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Posts from — January 2011

Viva La Volvo

A couple years ago, pregnant with Baby #3, we went a-car shoppin’.  A car for all seasons – the grueling Canadian winter, the cottage-bound Canadian summer. A car big enough to hold our ever expanding family, with space for a large dog. And a stroller. And groceries. And extra people. All together. Oh, and I didn’t want a mini van.

Enter the Volvo SUV. I wanted a purty new white one.

Wasn’t gonna happen.

Enter our Volvo SUV.

With 75000 klicks and an almost expired warranty, it was no spring chicken. But I was assured it was a great car. Lux, sure, but when the electrics failed and I was forced to drive blind with no instruments whatsoever, I cared little for lux. Heading back to the dealer, I traveled the streets at a snail’s pace….or did I?

And when the locks on the door jammed – with me inside – I wanted out. Out of the car, and out of the deal.

And the complaints kept on comin’: The radio’s annoying (won’t manually scan through stations). I hate the headrest (anti-whiplash design). It’s a tank (um…it is a tank). It’s a lemon (it might be). And so on and so on and so on. Of course this drove my man bonkers. Here I was, lucky enough to be driving a well-made, uber-safe shmancy mobile, and I could do was moan. And use the mid-range “gold” gas instead of the “platinum”. Ha! I’d show that car of mine who was boss.

Or who was a big-time loser over-humanizing her car. Then again, we all do that, don’t we? I mean, it’s not like I named it. Or assigned it a gender. Not this car anyway.

Turn radius? Too wide. Doors? Too heavy. Black car? Too dirty.

Bitch, bitch, bitch. Doesn’t anybody…..drive…anymore?

And then I was rear-ended. Bottom of my road, returning home from lunch with my young son and my nephew when BOOM someone plowed into me. Poor guy was a student. His front end was totaled. We had nary a scratch.

I felt safe. Maybe this ride wasn’t half bad.

And then I backed out of my driveway and into an illegally parked car. With a handicapped sticker on it. With their side-mirror in my hand I wondered whether to come clean. Or to just stick it back on and take off. But karma – and that sticker – got the best of me.Turned out the driver was a 90 year old neighbour. I paid to have her mirror fixed and I hated my car all over again. Where was that bloody sensor when I needed it? It wasn’t half-bad, it was all bad!!

And then….

Today happened.

Driving my kiddies to school, I slowed down at the stop sign at my street’s end and put on my brakes. And… kept right on rolling, straight into a busy, morning rush hour, trafficky street. Into the path of an oncoming bus. Seeing that bad boy heading straight for me I couldn’t believe this was the end. I started yelling and cranked my wheel as far as I could, hoping to minimize the impact.

The bus passed by in slow motion, and I thought maybe, just maybe, I’d miss it. But that fantasy ended with a bang as I plowed into its rear bumper.

Yup. I rammed a bus.

All shook up? Understatement! I hit a bus. A Bus. Hazards on, I got out of the car. The driver got off the bus, as did all of his busy, morning rush hour, trafficky passengers. I was That Guy. The one pulled over to the side causing the buildup. As far as my eye could see: traffic. Because of me. And my bloody car. I cursed the tires, the breaks, the Swedes. The mechanic, my husband, the bus.

And then I breathed. We were fine. My car, unbelievably, was fine. The bus, however, was not. It had been clearly side-swiped (by yours truly) and the bumper was definitely a little worse for wear. But we were all AOK, thank you, Craners. Rather than sit and idle in the car, we were invited to sit and idle on the bus.

We hopped on the bus, Gus. And – no lie – the driver? HIS NAME WAS GUS. I was tense. I was nervous. And I was relentlessly spewing Paul Simon lyrics. Made a new plan, Stan. No need to be coy, Roy. Just listen to me. My son, Leo? Drop off the key, Lee.

Somebody stop me!!!

Soon a giant police officer arrived on the scene. Re-ow. City’s finest indeed. Slip out the back, Jack. While we waited for the transit supervisor a crazy thing happened. Another car slid through the stop sign – and straight into oncoming traffic.  And it wouldn’t be the last of the day – I saw yet another car, totalled, in that exact same spot.

Turns out the salters had yet to arrive and my street was paved in black ice. All the what-ifs flashed through my head. Smaller, vulnerable cars. Smaller, vulnerable people. Yikes!!!

The supervisor finally showed up, supervised and dismissed us all. I saw my car, my treasure, in a new and improved light. We may have broken a bus, but that whole “I looked like I ran into a bus”? Nope, not us! Just a wee dent that a swift kick soon remedied. I was giddy with love for my car. What’s a little high-pitch squeak? Or a staticky speaker? I had safety. I had sturdiness. I salute the Swedes! Viva La Volvo!

Until summer. When the sun hits that black paint and turns the tin into an unbreathable hot box.

But for now? Nothing but the best premium petrol for my tank. And maybe even a car wash. Thank you car-gods. Sorry ’bout the bus.

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January 21, 2011   No Comments

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NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS? SNIP SNIP

New year, new you.

Or not.

As many loyal readers know, I am absolutely, positively, one hundred percent anti-new year’s resolutions. It’s a total set-up, a failure guarantee. Perhaps, those of us who may have, ahem, overindulged during the All Encompassing Holiday Period might benefit from some trips to the gym. And, yeah, keeping your mouth firmly closed may help shed a pound or three. But to start on Jan 1st? Especially when it falls on a Saturday? No chance, Lance.

Stopping the smoking and the spending are achievable goals, to be sure. There’s no smoking indoors and it’s bloody freezing outside. Also, drink drink drink, puff, puff puff – but does anybody really smoke anymore? Aside from those who know who they are? It’s a cold lonely habit to be a Canadian smoker in winter.

Spending? If you celebrated any holidays at all – be it Christmas, Chanukah, or the Getting Away from it All foreign trip, then you’ve probably spent all your cash – and received some good gifts too. So tuck in and hold tight. Besides,it’s “cruise” season. Cruise. Season. I mean, really.

For those who can’t give up their faith in the Jan 1st makeover, I think I can help. As many know, I am in a healthy, loving relationship with my iPhone, glitches and all. Especially Words With Friends. But there’s a new app in town.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girl, gamers of all ages….may I present:

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Angry Birds, move over.

Not that I ever really understood its appeal. Flinging little chicks at nasty piggies, toppling over barns, bricks and barrels. Was it a flick of the wrist? Trajectory trickery? I was probably the only one of the 12 million suckers who downloaded this game but couldn’t get it. My Man got it. And loved it. And beat it. As did my kids. The iPad Dad was IT with his stupid Angry Birds.

And then….ffffft….I discovered Cut the Rope. Me and the other App-ers who downloaded it a million times in 10 days. It’s referred to as a “physics-based” game but as someone who came this close to flunking high school science can attest – it ain’t just physics. It’s FABULOUS!

Want to stop spending? Start playing. No time to step out and smoke – you’ll be too busy slicing ropes and swiping spiders. Feeding little Om Nom his candies will take a backseat to your own sugar-cravings. Who needs to detox when there are locked levels to open?

So forget about those pesky new year vows. Don’t buy the hype….buy the app! It’s the resolution revolution – replacing one addiction with another. So go on…Cut the Rope. We’ll worry about curbing that addiction next season….

January 2, 2011   No Comments

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