A $7 Part

28 Feb

Ok, I drive a lot. A. LOT.

I know this.

And I’ve put a lot of miles on my car in the last year and a half. Fine. I’m ok with that.

But, I’m 2,610 miles past the 50,000 mile warranty (yes, terrible, I know) and in the last two weeks, I’ve dropped $400+ on stupid things for my 2009 Saturn Vue.

The thing, taunting me from my view in the office, of the 09 Saturn Vue in the driveway. Piece. of...

I mean, really, the ABS and traction control randomly quit working at 50,179 miles?? The outside temperature gauge went berserk this morning and, on a February Michigan morning my car insisted that it was 95 degrees outside.

Really.

Hmmm.

It got more interesting when the inside temperature controls, when I turned them to 85, blew hot air (good thing). But, if I turned it one click back from 85, then it was air conditioning like it really WAS 95 degrees outside or something and I needed to be cooled off (for the record, I didn’t).

At this point I had already woke up at 5:15 a.m., gotten ready to head to Indianapolis for the day, had Jon call from the road to say to wait til the sun was up to hit the road because the roads were so crappy, then waited, hit the road at 7:15 a.m., only to STOP on I-69 heading towards Indy, about a half hour from home. At which point, my Mom called.

“Do you know why you’re stopped on 69 right now?” she asked.

“No.”

“They shut down the expressway because there are so many accidents to clean up.”

Ok. Sweet. That explained why EVERYONE except the big trucks were taking the on-ramp as an off-ramp and getting off the expressway. So, I opted for my life instead of braving the roadways along 69 (notoriously crappy during days like these) and headed toward home with FREEZING or HOT-HOT my only options.

Called Suski’s and headed in there to get the egg fixed.

I sat there patiently for the first hour. Then I had a conference call I needed to be on. So, the female worker brought me my computer bag (“Man, that thing is HEAVY” she said. I did NOT respond: “Yes, I’m terribly important.” or something else snide). And, thankfully Suski had free wifi and I worked for the next three hours. Yes, I sat in the dealership’s ‘customer lounge’ for four hours.

Want to know what I encountered while I was there??

Well, to start, a woman who has to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and is a waitress at the Cracker Barrel on Pierson Rd. She carried on and on with some other random woman about how she hated all food, especially Cracker Barrel food, and how she didn’t like Mexican, so she wouldn’t be frequenting the new local restaurant that was Mexican. And she hates Chinese. The man, the infant in the car seat with him, and the two teenage boys with him seemed to appreciate this conversation as much as me.

Suddenly, the CBW (Cracker Barrel Waitress) turned to the man with the infant and said ‘Your son?’ ‘No,’ he responded.

‘Grandson?’

‘No. Foster.’

The CBW then proceeded to say that she wouldn’t be able to foster, she’d get too attached, etc. This, as the man told her how the one teen boy was his son and the other was a foster child.

I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the infant. Of course I am. It’s literally in my blood right now. BUT — this infant was 10 months old and still in one of those infant car carriers. Maybe that’s the rule, but this little guy (Wyatt, I found out) definitely no longer fit in that carrier.

He was awfully cute. And good. He just sat there. He got fussy at one point and the foster dad gave him some sort of food-bottle thing. That kept him quiet for awhile. Then, he needed a diaper change. Ok. Well, then it was finally time for the foster dad to go learn what they’d done to his car and pay for it. He says to his son, “Watch Wyatt” (which is how I learned the baby’s name was Wyatt).

No, as an aside, I was wondering what this man was doing fostering kids. He didn’t seem overly loving, but I guess that’s awfully hard to tell while sitting in the customer lounge at Suski’s. I kept waffling between ‘wow, this guy and his family are really doing something great in the world’ to ‘he doesn’t SEEM like he takes any pride or joy in the role he plays in these children’s lives — is he in it for the money’ (is there even money to be had in fostering or just tax write-offs?). Ok, back to my story.

Well, the son is about 17 or so. An awkward, acne-marked teen who is caught up in his iPod touch and some other video game thing. The baby is in the carrier (from which he hasn’t been removed in the hour+ we’ve all been sitting there) and the foster dad is now out of the room. 17 is now in charge. Wyatt starts fussing. And 17 says ‘Oh, Wyatt’ and that’s it. The baby continues to fuss, continues to cry.

I could NOT handle it.

The carrier was facing away from me, and the baby kept leaning around and stretching to look at me (I tell you, it’s in the blood). So, in my sweetest baby voice, I just went over and turned him around so he could face me. I didn’t move him close to me (though I wanted to) but I just talked to him. It had to be a good 15 minutes or so. The son and the foster son didn’t give it a second thought. But this little guy was SO cute. And had such a sweet disposition. And they just seemed to have ignored him while he was there that whole time. I’m sure it’s not the case when he’s home (wait, no, I’m not sure).

Anyway, that was my afternoon. I was trying to work and be on calls, all the time feeling as though this little guy wasn’t being given the attention he should have.

Who am I to say. I’ll be judged as a mother, that’s inevitable. But, as I sat there I truly couldn’t imagine as a mother having my child taken away (the case here) to be fostered because I couldn’t keep it together. But, it sounds like Wyatt’s mom is trying hard and is doing everything right to get him back.

I hope so. He seemed like such a nice boy with a bad stack of cards staring him down.

In the meantime, it was four hours, a $7 part from Flint and $89 in labor to fix my car. Again.

At least it’s no longer freezing me out. That damn car.

The iPad Keyboard & Book Club

24 Feb

Ok, so this is the first writing I’m doing on my iPad (proud owner since September 2010, courtesy of my boyfriend, Jon) with my new (purchased by me, today) iPad keyboard. I’m laying in bed and trying it out. So far, big fan of this keyboard. Making the iPad much more functional in some ways. At least in quick writing like this.

Anyway, today was book club. The book this month, was “The Murderous Urges of Invisible Women” I think. I didn’t read it — I found myself consumed with the stupid Marketing class for my MBA and quite tired. So, I didn’t read it. I like going to book club. THey are not women with whom I would probably seek to be friends, but I look forward to our monthly get together’s, hearing what Jackie, from Quebec, say in her lilting French Canadian accent. She speaks little, but says meaningful things and I really, really like that about her.

Helen and Millie are sisters and very different. Millie is quiet, but seems to pick up on just about everything. I think she’s spent a lifetime understanding the things that make other people tick. I’m glad that she has Helen to help make her tick. Helen cracks me up. She’s loud and fun and crazy and I like that about her.

Dotie is very interesting and I feel like she is one person that I would have hoped to be friends with had we not had book club. She just feels like someone I ought to be friends with. So I’m glad that we are.

And Sandy — she’s so great. I honestly don’t know what I would have done in my life without she and Bob. In many ways, they came into my life later, as key players, but they became two adult family and friends who I look to for support. They are really just great people with big hearts and I can only hope that our relationships continue to grow and strengthen. I’m so grateful to Sandy for bringing this collection of women into my life.

And of course, my Mom. IT’s interesting as these women talk about their relationships with their daughters, I wonder if my Mom can relate. We seem to have a relationship that these women don’t enjoy with their children. As always, eternally grateful for that.

Tonight’s thoughts, brought to you by the iPad Keyboard. Well worth the investment, though I think typing while in bed is going to lead to severe carpal tunnel issues.

Mighty McGee of Ogemaw

20 Feb

McGee died yesterday. He was a bichon frise — all white and ALL boy dog. And too cute for his own good.

He had a flat butt and was good-natured as he became a dress-up dog (the “Kanye” was a sweater vest and polo shirt; the Eddie Bauer golf shirt; the pants that I couldn’t figure out how to put on him “Lindsay, the hole is for his TAIL, not his XXXX”. Oops).

He lived at 4090 Ogemaw Shores for the first half of his life, with Jerry and Judy Thick (my grandparents). He was made customized dinners that he shared with my Grandpa and was loved by my Grandma in all ways possible. He knew the shore and loved the freedom he had to run up and down the shore at Clear Lake. But, in August 2006, that all changed. See, Judy died on August 9 and Jerry died on August 29. We were all shocked. So was the dog. My Dad, oddly, volunteered to take the dog.

And with that, another relationship began. McGee was quickly taught (I was going to say trained, but that implies that McGee actually WAS a d-o-g and we didn’t like to tell him that) how to golf. He could put a golf ball in a coffee cup the size of a golf hole. He was not allowed balatas and Titleists — they were too soft and he could easily get the covers off the balls (not a good thing for little dogs!). I remember vividly one day, the dog was golfing on the other side of the course with my Dad, riding on the golf cart or running beside it. I had called my Dad that I was at the house. He said, “I’m sending the dog home, call him” and, like a bat out of hell, he ran across the golf course home. He was so smart.

He loved water bottles. It was always his personal mission to get the plastic ring off from around the mouth of the bottle. Seriously, his favorite thing, I think. He also loved Hedgehogs and, mainly, tearing their stuffing insides out of them. He could tear apart a dog toy in Herculean time–he was very strong, you see.

He was not a big lover of small babies and children. He was curious, but not a fan of the pulling and yanking that goes on. In his younger years, he was quite snippy when touched from behind.

He liked to open the bathroom door while I was peeing, without fail. It was like he was just saying ‘oh, just seeing what you were doing in there. miss me?’.

When my Mom was on the phone and would walk in the door from work, he would bark incessantly. He wanted her attention. He would bark and bark while we were on the phone. Until, invariably, I would say to her, ‘would you pet him?!’ and she would, and then she’d say, ‘hold on, McGee wants to talk’ and she’d put the phone up to his ear, I’d talk to him and tell him how cute he was, and he’d be quiet long enough for us to finish our conversation. Seriously, so smart.

He loved to have his belly scratched. He’d rollover (like he did even yesterday for me) and have his belly scratched. All the way up and down. It always reminded me of my Grandpa, because he loved to scratch backs, especially when you were sitting at the counter at the cottage on a weekend morning. He’d scratch long and hard and deep — it was the best. McGee liked to have his belly scratched the way I liked to have my back scratched by my Grandpa. So, I did that for him. A lot.

One of my favorite things was cuddling with him on the couch. His perch. He’d climb up there and cuddle up beside me, and he’d be all warm. It never lasted terribly long – he was a dog dogged by distraction – but it was lovely to be loved like that.

He also loved treats. All kinds of them. He would bark and you’d say ‘shhh’ and he’d bark softly. Then, you’d give him a treat for being so smart.

My Grandma Carpenter would sometimes pick McGee up and take him to their house or out on the golf cart with her. I remember her saying one time, when she was babysitting McGee, that he was on the golf cart with her at the club and everyone knew McGee, or people would walk by and say ‘is that McGee?’. He was a golfing dog, and he was well-known at the country club.

While McGee was my grandparents’ dog for half his life, the other half, he was my parents — he was our family’s. I guess he’s a lot like my Mom in that way.

Nonetheless, I already miss him. I will always be glad of the time we got to share and the ways in which that little white dog saved me from my grief when my Grandma and Grandpa were gone. Because it was McGee that did it, carrying the burden of grief and longing on his tiny little shoulders.

He was little — but man, was he big.

We Got the House!

19 Feb

Well, it’s not official-official yet, but we are getting the house.

It’s the house my grandparents built, that I’ve loved and imagined living in for as long as I can remember (not sure why, there are definitely other, better houses out there). But, this is the house I wanted, in the location I wanted (note: critical). And, with a baby on the horizon, being close to our parents was never more of a priority for me.

I’ve already got a 10 page list of the things I want to do to the house. Now, I’m just trying to build them into a Google doc spreadsheet so that I can figure out what to prioritize.

Jon said last night on the way home that the first thing he wants to do is the fan. I was confused, there are a lot of ugly fixtures, and a lot of ugly ceiling fans. He was referring to the one in the master bedroom. His take is we finish our bedroom first, so that we have one room that feels done. Agreed. Moving on.

I want to go to Menards and walk around and get a feel for what he likes. He does not want to do this. I don’t think I will win this battle. This just means that Iwill get to decorate the house the way I want to (as if that were ever a question/concern anyway;)

Off to Sam’s – to purchase liters of water (SO thirsty) and fruit and veggies and chicken. This eating out doesn’t make me feel very good, too full because I can’t stop eating, so I’m going to try this route and make myself the things that sound good to me. Which, by the way, is grilled chicken, fruit, yogurt, veggies.

Happy Belated Birthday, Grandma

12 Feb
That’s right, Wendy, you’re going to be a Grandma.
Happy Birthday
Love, Lindsay, Jon & Baby (!)
It’s positive!

Christmas with The Women I Know

6 Feb

Better late than never…Christmas with the Thick family was an event (when is it not?). When we’re all in one spot, there are 19 of us. When you add in dates of some of the cousins (including Jon), there were 22 people crammed into my Mom and Dad’s house.

I love holidays with the family. From the menu selection to the “Signature Cocktail” each year, it’s always a shit-show of drunkenness. This year, playing Kinect on XBox was a fan favorite — of the adults, not just the cousins.

I love that my aunts all make the point to get together. As evidence of the good time we had, photos of These Women I Know.

Jody, Jenny, Wendy, Julie, Jill, donning their scares and headwear from Aunt Jenny. Five women, all Type A personalities, cannot possibly look at the camera at the same time, it turns out.

Love these ladies!

Sweet Maliya

6 Feb

My cousin, Amy, and her husband Brandon welcomed their sweet Maliya six months ago. They live in Tampa, Florida, now and my Mom and I really wanted to meet Maliya and see Amy and her mom, Kathy.

We headed to Traverse City last weekend and met Maliya, had lunch at Firefly downtown Traverse City (and lingered for about two hours, I think, and had complimentary dessert fondue from Chef Jeff) before going back to Kathy’s house, drinking wine, talking and enjoying the fire. The dusting of snow Sunday morning was SO pretty.

The view at Kathy's house in Traverse City Sunday morning.

So enjoyed seeing Amy and Maliya — love Maliya!

It was sad to have to leave on Sunday morning — but I was flying to Portland, Oregon, for work on Monday morning and had loads of homework to catch up on. Hopefully we get to see Amy and Maliya more often!

Sweet Maliya, January 2011

Look at those lashes!I think my Mom needs more baby in her life!!

I think my Mom needs more baby in her life!!

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