Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Almost New Car

In 2003, after 100,000 miles and two trips cross country, my beloved GMC Jimmy's transmission died and I was forced (literally forced by being picked up under false lunch pretenses and taken to car dealerships) to buy a new car. Of course, my Jimmy - my most favorite car ever - no longer backed up, but I thought I might be able to get by just going forward. SUVs are not cheap but after having one I couldn't go back to driving a low-to-the-ground car. My options were limited. When I was taken to the Ford dealership, I kind of liked the Escape. It was on the smaller side, but not silly small like some of the others in my price range. After negotiating and negotiating and threatening to drive away even though my car wouldn't back out of the parking lot I drove home in a 2003, navy blue Ford Escape - my first new car ever.
I purchased the extended warranty which was 5 years, 72,000 miles. I was proud and very excited to have a new car without any mechanical issues. Boy, was I wrong. My car is haunted! It makes numerous, unexplained noises. Of course, none of those noises are "covered" under my extended warranty because they are "normal" noises. Normal? Normal!? Do mouse type squeaks when turning the steering wheel sound normal? Do grinding and high pitched breaks sound normal? Do tires that squeal turning the corner sound normal? Well according to Ford they are. Wishing to prove them wrong, I took my Ford Escape to my regular (meaning I regulary took my Jimmy there for all its issues) mechanic, figuring I might get some answers that I could at least take back to Ford. But, no, they also said that the car was "just really noisy". They said the breaks might be dirty, but they are still in very good shape. I also figured the tires were squealing because it was time for new ones. My mom even offered to buy me new ones for Christmas last year, but when I took the car in to get them, they told me I didn't need them. Jeese, I can't even pay someone to fix this car.
So, here I am, promising passagengers a safe voyage even if it sounds like my car is leaving its car parts along the road. Feeling embarrased and talking louder as we drive to our destination.
In December, my friend Jason, a new car addict, and I began talking about getting a new car in the near future. We bought our new cars on the same day and he was starting to get anxious about needing a new car. We discussed buying from the same dealer so we could get a really good deal. A new car sounded great after my Escape's many issues. However, I went on a cruise for Christmas and when I returned Jason had gone out and bought a brand new car all on his own, with-out-me! But that was fine since I was still on the fence about finding something new. I paid my car off almost 3 years ago and not having a car payment is an amazing thing. Adding a car payment to my budget just isn't appealing.
{Switching Topics Here...stay with me...I promise it will connect eventually.}
I recently purchased a new IPOD classic. It is great - 160 g, plays movies, and it's pretty! The only problem is the FM transmitter which allows me to play my ipod through my car stereo made a lot of static. Also, the new ipod doesn't seem to be quite as loud as my other one, so when my favorite songs come on I can't turn it up and rock out. This issue made me think about getting a new car again because many of the new cars have an ipod hook up. Between the noise my car makes and the lack of noise my ipod makes, I started to get desperate to hear loud music.
Then I had an epiphany! I checked online and found that car stereos with the ipod hookup were available to purchase, from a store. I still hemmed and hawed about a new car, but when it came right down to it, a new car stereo is a hell of a lot cheaper than a new car.
A couple of weeks ago I stopped by Circuit City and met Dave, a Fire Dog tech. I was told by some friends that I should get an ipod compatible stereo with bluetooth capabilities so if I ever decided to become a cell phone junkie I would be set. Well, Dave saw it differently. I could not talk him into selling me a stereo with both - what is it with these people who won't take my money? Instead he sold me this fantastic car stereo and installed it the next day.
I LOVE IT! My ipod plugs into a connection in the glove box. The sound is amazing. It can be so loud that my eardrums hurt some times. Isn't that great? Music that loud has masked the other sounds my car makes. For $160, it's like I have a whole new, "quiet" car.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cleaning the Garage

About a year ago the garage refrigerator stopped working. That fridge was the place where the beer, wine, other soda (for guests), and the big Costco stuff were kept. When It died, I had to toss all the stuff that defrosted and pull out all the cans and bottles. I had it removed and in doing so, lost a shelf that had been used for storing garage type things like boxes, cleaning supplies, etc.

-No, this isn't really my garage.-

(Funny story - shortly after getting rid of the fridge I noticed that my sprinklers had stopped working. My gardener came out to check and he realized that there wasn't any power going to the timer; the timer that was plugged into the same outlet as the refrigerator. He pressed the reset button and the sprinkler timer clicked back on. Later that night I sat up in bed and said, "Ah man, the refrigerator didn't die, it was the stupid reset button, and I just got rid of it!" But, I digress)

After the fridge incident, my garage was a mess. Beer and soda bottles lined the cement floor and all the things that came off the top of the fridge were also strewn about the garage. I am not good with clutter. I hate it, but if I have it, I tend to make more because I am too busy to deal with it. It becomes a vicious cycle. Therefore, my garage began to close in on me and my car as the year moved on. Every school break I promised myself that I would do something about it, but I didn't. I didn't until this weekend.

Having 3 days off for President's Day, I had an extra day to do some things around the house; things I had been putting off. As most people who know me know that once I put my mind to something, I put all of my energy into it. It took me a year, but this garage is now clean! I spent all day and it felt good. Well, mostly good. There were some things in the garage that my parents had moved into it before they moved to Hawaii. Family pictures, albums, and other things that they didn't want to take with them, but also couldn't get rid of. As I went through some of the stuff, I got very sad. Dumb little things, like the softball and a horse book that my dad gave me, made me upset. It has been about three years since my Dad passed away suddenly and it backs up on me about once-a-week with little things like cleaning the garage. I bawled like a baby for a few minutes, with my ipod blaring in my ears and my dog staring at me. The neighbors next door were also cleaning out their garage - I sure hope they didn't hear me. I thought I was going to have to stop, but I got through it and, of course couldn't get rid of any of the things that made me upset. The next time I clean the garage, maybe it will be easier.

-Mine is almost as clean as this one.-

Anyhow, now that it's over, I am happy that I can walk to my car without having to rub up against it and the pile of crap that had invaded the garage. It's clean and organized. Now it just needs a refrigerator.

I'm Addicted to Coke...

...a Cola.

I know that it is a bad addiction, but I guess it could be worse - cigarettes, alcohol, the other coke. But, it is still bad for my teeth, my health, my head (headaches without it), and my pocketbook. There are times when I decide that I am going to cutback and I do for a little while, but I am much happier when I am on the stuff. The caffeine aside, I just like it. There's nothing better than a coke to take the edge off.

I am a picky soda drinker...

  1. The soda must have a lot (I mean extra, extra, extra) of ice.

  2. I don't like if from a warm can or bottle - even when it's poured over a lot of ice. The ice melts and it tastes flat. (see #1)

  3. I don't like it from a bar gun. I used to work in a bar and it's kept warm most of the time if if it's coming from the soda gun. Plus, bar glasses are too small to put in a lot of ice. Ick! (see #1)

  4. Pepsi, RC, or any of the other cola substitutes will not do. I avoid restaurants that don't serve Coke.

  5. From fast foods, I prefer my Coke in a styrofoam cup - it stays colder longer, and doesn't sweat which keeps the ice from melting. (see #1)

My favorite restaurant for Coke is Jimmy Deans because it best fits my cup and ice criteria - styrofoam cup AND rabbit turd ice which is self serve so I can have A LOT!

As stated above, I have tried to cutback. I have tried diet and/or caffeine free. I have tried and convinced myself I liked C2. Once I even pulled an Elaine (think Seinfeld and the Today Sponge) and bought cases of C2 when I heard they were going to stop making it. It didn't work - I still have it in my garage and I don't drink it. These alternatives are just not the same.

While on winter break in January, I had time to think about how bad it is for me, and again thought I would try a diet soda. All the advertisements for Coke Zero say it tastes like regular Coke with out the calories so I bought a bottle to try. But I know me and I knew it was going to sit in the fridge because whether it tastes like Coke or not, it says Coke Zero and I know that it's different. I know that if I were to try it, I wouldn't like it on principle alone.

After vacation was over I went to lunch with Mike and Jason and told them about the Coke Zero sitting in my refridgerator and my dilema. I was afraid that I wouldn't give Coke Zero a chance on looks alone. We came up with a plan, that the next time I was at Jason's house, he would serve it to me without me knowing it. (Jason is a Coke Zero fan.) I thought that would be a good idea since I wouldn't be expecting it and if I liked it, Jason could congratulate me on trying and liking a diet soda.

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by Jason's house to drop off some things. We went inside because I had to use the bathroom. When I came out, Jason approached me with a plastic cup, full of ice, and offered me an "icy, cold Coke." Now, remember, I was in on the plan that Mike and Jason devised, so I was suspicious and rightly so. He smirked and asked, "What?" To make a really long story just a little bit long, I tried it knowing that it wasn't the real thing. It was ok, certainly better than diet coke, but it wasn't my Coke.

My name is Kim and I'm a Coke-a-holic. It has been zero minutes since my last drink.

Here I Am!

I have been having so much fun reading Jason JLo's over the last year I decided to be a "johnny come lately" and jump on the blog bandwagon. Over these last several months, when random and quirky thoughts pop into my head, I think, "That would make for a great blog." So, here I go...ready to blog about my daily nothings. Anytime I will begin...

My bloggin' friends are pretty creative and funny, so feeling a bit under pressure to "fit in" I am suffering from some writer's block. I am sure that in time, the humerous thoughts will start flowing and I will become a blog addict like Jason has. For now...welcome!