Monday, December 13, 2010

Older Model Car (or "Trapped")

I watched the movie Little Miss Sunshine last week. It was kind of weird and quirky, but touching too. It actually left me feeling a little off-kilter. But I connected with one aspect of that family's life and that's this: their cranky old VW bus.

I don't have a VW of any kind. And some might not even call my twelve-year-old Chevy "old". But in winter weather it certainly gets cranky. This morning, I found myself feeling a lot like the Hoover family as I sat trapped in my my garage. You see, my little Prizm has this habit of freezing shut, where it's impossible to get the doors open. But I've found a workaround to that. I simply use the remote start and let it run a little bit to thaw out.

It also has the habit of getting frozen open, as in the driver's side door won't latch when it's too cold. For that quirk, I move the car into the empty spot in the garage after DH leaves for work.

This exceptionally cold morning, I decided to get a head start on dealing with the car's issues, so it would be ready by 7:30am when my daughter needed to get to the junior high (I figured I'd be a nice mom and drive her most of the way down there). I hit the remote start. It chugged for a moment and then stopped. I shuffled down the drive and grabbed our newspaper, then tried again. With a groan, the engine turned over and then roared to a start.

I went in and ate my breakfast while letting it warm up for five minutes. Then I bundled up and headed out to the car. It took a hard pull, but the door opened. And when I pulled it shut, it actually latched. I cheered to myself briefly before pulling the car into the garage.

Then I went to get out. The handle barely moved and the door didn't budge. I tried again. Nothing. So I leaned across to the passenger door and pulled on the manual lock. It stuck. I pulled harder. Nothing. Now I was beginning to get irked. Climbing into the back seat, I yanked on the back door lock. It opened! Then I pulled on the handle. It moved, but the door was frozen shut.

At this point I wondered what to do. I didn't have my cell phone on me because I was only driving from my driveway into the garage. But I could honk the horn and maybe my kids would come out to help me. Or I could sit it out and wait for the car to thaw in the garage.

Finally I rolled down the back window and tried opening the door from the outside. This time it opened. I was free!

I guess I should be thankful. My Prizm doesn't have a broken clutch that requires it to have a running start. And the horn doesn't stick in an incessant whining toot. Plus, none of the doors have fallen off...yet. Still, I can feel the pain of Olive Hoover's family driving around in their old pile of metal. Yup, life with an older car is certainly an adventure. We'll just leave it at that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Still Around, Just Doggin' It

As you can see, the lag between my blog posts grows. I'm still here. I hope in 2011 to get back to a more semi-regular schedule of posts.

The latest and greatest thing in our household has been the addition of a dog, Alex the Schnoodle. I had been the holdout in our family and finally gave in to the longstanding pleas to "just look" at a dog. I had my reasons: the humane society in our fair city was running a special in October of half off the adoption fee. You know what a sucker I am for bargains. I also had seen on their website that they had a dog that sounded like he might fit my exacting standards (oh, I had quite a list, let me tell you). So on the 30th of October we went to "look".

The girls ooh and aahed over all the cute (noisy) puppies. And one adorable shitzu really got their attention. But well, I didn't want a puppy and it had to be a breed that wouldn't shed for all of our allergies. And the dog I'd read about wasn't in his cage. He was apparently visiting with another family. Still, I asked if we could see him next.

The furry creature that we met was nothing like I expected. He was quiet, but friendly and pretty mellow. I'm not sure what about him appealed to my girls, other than that he was a dog. And his name was Alex. Alex??? Who names a dog Alex?

Well, we adopted him the next day and he's been the perfect addition to our family. Mellow, like our family. Cuddly (which is important around three girls). And an absolute gentleman of a dog. The adjustment as been nearly seamless. Okay, there were the first few days when I got a little fed up with being constantly followed. Literally, his nose would touch the back of my legs as I walked. But now we're buddies. I have to go hunt for him if he's not nearby, although he's never up to any kind of trouble. And when I get out of his sight, he trots frantically around the house until he finds me.

Best of all? Timid daughter loves him and he loves her back. In the evenings he sneaks away from me to go sleep on her bed. It's precious. Frankly, I think Christmas this year will be a bit of a letdown after getting Alex. After all, with him, every one of her our wishes came true.