A Series of Unfortunate Events…the Toyota MR2

“A Series of Unfortunate Events”

The series of unfortunate events began with a Friday that started out like any other Friday. Coffee. Makeup. Clothes. Check the time. Gotta Go! I got in my car, drove to work, locked the door to my car (even though where I work there is more of a chance of a cow breaking into my car than an actual human being…still… locked the doors; you can never be too certain), I did my time and then when work was over I rushed over to my car feeling that sense of freedom one feels on a Friday at 4pm. I reached for the handle and pulled. Oops! I forgot to unlock the thing. I twisted the key in the lock and tried again. The door wouldn’t budge. I tried again…starting to feel panic

This is what my car looks like!

This is what my car looks like!

rise in my chest. I looked at the key, just in case I had been trying with the wrong one. Nope, didn’t think so. After a few more tries I was at a loss to what even happened. I ran to the other side of the car…hoping…praying that at least one door would open. Like a good little door it opened when I turned the key in its handle. I sat in the passenger side of the car and reached over attempting to manually unlock the driver’s side door. Didn’t work. I have to tell you first, that I have a 1991 Toyota MR2. These little sport cars are TINY. Like a Toyota Camry looks massive in comparison. Often I loose my car in parking lots because it gets easily hidden behind other cars. Even though I am only 5 ft and small I knew climbing from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat would be a hassle. Grumbling I pull myself across the middle of my car attempting to avoid the emergency break and shifter, and after hitting my head I  plop into the driver’s seat. Stupid door. For some reason I am not too alarmed. My boyfriend works with cars…he’ll know what to do.

Once I reach my destination I also realize I cannot exit through the driver’s side either. I crawl out the passenger side…again.

2 months later…

I have become a master at entering and exiting through the passenger side. I no longer care at the weird looks I get from people watching.  I also figured out that I must avoid wearing skirts or dresses at all costs during this time. Finally after attempting to put away as much money as I can  from my meager paychecks I feel like I have enough to hopefully get the door fixed. I was able to set up an appointment with this friend of ours, Jerry. Jerry is this older guy that always…I mean always has a smile. And he knows his stuff when it comes to cars.

Last Wednesday he set off to fixing the the door. We thought it was just a broken lock. Not a hard fix…just complicated with a door that is locked shut. After several hours I check on the progress. The door is open! I clap my hands and squeal with joy and then stop. Jerry and my boyfriend look less than thrilled. “What’s wrong?” I ask and then add, “I don’t care if it can’t lock anymore…just as long as it can open and close!”

“We have a problem…” Jerry starts and after a conversation that was filled with so much car lingo I felt like it was another language, Jerry drove off. Quickly I turned to my boyfriend to interpret.

“I mean…it seems OK! At least it opens right?” I say hopefully running to the door…suddenly I realize the problem. The door indeed opens…but now it no longer shuts.

I realize the gravity of the situation. A door that doesn’t open is one thing…one that no longer shuts…well you can’t even drive it! I am completely frazzled. The past month I have been dealing with copier issues and other expensive equipment breaking down at work, my computer giving me the blue screen of death, and a dishwasher (that is new) just failing. I am seeing the dollar signs rising to a frightening amount.

Josh tells me the problem is something about the alarm system on the car…and how it went bonkers and malfunctioned. Even time I tried to unlock the door I was adding strain and several parts ended up breaking. The new parts were outrageous for my little 23 year old car.

I had no other spar car and neither did my boyfriend. I had to go to work…I needed money. I wasn’t even sure how I was going to get there. A light bulb goes on.

Duck tape. The fixer of all things.

Duck tape...I love you

Duck tape…I love you

Using nearly half a role I taped the door shut the best I could. It looked like my car had escaped from a junk yard…or from an experimentation lab. But the duck tape had bought me some time. Time to hopefully find the parts I needed or another door that would be cheaper than buying the stuff brand new.Tough part was going to be finding a 1991 MR2 door…they don’t just grow on trees these doors!

In the hot humid weather the tape began to loose it’s sticky qualities. I ended up clutching the door praying it wouldn’t fly off some days while  heading to work. And then I realized if I got pulled over it would be a nightmare. I imagined the scene unfolding…at night in particular…the cop comes over to my heavily tinted driver’s side window. I frantically try and shout through the door that I cannot roll down the window…or open the door. I will have to climb over to the passenger side. Yeah…each time I imagined it…the scenario never ended well for me. Finding a door was imperative.

Finally I found one on Craigslist. The person selling the door was less than civil….in fact he was down right rude and weird. He accused me of waking him up one day when I texted him at 10:30am…on a weekday. Just a weirdo that expected us to be mind readers. After several days of dealing with this guy I actually wanted to text him, “You can keep your door! I wouldn’t buy a door from you if it was the last door on the planet.” But…his door was my only hope, so I refrained myself from sending the text.

To make a long story short…I got the door.

Jerry started working on it on Tuesday and then called on Tuesday night with the glorious news, “It’s fixed!”

Excited… Happy…are understatements for how I felt. I still felt the pain of writing a very large check to cover the work Jerry had done on it but I was so grateful to have a working door again. We tested out the door several times and it worked like the car was brand new. I thanked Jerry and almost hugged him. Then I handed him the check. Yes, it was kind of like handing him one of my arms but I would manage. (haha!)

Jerry puts up his hands. “No No! I won’t take any money!”

WHAT?

“Jerry, you have to take it!” I say thrusting the check at him.

“Nope. I won’t take it. I wanted to help you out.”

After arguing with him a few more times I realized he wouldn’t budge, he wouldn’t even take a $10 bill from me.

I just about lost it.

It’s so good to remember in the midst of a world filled with a lot of bad things…there are good people out there…that do good things; people that make you want to be better. People that are like lighthouses to boats in a storm.

 “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

Has anyone ever paid for your Starbucks or helped you out in some way that really made a big impact or left a big impression on you? I’d love to hear about it!

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life story

life story

I love this.

If you are like me…you get easily lost in your writing. That’s OK. Get lost. Write on…fervently, passionately, with all your heart!

BUT….

The real story isn’t on our laptops or pieces of paper; the real story out there….waiting to be lived. Each person is writing the story of their life every single day. It is the most important story and greatest story we can ever hope to write. Don’t forget to LIVE life; live it fully, passionately and with lots of dreaming big…and you will be amazed at the stories you will have to tell….and write about.

The White Peacock: A Tragedy

The White Peacock: A Tragedy

I thought I would share a tragic story from my days of working at the zoo.

The zoo I worked at (for far too long) was a small zoo at the base of a mountain. I actually have seen wild bears running around and probably showing off their freedom to the bears the zoo owns. Once I had a close encounter with a wild bear at the zoo: SCARY! I am not a bear fan…when I was little I watched that “Grizzly Man” documentary and I have terrified of bears since! I will have to share my bear encounter experience one of these days. That being said, I have had many INTERESTING…and sometimes terrifying experiences at this zoo (and not all of them involved animals…haha).

My story begins with my usual search for “the right picture” at my current job. I came across this picture of a stunning white peacock which are considerably rare. As I looked at the picture memories of the sad incident from the zoo involving a white peacock popped into my mind.

Every zoo I have been too has brightly colored and glamorous peacocks roaming freely about the park; we have all seen them nibbling on left-over food, showing off their metallic feathers or sounding off their haunting calls. I think they may even roam freely at night as well…at the restaurant I worked at there was always a fresh smelly present from the peacocks outside of the front door in the mornings. About five years ago the zoo acquired a rare white peacock. He was beautiful and the way he strutted around the park he knew it. He also was the zoo keepers’ pride and joy.

Every zoo has a lion…every zoo. After The Lion King I think it became a requirement to have “Simba” and “Mufasa” (and besides lions are awesome). During my lunch break one day I decided to stop by the lion habitat; it was right by the main restaurant so I visited it often. As I looked at the lion family lazily basking in the sun I caught a glimpse of a white object on the overhang to the lion’s habitat. It was the white peacock himself. He was sifting through the thick vines that covered the overhang (which was a near impossible thing to get on to). He was flirting with death. For the next few weeks I caught him up on the overhang several more times. It seemed this peacock liked to live life on the edge….literally.

After having a few days off I returned back to work to find that the zoo keepers couldn’t seem to smile.
A fellow co-worker and friend, Matt raced over to me with wide eyes, “You won’t believe what happened yesterday.”
“What?” I asked alarmed. I could feel the depression in the air.
Matt went on to tell me the story: He had been on his lunch break and walked past the Lion’s Habitat to find a frantic crowd of people with their faces pressed up against the glass and their hands covering their dropped jaws.
“What’s go’n on?” Matt wondered and fought through the crowd of on-lookers.
“He’s about to fall in!” A woman shrieked and covered her face with her hands.
“What?!” Matt cried out and just as he got a glimpse into the habitat the white peacock leaped off of the overhang right into a circle of four lions. All Matt could do was watch in horror as white feathers started to fly.
Suddenly an older women grabbed Matt’s maroon shirt that had “Cheyenne Mountain Zoo” inscribed on it. “You work here!” She yelled. Matt started to explain to her that he just worked food service which was a totally different and separate part of the zoo.
The lady screamed ignoring everything he had said, “Jump in there and save that peacock!”
She squeezed his arm tightly and her eyes were filled with threats.
Of course, Matt wasn’t going to leap into the Lion’s Habitat…who did this lady think he was… Tarzan? Spider man? Lion Tamer?
“I’m not gonna jump in there! Are you crazy?” Matt said trying to brush off the women’s hook-like fingers. He looked back into the cage to find there was nothing left to even save…except maybe about twenty feathers.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The poor white peacock in all of his glittering glory was gone. It took the zoo keepers weeks to recover and smile again; yet, they have never gotten another white peacock. The lesson I learned that day is…look before you leap.

credit: Google images

credit: Google images

 

The week has been weird.

It first started off with an epic attempt at gourmet cooking for the Easter Meal. Actually the strangest start to the week was that we had “Easter Dinner” on Monday. But anyway, I LOVE to cook. There was a time when I seriously deliberated not finishing my Bachelor’s Degree (I only had one year left! Crazy person!) and enrolling in Cooking School. Thankfully, I spent that summer in training under the Chef at the new and improved “Grizzly Grill” and soon learned that I wasn’t meant to have a career in cooking. But I still love cooking…everyday I look forward to cooking something tasty and I gotta say, I’m not a half bad cook

These days I usually just cook for myself. Sometimes my boyfriend but never large groups of people like I had done in Colorado. Easter dinner was finally my chance to impress a larger crowd! I decided to make a Caesar Salad, garlic and herb mashed potatoes and “chicken fritters.” Late Sunday Night I slaved over the hot stove boiling potatoes , mincing garlic and shallots, pouring heavy whipping cream (the secret to heavenly potatoes), melting butter (if your food doesn’t taste that good….just add more butter!), chopping a ridiculous amount of chicken, and my favorite part..shredding cheese. Cheese is something I simply cannot live without.

Although I have never made a chicken fritter before in my life, I was like, “How hard can it be? I’ll just wing it!” No recipe, No nothing! I mix together pounds of this chopped chicken I had just credit: google imagescooked and seasoned(which ended up being a crazy concoction of about 30 different spices…BIG NO in chef world) and throwing it in a big bowl along with whip cream, shallots, cream cheese, and cheese….a crazy amount of cheese. I had this vision that my fritters would turn out something like a cheese stick: tons of gooey cheese but with a surprise of chicken. Are you getting an idea of where this is headed?

I gathered bread crumbs and mixed it with herbs and flour (as if the 30 spices on the chicken were not enough!) and then decided I would not dip the mixture in an egg solution of any kind. The mixture was moist enough….I figured…moist enough to hold on a floury encasing surely. I don’t have a deep friar, so I poured a heck of a lot of olive oil in a pan on the stove and turned that puppy onto medium low heat…my stove is practically an antique all the temperature gauges are off so most of the time I just guess! By now its nearing midnight and I am ready to be done with cooking…I had been at it for a good 2 hours and I just wanted to hit the sack.

I toss in the fritters and notice the oil wasn’t exactly bubbling hot like its supposed to be…Oh well….whatever. More and more fritters go into the pan. I watch the fritters “fry” and notice the oil doesn’t cover them completely. I think, “Oh well, I will just flip them over after a few minutes.” YEAH RIGHT. In a few minutes there were no visible solid objects in the pan. Panicking I touch a heap of a now “life less” fritter and it completely desentigrates into a brown mush. I touch more of the remains of the other fritters to find they had suffered the same fate.I now was cooking a thick brown greasy soup, that was sure to be a crowd pleaser at the Easter Dinner. After five minutes of brainstorming on how to fix this hash that was once chicken fritters I realized there was only one thing that could be done. With a swift flick of the wrist I skillfully tossed the “chicken fritter soup” in its entirety into the trash. COOKING FAIL.

Other weird things that happened to me this week: going to the store and not realizing I left my wallet until I was at the register; I ended up paying with my boyfriends credit card that was randomly at the bottom of my purse. I hope I don’t look like a Josh! Leaving a flash drive with necessary information…vital information on it at work; my driver’s side door deciding not to open. (that has been fun…I feel European…not really)

Last night I grabbed tea with a friend in the cutest coffee shop ever. I had not seen her since my sister’s wedding in Colorado so there was much to talk about. We chit chat back and forth about life until she says, “I’ve had an off week.”

I’m like,”Me too…it’s something in the air I guess.”

“First it started off with this total disaster of food I was bringing to Easter Dinner!” She exclaimed.

Eyes bulged. Am I hearing this!?

She went on to tell me that she made koleslaw that turned completely purple. Like Barney the dinosaur purple.

After I tell her about my lovely, “Chicken fritter soup” we suddenly both burst into laughter…at our selves ….at each other…..at the whole situation.

Learn to laugh at yourself!!! When life throws you lemons….if you were me….you would eat them and be happy because you LOVE lemons….but if life throws you lemons make lemonade!!!

You will be a happy person If you learn to not take yourself too seriously and laugh a lot!

So…this is probably the most random post I’ve ever done.

So...this is probably the most random post I've ever done.

Photo credit: Google Images/campaign against landmines

I was at work searching for art for a newsletter bite on Ketchup and Mustard. During my searching, I found THIS. A ketchup packet that gives a representation of what happens when someone steps on a land mine. =( I have never seen anything like this before, (maybe I am just out of the loop!) I could not stop looking at it so I decided to share via blog/social media.

At first I wasn’t sure if this was too much…and I am still not sure!(I do think this is fabulous marketing/graphic designing. Well, not for selling ketchup-I actually don’t think I would be able to par-take in ketchup from one of these packets, it would be really sad!)

My first thought when I saw this was “This is so sad/horrible!” but the next thought was, “I want to help stop this!”  I do have to say that, even though this marketing is rather gruesome and kinda graphic it really does complete it’s mission and goal. It raises questions and awareness very quickly. I’ve heard that sometimes you have to look square on to the “ugly” to be able to  fix it.Right after seeing this I wanted to find more out about helping getting land mines removed from these 89 countries. (if you do want to help I believe the website to go to is: CALM, New Zealand Campaign Against Landmines)

Your Thoughts: did they go too far in marketing their cause or did they nail it?

Sky Lantern Crisis, operation: Bucketlist

Sky Lantern Crisis, operation: Bucketlist

One of my bucket list items is to one day see and be apart of “Sky Lantern Festival.” I am pretty sure there can’t be much out there that is more breath taking.

My chance ALMOST occurred in August of last year….yes…ALMOST.

Right now I am in that phase of life where everyone around me is getting married. Especially everyone in my close group of friends. We would laugh to each other and say after each wedding, “And then there were 5” after the next wedding, “And then there were 4”, and so on and so forth. (Btw now it is “And then there was 1” can you guess who that is? Yes. It is me. Another story, another time…haha!)
So my little sister, Katie got married last August and she like me ( and probably two billion other people out there) was IN LOVE with these sky lanterns. She and her fiancé bought about 70 from some “not commonly known” internet site. But who cares? Their “wedding exit” was going to be an epic event. And I was going to be able to cross something off my bucket list. Everyone in the wedding party was THRILLED.

Except Katie’s future father-in-law, Dave.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he would say shaking his head.
“You guys are gonna light somethin on fire,” more head shaking
“I think those things are illegal” followed by look of disapproval

Katie and Noah decided, to ease Dave’s fears by testing out the lanterns a few weeks before the wedding. Even during the testing Dave was warning against it.

“Dad, it won’t even do anything. Look the label says that the fire extinguishes in air, hundreds of feet above the ground and then it slowly comes back down. There won’t be any fires,” Noah told him in his usual happy-go-lucky voice.

“I REALLY think this is a bad idea,” Dave said firmly and added, “and I think it’s illegal in our township.” (btw….I never heard or knew townships existed before coming out east…so complex people!)

“I’ll just see if it will raise into the sky and right when it starts to lift, I’ll grab it and put the fire out. Dad, It WILL BE OK!” Noah said holding one sky lantern in his hand.

A group of us gathered on the back porch to watch: Katie, me, my boyfriend, and a hesitant Dave.

Noah opened up the lantern the best he could and lit the wick (which was a square contraption-I have no idea how it worked.) We all watched with twinkling eyes waiting for that magical moment when the sky lantern would lift. And there is sat. And sat. And sat.

Thinking it was defective Noah set up and lit another lantern. Same thing. No movement, not even an inch off the ground. “Let me give it a boost.” Noah said and lifted the lantern about an inch off the porch. Nothing. He tried over and over again, raising it higher and higher each time; still the lantern just sunk to the floor. We were all disappointed, except Dave, he was clearly relieved.

I wasn’t ready to give up on the lantern. LIGHT BULB goes off in my mind! “You guys, in the movies you have to ‘send it off’ almost push it into the sky,” I said picking up the lantern and imagining myself as a native of Taiwan. I lifted it high over my head and pushed it off.

IT WAS FLOATING!!

We all gazed on it starry eyed….but then it was 15 feet in the air.

“Noah-grab that sucker!” Dave hissed.

“CRAP!” Noah leaped into the air in a futile attempt to bring the sky lantern back to earth.

It was now floating twenty feet above our heads. Noah grabbed a nearby snow shovel and attempted to bat it from the sky. But it was no use, the lantern had officially set sail. Fifty feet, one hundred feet, two hundred feet it went up. We watched it become a speck in the sky.

Dave was frazzled. “This is bad. This is very bad. The police are going to come.”

“Dad, they won’t know where it even came from, besides it was an accident,” Noah said.

We watched the speck of the lantern hovering over the city, thrilled that it worked and believing there was nothing to worry about.

“It’s so beautiful! These will look awesome at the wedding!” Katie and I exclaimed.

“See, Dad, no worries. They are harmless–

Noah hadn’t even finished his sentence when Dave cut him off, “Is it just me or is it coming down? It is coming down-fast!”

We watched in horror as the sky lantern seemed to pause in mid air then come crashing at top speed back to earth still on fire.

“Someone get water!” Noah screamed and went running in the direction of the lantern.

I grabbed a bucket and filled it with water from the kitchen sink and went running after him to find that the lantern had logged itself into a tree.

This just got from bad…to worse. We watched helplessly as the fire still remained flickering fifty feet up in this tree knowing that it would be just a matter of moments before the tree was engulfed in flames and an entire mobile home park was in danger.

Then, like promised, the fire went out. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF. We all screamed cheers and started to breath again.

Needless to say, Katie and Noah didn’t have sky lanterns at their wedding- so seeing a sky full of sky lanterns is STILL on my bucket list. (and yes, I am tempted to use the remaining 68 lanterns…maybe a beach adventure?)

Anyone else have a bucket list/ wedding disaster?