Posts tagged ‘car’

Crazy Winter Adventures

Take that, Winter!

Figure 1: Take that, Winter! 
So, really, there is only one “Figure.”  Do I just put “Figure”?  That looks weird.

Often I question why I live in Chicagoland, and last week was certainly one of those times. But here I live, and I’ve got a mortgage and some pretty nifty friends and family who are all crazy enough to live here, too, so I plan to make the best of things. That means last week I had to gear up for the cold. Polar cold.

We Illinoisans have been spoiled by some pretty mild winters the last couple years. (I fondly remember hiking without a jacket at Starved Rock — in January!)  So, I’d forgotten what real cold feels like and acts like, and I needed to adjust.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning were predicted to be wicked cold (in the negatives), and unfortunately, I only got Monday off.  So, I resigned myself to getting prepared, and I had one question:  At what point does my face turn blue and my fingers fall off??  According to the news: within minutes.  So, I geared up. (See Figure 1)

Warm weather checklist:

  • 2 or 3 pairs of socks — including some thermal ones
  • long underwear (top and bottom)
  • heavy sweats
  • T-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket
  • gloves
  • scarf
  • hat (with hood up)
  • ninja mask (face mask)
  • tennis shoes (my boots finally just came in the mail, and they are the best thing EVER)

I also made sure I had a sleeping bag, some water, and snacks.

Everything almost went off without a hitch.  The warehouse where I work was actually decently warm.  I was more confident in the snow, managing the skidding and taking things extra slow, especially around the turns and approaching lights and stop signs.  The highway was a mess, but I took the alternate route, and I made it to work without a problem.  I made sure I warmed up my car for 5 minutes during lunch, and everything was going smoothly.

And then Tuesday evening I got into my car, turned the key, got a “vrrp” and then. . . nothing.  I tried again. . . nothing.  I couldn’t believe it.  The one reason I had considered calling in sick — and it had happened to me.  I stilled my mind and worked on the next step.  The maintenance guy.  Find the maintenance guy.  2nd shift was still going, and my friend in maintenance was still in there somewhere.  So, I gave up on my car and went back in to work to find him.  He came back with me, lugging some kind of charger thing and proceeded to hook it up in my trunk. (Yes, my battery is in my trunk).   We waited a little while, and then I tried the ignition again.  Vrrp. . .nothing.

Now I was getting a bit concerned.  He continued to charge the battery and asked to poke around under my hood for  a bit (unsure about my battery really being in the trunk).  Meanwhile, my fingers were starting to get cold — I don’t have heavy duty gloves; Honestly, I try to get away without wearing gloves as much as possible, and I’d go without a coat, too, if I could get away with it! —  and I started worrying that my hands were going to shrivel up and become smurf blue.

I decided it was time to put some metaphysics learning to use.  First, I sent my car light energy.  Then, not sure if sending energy worked for cars, I tried visualization — recreating the sound and feel of the car revving up with confidence and gusto. I then repeated this image a few times in my mind.

I’m not sure if it was the maintenance guy’s gizmo, or the light energy, or the visualization — or all 3 –but when I tried the car the next time, it gave a hearty, unhesitating start, exactly as I’d imagined it.  I thanked my friend profusely and hurried into my car, rubbing my hands together like two sticks making a fire, and I let the car warm up.  “That’s my girl!” I crowed to my metal baby, and I couldn’t wait to get home, kiss the floor, and hug and kiss my honey (maybe not in that order).

And this week I’ve officially become one of those crazy people who thinks 30 degrees is spring weather and goes about willy-nilly without gloves and hat.  But, I mean, can you blame me?  Winter was 50 degrees ago!

Smorgasbord: “My poor baby!” x 2; More Angel Numbers; Raw Emotions; Animal Visits; and Pupil Jealousy?

"Multicolor Paint" courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Multicolor Paint” courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“My Poor Baby!” x 2

  • #1: I hurt one of my babies today.  I was clipping Link’s claw with the clippers, and I must have been really careless because I cut into his paw. 😦  He cried out in pain, but he’s shown no other sign of pain since; he’s been walking fine and no complaints.  But he was bleeding for a while, and I freaked out for quite a bit.  Of course it was an accident, but I felt like a terrible Mom, and I didn’t know what to do.  I knew what I would do if it were me, so I got some tissue, and held it to his paw.  Then I actually put a band-aid over it, but he didn’t like that too much and took care of it pretty quickly.  Then I just monitored him, feeling sorry for him and awful that I had been the one to do such a thing.  I realized that cats get cuts sometimes from the silly things they do, and animals get injured out in the wild, and they make do, so this was not the end of the world.  Since he wasn’t bleeding profusely, he’d survive.  But I still feel like I need to make it up to him somehow (as I presently let him continue sitting on my lap, even though I desperately want to get up for some water and some chocolate).
  • #2: My other baby is my car, and I guess I’m responsible for part of its pain, too.  But mostly it’s just old and quirky.  When I start up my baby, the “CHG OIL” light goes on and my digital clock creates its own new language.  When I turn left, my turn signal blinks frenetically, signaling that my brake light is out AGAIN or my electrical system is still a bit wacko.  And then there’s the rapping noise of some strappy, window-related thing that I don’t even hear anymore because I somehow willed it not to be there anymore. . .  And I know it’s time to take the girl in.  I’m usually pretty good about taking her in every 3-4 months.  This time I’m up to 5, but part of that is because I just passed the 100,000 mile mark (Yay!) which means I’m due for a bit of a maintenance overhaul (Not so yay :-().  But I knew this was coming, and I already have a maintenance appointment scheduled for Friday.  Hopefully nothing else will go wrong with my car before then.  ::Foreshadowing alert::  No, really. Everything will be fine.

More Angel Numbers

So, I’ve heard that our angels/spirit guides like it when you ask them for help.  So, I’VE BEEN ASKING.  But I realize that a) I may not be noticing the signs or b) I may be noticing the signs, but I may be in denial.  Anyway, here are 2 other number combinations that I realized have popped up within the last year:

  • 49.  It applies to the $49,000 chunk of part of my mortgage debt, and it struck me because my dad mentioned that his mortgage had also been $49,000. So, I thought I’d take a peek. According to Joanne Sacred Scribes:

“49 is a message from your angels that a project or cycle is ending and you are asked to look to your achievements and successes. Take the lessons from the experiences and use them to your future advantage.  Finish off anything left undone.  Repeating Angel Number 49 is a message that your angels are with you as you step through a new door of opportunity.  As with all endings, it is the beginning of something new and as one door closes, another opens. Your angels ask that you focus on your goals, aspirations and life purpose, and remember to ask your angels for assistance along the way.”  The term “lightworking” also popped up with the number combination.

  • 27. I was timing my student on some touch multiplication facts, and she got 3 back-t0-back 27’s (seconds), which — is just unlikely.  So, here’s what Joanne Sacred Scribes has for 27:

“Angel Number 27 is a message from your angels that new information or news of a positive nature is on its’ way, so listen to your intuition and heed its guidance for your highest good.  Angel Number 27 is a message to believe in yourself, your intuitive messages and your inner-promptings.  You have been receiving messages about your divine life purpose, and your angels encourage you to follow the guidance and directions accordingly.  Trust that your angels support you in your spiritual endeavors.”

So, I guess I’ve gotta keep the faith.  It’s tough for a worry-wart like me, but I’m listening, angels!  Please keep trying to guide me!

Raw Emotions

I’ve decided that I have been put on this Earth to deal with intense emotions.  I cannot believe how completely blissful I can feel during one part of the day, and how absolutely terrified or angry I can feel later that same day.  Most of today I was nervous about my sessions with my tutoring students — especially my ACT tutoring session — and I was worried about my pending performance at the school talent show.  (I sang “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack.)  The talent show went just fine, the ACT session was pretty good — I’m still stressing about it a bit — and life has gone on.  I feel that I’m making this job/life transition so that I can be more relaxed and get back in touch with my true self and my spiritual guides — but I’m afraid that I’ll find something that will be just as stressful or just as awkward a fit as what I have now.  I mean, what if it’s just me?

Animal Visits

I like to notice special things — they may seem like random coincidences to most other people — like the number combinations and animal sightings.  I think it’s a little odd that one morning I had a rabbit run out in front of my car, and a minute later, a crow landed in front of my car.  I looked up both of those animals, and the impression I got was that I was supposed to be jumping on some opportunity.  I have no idea what that opportunity was, so I hope I took it!  And today it was spiders.  The second one was not a big deal.  It was a little black spider walking across the floor of the gym in front of the bleachers where I sat.  But it was the second spider I’d seen in one hour.  The first spider was much more interesting.  It was a medium-sized/largish green spider that camouflaged perfectly with our Shaklee water pitcher.  I was surprised because 1) I’d never seen a spider in the kitchen before.  2) It happened to be the exact same green as the water pitcher.  3) It happened to be on the water pitcher as I was filling it up!  (I’m just pleased I had enough composure to quickly place it on the counter, rather than drop the poor pitcher again — I have some sort of problem involving dropping water pitchers: I’ve already broken 2!I had some trouble researching and figuring out what the spider could be trying to tell me, but I found a LOT of green spider images on Google.

Pupil Jealousy?

Yes, I am jealous of my students.  Because what I’m trying so hard to find, comes so naturally to them — creativity.  One of my students is an amazingly creative writer.  I don’t think he realizes how ingenuous his ideas are.  I want to write like that!  And another makes magic with his highlighter art.  Seriously.  Where do those images come from?  Why can’t I get myself to draw like that? This year I’ve become aware of how truly, and frighteningly powerful my critical side is, and it’s starting to make me mad.  I’ve even started talking to it: You are holding me back.  Do you know what you are doing?  Why?  Why are you doing this to me?!  I’m not sure this one-way conversation is getting me anywhere, but at least I’m becoming more aware of it.  Somehow I’ve got to get myself to play more.  I need to unlearn what “life” has taught me and become a child again.  Sigh.  I wish there was an easy step-by-step program for that one. . .

And. . . that’s it for today!  I’m hoping Brian will get home soon so that we can watch Castle, my new watch-while-I-grade TV series.  We just started season 1, and I can’t believe how quickly I got addicted.  But really, it has Nathan Fillion from Firefly in it.  Of course I like it! Oh, dang it.  I over boiled the mushroom ravioli, and there are now mushroom bits everywhere.  Gotta go.

Don’t Stop!: A Brake Light Story

"Business Team Carrying Books" courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Business Team Carrying Books” courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unfortunately,  if I have a major problem, I tend to obsess about it until it’s fixed.  Today it was a tail light that was out.  As I was leaving from tutoring, my boss happened to be leaving at the same time, and he called me to let me know that my left tail light was out.  He was concerned because he had seen a cop car come up behind me, and he was worried that I would tap my breaks and then get pulled over.  (By the way — so unfair that cops give you tickets for tail lights that are out.  I understand that it is dangerous,  but how the heck were you supposed to know about it??)

So, anyway, I didn’t get stopped, but I was rather paranoid about it on the way home and continued to obsess about it throughout the wonderful dinner that Brian had made for me (baked sweet potato, flavored mixed veggies, and spinach tortellini with marinara sauce and meatless meatballs . . . . Yum!)

Brian, obligingly put my worries to rest and began working on the issue, with me helping out the best I could.  He struggled with getting at the tail light in my crazy car, so I called up my dad who has two exact replicas of my same car.  (But apparently he has not as yet had the misfortune of having to deal with a malfunctioning tail light.)  He did have the excellent suggestion of looking at the owner’s manual of my car, which helped me diddly squat (the drawing was confusing!), but seemed functional enough for Brian to continue the project.  He opened the trunk and unscrewed some bizarre-looking screws, requiring tools that I cannot name — I wasn’t even sure I knew what needle-nosed pliers were, but apparently I guessed right —  and I got to see the inside of a tail light.  He did some testing, and it looked like the bulb still lit, so then he took a look at the fuse box (as I peeked over his shoulder, holding his iPhone flashlight app for light).  Suddenly the car seemed a little less of a magical mystery and more of an actual machine. . .

Then off to Sears we went, and we found the most helpful sales guy ever who led us to the bulb department and found us a box of fuses.  (We almost got a universal garage door opener for Brian’s car while we were there, but the price was a bit more than we had been willing to spend today.  Seriously, do not take your garage door openers for granted!) We came back, and Brian discovered  that the fuse was the wrong size, so he went back to the manual and switched out another fuse that was the same size (a fuse for the nonexistent sunroof, nonexistent power mirror, nonexistent OnStar, etc).  Turned the key, checked the break light, and still nothin’.  So, he went back to the bulb.  Pulled out the bulb, stuck in the new one, “Did it go on?”, a “Yes!”  (Bingo! ) and the scientific method came to its successful conclusion, my friends.

That’s enough for one evening.  Now I can get a good night’s sleep. . .

I Love & Need My Car . . . Did You Catch That, Universe?

"Selling And Buying Car" courtesy of suphakit73/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Selling And Buying Car” courtesy of suphakit73/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you ever feel like your life is a little too normal, and you wish you had a little more adventure in your life — don’t.

(Sometimes I wonder if I subconsciously create or attract these situations of drama so that I have a subject to post about later. . .)

I got sloppy this morning, and I confused the timing of a brunch date.  I was in the middle of exercising to Zumba Core on the Xbox360 (trying to get some exercise in because I knew I’d be busy the rest of the day), when I got a text from one of my friends that she was already on her way to the café.

I flew to my laptop, double-checked my Facebook messages, and immediately realized my timing mistake.  I took one of my fastest showers, threw on some clothes, got Bowser in his crate, and ran out the door.

And that’s when my car wouldn’t start.

And suddenly nothing else in the world mattered — not that I was late, not that my hair was wet and knotted, not that I couldn’t remember where I’d left my car garage-door opener, not that I hoped the front door was locked . . .   My world was ending because something I’d always taken for granted was suddenly the most important thing in my life right now: my beautiful 8-year old car.

I tried again.  A little something — then nothing.  I tried again.  Nothing.  I waited.  A little something — then nothing.  I texted Brian; I texted one of my friends.  What do I do?  Then, on the next attempt a “Service Vehicle” message flashed on my dashboard, and the next few days immediately flashed before my eyes.  Would I make it to tutoring?  What about taking my friend to Chicago on Sunday?  What about getting to work?  I just took my car in!  Would I have to take it in again?  I don’t to take it in!  Suck it up, Teri!

Brian told me that my car maybe just needed to warm up.  “How do I get it to warm up?” I cried. “With time,” he texted me.  Time??  I didn’t have time.  I was already 20 minutes late!

(By the way, how do you warm a car up that’s too cold to start?  It was already in the garage.  Are there big thermal blankets make just for cars that heat them up enough to start?  And if there are, I want one.)

Long story, short (but not really), after a few more attempts, the car finally started.  And then I couldn’t get the garage door closed.  Because — if you remember — I didn’t remember where I’d put the garage-door opener, and the outdoor garage-door key pad decided it wasn’t going to work either, and also the keys I needed to get into the house — so that I could locate the opener or at least run through the house after hitting the indoor garage door opener — were in the ignition of my temperamentally running car, AND because I don’t actually have a driveway — my garage door opens up into an alleyway, facing rows and rows of other garage doors — my car was sitting in the middle of an alleyway —  at the precise moment that one of my neighbors had also chosen to leave their house (but with much greater success, except for the annoyance of the crazy neighbor who was blocking the entire alleyway).  Phew!  (Take a breath here.)

So, to make a long story short (for real this time), my totally awesome other neighbor from across the way went into my garage for me and hit the indoor opener button and then did some crazy Mission Impossible run back through the garage and limbo-y hop/dodge under the door and over the sensors, and I was able to finally leave and be unfashionably late to my brunch — which was really more like “lunch” by that point.

Thankfully, my car started after the café.  And it started on the way to the tutoring session (which I made sure to leave extra early for).  And it started on the way back from the lesson.  Thus, I am temporarily convinced that my beloved baby (car, not infant) is not going to die — as previously feared — and will live for many, few happy years to come.  (But, it’s clearly officially over the hill because suddenly cold weather is preventing it from getting up in the morning.)

In conclusion: I love, love, love my car.  And I’m perfectly happy with my life the way it is.  Normal is GOOD.  (Did you get that, universe?  Please don’t take my car.)

My Car & Me: A Sketch

"Side Mirror View" by Dundee Photographics / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Side Mirror View” by Dundee Photographics / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I finally took my car in today for its regular maintenance.  I know people sometimes look through medicine cabinets.  Have you every wondered what people think when they look in your car?

Your car can tell a lot about you.  What kind of car do you have?  What gadgets do you have?  Have you decorated the outside?  What’s lying around inside?

My car is a black 2004 Saturn Ion.  Supposedly many teachers own Saturns, and I am no exception.  It’s year tell you it’s either used or that I plan on running it into the ground, and the second is true.  I chose black just like my father did because it doesn’t show dirt.  The front bumper is cracked with a piece missing from the time that I drove over a parking median near the old vet’s office.  There are white creases in the plastic front left bumper from the couple of times I misjudged my entry into the garage.

The back bumper is spattered with bumper stickers with quotes from Jimi Hendrix, Gandhi, and the Native Americans.  I also “choose natural health,” have a blue and yellow equal sign that symbolizes equal rights for all, and a blue and white “Coexist”  a bumper sticker, created with symbols from various religions.  My “I love Shaklee” license plate holder completes the picture, adding to my non-conformist hippy-mobile.  My license plate is just standard numbers.  I have no fake baseballs penetrating my rear window nor any stick-figured family members or pets lining the bottom of it.

The tires are likely low  from negligence, and the oil sticker reads 9/14/12 as the next recommended oil change date.  The engine light used to periodically flash, but no one would see that now; that stopped when I replaced my gas cap. (Really?  Yes, truly.)  And every so often my left blinker switches to double-speed, but no one would catch that because it immediately returns to normal the following day.

The inside is sparse.  I bought the cheapest model possible, right off the lot.  I’m the only person I know who actually still rolls down her windows and double-checks that everyone has locked her own door.  The only access I have to music are my quirky CD player and radio, which both randomly mess with me, deciding the controls no longer function, holding fast to one station, or quitting and not playing anything at all.  The digital clock is just as possessed, creating strange new numerical symbols and impossible times like 8:98.

The inside is a visual cacophony, though I try to clean it out periodically.  Today a recently used smoothie glass is perched in the drink holder to the right of the driver’s seat.  On most days I might have an empty mug (which houses my energy tea) and possibly a bowl and spoon nearby, the remnants of my Ezekiel cereal breakfast.  Often I have a water bottle that begins in the other drink holder spot, but falls out due to the shallowness of the indentation and then rolls around in the passenger side of the car.  The passenger’s seat usually houses my purse and whichever book I am reading at the time; lying against the seat is my large, decrepit accordion that is stocked to the brim with my gradebook, plan book, meeting notes, and papers upon papers to grade. To the immediate left of the steering wheel are some granny-looking sunglasses that fit over my regular prescription glasses that Brian likes to laugh about every time I put them on.  In the middle compartment are gas receipts, a cat hair remover, my voice recorder, and various pencils and pens.  Hanging from the back of it is the charger for my GPS, my lifeline to the world of new destinations.

The back seat and wells below are strewn with various children’s non-fiction and fiction books.  Some are in a black bag that also houses random tutoring supplies and folders.  A backpack houses my writing workshop folder and materials.  Besides these items, you find an extra sweatshirt or jacket, my Australian outback hat that I use for writing workshop, and — in the winter — an ice-scraper/snow-brush.  My trunk has a small bag of clothes that have yet to be dropped off at Goodwill, donated books that await the library, and jumper cables.  The dashboard is dusty, crumbs are scattered about the front floor of the car, and a few seat spots have a slight yellow tint from my dusty softball days.

So, what does a mechanic think when looking at my car?  Does she see the teacher, tutor, writer, reader, cat-loving, softball-playing hippy? Or a seemingly disorganized slob who could use a new car?  Who knows?  But I wonder.  What do you think your car says about you?

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