Saturday, April 28, 2012

Upon reflection

First it was the Toyota Venza that stole my heart, and almost my pocketbook.  I don't want to have to work that hard anymore.  Then it was the Rav4 I considered and put a sizable chunk of money down to hold.  I didn't love it, but it was affordable.  When it was determined that my husband could not comfortably squeeze his long legs into that vehicle, well, it was almost over for Toyota.

New on the showroom floor today was the Toyota Highlander.  To be sure, it's not a new vehicle for them, but in the last 3 days that I've been to that dealer, today was the first day it was on the showroom floor.  This one fell between the costly Venza and the affordable Rav4.  It came with better discounts.

And just like that, and the better part of my Saturday, now it's in my drive.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Take Action

For two days, I've been in serious negotiations with the local Toyota dealer.  I kind of fell head over heels for the Venza when I took it for a test spin yesterday.  It's pretty fancy for a crossover.  Not that it matters, but it's built in Kentucky with 70 percent of the parts coming from US suppliers.  I'm working on it, but they're killing me on the trade in.  To be more precise, Carfax is killing me.  Nobody will want to buy my car with its medical report laid bare for all the world to tranny at 16, 000 throttle body at 34,000 miles.  Damn you FMC.  According to Edmunds, my car should be worth $16,700.  Toyota says maybe $15,000.


In other news, I awakened the other day at 4AM from a disturbing dream. Too afraid to go back to sleep right away, I got up to write down the salient points of the nightmare and was greeted by this picture:

I immediately felt better that at least one of us had something to smile about whilst deep in slumber.  And, yes, he is sound of sleep with his covers arranged on top of himself.  Me thinks he's living a good life.

This is Collin, my brother's grandson, who is gamely sporting his snowman hat made by his favorite knitter.  I dare say he needs a knitted monster he can carry around, don't you?

I also can't believe the little man is motoring around already.  Can he really be a year old already?  I have no idea where time goes.

My really big news I've saved for last because it's the best:

I am on a countdown to my new position.  On Tuesday I begin training my replacement.  By May 11th, I am done working full time and will be focusing on the next chapter of my life where work will be something I dabble in here and there.  I cannot wait! I'm scared shitless!  I cannot wait!  I'm scared shitless!  I just can't decide how I feel, but the excitement, for good or bad, is bubbling right up there.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do

I consider it wise to give great thought to breaking up.  Though events like this in life often occur in the heat or spur of the moment, it's foolish to call it quits without deep consideration for the ramifications.  In my case, I don't believe I have much choice and with one battle after another with my abusers, I feel that there is no time like the present to make a positive change.

It's time to get rid of my Hospice Mobile.  

I hope Honda will take me back after I dumped them rather unceremoniously nearly three years ago.  At the time, I felt deep for guilt for buying a foreign car during the financial crisis and blindly leapt into the arms of Ford.  In return, I was given a small SUV loaded with some amenities, but mostly with transmission problems.  Problems that are well documented when I surf the web, but denied by the service manager of my dealership.  I hate being made to think I'm imagining my problems, or worse, lying and making them up.  Especially when the problems are dangerous--like a suddenly non responsive transmission coming to a stop at 70 mile per hour speeds.  Yeah, maybe my service rep didn't build the car, but either he's a complete idiot to be unaware of throttle body problems, or he didn't want to fix the car because it wasn't at my cost--it was at Ford's expense.  I'm going with the latter excuse.

Oh, my Escape is finally running like it should have three years ago and the throttle body replacement was under warranty, but this work didn't happen without what seemed to be a test of wills between me and the dealership.  In two more years, this vehicle will be free and clear, but what will I own?  I fear it'll be a heap of junk on wheels, and what's the point of that?  Before I make another payment, it's time to trade in this lemon.

I want a vehicle like my last one (an Accord) that only ever received routine maintenance and never had any problems. Unlike my Hospice Mobile, it was built to last.  

Imagine that.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to go have a look-see at what my old love has to offer.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The delinquent

The question of who the heck uses all the toilet paper in the house has finally been answered. 

It's Leo.

I have no idea why.

Now if I can only teach him how to hang a roll when he's used one up, we'll be all set.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I have a song stuck in my head and it's been there all week.  Mostly I hear it when I'm driving and because I've been forgetting my iPhone transfer cord, I've been unable to avail myself of the instant gratification that device provides.  Most certainly, this is one of my most listened to songs amongst the thousands that reside in my iTunes account and today, while scrubbing sinks, tubs and toilets, I listened to it over and over again to make myself happy.

I started to think about how much I missed Freddie Mercury's talent and suddenly I was sad.  Doesn't mean the song isn't still stuck.

For your listening pleasure (and mine).  Here's a little magic for you.

A Kind of Magic

It's a kind of magic
It's a kind of magic
A kind of magic - no way
One dream, one soul, one prize
One goal, one golden glance of what should be
It's a kind of magic
One shaft of light that shows the way
No mortal man can win this day
It's a kind of magic
The bell that rings inside your mind
Is challenging the doors of time
It's a kind of magic
The waiting seems eternity
The day will dawn of sanity
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Is this a kind of magic?
It's a kind of magic
There can be only one
This rage that lasts a thousand years
Will soon be done
This flame that burns inside of me
I'm hearing secret harmonies
It's a kind of magic
The bell that rings inside your mind
Is challenging the doors of time
It's a kind of magic
It's a kind of magic
This rage that lasts a thousand years
Will soon be, will soon be, will soon be done
This is (this is) a kind (a kind) of magic (yeah)
There can be only one one one one
This rage that lasts a thousand years
Will soon be done - done
Magic - it's a kind of magic
It's a kind of magic
Magic magic magic (magic)
Ha ha ha haa - it's magic
Ha haa
Yeah yeah
It's a kind of magic

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Layman

Being from Detroit, it may come as a surprise that outside of filling the car with gas, sticking the key in the ignition and making it go, I know nothing about cars. I have an expectation that if I'm having a problem and I take it to the car doctor, my problem should be handled and then explained to me in terms that I--an automobile simpleton--can understand.

Imagine if you will, this fearless hospice nurse has driven 35 miles away from home and back when she gets a call to drive another 20 miles in the opposite direction. To speed things along, she gets on the interstate at 70 miles per hour when the car begins to inexplicably decelerate. She notices the yellow wrench light on in the left corner of the dash, and recognizes she cannot accelerate. In a bit of a panic, she pulls off to the side of the freeway and turns the car off (which knocks and pulls as it brakes). After a moment, she turns the car back on and, voila!, no wrench. She gives the car a little gas and hears the engine rev. With hope returning that she'll make it to that patient's house and maybe even home after that, she gingerly moves the car into oncoming highway traffic. For a few moments, all is well, but as she approaches the highway maximum speed, the same exact thing happens.

It was terrifying to be driving on a busy interstate at maximum speed with a malfunctioning vehicle. Since I was near an exit, I was able to pull over, stop and restart the car and get off the freeway. Driving at low speeds, I was able to make it another 1.5 miles to my patient's house where I stopped to call Ford Roadside Assistance to schedule a tow before I went inside to see my patient.

Thirty minutes later, I was greeted by a friendly tow truck driver who, in front of me, and this is important, checked my transmission fluid twice and showed me the thingymajig proving there was very little brownish red transmission fluid in the reservoir. He said it should be full and a bright red color. Well it wasn't. It was very low and muddy brown with a tinge of red. I was flabbergasted because just one week ago, I paid $139 for a 36,000 mile check up called "the works" at my Ford dealer. He then towed the hospice mobile to the very same Ford dealer where the car could be dealt with in the morning. At 10 AM, the service rep called to tell me there was ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with my car and that there was no transmission fluid leak and the reservoir was full of transmission fluid. He intimated I imagined this problem on the freeway last night and that my car was ready to be picked up.

I explained to him what had happened in the best terms I could come up with and told him I presumed it to be a transmission problem because this is how it behaved before they rebuilt my transmission a year ago. I also told him I saw the tow truck driver, who seemed to know his way under the hood, look at that reservoir and pull out an empty stick. Twice. The rep acted like he couldn't understand my simple terminology and wanted more technical terms to explain the car's behavior last night. I told him, "look, I'm a nurse. I know highly technical terminology in my specific field. I can have entire conversations with my peers using very little else than acronyms, but I can't do the same when speaking about cars." I told him I was frightened to drive my--apparently dangerous--vehicle in that condition.

Those must have been the magic words, because they promised to look into it further.

The latest update is that they still don't know what's wrong with my car and only now, very late in the day for me, they are ordering a rental car for me to use. As a courtesy. Well, p.s., I pay extra every single month for this type of car care. It's not his favor to grant me. The rep is again speaking to me of things like Throttle Bodies. For cryin' out loud...what the hell is that? May that man experience a short bout of ED that no amount of ED medication taken PO QD @ HS or PRN can possibly fix for speaking to me in language I repeatedly tell him I don't understand. For those that don't know what I cursed him with, I did not wish upon him a CVA, CAD, CHF or CA c METS. I only wished upon him a non-responsive body part in his nether regions--sort of like my non responsive engine in my car.

I'm off to go pick up my rental. May your day be better than mine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I want to take that back!

I want to take a do-over for last night's movie choice. I really do. While dinner was wonderful--the truffled mac and cheese covered in lobster at Bastone's--the movie choice was a mistake of such enormity, well, I can barely speak to it.

Foolishly, my friend and I talked each other into seeing a movie rated highly by both the critics and the Average Joe. We kibitzed throughout the day, reading each other reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and by late afternoon, we'd worked our courage up to seeing this flick that was given a 92% approval by professional critics and 81% by viewers. We let words like these written by Christopher Orr of The Atlantic, sway us:

A horror movie embedded in a conspiracy flick embedded in another horror movie-the most inventive cabin-in-the-woods picture since The Evil Dead and the canniest genre deconstruction since Scream.

Today I find myself wondering who in the hell these critics are, particularly Average Joe, because if they really loved this movie, then they're completely nuts. That may not be entirely fair since I ordinarily abhor films of this genre. It goes back to the days when I babysat for my cousin and watched Psycho all by myself. Dumb. It was years before I could take a shower without the house closed down like a fortress. I don't like to be frightened at the movies and I know this about myself, so if there is anyone to blame for my evening of distress, it's the three of us: me, myself and I.

And what, my friends, what the hell was I thinking when I agreed to such madness? We ARE booking a cabin in the woods for our summer vacation.

Today I am going to rectify this situation by going to see The Three Stooges--even if I have to go alone. I'm sure I can tackle one of my kids to go with me. Maybe my besty wants to go cleanse her brain, too.

P.S. If you happen to like this film genre, I promise, you probably won't be disappointed by The Cabin in the Woods. It was funny, smart and way scarier than anything I've seen in about 40 years. May it be another 40 years before I make another mistake of this magnitude.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Take Action!

While I'm sure the storms that plan to tear across the midsection of the country will be awful today, I just can't stand the warnings anymore. It's time to pack up my broom and head into town. The plan will be a late lunch/early dinner and a movie with the BFF. We're sure to be at odds about what to see, so I'm going armed with my arguments in favor of what I want to see.

Here is an action shot of Rylan who is incognito. I'm sure she is practicing hiding from paparazzi for when she's a big star. I swear this particular photo took 5 attempts or more.

Less action, more cute. That's Rylan in her favorite knitter's hat, Tutu. I swear she no sooner got the hat on then immediately outgrew it. Good thing her knitter loves her.

Don't be fooled. My daughter and Rylan's mother no sooner left the house to go buy Pure water (from which to mix formula), than this little thing decided to awaken and scream bloody murder. I wish my iPhone had been closer because the louder she screamed, the louder Leo howled. It was hysterical. Leo was beside himself at her distress. It was as though he were screaming at me: "DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING NOW!" I'd tried to tell the new mom that Pure water was probably the same thing as what we old fogies called boiled water, but there was no convincing her. Pure water it was. Gerber must be laughing all the way to the bank.

OK, so I've decided the must see movie today belongs to the Farrely brothers. I mean, really, have you not laughed until you cried watching Dumb and Dumber, or, There's Something About Mary? I don't need to see Titanic, or Hunger Games, or worse, right before I rent one for a week: The Cabin in the Woods, which is where horror meets sic-fi.

Nope. I want to laugh. I'm going to do my utmost to convince my best pal that nothing but The Three Stooges will do.

How will you take action today?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who are you?

As my husband and I approach our 25th wedding anniversary, we've decided it's time for a trip. A good one. We had talked about Europe. Or a trip north and then east. I've always wanted to see Nova Scotia. We had also considered flying into San Diego and driving the entire length of the Pacific Coast Highway which sounded like a really awesome vacation, but nothing really spoke to us or felt right. Then early this week, we finally settled on Alaska by cruise ship out of either Seattle or Vancouver and were this close || to booking such a trip, but something was--besides the fact we've never been on a cruise and he's prone to motion sickness--bothering me.

I'd love to see Alaska and its pristine glaciers, but cruising up the Inside Passage and stopping for only a few short hours in a touristy little town is not my idea of sightseeing. As I read review after review about these cruises, it dawned on me that this was not the trip for either one of us.

As a couple, I know us well enough to know that the only trip we could comfortably take is one on four wheels and on our own schedule. Early on Wednesday morning I proposed an alternative to Alaska seen by ship that seemed to ring true for both of us. After work last night, I dusted off one of my virtual books and bought two new ones. It's all over but the planning and come August, we will pile into my little SUV and drive down Interstate 94 to where it actually begins... in Montana. From there, like thousands of others making this trek, we'll find a way into one of the most famous of our National Parks: Yellowstone. According to Mapquest, the park is only 1,600 miles, or 26 hours away from our house in Michigan.

I'm looking forward to spotting a few big ass bears in the wild (none too close up, but I will carry bear spray just in case), waterfalls, geysers, geothermal pastel colored pools, famous presidents carved into mountains, wildflowers I never knew existed, bison, buffalo, coyotes, elk, wolves and the like.

Where the idea of going on the Alaskan cruise was inexplicably giving me fits and felt wrong in more ways than one, I can completely picture the two of us celebrating 25 years together in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

It pays to know yourself and the one you love.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not your average Wednesday

I received one of the best birthday gifts this year from my son. He was so excited to give me this well thought out present, but not half as excited as I was to receive such a great gift.

What could be so special?

A trip to Zingerman's Bake Shop in Ann Arbor for lessons in how to bake two very interesting Italian breads. My two best friends in the world--Sara and Fanny--went with me. Combined, we made 12 loaves of bread, brought home fully prepared dough to bake 6 more loaves and a poolish (a fermented starter) that once combined with more flour, water, yeast and salt, will allow us to each make either 2 more loaves of ciabatta bread (a royal pain in the butt because it's such an incredibly wet dough), or 2 more loaves of focaccia bread (not as wet and way easier to handle).

We're officially up to our eyeballs in bread, but even more, at least for me, I'm brimming with excitement at the potential I've got for learning the art of baking that's pretty much right at my doorstep. They have all types of baking classes and even Bake!-cations, where one can plan a 4 day vacation around a series of classes that will turn one into a baking whiz. While we were there, a reporter from the Chicago Tribune was there taking notes and photographs for an article for the travel section of the paper.

As we were finishing up at Bake! tonight, the class next door brought over the leftover strudels they had made and now I know exactly which class I'll take next. I have simply got to have the recipe and the know how to reproduce the cabbage and goose fat strudel I sampled tonight. I've never tasted a savory strudel before and I swear to you, it may be the best thing I've tasted in a very long time.

Yep. I think first thing in the morning, I'm going to sign up for Noodling About Strudeling. Never mind that I don't think I have 24 square feet of continuous counter space in which to work such a dough at home. I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me!

Live close to Ann Arbor and care to partake? Check out the Bake! classes at Zingerman's. I can now say with some authority that it's definitely worthwhile.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A little sweetness for a change.

Leo and I had a little visitor today and while I was worried how my big boy would behave, I needn't have bothered. He was the perfect gentleman.

Meet Rylan...up close and personal. Today was her two week birthday which was four weeks ahead of schedule. As a blessed reprieve for her mom--who is still recuperating--she sleeps an extraordinary amount of time. She's such a considerate little bundle of joy.

As soon as Rylan left, I cast on a little Easter hat for her. Since she is so tiny, I was able to complete it while Sara and I watched a movie. Turns out, you can whip up a preemie hat in no time at all-- even one that's knit with three rows of Tutu yarn.

And yes, that's me still in my jammies at 2 in the afternoon. We all enjoyed our lazy day.