Monday, January 25, 2010

The Jelly Belly Incident

A few months ago, I spilled an entire Dunkin Donuts iced coffee down my stick shift. After I finished cussing, I called my dad to see if I broke my car. After all, this is the man who taught me how to change my own oil, and take a car out of a skid (after first listening to me scream when he put it into the skid). He also made me parallel park so often I can probably do it with my eyes closed.

It’s probably more relevant, however, that I mention this is the same man who once brought home a distributor cap which my five year old self promptly used to hold crayons.

When I told him about spilling coffee down my stick shift, there was the briefest bit of silence. Then he told me I should be fine, that the coffee probably just dripped right out of the transmission housing and I shouldn’t worry. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked dad, just as I’d thanked him a gazillion times before for being there whenever I have goofy automotive questions.

But then I got to thinking – my iced coffee had three packets of Equal in it. Would the sugar make the transmission all goopy?? I envisioned my car running slower and slower, like some mechanical behemoth trying to fight its way through molasses

I dialed dad again. I explained my question again. There was the briefest moment of silence again. Then dad assured me I’d be fine again. But this time, I think he was trying not to laugh.

Dunkin Donuts coffee damage is not evident for thousands of miles. I know this because even though everyone tells me differently, I just know it was my coffee clumsiness that caused my transmission to die with only 188,000 on it.

Fast forward to little ol’ me buying a car so gently used it still smells new. I feel like a queen – all the parts work on this car, it has no wear, it smells good and its shiny. Most importantly, I can go 60 and the tach needle isn’t on 4. I am decidedly protective of my new car. I scout parking spaces in the ouback when I go to the mall. I hand wash it at least once a week even when it’s snowing. I cover the floors with cardboard and carpet pieces. I dust off the dashboard before I get out of the car. Having learned my Dunkin donuts lesson, I’m careful to hold on to my coffee cup now whenever I brake hard.

Which is why I was unprepared for the Jelly Belly incident.

Jelly Bellys are my favorite guilty pleasure. Not only do they look like little jewels, each one is a tasty little surprise. My favorite flavors are pear, mango and grapefruit, but I’ll eat ‘em all. Yesterday, a friend gave me a little packet of Jelly Bellys as I left work. I immediately poured them into one of my two cup holders so I could snack my way through rush hour traffic.

But when I got into my car this morning, something turquoise caught my eye. A Berry Blue Jelly Belly was winking tantalizingly at me, resting just beneath the emergency brake handle along the console. Ooooh – a Jelly Belly for breakfast! Without thinking, I pulled up the handle to grab it. . . and watched the Jelly Belly disappear into the nether regions of my cars inner workings.


I rested my head on the steering wheel. Not only had I lost a Jelly Belly, I’d already broken my new car. With a sigh, I pulled out my cell phone and called Dad. This time the period of silence was perceptible.

“Suse?” Dad finally said. He’d called me by the nickname I’ve had since I was little, which was appropriate, because I was feeling very much like a five year old who’d just broken off Burnt Sienna, Marigold, Fuschia and Evergreen crayons in a car part she mistook for a toy.

“Yes, dad?”

“Don’t eat in your car anymore. You'll break it.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How to Know It's Time toTake Down Your Christmas Tree

1. Your ornaments need dusting. Heck, so do the branches.
2. You buy new furniture and wonder if the wood tones will clash.
3. Your family has gotten used to stowing their shoes under the tree instead of presents.
4. Your kids hang their wet mittens and scarves on the tree to dry.
5. Birds returning from the south keep crash into your window trying to roost in it.
6. You gave your tree a name.
7. Neighbors are suddenly speechless when they stop over for coffee.
8. You wander the aisles at Target looking for boxes of Valentines Day ornaments.
9. You're already planning a theme for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Memorial Day and Fourth of July.
10. Your dog just casually got up from your lap to wonder over and have a drink from the tree stand.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolution-izing 2010

Whoooooeeee. Dusty in here. Looks kinda forlorn and abandoned. You go ahead and read on whilst I put on a pot of tea and get rid of all these cobwebs.

Tis the season for resolution-izing our lives.

Standing on the tippy-toe edge of a brand, spanking new year we are already expected to define it by making resolutions. It’s like looking at a picture of a tiny embryo and guessing what species it is – this early in the game, it could be anything. And oh! the pressure to perform! Be better, be skinnier, be thriftier, be smarter, be more patient, be be be be until it's no wonder we crack by Valentines Day.

So I’ve granted myself permission to step out of the rat race. I am not making any 2010 resolutions; I’m not setting myself up for failure and I’m not driving myself crazy. I’ve reached an age where I don’t need a resolution to make me value how blessed I am. Those blessings (like finding out you actually like reading my blog) show up every day of my life and each time they do, they amaze me and fill me with wonder. I could no more take them for granted than I could chop off my right hand. And words scribbled on a page won’t make me eat fewer cookies or stop losing my temper or start drinking more water.

(OK, OK – I hear you. But mere words scribbled on a page will not make me blog more often no matter how hard you wish. Life happens and sometimes we have to spend all of our time doing what needs to be done instead of doing what we want to. Sorry.)

I’ve decided ditch to resolutions and live 2010 by a single, simple question. Call it a challenge or a mantra or whatever you wish, this question will be my gentle guide for every decision and keep me on the path I want to travel in this next year. I’ve already stuck it to my mirror and tucked it into my wallet and slipped it under the sun visor. With this single question nestled reassuringly into the back of my mind, I have a resolute hopefulness about 2010. So my hope for each and every dear and treasured (and patient!) Scrapinator reader is that 2010 brings you all things bright and beautiful. God bless you all!

And if you're still here reading, for whatever it's worth here's the question I’m living by in 2010:

How many things can you change in a year?