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Category Archives: cars

Every time I’m on the road it’s Special Driving Conditions, baby. I AM SPECIAL.

I was thinking today, as I was in traffic on my way home:

How many of these people would pass the New York State Learner’s Permit test, were they to take it today?

Now, in my defense, the drivers today were totally the worst. We had speed-em-up-slow-em-down Harry, who…well, did exactly what his name suggests. He was in front of me and he’d go normal speed, then putter along, then normal speed, then putter along again, and it was MAKING! ME! STABBY!

Then I had the guy who seemed new to town, and would hesitate at every single intersection. Do I want this one? No. How about this one? Nope, not this one. Oooh, this one? No, that one’s someone’s driveway. What about this one? Oh, shit, that’s the greenhouse’s back entrance. TURN OR PULL OVER I HAVE LAUNDRY TO DO!

Then there was the guy who kept coming to panicked stops for no reason. I feel like maybe he had something wrong with his foot. EEERK! Stop. EEEERK! Stop. Why are you DOING that? There’s not even a REASON!

My half-hour drive home became forty minutes and I was super-crabby by the time I got home.

Oh, is THAT what it is? Thanks, helpful graphic!

Oh, is THAT what it is? Thanks, helpful graphic!

So about halfway there, I started thinking. This isn’t the way we were taught to drive back when we were studying for our permits, was it? And we’re like, what, thirty years or something FROM getting those permits, more or less? Shouldn’t we be BETTER at this shit, not worse?

(Side note: I passed my written permit test without a hitch. I think I got one, maybe two questions wrong. I have always tested well. I tend to know, when there are multiple-choice questions, what’s being asked for. Or I can at least narrow it down to the two most likely answers and have a good track record of choosing the right answer. This is also why I would have been very good at that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire show. It was multiple-choice questions. I would have won that. Totally won.

However – this is a very long side-note – I did not pass my driver’s test the first time. The first time, I had a very mean old man who was SUCH A STICKLER. I couldn’t parallel park, but just not being able to parallel park doesn’t fail you. What failed me? I was driving – I am not even kidding – three miles an hour below the speed limit in a 25 or 30 mile-per-hour speed-limit zone. And he was so mean. He actually YELLED at me to speed up. Then said, “Not that it matters. It’s too late to pass this thing now.” I was CRUSHED.

The second time I went back, I wore a very short skirt – I was skinny then, it was my year I was skating the edge of an eating disorder – and a low-cut top and flirted my way to a passing grade with the younger instructor and the only thing he failed me on was parallel parking, because, per the instructor who was looking down my totally jailbaity top the whole time, “Eh, it’s a small town, you’ll never need to know how to parallel park, anyway. About a year later, I moved to Binghamton, New York – which is a city. Where you need to CONSTANTLY parallel park. I still can’t parallel park correctly. I’ve done it once correctly in my whole life. ONCE.

I am not proud of this passing-a-test-with-my-tits thing, but I really wanted that license.

END SIDE NOTE, which was just here to give a personal touch to this post. I did not start life as a very good driver, but I’m passable now. I’ve been in two accidents since I started driving, and wasn’t injured in either of them – just bodywork to the car(s). And the last one was 13 years ago. So I think I’m a decent driver, or at least know how to stay out of people’s way.)

ANYWAY. Where were we?

I thought it might be interesting to see, considering that it’s been 22 years since I took it, how I’d do on the NYS Learner’s Permit test if I were to take it now.

Did you know you could take the test, or at least a practice version, online? You totally can. Ain’t technology wonderful? I had to study from a smeary newsprinty booklet, if I remember correctly.

There are nine sections. Because I love tests, I took ’em ALL. With varying results.

We start with traffic control. Traffic control was a LOT of guessing. Why? Because it had questions like “What does a rectangular sign mean?”

Good grief. I don’t pay attention to the SHAPE of SIGNS! Unless they’re octagonal or triangular. I mean, sincerely. However, I somehow got all of those. (The answer to that rectangle question was “speed limit sign.” Hard, right?)

I actually got a 92% on this part so I was feeling pretty confident. I only got a couple of stupid things wrong because I overthought them (and, in my defense, one was worded oddly.) Also, were you aware if there’s a flashing red light, you’re supposed to stop? I have to wonder if I was on the road, I would know that, and I’m just not knowing that because I’m sitting on my couch, or if I really don’t know that and therefore am just seconds away from a multi-car pileup that kills a billion people.

Next! Intersections and turns! This’ll be good, right?

WRONG. I got a 69% on this. (Heh. 69.) I know, that’s ridiculous. I got 4/13 wrong. Two of them were hand-signals. I knew I was just guessing on those. I have no idea what the hand-signals mean. (I think they mean, “Get your turn signals fixed or take a cab, asshat.”) And again, two of them were oddly-worded, and one had me waiting in the center of an intersection to make a turn, which seems VERY unsafe to me.

Like I'm ever going to remember these. I'll just think you're car-dancing or something.

Like I’m ever going to remember these. I’ll just think you’re car-dancing or something.

Maybe I’m really a terrible driver after all.

Next! PASSING! Oh, I pass a lot of people. Because I am a speed demon. (There was not a section about speeding. If there was, I think I would have won the hell out of that section. Or lost, I suppose, depending on how you view it.) I totally got 100% on this section, which means I am excellent at passing. Get outta my way, yo, I AM PASSING YOU AND I AM VERY GOOD AT IT. I am 100% good at it, actually.

Parallel Parking! What do you think. Did I pass this part?

Noperoonie! I got a 56%. I FAIL AT PARALLEL PARKING. I am the WORST. I have no idea what the rules are; I hate parallel parking, and I will drive around for like half an hour to avoid having to do it. (Oddly, I got the parallel parking questions all right; it was the “no standing/no parking/no stopping” questions I got wrong. I don’t know what the difference is. I just don’t park there. Isn’t that the best way to handle something of that fashion? Just don’t park there?)

DEFENSIVE DRIVING! One hundred percent, baby! I apparently am excellent at both passing AND driving defensively. I think these are both important things to be good at. Better than STUPID PARALLEL PARKING.

I was pretty sure I was going to win Alcohol and Other Drugs, But I think I spaced out and missed one of the questions so did NOT get a perfect score. (The questions were hilarious. “Which of these will help you sober up? A., Running around the house, B., Drinking 14 pots of coffee, C., Drinking more alcohol, D., Time.” SO HARD! WHICH SHALL I CHOOSE?)

This is SMRT smart!

This is SMRT smart!

Next we have Special Driving Conditions. Hee! Special. I’m totally special. Will I win this one?

No. But close. 88%. There were a lot of “expressway” questions, and I don’t know what that means. Do we have expressways here? Is that the same as a highway or a freeway or whatever? Or is it like the Autobahn? VERY CONFUSING!

I got 100% on Sharing the Road, so anyone on a bicycle or walking should totally love me.

I also got one wrong on Road Signs, but it’s, again, because I got distracted and forgot to finish one of the questions. I kind of lose at attention-spanning, more than anything.

So I suppose, if this were the real thing, I probably would have passed, overall. (But I think I did better when I was a kid. However, I studied and studied back then; this was taken without any studying.)

As for the driving portion…well, here’s my thought. When you start driving, you’re all alert and paying attention to shit and nervous and you’re on your best behavior. Then you’ve been driving a while and you’re all “HO HUM OLD HAT” and then you stop paying as much attention. You don’t need to know what SHAPE the signs are. You know that’s a speed limit sign, or a railroad crossing sign, or whatever.

So most likely, if I were to take the driving portion of the test today, I’d pass – but I wouldn’t be driving like normal-Amy, I’d be driving like I do when I have a cop behind me. Checking all the signs and the speed limits and such.

However, there’s no hope for the asshats I was driving home behind today. NONE. There is no reason for driving like that. Maybe you people should have to re-take your driving tests once and a while or at least STAY AWAY FROM ME when I am ATTEMPTING TO DRIVE HOME because, as proven, I am very good at both passing and defensive driving so you should probably bow to my greatness and just let me around you because I have laundry to do, yo. And just because I win at sharing the road doesn’t mean I want to share it with YOU.

Go take some driving tests, you guys. I’m curious if you, too, win driving in New York State. (Also, some of the wording is kind of hilarious, I just have to say. And what else are you going to do today, work? PLEASE. Don’t even make me laugh.)

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When your car uses shouty all-caps, you know it’s serious.

Just so you know I am not dead:

I made it through Tech Sunday. It wasn’t as long as they have been in the past. 7 hours and 45 minutes. Not that bad at all. The show looks amazing; I’m very proud of it. I can’t wait for people to see it this coming week. The crew and the director have done an amazing job with it and the audience is going to love it. And probably cry, if I’m any indication. I’ve seen the damn thing three times now and I’ve cried at various points every single time. It’s GOOD, you guys. I’m going to attempt to video some of it with my fancy-schmancy phone tomorrow, we’ll see what happens. If it works, I’ll let you see.

I might be alive; my car, however, is not doing well. If it was a patient in a hospital, it would be in the ICU. On the way to the theater today, it chugged (as it does, and the garage guy was all “just the catalytic converter”). Well, after a little chugging, it went “DING DING DING!!!” and I was all, “THIS can’t be good.” And it GAVE ME A MESSAGE. I know, WTF? THAT was freakish. Where the “miles til you need to fill up” display is, in ALL-CAPS (so you know it’s my car, I guess) it said: “CHECK YOUR TRANSMISSION!!!”

This light has been on for the past week. SIDE NOTE: the first time this happened, I was all, "Dad! What's the light on my dash that looks like a Muppet face?"

This light has been on for the past week. SIDE NOTE: the first time this happened, I was all, “Dad! What’s the light on my dash that looks like a Muppet face?”

Oh, well, this is not good.

Friend A., when I told him it was chugging, before the guy at the garage said catalytic converter, said “I hope it’s not the transmission. That costs like $2,000.”

This is a transmission, apparently. It is HUGE, it is like the size of the whole ENGINE. No wonder it's so expensive!

This is a transmission, apparently. It is HUGE, it is like the size of the whole ENGINE. No wonder it’s so expensive!

Also, I noticed a couple of times it looked like, when I pulled in somewhere and parked, it might be leaking? But then again, it might be melting, as it has like snowsicles under it? And also when I’m in it, sometimes I smell what I can only describe as a hot curling iron? But then again, one time I smelled celery in a whole parking lot, and there was no celery to be found. I am not to be olfactorially trusted. I DO NOT CARE IF THAT’S NOT A REAL WORD DAMMIT.

So I got to the theater, and went about my day, and the all-caps didn’t happen on the way home, and then I called Dad. The only reason I called Dad was to see if he thought I should a., go straight to the garage tomorrow, or b., could get the car to work, then go at lunch. I don’t know anything about cars or how serious this all-caps transmission situation might be.

Well! Choice tidbits of things Dad said to me on the phone:

“Apparently you don’t UNDERSTAND that CARS are for TRANSPORTATION” (um…I think I get THAT function of cars…it’s just how they WORK that befuddles me)

“Why were you hiding this transmission situation from me?” (Because I just found out about it now? Did you want me to call you from the theater this morning? How would that have helped, the garage isn’t even open on Sundays.)

“The car is LEAKING? Why didn’t you TELL me?” (Because I thought you would say “Stop making up leaking, you don’t know it’s really leaking”)

“IT SMELLS LIKE BURNING?!?!?!?” (This just made me laugh because it reminded me of Ralph Wiggum saying “I eated the purple berries, they taste like burning”)

Ralph would have eaten my car. It ALSO smelled like burning.

Ralph would have eaten my car. It ALSO smelled like burning.

“Go outside and check the transmission fluid level. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.” (What the hell is confusing about this. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. It’s not like daily I’m all “la la la, let’s eat breakfast and check our daily transmission fluid levels” DAD.)

“You don’t have a FLASHLIGHT? OH MY GOD. IT IS LIKE DEALING WITH A CAVEMAN HERE. I CANNOT HELP YOU FROM A DISTANCE WITH THIS FLASHLIGHT SITUATION.” (I didn’t ask him to HELP, I just wanted to KNOW if I needed to go to the GARAGE at 8am or if I could WAIT.)

“NO, you cannot wrap a sweater around some magazines and light it on fire and use that for a flashlight. Do I sound like I’m in the mood for lightheartedness?” (No, but it was worth a shot.)

Dad became convinced that when I went to the Twilight Zone theater and ran over the wood in the road (remember that, all those weeks ago?) I damaged the transmission pan. That sounds like a made-up thing, but whatever. So he said I had to check the transmission fluid levels and call him back. It apparently is a thing that needs to be done when the car is warm and running. Opening a car hood while it’s running seems dangerous, but I’m a trooper. Or is that trouper? Both seem wrong, somehow.

OMG, it is a real thing, and look, this one looks like it's smiling.

OMG, it is a real thing, and look, this one looks like it’s smiling.

So I went outside. First hurdle: I didn’t know how to open the hood. I could POP the hood. But it was LATCHED. So I took out the flashlight (which I totally found; the maintenance men who were here last month totally accidentally left one behind, I WIN!) and saw the latch. I felt like the Queen of Smartness.

Then I tried to find the transmission dipstick. Do you find it as humorous as I do that dipstick is a real word? Fine, just me, whatever. Dad’s actual directions: “It is under the hood. Kind of directly in front of where you sit, sort of.” HELPFUL!

I couldn’t find it and couldn’t find it until I found it, and it was all tucked away far under some things and it was bright yellow. (When I told Dad this later, he said “Oh, maybe it would have helped had I told you it was bright yellow?” YES IT WOULD HAVE.)

BRIGHT YELLOW.

BRIGHT YELLOW.

I pulled out the (heh) dipstick. I wiped it off on a paper towel, per Dad’s instructions. “Note the color on the paper towel,” said Dad. The answer was: brownish. THIS is fun times. Then I put the dipstick (hee!) back in and pulled it back out (OMG, totally not a euphemism) and checked the end of it for, per Dad, “pink stuff.” The answer was: the end of it had pink stuff, but not up to the little line that said it was supposed to be up to there. So there was SOME “pink stuff” (the “pink stuff” is actually transmission fluid, apparently) in there, but not enough.

OMG, I found this online. Someone has a lot of time on their hands. A LOT.

OMG, I found this online. Someone has a lot of time on their hands. A LOT. Also, I think I have “internal probelms.” Hee, probelms.

So I came back upstairs and called Dad and gave him the news. He had calmed down some in the past ten minutes and was no longer shouty. He was VERY PLEASED there was some pink stuff and that I hadn’t run it to the ground, but not super-pleased that there was a transmission problem at all. “DID IT SMELL LIKE BURNING?” he said. “No, actually not at all, maybe I imagined the burning,” I said. “Grumble grumble grump,” said Dad. “This is what happens when you hit a tree.” “I didn’t hit a TREE, Dad,” I said. “I hit some WOOD. That was in the ROAD. For no REASON. When I had to drive to that weird town that was trying to kill me that time. I can hardly be blamed for that, now can I?” Dad doesn’t seem to agree. Somehow, Dad would have not hit the wood. (Dad, however, drives about 10 miles per hour all the time, so if he HAD hit the wood, the wood probably would have apologized to him. And he’d be going so slow he’d have had time to have a lengthy conversation with that wood. Heh. Wood.)

Dad said he thought it would be ok to drive it to the garage (which is very close) in the morning, and have them check it out and at the very least, dump some transmission fluid in it if they couldn’t find the time to fix it tomorrow. So I texted my boss all, “Um, I’m going to be late” and off to the garage tomorrow morning. New Job is going to think I’m a gadabout. I’m usually not late all the time. This car hardly ever screws up, dammit! As you can tell, because I haven’t had to open the hood since I got it!

And that was my day. Now I am off to bed so I can tackle tomorrow. With much enthusiasm. Rah rah RAH. And such.

What will happen NEXT in True Tales from Amy’s Car is Not Working Correctly? Only time will tell. ONLY TIME WILL TELL.


True adventures with wildlife, ZOMG

I have a very brief period of time to write this. FIRST I have a STORY and then I have a thing I stole from someone else’s blog because I’m like a pirate, yo. Arrr.

This is me, I guess. Arr, matey.

This is me, I guess. Arr, matey.

Here is a story called AMY’S INTERACTION WITH THE GLORY OF WILDLIFE.

This weekend, I went to the library. On the way home, I wanted to stop at a place to pick up some lunch, and I thought, hey, I know a back way to get there. So I turned down the back way all pioneer-like.

Well, like the pioneers that ended up in Utah or some such shit instead of California, I realized I had made a terrible mistake when the road, which the last time I went down it led me all twisty-turny to the road with all the restaurants on it, it just…dead-ended. I knew they’d done some construction, but a little sign saying “this is a dead end now” might have been helpful. To add insult to injury, the reason it was now a dead-end was because they’d put a little hill across the street. You could SEE the street right on the other side of the hill where I needed to be. I mean, there was no way to get OVER the hill, but you could SEE over the hill, and the street was TAUNTING me. Dammit.

Curses, foiled again.

Curses, foiled again.

So grumblingly, I turned around and went back up the same street I’d just gone down. Well, at least I now know you can’t go down that street to get anywhere. So I won’t do that again, I suppose. So, la la la, here I was, driving back the way I came.

When all of a SUDDEN, what was THIS?, something was in the road! Something somewhat large and…brown…and…

IT WAS A TURKEY A REAL LIVE WILD TURKEY (no, not the liquor) in the ROAD!

So I laughed and laughed! I’ve seen turkeys in the distance, like at the side of the road, but never up close! (I mean, I’ve also seen them dead and waiting to be roasted. And also I’ve eaten them. Because, delicious, you know?)

I turned down the radio and slowed WAYYYYYY down (and peeked in my rearview and there was a truck behind me and I was all “sorry dude, but TURKEY!” but of course it’s not like he heard me) and the turkey STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! He did not move! That was one cheeky turkey! He made turkey noises (which I GUESS are like “gobble gobble” but are more like a weird underwatery blurbling noise, honestly) and just watched my car coming up and didn’t even move!

Well, I liked that turkey. That turkey had CHUTZPAH. So I watched him for a couple more moments and then felt bad for the truck in back of me so I really slowly went around the turkey and he went “blurble blurble!” and then I drove away. And the truck in back of me totally went around the turkey, too, so I decided he was a nice man who went out of his way for turkeys.

Wild turkeys (NOT THE LIQUOR!) are very funny and very prettily-feathered and this one totally had a wattle. And wise eyes. I liked this turkey very much. But not enough that I’m going to stop EATING turkey. I do very much like poultry. Both when it comes up all unexpected-like in the street, and also with some gravy and stuffing.

I told Dad this story and first he was all, “Maybe that turkey was rabid” which made me laugh, and then he said “Make that turkey noise again. Make it again.” Then he laughed and laughed because apparently I made a very funny turkey noise. Then he said, “Maybe that was a turkey vulture. Do you think it was a turkey vulture?” and I said, “No, Dad, I saw a turkey vulture once. We had one when I worked at the animal shelter. We had to keep it overnight for Fish and Game to come and pick it up and we fed it hamburger and it looked like a dinosaur and it was totally frightening but also fascinating? I kept looking at it in awe.” Dad said, “You are a wonder, daughter of mine. You are a wonder. You love all the animals, don’t you?” and I said, “Yes. But not monkeys or apes, though.” Dad understood because we went to the zoo together that time. He knows I don’t like the monkeys because I hid behind him at the monkey cage most of the time. I don’t trust those wily poo-flinging bastards.

This doesn't even LOOK like a turkey. It looks like a VULTURE. Also like an evil mastermind, a little, right?

This doesn’t even LOOK like a turkey. It looks like a VULTURE. Also like an evil mastermind, a little, right?

Here is part two. I am multitasking this post, yo.

So on Emma Wolf’s blog today (which is like your…um…two days ago or something), she did the Daily Prompt, which was to assume you had time to save five things from your home if it was on fire, assuming all animals and people were safe. What would you save?

Things like this make me think and think. (I don’t know that I’ve ever clicked on that Daily Prompt site. Is that something bloggers are supposed to do? Probably. I never follow the rules, do I? Dammit.)

When my apartment WAS actually on fire, I saved the cats and my purse, which had my phone (back before I had a real phone, it was just a crappy non-smart Tracfone, but at least it was a way to call out) and of course my wallet and things in it. It took a long time to round up the cats. They were all I cared about, to tell the truth. The purse could have stayed. But this is assuming Dumbcat is safe, so he’s out of the picture. Well, that sounded terrible. He’s SAFELY out of THIS picture. Let’s pretend my happy little place is on fire and Dumbcat is safely elsewhere. Where is he? Hell, I don’t know, probably in the car in his carrier or something, let’s not think too deeply about this.

OK, five things, quick like a bunny, I have to call Dad and explain Justified to him for the week.

  1. My purse. It has a lot of things in, my wallet, my cell would be in there, keys, etc. My purse is important. Having to replace all of those cards and such would be a colossal pain in the butt, yo.
  2. My laptop. It has a lot of writing on it. I’d hate to lose that. Yes, yes. I know. I should probably back that shit up on a thumb drive or whatever the kids have today, but I also love to TYPE on my laptop. The laptop has to come with.
  3. Photos. I’m not a huge decorator, but the main thing I have hanging on the walls here are a ton of photos. Most of them are irreplacable. Some of the people in them are long gone; some were gone before wee Amy made the scene. I’m going to assume I have a little bit of time to grab some photos off my wall. It’s my fire; I get to imagine it as I please.
  4. Clothes/shoes/outerwear/etc. I know I won’t have a billion years to be grabbing things, but at least a couple basic outfits. Once, a long time ago, I had to quickly leave my place of residence. I did not have time to grab clothing. Living in the same clothes for days while you try to get the money/time to get some more clothes is not really what you need to be worrying about when you’re dealing with a huge life issue, you know?
  5. My teddy bear. Shh, my house just burned down, I’m going to need my comfort object. Yes, I’m a grown-ass woman. You’re not even allowed to judge. I WAS JUST IN A CATASTROPHIC FIRE.
Yikes, don't do a search for "apartment fire" and expect to get any sleep for the night. Good grief.

Yikes, don’t do a search for “apartment fire” and expect to get any sleep for the night. Good grief.

I find this curious, because as I was doing this, I didn’t have many things I COULDN’T live without. Honestly, if I had to do without all of these things, I could. As long as Dumbcat is safe, I’m ok. There are a lot of things I need in life, but most of them are replacable. The two things I can’t replace are Dumbcat (I mean, he’s not going to live forever, I’m not insane, I know that, but as long as it’s within my power to do so, I’m going to keep him around) and my loved ones. Doing without the people I love…well, things are just things. You can replace things. Or if you can’t replace them, you can learn to live without them. But my people? Well, living without them is not something I want to contemplate. I’ve had to say goodbye to too many people in my life, and when you lose someone you love, that you truly love, the hole that’s left…well, some of you know what that’s like, and some of you, thankfully, don’t, but everyone eventually does, and will. That kind of loss, I don’t know if that ever leaves you. So, yes, fire, consume all my consumables, if you must. My cat and my people are safe? I’m good. I’m fine. They’re all I need.

For a short post, this is very long. Goodnight, internet. Wait, you’re reading this like at noon or something. Happy…um…lunch break, internet. I’m going to see Company of Thieves with one of my best friends tonight! Hooray!

COMPANY OF THIEVES!!!

COMPANY OF THIEVES!!!


Science myths with Amy’s Dad. Also, my car hates me.

It’s cold. VERY COLD. Some of you people might live in places where it is not as cold. And that’s nice for you! So nice. Here, it is currently 10 degrees. TEN. When I was driving to work this morning? It was -2. NEGATIVE TWO.

(I like to email Andreas when it’s this cold and say, “In YOUR temperature that is -19 NEGATIVE NINETEEN ANDREAS!!!!” And he doesn’t even complain, not even a little.)

This is what my car apparently thinks when it is this cold:

LEAVE ME ALONE WOMAN!!!!

LEAVE ME ALONE WOMAN!!!!

“Nope. I’m not into this. Not at all. It’s too cold. TOO COLD. Let’s just hang out here in the parking lot, what do you say? Just, like, here? In the lot. No? Oh, you’re actually going to try to start me? Oh, well, that’s ill-advised, but, well, you do your thing, I guess. I’ll just…stall out. Yep. See, I tried to warn you it’s just too damn cold for this. You’re trying AGAIN? Well, aren’t you optimistic, like a young girl or a unicorn or something. OK, let’s do this. I GUESS I can stay running. But not without a cost. And that cost is that I’m going to scare you by randomly lighting up some of your warning lights. You’ll never know which ones when you start the car. Today, let’s do…um…the airbag, the emergency brake, and the gas cap warning lights. That seems like fun! Oh, yes, well, if you turn me off and on a few times, I’ll flash DIFFERENT lights on and off…and it’s like a slot machine, because at some point, I’ll turn on with NO WARNING LIGHTS ON! And then you WIN! But mostly, the house wins. And I’m the house, baby. Oh, also, I’m going to chug a lot, and when you hit the brakes, I’m going to buck like a pony that just got stung by a bee. YOU’RE WELCOME!”

Also, the other day when it was super-cold? I had no signal lights. Nope. They just didn’t work. None. FROZEN SIGNAL LIGHTS. Just TOO DAMN COLD. You’d think I lived in the Arctic or something but I don’t see any penguins so I don’t even get the cool perks of the Arctic. Wait, is it the Arctic where there are penguins? I’m really tired and probably I could Google it, but, TIRED. Also, I put a billion blankets on my bed recently and it’s SO WARM there, you guys, like, it’s CALLING to me. In a happy little voice. “AMY. Come SLEEP HERE. You will be SO WARM. It’s like SLEEPING in a CLOUD. A WARM CLOUD.”

I have one of these super-comfy feather comforters for when it's really cold. It is the BEST, you guys.

I have one of these super-comfy feather comforters for when it’s really cold. It is the BEST, you guys.

Fine, I Googled it, penguins do NOT live in the Arctic, they live in the Antarctic. Is this like how I couldn’t tell the difference between stalagmites and stalactites for like a billion years until someone taught me a trick? (YES, I’ll share it with you. Stalagmites come out of the ground. There is a “g” in stalagmites. “G” for “ground.” Stalactites come out of the ceiling. There’s a “c” in stalactites. “C” for “ceiling.” I have a lot of these tricks. They’re how I remember most things in life.)

Ooh! Aah!

Ooh! Aah!

I have to go make muffins in a minute. That’s not even a euphemism. We’re having another snack day at work tomorrow. So I’m making muffins tonight. That, until about five seconds ago, I totally forgot about. So, shit, I’d better get to making those muffins now, right? Anyone want to come over and make muffins or anything? I’m totally all warm on the couch and the cat’s all snuggled up to my leg. Sigh. SIGH I SAID SIGH.

They're blueberry muffins. From a mix. I kind of gave up today, don't tell anyone.

They’re blueberry muffins. From a mix. I kind of gave up today, don’t tell anyone.

I asked Andreas today if this was the ice age and no one told me and he was all “Um, *I* told you, unless you haven’t been reading my blog” and, yes. Yes, he did. Look, per Andreas, “We are currently experiencing a temporary thaw (or interglacial period) in the ongoing Pleistocene ice age. So, the current ice age hasn’t ended yet, it’s just on hold for an unknown number of thousand years.” We’re apparently in an ongoing ice age. Well, THAT’S depressing. Who likes THAT? No one, is who. Dammit. I told Andreas if this is the ice age I’m going to need to buy some earmuffs or something.

Is this going to be in my backyard soon, Andreas?

Is this going to be in my backyard soon, Andreas?

Then I told Dad Andreas said it was the ice age and Dad said, “No, it’s GLOBAL WARMING, that’s what that guy who invented the internet said.” And I said, “I think it can be both, Dad.” And then Dad said, “Did you know over 1,000 scientists said there is no global warming?”

Sometimes I try very hard not to laugh when Dad says things, because I love him. But sometimes he says things that are straight from Fox News and I can’t help myself.

“And probably over 10,000 scientists say there IS global warming,” I replied. Dad didn’t like that.

“Those scientists that are lying about global warming, do you know where they got their degrees?” he asked. I didn’t know how to answer this. “UNIVERSITIES!” he said, triumphantly.

I still didn’t know how to answer this.

“Um. So…the 1,000 other scientists have a degree from…the school…of hard knocks? Then? I am confused by this,” I said. “I would think that MOST scientists get their degrees from universities. That’s where degrees are usually bestowed upon people,” I said.

I don't know if I want my scientists being all sciency up in here if this is the degree they have, Dad.

I don’t know if I want my scientists being all sciency up in here if this is the degree they have, Dad.

“The UNIVERSITIES are run by the GOVERNMENT and the GOVERNMENT wants you to THINK there is global warming so they can give guns to other countries so they can kill us,” Dad said.

I’m not going to go into detail, mostly because it was a HUGE BALL OF CRAZY, but apparently Fox News told my dad today that the government was going to take millions of dollars to “change the weather” (“Ha ha, Amy, YOUR PRESIDENT thinks if he THROWS MONEY AT THE WEATHER it will CHANGE!” Dad said, and I replied with, “I don’t think they’ll be hucking dollar bills into the wind, Dad”) but really they were going to secretly give to other countries so they could arm their militias and then take over Merka. I don’t even…huh.

“Do you think maybe that money is so they can have scientists look for ways to help us SOLVE global warming?” I asked Dad.

He laughed and laughed. “Oh, Amy. I love you, but that’s what wrong with you people. Listen to me: THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING.”

(Just so you know, in case you were confused, “you people” means “liberals.” “Liberals” also means “idiots” or “braindead morons” or “sheep.” I like to remind Dad that “liberal” also means “his beloved daughter” but he doesn’t like to think about that.)

At that point, I just changed the subject to something else. But not the weather, because apparently that’s now a taboo subject. Pretty soon we’re only going to be able to talk about…um…I don’t even know. How much the people in line at the Walmart annoyed him today? Where to buy the cheapest old-people vitamins? I. Do. Not. Know. What. Topics. Are. Safe. Maybe Fox News should let me know what they’re going to lie about daily so I know what to avoid?

Alright. I have to make some non-euphemistic muffins, yo. Then I’m going to bed. In my warm cloud of blankets. Aaah.

Stay warm, my little blueberries. Also, keep your pets indoors. Dumbcat said I had to include that part, and I can’t argue with him. He’s too adorably furry.


I Thought It Would Be Funny: A Day of Adventure With The Nephew

I have actual real things to blog about. Real topics. I KNOW SHOCKING. Like, I have them all saved with notes and such. But my brain’s all scattery and I have a million other things bopping around in it so I can’t actually force myself to sit down and concentrate on them.

It’s a day off today for me, which is so nice, I can’t even tell you. Yesterday? I TOOK A NAP. I haven’t taken a nap, other than when I’ve been sick, in probably years. Because when I take a nap, it throws off my sleep schedule. But I didn’t have to get to bed overly early last night, and I was sleepy in the afternoon (even though I totally slept well the night before) and I thought, you know what? I’m going to take a decadent little siesta. And I DID. And it was GLORIOUS. And I still slept last night, too. And had trouble waking up when the alarm went off this morning. So apparently, this long weekend was for sleeping. All the sleeping. Every last bit of it. And it’s been GRAND. I only wish I could bank all that sleep for the days I’m not getting enough.

Aw, look, a little sleep bank. I like that.

Aw, look, a little sleep bank. I like that.

I also finally took down the Christmas decorations (yes, I’m aware Christmas was almost a month ago, I hadn’t gotten around to it yet) and cleaned up the house a little and wrote and watched television and paid bills and petted Dumbcat and baked cookies and talked to my parents and did all good things. It was a very productive day.

And TODAY, I woke up to an email with the best news EVER EVER, which I can’t go into detail about yet, but will as soon as I can (it’s good, it’s SO SO GOOD) and also in fifteen minutes I’m taking off to spend a few hours with The Nephew in his new house. I can’t wait to see him. The cookies referred to above were for him, by the way. I can’t bring him gifts EVERY time I see him, that’d be absurd, right? So in lieu of gifts, I’m bringing him and his mom some homemade chocolate-chip cookies. Not JUST cookies, but my SPECIAL chocolate-chip cookies, which are the best recipe I’ve ever tried and they’re utterly delicious. I think he’ll approve. (I mean, the kid loves his desserts. His face gets all excited when there are desserts involved. Apparently, the last time he was at my parents’ house, he opened the fridge and stuck his finger in a cherry pie “just to see what it tasted like.” Hee!)

So my house smells like baking right now. I’m pretty sure if a man were to come over here, I could woo ’em with the scent alone. Just saying.

And I have another busy week coming up – dinner with friends Wednesday, theater stuff Friday, work Tuesday-Saturday. Plus I really need to start reading those one-acts for the play festival we have in July. It is my job, after all. Sigh. Those aren’t going to be a fun read. They never are.

Also, for no apparent reason, my apartment is like a fridge right now, even though the heater keeps going off. So that’s perplexing. WARM UP, APARTMENT. I AM CHILLY. Like, I’m seriously thinking of purchasing a Snuggie.

ZOMG, look at all the uses. SO MANY USES!

ZOMG, look at all the uses. SO MANY USES!

Now, time has passed since I started this. I know, it’s like the magic of blogging, right? I am home from my adventure with The Nephew. And it was TOTALLY an adventure. Listen, even if things aren’t an adventure, I make them so. That’s the way I am.

So first, I’d never been to either The Nephew’s new house, or the town he currently resides in. So it was GPS time. I popped in the address. All was well! All was good! I got in the car! Yay, yay! I put on loud, cheerful music! Ba-BAM! Ready to go! The town is about half an hour away, so here we go!

About five minutes into the drive I realized something was terribly wrong. TomTom was giving me the silent treatment.

This is the face TomTom would have been making. Had TomTom a face. Which it doesn't. Because it is a machine, sheesh.

This is the face TomTom would have been making. Had TomTom a face. Which it doesn’t. Because it is a machine, sheesh.

I didn’t have it on mute. I had the volume turned all the way up. Everything else was working perfectly. TomTom was just not telling me where to turn. So I could SEE where to turn, but the whole point of TomTom is that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road much. You can mostly listen to it, and every once and a while when it gets confusing, you peek over briefly. Well, I had to peek over ALL THE TIME once I got off the highway, because the rest of the trip was all small roads and traffic circles and such, and TomTom was all “we’re playing the game of who can stay silent the longest” and THAT was disconcerting.

So I finally got there – while beseeching TomTom to please talk to me, what’d I do, baby, please talk to me, don’t do this, you’re only hurting YOURSELF, TomTom, I can’t lose you, DON’T DO THIS TO US, TOMTOM, think of the good times, don’t give up on us, baby! – and there was the house! And I knocked and no one came to the door and I was all, “Oh, well, this is bad, maybe it’s all a dream” but then K. came to the door because The Nephew had been in the bathroom.

AND THEN THERE WAS THE NEPHEW!

He ran into the hallway all happy-faced and big-eyed and said “Aunt Amy Aunt Amy HELLO!” and LAUNCHED himself up into my arms for a big hug and I picked him up and gave him that big hug and he said “I want to show you my room!” and I said, “I want to SEE your room!” and he said, “OK! Let’s go!”

So he gave me a kiddo-tour of his new place. “This is my KITCHEN! This is my LIVING ROOM! This is the BATHROOM! Where you PEE! This is MOMMY’S room! THIS IS MY ROOM! That is the basement, sometimes you have to go down those steps.” He gave that door a very mistrustful look. Can’t say as I blame him. Basements are a frightening affair.

I don't trust you, basement.

I don’t trust you, basement.

“Do you want to play with me?” he said. When your beloved nephew asks you such a thing, the answer is always yes. No other answer will do.

So we played with Thomas the Tank Engine trains, and some Toy Story 3 dolls (Lotso Bear was the badguy, and Buzz Lightyear and one of those little “the CLAW!” aliens were the good guys) and a wrestling playset that had a spinny circle in the middle that launched the wrestlers into the bouncy elastic side of the ring, and that made him laugh and laugh (there was a monster on the side of the ring, and he was very careful to tell me, “this isn’t a real monster, though. It’s just a TOY monster.” I get the feeling someone had to tell him that once or twice.) We also played with some Matchbox cars. Mostly this involved him driving them off the dresser and me catching them as they crashed. “Do they like crashing like that?” I said. “YES! They LOVE it!” he enthused. OK, then, well, it must be true. He also showed me his books (“You could read ALL of these to me!” he said) and his bed (“I sleep there!”) and his Wii (“You can’t bang on this, or it breaks, right, Mommy?”) and he kept running from room to room like a little Tasmanian Devil so I got dizzy. I think parenting might be exhausting. Why didn’t you people warn me parenting is exhausting? Kids don’t sit still very often, is what I learn whenever I see The Nephew. They are always go-go-going.

Lotso is TOTALLY a bad guy. The Nephew and I are in agreement on this one. "He put them in the FIRE!" The Nephew said, in a scowly way.

Lotso is TOTALLY a bad guy. The Nephew and I are in agreement on this one. “He put them in the FIRE!” The Nephew said, in a scowly way.

He also wanted me to participate in “Family Fun Night” which apparently entailed watching movies on Mommy’s bed. “But it’s day! Can we have Family Fun Night during the day?” I asked. “Yes we can!” he said. “Well, it’s like Family Fun Night has no rules!” I told him. He thought about this very seriously. “No, there are rules,” he said. “No hitting, no biting, no lying, and…um…no hitting.” “Those are very good rules, The Nephew,” I said. “I try to live by those rules every day, myself.”

(I didn’t tell him I’m not always successful. He’ll learn that soon enough, why burst his bubble now?)

Then he had one of the cookies I made. “These are EXCELLENT,” he told me. Hee! Excellent. Nice. Also he had some lunch, but mostly he didn’t want that lunch. He doesn’t like eating very much. So instead of eating, he dripped soup all over and put his sandwich in the soup and dripped THAT all over and nibbled his sandwich and apple like a baby bird.

Then he did a thing which made me realize for the billionth time I would be a terrible mother.

He, for no real reason, tore off a piece of sandwich and dropped it in his chocolate milk. Then he tried to retrieve it, but he couldn’t because it was too deep in the cup.

“Well, I can’t drink my milk now!” he announced.

“You shouldn’t have put sandwich in there. Do you want some water?” his mother said.

This was not the answer he wanted. I think he wanted her to replace it with a whole new cup of milk. He got the dangerous pouty lower lip.

“No. Maybe I could get it out with my fingers?” he said, tearfully and doubtfully.

“No, you already tried that. You know that doesn’t work. You could drink the milk with the sandwich in there. It’s ok,” his mom said.

This brought on a full-on toddler tearstorm. “NO I CANNOT!” he wailed.

“Well, The Son, why did you put your sandwich in your cup in the first place?” she asked. K. is a very good mom. She is the most patient. I was standing there trying not to giggle. Because he was SO SAD about that piece of sandwich in his milk. Good gracious.

SO SAD!!! *not The Nephew; dramatic re-enactment only

SO SAD!!! *not The Nephew; dramatic re-enactment only

“I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FU-HU-HU-NEEEE!” he sobbed.

That’s when I totally lost it and had to turn away so he didn’t see his beloved aunt cracking up. He put a piece of sandwich in his milk because it had comedy potential; the joke backfired, and now he was left with chocolate milk that tasted of grilled cheese sandwich. ZOMG LIFE WAS SO HARD. Also, this seems an apt analogy for a lot of things I do in my life. I’ve had a lot of things backfire that I did because I thought they would be fu-hu-hu-neee.

K., with a totally straight face (I think if you’re a mom you have to probably practice keeping a poker face in the mirror, or something) said “What if I fished that out with a spoon?”

His tears IMMEDIATELY stopped. “I want to do it.”

“If you eat two bites of your sandwich, I’ll let you do it,” she said. TRICKY! And SMART!

He promptly ate two sandwich-bites and then fished the offensive sandwich-piece out of his cup and drained the rest of his chocolate milk. SUCCESS AND VICTORY FOR THE LITTLE GUY!

He also started punching his mom really hard in the leg. “I thought there was no hitting?” I said. “This is not HITTING,” he said. “This is MARKING. It’s like TAPPING but HARDER.” Then he did it a few more times. It sincerely looked like hitting to me. “Marking marking MARKING!” he said gleefully. “I think it’s time for a new rule,” his mom said, with painful-face. “No hitting, biting, lying, or marking.” The Nephew made a VERY sad face at this news. “It is just HARD TAPPING!” he wailed. Aw, kiddo. I think you might be a lawyer someday. You really have a very good answer for everything.

Then it was naptime and time for Aunt Amy to morph back into her alter-ego, “just plain old Amy” and go home.

I got one more launched-from-across-the-room hug and sandwichy kiss and I told him I loved him and I would see him soon. “OK!” he said gleefully. Aw, buddy. In the grand scheme of things and people, I love you more than anyone. Shh, don’t tell everyone else, they’ll get a complex. I also gave K. a hug, don’t even think I didn’t.

Then I got back in the car and guess what? TomTom apparently got over his snit and was talking to me again. What the hell? THAT was weird. When did my TomTom become like a passive-aggressive teen boyfriend?

And now I am back in my strangely freezing apartment and Dumbcat is keeping my legs warm because it’s like a fridge in here still. VERY MYSTERIOUS.

There was my Monday in a nutshell. A very large and long and probably rambly nutshell. Thanks for the day off, new job, you’re the best.

Hope you all had lovely long weekends! Real posts with real content soon. I hope. I think. We’ll see. I have topics and everything. I promise! Really! Would I lie to you? I can NOT lie to you. That would be breaking the rules of Family Fun Night, you see. That’s a total no-no.


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