Monday, October 20, 2014

this time, my car trouble involved law enforcement

Well, now that this Monday is just about over, I can officially say that it was better than the last one. 

Last Monday morning, I woke up feeling pretty lousy.  I stayed in bed for an extra half hour and had a surprisingly involved internal debate with myself about whether or not to take a sick day.  In the end I decided that I’d feel better once I got moving and I had a lot to get done (you win, work ethic) so I made myself get up and go into the office. 

Which turned out to be the wrong decision.

On my way to work, while I was driving along a VERY BUSY HIGHWAY, I saw large pieces of metal bouncing around the lanes ahead of me, and before I knew it, I felt something hit my tire.  I knew right away that it was a pretty forceful impact, and ten seconds later my low tire pressure light lit up and an alarm started dinging.
I pulled onto the shoulder and hopped out to take a look at my tires and see if I could make it to the next exit, since it was just a mile away and, you know, being in a disabled vehicle on the side of a three lane highway during rush hour is not the most ideal situation.  Unfortunately, my right tire was already COMPLETELY flat, so I got back in the car and called my BFFs over at roadside assistance to tell them, HEY, IT’S ME AGAIN WITH YET ANOTHER CAR PROBLEM.

I honestly feel like I should invite the roadside assistance operator over for dinner, I talk to her so often.

I looked around while I dialed the insurance company, and I counted at least ten other cars and trucks pulled over with flat tires.  Evidently I was not the only one who fell victim to the metal debris in the road.  And a few minutes later, I saw cop lights in my rear view mirror.  Normally that sight would fill me with dread, but in that moment I stopped just short of hanging my head out of the window and screaming PLEASE OFFICER, PICK ME.  

The state trooper came to my window and when I told him that roadside assistance gave me an estimate of an hour before they would arrive, he rolled up his sleeves and changed my flat tire for me.

I could have kissed him.

Once I was all set, I rolled very slowly to the nearest auto part store and bought myself two new tires and an alignment. Which brings the current total for Matt and me to EIGHT new tires in eight months of marriage.

This week, we are going shopping for bikes.

Or personal chauffeurs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

i just keep telling myself i'm young at heart

Well, I have aged thirty years in the last five days.

Let me explain.

On Friday, I paid a visit to the podiatrist and left with some sweet new orthotics for my shoes.

On Sunday, I was doing my hair when I discovered a big gray patch right in front.  After a few moments of panic and a desperate text to my sister, it occurred to me that the gray may have been the result of an overenthusiastic application of dry shampoo. However, I haven't used the dry shampoo in two days and I haven't noticed a change, so I'm not feeling very optimistic about this development.

And then today, I walked into my office at work only to discover this on my desk.

Way to kick a girl when she's down, AARP.

I guess the least I can hope for are some discounts on orthotics and hair dye.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

i'm not typically high maintenance when it comes to hotels

I was on a quick work trip for a few days last week.  The day before the trip, a group of us received an urgent email from an administrative assistant letting us know that there had been a mix up with the hotel reservations.  Our hotel was being changed from the fancy Holiday Inn Express to the not quite as fancy Quality Inn.  Not only that, but there were ten people going on the trip and only nine rooms available.  And since there were no other rooms at any other hotels in the area, she pleaded for two people to volunteer to share a room.

Since I've been  workin' girl, I've learned that being on the good side of the administrative assistants can be worth its weight in gold.  So I sent a quick email to tell her that I would be willing to share a room if she still needed a volunteer.

Which is how I ended up spending Wednesday night in a hotel room with someone I've never met before.

The rooming situation turned out to be fine, but the pillow situation?  

As you can see, The Quality Inn promised me a Q bed with NOT ONLY 200 thread count sheets, but also a generous supply of fluffy pillows.

I know what you're thinking.  How lucky can a girl get?

Well, it would seem the Quality Inn and I have a different interpretation of the word "generous."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

that time i got sentimental

Matt and I have been married for seven months today.  Not eight months, as I initially thought the other night when I burst dramatically into the kitchen and proclaimed, "This month is our GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY! Eight months on the eighth!"

And Matt thought for a moment and then said, "Actually, March to October is only seven months."

Listen. Time flies when you're having fun.

Also, perhaps we should rethink who handles the budget.

Anyway, I know this is going to sound so cheesy but when April ended, I remember thinking, "April was my favorite month of marriage yet."  And then I thought the same thing about May.  And June.  And every month since.  I feel like we have settled into our routine and even though we have been friends for TEN YEARS (we calculated the other day, we are old) and dated for five, we are still learning all sorts of new little things about each other.

For example, I have learned that Matt does not utilize the sleep button on the alarm clock, loves to keep me up to date on the weather forecast and if I will need an umbrella/sweater/ice scraper, and sleeps with a flashlight next to our bed "just in case." And he makes me laugh all the time.

And I love funny.

Just this morning I was up at 5:40, an hour and a half earlier than normal (unlike Matt, I am a big fan of the sleep button), because I had an early meeting two hours away.  I was grumpily drying my hair and I could hear Matt humming cheerfully in the bathroom as he got out of the shower and brushed his teeth.  When he came into the bedroom, his humming got louder and quite impassioned, and after a few minutes, he said, "Well, have you noticed anything different about my humming recently?"

Unfortunately I had to tell him that no, I hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary.

"I've been humming Christmas carols the past few days!" he said.  "I'm just trying to ease into the season."

And at 5:40 this morning, that made me so happy.  Partly because he knew it would make me laugh, and partly because that is so Matt - a well thought out procedure for everything.

I even got a text from him this afternoon asking what I'd like to do for Valentine's Day.  It would seem that someone has holidays on the brain.

In honor of our seven months of marriage, here are seven wedding pictures.

(Actually, it's way more than seven.  But I'm not the math person, remember?)


Monday, October 6, 2014

in summary, i have a new computer

About a week before I started eighth grade, my dad started telling my brother, sister, and me that we would be having a “dry run” before our first day of school.  It was my mom’s first year back to work as a teacher, so she was going to be very busy in the mornings, and he told us that we would have to set our alarms, wake up on time, get dressed, have breakfast, and walk to the bus stop just to make sure that the schedule worked perfectly.  My sister was in kindergarten that year, so the idea of a dry run was ACES to her, but my brother and I just laughed and rolled our eyes because surely he could not be serious.

And then came the day before the first day of school.

And as we trudged across the street to the bus stop at 6:45 am, backpacks on and Dad waving from the front porch, we realized that he was serious.
Dad loves a good dry run.

And last weekend, I realized that I married someone who shares my father’s philosophy on dry runs.

Matt started a new job last Monday, and the weekend before we woke up, got ready according to the 
proposed time schedule, drove to the train station, and even PARKED THE CAR in the spot Matt would be parking in.  We stopped just short of inserting a few quarters into the meter and actually boarding the train.

It was like 2001 all over again.

In addition to a new morning routine, Matt’s new job also required a new wardrobe.  We spent a few hours in Macy’s last week picking out some fancy new threads.  I immediately got lost in the racks of dress pants and ties and OH, THE OPTIONS FOR BUTTON DOWNS and at one point I looked over and saw Matt just staring blankly at a mannequin (or, as he calls it, a dummy).  “Are you okay?” I asked him.  “Oh I’m fine,” he said, “just getting used to the type of outfit I will be wearing every day for the next forty five years.”

Hurry it up, retirement.

Matt had a great first week at his job, and his new position oh-so-conveniently coincided with the death of my laptop.  Matt hasn’t had a computer in years, so once mine died we were totally without one.
We have been researching new devices for a few weeks, but it was difficult because I am not a fan of large purchases.  If something costs more than about thirty dollars I will hem and haw for ages before biting the bullet.  And Matt is the same way.  Which is why I think we will never buy a house because SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS? It took us six solid months to decide on a SOFA.  

And you should see us try to commit to buying the Value Pack of chicken at Wegman’s.

And so, after EXHAUSTIVE research and many debates between the iPad camp (Matt) and the laptop camp (me), we decided to purchase a laptop this weekend.  We drove to Best Buy bright and early, only to discover that the doors didn’t open until 11:00.  We went next door to Petsmart to kill some time.  We checked out all of the hamsters and fish and watched puppy class for a little while, and then I went to check out the dog clothes (why on earth would a dog need a down vest, ANSWER ME THAT), while Matt perused the reptile department.

When we met back up, he was holding a piece of orange plastic coral and a King Tut fish tank decoration.

What are your plans for those?” I asked.

I thought they would look really cool on my desk in my new office,” he said.

Whoa boy.

Luckily the clock struck 11:00 so we put down King Tut and the coral TOOT SUITE and went next door to Best Buy.  And do you know what was outside the Best Buy doors?   A GIANT CROWD OF PEOPLE.  I thought people only gathered outside of Best Buy on Black Friday, so color me surprised.  

I was dying to push past people and run inside and scream, “WOOOO HOOOOO, WE’RE GONNA BE FIRST, GOTTA GET THIS AMAZING DEAL” but Matt wasn’t so much on board.  And so instead, we walked in very sensibly and maturely and purchased a sensible, mature, computer.

From which I am now typing.

So, long story not short at all, oh Laura Darling is back.

Now all I need to make this one hundred percent official is a desk.

Preferably with a piece of decorative coral on top.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

this is the most i will ever have to say about a car

Mark Twain said that humor is tragedy plus time.  If that's true, then the events of the last week will be funny in, oh, six months or so.

Let me back up.

The oil in my car was changed on Saturday.  On Sunday, my new oil and I drove to my parents' house, a bridal shower, and back.  On Monday, I drove to and from work, and on Tuesday, I hit the road bright and early for a work meeting two hours away.

I wanted to be at the meeting early, so I left the house at 6:30, when it was still dark and a little bit rainy.  The weather cleared up as soon as I got on the highway, and for the rest of the drive I sang my heart out Carrie Underwood style and marveled over the beauty of both the sun and early morning fog rising over the miles and miles of farms I passed.

The training was actually taking place at a tiny church in a little town along the river, and as I pulled into the parking lot I was shocked at how much foggier it was in town than it had been on the highway.  I attributed the fog to the town being situated right on the river, and I sat in the car and did a quick email check and lip gloss reapplication before I got out.

And then I opened my car door and smelled a terrible burning smell.

That's when I put two and two together, and realized that the fog was actually smoke.

And it was coming from THE HOOD OF MY CAR.

So, I did what I do in questionable mechanical situations, and called Matt.  "Goooooood morning, you've reached Bill Clinton," he said.

(Here is where I should mention that nine out of ten times I call Matt, he answers as either a pizza place or a president.  One time he even sent me flowers at work and signed the card "Love, George Bush.")

"MATT, NO TIME FOR JOKES," I said, "I just got to my meeting, and there is smoke POURING out of my hood, yellowish-brown liquid spilling out of the grill, and it smells like something is burning."

"Uh-oh.  I hope your oil cap is on,"  said Bill Clinton.

My oil cap was not on.

And had not been since Saturday.
I had to go into the meeting so I asked Matt/Bill to text me directions on how to proceed and told him that I'd call him at lunch.  He sent me a list of things to do, and then I called my dad to make sure I was doing the right thing and also get his perspective on the over/under of my car catching on fire when I drove home, because sometimes a girl just needs to hear her dad say, "Laura, if you were going to combust, you would've combusted already."

When the meeting ended, a co-worker and I wiped oil off of the engine and other important looking mechanical parts with some towels that the town tax collector, who lives next to the church, brought over for me when he saw my hood up.

I like you, small town living.

Let me tell you, you know you have found a true friend when she stands in an oil covered parking space with you in her VERY FANCY Christian Louboutin red soled pumps that were a law school graduation present and wipes oil off of your car engine.

And then drives you to the Napa Auto Parts store in the next town so you can buy more oil, and laughs when you buy a funnel so you don't make a mess because HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR CAR?  IT IS ALREADY COVERED IN OIL.  WHAT ARE A FEW MORE DROPS?

When we got back to the parking lot, our administrative assistant, Betty, had called her husband, who works on cars, to drive down to check things out for me. And then his brother-in-law came by the church to see what was happening and I realized I HAD OFFICIALLY BECAME THE TALK OF MARIONSVILLE.

Betty even said, "When you girls went to the store, all the old biddies came out to see what was going on."

I think it was the most excitement Marionsville had seen in weeks.

It was a big relief to have an actual mechanical look at my car, and when I asked him if there was any chance the engine would catch on fire as I drove home, he said, "I think you will be fine.  The oil needs to burn off though, so if you see a little smoke, you're fine.  If you see a lot of smoke, you're on fire."

Words to live by.

I am happy to report that I made it home safe and sound, and my car appears to be none the worse for wear.

And tonight, I can even laugh about it a little bit.

Turns out Mark Twain knew what he was talking about after all.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

on the plus side, at least i know she will always be honest with me about my wardrobe

Two years ago my sister was a junior in high school, which meant PROM.  Even though the prom wasn't until the spring, she started talking about it in the fall, and got a beautiful dress and finalized all of the standard prom-related plans well in advance.

And then, about three weeks before the prom, the school principal called all of the upperclassmen into the auditorium and announced that there had been a terrible oversight, and that the prom wasn't actually scheduled on the date they thought it was.   They had called around to all of the local venues, but there were none still available on that date, so the prom was postponed for a few weeks.

It is worth nothing that Emily attended an all girls high school, so please imagine the drama that followed a crisis of such proportions.  Emily remained remarkably calm about the whole situation, but things at school were operating at a LEVEL TEN on the drama scale.  She said that the entire auditorium cried when the announcement was made.

Faculty and students alike.

I do not miss high school.

It turns out that the rescheduled date was also the day of my cousin's wedding, so Emily went to the fancy wedding in the city instead of to the prom.  However, since she had the dress, she wore it to the wedding and looked beautiful.  It's one of my favorites ever.

This past year, the senior prom was scheduled (and confirmed, well in advance), and she wore this pink dress.

We have another family wedding in October, and the other day Em and I were talking about what we were going to wear.  I was in the middle of telling her that I hadn't decided on a dress yet, when her navy prom dress popped into my head.

"Hey," I said, "would you mind if I borrowed that prom dress of yours for the wedding?"


"What do you mean?" I asked.  "You wore it to a wedding!"


And all weekend it has made me laugh to picture my twenty six year old self wearing that frilly pink prom dress to a church wedding and country club reception.  The other guests would really think I'd gone off the deep end.

And evidently, Emily thinks I already have.

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