Monday, October 29, 2007

Car Dependencies

I am in a co-dependant relationship. With my car. Being single and in a one-car household, when my sweet car dies, I'm devastated. I live far from a valuable bus line..and public transportation? Um, yeah, that isn't much to write home about in Louisville, even if I was close to a pick up point.

This past Saturday I had just made my grocery list, started some laundry, and headed out the door to go shopping. A simple task....going to the grocery. It happens every two weeks - and sometimes in between. I got in my car, turned it on and it cranked, but wouldn't start. I immediately thought "you've got to be kidding me?!?" I decided to turn it off and try again. Same response. How could it betray me? I can't live without a daily dose of Malibu.

I turned off my car and decided to sit quietly in my car and say a prayer. Stay calm. I began running through my head all the things I had to do that day and night and the places I had to go that required my ever-faithful automobile. Stay calm. I tried it again. Nothing. A lot of "revving" noises to indicate the battery was fine, but it never turned over. I went inside and called my Dad. It's just the thing I do. Not that Dad can make it magically turn on, but there is comfort in knowing my Dad is there for me. I told him the problem and said I was going to call AAA to see if there was a shop open at 2pm on a Saturday that could check it out. If not, I'd wait until Monday. The nice AAA operator found a shop open until 5pm and so I ordered a tow truck to come and take my precious car to the shop. My Dad came over to my house to follow the tow truck there and to provide a way home if this sickness was severe enough to require the vehicle to check into the Vinyl Roof Motel.

As I sat in the waiting room watching the Louisville Cardinals almost throw away another victory, I was going over in my mind what the total cost of this repair might be. My imagination was running wild. I was ready for the verdict.

I saw the mechanic bring my ticket out, which indicated the car was ready to go, but how can that be in just over an hour? He came out to talk to me and said, "Well, I know this sounds crazy, but your anti-theft system locked your car down." Apparently, my car thought I was trying to steal it. Go figure. The car I'm totally dependant upon turns on me. But $45 later, I was happy to restart our co-dependant relationship.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Car A to Car B

This past weekend, I took a quick overnight trip to Chattanooga with my OPCs. What's an OPC you ask? Well, let me explain...

OPC stands for Overly Popular Chicks. Now, lest you think that we're a haughty crew, let me 'splain. We originally were OMCs - Old Maid Confidants - but after two of the first foursome married, that had to change. The thread that bonded us - Christie, Amy, Tracy, and I - was two-fold. We all had been at our church since birth (or before) or our families' heritage was rooted deep there. And, we had an uncanny ability to make friends with the friendless. In the past few years, we've added a fifth - Beth. I'd like to clarify that she is still in a pledging process, and has yet to fulfill her tasks. But, like us, Beth fits perfectly the definition of an OPC.

To easily describe us, we are like Steel Magnolias meets Designing Women. We laugh, we cry, we're opinionated. And no topic is off limits. There is something ever so comforting about friends that know your history and still love you.

Now that we're all going in multiple directions and leading busy lives, trying to find a time to get away is tough. Factor in Tracy's south Georgia location and children, it gets trickier. But, months ago we decided to meet halfway in Chattanooga for an overnighter of fun and laughs. Christie, Amy, Beth and I headed down Friday morning while Tracy headed up, tracking us every step of the way. Things could get a little tense if we were behind schedule. When times like that arise, we turn to Christie. She adds the calming, comic relief we need. The next time she called to report in, she opened with "Car A to Car B" and all was well. Road trips are always fun. I tend to think that even if your destination isn't what it's cracked up to be, the road trip makes up for it. If only walls of cars could talk....

We stayed at Holiday Inn Express (which means we now can attest to be any occupation) in one of their deluxe suites. Not bad for $25 a person. It came complete with a microwave and fridge, which served us well for our 48-hour stay. Tracy's Mom, Carol, is an expert baker and caterer and makes cakes to die for. Beth decided to get her to make Tracy's favorite cake to take with us (fudge marble with fudge icing) to celebrate the weekend. With a fridge, we were able to store the milk Beth required to have upon arrival to go with the cake. Never buy a gallon of milk at a Conoco Gas station unless you desperately need it because the price will curdle you. Since Beth is three months pregnant, she deserved it.

That night for dinner, we all piled in one car to head to the restaurant. Five women in a Pontiac G6 isn't the way you'd want to travel very far, but we survived. Tracy took the bullet and sat in the middle of the backseat, proclaiming each time she entered the car "Assume the wedge position." Tracy's humor makes me laugh even long after she says it. And, when we ended up going down a ramp the wrong way, we needed a little humor. I thought my unfortunate fall was dangerous....

As we left on Saturday to head to our respective homes, we all were so happy we finally got an OPC trip to work out...and began talking about taking the same jaunt in February. You can read Amy's take on the trip at her blog. I love these girls. They are like family. Christie is my designated "next of kin" for all family emergencies since I have little family left...and she's the sister I never had. Amy felt like family before we were friends because my parents and her grandparents were so close. Tracy and I have many similarities that I'd think we share genes...and her family has welcomed me in their home more times than I can count. And Beth is always making sure I have places to go on holidays and checking in with me almost daily like a sister.

I remember someone making a comment on the way home about the OPC trip in five years. Amy said, "Will we still be doing OPC trips in five years?" I told her..."I certainly hope so."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Da-Head

Victory was sweet for me this weekend. My first winning experience came on Friday night at the Smith Mayberry Night Party. Mike and Carol Smith are huge Andy Griffith Show fans and periodically host Mayberry trivia parties at their house. Carol is a great cook so the parties are always full of scrumptous food. We always draw numbers to make the segmenting of teams fair. The luck of the draw wasn't on our side as Mike and Carol, the ringers for any team, ended up on the same team. But, our little team decided to take our hits and weather the storm. By the end of the evening we were victors! A shout out to Roger, Christie, Barry and Jessica for bringing home a win. And, for Barry, who tried to sneak on the other team....I'm sure he's glad he was honest.

Then came Saturday. College football day. What a great day for the state of Kentucky! First, the Wildcats upset number one LSU to take the tigers down. Then, the Cardinals pull out a win on the road against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Whether you bleed red or blue, you had to be proud to be a Kentuckian.....and a Louisvillian. Because of my faith in the Cardinals, I was able to soar to first place in my College Pick 'Em league and pull ahead by just two points. I've never been in first place in any fantasy league, so the victory felt good.

Then came Sunday. NFL day. After a few weeks of losses, I was able to pull out a victory with my Fantasy Football team. I'm in a league with just six players, but only the first four get to go to the playoffs. I've yet to ever make it to the playoffs and I want to, just one time. I started big this season and then flopped, but I feel like I'm back on the upswing. And, after taking down a point leader in this week's game, I'm feeling good about this upcoming week. Ahh, the thrill of victory.

Then came Monday. I knew it couldn't last forever. But I never figured it would end with such a bang. Early in the morning before dawn, I headed to the gym, so proud that I was starting my week off on the right foot. I should have watched my feet because as I was walking into the gym, I somehow tripped, started to run to try and catch my balance and failed. Splat. Right on the concrete. When I fall, I do it up right and ended up splitting open my forehead above my right eye. No broken bones, and only a few scrapes and bruises, but my face took a beating. As the gym staff called for an ambulance and kept pressure on my profusely bleeding head, my Type A personality began to run through all the things I'd need to reschedule over the next couple of days. This driven personality is clearly my downfall. Pun intended.

As I waited in the ER to get stitched up (26 stitches to be exact), the doctor came in to do the procedure - and a mighty cute doctor, I might add. Even in my bloody stupor and swollen eye, I managed to do a ring scan before he slipped his latex gloves on to see if he was single. Shoot. There's a ring. That whole "Dr. Steve rescues the Wedding Planner" is really just a Hollywood farce. He was quite charming and kept me entertained during the 30-minute procedure. And, I'm pretty proud of myself that I remain always on my game. One day maybe I'll "fall" for the right guy. Cheesy humor intended.

Through all of this, I have to say I am so blessed. I'm able to work from home while I'm healing, which is a great benefit. I have wonderful friends and family who watch out for me and have provided me meals ever since the fall. So undeserved and unexpected, but so appreciated. And, it could have been worse. I could have broken a bone or done damage that would require hospitalization, but even though I look pretty rough now, in a few weeks, the shiner will be gone and the scar will be healing. Plus, God always keeps me grounded. Again, pun intended. He knows I have problems resting and knowing when to slow down. Sometimes, He just has to get my attention. I think it worked.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pushing Daisies

The Fall television season is in full bloom and I'm getting carpal tunnel trying to record all the shows. I have my regular shows that never fall off the list...Heroes, The Office. But each season, I like to see if there is that one new show that might grab my fancy. Last year, I stumbled upon Heroes merely by hearing an interview of Ali Larter, one of the Heroes characters, on the Today Show. The plot sounded interesting and I decided to give it a spin. A year later it is by far my favorite drama.

This year I started out by watching Chuck and Journeyman. Two NBC pilots that were predicted to do pretty well. I'm enjoying Chuck, but Journeyman is wearing thin after only three episodes. It's a show I wouldn't mind watching if I had nothing else to watch, but it's not worthy of videotaping. Last week I read a review about a new show I hadn't heard about previously - Pushing Daisies. The premise of the show sounded intriguing so I decided to catch it's premiere. I missed the actual airing, but thankfully was able to watch it online via

The story starts out with Ned as a young boy discovering this strange talent of resurrecting the dead. If someone dies, he touches them and they come back to life. But, the catch is, if he touches them again, they die, not to be revived. He has a childhood crush on Chuck, a little girl next door to him. (Not to be confused with the Nerd Herder, Chuck Bartowski from NBC) Alas, aside from a kiss, they grew up and away from each other. Fast forward to the present. Ned is a pie maker who is using his ability secretly with a private investigator to solve murders. He catches a news story about a woman "Charlotte Charles" who was found dead in the ocean off of a cruiseliner. It's Chuck! And so when Ned brings her back to life, she joins the PI and Ned in cracking cases.

I really love this show. There is a narrator that makes me feel like I'm at storytime. And, I'd describe the genre as Lemony Snicket meets a Tim Burton fairy tale. I'm not sure how the creators will evolve this story since Ned and Chuck can never touch or Chuck dies. Yet, the beginnings of their love story is already happening.

The final scene was my favorite. As they worked together on a case, Ned looks over at Chuck adoringly, and holds his hands behind his back imagining he's holding hers. She returns that loving look and does the same. There is something sweet about two people communicating their love without ever physically interacting. Quite refreshing for primetime TV, I think.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Table Topics

Amongst my friends, I'm known for my table topics. What is a table topic you ask? Well, when a group of folks are sitting around a table, usually over a meal, and there is no interaction, I bust out with a table topic. An area of discussion that will surely ignite the quietest of folks to open up and share. I love table topics! My friend, Amy, says she despises small talk, and I second her on that one. I can talk about the weather and the latest TV show with a stranger on the elevator. If I'm breaking bread with you, I'd hope we'd have some stimulating conversation.

So, I'm begining what I hope to be the first of many virtual table topics. I'll throw out a question and/or topic and allow the audience to discuss. I'll throw out my two cents (or $5) worth to get the ball rolling. In the offline game of table topics, I never throw out a topic I can't start. Just to spice it up a bit, I'll tag some fellow bloggers in hopes to get the virtual world engaged and get some shameless links back to my blog. The first question is....

If you could relive a time or event in your life, what would you choose?

Here are my top five in no particular order...

1. Play in my childhood backyard on my swingset. I LOVED my swingset. As an only child, I had to amuse myself. My swing was equipped with a teeter totter, four-seater swing (no only child jokes here), slide, and two individual swings. I loved to swing so high it would tump the set out of the ground. When the paint began to wear thin, my Dad repainted it a candy cane red and white. He spray painted the whole thing white, then taped it off and sprayed red paint on top to give it the candy cane look. It was the coolest thing. My Dad is and will always be the coolest.

2. Spend the day with my Mom doing anything. I loved spending time with Mom, no matter what the venue. We could spend days driving all over town - taking the long way home - or I could enjoy a day full of making crafts with her. Or even sitting in the backyard shucking corn or breaking beans and her saying "Your Father forgets how much trouble fresh vegetables are sometimes." Or playing a game of Scrabble, or working the daily crossword puzzle. Anything. It always was the best of times and at some point my Mom would speak her mind pretty forthrightly or laugh until we all had to take a potty break.

3. Write letters to my Aunt Stella. She was my Dad's oldest sister and lived in Michigan. We were pen pals. I never knew my Grandma Booth, so Aunt Stella sort of served as Aunt and pseudo Grandma. I would visit her every summer and she'd take me to many cultural things in the area and always had our week planned out. All year long we'd write letters back and forth of what we were doing and how our weeks had been. This was long before e-mail, so we actually pulled out pen and paper and used stamps (gasp!) to communicate. She was a sharp businesswoman and very well traveled. I'd love to write her about a 1000 page letter today and get her advice on many, many things.

4. Spend the day with my Aunt Linda. She was actually my Great Aunt, but who's counting? She lived in Bullitt County on a farm and when I was young that seemed like a very long trek. In the summer, Mom and I would drive out to spend the day with her and my Aunt Mimi (Aunt Linda's sister). We'd spend the day doing various things....visiting her neighbors, picking blackberries, making jam, quilting, crocheting, listening to stories. I don't know who loved going out there more, me or Mom. We'd always have a 2pm lunch/supper that was a spread. And it always included Aunt Mimi's yummy potato salad.

5. Spend the day with my Granny. The only grandmother I knew was my Mom's Mom. She was the epitome of independence. She never learned to drive, but knew how to get anywhere on TARC. I loved her cute little house. Just big enough for her, but large on love. I loved to go over there on Sundays after church and play in her backyard, or just rock on her little front porch. Or go over there anytime and watch her sew (she was a seamtress by trade) or cook. Mmm, to have her fried chicken and battercakes again. (Battercakes = Cornbread cakes) And, her iced tea was the best in the land. My first manicure was given to me by my Granny who said, "Let's just put on real light pink polish and your Dad will never notice."

Now it's your turn...discuss. And, I'll tag Katrina, Alisa, and Amy. Even if you aren't tagged, feel free to post on your own blog or the comment section here.