Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Woe, woe and thrice woe - Part the Second: What's that noise?

I am on the highway. It's about, oh, 8:15 a.m.. Travelling at 112 kms per hour, the maximum you can travel and not get stopped for speeding. Without coffee. But with lots of gas. HA!

Having avoided the Tim Horton's (oh how we love thee!) across the street from the gas station as it was too busy, I pull into the last gas station for about 100 kms, just outside of town for coffee and a bottle of water. This is the gas company that has the pumps nicely configured for debit/credit payments, but I don't need gas (snork), I just need coffee and a bottle of water.

On the road again, I taste the coffee. Gah. Should have stopped at Tim's.

Pull back on the highway... get up to speed and realize... at 100 kpm there is a shimmy. A decidedly shaky shimmy, the kind that will drive you mad after the first 15 mins and I've got a 7 hour drive ahead. I look over at the stuff on the seat and it is visibly vibrating. This is not good. For I am the Princess and The Pea. I have a very high threshold of pain but a very low tolerance for annoyance. I may go mad. Not to mention, just what kind of damage am I about to do to my almost-new tires? (Yes. t-I-r-e-s. Tyre is a city in Lebanon**. You know who I'm talkin' to, Duck.)

Also, it's getting foggier the further west I go. It was overcast when I left, which is good because driving on really sunny days is very tiring for the eyes, but the cloud cover is getting lower and lower... until eventually the fog was gets so thick I could barely see ahead of me and had to slow down to about 80 kph. (Long after this picture was taken. I'm not crazy enough to be taking pictures in pea soup fog.) At this rate, if a moose does amble onto the road, I won't see it until it's far too late.

So, to recap. Bad coffee, water, lots of gas (giggle), incredible fog and we're about 100 kms out of town when I realize that I can hear something over the sound of my stereo. It's an all-too-familiar noise... exhaust noise. I just had the frickin', frackin' exhaust repaired not two weeks ago! I turn down the stereo and sure enough, the exhaust is grumbling like a grumbly, grumbling thing. Prior to the last repair, it sounded like this for a couple of weeks then suddenly..... ROAR!!! something let go and the sound was so loud it was unbearable and the vibration was so great I could barely get the car to 50 kms per hour. How much faster will whatever's wrong deteriorate at highway speed? There is no way I'm going to be able to drive hundreds of kilometers for hours if it gets that loud again. Either the police will pull me over, I will lose my mind or the car will explode. None of these options appeal to me particularly.

But there is nothing for it but to soldier on.

It's now about 9:30 a.m. This is going swimmingly, don't you think?

Next up: Woe, woe and thrice woe - 1,344 kms to be exact - Part the Third - A decision

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Are there no prisons?

Are there no workhouses?

I'll be here all week. Try the veal...

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's all about me

Seen on The Scriptorium.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Woe, woe and thrice woe - 1,344 kms to be exact - Part the First

It is approximately 7:00 a.m. on a Friday morning. I am about to embark on a 672* km road trip for a two-day work conference. My car has been carefully packed the day before, the trunk resembling a jigsaw puzzle, with all the gear needed for the conference. The car has been in the garage at least four times in the last few months, getting little bits and pieces repaired/serviced in preparation as I could afford them. Snacks have been packed for the trip to minimize cost and down time. CDs have been chosen (note to self: next time choose less quiet music - too lulling). Travel mug is clean. The only fly in the ointment is that my cell phone has not been charged as I stupidly unplugged the wrong adaptor the night before. No problem, thought I. I can just plug it in in the car.
Proud of myself for actually doing the prep the day before (Queen of Procrastination, thou art me) so that all I have to do is shower and dress, and also proud for getting up and ready in time (Thane of Tardy, you is I) I fair dance down the front stairs to the car.
I hop into the car, arrange the necessary travelling accoutrements on seat next to me, get the cell phone from my purse, pick up the end of the charger cord and plug it in... it doesn't fit. Hmmmm...
Go back into the house, inquire gently of my visiting daughter (the only other person who drives my car) as to the possible wherabouts of my charger. She tells me hers is plugged in and mine is in the glove box. Excellent!
Once again, I dance down the stairs and leap into my waiting vehicle. Open the glove box. Take out the charger, and plug it into my phone and... it doesn't fit.
Return slightly less enthusiastically (see: v. stomp) to the house. Manage to find three chargers. Three. NONE.OF.WHICH.FIT.MY.PHONE. It is approximately 7:20 a.m. I am about to drive over 600 kms in an eight-year old car. I will feel much more comfortable if I can summon help should it break down. My cell phone badly needs charging. But there's nothing for it, I can't delay any longer and it's too early in the morning to buy another charger.
So I return to the car, no longer dancing. Doing more of a miffed, determined stomp (see above). I am already almost 30 minutes behind schedule.
Head for the gas station. Try to save time by using my debit card so I don't have to go into the station to pay. The usual company I buy gas from has a very efficient debit/credit payment set-up on their gas pumps. You swipe the card, indicate the maximum amount that can be taken from your account, select the account, tap in the PIN number, select the grade of gas and Bob's your uncle! you're putting gas in the car.
However, the most efficient route to the highway features a station of a different company. One whose main goal is not to sell me some gas for my car, but to sell me 15 other things first. Before I could activate the pump, I had to assure it that I did not want a car wash, I did not want oil, I did not want a soft drink, nor a snack, nor did I want to take out a second mortgage. I JUST WANT SOME GAS, PLEASE.
Having battled my way through some marketing slug's idea of a plan, I start to pump gas... thump! The pump stops. I release the trigger and squeeze again and... thump! The pump stops again. Of course I would pick a malfunctioning pump when I'm already behind schedule.
I look around and realize that all the other pumps are engaged (what are all these people doing up and about this early? Are they freaks?). I stomp into the gas station, having purchased a grand total of $16.72 worth of gas rather than the $50 or so I expected. I inquire of the fine young neanderthal working the cash whether there might not be something amiss with the gas pump.
"It was working yesterday." Yes. That's immensely helpful to me today. Thank you, Grog.
I stomp back to the pump. The other pumps are still occupied. I try again. This time I manage to squeeze another $1.75 worth into the tank before the pump stops.
I stomp back into the station, having by now perfected the techinique. I pay for the gas and tell Grog there is definitely something wrong with that pump. And I depart in high umbrage.
By now I am close to an hour behind schedule, which is what always happens when I am properly prepared and start on time. Mr. Murphy rears his ugly head and foils my well-laid plans. I may as well procrastinate and linger in bed, because I am never going to get started on time, no matter what.
I decide not to go across the street for coffee as I had planned. An hour ago, this would have been a plan, but now traffic is heavy enough that it would take three times as long to get back on he road, so I head for the highway exit up the road, planning on filling up at the last station a little way out of town. I wanted to get an early start because even though I had been assured there was no construction on the highway anywhere between home and the resort, a lot of things can happen over the course of a day and I have the materials for the registration this evening in my trunk.
I am about to drive at 100 kms per hour. Without coffee.
I look at the gas gauge, fearing that I will see that it is almost empty and there it is with the needle firmly pointing to... F.
And then I realized. My daughter had the car the night before and returned with it after I had gone to bed. She filled the tank the night before to replace the gas she had used and so I wouldn't have to stop for gas in the morning but forgot to mention it to me. I am not yet used to my children acting like adults. Oh, how I laughed. I can never go back to that gas station again.

This trip was going to go well. I could tell.
*verified pre-trip by Google maps and after the fact by my car's tripometer
Next up: Woe, woe and thrice woe - Part the Second - What's that noise?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dance me to the end of love - Cohen at Glastonbury 08

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where IS Matt?

Make sure you click through to YouTube and click on "watch in high quality."

Found on The Thing of the Moment, bloghome of the ever fabulous Jeff Kirlin.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What a mug

My favourite mug. I love my mug. I love the shape of the handle. Fits my hand just right. The glaze is nice and smooth and it was Made in England, so theoretically, I don't have to worry about any sub-standard dyes and such having been used.

And look. On the back. My 3rd wedding anniversay. Aw. Bless.

But what's this? On the front? GAH!!!

Randy Andy and Sarah the So Awkward Are You SURE She Was Raised Upper Class? I thought they got lessons or summat.

I don't even know how I got this mug. I certainly didn't buy it. I don't remember anyone giving it to me (my face would still be sore from the forced smile) but there it sits in my cupboard.

But I suppose it's only fitting that, on occasion, I enjoy my coffee from a mug with a picture of another divorced couple who got married on the same date. Speaking of which, it occurred to me the other day that this year would have been our silver. 25. TWENTY-FIVE. Two score, two brace and a single. But happily, I got time off for good behaviour and instead of having to smile nicely whilst being given silver-coloured dust collectors, I will be celebrating my 13th unniversary*, or what I like to call Liberation Day.

Sometimes, things just go your way, don't they?

* Mir

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Oh, the shame

Debster reminded me tonight that I haven't posted in a week.

I have been TEH BUSY.

Today, this:

Became this:

Plz to ignore the in-house grafitti. It was there when we moved in. Srsly.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

But first... On ceiling fans and survival of the fittest

Forward Dawson is the best person ever. Read this now - she will save you from getting killed TO DEATH. ~ A. Duck (Scary)
In which I describe how I saved my entire family from decapitation just now, and how I prophylactically saved my children from Ann Boleyn syndrome.
As you all know, I live in the almost frozen north, where real summer temperatures hardly ever happen. Installing an air conditioning unit for the 3 1/2 days when we have sufficiently high temps to need the thing just isn't worth the trouble or expense. So we mostly employ fans, ceiling fans/light fixture combos being quite excellent as they not only cool the house in summer, but can be set to run in reverse in the winter to push the warmer air near the ceiling down and help the house feel warmer.

Several years ago, I found two such beauties on sale and promptly had them installed in the kitchen and my bedroom. I didn't put any in the girls' rooms because they had bunkbeds at the time and with their penchant for switching rooms, there was no way to predict where the bunkbeds would actually be located at any point in the future. Bunkbeds + ceiling fan = HORRIBLE, BLOODY, HEADLESS DED TO DETH OFFSPRING. And I am loathe to see either of my children walking about with her head tucked underneath her arm, Ann Boleyn-like .

I hired an electrician to do the job. While my talents run to installing a regular light fixture, I draw the line at installing ceiling-based guillotines for the possible future decapitation of my children. Should something go wrong I want someone to sue other than myself.

Even with them firmly attached to the ceiling 8 feet away, I have a love/fear relationship with these fans. While I love the cooling/warming effect, I live in mortal terror of one of the blades flying off and slicing one of our heads into deli meat. The blades are all attached to the arms by 3 screws and then the arms to the motor with two more screws. That's five opportunities for mechanical woe to set in, times the five blades on the fan. And those odds are a bit high for my taste.

Lately, the fan in the kitchen has been making a rather distressing clicking noise. Sometimes the shades on the lights rattle a bit, but this was different. So, after turning off the wall switch and turning the fan off on the fixture so as to eliminate all chances of giving myself a handectomy, I bravely climbed up onto that time-honoured handyman's aid - a kitchen chair - screwdriver in hand, and checked each of the screws that attach the fan blades to the fixture.


Check your ceiling fans people. You can thank me later.

A tale of woe. No mirth, just woe. Okay. Maybe a leetle bit of mirth.

Can't go into too many details as it involves work but the long, woe-filled tale of my weekend is soon to come. Once I get caught up on my sleep.