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August 2004

July 2004

Crankified

Well! That last post was a little irritable, don't you think? I'm not always that cranky, really. I am often Very Very Sweet and Wonderful. But here are some items contributing to the increasing Cranky Factor:

CRANKY FACTOR #1
My mom and dad flew back to Italy and they took my two sisters with them. This means no one is buying me lunch or clothes or any of the things scrawled on the grocery list on the refrigerator. (Love to the parents who bought me enough Costco olive oil to make ten years' worth of Italian food!) Also, I am now two short on the Extreme Shopping Bench, those being the special girls who can get me to spend $one zillion on wine glasses at Crate and Barrel and $three bazillion on those way awesome J. Crew pants with the little martinis all over them. Does anybody want to buy these for me?

CRANKY FACTOR #2
The heat! Okay, sorry to be all complainy about the most boring subject on earth, but oh. my. God. the. heat! Who was the girl who told her husband, "We don't need an air conditioner! It will be hot for, like, TODAY, and by tomorrow we will be covering everything we own with tarps." Who was that girl? Someone this abundantly stupid about the beauty and wonder that is Holy Air Conditioning should be shot.

CRANKY FACTOR #3
Today I tried on 497 bridesmaid dresses in David's Bridal, the most atrocious of Bridal Stores. This was crank-inducing for a number of reaons and don't worry, I will break them down for you:
crankyfactor 3a: While I adore the Bride and the other bridesmaid who came along, they are size Nothing and size Less Than Nothing. I am size Good Lord, Girl, What Makes You Think Your Boobs Are Going To Fit Into Any Of These Dresses?
crankyfactor 3b: Why are there no mirrors in the David's Bridal dressing rooms? Why are the only mirrors in the store on the outside of the dressing room doors? Why must David, whoever he is, humiliate us so?
crankyfactor 3c: Dear David's Bridal Saleslady with the Horrifying Sequinned Blue Flower In Your Hair: No, we do not want your help. No, we are not done with these dresses. No, we do not need strapless bras to try on strapless dresses, especially if you are going to Frown Disapprovingly when I tell you what size I need. Also, get us a room already! Jeez!

Things That Are Cheering Me Up
1. The piece of birthday cake I found in the fridge today. Woo hoo!
2. The fact that I looked half decent in two dresses. This one:
bridesmaidtop
And this one:
otherdress


3. That even though I agreed to go to the driving range with Phillip, he fell asleep on the couch watching American Chopper.
4. $5 J. Crew flip flops!
5. And Malia, the best shopping partner a girl could ask for, is flying in tomorrow. Get ready, Seattle Economy.


Cranky nest

When I got married I turned into a frenzied, brunette, way-nicer-to-other-people, Martha Stewart. I hung pictures, I matched place mats to candles to napkins, I put up shelves in every room (and by "put up" I mean "supervised my husband"), I bought serving dishes at Crate and Barrel to match the place mats and the candles and the napkins, and no one was allowed to be happy until those godawful hotel-style curtain rods were taken down and dumped in the basement and replaced (and by "no one" I mean "my husband").

And now? Now that I have been married just over one year? I am DOING EVERYTHING OVER AGAIN. Today I bought picture frames to replace the other picture frames. I bought a lamp shade to replace the old, yet still perfectly functioning, lamp shade. The duvet and duvet cover we got for our wedding lasted less than 12 months- we have different ones already. And I own 497 place mats and two dozen table cloths.

A friend of mine calls this "nesting". If you're still nesting after a year, I think it's called a psychosis.

Last night I dreamed that Phillip and I moved to a different apartment. A huge swank apartment with dark wood floors, dark beams in the ceiling, excellent lighting, and a gorgeous view of the city. In real life I would kill for this apartment, but my dream self wasn't impressed, nor were the many dream friends who were helping us move. We were carting the furniture inside (which was velvety and fabulous and nothing like the, uh, Swedish Modern "pieces" I currently own) and we were all complaining. The angles were weird! Too many windows! Not enough cupboard space! Too old! Too creaky!

I know why I had this dream. Unless our nonexistent filthy rich great uncles drop dead sometime soon, we will never be able to buy a house in the city. My big fat meanie of a subconcious was sending me a bitter and cynical message: good luck finding anything you love. I want kids some day and because we're lacking in the Millions and Millions of Dollars department, we'll most likely be moving out of a cramped city apartment to some suburban monstrosity in a boring subdivision with a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot three minutes down the main drag.

One of my favorite houses- the kind of house you notice each time you drive by because it is THAT CUTE- was put up for sale a few days ago. It's not the biggest or prettiest house, it's old, and it's not in the most fabulous neighborhood. But the asking price? $497,000. Apparently it is built with gold bricks and diamond studded nails.


Reading at the zoo

I bought the plane tickets today. I walked into the travel agency and Charlotte didn't remember me. It was a little disappointing. But I walked right up to her and said, "Hi, I'm Maggie, I'm the girl who reserved the tickets to Beijing," and suddenly she was very happy to see me. "Ah! You have come back to see me! Charlotte! I will fix you up with a pair of splendid electronic tickets which will fix me up with a nice and tidy commission! Welcome welcome welcome!"

The best part of my day? The moment hours later when I realized that no nervous breakdown had occurred during the signing of the credit card receipt. Hallelujah! I signed over our entire savings, plus our first five children, without breaking out in hives- not to mention the fact that the tickets are nonrefundable and we have to actually use them. This is no small victory in my quest for increasing mental stability.

As for the visas, of course they are not in yet. "Someone" in San Francisco got "sick" and was "unable" to "promptly" return the visas. Charlotte assured me she had nothing whatsoever to do with that.

The rest of the day was not entirely uneventful. I went to the Suburbs this morning to visit an old friend and the fabulous red-headed child who calls me Mahjee. I picked up another friend for lunch and bridesmaid dresses were discussed At Length. And Phillip and I went up to the zoo (concerts at the zoo! awesome!) to hang out with Bela Fleck and his most fantastic Flecktones, as well as most of hippie Seattle and their half-naked hippie children. Okay, so I nearly finished a book before the encore, but it was a warm happy evening and banjo jazz is some good thinking music. (Yes, "banjo jazz." Shut up. Quit reading this and go back to your Blink 182 CDs.)

Sometimes when I'm riding in the backseat of a car or on the bus and I'm thinking at 60 mph, I mentally add Big Country to the background and then I'm in my own movie.


All Folked Out

I had a good friend in high school who graduated a year before me. She went off to college, learned how to be a conflicted and introspective college girl, and tried to introduce me to conflicted introspectiveness when she came home the next summer. The best way to be conflictive and introspective? Spend an afternoon lying on your bed, analyzing your life and listening to the Indigo Girls.

I wasn't terribly impressed when I first heard the Indigo Girls (which was a full listen-through of their 1200 Curfews double live album.) Kinda wussy. A little mopey. But the Conflicted and Introspective College Girl just beginning to flutter inside my heart fell deeply in love with Power of Two.

(Okay, hands up if this is Your Favorite Indigo Girls Song Ever. Right. Me too. It's cliche. We'll move on.)

Then I went to college and oh my gosh if I didn't find a dozen other girls just like me, all dolled up in Birks and clothes made of hemp. Well, no, I didn't have the hemp dresses, but I did go to Lilith Fair and I did make many a mixed tape highlighting the Sheer and Utter Beauty that is the Indigo Girls singing harmony.

But I started dating a guy. (Dude, I went to a Dar Williams show a year or two ago and she told us she got married. And then, a few seconds later, she felt compelled to add, "To a MAN!") Also, I got my degree, a full time job, and my own teeny tiny shoebox-sized studio apartment. So, yeah, the Indigo Girls? Still near and dear to my heart, but (sit down!) there came a time when they rolled into town and I, the Biggest Folky Freak Of Them All, did not buy a ticket. I know! Incredible!

Now it's just kind of tradition. My friend Amy and I still attend the Pier concert every summer. It's a fun time. It's what we do. (Although this may be the last time. Did I mention the dying of the heat?)

This afternoon we went to a Songwriting Seminar with the Indigo Girls. Really. We did this. Because we are still pathetic fanboys. Concert ticketholders were eligible to pick up free tickets to this event at the Experience Music Project (that museum designed by a bunch of crack smokers that hangs out under the Space Needle). Did you read that? It was FREE, people. So of course we had to go and of course I made up for the free-ness by having to pay for parking, but in a small way it was worth it. The Indigo Girls? Still fabulous despite the bad haircuts and the overuse of the word 'energy'. The crowd? Still loud and proud in all their mulleted gloriousness. And the concert tonight? Promises to be large doses of each, plus some extreme sweating-out of toxins, an opening act spent in the beer garden, and much singing along to the old favorites that made us love them in the first place. Ooh ooh I hope they play Galileo!


Melting

When people talk about Seattle it's all about the rain. Ugly gray drizzle, rain rain rain. Rain. More rain. But today? It is 92 degrees. NINETY-TWO DEGREES. That's six degrees short of a boy band. Ha ha, I am so funny.

But really, this is RIDICULOUS. You go to Arizona if you want 92 degrees. Maybe Miami. And Dallas. I've been to Dallas. Leaving the airport is like stepping into a blast furnace.

Seattle is Pleasant. We break out the shorts once the weather warms up to, oh, 65, 66 degrees. That's summer! Take a walk through the UW campus on a late spring day with temperatures in the high 60s low 70s. People are NAKED.

But today it is too hot to breathe in my apartment, let alone prepare the grilled hamburgers and a pitcher of hard lemonade like we PLANNED. No one is going to want to sit in our zillion degree oven on the second floor. We've got two fans going, but the plastic is melting as I type.

I think when everyone gets here we'll take them out to an air conditioned dinner. If it sounds like I'm complaining, I am. Not that I don't appreciate every sunny day I get, but this is bordering on the 9th level of hell. I know it's, like, super duper boring to talk about the weather, but that's all we can talk about. How hot we are. And how we are DYING.

Tomorrow I am attending an outdoor concert. It is supposed to be four or five degrees warmer tomorrow. I will let you know if I survive.


Domestic Goddess

Welcome to my third week of Blissful Unemployment.

Unemployment is being very good to me. Except for the laundry. What is UP with the laundry? And who was doing the laundry before I quit my job and became a Domestic Goddess? Did we have little laundry fairies floating around? Did they find out I quit my job and suddenly decided they were no longer needed? Because oh my gosh I can't believe all the laundry. Come back, laundry fairies! Mountains of smelly clothes are threatening to bury us alive!

Anyway, when I'm not hauling laundry baskets up and down the apartment stairs, I'm scrubbing the toilet, doing dishes, making the bed, picking up a Certain Person's socks (again with the laundry!), watering the plants, dusting the furniture, and attending to General Apartment Maintenance. Occasionally I even bleach the heck out of the bathtub grout. Right? Because I have the TIME, right? You'd think I'd have the Cleanest and Most Sparkly Apartment Ever, but alas, this is not the case. When I quit my job I had all kinds of happy chubby housewife visions. A clean place to live! Dinner on the table at six o'clock sharp! A made up bed to crawl into every night! Freshly pressed clothes! And after all the errands were run and chores finished, I'd sink into the bath with a People magazine and a box of bon bons.

But here we are, three weeks in, and I haven't even broken out the iron. WHAT is going ON?

Let me tell you about last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday I woke up at 5:45 am to make it to my 6:15 am yoga class. When that was over I dropped by the DMV to pay the taxes on my newly acquired vehicle. But when I finally got up to the counter the Friendly DMV Man said, "Oh, no, we don't do that here. The closest office that processes that paperwork is in Ballard. Have fun driving to Ballard which is a gazillion miles out of your way!"

After the Wrong DMV, I went to Target. I love Target. Thank you Northgate City Planners for building a beautiful two-story Target ten minutes away from my apartment. I purchased a Target Gift Card for the Montana wedding which we were planning to drive to THAT NIGHT. Keep this in mind.

But this is boring. Let me tell you about the travel agency.

There was a little travel agency across the street from Target and it occurred to me that, hey! A travel agency might know how to get a Chinese tourist visa! Meet Charlotte:

CHARLOTTE: Hello, I'm Charlotte, the big bossy German lady who works part time at this travel agency, just to serve you AND to annoy the crap out of my fellow co-worker.
FELLOW CO-WORKER: I am going to put on my phone headset and pretend Charlotte does not exist.
ME: I have lost my mind and want to go to Xi'an for three weeks. Can you help me?
CHARLOTTE: I am Charlotte and I can do anything with the help of my zippy travel agency computer. Here are your tickets! And they are cheaper than the tickets your father-in-law found for you!
ME: Yay!
CHARLOTTE: Yes, I am Charlotte. I am Fantabulous.
ME: I also need a tourist visa.
CHARLOTTE: Oh no, I do not do visas. Robert does the visas. (Hollering at fellow co-worker:) Where is Robert!
FELLOW CO-WORKER: Please don't talk to me.
CHARLOTTE: Why isn't Robert here! This young lady needs a visa! What is his cell phone number?
ME: Oh, no, don't bother...
FELLOW CO-WORKER: Charlotte, he said he's having car trouble. He said he'd be in when he can.
CHARLOTTE: But he should be here! Why isn't he here? I will call him right now!
FELLOW CO-WORKER: If I were rolling my eyes any farther, I'd be looking through the back of my head.

Turns out Robert, the agency owner, is a Chinese man and knows everything about everything. I was told to come back at 11:30 and Robert would take care of my visas. Charlotte told me so.

In the meantime, I went to the post office to return one million dollars in online purchases and also found another place to pay my new car taxes. Whatever, Ballard. Then I went to Kinko's to pay a scandalous amount of money for two passport photos needed for the visas- fifteen bucks, I kid you not, because their camera uses SONAR- all before returning to the travel agency.

Robert wasn't there. So commenced the arguing between the two travel agents.

CHARLOTTE: Look! Now she is back! And where is Robert?! WHERE is ROBERT?!
FELLOW CO-WORKER: Gah. Leave me alone.
CHARLOTTE: I don't know why Robert isn't here! He is the owner! He should be here!
FELLOW CO-WORKER: He had CAR TROUBLE.
CHARLOTTE: But she is back! How is she going to get her visas?!
FELLOW CO-WORKER: Charlotte just doesn't understand how things work sometimes.
ME: Maybe I will go wait in my car because this is embarrassing.
CHARLOTTE: No! Wait here! Let me get you a travel brochure to look at! Sit here at my desk! Keep me company while I take care of another client!
ME: Do I have to?
FELLOW CO-WORKER: Now you will know my pain.
CHARLOTTE: Aiiee! My computer is not working!
FELLOW CO-WORKER: Charlotte-
CHARLOTTE: Where did the internet go! Where! Where!
FELLOW CO-WORKER: Charlotte-
CHARLOTTE: And my zippy little travel program! WHERE DID IT GO?
FELLOW CO-WORKER: OH DEAR GOD.

Robert didn't show up. Charlotte promised to have him call. I promised not to take my business anywhere else.

And I went home. I DID LAUNDRY. I made BROWNIES to give to the family we would stay with that night on the way to Montana. Then Robert called and I hurried back to the travel agency. I don't know why I hurried, because all Robert wanted in exchange for two tourist visas was my first born child. Seriously. Do you know how many relaxing unemployed days at the spa I could buy with the money I willingly gave Robert? A LOT.

After that? Off to Boo's house to drop off my key so she could keep my plants happy. I have a lot of plants. They like water. And then? Off to Blockbuster to drop off Boo's movies because I am an excellent big sister. I had 20 minutes at home to pack before I had to catch the bus downtown to meet Phillip and begin our drive east.

This is why I do not have the sparkliest apartment. Also? The family I made the brownies for? They're on the South Beach diet.


Oh yes, Montana!

Okay, so I wrote this a couple days ago when I still believed my hotel was going to provide me with wireless internet service. Ha! I'd write something up to date, but it's 11:24 pm and I have exactly 36 minutes left of my birthday. I must have better things to do with my last minutes as Queen than write a new post! Right?

We’re in Kalispell, Montana right now. Everyone said it would be gorgeous, even majestic, and they were right. Mountains everywhere, lakes, rivers, farms. Why, I asked my city-girl self, was I so reluctant to make this trip to the wilds of gorgeous and majestic Montana?

Well, here is the reason: There’s nobody out here, you guys! Okay, Kalispell is a decent sized town and it’s got a Wal-Mart, which, as my mom will tell you, is the true mark of civilization. It’s even got traffic (albeit due to construction) that puts Seattle to shame. But getting out here? Was a tiny bit dangerous. If we’d run out of gas on State Route 28, it would have been weeks before they found our bodies.

Of course, I’m the girl who starts to get antsy about an hour out of Seattle in any direction. Just about all of my friends are country transplants. They're sticking it out in the city right now, but ten years from now they'll be roping horses at the rodeo or raising hogs in Wisconsin or something. And I'm all, "What's the difference between pigs and hogs?" (And, really, what is the difference?)

We spent the night in Spokane on the way out and Spokane’s all right. Spokane has beautiful old houses, a path along the river, the Davenport Hotel, my friend the Social Worker, and the Gonzaga basketball team- all fabulous reasons to visit. Also, the Social Worker has a gigantic tub in her bathroom and if you are very nice, she might let you sit in there all morning reading Lord Peter Wimsey short stories until you are all puckered up like a giant human raisin.

But we had to leave Spokane. It took about an hour to speed through Idaho and suddenly we were in Montana. “Ah!” we thought foolishly to ourselves. “Montana! It is beautiful! And majestic!”

We had no idea, though, that it’d be another 2 and a half hours to make our way through windy state routes and endless straightaways that cut through field after field after field before reaching Kalispell. And, in case you keep track of these things, St. Regis, where we turned off I-90 to head north, was hosting a white supremacists convention.

On Saturday we’ll attend a wedding in an enormous Montana field. The groomsmen are riding out on ATVs. The bridesmaids will drive themselves over in a bright yellow ’59 Ford truck. They’ll be spraying for mosquitoes before the ceremony and I will have to head over to Wal-Mart to buy myself a new pair of shoes, because you can’t cross an acre of farmland wearing heels. What was I thinking?

*In case anyone is interested, you obtain a Chinese tourist visa by finding a travel agency who will send your visa application to a travel agency in San Francisco and then that agency drops off your application at the Chinese Consulate. You must also give both travel agencies gigantic buckets of money.


Chinese Red-Tape

Anyone out there know how to get a Chinese tourist visa? Anyone? Anyone?

I've spent the past hour in the company of the friendly recorded voices who answer the phone at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. I kept telling them I'd already checked out their website and could I pretty please talk to a real person? but they kept insisting that everything I needed to know was on their website. Which is not pretty. Or informative. Or helpful. Or any of the things an Official Consulate website should be. Go see for yourself.

Because Phillip and I, proving that we have completely lost our minds, are planning to spend three weeks in Xi'an around the end of August and beginning of September and we need that visa! We also need plane tickets and maybe some shots and I am definitely going to need some Valium to get me all the way across the Pacific Ocean.

A month or two ago our English teacher friends in China proposed that Phil and I take some time off to hang with a fellow teacher friend of theirs who is moving to Xi'an. Let's call this friend Blondie, because that was pretty much all I knew about her- she's the blond chick who works with our English teacher friends. Okay, so Blondie was going to move and teach in Xi'an, but she'd be there alone for six weeks before her new colleagues would show up. What was Blondie to do? Did we want to go to Xi'an and be her Substitute Friends?

My reaction, upon reading this email from my English teacher friend, was along the lines of, "She has GOT to be kidding me, right?" What was oh-so-serendipitous was the fact that Phillip happened to be in my office fixing computers when I read the email. And when I read it to him, he was all, "That could be cool..."

Fast forward to today, where I am feverishly trying to figure out if I can mail my visa application to the consulate or NOT. I am tempted to believe the friendly recorded voices who tell me to go on ahead and mail my application and my photo and my gajillion dollars for a tourist visa. But then there's the aforementioned un-pretty and un-helpful website that says in big red letters: ALL MAILED APPLICATIONS WILL BE RETURNED. And then gives you the link to download the application should you care to fly yourself down to San Francisco and turn it in yourself.


Power Steering? What? And the Story of the Radioactive Green Fluid

I had car trouble today. The car I JUST BOUGHT. (Okay, the car my father-in-law gave me for free. Still.) But before I get to that, let me tell you about last month's car trouble.

LAST MONTH'S CAR TROUBLE or THE STORY OF THE RADIOACTIVE GREEN FLUID
So last month I am happily driving along in my big ass Ford Explorer, recently acquired from my in-laws, and the car I previously considered to be the Most Fabulous Vehicle In The World. It spent a few glorious years on the UW campus as my-future-husband's method of transportation. In fact, it may be the utterly breathtaking way he could slouch back, steer, and jab at the radio presets at the same time that made me fall in love with him in the first place.

But anyway, there I am driving up to Greenwood to meet my Way Cool Vegan Friend at a snazzy little vegetarian restaurant. (Yes, I said "snazzy vegetarian restaurant." We are so hip.) Of course, there is no parking near the vegetarian restaurant so I drive farther into the neighborhood and park in front of a house. I'm getting out of the car, congratulating myself on not having to parallel park, and- hmm. What is that little puddle snaking its way down the street?

I turn around and neon green liquid is GUSHING out of the front of the Explorer. And I am no mechanic, but I know that's not a good thing.

What's the first thing I do?

Phillip: Hello?
Me: I have a problem.
P: Problem?
Me: Yes. The Explorer just threw up green stuff all over the street.
P: Oh, it's probably leaking a little radiator fluid.
Me: (Storing the phrase "radiator fluid" away for future use.) Um, no, not leaking. Gushing. As in, an entire bucket of green stuff was emptied onto the street.
P: *silence*
Me: Uh, can you call a tow truck?

Then I call WCFW to give her the rotten news. WCVF, because she is that cool, treks down to the scene of the destruction with me to wait for the tow truck. And Phillip shows up not much later, just to strut his stuff under the hood, and decide that yes, we definitely need that tow truck.

But before the tow truck arrives, a deceptively friendly-looking man pulls out of a nearby driveway, creeps slowly towards us, stops, and rolls down his window. "You guys gonna clean that up?"

Phillip, myself, and WCVF stare miserably at the vast amount of radioactive green fluid trickling down the street and collecting in the small ruts and holes in the concrete. I'm a wuss, so I say nothing. It's not WCVF's fault, so she says nothing. But my completely awesome husband begins to discuss the myriad of ways we could possibly clean up the mess- and is Mr. Righteousness-sitting-in-the-car willing to help?

Mr. Righteousness: That's poison, you know.
Phillip: We don't have anything to soak it up with. We'll have to go home to get some rags. Do you have any rags?
Mr. R: You can't just leave that on the street like that.
P: Maybe we can flush it away with water. Can we borrow your hose?
Mr. R: I don't mean to give you a hard time, but it's irresponsible to just leave it.
P: I know there's some stuff we can pour on the concrete to absorb it, but I think we have to vacuum it up. Do you have a vacuum cleaner?
Mr. R: A poor little puppy is going to walk by and lick that stuff and DIE.
P: We'll have to leave it while we're getting stuff to clean it up with.
Mr. R: Do you want to be responsible for all the dead pets on this street?
ME (timidly interjecting): Sir, we've discussed the options and we're doing the best we can.
Mr. R: Well, the responsible thing to do is clean it up.

And he drives away shaking his head, thinking about the Horrible Irresponsible People who let their Horrible SUV gush Horrible Poison all over his Pristine and Perfect Street.

Oh, it was awful! I really did begin to wonder about all the dead puppies. WCVF had some rags in her car that she let us borrow before she escaped the scary green fluid madness and went back to the world where cars work. And then? The tow truck arrived. And what did the tow truck driver do? Pour MORE scary green fluid into the Explorer and tell me that no problem, I can drive it to the shop myself!

I was not particularly excited about this proposal, but Phillip's car is a standard and I can't drive standards (shut up) and if Phillip drove the Explorer to the shop I'd just be stuck there with his Subaru... So I sucked it up, got back in the Explorer, and drove four blocks before it began to overheat. I lurched into a church parking lot where the Explorer purged itself of the rest of the radiator fluid. All over the church parking lot. Which was also a basketball court. Where small boys were playing. Small boys who might lick up radiator fluid. Who could DIE.

We called the tow truck back and he only gave us twenty bucks off and it was a REALLY BAD WAY TO SPEND THE EVENING.

And now TODAY'S SUCKTASTIC CAR TROUBLE

Today I am driving to Puyallup and cheerfully noting that none of the people stranded on the shoulders of the freeway are me. Yay me! And then, with my exit nearly in sight, the battery light goes on and I lose power steering. Did you read that? I lost POWER STEERING. On the FREEWAY.

Fortunately I am one cool cookie and and I can talk on my cell phone and drive without power steering at the same time.

Phillip: What?
Me: I can't steer. The steering wheel is locked up.
P: You're kidding me.
Me: I have to turn! Wait a sec! *drop phone into lap*
Me: I'm back! I turned! I don't know what to do!
P: Are any warning lights on?
Me: The battery thingy. And the radiator needle is going berserk. DAMN THE RADIATOR!
P: Pull over!
Me: There's my exit! There's my exit!

I drive 3 mph down the 20 mph exit, pull over to the shoulder, and execute my next line of attack.

Me: Help!
Most Wonderful Dad In The World: Where are you?
Me: The exit! Ten minutes away! Can't steer! Stuck!
MWDITW: I'll come get you.

And he did. Know what else he did? He drove the Explorer to the shop. Without power steering! Well, almost. He was late to a doctor appointment and left the last third to my mom and I who have about 10% of a mechanically-inclined brain between us. We assured him we could totally make it around the block to the shop and we did, after another 20 minutes and much yelling of "Can I go?! Can I go?!" and "You're clear! You're clear!". Also, my mom totally yelled back at the mean woman who yelled at me for partway blocking an entrance. Because my mom rocks.

It was the fan belt. And a turbine. Something about melting? And a turbine getting stuck? And the belt couldn't go around? I made them give me the turbine thingy so I could prove to Phillip that I wasn't making it up. I also made it back to Seattle in one piece, which is good, because I didn't want to have to sue the nice guy at the shop. But I am not driving anywhere tomorrow. The Explorer has to sit there all day and Think About What It Did.


Wherein Yoga Kicks My Butt

I am taking a yoga class. Since I'm currently unemployed, I figured I needed some kind of exercise routine to combat the hours I plan to spend chilling on the couch with my TiVo and vats of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. I took a yoga class last month ('Yoga For Stress Relief' Sundays at 7:30- calm, easy, naptime for grown ups) and thought, "Why not sign up for the IMMERSION class, the one that will require me to arise at the oh-so-ungodly hour of 5:45 am three days a week? I will gain greater awareness and confidence in my body while cultivating peace of mind!"

The fact is that this was quite possibly the worst decision ever. I went to my first class yesterday morning and I have never been so sore. You see people doing yoga on TV and you're sitting there with your giant bag of Lays and the remote and possibly an empty pint of chocolate ice cream congealing on your coffee table and you're thinking, "Well, jeez, I can do that." But I will tell you right now: No, you cannot. Those yoga positions? Sure, they look easy. But then they want you to hold the positions and then it hits you: yes, your limbs are turning black and falling off. As soon as I got out of bed this morning my hamstrings were shrieking in pain. "WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US?" I spent an hour stretching out, but it was only a temporary fix. "THAT WASN'T ENOUGH" cried the hamstrings. "WE NEED ANOTHER HIT."

And yet, I am going back tomorrow. I paid $135 for this class, dammit, and I will be there and I will show all those tall skinny girls with their yoga mats and their Lucy activewear and their toned triceps that I can hold the frickin bridge pose just as long as they can. And then I will go home and suck on a Fudgesicle.