Friday, July 9, 2010

The Hottest Summer in History

Ah, Matilda, my wonderful car. When I purchased said car it had a lot of problems. I mean a lot. Which is the reason my roommate sold it to me for so cheap. After all, she could either pay to fix the car and sell it for more, or not fix it and sell it for less. She asked me which I preferred, and since I have a brother who fixes things for me at-cost :), I chose the latter.

So I bought Matilda. Realizing that $250 for a car was a steal and that I didn't want to pay more than $500 after repairs and registration, I decided to fix as little as possible--just so the car would pass inspection.

And, what do you know, you don't need to have a working air conditioner to pass inspection.

I bought the car in May of 2007. The summer of 2007 was the hottest on record for Utah. 25 days in July with temperatures 95 degrees or higher. July 4th, St. George was 118 degrees. Yeah, that's what death feels like.

So it was during this delightful summer that I had a car with no air conditioning. (This problem also affected the heating, but I will save that for another post about winter.) Although most people in this situation would suffer with the windows down, my windows were broken.

Yes, broken. The driver's side window would roll down, but something in the window kept it from rolling down straight. So it would go down crookedly, with the left side going down farther than the right. Then, when you tried to roll it up, the pointed right side would go straight up and past the top of the door frame, leaving open areas on each side of the window.

I should take a picture, but that means I would have to roll the window down.

It usually takes two people to force the window back into the right position, although I have done it by myself in rainstorms before. It involved my feet and hips and head and hands. Awkward.

Anyway, so in this hottest summer in history in Utah, I was driving a car without air conditioning and with a drivers side window that didn't roll down. The passenger side window, though, did roll down...most of the time...

It was like death at 110 degrees.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Free Car Wash"

As a college student, I am very poor. Very poor. This might have something to do with the ratio of countries I have lived in to the hourly wage I get paid at work, but in any case I find every way possible to go without spending money. For as long as possible.

As mentioned before, I have a car, and like all cars my car gets dirty. Especially since I don't have covered parking. And for a long time (like a year) my windshield wiper fluid didn't work, which meant very dirty windows.

I found a solution for this dilemma, though. Each time I went to put gas in my car (which was about once a week, since I only put $5 in at a time) I would grab the window squeegees offered to patrons and wash my window. And then I would wash the rest of my car with the same squeegee. I don't know what other gas patrons (or the attendant!) were thinking as they saw this girl using the window cleaner to wash off her entire car, but I was thinking, "I just saved $5."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Matilda...part one

This post is one of many in honor of my dear car, Matilda.

Matilda is an awesome car, really. She has given me more than I ever paid for her. My dear friend and roommate, Shayla, sold her to me for $250.

Which might explain why she has so many problems. But just let me tell you that my dear car Matilda has passed inspection 3 years in a row now!

The first time I took the car in to be inspected (I had just purchased it and needed to get it registered), I forgot to tell the car inspector guy that the driver's side door locks automatically when the car is running.

The lock's broken like that.

And the window, if you roll it down, doesn't roll back up.

The window's broken like that.

And at that time, the passenger side window didn't roll down either.

Well, with my spare key sitting safely at home, I drove the car up and they took it from there. The guy got in, started the car, and then got out, leaving the car still running and the keys still in the car.

And shut the door.

Yep, it locked itself. When the guy turned around and tried to open the door, he was shocked and embarassed (I was standing there, watching the whole thing) to find that the door wouldn't open.

Trying to look like he knew what he was doing (did I mention my brother was there too and we were both watching their every move?) he went over, consulted with two other guys, and all three of them came back with a crow bar.

They tried to get in the driver's side window, but the lock is broken on the inside, too, which meant that they couldn't get the latch up.

While I was standing to the side and laughing the whole time and my brother was scowling at these "idiots," they went to the other side and, after several minutes, got the passenger side unlocked.

I thought this would be the funniest story ever about inspections and Matilda, but my sister said that while I was on my mission she took Matilda in to be inspected and the guy locked himself inside the car. She said she was sitting in the waiting room and one of the attendants came in, holding her keys in his hands, and asked her to come and open the door. The other attendant apparently got in the car and started it and then tried to get out but, since the car automatically locked, couldn't open the door and couldn't figure out how to unlock it. So he rolled down both windows (was he going to crawl out?) and finally climbed out the passenger side.

And these guys work with how many cars every day?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Next Time, I'll Just Fly

Warning: This is a rather long story. To make it more convenient for your reading pleasure, I have subtitled sections of the story. To avoid boredom, consider reading one section a day for several days. It might make it more palatable.

"Road Trips"

I have always liked road trips. A nice drive up to some remote place in Idaho, or down to Southern Utah...a chance to have time alone with yourself and time to think about life. Specifically my life.

So that is why, when I got home from my mission, I realized the only way to get back to "normal" was to go on a "mission detox tour" and go on a road trip. By myself. To Texas.

Of course, the main worry I had was about falling asleep. Having been home from my mission for less than a week, I might still be jetlagged, I might still be exhausted, and I might still be exhausted. Yes, missions are exhausting. But when I came home and found myself bursting with energy, I realized that a road trip was definitely in the question, and the answer was yes.

"Snow Storms...and Black Ice"

So I left 4:30 am Tuesday. The drive was great until about 7:30, when I hit Wyoming's famous snow storms. Well, I think I hit just one, but it felt like at least 7! The beginning was not so bad--snow blowing across the road and low visibility. But Matilda (my car) is just not blizzard proof! The road iced over, the wind started blowing even more, and I started praying nonstop: Heavenly Father, I don't want to die! Keep me safe!

The prayer was constantly on my lips for several hours until I pulled off to get gas and breakfast. After weighing my options, I decided to continue on.

"That was a mistake"

Yes, it was. Remember Matilda's windshield wipers? Two speeds, low, and not so low. Always meaning to replace them but never getting around to it, the wipers themselves do little more than smear the liquid around the windshield. Which would not be a problem except for the rather large semi-trucks moving at exceptional speeds for this type of weather. So as I drove on a prayer and 15 mph, the semis would race past, most likely without a prayer and at 45 mph. Their monstrous tires flipped the snow and slush everywhere, causing a lake of dirty slush to pour over my car, which took 5-7 wiper swipes to clear it off. I was no longer worried about slipping off the road on black ice, I was worried about driving into a semi-truck because I couldn't see! When 3 semis in a row raced past me, I really thought I was going to die. I was one of the only non-semis on the road because everyone else had gone off the road! But once again, Heavenly Father protected me and my little car, and I made it safely to the Colorado border.

"My speakers blew up"

This actually happened before my mission and I just never got them fixed. I am cheap like that. But can you imagine going on a 31 hour drive with car speakers that sound like really bad laptop speakers? There was a plus side, though. Because of my broken speakers, although I could not hear things like melodies and harmonies, a couple of previously non-heard parts came out really loud and clear. Like the alto part on my choral arrangments, and the cymbal and the oboe. Really, I never knew these parts were so important until that was all I could hear for 31 hours. Oh, and the talks I had on cd? I have never heard speakers clear their throat or sniffle quite so perfectly!

"The weather's bad, but the people are nice"

I really don't know why anyone would ever live in Wyoming. Miles and miles and hundreds of miles of empty nothingness. But lots of cows, which is a plus I guess. But when I stopped for gas I realized that since the weather is so awful, the people are just like family to make living there more possible. Since I was wearing nice heavy platform sandals (in the blizzard) and I couldn't find my snowscraper, when I stopped for gas I took some time to knock all the ice off my car. With my shoe. (And the bare foot just standing in the snow. It was pretty cool.)

And since I was conveniently parked right next to the gas station door, a large group of people accumulated inside the gas station to watch me knock the ice off my car with my shoe. And then one of them opened the door and yelled to me, "I've never seen that one before! Gotta love this weather, eh?" And a man walking by saw my BYU shirt and said, "Are you from BYU?" When I nodded in the affirmative, he said, "Well, that's alraight." So the weather might be horrible but the people sure are friendly!

"Colorado is safer, right?"

Wrong. When I got to the border, already almost 3 hours behind schedule, I called my mother to have her check the weather--something I conveniently forgot to do before I left! I wanted to know if I made it into Colorado if I would be safe. I didn't want to stay in Wyoming because I knew they would close the freeway (which they did) and there was no way I was going to be stuck in Wyoming. How relieved I was to hear that if I could just make it over the pass, Colorado was only experiencing "rainstorms."

Rainstorms? Rain I can do. So I prayed my way through one more snowstorm and made it into Colorado, only 2 hours behind schedule but still planning on making it to Shayla's house in Oklahoma before I stopped for the night.

And then. Right as I was passing Denver the sky opened up and poured down this mixture of slush and ice and dirty water. It was definitely not a rainstorm--it was more like a slush storm! The ice was building up on the road and people were hydroplaning and going off the road--and remember my windshield wipers? Once again I drove on a prayer as the slush was dumped on my car, both from the sky and passing drivers. But I made it through--even though it seemed as though all powers of earth and hell were combining to stop me from getting to Oklahoma!

"And then I got pulled over"

After I finally made it through the Denver area, the weather cleared up just in time for it to get dark. I knew I was in the middle of nowhere when the city signs would post their elevation because it was higher than their population. And I started getting tired. I thought maybe I would speed just so I could get pulled over and talk to another human being! But I didn't even have to speed! I got pulled over anyway! Really, it was just because the license plate light on my car was burned out, but I still think the policeman was shocked when he pulled over a 92 red oldsmobile achieva in the middle of the night and this nice looking college age female opens the door. He was shocked, I just got a warning, and everything was great.

"Everything's bigger in Texas"

I was relieved once I made it through Colorado and into Texas. By this time it was nearing 2 am and I had been driving since 4:30 am the day before. And I was tired. When I passed a large Texas border town, I realized that since I could no longer see the exit signs because my eyes hurt so badly, it was time to stop for a nap. But a single female sleeping in a car in the middle of the night? I finally chose a well-lit McDonalds parking lot and parked next to the drive thru, pulled my jacket over my head, and took a nap. An hour later when I woke up, I was still exhausted and quite disoriented (it was 3am!) but it was time to keep going. I pulled out of the parking lot and turned left onto the road, only to hear a loud thump. Everything's bigger in Texas, and yep, I had just driven over the concrete median. Then, I turned right onto a one way street. And I was going the wrong way. So I turned around and turned onto another road, only to realize that I needed the next street, so flipped a u-ie only to realize that I was once again going the wrong way on a one way street.

Whose idea was it to make 4-lane one way streets, anyway?

By this time I realized that I had forgotten to turn my lights on so fixed that minor detail and went merrily on my way.

"Don't stop here"

An hour later, still driving through the middle of nowhere, I realized that I wasn't going to make it without a little more sleep. Did I mention I have narcolepsy? So I found an exit with a gas station and a hotel close to the freeway and went to park in the hotel parking lot for another hour of sleep. I pulled my jacket over my head once again but common sense and the Spirit made me unable to sleep. I realized that, although I had "safely" chosen a hotel parking lot, the hotel only had about 10 rooms, the attendant was not at the desk, and the gas station next door was also not staffed. I was a single female, it was 4 am, and I was in the middle of nowhere. Not exactly the safest situation.

So, with more than a little prompting from the Spirit, I started my car and once again prayed. I was too tired to keep going but it was too dangerous to stay, so I drove on. And I stayed awake.

"Who needs GPS when you have gas station attendants?"

About this time I realized that somewhere in the night and about an hour before, I had missed some turn off and I was now on my way to Oklahoma City, 2 hours out of my way. Well, I am so old-school (or cheap) that I don't even have GPS in my car, or on my phone. So what do you do when google maps fail you? Pull over and ask a gas station attendant!

When I finally found a station that was open at 4 am, I pulled over, walked in, and asked the man (and all the truckers in the store, because they all stopped and stared when I walked in!) what the quickest way to get to Lawton was.

Well, he checked his map (not a map of Texas, which is what I was expecting, but a map of the ENTIRE UNITED STATES! It was on a wall in the "Truckers retreat" and had all the major truck routes on it) and informed me that if I would just take the road in front of the gas station and make a few turns, the road would take me all the way to Lawton. Just one problem, he said, the route was quite deserted and I would only run into one city before Lawton: "Atlis? Altis? A-L-T-U-S...I don't know how to say it." That's what he said. And that mention of that one city saved my life. He was definitely prompted by God to tell me that, because there were several forks in the road I took and none of them mentioned Lawton, but all of them mentioned Altus! Heavenly Father really guided my journey the whole way.


Oh, and one more problem, the gas station attendant said. "Watch out for the deer!" The deer? I panicked, thinking that the last thing I needed was to hit a deer on a deserted road (I did see 3 semis the whole 2 hours I drove on it!) in the middle of the night. And then one of the truckers, who had been listening the whole time, said, "If yu hit a deer, nooo problam. BARBEQUE!"

I guess that works a lot better for semis than for an Oldsmobile.

"My phone died"

I made it safely to Lawton (and didn't hit any deer!) and called my friend Shayla to get directions to her house. And as soon as she picked up my phone died.


Well, like I said, who needs GPS. I prayed some more (did I mention the 2 hour prayer to not hit a deer I had just finished?) and found her house. Don't mind that it was 6:30 in the morning and I had been driving since 4:30 am the day before. I walked in, exchanged pleasantries, and fell asleep.

"A Flash Flood"

3 hours later, I woke up, showered, ate lunch, and continued on my way. I wanted to get to Kaitlyn's before midnight, and 3 hours of sleep is plenty, right?

And then, on into Texas, I ran into a flash flood. Remember Matilda's windshield wipers? Yeah, I couldn't see one bit. But I pulled into a parking lot to wait it out.

"That's not a curb"

I realize these entries are getting shorter and shorter. Perhaps it correlates with the hours of sleep that I had gotten.

So when I passed through the flash flood (I got impatient in the parking lot and started driving again) I started worrying that I had missed a turn off (since I couldn't see anything in the rain). So once again, I pulled into a gas station to ask for directions. I stepped out of my car and onto the curb, only to fall flat on my face, with my glasses falling off and my purse contents spilling everywhere. Yeah, it wasn't a curb, just a curb edge without the sidewalk next to it. Basically, just a big bump. I stood up, grabbed my glasses and purse, and casually walked into the station, pretending as though the bored attendants who had just witnessed everything hadn't seen what just happened.

Well, I finally got to Pearland. I got to Kaitlyn's house. By this time I was so delirious that I kept falling over while talking to her. Kind of awkward.

I had a wonderful time there, a great drive back to Oklahoma to visit Shayla, and a fine ride home. I took the southern route this time. The only problem? A blizzard going through Spanish Fork canyon the last hour and a half of my 60 hour trip. And it was a scary as everything else put together.

But, 3,503 miles and $300 dollars in gas later, I made it.

So next time, will I fly? No way! Where will I get material for my crazy stories if I fly?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sardines and...Staples

Yesterday I drove place one of the places of my former employment (I think the fact that I have had 11 jobs in the past three years definitely belongs on the blog of the lamities in my life...). Ahh, the good old Quickdown, where I was a "Down Payment Assitant Specialist," or a telemarketer that called loan officers. It was quite possibly my worst job yet. Many of the posts on this blog could come from that job alone.

Anyway, one day I convinced our shift supervisor to let us go play Sardines outside during our break. As I recall, she even consented to let us have a 20 minute break instead of the standard 15 minutes (such are my skills of persuasion).

We all trooped outside, excited to take an active break from sitting in squishy chairs and calling angry loan officers. After a couple of rounds, I was "it." Since we had already used such brilliant places as the parking garage and behind a nearby tree, we were quickly running out of options. I opted to hide in the midst of a thicket of trees that bordered the property. I got in the middle of a bramble bush and hunkered down, waiting to see who would find me first.

The problem was not in the finding, since that only took a couple of minutes, but none of my coworkers would brave the brambles to come back and hide with me. I certainly couldn't understand why! Instead they just stood on the edge of the grass and the wooded area, waiting for everyone to find them (they didn't even pretend to hide! So much for my great spot).

When everyone found me, I attempted to remove myself from the brambles without injuring myself. As I crashed through the fallen branches and prickly bushes, I suddenly ripped my jeans--big time. The rip was about eight inches long, and it was down the middle of my upper thigh. Holding my jeans together, I ran inside and my coworker suggested that I staple my pants together. Yes, staple them.

After several unsuccessful tries and many staple pricks, I finally gave it up and tied my jacket around my leg for the rest of the shift and the bike ride home.

The best part of the ordeal? Working on stapling my pants took several minutes...minutes during which I didn't have to call any loan officers!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

lame is...

i have always said that i am going to make a movie of my life in college, and it will be entitled "lame is...". if you say it quickly it is funnier. think of a famous musical. and then laugh.

anyway, i have long joked about it but now i feel like i could make big bucks off of this idea. this blog, then, will gather my stories of lameness and college life. if you have any to contribute about my life or something that is connected with me, please feel free to share. :)