Monthly Archives: December 2010

Fun with a Car Dealer; or, How I Spent My Wednesday Afternoon.

A couple of weeks ago Greg and I went truck shopping. After having trouble getting a certain dealer to call us back (though we basically walked in and said, “Hi, we want to buy a truck as soon as possible. Will you sell it to us?”), I sent an e-mail blast to every Dodge dealer in a 45-mile radius, describing exactly what we wanted, and asking for a quote.

We got about ten responses, and ended up working out a deal with a dealership that gave us the best deal. No big surprise, right?

But one of the other dealerships sent me this:


We just wanted to make sure your on-line vehicle request is being handled to your satisfaction. I would consider it a personal favor if you would reply to this email and let me know if there is anything we can do to provide you with better service.

How are we doing?

Did we provide the information you needed?

What would you like us to do to make your experience better?

Best regards,


I responded almost immediately with:


I certainly appreciate  your help. We ordered a Ram through South County Dodge on Saturday. Sorry.


And then he came back with:


Thanks for letting me know. I am however disappointed to hear that you pulled the trigger and didn’t let me see if I could beat their deal.



Do you ever have one of those days when you’re a little cranky because you’ve been corralling children and fighting to get the young one to clean his room and trying to teach the older one how to bake cookies, and something like this just RUBS YOU THE WRONG WAY?

Yeah, me too.

So here’s what I’ve sent Travis:

Dear Travis –

I understand you’re disappointed. Once when I was a kid I thought I would see if my tongue would really stick to metal when it was freezing, just like Flick in “A Christmas Story.” I chose to do it myself – did it without issue of the triple-dog-dare, in fact. I was very disappointed to find the stories were true. As it turns out, the movie’s creators failed to issue a warning that children shouldn’t try those stunts at home.

Anyway, back on point, we had so many responses from dealers we simply could not make a decision. My husband and I, after 7 or 8 tequila shots, realized we had but one option. We posted each e-mail quote from dealers on the wall and commenced a dart-throwing to decide who would get our business. As it turns out, neither my husband nor I can hold our tequila, so our aim was off. I am sure if we had been sober, you would have been the winner. As it stands, we are now replacing 3 sheets of drywall and a cat.

I’m sure you understand.


Should be interesting to see his response.

If I don’t get back here before the holiday, Merry Christmas or Happy Festivus or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate or whatever.

That Elliptical Machine…

…actually weighs 500 pounds. Just looked it up. Kinda wish I’d looked it up before we tried to get it out of the bed of the truck.


Though I am temporarily unable to take advantage of it, at least someone else has found a use for it:

Lou on the elliptical

Also, see the ratcheting strap holding the machine stationary? That has become necessary because Ethan WILL NOT STAY OFF THE THING.

Hello Crutches, My Old Friend…

…I’ve come to talk with you again.


Last Friday Ethan and I purchased an elliptical trainer at the city’s surplus property auction. Yesterday we picked it up. This isn’t a trainer intended for home – it’s a commercial one. That means it is HEAVY. So heavy, in fact, that I drove around with it in the truck all day because I couldn’t lift it to get it out. After all, it took 4 men to load it in the truck to begin with.

When Greg got home we tried to unload it and, well, that’s when IT happened.

As I was trying to step up onto the porch, the machine shifted, knocking me down. And as I went down, I heard…


And there I lay, on my left side, with what is probably a 400-pound machine atop me.

Well, we got it off of me and Greg asked if I needed help up. I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t hardly move at all, my head was swimming and I couldn’t hear.

But I managed to get up myself. Then my vision started getting a little fuzzy around the edges (weird, huh?), so I sat back down – this time in a chair.

After sitting there on a slow burn for a few minutes because I had managed to completely ruin our evening – wherein we were supposed to go test-drive a truck across the river – I decided that yes, we probably should go to Urgent Care. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I DID know that when I tried to put weight on my left leg it went whoop! right out from under me. No support at all.

I also insisted we have supper first because, well, I’d already fixed it and I was hungry and dammit, I wasn’t going to leave without finishing my goulash and salad.

Greg’s dad came to watch the kids (we are so grateful for that, thank you PawPaw!) and away we went, Greg tortured with guilt because he’d asked me to help him pull the trainer out of the truck. That’s entirely silly, because I was the one who DID it and accidents happen, nobody’s fault, but if you know Greg, you know it is not unusual for him to feel guilty. He should be Catholic.

Ethan, on the other hand, has no such affliction. Although he was sympathetic to my plight before we left for Urgent Care last night, once we returned home and he had a chance to lie in bed and think about it, he came out of his room demanding to know why the hell he wasn’t able to go to soccer practice last night.

Sweet kid, that one.

So anyway, the long and short of it is that I had an x-ray and nothing was broken. Yay! But, the doc said, I ‘definitely sprained’ my hip.

I’m back on the crutches, lots and lots of Aleve, and physician’s orders to call the orthopedists if I’m not seeing improvement by week’s end. Oh, and let’s not forget the boatload of Reese’s products Greg picked up for me when he picked up my Aleve. I ate every bit of it last night.

Maybe his guilt isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Polar Zipping

A few months back we bought a Groupon for a zip line tour, primarily because the company would allow Ethan and Laurel to go even as young as they are. Greg and I went once and enjoyed it enough we knew the kids would love it.

We tried to visit back in October with our friends when we went camping, but of course it rained right when we were supposed to zip, causing the company to cancel. Naturally, it cleared up just after our scheduled zip time.

Last week I glanced at my e-mail and found an alert from Groupon informing me that lo, this zip line Groupon would be expiring on December 5. Not one to enjoy wasting money, I gingerly approached Greg with the idea of going to the zip line over the weekend.


Needless to say, it took some creative maneuvering (read: insistently refusing to take no for an answer), but I finally convinced Greg that it would be a bully adventure to go to a zip line in frigid temperatures.

So that is what we did.

I don’t know what the temperature was when we arrived for our noon tour, but when we left around 1 p.m. the windchill was 21 degrees. I think it’s safe to say that we didn’t REALLY start feeling the chill until near the end, by which time we couldn’t get back to the shed and on our way fast enough.

It was so much fun for the kids. Ethan cackled in delight before, during, and after each zip. It was so cold the lines were slow, so several of us had to pull ourselves in at the ends of the zips because we couldn’t make it all the way. Ethan had to be ‘rescued’ by the catcher a couple of times, which he found just delightful. The guide would pull himself out on the line, grab Ethan’s legs with his, and haul him in hand-over-hand. It was great. Ethan had such a good time that on the last line, even though he was afraid to do it, he let our guide talk him into going backwards.

If you know Ethan, it is NOT as easy to convince him to do something outside his comfort zone as it is with, say, nearly all other children.

After the fun we retired back to the shed and needed help removing our equipment – it was so cold our fingers were numb. We hustled to the truck and couldn’t wait for the heat to kick in – then we moved on to a nearby barbecue restaurant for lunch. That’s when the cold really set in for me and I couldn’t get warm.

But on the way home, as we chuckled over our (mis)adventure, we agreed this is the stuff real memories are made of – that after years have gone by, we’ll almost certainly still look at each other and say, ‘Hey, remember that time when we were young and took the kids on that zip line when the windchills were sub-freezing?’

THAT is what makes memories.

Some photos from the tour:

Laurel on the first lineEthan on the first lineEthan's turnAdmiring his gloves - he's an old proLaurel pulling in because she didn't quite make it all the way to the end - on the other side you can see Ethan hanging from the line, waiting his turnLook at that grin!Michelle had to pull herself in, tooI tried to smile but it was so so sosososo cold!

Happy 32nd (!) Birthday to…


So it’s like this.

I could sit here and write down how awesome Greg is and how much he means to me and all of that…

…or I could just link you to what I’ve said in 2009, 2008, and 2007, (because nothing has changed, I still feel the same way), and go sit next to him on the couch and watch TV.

Yeah. I think that last one’s the winner-winner-chicken-dinner.

Happy Birthday, Greg, and many many more! I love you.

Decorations on Ev’ry Christmas Tree.

Last night after supper we put Christmas music on and decorated the tree.


You won’t see this tree pictured in Better Homes and Gardens. It looks funny because the branches at the bottom are weak and won’t really support lights. That’s what a live Christmas tree gives you – CHARACTER. We can’t find the tree skirt. Maybe I threw it away last year intending to purchase another this year, or maybe it’s squirreled away in an unmarked bin downstairs.


I used to think someday I’d want one of those fancy trees with the matching decorations and color-coordinated ribbons and all that stuff you see out and about in the displays this time of year.


But now I realize there is no way I would ever let go of these unique, often handmade-by-children ornaments we’ve collected over the past few years. Each one has a story. I’ll probably be hanging the same decorations long after the kids are grown and gone even if it means the tree becomes so heavy it lists to the side and needs guy-wires. Seeing them again each year is like visiting old friends.


Welcome back, old friends.