ninanevermore: (Default)
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I apologized to my husband this morning for what I said to him on Saturday when he felled a tree onto the Mercury Cougar that used to belong to his mother and that was servicing us as our back-up vehicle. A loving spouse doesn’t roll her eyes and say, “That was really stupid, hon.” But I did.

This was wrong of me. In marriage, you are allowed to think your spouse is stupid, but it’s not something you ever say aloud. You are only allowed to say it with a look, and everyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship knows the look I am talking about: raised eyebrows, half smirk, and bald-face incredulity. It is a look that says, I love you, but you are an idiot. Women are better at this look than men, who generally respond by showing their palms and saying, “What?!” When men give it women, we tend smile sadly and look at them big sad eyes so they will go all soft and mushy inside and forgive us.

Wet Hair and a Crushed Cougar )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking that it never occurred to me that there might be a line at a tire shop at 8 o'clock in the morning. Turns out, I was wrong. When you need new tires for your car, you need new tires. When, for example, you run over a ¼ inch bolt (with a washer still attached) like I did last night, you can't count on your tire to still have air in it if you continue to drive on it. So you take a picture and email it to your boss and co workers, with a little note not to expect you too early, and then figure that you should be in and out, because who needs a tire (besides you?) first thing in the morning.

In a city like Houston, where you must have a car to go anywhere, it turns out that a lot of people do.

Just put your wheels in the stirrups and push )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
Today on the drive into work, I once again felt small and insignificant in my Elantra since I turned the huge, monstrous Dakota back in this morning and picked my car up from the body shop.

This isn't a bad thing. Small and insignificant kind of feels like home to me.

Sitting at the stoplight where the door between the dimensions opens a bit, I looked over at the Carney and I noticed that he is growing his mustache back. It's at that scratchy, awkward stage where it looks like he may simply have skipped shaving for a couple of days, except that his jawline was smooth. He was staring off into space with his cigarette in the corner of his mouth, either lost in thought or a daydream. After a few seconds he noticed me and gave a half wave.

I lifted my fingers off of the steering wheel to wave back. In the beginning, almost a year ago, I wouldn't have. I've gotten used to him and even feel some sympathy toward him now. Not that I haven't been angry in the past; no doubt I'll be angry at him again before too long.

But for today, he and I are cool, if not on speaking terms. I don't think we will ever be on speaking terms. He represents a necessary unpleasantness. I think his whole purpose for showing himself to me is to let me know he is not evil, just necessary. No one would read a story if it didn't have an ending; he is what everyone works toward, whether we want to or not. It is up to us to make sure that the story, after it ends, was worth reading at all.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on the drive into work, I was thinking about how the person who drives a rental car before you get it never likes the same radio stations as you do.

I finally have my car in the body shop after my fender bender a few weeks ago, and am driving a rental for the time being. My insurance covers a mid-sized sedan per diem, but due to a shortage of cars I was upgraded to a Dodge Dakota for the same price. I'm not a pickup truck kind of girl, but it's kind of fun to be this tall and to be able to see eye to eye with all of the other pickup drivers who usually dwarf me on my drive in.

The previous driver was probably young; he or she liked hip hop and bubblegum pop, in that order. In the rental I drove before this one, it was all Tejano music.

The next person who drives this Dakota will probably be horrified to find the first radio button is set on NPR.

"What kind of boring person drove this thing last?" he will say, "My dad listens to this crap! Gross."
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on the drive into work, I was thinking about how all of the drivers on the road could be divided into four categories, if one is the type to divide people into categories:

1) People who subtract 5 miles per hour from the speed limit,
2) People who drive exactly the speed limit
3) People who add 5 miles per hour to the speed limit (controlled speeders)
4) People who drive as fast as they can, no matter what the speed limit is (uncontrolled speeders).

The last three groups don't like to share the road with the first group, and wish they would stay the heck off of the road during rush hour since they aren't in any rush.

Type 1 and 2 drivers are afraid of people in group 4 and don't like driving anywhere near them. They are irritate by type 3 drivers, like myself, and think we should just leave the house earlier.

Type 3 drivers like the people in group 4 because they distract the police for us and lessen the chances of us getting a ticket. Why pull over a type 3 when a fat juicy type 4 is always weaving in and out of traffic just around the bend? With a type 3, the cop gets to write a $40 ticket, unless our stickers are out of date. With a type 4, it's at least $200 for the city coffers.

I have also found that the more late I am running, the more likely the road is to be full of type 1 drivers. I wonder why? I probably should leave the house earlier, indeed.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on the drive into work, I noticed that many of the other commuters seem to be on vacation and my drive in is a lot easier without them taking up space.

I don't miss them.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on the drive into work, I had to stop for gas. While I waited for the tank to fill, I was eying the white cargo van parked on the other side of the pump. One of the windows toward the back was broken out and had been replaced with plastic sheeting and duct tape.

I was studying details of the repaired window. God and the devil both live in the details of everything. I find poetry in details, art in details. I studied the the wrinkles in the layers of plastic and the silver tape around the perimeter that gave the appearance of a frame with matting. I studied the lights and shadows of the layers of tape and plastic, and the care that someone had gone to in order to make the jerry-rigged repair look as nice as could be. I was so engrossed in these details of the mundane that I didn't see the van's driver approaching me until he reached my side.

He was small and weather worn, somewhere between 35 and 55, looking in slightly worse repair than his van. He wore a gimme cap and his dark brown hair was tied in a small neat stubby pony tail behind his neck.

"Scuse me, ma'am," he began hesitantly, and then began to speak so rapidly that I barely caught the gist of what he was saying. He wasn't from around here. He was from Shiner. A small town boy. A good Catholic. Something on the van was broken (I never caught just which part it was). He wasn't a bum, please don't think that. He couldn't make the repair and keep driving without replacing the broken part. It wasn't like the old days when you could just spit on things or blow on then or tape them up and keep driving. He needed to buy a new part and he was just seven dollars and 51 cents from being able to buy the part. If I could help and spare a little it would be the Christian thing to do and he also was a good Christian.

I was raised to believe these people were always lying, but I've never been able to tell. When someone begs for gas money at a gas station, I've observed them buying gas with it when you give it to them, not beer or cigarettes like my father said they would.

I gave him $2 dollars and said that it was all I could spare. He thanked me and got back in his van, which he turned toward the auto parts store when he left the parking lot.

He did not go in the gas station to buy beer or cigarettes.

I thought about the money I actually had on me, all of which I could probably have spared. About $7 and change. I'm just too middle class. I know people a lot poorer than me who would have given him a lot more.

And so it goes.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Leaving for work this morning, I had a conversation with my husband about getting my car in the body shop. He was rambling on about getting the rental car and taking my car down to the dealership and leaving it there, while I tried to outline for him what the claims adjuster had told me about the order things needed to be done.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, frazzled because I had interrupted him.

Sure, he was not finished speaking, but he had said enough and he should have been finished speaking, so I saw no need to wait before I jumped in. This freaks him out every time. He can't regroup his thoughts. I grew up in a house with two ADD siblings; if I had not learned to interrupt people, I would never have gotten a word in as a child. ADD people do not stop talking, ever, unless you do interrupt them. Perhaps I need to adjust my habits for non ADD people, but it's hard sometimes.

"Call the body shop. Give them the paperwork from the insurance company. Have them order the parts. We take it in when the parts are in. Then we get a rental car. That's what the insurance lady said."

"They aren't just going to order parts. They'll want to LOOK at it first. We have to get you a rental car NOW. What are you talking about???!"

Not being the type who enjoys banging my head against a brick wall, I said, "Call the body shop and ask them what they want us to do."

He agreed. Just as he was shutting my car door so I could drive off, I said, "I'm right, you're wrong, quitcherbitchin." Of course, he couldn't hear me. That was the point of me saying it then.

He opened the car door again.

"What?" he asked.

I smiled my best, sweetest, most charming movie-star smile. "Nothing," I told him. "Love you."

He smiled back. "Love you, too," he said, as he closed the car door again.

Ah, matrimony. My secret to a happy marriage? Always say what you mean, but only when your spouse can't hear you. It makes things go smoother.
ninanevermore: (Default)
On the drive into work this morning, I was debating about whether my state has more stupid and hateful people than average in it, or whether the good and intelligent people are just too timid to make their voices heard. I am still up in the air about this. I've met a lot of good people. I've met a lot of intelligent people. They are out there, they just don't go to the polls in great numbers.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Proud Member of the Christian Left," and it made me sad because it was the only one like it I have ever seen. On the up side, it was heading into, not out of, my small town, so it could be a good omen.
ninanevermore: (Default)
On the drive into work this morning, I noticed that the aerodynamics of my car seemed a little off after my fender-bender on Friday evening, probably because my hood is popped up just a tad on the driver's side.

Things always happen in clusters, and if I had been paying attention to the stars I'm sure they would have spelled out for me to just stay home on Friday. I started the day running out of gas and ended it plowing into a pickup truck. The pickup truck is fine; the guy didn't even make me exchange insurance information. He seemed more concerned that I was okay and that my car was drivable. He was so sweet and concerned when he talked to me, which make it that much funnier when another pickup driver yelled at us to get out of the road and he raised his fist and yelled over his shoulder, "GO TO HELL, ASSHOLE!"

I had looked down at the dashboard to see the time and was calculating how many "1 dollar" minutes I was going to have to shell out to the daycare for being late when I hit him. With the accident, it came to $5. The insurance deductible to get the car fixed will be $500.

I definitely should have stayed in bed on Friday.
ninanevermore: (Default)

Today on the drive into work, I incurred a big Karma debt that will vex me until I figure out how to pay it back. 

A blonde in Need is a Blonde, Indeed )
ninanevermore: (Default)
At the courthouse yesterday, I missed the first call of the 9 AM docket. After driving for 2 hours and having consumed 3 diet Cokes that morning, I really, really had to pee.

So I ran to the ladies room with the idea to be in and out of there in 2 minutes or less. However, of the 4 stalls, 2 of them were locked but empty, one of them was locked and occupied, and the handicapped stall had a broken lock, but was also occupied. I met the woman in there briefly and appoligized to her.

As a kid, I did that a few times - locked a bathroom stall and scooted out underneath because I thought it was funny. This was Karma biting me in the ass for those times.

I did think about crawling under the door. I can still fit. And I really did need to pee. But the idea of sliding under the door of a restroom in the courthouse was too disgusting to bear. Sure, it looked clean. But there is a general aura of ick about the entire courthouse. Maybe, if I were going home after traffic court rather than to work, I could have done it. At home, I could shower and change clothes. But I would be wearing these same clothes for hours.

No,I am too damn old for this, I thought.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. The lady in the available lockable stall finally finished what she was doing in there.

I got back to the courtroom as they were calling out the "J's." "Jamel, Tyrone?" "Jamison, Steve?" "Jeremy, Cynthia?" I had to raise my hand as someone who did not hear my name, and effectively was moved from my alphabetical position at the front of the line to my late-comers position at the end of the line. All because I was too prissy to slide under the door of a public restroom.

And so it goes.
ninanevermore: (Default)
I left home 40 minutes early to get to Traffic Court by 9 A.M., and barely made it by the skin of my teeth. At times I was speeding by 10 mph to make up for the times I was stuck in traffic. I was going to court to take care of a ticket for going 15 mph over the speed limit back in may. All so I could show the judge that, yes, I took defensive driving like I said I would.

They charged me a $70 bond when I came in last time, on top of the $85 court cost, when I bid no contest so I could spend $40 to spend 6 hours being bored out of my mind clicking through an on-line defensive driving course, which is a punishment only slightly better than a night in jail. Boring to the point that your brain hurts.

In defensive driving, I learned that speeding is dangerous and wrong.

Today, they gave me one sheet of paper refunding my $70, and another charging me a $70 dismissal fee.

I felt like I was in a Washington Mutual commercial.

"Sure we can do that! There will be a fee, I'm afraid."
ninanevermore: (Default)
On the drive into work this morning, I noticed something odd in my rear-view mirror: a baby doll strapped to the grill of a pickup truck behind me. A bald, naked baby doll, on the smallish side. It was one of those dolls with a plastic head and plastic limbs, but a fabric body, so rather than standing at stiff attention on the front of the grill, it was kind of splayed out in a "splat" sort of pose.

Sometimes, you really do want to ask another person, "Excuse me, but may I ask why?"
ninanevermore: (Default)
Jeff removed the "God Listens" sticker (touting a local Christian radio station) from the rear window yesterday of the truck yesterday. He hates bumper stickers of any kind. I love bumper stickers, but am too self-conscious to have one on my car while I share a house with him.

In my old car, I had a Happy Bunny window cling thing that said, "You Suck and That's Sad." But the privacy tint in my current car makes window clings invisible.

He has not removed the "Who's your Daddy?" license plate frame from the truck. I asked him to leave it on, for me, because I like it and it's so funny for someone like him to be driving around with something like that.

He looked pained. "It's not me," he said.

"It's fun," I said.

"But it's not me," he said.

"Exactly. That's what's so fun about it."

He scowled. The license plate frame's days are numbered, I'm sure.

This makes me sad.
ninanevermore: (Default)
This morning, I stepped out to find a pickup truck in my driveway. Jeff bought it from a co-worker.

My Elantra acts like she has a crush on the truck. It's a boy truck. I told her that her feelings are inappropriate, because we have adopted the truck and that makes him her brother. It would be automotive incest, and I would find that disturbing.

Now we have 5 vehicles. 3 of them run. 2 of them run well. 1 of them does not run and is for sale. 1 is in the garage with its guts hanging out while my husband works on the transmission. 3 are American, 1 is Japanese and one is British. 2 are blue, 1 is bright yellow, 1 is green and 1 used to be black but the paint is so bad that its look defies any color description.

Wow. Five cars. Why don't I feel rich? Because 3 of the cars are projects and the other two aren't paid for. Even the one that we are selling is a project, because work must be done to it before anyone will buy it.

Meanwhile, I have to get my Elantra to resolve the feelings about her new brother in a healthy and constructive way. I don't know why I don't just let it be. Since they are both adopted, this is a gray area. Besides, they are both automobiles and it's not like they will be making babies (go carts?). I guess I'll look the other way while my Elantra makes a fool of herself.
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today at the red light (it's the one on SH249, leaving the little town, heading toward the big town, just before it becomes a freeway - that's where the space time continuum breaks down, don't you know) I was the only non-SUV in sight.

Big hulking metallic beasts that they were, they had my Elantra surrounded. The SUVs looked hungry, like sharks with wheels, ready to jump on my little sedan and rip on out her gas tank and drink the contents. With gas prices being what they are, I can imagine why. Fortunately, just as one of the SUV's began to lunge, the light changed and my Elantra and I escaped. They would have been disappointed, I only had 1/4 tank or so. And an Elantra tank, at that. Barely enough to get an SUV around the block.

I take glee in that their owners can barely afford to feed those gas-guzzling monstrosities these days. I can only assume that as thier cars get larger, their children must get thinner.

"But, Mommy, please, I want to eat 3 times a day like we used to!"

"Sorry, Sophie, sorry, Joshua, but mommy and daddy needed a giant shiny, pretentious gas hog to impress the neighbors with. After the kittens are born, maybe we can start having protein for dinner again. Now, eat your saltines and be quiet!"

It's a sick, sick world, and I'm not really helping matters much by being in it. Then again, like most people, I'd rather be part of the problem rather than the solution. Being part of the solution requires work and time and commitment. Really, who has that kind of time?
ninanevermore: (Default)
Weather: Cloudy, humid and warm. High of 88. Thoughts: Hazy, dry and cool.

Today at the red light, I caught my car flirting with the vehicle next to us. I was shocked. The other car was a 1970-something Camero, a Frankenstein of a car with doors and fenders from other Cameros. Not the sort of thing a nice sedan from the suburbs should be flirting with at all. I was temped to turn off the engine and make my car go to sleep, until the bad-boy car she desired drove off, but I also didn't want to earn the hatred of the driver in the car behind me, so I bit my tongue and let my car behave shamelessly with monstrosity next to her.

When the light turned green, the Camero and his driver turned left and we went on our way. I decided not to bring up the subject with my Elantra, as it would only make her defensive. Who am I to judge? Sure, I'd rather she settle on a polite Saturn or a prosperous SUV. But I have also been known to long for dangerous men, myself. Nice men bore me to tears. I want a man who can swear and who's been in at least one bar fight in his life and who has broken the law without getting caught and who sewed so many wild oats when he was young that his past looks like a field of wild, delicious oats ready to be reaped, mixed with cinnamon and sugar and served up hot.

If I were a car, I probably would have flirted with that Camero, too. Sure, he was older and a little worn, but you could tell that he had it going on under the hood, which is what really counts.

At least I can be grateful that it wasn't a Hummer. If my car started chasing Hummers, I would have to get rid of her. I refuse to drive a gold-digger hussy of a car that would even consider a Hummer. It just wouldn't do.

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