The Hellhole

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We went on a shopping spree today!!! That's very unusual for us because we are not very fashion-concsious, neither of us like spending "we don't have to" money, we aren't exactly trendy.  But thanks to several christening, baptism, graduation and milestone gifts we had to buy, we had well over $100 in "rewards cash" from a store at the mall, and I wanted to use it before expiry.


Alan got a spiffy black pocket watch.







With his initials engraved on!


I got a pink leather bracelet with a diamond heart that had an "H" on!



The best part was, all of it was FREE!!!













Alan bought some black-on-black low-top Chucks.  And some standard low-top Chucks, not pictured.






Walking through the mall, waiting for our stuff to be engraved, I saw the greatest pair of Doc Martens EVAH.  I mean, how could one resist?  







Of course one couldn't.  

BEST.  DOCS.  EVAH.

I'm just sayin'.





Sunday, June 15, 2014

You guys know I love me some candles.  A few months back,  I bought a beeswax candle which came with its own bee.

It was a very lovely, blown-glass bee, and even though the candle was a disappointment (wouldn't stay lit, no scent, made a big mess etc.) I loved the bee and I decided to keep him.

He is very pretty.

His name is Eric.  Obvious-leee.

I've put the bee in a few candles, but removed him before burning each one.


Then a couple of months ago, I signed up for Flicker Club.  It's basically a candle-of-the-month club, though you get more than one at a time.  The first box disappointed me, because it had tons of vanilla candles; that's not a favorite scent of mine.

I spend a lot of time and money trying NOT to smell like food.

But anyway, the second box was lovely:  Carolina sweetgrass, ming fern, lavender/sage, lilac - oh, so yummy!!!

But best of all was a Dahlia candle (from Armadilla Wax Works out of Prescott, Arizona) which is shaped like it smells, floats in water and is just lovely.  I put Eric the bee in there.

He liked it.

(singing)

Half a bee, philosophically
Must, ipso facto, half not be
But half the bee has got to be
Vis-a-vis its entity -
D'you see?
But can a bee be said to be
Or not to be an entire bee
When half the bee is not a bee
Due to some ancient injury?

Laa dee dee, a one two three
Eric, the half a bee
A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Eric, the half a bee!

Is this wretched demi-bee
Half asleep upon my knee
Some freak from a menagerie?
No! It's Eric, the half a bee
Fiddle de dum, a fiddle de dee
Eric, the half a bee
Hoh hoh hoh, tee hee hee
Eric, the half a bee
I love this hive, employee-ee-
Bisected accidentally
One summer afternoon, by me
I love him carnally
He loves him carnally
Semi-carnally
The end
Cyril Connelly?
No, semi-carnally
Oh, Cyril Connelly.

Friday, June 06, 2014

What a horrible adventure with that compressor demon...

Title comes from Invader Zim.  At the start of one episode, he says to his minion, Gir, "[exhausted sigh] What a horrible adventure with that ham demon!" and it's never explained or elaborated upon, which I think makes it even funnier.  We use it a lot: what a horrible adventure with that traffic demon, what a horrible adventure with that appendix demon, etc.

On Friday, May 16, Mom and I went to the ASO (Beethoven's Eroica, among other pieces, simply lovely) and I noticed my car making a barely discernable whump-whump-whump sound.  It worried me, but in a vague sort of way because it was happening only intermittently, when the car was idling, and the actual performance of the car didn't seem to be affected in any way at all.  We got there safely and once the symphony finished, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sound had completely ceased, my car was operating at his high-performance-sports-car best and all was well. Until we got onto I-20 from the Downtown Connector and Baby Benz went totally freaking berserk!

The dashboard computer went red with warnings:  battery has failed! contact service shop immediately!  alternator has failed! contact service shop immediately!  traction control has been disabled!  contact service shop immediately!  power steering has failed! contact service shop immediately!  I was obviously alarmed and upset, but the weird thing was, the car was still operating normally.  The headlights weren't dimming, the radio was still playing, acceleration worked - none of that adds up to failed battery or alternator (and they had just replaced my battery at a scheduled service on 02/15).  We were in a horrible, horrible neighborhood, so since I still had momentum, I decided to keep driving, hoping to make it closer to home and to a place where we'd be less likely to be robbed, raped or killed.  Or all three.

I made it several more miles when the Benz registered a new complaint:  a little red thermometer appeared on the screen and the computer said, "Coolant Warning! Stop engine immediately!"  Well, that could do disastrous things to the engine so I pulled right over and stopped.  Oh, great.  Stranded in a high-dollar sports car in absolute Thugville Central (seriously, it's a notorious, bad, crime-ridden neighborhood) at 11:30 on a Friday night with my mother. I was so scared.

Of course I couldn't stop thinking of a recent news story about two people killed on I-20 trying to help stranded friends change a tire - a drunk driver plowed into the disabled car.  Then I got even more upset:  I have free roadside assistance, but the stupid effing autobot phone system would not recognize number selections input from my iPhone - she just kept listing more options like I hadn't hit any buttons, so I started trying to speak the numbers but the speech recognition worked sometimes and not others.  As more and more time passed as I tried to call for assistance and the autobot kept not functioning, I got more and more and more upset, exacerbated every time a larger car or truck sped by fast enough to rock my car, which happened regularly.  I was SO frightened!

At one point Mom (and I don't fault her for this at all), grabbed my phone, disconnected the call, got me in a headlock and made me breathe into a big wad of tissues, b/c I was so upset I'd started hyperventilating and she was afraid I'd trigger an asthma attack.  Writing it out, I sound quite stupid, but I was seriously so frightened - my mind teemed with awful scenarios (what if someone tried to hurt my mother???  I mean, OMG, my mother?!?).

I had of course called Alan first, to rescue us, and I knew he'd have to go one exit above and turn around because we were coming from different directions.  But thanks to major highway construction, the next exit up was closed, and Alan had to drive all the way to the second one up - much further - to turn around.  So the fact that he hadn't arrived when he said he would only added to my distress.  Eventually he arrived and he'd brought my Glock, which I hadn't asked for but oh, I was so glad!!!  At least no one could hurt Mom; now I was armed.  And I'm a good shot.  At one point while we waited, I turned the ignition on without cranking the engine, which enabled me to page through the computer screen without the Catastrophic Red Warnings Of Doomâ„¢ and I saw that the coolant temperature was completely normal.  At that point I wondered if it was the car's computer system rather than a catastrophic engine failure, but wasn't sure what would be wor$e.  Finally the tow truck arrived, we got my car loaded and he took it to my dealership.

I had a bad night b/c I was so upset and adrenaline and such...drank 2 glasses of Cabernet while surfing the intarwebs, trying to calm down enough to sleep (still not making much progress on the cutting down of wine consumption) and obviously I was worried about the cost of repairs.  I checked one of my Visa cards and found I had like $9,200.00 room on it, and I was praying that would be enough.  Mom kept saying she'd help, but I didn't want to ask (or take) her help; she's a widow on a pension after all.  The next afternoon, I got the call from my service advisor and it was far, FAR less than I'd feared. Bad enough, well over a grand, but I can pay it out of cash flow and not credit cards, heavy relieved sigh.

Backing up to a couple of weeks ago, once it started getting really hot I'd noticed that my AC wasn't cooling at its usual sub-zero level, but figured it probably just needed a jolt of coolant.  I wasn't too fussed as it wasn't bothering me, b/c I'm always freezing anyway, so I thought I'd deal with it when convenient, both time- and money-wise.  But as it turns out, it wasn't low on coolant; the AC compressor had locked and so the AC clutch and pulley weren't working.  So the serpentine belt that powers everything in the whole freakin' motor couldn't turn around the AC assembly and was just dragging across, and eventually heat and friction frayed the serpentine belt (that was replaced in February).  They needed to replace the AC compressor, AC pulley, serpentine belt and all the O rings associated with the AC system.

My car was to be ready on the Tuesday, but that didn't happen.  In performing the repairs they'd quoted, even MORE things were discovered that the initial problem had destroyed:  one of the belt tensioners, a belt shock sensor, an upper idler pulley and a...something else.  Four more parts ordered and another day of labor!  My heart sank.   My car was ready on the Wednesday at 3PM but Alan had a meeting at 3:30 (so had to be in front of a computer) and by the time it was over, we'd have been in the middle of rush hour traffic (and you non-Atlantans can't imagine the extent of that horror) - SO not happening.  Especially not how we were spending our wedding anniversary, which Wednesday was.

Alan asked me after I hung up what the final tally was and I said, "I don't know. I didn't ask. I want us to have a nice evening for our anniversary, a pleasant dinner - and if I know how much it is, I'll be upset, I won't enjoy dinner, I'll fret about spending money, and I'm just not going to spend our special day that way."  He said okay and we wound up spending a whopping $50 on dinner at Whistle Post, but it was fun and relaxing, and I wasn't stressing to eleven.

Now for the jaw-droppingly great news:  after working for a while and a couple of meetings, on Thursday we went to pick up Baby Benz.  The cashier handed me my paperwork and said, "That's $[original quote]."  Hmm?  Then she paged the service department manager, who came up to give me my keys.

"You know we had to replace four more parts yesterday," he said.  I nodded.  "So that was the parts plus another 7 hours labor [gulp!] which is all detailed on your paperwork so you'll have an accurate service record [I nod], but the thing is, I told you $[original quote] so I discounted everything from yesterday off.  I mean, I'd given you my word and doing otherwise [shakes his head] that's just not the way we do business."

OMGOMGOMGOMG!  Do you believe there are still people/businesses like that in this day and age?!?  I was very nearly moved to tears.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Alan has this one hair in his left eyebrow that I believe would grow a foot long if left unchecked.  He trims it from time to time but lately has been asking me to tweeze it.  He calls it his "Andy Rooney eyebrow".  Yesterday on the way home from work (he drove me as my car is in the shop, long story I may feel up to relating later) I noticed it was sticking out all the way past his glasses, so once home, a tweezing was in order.  A new term has now entered our Couples Lexicon, as I shortened it by telling him, "Hold still; I have to deal with your Roonibrow."  (rhymes with "unibrow").

I was going to leave it at that, but I let Alan read it before I hit "publish" to make sure he wasn't embarrassed.  He said, "Oh, you can go on.  Tell them how I scream like a little girl and bitch about the pain for hours afterward.  I don't understand how women do this!  And I can't believe you all do this on purpose."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I recently received a totally unexpected, and generous, bonus at work.  I used a small portion to purchase this:



THE SANDMAN OMNIBUS.

Because, y'know, I didn't already have enough Sandmans.

(They weigh about 50 pounds each.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A few days ago I made this delicious yummy salad.  It is heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, finely diced red onion, chiffonade of basil, Danish blue cheese, and dressed with extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  Alan was a big fan - he said it "tastes like summer".

Tonight I made a variation - same basic ingredients but with chopped cilantro and this time I used both blue and feta cheese.  Alan reports that it is delicious, that he prefers the use of both cheeses, but that the basil version is better than the cilantro.  So next time I'll do the first version but add feta.

It wasn't so much that I wanted to try it with cilantro but that I didn't have any fresh basil.  The basil I'd purchased originally was on the edge, though I bought the best-looking packet of the three my grocery store had in stock.  The cilantro was still bright and perky, so I figured I'd try it and see.  It's much better with heirloom tomatoes than regular ones, although what we can get now are so much tastier than the hot-house tomatoes my mom could buy off-season when I was a kid.  We are Googling around the web right now to see if there will be any local farmers' markets nearby this summer, so we can get a steady supply; I took time out to write this post.  Now Alan's gone to the fridge for more salad...

Sunday, May 04, 2014

The past week has been a triumphant return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, UNDERGRAD.  I've been to two concerts in four days, yesterday I was sound asleep when The Tamster called at 4PM, and I spent Day Five drinking beers while playing Galaga, Space Invaders, Tempest and pinball.  I quite wanted to play Centipede, too, but there was this row of eight game machines, four long, facing each other, and the dude playing the game opposite Centipede was playing hunched over the game with his butt sticking out so I couldn't get to Centipede without majorly hip-checking him, which Alan kept encouraging me to do but I am non-confrontational so I didn't, I just kept walking over and checking the Centipede machine in vain, and then playing more pinball.

On a side note, my friend Mark is the undisputed Centipede mastah.  Or at least he used to be.  I need to get him out for a match and see if he still has the mad sKillZ that he used to have, back in the day.

On the upside, I am now on the machines as one of the top ten (but alas! not number one) scorers on the pinball game and Space Invaders.  Tempest used to be my thing but I guess I've lost my touch; I didn't crack the top ten after FOUR whole tries.  I think I've told this story here before, but long ago my younger brother had a birthday party at Showbiz Pizza, complete with animatronic animal band, and I, as a surly angsty teenager, was pissed at being conscripted into attending said birthday party, fraught with sticky children.  So I spent the whole time and a lot of allowance playing video games, mostly Tempest. I got a high score, then kept trying to beat that high score, finally stopped after I was #1 and had beaten my own #1 three or four times.  Then years later, a friend of my brother's who had been a guest at that party got a part-time job at Showbiz Pizza and asked him, "Hey, your sister is 'HEL', right?  She's still the highest score on the Tempest machine!"  Years and years later.  I rock, I roll, I rule.

I didn't do as well at Flashback Games; I'm only on Space Invaders and a pinball machine, having missed Galaga by only 7,500 points.  I want to go back and assert my authority and in preparation, I am playing several emulators on my PlayStation.  Mark, I also have Centipede - are you busy???

As far as the concerts, Matt and I went to hear Black Stone Cherry on Tuesday, which was fantastic.  They played a lot of my favorites and totally rocked.  I'd brought my CDs, hoping to get them autographed but the band didn't come out after their set like usual.  The headliner of the show was Seether, but we didn't particularly care; we left after BSC's set.  They are great live - they all act like they're having the best time, and are so into it.  I've seen bands that barely make eye contact and seem so bored with the whole thing - BSC is not like that at all.  I enjoy it more when the musicians seem to be enjoying it too!

On Friday, I went with Alan to hear Mogwai. That's more his thing than mine, but it was a nice time.  I didn't care for their opening act; it was way too techno for my taste.  Still, it was a fun evening out with my husband, and that's never a bad thing.

So who's up for getting a case of Budweiser and playing quarters????