Category Archives: The Life

I like to tell you about things that happen right after they happen. Sometimes it’s about taco bell, and sometimes it’s about love.

The Car Trouble Saga: (Part 1)


I am in the throes of studying for qualifying exams. For those of you who aren’t aware of this torture device Academia uses as its own version of Darwinism, I will be tested for approximately 12-14 hours over two days. The horrific details are seriously worth an entire post of it’s own, so let’s just leave it as consisting of a LOT of studying. This involves a lot of practice exams, group discussions, re-reading textbooks, and typing up study guides. I’ve been in The Office for about 6 or 7 hours a day for the past few days and will continue for the next week and a half. The Man has been awesome in dropping me off in the morning and getting me once I am ready to tear my hair out sometime in the afternoon/evening.

So this evening was no different when I called and said that I was ready to head home and take a break before diving back into the books. The Man turned the corner shortly after in The Might Taurus (which The Man has affectionately named Madeline), I got in, and The Might Taurus faltered. It opted to falter like a bad 90s rave with shaking, shuttering, and flashing all of its electronic lights. This seemed like a negative sign, so The Man chose to turn the car off hoping that it was perhaps the dense humidity of death that was causing The Mighty Taurus to cough and freak out… I mean that’s what we do when it’s this stupid outside.

angry car

So there we were, smack in the middle of the parking lot at The Office where the city is notorious for towing strange people (according to them I am strange and unworthy of a parking permit… again worth another post). And we were impressively blocking basically every car in the place. This was completely fine until the entire city decided it was also a fine time for them to return to their cars and attempt to go home. That would have been easier if we weren’t waving at them like overly friendly crazies. So we attempted reviving The Mighty Taurus. It responded to our vain attempts by turning into an unimpressed exhibitionist by flashing (its lights at) everyone in the vicinity and clicking away its disapproval. Click Click Click Click!

It was pretty clear we were officially stuck.

Since The Man and I are arguably impoverished, the idea of a tow truck was panic-inducing. To Google and to The Dad we turned! Both avenues turned up some vague mentions of electric issues, starters, wires, batteries, and alternators. Since all of those things are slightly different, and we know basically nothing other than how to start and drive one of these things — The Might Taurus was in dire need of a doctor. But darn it, we were going to attempt every known fix before we figured out how to get it there. No. We have three degrees between the two of us. None in auto mechanics or… anything realistic… but BRAINS! (But seriously… anything could have been in that car, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you.)

car parts

That’s the moment when The Man turned to me and said I should ask people if they had Diet Coke in The Office. Needless to say, I was pretty unimpressed with his hydration needs in the middle of our auto-crisis. Seriously? If your Diet Coke addiction is bad enough that you can’t bring yourself to critically think about car parts, you need to check your life. You need to check your choices. The Man then started rambling on about Diet Coke working as a way to get rid of corrosion on car batteries, so I was then convinced he’d lost his mind. But there I went to The Drug Store to purchase a bottle of Diet Coke.

I returned a moment later having successfully “played it cool” while purchasing what could only turn into an embarrassing mechanic moment, and The Man and I popped the hood. To my surprise, the Diet Coke hit and magically carbonated the battery’s way to clean connections! Like… it was magic, but I was also highly disturbed that a food item could essentially melt away corroded metallic waste. WHAT DOES THAT DO YOUR STOMACH?? The Man acknowledged that his innards are probably shot to all heck due to a daily regimen of holy cow that’s violent chemical reactions. BUT The Might Taurus bounded back into life! We were back in business!

rejoicing

The Man revved the engine a bit, and we edged back onto the road. The dashboard lights may not have been working, the radio wasn’t running, the AC really wasn’t working – but we were moving! We were consoled by the fact that we only live 2 miles from The Office. If we could only navigate The Mighty Taurus to her home, The Man could turn to Google for a false sense of mechanic prowess tomorrow in hopes of fixing the persistent issue. We made it past downtown pretty well, wound through the houses and past the rail road tracks, and we were still golden! The Man, who had by now worked up quite the perspiration stains in his pushing the car, thinking, Diet Coking, and rejoicing decided that it was time to casually begin drinking the rest of our only Diet Coke. Perhaps my reaction of, “Would you stop drinking our precious life juice? What if we need that again!” wasn’t logical… but it was certainly some killer foreshadowing.

It was at the third-to-last light that we started to feel unhealthy signs of giving up. The Mighty Taurus started to shutter and groan a bit while we were stopped. No amount of revving the engine seemed to spur her back into a fury, and it was as we came on the end of the intersection that she gave up all together. As we drifted to the side of the road… it was clear this saga was far far from over.

on the side of the road nowhere to go

to be continued…

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Dice with Buddies: An Open Letter


Dear Buddy,

It’s not every friend who remains loyal to you day in and day out, through thick and thin, for over a year. But you have stuck by me. You have been there for me when I relocated for graduate school. You were present on my wedding day. You even stuck with me through late nights of studying and paper-writing. I know if I need you in the early morning or late at night, you’ll be there.

Perhaps it’s worth noting that we are complete strangers.

A randomizer in the Dice with Buddies app introduced us, and we have never shared words (…with Friends). There’s just this understood code. Play. Win or lose. The last person always hits “rematch”. Winning or losing doesn’t really matter anymore, since the act of playing has simply become a staple of life. Missing at most a day or two between rolls, the interaction is predictable…and beloved.

dice with buddies

Sure, I have sometimes wondered what your name is or where you live. I’ve probably spent more time than necessary deciding that we live in nearly the same time zone because our rolls match up almost seamlessly. I’ve also hit the messenger button countless times to make a sassy comment about the close game or the fact that I have an entire personality thought up based entirely on your score after score after score.

But then I stop to think about it.

No. It just feels like breaking the silence would ruin this unspoken relationship. What if all we have in common is the rolling of 5 dice? What if eliminating the mystery on the other side of the network ruins what we have going? I just couldn’t risk what we have. What’s the saying? Good fences make good neighbors? Perhaps in this era, a solid cell phone screen and indecipherable profile picture will do.

So today I will just continue rolling, waiting for my phone to light up with your next move.

Sincerely,
Your Buddy

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A Bloggy Friend-y-moon


Hey this is me in Chicago with The Sassy Ginger Friend! We’re here for Blog Her ’13 because she has a rather successful blog… and I have a blog. It’s the perfect moment to take our friendship to the next level and celebrate a friend-y-moon. That’s all the romance of the honeymoon but with significantly less public displays of superfluous gross-osities.

BlogHer13

Here’s to a lot of fun stories this weekend!

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Technical Difficulties


The Grandmother exploded in frustration yesterday because in all this mess of re-hauling the house the doorbell stopped working. I came down the hall to a lively explanation of running to and from the door to have no one there. Were there kids playing pranks and ringing the doorbell and running? Was the doorbell now a super hero doorbell that had supersonic sensitivity and could be pressed by a gentle wind? To make matters worse, the doorbell must have been shorting out so that it was only sounding the first tone. It wasn’t even committing to a full ding-dong! What is the world without a full ding-dong???

never a ding-dong

The Mom and I were attempting to calm her, since it has been a rough week with the house ripped up and everything in a different place. I explained I hadn’t heard the doorbell problems, but if it didn’t stop we could definitely go purchase a new doorbell for very little money. Once everything settled down, The Mom went back to work painting and I was boxing up some pictures. Then The Grandmother exclaimed that it was happening again! Did you hear it? Did you hear it? A single tone doorbell with no one to greet you!

I still hadn’t heard anything that sounded remotely like a doorbell! I started to wonder if I had not only gone crazy but had lost my hearing. Why couldn’t I hear something so loud as an old doorbell? That’s when I heard the email ping from The Mom’s iPhone. Needless to say… The Grandmother is no friend to technology newer than the cassette player. The idea that a phone could make a noise that threw off the entire day? That was absolutely unacceptable… (but pretty hilarious for me!)

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Cross-County Coconut


While in The Grocery Store a few months ago, I felt flippant about fruit and exclaimed (in jest) that we should purchase all of the too-difficult-for-its-own-good foods like a whole coconut. The Man got that gleam in his eyes, and the spirit of adventure took hold. Why not buy a coconut? Doesn’t everyone want a coconut? After all, any food that requires a hammer can only say something that is a sick mixture of cave man antics and Martha Stewart: “I am a man. I hit things. They taste good and may be used for many delicate desserts.”

cocohero

So we bought a coconut.

The Man then proceeded to read all things internet-based on coconuts and became something of a coconut connoisseur — a cocosseur? We had raw coconut, baked coconut, and coconut trail mix within the first week. This would have been stupendous if I liked coconut in any way other than covered in chocolate and… well… not really coconut-like in any way. He also attempted macaroons, which is basically the only coconut-based product that I’ll get excited over. They immediately fell apart into what he has affectionately dubbed cocoslaw. Hey if it tastes like macaroons – who cares what it looks like!

The food products have become means to an end, however, since the dining room table has become the workshop for a massive coconut guitar pick business. The Man has even become a hipster about it, too! No power tools will touch the process, only antique hand tools and hours of labor. For the first coconut, it was a fun pastime. Four coconuts later, he has been sending an assortment of sizes cross-country to several guitarist friends to try out the new material, sizes, and textures. All these guys are thrilled to talk about coconut tone and how it would normally cost so much for a pick like this. Did you know this would be nice on nylon strings? I wonder if you make a big one if it would do nice things for a bass. Oh! What kind of oil are you using to finish them? Do you think I could also become a cocosseur? There is a national cocofrenzy!

cocobudies

Somehow a flippant fruit day has united guitar buddies around the world. The Dad even got a batch of picks for Fathers Day. The Dad could not have asked for a better gift! There was even a complimentary tutorial of each of the tools, how to file appropriately, and then a final concert of each pick and what their purpose might just be. I guess we know now that The Man doesn’t half-do any hobby. I wonder what food-based artisan effort will hit our apartment next!

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The Nameless Silver Fox


The Mom and I are in Indiana for the week to help The Grandmother around the house. This all started as a whimsical idea of helping empty out the “junk room” that could have its own episode of Hoarders, and then the Grandmother got excited. We have now completely re-carpeted the house, moved all the furniture into other rooms, and we will paint at least 2 rooms in the next two weeks. Maybe… maybe we will get to the infamous “junk room” by the end of the week.

so much to do

Apparently completely re-doing a house is a normal step in the moving-on process when a spouse passes away. The Grandfather died about a year and a half ago, and now we have been recruited to do every household process he didn’t like in the span of 6 days. He kept saying no about the carpet? TA DA! He kept saying no about new paint colors? TA DA! And let’s go spend all the money because… well… we can! I have been recruited for such a massive rehaul and deep cleaning of the entire house that you may not be able to recognize it from the previous house (though the endless collections of Precious Moments and teddy bears may give it away).

It should be said that my family has always had a fairly healthy outlook on family members passing away. Grieving takes time, and it’s important to remember the person – good and bad. And it’s completely okay to experience every emotion in the book. To put it into perspective, every time I called during the week of The Grandfather’s funeral… it was like comic relief. One time The Grandmother was talking lovingly of the 55 year marriage, the next she would be saying if he were there she’d kill him herself because she had just found another drawer full of receipts from 1957. There was also a massive plot to hire a cowerson of bagpipers (THANK YOU GOOGLE FOR THAT WONDERFUL WORD) for the funeral because The Grandfather hated… and I mean comically hated the idea of a bagpipe version of Amazing Grace. It was almost too perfect to pass up, as it had always been a family joke that at his funeral he would certainly rise from the dead if a bagpiper walked through the door. I’m sure some people would have been shocked by the playfulness that we all associate with that week, but it brought everyone closer when The Grandmother needed it most.

bagpiper dream

It’s been fascinating to watch The Grandmother go through so many changes in the past year. She hadn’t driven in 5 years. She had not ever lived on her own, and she had never managed bills or written a check. She had also never made a political decision on her own. A 55 year marriage when it starts at age 20 didn’t leave time for too much individual exploration. So each phone call is filled with new discoveries that you may associate with a teenager really getting to know herself. And, honestly, for the first time I can really relate to The Grandmother. She’s learning what she loves and what she wants at the same time I am. We’ve bonded over paying bills and pursuing new dreams. I never ever thought I’d have some of those conversations with her.

The funniest part of this transition, though, has to be her newfound awareness of other men in her life. Life doesn’t stop at 77, folks! Add some classy pick up lines, and you can easily get one embarrassed Grandmother! There’s this Wayne – a churchman that is too smooth and talkative. Why on earth would he ever say so many things in so little time? He wears fringed jackets, and she will definitely tell you what that fringe means. There’s also men who act too old. And then… there’s the Silver Fox.

Within four whole minutes of walking in the door yesterday, The Grandmother started to blush telling me all about this man she met at the Walmart Pharmacy last month — a place of infamous romance, I tell you. He was very tall and had wavy, silver hair. And, he was a dandy. A true Richard Gere type! He entertained The Grandmother with stories of wintering in Texas, where the selling points are that nothing is open after 6 pm (a hot commodity). He also fishes, and he’d love to see how she does on a boat. (Though the last time she was fishing, she was told she talked too much. Oh the hilarity!) And get this… he finished filling his prescription and then escorted her to the counter and waited on her. That’s modern day chivalry! He just talked and talked and told story after story… and really, who was The Grandmother to refuse? He was a gorgeous, tall man who was “just the sweetest” she had talked to in a long time.

grandmotherly swoon

Oh, his name? She has no idea… he’ll forever be the nameless Silver Fox at Walmart. A brush with fate. A brush with gorgeous, tall, wavy fate.

A week full of hard labor and boy talk with the Grandmother? This is gonna be a hoot!

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Fire Safety


As a human who lived in the cohabitational prison that is a dormitory for several years, my re-acclimation into the real world has been punctuated by stumbles and glories… who are we kidding? It’s mostly glorious to be out of such an athletes’ foot-ridden, stupid messy girls, holy smoke why would anyone skateboard up a wall kind of life! One of my most recently discovered freedoms is candles. Tall candles. Small candles. Scented Candles. Colored Candles. I have become a classy home-maker pyromaniac in the past several months.

In my new enlightened state, though, I remain the ditz I have always been. I leave the house to go do adult-y things like running errands, eating with friends, going to work and it hits me! Did I remember to extinguish my home-making pyro display before I left the apartment? When the answer might be anywhere from a slightly plausible ‘no’ to a ear-splitting ‘YES, YOU IMMATURE HUMAN!’ the immediate paranoid spiral of every fire safety program from elementary school begins.

The whispers of every cuddly forest fire critter remind you that an unattended flame will definitely lead to apocalyptic conditions. The tables quickly turn on this new-found freedom. I am longer Suzie Home Maker dabbling in pyrotechnics… no. I’m now the sociopathic neighbor that burns down the subdivision for some sick form of enjoyment!

burn baby burn

Logic really has no place in incessant fire safety lectures in a mind. I mean I know such a tiny flame looks so innocent in its Yankee Candle jar and decorative shade when I sit next to it for four hours. Nice dinners, discussions, any ambience your heart desires. You have successfully contained a life force! Go you!

But unattended for four hours?… Well who knows what kind of destruction could unfold in my absence! I can only imagine it’s some sick form of Toy Story – except now it’s not cute and friendly toys springing to life. It’s nasty, horrible, life forces prepared to conquer and doom the home you have decided to make with your naive, Pinterest-ridden hands.

fire worship

Okay so maybe the cat hasn’t been converted to fire worship quite yet.

Yet…

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