October 30, 2005


The battery in our Beetle is dead.

This isn't such an ucommon occurance, having a dead battery. It's more that this is the first car thing that has happened since our move. Our move that places me over 1000 miles away from my regular mechanic--my Dad. My Dad is utterly capable when it comes to mechanical things. He's the guy you call when you need a light rewired, a fence built, a major kitchen appliance installed, or a car repaired. He spent a lot of time when I was a teenager trying to get me to understand how important this sort of thing might be someday. I thwarted every attempt. It's only now that I really wish I had paid more attention. Of course, I never planned to live anywhere that he wouldn't be able to come to my rescue.

Car things really freak me out. I can deal with a lot of stuff pretty rationally (despite my recent bouts of irrational homesick declarations, "I hate Washington! It hates me. Where are the avocados in this state? I want to go back to California!") and am excellent at making decisions in stressful situations. However, something about cars just short circuits my brian.

The only thing I can point to that drives the emotionally meltdown when it comes to car repairs is My First Car. My First Car was an 11 year old Ford Bronco II. This was the first brand new car my Dad has ever bought--purchased on my ninth birthday. I felt a kinship with the Bronco from the moment it drove up--shiny and new--with my family's first VCR sitting in the front seat to seal the deal. I learned to drive stick on the Bronco and, although it was never said, I knew it would be my car. It was my birthday destiny, or rather, a curse, looking at it several years later.

By the time the Bronco was officially tranferred to my ownership, I was 19 years old and driving weekly back and forth from San Diego to Irvine for school (75 miles one way). Add this to the 200,000+ miles already on the car and you get the most unreliable transportation ever. The car developed a number of mystifying quirks that I couldn't afford to have diagnosed, let alone repaired.

Planning on stopping at that stop sign? Hope you don't plan on moving for 10 or 15 mintues, as the engine would die and not start again until it had a breather. Need to get somewhere quickly? Schedule 5 or 10 minutes to jiggle the key around in the ignition until the car decides to recognize it. I didn't used to know what U-Joints are, now I know they hold the drive shaft on, because one broke and my driveshaft rested on the freeway as I drove along one time. The Bronco went through those like The Jeffrey goes through chew toys (weekly, in some cases). I had a U-Joint savings account. At one point my local repair shop began carrying numerous coolant hoses in stock just for me, as they fell of about twice a month, no matter how carefully and tightly they were attached. And my favorite; the day I was traveling along at 55 MPH on the freeway to work and suddenly the engine just died, along with the power steering and power brakes.

That last one was the breaking point for me. I managed to jerk the car off to the side of the highway, turned on the flashers, and walked to the Denny's a mile away at the offramp. Once there I burst into tears and begged the hostess for a quarter to use the pay phone. She took pity on me and offered me their phone. I'm surprised my Dad could even understand my hysterical blatherings. I sobbed something about being broken down with no money and no idea what to do. My Dad (who despite being handy and helpful, is not always the most compassionate) immediately told me to put down the phone and wait right there. He would be there within a half hour to fix it.

I remember that I ordered an iced tea, although I had no money to pay for it and my bank account was overdrawn. I also remember my Dad arriving and calling a tow truck...and that's it. I must have just blocked everything else out. I don't remember if I went to work or not. I don't recall how I got home or even where we took the car to be reapaired. All I can think is that I gave everything over to my Dad to fix. And he did.

In hindsight, I wish I had paid more attention to his oil changing lectures and advice on checking the water levels in my car battery. I'm sure he knows that as the temperature drops, car batteries tend to die. The poor Beetle, used to a cozy garage and the mild weather of Southern California is suffering the fate of many cars in colder climates.

I doubt my Dad would fly in just to change the battery for me. But you never know.

Posted by Ensie at 08:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

The Return of CPK

I felt a little less homesick yesterday. My new job takes me all over the place, and yesterday I was in downtown Seattle in the morning and Redmond in early afternoon. Once my meetings finished I asked the manager of the store (also a transplant from So. Cal) if there was a California Pizza Kitchen or anything similar in the area. Why yes! There is! And she proceeded to give me directions. Just 20 minutes later I was happily sitting in a CPK for the first time in months.

That was the best Pear and Gorgonzola pizza I have ever eaten.

Posted by Ensie at 05:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

The Pilot Program

I've been away from the blog for a while and the computer was starting to give me dirty looks for ignoring it. You might think it's because I started playing Age of Empires II. Or maybe you might think about the fact that I recently spent $200 at Best Buy to a) purchase a copy of Black and White 2 and b) purchase a new graphics card to get Black and White 2 to actually work. Maybe that's why I've been neglecting both hands.

But no--it's been for legitimate reasons! I've spent only a few hours on each video game, instead spending my time doing actual WORK. What the hell is that about?

It appears that I have successfully fooled everyone and convinced Bob's Hogs and Weiner Pigs to give me a larger territory. I am, in fact, taking part in a pilot program and will be covering whole states! Four of them! How incredibly stressful for me--who hardly can find her way to the grocery store and back! Now I'm expected to drive to all sorts of places throughout the Pacific Northwest, although I did make it very clear that I do not drive in snow, nor do I climb any mountains. When the sun shines and the passes are clear, that's when you'll see me in Boise.

So, I'll try to get back on a regular posting schedule. Things have been happening (dishwasher continuing to work, Brandon and Down With Pants! posting a special restaurant entry for Frinklin and I, my sister getting an awsome job) and I keep thinking about how I should be posting...

Posted by Ensie at 07:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 15, 2005

I Am Dumb

I called my brother today, feeling guilty because I didn't call him yesterday, on his 15th birthday.

Then I felt totally stupid as he told me that his birthday is actually next week, on Thursday, to be exact.

I really need to start writing this stuff down.

Posted by Ensie at 06:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

Why I Should Not Leave Work Early

Leaving early = car accident.

I didn't cause it. But I still got hit.

Actually, it wasn't all that big a deal. I was stopped at a red light behind another car, coincidentally noticing that the insurance card we have in the truck is out of date when SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I looked in the rear view mirror to see another truck, with a large boat attached to its backside, skidding toward me. I was surprisingly calm and gently let up on the brake, hoping to move forward enough that I would miss being rear-ended.

No such luck.

I had just replaced my foot firmly on the brake, determined to NOT hit the car in front of me, when BAM--bumpers collided.

The driver of the other truck leaped out and ran to me, asking if I was allright. I was. He immediately started babbling about no damage, haha, we can just keep going... No dice, guy. I told him I would pull over in a nearby parking lot to inspect the damage myself.

Fortunately, we were both lucky. Neither of us were injured and both trucks appeared to have nary a scratch. I jumped up and down on my bumper a few times to confirm that it was still firmly attached and told the guy that all was well. He repeated several times, "Wow--it was just like driving on ice! That boat is a lot heavier than I expected!"

I told him to stop sooner and be more careful on the newly rain moistened asphalt. I spent plenty of time driving a horse trailer around and know the value of paying extra attention and using properly adjusted trailer brakes.

Lets hope this won't come back to bite me in the ass a few weeks from now.

Posted by Ensie at 05:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 11, 2005


Sorry--the sickness has been upon me. I have the most exhausting cold known to man.

So sleepy...so...sleep...zzzzz.

Posted by Ensie at 04:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For

Is here! Reading will commence, well, as soon as I get my ordered copy.


Check out the Mo Image.gif link at right to read the current DTWOF comic.

In the meantime I'll be reading Stylish Vittles #3, which arrived today.

Posted by Ensie at 07:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Diagnosis: Dumb

I should just give up and name this The Appliance Chronicles.

The Saga of the Dishwasher is hopefully over, for real this time.

We called an appliance repair service out on Saturday to see what the problem was. The repair guy looked over all of our connections and hoses and found absolutely NOTHING WRONG.

He ran an intake cycle--nothing.

He ran an outtake cycle--nothing.

No leaks. Not a drop of water.

He finally said, "I think I know what's wrong."

Frinklin and I stared at him with hollow eyes.

"How much soap are you using?" he asked.

"A full cup, per the directions," I answered.

"You have a Frigidaire. They are temperamental and use very little water; they’re one of the most efficient machines you can buy. Have you ever used a Frigidaire before?"

"No. I've apparently only used water guzzlers previously." It was beginning to dawn on me what he was going to say.

"Well, I would advise you to use no more than 1/2 cup of soap when doing a load of dishes. Anything else will cause it to continue to overflow."

Then he was out the door with my $50 and we supposedly have a working dishwasher again. We have yet to run a full cycle, but we've left the bottom panel off until we confirm that the next several runs keep all the water on the inside of the machine.

In other appliance news, our furnace is on its maiden run as I type. Warm air does appear to be issuing forth from various floor vents, so all appears in order. I distinctly remember the home inspector telling us that the furnace is relatively new, so nothing better go wrong with that sucker.

Posted by Ensie at 07:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack