Sunday, January 27, 2013

after all this, i did take my car to a real mechanic



On Thursday, Matt said he would swing by my apartment after work to check on my car's brake issue. Since I got home early, I decided to check out the status of the brake fluid reservoir for myself before he arrived.

Do you like how I used brake fluid reservoir into that sentence like it's a phrase I throw around all the time?

Anyway, I went out to my car it was nothing short of miraculous that I was even able to pop the hood and figure out how to prop it up. And then I took a photo of the insides and it to Matt with the message, "OK - CAN YOU TELL ME WHICH ONE IS THE BRAKE FLUID RESERVOIR?"

I know what you're thinking.  OH LAURA DARLING HAS A FUTURE IN AUTOMOTIVE MECHANICS.

While I waited for a response I just stood there and looked at the mess of wires and hoses and compartments.  Not moving.  Just staring.

A few minutes later a maintenance truck for the apartment complex came down the hill.  TALK ABOUT MIRACULOUS. As the truck got closer, I saw my favorite maintenance man behind the wheel.  I will take this moment to say I never thought there would be a point in my life when I would have a favorite maintenance man.  

But I do and his name is Marv.

Since Michelle and I moved into this apartment last year, we have called the maintenance department no less than twenty times.  We call for all sorts of reasons - ranging from broken heat and refrigerators to burned out light bulbs. 

We also blow fuses with impressive regularity and call for help every time.

Marv has the honor of being a frequent responder to our calls for maintenance related assistance.  He is a gentleman of around sixty, weighs about 300 pounds, and has a freshly lit cigarette with him at every moment.  One time last summer he came to fix (yet another) blown fuse and as he left our apartment he said, "Welp, you ladies have a good weekend.  I'm going home, getting a shower, and then...I'm goin' clubbin."

More power to ya, Marv.

Anywho Marv pulled up next to me on Thursday, rolled down his window, and said, "Well young lady, you don't look like you're dressed for car repair.  Is everything all right?"

Marv, if everything was alright, I would not be standing outside in the 17 degree weather in my high heels staring blankly at the inner workings of my car.  I explained the situation and Marv got out of his truck, just like I knew he would, to take a look at things.  He leaned into the hood of my car with his burning cigarette and I crossed my fingers and hoped he wouldn't get it too close to anything combustible because THEN I'D REALLY BE IN TROUBLE.

He started speaking in automotive terms until I finally said, "PLEASE, MARV, DUMB IT DOWN.  I drive 4 miles to work each day.  Can this car be safely driven 4 miles tomorrow morning?"

The answer to that was yes, yes it could.

Matt still came over on his way home from work.  He checked things out, took Old Blue for a spin, and assured me I was safe to drive.  And then he started explaining brakes and pistons and sensors to me just like Marv had, and at the conclusion of his detailed explanation I said, "I don't really know what any of that meant."

And Matt sighed and said "IT'S BASIC FLUID MECHANICS! DON'T YOU KNOW BASIC FLUID MECHANICS?"

The answer to that is no, no I don't.  

Unless you're talking about the mechanics of the fluids wine and/or chocolate milk and then I'M YOUR GIRL.

Happy Monday!
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Well, as Robert Burns liked to say in the mid-1700s, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  Apparently, so do the best laid plans of Oh Laura Darling.

I was planning to attend a conference for work this week, and was going to begin my two hour drive after lunch today. 

Now here's where the "awry" part comes in.

On my way to work this morning Old Blue began to beep loudly due to LOW BRAKE FLUID.  I know that because the warning kept flashing on my dashboard in VERY PUSHY CAPITAL LETTERS. 

The beeping went away after a little bit, and I hypothesized that perhaps things just weren't up to par mechanically because it was only 6 degrees outside this morning.  And let's be honest, it's even difficult for humans to function at full capacity when it is 6 degrees outside.

However, upon consultation with my mechanics (aka my father and Matt) I decided it might be in my best interest to seek an alternate mode of transportation to the meeting.

And so plans were juggled a little bit and I rode with a co-worker.  We left the office around 2:30 and made a pit stop at Dunkin' Donuts, the land where all good road trips begin.

We've driven to many, many meetings together, but typically I drive and she navigates/controls the GPS.  Today our roles were reversed and as I set up the GPS she said, "I won't need it on for the whole drive.  You can turn it off when we get on that main road...you know...the one we're on most of the way...?"

"Do you mean...the turnpike?"  

She meant the turnpike.

Listen.  It's really a wonder that we've successfully transported ourselves to all these meetings over the last year and a half.

We ate and talked and laughed for the whole two hour drive, checked into the hotel, and then immediately went downstairs to the hotel restaurant for dinner.  The restaurant opened at 5:00 and we got there before the doors were even unlocked.

We don't mess around when it comes to meal time. 

After dinner we went straight to a reception in another part of the hotel and spent the next hour and a half mingling and dining on cheese and veggies and a wide assortment of cookies.

The reception was over at 7:30, and as we were leaving some co-workers invited us to go to Chili's with them. AND WHO WERE WE TO TURN DOWN ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO DINE?

So basically I've been eating non-stop for the last eight and a half hours.

I talked to Matt when I got back to my room and filled him in on my big day o' eating, and he said he might start calling me Miss Piggy.  I said he should call me MISS TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE OF HER EXPENSE DOLLARS.

 And to top the night off, I just looked in my hotel information packet for the wireless access information so I could type this riveting post, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but this little gem...

A case sensAtive password.

How unAque.






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Monday, January 14, 2013

if only i had been able to schedule in a spa day


My morning routine is exactly the same, every single day.  It does not vary AT ALL, and that is intentional.  I do love a routine, especially between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.  I make my coffee at 7:38, and I do everything involved in the coffee making process the exact same way in the exact same order.

So, imagine my surprise when I got to work on Friday and took my first sip of coffee and realized that I forgot one very important ingredient.

The coffee.

There's nothing like starting your Friday with a big gulp of lukewarm water with terribly diluted white chocolate mocha creamer.

YUM.

Luckily that was not a sign of things to come for the weekend ahead, and the day started to look up when I was able to leave work at about 2:30.  I went to Target the bank and the post office and then came home and lounged on the couch and watched tv with Michelle.  

We discussed our plans for the evening and I told her that Matt was planning to come over for a little while.  She asked what time and I said, "Not until after work.  Probably around 6 or so.  I sure hope I'm finished relaxing by then."

Says the girl who left work two hours early and then strolled Target the bank and post office.

On Saturday I rose at the crack of nine thirty and went bridesmaids dress shopping for my cousin's big day! We had so much fun and all said yes to a dress. 

On Sunday I knew it was time to face the music and tackle two of my most loved and hated chores.  Cleaning out my car and my purse.  The situation in my car has been getting progressively worse, and when I put my purse through the security scanner at the courthouse the other day one of the sheriffs asked me if I was carrying an incandescent light bulb in my purse.

The answer is yes, yes I was.

I have no idea why.

However, if I found myself in a situation where it was appropriate to perform "You Light Up My Life" to someone, I would have had the perfect prop to accompany my singing.

After my car and purse were both restored to an acceptable state, I went over to Matt's.  I ended up staying for dinner because THAT MAN IS A CHEF. 

I came home after dinner and created a bubble bath for myself.  One of my New Year's resolutions was to take more baths in an effort to increase my relaxation. (Please note that I do indeed take one, sometimes two showers per day.)  

I haven't taken an actual bath since about 1996, and I remember my parents setting a maximum limit on the water depth.  Probably because if they didn't, the splashing and the water bill would have both been a little out of control.

Well, last night I filled that tub up all the way and poured a moderate to substantial portion of the bottle of bubbles in.  

 
What I failed to account for was the whole principle of water displacement.

I never was a whiz with fluid mechanics.

And the result was the Great Flood of 2013.  

Lots of people say that your high school years are the best years of your life.  And the people who hated high school say that your college years are actually your best years.

I loved both my high school and college years.  However, I think I have a pretty sweet gig going right now.  I know that I will eventually have a husband and children and a mortgage and many more people and responsibilities to think about than I do right now.  

 And while I'm sure I will love that time in my life too, I bet every now and then I will look back and miss the days when I WONDERED IF I RELAXED ENOUGH.

And this weekend, I think I did.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

you could say we were outfoxed


A few months ago Matt's dad's cat got in a fight with a fox. 

And the fox won. 

Since that little scuffle, the felonious fox was sighted a few times, and Matt's dad became determined to catch him.

He began to set out a trap every night with some chicken to lure the fox in, and upon successful capture he planned to transport him to a park far, far away where he could live wild and free like God and suburban planners intended.

Matt has been keeping me updated on the status of the Great Fox Catch of 2013, and this morning I awoke up to a message that said "MY DAD GOT THE FOX!!!!!"

And you thought your Tuesday was exciting.

We had plans to eat dinner with Matt's family tonight, and since we would be the first ones home, Matt was given the responsibility of transporting the fox to the park far, far away.

Lucky guy.

Once we arrived Matt set out collecting necessary supplies like pliers and gloves, and I stood around and took pictures of the nice little habitat his father had created and providing moral support to my boyfriend the wildlife expert.

A few minutes later Matt deconstructed the makeshift fox habitat and carried the trap to the patio so we could get a good look at the guy before we ( mostly Matt) loaded him up and shipped him out.


While Matt set the cage down on the patio and went to lock the back door, I crouched down to say hello to the elusive fox.

And that's when I looked at Matt and said, "I'm no zoologist.  But this fox looks an awful lot like a raccoon."


 
   And indeed it was. 

And so, the fox has yet to be caught.  At this point, his whereabouts are unknown. 

But I'd bet he's somewhere guarding a hen house.




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Monday, January 7, 2013

at least we did end up getting a new refrigerator

You know one of the lousiest feelings in the world? Opening your fridge at 11:30 on a Sunday night and discovering that it has died.

And then inspecting the temperature and aroma of the food inside and determining that it has evidently been dead for quite some time.

I know that because that's what I did last night.

Once we called in our maintenance request to the main office and spent some time feeling sorry for ourselves and texting our mothers for sympathy, Michelle and I emptied the entire fridge and freezer and threw all of the contents away.  

For the most part it was very disheartening to see so much money and food go to waste.  However, a small part of me saw the whole event as a blessing in disguise because there was some turkey and eggs in there that had seen better days and/or months and it's quite possible that this unfortunate appliance demise saved us from a serious bout of food poisoning. 


 By the time we finished with the clean out, we had cheered up and were focusing on the new replacement fridge that we hoped to get.

And also giving thanks that we were able to salvage a handful of items. 
 
Namely, lemon juice, soda, coffee, and wine in a box shaped like a purse.

And, really, what more could a girl really need?

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 started with a bang. literally.


When I arrived at Matt's house on New Year's Eve, he answered the door wearing this.


Along with a camo jacket and gloves.  I was bewildered at first because I didn't know he had plans to ring in 2013 with a hunting expedition and/or a bank robbery.

Turns out he and his roommates are learning the hard way how expensive it is to heat a two hundred year old home that has three stories and poor insulation with oil heat.

And so they've employed the strategy of just turning the thermostat way down and wearing several layers of hunting apparel to stay warm.

This has nothing to do with their heat and everything to do with driveway space, but they also park their cars like this in the backyard.  It's like a little bit of redneck in the middle of Philadelphia.


Matt did ditch the jacket after a while, but the gloves stayed with him the whole night, even when he was the DJ in charge of the stereo remote.

Exhibit A.


Exhibit B.

 And yes, that would be a glass bottle of ice cold milk that Matt is enjoying.  There is a market right around the corner from his new house that sells milk in glass bottles and he couldn't wait to try it.  

I can't even put into words how disappointed he was when he discovered it cost $8.00 a half gallon.  Apparently not only are the cows grass fed but they're living some sort of luxurious lifestyle and wearing diamonds and vacationing in Fiji a few times a year.  

$8.00 for a half gallon of milk?

All I have to say about that is HOLY COW!

................................

See what I did there?

After a few hours in Matt's area of the city we hopped on the train and went down to the riverfront with friends so we could watch the fireworks at midnight.
 
 Unfortunately my phone is a little high maintenance and got too cold, so it turned off before the fireworks started and I couldn't take any pictures.

If only my phone had some camo gear to keep it nice and cozy there would be photographic evidence of the fireworks that we enjoyed.

Instead, there's just my artistic depiction, which, let's be honest, is totally realistic.
 
 
 I made the same resolution for 2013 that I made last year.  And that is to plan my outfits for the whole work week on Sunday so I'm not faced with the unfortunate dilemma of, for example, black pants and a brown shirt or a summer sundress at 7:35 a.m. on a Tuesday.  So far so good with that resolution.  I've worn clean, ironed, matched, and seasonally appropriate outfits ALL YEAR.  

In other words, Wednesday and today.  

Still, it's going better than my other resolution, which was to COOL IT WITH THE CHICK FIL A.  

Look where I went for lunch on Wednesday.
 Whoops.

In my defense I did have a gift card from a friend (who apparently knows me very well) and I was trying to use that up.  What I didn't have was will power.

The good news is I still have four dolla dolla bills left on that sucker.  

Happy New Year indeed.



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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

it was hard to only pick twelve things

December 17th marked one year of Michelle and I living in our apartment.  As we lounged around that night we reminisced on the past year.  

"I'd call this year a success," I said, "I mean, we didn't get evicted."

"Me too," Michelle agreed.  "Didn't get robbed either."

So there you have it. We are easy to please.

However, besides the fact that we didn't get evicted or robbed, 2012 was a pretty fantastic year.  So here are 12 things I won't forget that happened in 2012:

1 - My Mommom and I drove to upstate New York and back in four days to visit my family on vacation.  And on the way up we got stuck in a traffic jam on the interstate outside of Lenox, Pennsylvania, which is a town that I will now never forget.  At the beginning of the traffic jam we were optimistic.  Half an hour in we became frustrated, and after an hour or so we became giddy and laughed at everything and ate an entire package of melted Reese's peanut butter cups.  And when the traffic jam finally cleared we went through a toll booth and paid a two dollar toll with a ten dollar bill and got about eight thousand quarters in change.  

I'm pretty sure I laughed so hard I cried.  

And we did finally make it to the lake.

2 - The time that I told Matt my windshield wipers had probably seen better days.  I am notoriously hard on windshield wipers.  Drizzle = FULL BLAST in my book.  And then a few weeks after that conversation it rained and I switched my windshield wipers on and it turns out Matt had installed brand new, heavy duty wipers for me.

3 - Snorkeling in Bermuda.


4 - Michelle and I deciding that we should create a sitcom based on our lives.  And then spending countless evenings making up story lines and plot twists for possible episodes and laughing until we could hardly breathe because I'll just say it, we are hilarious.

5 - The very early, and very warm, spring of 2012.  I walked every single night after work and I can't wait until spring 2013.

6 - Spending July 4th with Matt, and walking to my town's fireworks that night.

7 - The other paralegals and I taking charge of our department's plot on the rooftop garden at work.  A lot of laughter went into creating and caring for that garden.  And we ended up winning the Philadelphia Horticultural Society's Community Greening Award. 


8 - My dad emailing me jokes at work.

9 - Spending three days in Cape May with my mom and sister.  We went dolphin watching and took a carriage ride and ate at cute little restaurants and sat on the beach for hours even though it was chilly and windy and I hope we get to do it all over again.


10 - The day that Emily came to my apartment and we spent the whole day at the pool and then came back home and had a nacho picnic in the living room.

11 - Going to the rodeo.


12 -The giant pond my parents built in their backyard.

All I have to say is that 2013 sure has a tough act to follow.

Happy New Year!


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