Monday, December 31, 2007

It's a Miracle!

We have our minivan back from the body shop and it isn't even 2008 quite yet! We had a cruel false alarm Friday. They said it was ready, but when we went to go get it, the driver's window wouldn't roll back up and the taillights didn't work. But all's well that ends well.

In honor of this glorious occasion, I give you the following drivel:

An Ode to My Minivan
Why I Hated Our Dodge Caravan Rental

My minivan,
I hated your kind at first.
Could you be any less stylish?
What other wheels could age me ten years in one day?
Or encourage insecure men in sports cars
To cut me off constantly?

Then I sat inside you,
I hauled my brood in you,
I fit everyone and their dog AND the kitchen sink in you
And I have grown to love you.
Reluctantly at first,
But more with each passing day.

I'm so glad
My husband
Wanted a minivan.
Some might say
A minivan is
But I say
A minivan is
Not for
The miniman.
It says,
"I'm so virile
I need this huge car
To carry my offspring.
I just look at my woman,
And she gets pregnant.
I'm secure in my manhood."
A sports car or large truck says,
"My package is so small
And I'm so impotent
I have to compensate
With my car."

But then...
O minivan!
You were ripped from my life
By the passing whim
(Or maybe wham?)
Of a man too old to see
A moving 4,120 lb vehicle.
That should not happen,
Even if it is
A metallic shade of asphalt.

Time passed slowly as I fretted
Over your possible demise
And the lack of reaction time tests at the Department
of Motor Vehicles for persons over age 65.

The news that you would return to my life --
What joy and yet what fear!
Would you still be
The minivan I had grown to love?

Then there was
The rental.

Well, actually there were two.
The first was poopy gold colored.
But then it got sold
And they came and traded me
For a white one,
Which was a small plus.
But, I digress...

The rental.
It was Dodgy.
It sat seven,
Not eight.
Seven is one less
Than how many people
Were at our house over Christmas.
Two cars are not fun
When your husband has a tendency to get lost.
All the controls
Were cheesy
And counter-intuitive.
Thank goodness we didn't
Break them
(Or the toothpicks on a hinge
Posing as armrests)
The rear windows
Did not roll down.
Good thing there was no
Upchuck festival.
This car must have been made for some
Unfortunate race of squidgets.
No power adjusting seats can compensate
When the windshield was better aligned for
My boobs
Than my head.
I had a fabulous view of
The flipped up sun visors.
The third row
Required adults
To amputate
Their heads.
Don't even get me started
About steering column gear shifters.
I used to think I coveted
Power sliding doors.
No more.
In fact,
This deserves it's own stanza.

With power sliding doors,
There is no hurrying.
The door is too hard to open
Or close, for that matter,
All the way
By hand.
Always fighting
The power door's effort.
Woman versus
That beastly machine.
And me
Laboriously studying
The remote,
Trying to figure out which button was for which door?
Not a pretty picture.
Yet the car lacked the umph
To open both doors
So I spent untold
Waiting for the confounded door to finish opening,
Since I always pushed the button for the wrong side
And heaven forbid you ever try
To fix a botched
Or closing.
It will always open
When you want it shut
Or shut
When you want it open.
And your husband will always
Push the button again
Just when you have actually managed
To get the thing going the right way for once.
Ad nauseam.
And someone had the bright idea
To have the hazard lights go off
Every time you use the power door
And for about 45 minutes after
You thought the darn thing was done already!

I'd guess the turning radius was
About 39.4

And every time
I turned at a speed
To exceed 12 mph,
The tires squealed.
And every time
I accelerated enough
To enter the flow of traffic,
The tires squealed.
And every time
My children tried
To be heard above the road noise,
They had to squeal.
And when today
I got my minivan back
To rid myself of the rental,
I squealed

With delight.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Forget using our imagination, Claire and I had the best "tea party" ever. Double chocolate hot cocoa, caramel flavor Torani syrup, and mini-marshmallows. The only problem is that now I have to actually wash her little tea set and it's too small for the dishwasher...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

At Least it's All Clean!

Maybe I should fold some laundry:

I think I've been busy. And c'mon, folding laundry is pretty low on the priority list. Fold it just so we can unfold it the next day? At least that's my excuse...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I thought I'd send out a blog-card to all of you out there:

Merry Christmas!
Hope you have a wonderful holiday season

PS - Sorry if you didn't get an actual tangible version of this, but the 50 I did make already ate up so much time that, as you can see, I haven't posted to my blog in a week. I still love you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

7 things about G

So G got tagged to blog about 7 things you wouldn't normally know about her but she didn't know what to write.... M to the rescue

7 Things you wouldn't usually know about G:

1) She got stuck teaching an aerobics class in Provo when the original teacher got too pregnant to do it everyday.

2) She is a post-stressor. That means the world can fall apart on her daughters wedding day and she will be calm and in control... until the world gets put back together. Then she falls apart. No really, falls apart, just later.

3) She has a ridiculous collection of socks. Christmas socks, Valentine's day socks, Halloween socks, Polkadot day socks, you name it.

4) She prefers semi-automatic shotguns because they don't kick as bad and she's tool lazy too pump in the next round for the second clay. Specifically this one.

5) Her favorite painter is Rothko. Bonus points if you already knew who Rothko is. I didn't.

6) Her EE degree isn't in Elementary Education and she can't stand SWE.

7) She can't eat ice cream cones without getting ice cream all over her face. You wouldn't know this because she wisely doesn't eat ice cream cones in public.

When the Frame is Bent Like an Accordian...

I know you all have been waiting with bated breath to hear the final verdict on our minivan.

The repairs estimate came to (drum roll please...):


That's more repairs than our other car is worth! But they're NOT totaling it. It's more than half the value of the minivan, but I guess that's not the threshold they're using. Apparently it's worth fixing. I guess that's what I get for keeping the interior clean and the paint waxed. (The same thing happened when we hit a deer almost 6 years ago in our old car. They almost totaled it, then saw what good condition it was in and decided to repair it. I really need to start letting junk collect in my cars so they look trashier when they get in wrecks...) Supposedly it will take 3 1/2 weeks. Yah. We'll see about that. I'll believe it when I'm driving home from Home Depot with landscaping supplies in the back of my minivan. (Did you know that you can fit a full 4x8 sheet of plywood lying down flat in the back of the Toyota Sienna? I know this because M has happily gloated about it many, many times...)

But wait, there's more! In other car accident related news, we'll be picking up a rental car tomorrow morning. Courtesy of Mr. 87-Year-Old-Who-Pulled-Out-in-Front-of-Me's insurance. They haven't officially accepted liability yet, but c'mon, we all know it's only a matter of time. We've been spending additional eons on the phone and after talking to the other guy's insurance, among others, we feel safe going ahead and getting the rental knowing that they'll cover it in the end.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Celebrating with Some Good Entertainment

Part 4 - The final chapter (for now) in my continuing series about why I love Sesame Street

The big dinner for church was last night. It went well. Even if it hadn't, I'm just glad it's over. Our neighbors probably hated us for being outside grilling 80 chicken breasts until midnight on Wed. I spent all day yesterday collecting, dividing, and distributing food. And then grilling a little extra chicken. I don't think I want to look at grilled chicken for at least a month.

In celebration, we'll wrap up my series about why I love Sesame Street (at least for now).

I've had food on the brain, so it's appropriate that we conclude with this rap from Cookie Monster. It's proof that his recent controversial discussions about cookies being a "sometimes food" are nothing new for die-hard Sesame Street fans. This dates to back in the day.

An even better recent version has him rapping with Wyclef Jean, but alas, the video was not to be found on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Do YOUR Parents Ever Make You Feel Like a Boring Old Fart?

My mom and dad drove from Idaho (where my dad was on a business trip) down to Las Vegas to meet up with my sister, her husband, and his family for Thanksgiving. I wish I could have been there too. My dad took some awesome photos of their trip though.

Well, I said they drove, but I guess I really mean "rode":

Here is my dad's bike.
It's hard to fathom just how huge this thing is in the photo, but trust me. Gargantuan.

My kids totally have typical grandparents, right?
Here is my mom on her bike.
(Doesn't this photo just scream, "I don't need no stinkin' doilies.")

And isn't this photo cool?

Betcha thought I meant photos of being at Thanksgiving with friends and family. No no. My dad sent photos of their motorcycle trip only.

Seriously, I love my parents.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Am a Victim. Woe is Me!

It's a weird feeling. I feel like I'm the kind of person who's "on their toes," "has their head on straight," "keeps their eyes open," "takes everything with a grain of salt," and whatever other cliche you want to use to mean that I don't feel like I'm stupid. And yet, it turns out that I am a sucker.

It turns out that the woman who called me and told me she was from the other guy's insurance was a total scam. She had nothing to do with his insurance. I had a run in with a bona fide ambulance chaser with a heaping dose of fraud.

Please hold your outbursts and criticisms of my foolishness until the end. Humor me and let me tell you more about my run in with the quack first.

So I got to the chiropractor's office and desperately wanted to leave without going in. I don't do chiropractors. But I also have a deep set fear of fees, and somehow I was sure that I would be charged a missed appointment fee if I didn't show up. (Only later did it occur to me that the chiropractor's office itself had nothing but my name and phone number, so this possibility was fairly unlikely. See how irrationally paranoid about the wrong things I was?) From the perspective of my health, what harm would it do to go inside and talk to them. Just TALK -- I wouldn't let them DO anything!

So I filled out forms as a new patient and then talked to said jeans-clad chiropractor. Oh and for Ashley's sake, the jeans were nice jeans. They might have been brand name, I'm not fashion conscious enough to look for that sort of thing. So it's not like she looked like she'd just finished fixing her motorcycle or painting her living room or anything, but they were jeans nonetheless.

Oh, the mumbo jumbo! You know how "psychics" are "good" because they can read people and get people to divulge information without meaning to? Well, just call this gal "The All Seeing Madame Heather, Palm Reader and Chiropractor." She was admittedly good at pinpointing where I hurt when I made movements that caused me discomfort. But she was also very good at poking spots on me and saying, "You have pain right there." Then I would respond, "Um, no, not really." Then when I would clarify where and how I did hurt, she was very good at acting like SHE had discovered it, and not that I had painstakingly explained it to her, with her getting it wrong a lot along the way. Anyway, surprise surprise, she concluded that I had mild to moderate whiplash and that in addition to some muscle pain, parts of my spine were "out of line" and that I needed 11 treatments over the next 5 weeks. Does anyone else find it interesting that she supposedly specializes in the spine and yet nowhere along the way did it come up that I have scoliosis? You'd think that would get asked in the paperwork, or even more likely, that she'd notice the fairly obvious fact that my right shoulder is significantly lower. Was my spine really out of line, or did I just have a nasty case of "this phony is trying to blame scoliosis from adolescence on my car accident two days ago"? The world may never know, because I'm certainly not going back. I told them that I didn't really want the treatments. I saw a possible easy out. "After all, who will pay for all this?" At this point, they start going on about how I should probably get "legal representation." This bothered me even more than the rest of their horribly unprofessional behavior, and I think it showed on my face. So then they asked if I'd like to speak with "Brenda" (you know, scam-o-rama "I'm from the insurance company" lady). They had Brenda's phone number and dialed it for me. When I started to talk to "Brenda," she also started telling me that I should get a lawyer and prepared to give me some "referrals." Before now, my "weird-o-meter" had been timidly sending out beeps. Well, I may not be the brightest, but at this point, the "weird-o-meter" started sounding the wailing alarm. I told them I needed to go home and "think about it and talk to my husband" ( I LOVE that M and I have given each other free reign over the spouse excuse, it's the BEST!) and high-tailed it out of there.

The next day I spent a lot of time on the phone with the REAL insurance company for the other guy. Also with my insurance company, the police, and the Texas Department of Insurance. I better not get a bill for that appointment. If it comes to it, the quack is on my insurance (What? The quack is on my insurance's preferred provider list?!?!?), so I'd only pay $20 plus 10%. But this underhanded group of people in shady employment messed with the wrong soccer mom. As M put it, "Hmmm, let's see. Who should we try to scam? How about a stay-at-home-mom with all the time she needs to spend on the phone getting our licenses yanked? Maybe even one with a fairly challenging college degree lying fallow. She definitely wouldn't see us as a fun challenge to break up the nose wiping, no no."

Anyway, I feel painfully stupid that I got suckered in enough to go to that appointment. I should have known better. But another part of me thinks, but how should I have known better? She SAID she was from the right company and she knew my name and the name of the other driver. How should I have known what standard procedure is? I'm not in car accidents very frequently (in fact, this would be a first for me personally). But I know I'm stupid. She probably saw the accident report somehow. Please don't fill the comments with an interminable list of tips for avoiding this in the future. Or further reasons that I was blind to the clear signs of my impending doom. I heard it all in my head and ignored it anyway. Life is a senseless blur right now between all this accident stuff and the fact that I'm living and breathing our big church dinner on Thursday night for all the women that I'm organizing all the food for.

I'm tired of talking about this car accident. I want it all to just go away, but alas, it won't. Today the body shop finished the economic verdict on my car. Roughly $9300. It's close enough to totaling that they have to wait for my insurance to come look at it and decide if it's totaled. I almost want it to be totaled at this point, because I'm sure I'll get a working car sooner that way. Waiting for repairs is bound to take weeks. And then it will be delayed because of Christmas. And then we'll have to wait for some obscure part. Etc., etc. If it's totaled, in theory, we can email car dealerships that very day and start pitting them against each other to give us the best price on a van, maybe even from last model year (the BEST way to buy a new car!). Sure it will cost more than having it repaired, but time is money people!!! Or maybe we'll try to find a used 2 year old Honda or Toyota minivan with not too many miles. HA! As if! We already went through this 2 years ago. That's why we bought new last time. Nobody sells these things. They drive them into the ground. The few ones you do find used either have a gazillion miles on them or else they have every bell and whistle upgrade so the price is more than just getting a relatively featureless new one. Hello? I'll take the new car smell and a warranty any day over heated side view mirrors. I know you're all wondering why I don't have a rental in the meantime. Once we know the final verdict on the van, I'll decide if it's worth hassling the other guys' insurance to try to coerce them into paying for a rental. I mean, it's bound to take so much time on the phone.

Also, do you have any idea how much time I have spent on the phone in the last week? Do you remember that I HATE talking on the phone to people I don't know well? Well, I loathe it. I keep thinking that when I go through things like this or church assignments that have me on the phone all the time that it will break me of my telephobia. Like when people try to solve, say, a fear of snakes by forcing someone to spend a day in a room full of snakes. But it never works. Sometime I improve a little, and then I relapse.

Seriously, all I want to do is not think about anything to do with the car accident for a little while, so I gotta go.