Saturday, July 28, 2007

Who knew? or, A Study in Procrastination

Because Kat did and because I should be cleaning right now:

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

You Belong in New Zealand

Good on ya, mate
You're the best looking one of the bunch
Though you're often forgotten...
You're quite proud of who you are


You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at!

You Are an Emo Rocker!

Expressive and deep, lyrics are really your thing.
That doesn't mean you don't rock out...
You just rock out with meaning.
For you, rock is more about connecting than grandstanding.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I was just updating my booklist and realized that I read a lot of "initial" authors. Maybe I should talk to Agatha about going by A. M. C. M. Christie instead...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Sweet Sonya

I have often wondered how I would ever manage to sell my car. In my head, I've played over the conversation with prospective buyers many times.


Me: So one thing you need to know is that the gas gauge doesn't work.

Buyer: Doesn't work?

Me: Well, it sort of works. Like it accurately reflects a full tank of gas. And if it shows that you're at a quarter tank or less then you definitely are below half a tank somewhere. But it can be sitting on the "E" for empty and you go to fill it up and it'll still have a quarter-to-a-third of a tank of gas in there.

Buyer: So how do you tell when you're running out of gas?

Me: We usually just go by mileage. If you refill somewhere around 300 miles you should be good. You can just set the trip planner when you fill up. Unless it's not working. It sometimes jams and then you just guess. We've always been lucky.

Buyer: Uh-huh.

Me: Yeah, but 300 really should give her plenty of leeway because she gets about 37 miles per gallon highway.

Buyer: (oozing skepticism) 37? A 1995 Ford Escort Station Wagon?

Me: Yeah, we don't know why but she does. We keep track. (pause) We think it may be that not all the parts run and that conserves power and gets us better gas mileage. It's great.

Buyer: (longish pause) Now, when you say not all of the parts run, what does that mean?

Me: Oh, well, the cooling fan, for example. It only turns on about half the time so I know it's saving power for us. It generally turns on well before you overheat, though.

Buyer: Generally?

Me: Well, yes. It always works except when it doesn't. But that's only happened, what, three, maybe four times since we've had her? We got her less than a week after we got back from our honeymoon, you know, so we know her pretty well.

Buyer: Uh-huh. So what happens when it overheats?

Me: Oh, you won't need to worry about that. She only ever does that within a mile of home -- usually two or three blocks. Except for once when she stopped in the middle of University Parkway. But we were within a mile of the family reunion we were headed to, so it amounts to the same thing. At any rate, if you notice the temperature creeping higher you can always turn on the heater. That works as long as she's moving. Which reminds me, the air conditioner only works if you're going 40 MPH or above. And she doesn't like driving between 50-65 mph, so try to stay either below 45 or above 70.

Buyer: How does that work on the freeway?

Me: Oh, I just speed. The great thing about this car is that you'll never get a speeding ticket while you're in her.

Buyer: Why? Because she doesn't go fast enough?

Me: Oh, no, she goes fast enough -- She'll get up to 90 just fine, although you can't hear the radio then because of the squeaky belt. We don't think it's anything vital so we just let it be. The police just ignore her because she doesn't LOOK like she'll go any faster'n about 40.

Buyer: Yes, I can see that. I think the green bumper on the blue car adds to the effect.

Me: Yeah, that bumper's not original. The other bumper got hit a few too many times and finally fell off. (pause) But that was okay, too, because every time she got hit we got more money out of her. We made back 150% of the purchase price just from getting smacked in the bumper.

Buyer: But why green?

Me: Well, the place we went to couldn't find a blue one and we figured that since 1) my husband is colorblind, 2) it was getting close to the re-registration deadline and we needed a bumper to pass inspection, and 3) whatever bumper we got was just going to get run into again anyway (there was a definite pattern and we saw no indication that it would stop), why bother with the hassle of trying to get it to be blue? You'll notice the front bumper was also beat up and would probably need replacing soon anyway, so we could have just put green on there too and make it match. Besides, it always made the car easier to find in a parking lot.

Buyer: Yes, I meant to ask about that front bumper.

Me: Oh, that was from one of the times we got hit in the back bumper. It bumped us into the car in front and dented up the front bumper too. But that's all the damage from that accident.

Buyer: Oh, so she's been in an accident? Did the airbags go off?

Me: No... They may or may not work. I've never bothered to check. I just trusted to my seatbelt. Which reminds me, the motor in the driver's side seat belt broke so it doesn't move now so you have to manually buckle the shoulder belt and the lap belt. Of course, the broken motor makes the car think that the seatbelt is always unbuckled so we had to put black electrical tape over the seatbelt warning light because it would never go off.

Buyer: So does the warning sound go off all the time?

Me: No, that doesn't work on the driver's side. The relay's messed up or something so the driver's side door doesn't trigger the door alarm, the dome light, the ignition light, the headlight warning noise or anything like that. You just have to remember. You'll get used to it.

Buyer: Riiiight. (Edging away) Well, I need to go home and do... stuff... (breaks into a full run)

Me: (calling after) Wait! I haven't explained about the leaky coolant trick yet!

I always just concluded that I would have to let a family member inherit Sonya or sell her to someone who didn't speak any English.

But that problem has now been solved.

Thus ends Sonya

My gallant little car has looked out for her family up to the last. When the little CRV in front of us tried to take over the center lane, causing the SUV right next to them to flinch, overcorrect, and spin wildly out of control across the entire interstate and into our poor little car, Sonya stood firm. When the impact happened, rather than letting the whole driver's side door just move into the driver's seat with me, Sonya said "Thus far -- and no farther." When the force of the impact swung us completely around and back across the two lanes of traffic we had just left in an attempt to avoid the spinning SUV, she stopped us before we hit anyone and kept running so we could slowly back off the highway. She stared the oncoming cars down and dared them to hit us again. They all stopped and let us get out of the way.

Instead of letting the doorpost crash into my head, she crumpled it just behind. The rear driver's side door now sits directly behind the driver's seat, so that anyone with longer legs than me wouldn't be able to move the seat back. The edge of the door is roughly one-third of the way into the car.

Thus ends Sonya

You can now see into the car at the bottom of the passenger door. But none of our belongings, piled in the trunk and the backseat since we were on our way home from a camping trip, spilled out or were damaged. (Unless you count the fact that the keys were knocked out of the ignition; but I don't hold that against the poor girl. The fact that the keys didn't really fit properly and you could have started or shut off the engine with almost any key was one thing I also never knew quite how to explain in the fantasy...)

Even when both windows shattered and a fair amount of glass went down the back of my pants, it didn't cut me. Sure, I had to walk bowlegged for a bit until I could change in the ambulance (let me tell you, it's nerve-racking to change your underwear in the middle of the interstate even when you know the windows are tinted so nobody can see in... I'm just glad I had the extra clothes there because of camping), but that was a minor price to pay.

When the paramedics looked at you, Sonya, and said that if they had just seen a picture of you they would have sworn that someone in the car would be going to the hospital, I got choked up because I knew you had kept us from anything more major than a wicked seat belt burn on my neck and shoulder and some cuts and bruises. And that was part of why I was crying, Sonya -- but it was also partly because I knew I would never get to drive my first little car ever again. (We're ignoring the obvious aftereffects of shock here.)

Sonya, you were our miracle car. You had an Elijah aspect about you -- you kept lasting one more day, and one more day after that, when we needed you to. You got better gas mileage for us than you probably should have gotten straight out of the factory. You took us on vacations and helped us move eight times and most of all you kept me from an extended hospital stay or worse. I will miss all your little quirks and oddities -- and I'm strangely thankful that I won't have to try to explain them to a stranger, who may not have loved you as well as we did. Your old license plate frame sums up my feelings for you best: "They're not dents; they're beauty marks."


Rest in peace

Note: Of course I don't for a minute credit this miracle to anyone other than God. For about three seconds on Saturday afternoon, when I saw the SUV spin out of control 20 feet ahead of us to the time I saw it heading straight for me, I knew I was going to die. I still cannot believe, looking at the car and at the pictures, that both Shallow Man and myself are not only alive but relatively unharmed. I know that Heavenly Father put his hand out and kept us safe and I only hope that I will continue to feel the awe for life that I do today, and be able to take better advantage of this amazing and precious gift.

P.S. The driver of the SUV was also basically uninjured, although rather shaken, and no other cars were involved, which is another miracle in itself when you consider that we were driving on I-15 at the end of a holiday weekend. I'll keep you posted on the search for a new car, although I currently am enjoying the rental car, a Ford Focus we have nicknamed "Zippy".