Wednesday, April 23, 2014

One more reason why I shouldn't be a mechanic

There was an "incident" the other day and when it was over, the first thing I thought of was "I've got to call my Mom and tell her about this."  When that thought pops in my head, I realize that I have to ask myself the question, "Is this blogworthy?"  If so, I stifle the story and share it with you and her (HI MOM!) right here.

It's difficult to get "tone" across in writing, so I should mention that there were some specific changes in tone as this story progresses.  With my side of the story, there was: calm and relaxed; panicked; scared screechy (two pitches higher than normal); and then howler monkey freak out (five pitches higher and barely audible).  Justin only had mellow, annoyed and pissed.  He's much less dramatic in situations like the one you're about to read.  I'll let you know as the tone changes in the story.

Let me set the scene.....

I'm driving from one job to the next in one of the cars that Justin is selling (a lovely Oldsmobile Aurora), and talking to him on the phone.

Justin: So, what else is going on?

Me (calm): Just driving to the next job.  By the way, did you know that this car needs oil?

Justin (mellow): Not this again......  (you can read why he says this here)

Me:  Don't start with me.  I'm quite sure that it's THE OIL this time!  Why?  Because this car actually tells me..... in words... in English (it does.....see.....)

Justin: How long has that been on?

Me: Three days

Justin (annoyed):  What???  Are you kidding me?  Seriously, Vic..... three days?!

Me (panicked): Yes.  But it's only been three days.  The last time my other car needed oil you weren't in any big rush to do anything!

Justin (annnnnnnnd we go right to pissed): Don't even get me started on the last time..... You can't be driving around like you do for three days with the oil light on!  It's telling you to check the LEVEL.  That means it's running out.   It's not saying that you need to CHANGE it.

Me: I understand what it says.  I just didn't think it was that big of a deal.....

Justin (extra pissed): Vic!  If the car has no oil do you know what is going to happen?!  I'm trying to SELL that car.....

Me (scared and screechy): I know!  I know!  I'm heading for the Quick Check right now!

Justin (trying to calm down): Okay.  You're going straight there?  Is Quick Check the closest place?


Justin: I never said you were a moron.  I just wanted to be sure.....


Justin: Well, don't hit anything....



He's a smart man and knows when to shush up.

Me (scared): My driving skills are seriously impaired due to all of this pressure.

More silence.

I hear muffled chuckling on the other end.

Justin (calmly): Do you know what kind of oil to get?

This is when my father rolled over in his urn.  I was driving like a 90 year old lady in rush hour traffic, about 3 inches from the windshield and white-knuckling the wheel at ten and two.  Clearly, I was stressed, so I just blurted out what first came to mind.

Me: WD40

I know full well what WD-40 is and I know it's not an oil grade, but I was so busy wondering if I was going to make the engine go kablooey that I didn't put much thought into my response.

Justin: Oh my God.....

Me (panicked again):  I have to go!  My driving skills are...

Justin: ....seriously impaired due to this pressure.  I know.  Call me when you get there.

For those of you who know me well, you know full well that I didn't call him when I got there.  I wanted to figure this out myself so I could redeem myself for ANOTHER oil faux pas in ANOTHER vehicle.  I popped the hood and imagine my surprise when I saw this:

There is a chance that you won't be able to see it, but everything is labeled!  Even the oil dipstick....
(between you and me, there was one tiny drop of oil at the very end of this thing.... very bad!)
I'm really surprised that Oldsmobile isn't booming because they've got it goin' on under the hood.  Any moron can find the stuff that they are looking for.  And if the moron can't find it, that means that it's too important to let an idiot know where it is for fear that they might screw it up!  They hide their significant shit.

I was all too pleased to find this little gem....
Lookee there!  They tell me what type of oil I need to purchase!  A bit o' 5W-30!  They couldn't make it any clearer.  And if I was still confused, they told me to check my owner's manual.  (If you need to refer to the manual to add oil, you shouldn't be driving.)

So, I bought my oil, popped the hood right there in the parking lot and began pouring.  The irony of this entire situation is that I was taking the above photo to send to Justin to show him that I was SOMEWHAT capable of SOMETHING automotive, when I heard, "See honey!  A real woman knows how to check oil and put some in if it's needed."

Oh boy.

I turned around and saw an older gentleman sharing this gem of wisdom with his little granddaughter.  If he had any clue about what had happened in the 15 minutes prior to his comment, he would've shut his trap and kept walking.   If maintaining the oil in your vehicle is an indication of whether you are a real woman or not, I'd have to say I was pretty much on the same level as his granddaughter.

p.s. Just a reminder..... this is NOT an oil light of any sort:

I wish you happy and safe travels, my peeps!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dis Blog Don't Die!

Well, howdy ho, my beloved peeps!

Guess what?  

I'm baaaaaaack!

It's been a gnarly (bad gnarly, not good gnarly) few weeks after having my website hijacked.  There was some anger, followed by a bit of anxiety, wrapped up in a good amount of grieving.  I couldn't believe that after 70 blog posts, some jackass was going to snatch my website right out from under me!

I was virtually violated, dammit!

I give Google credit though.  I gave up way before they did.  As of yesterday, Amanda and Carolina from Google Support were still calling to work on the issue.  Those Google Girls are die hard.

Alas, my broken heart and I had moved on already.

After picking a new name, I gave GoDaddy the boot and went to my original web geeks from back in the "xlinxs" days.....

Just to let you know how THAT went, it took 5 minutes to order a new domain....and three days to get it to connect to my damn blog!  Words like Subdomain and CNAME were flying around and I was totally winging it.  I created and deleted more Subdomains and CNAMES than you can imagine and I still don't understand why they are so important.  Why do they let the clueless do this type of crap?  I needed help!

But my blog is back.  So, who gives a rat's ass!

I hope that Anton from Belarus enjoys the hell out of  He was very diligent about whisking that sucker right out from under me without me knowing.  I totally didn't see THAT coming.  And he was a total douche bag (sorry!) about trying to sell it back to me.  

Buy it back??!  Hell no!  It's a freakin' blog, jackass.

I'm sure he didn't expect me to say, "Kick rocks, mutha flucka!" in response to his shyster tactics.  I hope he falls down and hurts his perineum really bad.  And he should have something partially exposed and permanently lodged under his hyponychium as well.  Something that would get caught on almost everything and recreate horrible pain!

Yeah.  That's the ticket!

So, with that, I bring you

When we first met, I used to tell Justin stories about my crazy shenanigans that happened before I became his betrothed.  He would look at me like I was making it up and I would respond with, "True story" in a very matter-of-fact fashion.

Why, yes, I do have some doozies in my history that might be met with disbelief.  But I have fellow participants, witnesses, bystanders and spectators to back them all up.  And if it all seems too far fetched to be true, let me introduce you to my friend Audrey who has shook her head and said, "Only Vicki" more times than I can count.

True story.


Love and perseverance,


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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Definitely Not Auto Mechanic Material

Greetings everyone!

Tonight I come to you, humbled, and with acceptance of all mocking or jeering that you feel I deserve. You will pick sides.  And I'm okay with that.  Women will sympathize with me and men will ridicule me, and many will take Justin's side.  It's all good.

Let me preface my story by telling you that my grandfather was a mechanic, my father was a mechanic, my husband was a mechanic, my younger brother is a mechanic..... and no, I'm not about to spew lines from my Cousin Vinny or explain postitraction (or Posi traction, if you will).  The fact is that I do have some automotive knowledge.  It's just that I am also blonde and a bit kooky.

Our own potential mechanic.... she spends more time looking under the hood at the plastic parts that "need work" than driving her Jeep.  True story.
Okay.  Wait. I lied.  There's one line that bears repeating.  "Imagine you’re a deer. You’re prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water. BAM! A f*ckin’ bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now I ask you: Would you give a f*ck what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?!" –Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny.

Alright.  With that out of the way, I will get back to my story.  

There's a lot of dialogue, so I'll set the stage and get on with it.  I'm driving in my car and on the phone with Justin, who is in his car somewhere else.  It's afternoon, early in 2013 and I'm driving along merrily, following my work schedule.

Everything in parentheses is my own commentary, by the way.  Here we go.....

Me: When was the last time you changed my oil?

Justin: I dunno.  It's probably due.  Remind me and I'll get it done when I go to Rockland.

Me: Oh, I think it's definitely due!  The oil light has been on for awhile.  Remember I mentioned it to you awhile ago?

Justin:  How long is awhile ago?

Me:  At least a month ago.  (how bad could that be?)

Justin:  A MONTH??

Me:  Yesssss.....why?  (i'm feeling nervous)

Justin:  Vick...You can't be driving like you do for a month with the oil light on!  You didn't feel this deserved some sense of urgency?!

Me:  Yes, I did.  And that's why I told you that it was on over a month ago.  When you didn't do anything I assumed it wasn't so bad.  (nicely lobbed that one back in his court)

He's a car guy for Pete's sake.  He is in charge of all of the car crap.  You can see why I thought I was going to be okay to keep driving.

Justin:  I'm not going to do this with you right now (a/k/a/ he knows I have a point).  You need to get to a gas station like NOW.

Me:  Okay.  You're freaking me out a little bit.  I'm about a mile from Mobile.

He explains all of the reasons why running out of oil is bad and finally I get to the gas station.

Me:  I'm here.  I'm going to run in and get some oil.  How much should I get?

Justin:  Get three.  There probably isn't a drop in there. 

Me:  Ok.  Hold on.

I go inside and get 3 quarts of oil and head back to my car.

Justin:  You know where to pour the oil, right?

Me: Yes!!  I'm not an idiot.  I want to just check the oil real quick.

I check the dipstick and it shows that it's already half full.  Huh?  How can that be?  It must be residue.  I have no idea what that even means, but it was the explanation I fabricated first.

Justin:  There's got to be next to nothing in there.  Don't bother.  You just need to get oil in there right away. Did you get the cap off?

Me: Oh my God..... it's not budging!  

Justin: Are you sure you're looking at the right thing?? (Maybe the oil residue theory was bullshit, but I do know where the oil goes.  And I wasn't appreciating his tone.)

Me: Yes, I've got the right thing!  I'm not a fucking moron!  Justin, it won't move at all!  (I feel tears coming)  I have four more jobs today and a doctor's appointment afterward!  I'm booked really tight!  I don't have time for this!  (Enter....the tears.)

Justin: Okay.  You need to calm down.  (He does tend to level out when I start freaking, which is nice)  We can work this out.  You HAVE TO get oil in your car.  You can't do all of that driving if you don't.  Can you go inside and see if the guy behind the counter can help you?

Me:  Yes.  Hold on.  

Maybe it was the tears running down my face.  Or perhaps it was the desperation in my voice.  Most likely it was the fact that I just bought three quarts of outrageously overpriced oil from the guy.  Regardless, he was nice enough to come outside and help me.  After a significant amount of struggling, he finally got the cap off, and I praised him so much that he felt like a superhero.

Me:  I'm putting in the first quart.  (Good time to be obnoxious)  You know, it's ridiculous that you have to put every cap on so tight!  What are you trying to prove?  It's just like when you put the lid on the tomato sauce and I have to ask you to help me open it.  Then you smirk and open it like it was no big deal.  The guy at Mobil couldn't even open this fucking thing without putting a foot on my bumper for leverage....."

Justin:  Vic?

Me: What??

Justin:  Just pour the oil in.

Me: I'm already done.  I put all three in.

Justin:  (Very calmly) Okay.  Go turn your car on.

Me: (After obeying his order)  Oh my God.   Justin, the fucking light is still on!  This is crazy.

Justin: WHAT?  How can that be?  Go look under the car and see if there's a huge puddle of oil under there.  Are you sure you put it in the right place?

Me:  (Back to obnoxiousness)  Do you really think the guy from Mobil would have opened the wrong cap after seeing me holding an open container of oil??  Don't you think he would maybe have said, "Um, lady, you don't put oil in your radiator"?? So, even if you think I don't know what I'm doing, I'm pretty sure that HE does!  (peeking under car)  No puddle, by the way.......nastyass.

Silence.  I didn't even hear breathing.  Instant panic.  Was he done with my bitchy ranting, and hung up on me?

Me: Hello?

Justin:  I'm thinking.  


Justin:  This doesn't make sense.  I don't get it.  (more silence)  Listen, I know you're really smart and all, but I have to ask this question.  Are you sure it's the oil light that's on?

Me:  YES!  It's the one with the dip stick.

Justin:  Excuse me?

Me:  The dipstick!  It's red and it looks like the stick in a bubble.

Justin:  Can you do me a favor?  Can you take a picture of it and send it to me?

Me:  I can't believe you're making me do this.  Hold on.

And this is what I sent him.....
Take note of the "oil" light circled next to the arrow
Me:  I sent it.

Justin:  Okay.  Let me look.  I just got it.

That's when I heard the whispered "Oh my God" and giggling.  I could tell he was trying to break it to me gently.

Justin:  Honey, that's not your oil light.  That's your TIRE light.  Your tires need air.

Me:  Wha...?  Tire?   But it looks like a dipstick in a bubble with liquid in the bottom.....

Justin:  Those are tire treads.  Your oil is fine.  (more stifled laughter)  You'll be fine.  And you have plenty of oil now too.  I've gotta go, okay?

We hung up.

He was going to hang up and tell someone this bit of embarrassment, wasn't he?  If I hadn't been so relieved that my engine wasn't about to seize, I probably would have made him promise not to tell anyone.  But after my bitchy and ornery attitude, I deserved it.   He earned the right to share my vehicular dopiness with whomever he wanted.

In return, he allows me to call it the Tire Oil Light so I can pretend that I'm less of a mechanical moron. 

Until the next time, I wish you safe travels and no tire oil drama.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trauma-dramatising The Toddler

Hello interweb peeps!

Mother Nature is revealing her Multiple Personality Disorder again.  It was a sunny 50 degrees this past weekend.  Snow melted, and just in the nick of time, things started freezing all over again.  I've done more arm flailing on icy patches than I can remember. I haven't fallen yet (knock on wood), but I've looked like a jackass in front of all of my customers' neighbors.  This weather makes an outdoor occupation very interesting.

2.5 feet of snow + sudden 50 degree temps = driving blindly into fog

As I mentioned in my last entry, while I was sharing a moment with Justin and the scale, Allie was experiencing something entirely different at school..... something that Justin is convinced will come back to haunt us in the form of a large therapy bill later in life.

Think back to when you were a child.  What were your worst nightmares about?  Not the ones about the boogeyman in the closet or being chased by clowns.  The nightmares based on real life stuff.

Chances are that my poor child lived your nightmare last Thursday morning.

Allie had missed a few days of school due to snow storms and her 7 billionth cold of the season.  On Thursday, the school decided to double up and celebrate Valentine's Day and Pajama Day together.
Our holiday card opening ritual.  Getting some Valentine green from Nana & PopPop
That morning, I let Allie pick out which jammies she wanted to wear (very cute canary yellow fleece ones), I packed up her Valentines for the kids and teachers, and off she went to school.

Justin came back from dropping her off and said, "Well, she was the only kid that remembered to wear pajamas today."

"What?  Really??  No one??!" I asked.

"Well, the teachers did.  They were actually pretty excited that Allie remembered so people wouldn't be looking at them kind of funny."

I went back to drinking my coffee and doing my hair when it hit me.  "Oh my God.  We sent our child to school to live out every kid's biggest nightmare.... showing up at school wearing your pajamas while everyone else is dressed normally."

Justin just started at me.  "What makes you think of this crap?"

"It's true.  And if those teachers had forgotten, it would've been completely traumatic!"

He dismissed the drama with, "At that age, kids wear their pajamas everywhere.  She's fine."

I still felt bad.  I was hoping that she was secure enough to ignore the fact that she was the only one who wore pajamas.  Hopefully none of the other crumb crunchers pointed it out either.

A few hours later, the universe decided Justin needed a little more drama that morning since the pjs thing wasn't phasing him.

At 12pm, I pulled into our complex to go to my next appointment.  As I was pulling in, Justin was pulling out.  We locked eyes and I gave him the "Why aren't you at the school" look, he gave me the "Please don't kill me" look.  Immediately I started dialing his number.

"Why aren't you at the school?!  Do you know what time it is?!"  I was totally bugging out.

"I don't know what happened!  I was on the phone with Toyota when all of the sudden I looked up and the clock said 1155am and...."

"OH MY GOD, JUSTIN!  Did you call????"  Bugging out was now an understatement.

"Yes, I called and I told them what happened and that I was on my way and I was so sorry and..."

Child nightmare #2 in progress.

"You forgot our daughter at school!  She's probably standing there all alone with the teachers who are staring at their watches!  This is so embarassing."  I had visions of her in her pajamas, with her little backpack on, staring down the school driveway, all alone, in the rain, soaking wet, crying.....

Okay, so she wasn't crying all alone in the rain.  It was sunny and she had two teachers with her and she was happy.  But that wasn't what my brain was showing me.

"Call me the minute you have her in the car.  Okay???"

Always the good little soldier, he did call me.  Justin was so traumatized by this whole experience that he jumped out of the car and hugged all of them individually when he got there.  The teachers were very nice and reassured him that it happens to everyone so he shouldn't be freaking out.  Allie was fine, sitting in the backseat with her school crafts, babbling away happily about all of the Valentines she got.

"You do realize that one day she will be able to tell all of her friends that her parents sent her to school in her pajamas and then forgot her there, right?"  I could see the teenage version of Allie yelling at me about it when I tell her that she can't do something.  Ammunition of Guilty Measures.

"Actually, I see us spending thousands of dollars in therapy when she's in her early 20's, blaming us for  alllllll of her insecurities because of this one particular day in preschool."

Yup.  He had a point.

I think maybe we just shouldn't mention this ever again....

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Forbidden Dance of Joy

Oh yes!  You know what's coming, dontcha?!!!

SHAZAM!  I'm in the 150's!

For over twenty years, I tried to get back to the 50's.  And as I told you the last time, I was going to do the Forbidden Dance of Joy all over the place when it happened.

Well, the dance didn't quite happen.  It's hard to dance for joy when you're blubbering like you just won an Oscar.  That was unexpected.

Please....let's relive the moment....shall we?

I got up this morning and went down to the scale, just knowing that today was the day!  I grabbed Justin and made him come with me because I wanted someone to celebrate with.  Always willing to play along, he grabbed the camera and was crouched down by the scale, very focused, as if he was waiting for something to come flying out of it.

I got on and shit started to happen.  Remember that my scale doesn't play along with the "If I move a little this way, I can make the number change" game.   The numbers were flying all over while the scale was scanning me.  158.5.... 160.2.....  158.8....  159.7.... and the answer isssssssss....

BAM!  158.8, bitches!  That's the final answer, Regis!  And now I want to phone a friend!

Naturally, I was in shock, so I got off and reset the scale.  I wanted full and definite confirmation.  Justin was busy snapping photos like he was with paparazzi at a main event.  (I love how he tries to jazz up the energy just to amuse me.)

I got back on the scale and the same thing happened.

Holy crap.  It's for real.

Immediately I started crying.  I think the last time I cried for joy was when Allie was born.  I felt this enormous sense of relief, along with the excitement of some gigantic prize waiting in front of me.

I finally accomplished this goal after 20 years.  I can't tell you how many times I gave up on this mission and decided it was impossible and unobtainable.  And here it was.  Right in front of me.  Hot damn!

I was so glad that Justin was there.  It was a milestone that I didn't want to reach alone.   And it was great to have someone hug me while I was having a happy meltdown.

The strange thing is that for the first few hours, I didn't want to tell anyone.  I wanted to keep it to myself.  I have no idea what that was about, but I just enjoyed feeling invincible and powerful without anyone else adding to the moment.  Clearly, I'm over it because I'm telling all of you right now.

So, I'm going to keep going.  Maybe next I'll see a 4?!  I can't even fathom it, but you never know.  A year ago, I couldn't imagine seeing a 5 without gastric bypass surgery.

Next post, I will share Allie's morning with you.  While I was having this big moment, we were giving her an experience that I'm sure she will be dragging us to therapy for years from now.   It was a double whammy.  Ugh!

Until then....... be joyous, people!

p.s In case you were wondering what the Forbidden Dance of Joy looks like, I'm sure you are imagining  something like this:

In MY head, it looks something like this:

But I'm sure it actually looks something like this:
Click HERE to see it in action

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