David discovers the leopard in Susan's bathroom.]
David: Susan, you have to get out of this apartment!
Susan: I can't, I have a lease.

Sheer greatness.

Yesterday I got out of work at 4:15. I was so excited I almost danced out of the office, and then down the street, around the corner and down three blocks more, when I stopped where I'd left my car that morning.

It wasn't there.

and so begins the towing experience )
fearlesstemp: (Default)
Today I brought my car in for an oil change and ended up paying $330.00 for alignment work. I would be sad and pathetic and whine about it, but the thing is...I kinda sorta ran over an orange traffic cone last week. So it's my fault.

But! I still argue that the orange traffic cones were in a stupid place! I had to merge! I couldn't avoid hitting them! Okay, maybe if I was, you know, "obeying the speed limit" but come on! The speed limit is for LOSERS!

Kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, now car has oil change, alignment fixed, and two new tires. Happy little car.

In other news: It has been quite a week. My cousin Meg had her little baby Abigail, who after a day of being around my scarily huge extended family decided to get away from it all by having a seizure, refusing to breathe, and being placed in the ICU. I've got to tell you, that was a day. I do not look back fondly on Wednesday, July 14th.

It turns out she has meningitis and will have to be on IV antibiotics for 20 days, which means she won't be able to come home with Meg and her husband for another three weeks. They think Abigail should be fine, but still it's a difficult ordeal for Meg and her husband and for little Abigail, so any good thoughts that can be spared for them would be appreciated. Right now we've got the greater tri-city area's Catholic phone lines with God opened via conversations with my aunt Lynn's coworker (formerly a nun with the order of the Holy Names), Meg's boss (Sister Maureen -- Meg teaches at a Catholic school), and Father IForgotHisName (the priest at Meg's school). We've also lit up the Presbyterian hot line through a friend of mine, who asked her church to pray for Abigail at a service tonight. We take any and all good thoughts and prayers to the intangible force or deity of your choice.

I kid, I kid, but I also honestly appreciate it.

When I wasn't stressing about Abigail, I've spent a good chunk of my stress time obsessing over my grandfather's checkbook. Which brings me to: Have I mentioned that my grandfather's aides are driving me crazy? Because they are. It's like doing one of those complicated logic word problems: How do you keep the peace in a situation with five aides, Debbie, Carolyn, Lorene, Marilyn, and Diana, where:

-Debbie doesn't like Carolyn
-Carolyn doesn't like Marilyn
-Marilyn acts like she's the boss of everyone
-Jim doesn't like Carolyn or Marilyn all that much, but doesn't want them fired. Yet.
-Carolyn is a personal friend of Lorene.
-Lorene is Jim's favorite.
-Lorene doesn't like Diana because of the way she folds her sheets when she spends the night.
-Diana is pretty chill at this point. But give her time.

They keep calling me up and gossiping about each other to me. I feel like The Man, keeping them down, and I am so close to not caring about that.

And, okay, reality check (this is an honest request) – am I being an Evil Hardass Bitch from Hell by requiring these people to have worked all of the hours they're scheduled for before I pay them? Is that such a crazy idea? My aunts had, for some reason I have yet to discern, been paying them in advance, but that inevitably led to inaccurate amounts on the check, causing discrepancies that would have to carry over week after week. This has made the checkbook insane, and so I created this new system where everyone gets paid on Saturday for the week, and it's driving some of them crazy! They're all upset and keep calling me for their checks even though I sent them a letter telling them that the next check wasn't coming until July 17th!

I'm not crazy, am I? I mean, I cleared it with my grandfather, and he saw the logic. You work, then you get paid! Right?

Anyway. I'm so wiped out. Must go sleep. Am behind on everything in life. Owe e-mails, phone calls, other stuff. Apologies, will get back on things soon, honest.
fearlesstemp: (bucky)
I just got a ticket. And one of those annoying ones where it was completely and totally MY FAULT -- I remember the exact moment where I decided to part ways with traffic law and take an illegal left out of the Hollywood Video parking lot onto the mostly-empty two-lane road. I saw a car in the distance but it was sufficiently far away that I knew that even if I just rolled in neutral out of the lot, I would make it to the other side before he hit me.

I turned to my brother before doing so and said, "Should I just do it? Should I take a left?" (Because it would shave a whole, I don't know, THIRTY SECONDS off of my drive home.)

And he said, "Why not?"

And so we peeled out and started merrily home. For two seconds, that is, until my brother said, "Shit, that was a trooper" and said trooper made a U-turn, pulled over, and gave me a ticket.

Grrr! GRRRR!!! WHY AM I SO STUPID???

I mean, I worked at that Hollywood Video for like eight months four or five years ago. And every. single. night. I would leave and take the far parking lot exit where I could make a legal left turn. EVERY. TIME. My manager always made illegal lefts, but I considered myself a good driver! A good person! I obeyed the law!

And tonight I decided to be reckless and got BUSTED.

I am so annoyed. Damn you, self! DAMN YOU TO HELL. The annoying part is that now I'm all frustrated and angry with nowhere to put said anger and frustration (except this LJ entry, of course), so I can't really enjoy anything. Perhaps this is karma for being mean to Persistent Former Friend?

Will be zen and contemplate my bad behavior and hope that will guide the otherwordly karma forces to make the court willing to reduce this to parking on the pavement or some other non-moving violation.

Grr, I say! GRRR!

my blue car

Aug. 5th, 2003 01:45 am
fearlesstemp: (scouty)
Just when you thought it couldn't suffer any further indignities: SOMEONE EGGED MY CAR!

!!!

In the middle of Saturday night, some person(s) took out their pent up frustration at the world in general (not me in particular, right? please not me in particular!) by throwing eggs at my car! And getting it all gross and eggy! The BASTARDS!

My father and brother are convinced that it was some of the neighborhood teenage boys, which would make sense, but part of me kind of wonders if the true culprit(s) aren't quite so obvious...I mean, who would take action on such a defenseless creature? My car is by far the crappiest vehicle on the block. There may be cars that are at the same crappy level or slightly below in the development, but they aren't near me, and my parents' and other neighbors' nicer cars both made it through the evening without incident. This looks like a blatant attack on crappy cars.

Who would do such a thing? See, here's the deal: I have visions of all the uptight obsessive precision-lawnmowing middle-aged dads and husbands in the development meeting under cover of darkness the first Satuday of every month to dole out their punishment to those not up to snuff. Some kind of Take Back The Stuffy Neighborhood thing -- this month I was singled out for my crappy car. Maybe next time they'll turn their fury on the house around the corner that seems to mow their lawn once every eight weeks whether it needs it or not, so that it's overgrown 90% of the time.

Uptight bastards! I have no proof but already I'm sending mental dirty looks in the general direction of our neighbors across the street, whose house is so perfect that you kind of hate it while, at the same time, admiring its elegance and tasteful beauty.

Anyway, if shaming me into getting another car is their game, well tough! They lose! If owning a crappy car is wrong, I don't want to be right! I refuse to be intimidated into ditching my car! Also, I can't afford a new one. So ha!

On Sunday afternoon I was late (of course) and had to race over to Jo's for our little mini pool party and thusly didn't get a chance to stop by the car wash on my way. On the highway about ten minutes into my trip I realized that my car smelled like fried eggs. Niiiiice.

In other news: Today was my first day of freedom, aka unemployment. It was a very nice day during which I got a lot of stuff done. Okay, I got some stuff done. A few things. Must do more tomorrow!! None of this sitting around for forty minutes preparing to do something worthwhile! We are going to jump straight into the worthwhile activity, or at least cut our prep time down to twenty minutes (thirty at most).

My cat is quite adorable. I submit to you this icon as proof. It's Scout, the kinder, gentler, slightly smellier cat of our household. Isn't she cute?
fearlesstemp: (happy grover)
I would say I want to marry my mechanic, but since I don't have a specific individual mechanic, I will just marry the local franchise.

The Electric Lady was making her annual Scary Mysterious Rattly Noises of DOOM and after two weeks of driving with it, fearing that my transmission was going to fall out somewhere on the highway, I finally brought it in this morning. An excerpt from my very technical discussion:

Monro Dude: Can I help you?

Me: Hi! Yes! My car has been making these rattly noises -- or, well, more like clangy noises, like "Clang-rattle-clang" or "clang-clang-rattle-clang" or, you know what I mean, whenever I turn it on. It doesn't affect the running of the vehicle much, but it kind of terrifies my passengers -- even though I *tell* them it's fine, they just don't believe me, and I don't want them to be all scared, so I thought --

MD: Okay, so it makes a rattly noise. Key?

And then I carpooled with mom to work and sat here all morning waiting for the call with the estimate, and never got one! Which made me nervous! I mean, how long could it take them to find out? How many things could be wrong with my car? Scary!

I finally caved and called at noon, all scared, and after telling them which car (the little blue station wagon), the dude was all, "Oh yeah, that's done."

Terror! Terror! Do not want to pay massive amount of money! As lawyer's daughter, am already trying to figure out if I can get out of paying for the repairs since I explicitly asked them to call me first, and am cursing out mechanics in my head, when I asked how much it would be. After a series of "Yo! Mike! Did you work on the wagon? No? Okay. Yo! Dave! Did you work on the wagon? No? Okay. Yo! Steve!..." on the other end of the phone, the guy came back, and said the most beautiful two words ever found in the English language:

"Ten bucks."

And I could not restrain myself. I actually exclaimed, "Ten bucks?!" in the middle of the office like a loon.

Ten! Dollars! Ten dollars! No more scary rattling and it's all fixed for TEN DOLLARS! My car is fixed for TEN DOLLARS! Oh, I am such a happy girl!

I called my mother and gloated, which wasn't really the nice thing to do since, as she reminded me the second I finished gloating, she had to pay almost four hundred dollars for her brakes yesterday. Ouch.

No one can harsh my buzz! My car is fixed for ten dollars!

And that concludes this chapter in the saga of Jess's Mildly Ghetto Car.
fearlesstemp: (Default)
Today I managed to lose my car key while standing with half of my body within the confines of the car. An accomplishment, I know! I was merrily unloading stuff out of the trunk and had to shift my purse to my other hand to grab the Tide and, while doing so, heard this tell-tale *clink* of my key bouncing off of something metal and vanishing! Never to be heard from again! I can't figure out where it went! I pried up the floor of the trunk, thinking it had fallen into the spare tire well there, but no luck, and it wasn't on the ground anywhere, so it must have fallen in this tiny crevice between the body of the car and the back fender and wow, it takes some skill to drop one's key in the one precise space it would be impossible to remove it from!

Anyway! The whole reason the key fell and got lost was because it was not on my key ring, and the reason it was not on my key ring was because I had just gotten an oil change and, for some reason, I find myself blaming the car for this, as if it sucked the key out of my hands and into its innards, instead of blaming myself for not, you know, PUTTING THE KEY IN MY POCKET like any normal human being. I find myself thinking, "Car, I try to do something nice for you, and THIS is what you do?? Eat my KEY?! Have you no dignity? No gratitude? Did you not notice how smoothly you shift gears now? Don't I DESERVE better treatment than this?!"

I probably don't, since the car was actually like a thousand miles over for the oil change, but whatev! Not the point! I want my key back!

In further car news: The Electric Lady continues to ghettofy at a remarkable rate. Yesterday I was walking to my car and noticed that the little metal plate that proudly displays the dealership name was a little crooked, and so I went to straighten it, and, oh yeah, it came off in my hand. Of course. So now there's this ugly gray/black metallic square in the middle of the electric blue expanse of the back of my car. So, as of this moment, my car now has:

*A gaping hole in the left front bumper where my father hit it while backing out of the garage (It's called a rearview mirror, Dad. Learn to love it);

*Missing/peeling black trim by the windows on the right side of my car, but not the left, for some unknown reason that must have to do with the differential of the drag or the lift or whatever on the different sides of the car;

*A rear passenger door that refuses to open from the inside;

*Windshield wipers that refuse to return to their starting positions 95% of the time so that while at rest they often end up sticking straight up;

*An ugly black/gray rectangle where the dealership plate used to be,

and

*Two rear license plates because when time came to put on the new plates, we discovered that one of the screws had rusted so badly that the old plate couldn't be removed, and so we just decided to screw in the new one over it. Which means I have two half-attached plates. Nice.

Oh, little ghetto car! I still heart you.

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