Saturday, March 29, 2008

650 Bone$ Later

Just when I thought my life was getting boring.

I had the day off of work on Friday, so I planned some things to accomplish.

First: Take my car to get the timing belt fixed. Nothing like getting up at 7 a.m. on your day off. When I walked out to the parking lot, I wondered, "hmm, where did I park my car last night?" I didn't see it in the usual places. Then I remembered I parked it beside Neil's truck. Hmm, didn't see the truck, either. We'd been towed.

We have, till now, had temporary parking passes: him, because he wants to sell the truck, and me, because I was waiting to legally change my name and registration first. Well, the passes expired. And the ominous sign in the lot that reads "Between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., any car with expired or no parking pass will be towed," isn't joking.

Ugh. I wrote down the number on the sign for the towing company, and went back inside. Called them. Looked up how to get there by bus. Went outside and had a terrible time figuring out the bus routes (am I completely inept?). Got to the place.

Wow. I think all tow lots are the same. The last time I went to one was in Hawaii, and I swear, this one was identical: Chain-link fenced yard with a crappy trailer inside and frightened cars that just want to go home. Trailer smells like cigarette smoke. Plexiglass window with crude holes cut in it for speaking and passing $$$ through. Big, rough-looking dudes driving tow trucks.

Our cars look so sad. That's my Rav, middle left, and Neil's truck, middle right.

Nasty trailer and another satisfied customer: This guy and I waited for the tow-truck driver to whisk the other cars out of the way so we could get out.

Amazing: The driver came flying around the corner in reverse, backed up to the Mercedes and moved it, then backed up to the red truck and did the same. I'm not at all exaggerating when I said this all happened well within 90 seconds. Their precision and execution are frightening. Um, also the fact that they had JIMMIED THE LOCKS on our cars and removed our expired parking passes!!!! Yeah, Neil called the police to query that one. Doesn't seem AT ALL legal, though they insist it is. Forced entry and theft???

It cost $100 for EACH car. Yeah, I dropped 200 bones to move my car to the other side of a chain-link fence. All because of my stupidity in not getting our passes renewed. Just when I thought I was all growed up and a real adult! Nope, I'm dumb.

Meanwhile, I called the car fix-it people and rescheduled for 1 p.m.

The next planned errand was to get my state vehicle registration renewed (it expired in Feb.! I am an immature, irresponsible girl!), and to get my county vehicle registration. $$$. I ventured to the courthouse. The parking lot was metered, so I fed the meter and went inside.

The best news so far: No lines! I got my registrations and went back out to the lot -- where a ticket tucked under my windshield-wiper blade read EXPIRED TAGS -- $40.

Duh. Seriously, what kind of cop does that? WHY do you think I'm here, where you get your registration??

After going inside where I was assured the ticket would be voided if I filled out a form to contest it, I went back outside to see ANOTHER ticket, written by the SAME cop for EXPIRED METER -- $25.

Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? I scanned the lot for this practical joker, but didn't see any officers. Honestly, it's like he or she was hiding out, waiting to pounce on my car. Well, the meter was indeed expired, so I fed the meter before heading back inside to pay the fine.

I stuck a couple dimes and a nickel in, which left the time on the meter flashing :00. Huh? Looking closer, I read "METER ONLY ACCEPTS QUARTERS." Oh my gosh, this is really is a joke. I found two sticky quarters underneath all the crap in my console. I put them both in, for good measure. This funny, funny cop wasn't going to get me again!

The lady with the ticket-contesting forms advised me to add this ticket to the form I'd already filled out, and she thought they would grant that one, too, so that was cool. Honestly, what a ridiculous comedy of errors.

Finally, I got out to the car fix-it place, where they courteously fixed my timing belt for $430. This was one of the more expensive days of my life.

I actually met some interesting people during my 4-hr. wait, so it was fun:

  • A guy from Sierra Leone who is studying to be a pastor. He has a wife, a 2-yr.-old girl and another on the way, and he advised me to have babies (thanks).
  • A guy whose 20 and 29-year-old daughter and son belie his age (he looked 40, tops, but is actually 51) who works for Lockheed Martin from his laptop in Starbucks every day (I happened to venture into his "office" to get a snack, and I sat in the armchair beside his) who attends a sweat lodge ceremony once a month. He actually extended us an invite. That would make for interesting blogging material!
  • What appeared to be an impromptu meeting of an Alzhiemer's support group at the Toyota Service Center: A group of middle-aged and elderly ladies who were talking about watching their fathers and husbands die of the disease. One of the elderly ladies told a story of someone she knew who visited a nursing home, where his mother no longer recognized him. He said, "Hello. Do you know who I am?" His mother replied, "No, but if you go to the front desk, they'll tell you." LOL! Having worked in nursing homes years ago, I've often found myself the one dispensing that information.
Anyway, the interesting folks helped to brighten my day, and when I got home, I talked to my dear friend, Aly, who is coming to visit next week! Then my bay-bay came home and we went to din with another dear friend, Leslie (no, not you, Leslie ;), and her bf, Andrew. And then a movie with the Healeys. Crappy movie (there's a reason nobody wanted "The Sasquatch Gang" from the freebie bin at work). But good company, so although the day started out crappy, it got better and better and the evening was fun.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Heard the distinctly "summer" sound of frogs on my drive home from work tonight. Sleeping with the window open. This is for real.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Primavera, Printemps, Springtime

I am looking forward to seeing the cherry blossoms this year in D.C. I missed it the past couple years. Now that I don't work for an accounting firm on the weekends before April 15, and I live in Arlington, I am def making my way across the river to see this glorious rite of spring.

Some cherry plum trees and forsythia are blooming in the courtyard outside my window, so I went out and cut some to put around the apt. And then I got all dramatic with the camera:

Play Dress-Up With Mirror Wall

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easters!

I have (annoyingly -- to myself and, probably, others) found "Nacho Libre" endlessly quotable.

That said, I finally saw a new movie last night. "I Am Legend." Have you seen it? It's very good. I didn't really like the ending, though. At all. But it's good to see a movie that makes you think, even if you think "man, I didn't like how that movie ended."

We went over to our friends' house -- another married couple -- to watch the movie. After dinner with a dating couple. I am thinking it may be true that, after you get married, you find yourselves hanging out more naturally with couples. I don't know. We did hang out with some semi-single folk Fri. night, but everyone paired off at the end of the night.

Nothing too exciting has been going on in my life. I am beating myself up over the fact I haven't done my thank-yous from our wedding yet!!!!! I am a terrible person! I need to do that asap. I was hoping to get some sympathy on beating myself up, and you probably felt sympathetic until I finished the thought with "I haven't done my thank-yous," at which point you probably thought, "You SHOULD beat yourself up! Yes, you ARE a terrible person!!" I know.

Today marks 40 days that we have been married. Crazy. I only know this because when I'm bored, sometimes I look at a link I made:

One thing about me: I like calendars. A lot. Not the pictures. I just like to note the passage of time. The link above used to be a countdown, which was fun. But since Feb. 12 at 10:00 a.m. passed, it turned itself into a ... what's the opposite of a countdown? Whatever counts elapsed time. Cool!

While fact-checking at work, I happened upon this hilarious Jane Austen character dating-game-esque thing:

It features voting for faves from a bio and pic of all the "Men of Austen." For example:

William Collins, from Pride and Prejudice
Age: 25
My job: Rector
My place: Today, Hunsford; tomorrow, Longbourn
My income: Very sufficient, thanks to my patroness, the Right Honorable and Most Gracious Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Favorite things: eating, reading writing, working in my garden
Games and exercises: whist, backgammon, casino, quadrille, walking
Turn-ons: titled society, family connections
Turn-offs: reading novels, anything that displeases Lady Catherine
My friends would call me: stately, formal, grateful, malleable, attentive

I'm not the biggest JA fan, but the bios were funny.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Costa Rica
My only regret is not taking more pictures. We only have a few, and they're not very good, but here is a selection:

Costa Rica's highways are not for the faint of heart.

When you ride the zip wire, you should wear a helmet so if you fall to your death, your head will remain intact.

Fearless Neil.

Ready-to-die Half-Breed Outlaw.

We saw a sloth. They really do move slowly. I think they're so cute!! Check out his shag 'do.

This was a beautiful beach across from where we stayed. Pease take in the scenery, not my hunch-backed, squinty-eyed, cookie-eating self.

Sorry I don't have better pictures. The place we stayed was cool. This is someone else's picture of the bungalow we stayed in:

This place was sweet. I highly recommend it.

What is it about mosquito netting? Neil didn't get how that alone equals instantly romantic. Is it a girl thing?

Time for a haircut
I'm thinking of cutting my hair. I just don't think it's going to grow long and wavy and look like Gisele's. I could be wrong. Maybe I'm giving up too soon. But all the broken-off hair in my brush, on my sink, shirts, pillow, etc. is leading me to believe the ends are betraying the roots.

I'm thinking of getting a Rihanna/Posh Spice/punk bob. Nothing too original, but hopefully more flattering. It's spring -- I've seen 3 types of small flowers in bloom already -- and time for a change in hair.

I want to devote a minute to the idea of ladies having fullness at the crown of the head. You know, that sort of styled-in pouf? I don't know how white folks achieve it -- teasing, backcombing, hair spray? With my hair, I just kind of brush or push the hair up and then it stays that way. But anyway, it seems girls, or at least I, find it to be an absolute necessity, mostly with shorter hair. I admit I don't have my finger totally on the pulse of what's hot in hair styling. But it seems guys don't like the pouf!! Neil doesn't, and two of my guy friends have said they don't like it and don't understand why girls do it. One guy called it the "Utah bump." It's true Mountain and West-coast girls seem to be more high-maintenance when it comes to hair (see UT, AZ, CA) but I think the crown-pouf is universal. I think it looks SO ugly if I leave the crown of my head flat. I mean, I am too embarrassed (and lazy) to even take a picture to illustrate it. Yuck! The flat crown just looks ugly to me and, well, flat. I don't understand how guys can think the opposite. Or am I out of touch?

Another good book
I discovered a new genre of book that I really like! I read a book last night called "Who Is Conrad Hirst?" by Kevin Wignall. It's an espionage thriller, and I couldn't put it down. In fact, I stayed up until 5 a.m. reading it. Silly, because then I slept till 1:00 p.m. Oops. Anyway, I really liked this book, and the spy theme, even though some of the violence was a bit disturbing. I like reacquainting myself with this reading thing. It's seriously been way too long.

Related purchase
The next thing I want to buy, besides some new shoes,
(green? or yellow?)
is the Lightwedge, so I can read in bed while he sleeps, without having the lights on.
Here is me, right now, blogging whilst Mr. (edited) slumbers:

Here is a dramatization of a typical night at our household with the Lightwedge:

Or, I would like a shelf above my headboard with a lamp on it. Either would be nice.

My future daughter (in the DISTANT future) is "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"! I saw this book in the freebie bin at work, and I immediately thought that something about the girl's shoulder resembled my own, and then I thought, "I hope my daughter(s) have wavy, reddish hair and golden, freckly skin like that." I really do. I think I've blogged about this before. For a long time, I've hoped I would have redheaded, TAN children. I just think red hair and freckles are so beautiful. Good thing Neil seems to be a carrier.