Posts Tagged ‘car’

A Little Holiday Warmth

The holidays are not my most favorite time of year. At best, I approach them the same way I would a category 4 hurricane: prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Here is part of my holiday wrap up.

For some ill-defined reason, I decided to take the new car for a drive into New England. My destination was a yarn store that is two hours and 45 minutes away, provided one knows how to get there.

The first inkling of trouble came not more than 15 minutes from home. The medication I take gives me terrible hot flashes. Usually they start with my ears, then proceed to the face and neck. This one was different. It started really fast on the backside of my thighs, rear end and back. I pulled the car to the side of the road and got out to get some cold fresh air. I had never experienced a hot flash that travelled so fast and grew so intense so quickly.

When I went to get back into the car I touched the seat with my hands and immediately jumped away. The seat was hot to the touch. If my hot flash was that intense to make the seat that hot was I just seconds away from self-immolation? Thinking I might go up in flames at any moment, I pulled out my cell phone, paced along the side of the road, and called The Skipper.

I told him that the hot flash was so intense it made the driver’s seat of the car hot. “I might explode into flame at any moment, what should I do?” I asked.

He gave a low chuckle and said he used the car that morning and turned on the heated seat feature. All I had to do was turn it off. Really. I didn’t even know the car had that feature. It is the last thing someone with hot flashes wants.

He described where the seat heating control was and how to turn it off. I waited 5 minutes for the seat to cool before I got back in. If I had been in my right mind, I would have turned around and headed home. Instead, I drove on.

The last time I used the car was to go to the dentist for oral surgery. At that time, I had half a tank of gas which was plenty for someone facing immediate death. However, it is not enough gas to get from New York to my destination in Massachusetts. At the behest of the car which was now talking and dinging about low fuel, I pulled into a busy station on the highway and got in line to get gas. How hard can it be to fill up a car with gas?

When it was my turn at the pump I got out, walked around to where the gas opening was and I couldn’t open it. I pulled, pried, banged, all the while trying to act cool like I knew what I was doing. The thing wouldn’t open. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see more cars getting in line waiting and I was unable to access my gas tank. My cool act of knowing what I was doing quickly crumbled as I madly tried to pull the darn thing open. That’s when a man about 3 cars behind mine exited his car and started walking toward me. Naturally I thought he’s going to shoot me and who can blame him, I’m holding up this whole line of cars. Instead he said, “You have to open it from inside the car.” He leaned in the driver’s side, pulled a little lever on the floor and like magic the thing opened. I thanked him profusely. It was my little moment of Christmas warmth.

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The Talking Car

Today is the last post of 2015. I hope it is not the last post of my life, however. Oral surgery is on the list of must-do-things today. I wasn’t even going to touch the computer today, much less get on the internet because I am madly struggling not to google “oral surgery deaths”.  But the new car I have sends me emails after I drive it and I was curious as to what it said after yesterday’s little fiasco.

Yes, it seems privacy even while driving has gone the way of Latin as an everyday language. When I got in the little devil yesterday it said “Welcome”. I thought I was having an auditory hallucination, but the screen on the dash also lit up with the word. I hadn’t even put the key in the ignition yet, all I’d done was sit in the seat. I was wary. I didn’t want to touch anything.

It was raining out, pouring actually, but I needed to run some errands, not the least of which was to gather enough food for The Skipper and Yarn Rascal to see them through at least a week should I die in oral surgery. So I talked myself into being brave and turned on the car. It told me it was raining and the roads were wet. How did it think I would miss that info? Did it think I teleported into the car? Am I so bind I can’t see the rain on the windshield?

After locating the windshield wiper gizmo I put the car in drive and it told me the ideal goal of the amount of gas per mile it wanted to use today if we were running errands around town and the ideal goal for highway driving. I’m counting down the last hours of my life trying to get my ducks in order and it’s worried about gas mileage.

It’s holiday time. Store parking lots are crowded. I spent a good amount of time just cruising slowly looking for a parking space. The car doesn’t like this type of driving. The slower I go the more gas I use and the less mileage I get. I was messing up it’s stated goals for the day.

The next shocker to it’s system was when I got caught in a traffic jam. A normal 15 minute drive took an hour and a half. The car was not happy.

Should I live through today’s oral surgery, the first item on my must-do list will be to take the talking car to the dealer and see whether we can deactivate it’s gas mileage fixation before it becomes my gas mileage phobia.

Oh yes, the car did send me an email summing up our little outing yesterday. Seems I didn’t reach the gas mileage goal, but I did use the windshield wipers properly. Air tire pressure was good as was the amount of oil and transmission fluids. It alerted me that I was nearing half a tank of gas. Half a tank of gas is plenty for a person facing imminent death.


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It’s been rather crazy here. First up in my insane world, the Train To Maine hat is complete.

train to maine knit hat

This is only the second hat I’ve knit for myself. One, I’m not a hat person. Two, they rarely fit my head even though I get gauge. Three, I hate it when it comes down to knitting the top of the hat. By the last row of decreases I feel like I’ve been in a cage match and I resent whoever invented double-pointed needles. Then I run the yarn through the remaining stitches pulling tight, just like the pattern says, and snap goes the yarn.

The Train to Maine pattern was blessedly knit flat and sewn together. The seam is truly invisible with this pattern. I loved knitting it and I enjoyed finishing it. But I haven’t gotten a chance to wear it. Since I knit the hat the weather has been a balmy 60 degrees (15.5 C). That’s a good 30 degrees warmer than normal. It’s really not hat weather at all.

The two yarns I used are Miss Babbs Yummy 3 ply in Oyster and Dream in Color Smooshy in Peacock Shadow. I can’t say enough nice things about the Miss Babbs yarn. So I will just say it is beautiful to work with and turns out lovely items. While Smooshy is one of my go to yarns, I had a problem with it this time. The deep indigo dye stained my wooden needles. Normally when I have deep colored yarns I put the whole skein in for a hand wash to see how much it bleeds and clear most of the bleeding out. I didn’t this time. My bad. So yes, that is an unblocked hat in the picture above. I hope the entire winter stays warm so I don’t have to wash it.

In my endless pursuit of a serene life I have failed miserably. The car I had for 13 years and grown very attached to is in the car lot in the sky. The snowstorms and bad driving conditions it got me through with ease made this car specially dear to my heart. But it had lived its life. The new car arrived this weekend. The most I have done is walk around it once and eye it suspiciously. I haven’t gotten behind the wheel. Heck, I haven’t even sat in it. I don’t resent it, I just don’t trust it. The Skipper says I have to get over this. I know I need to build a relationship with this car, it’s just that…I want my old one back. I never realized all the places I go to are not in walking distance.

Next up this week is major oral surgery. As my phobia of all things connected with dentists continues unabated, more things go wrong with my mouth thanks to the breast cancer, the radiation and the cancer medicine.

With all this going on, I decided to cast on a shawl with a lace pattern that I have failed over and over to get right. I thought it might take my mind off all the other things. This time around I only started over three times while I ripped back five. As added help, I’m not using a life line. I feel I should be able to read the knitting and know where I am. Yes, even my knitting is not relaxing at the moment.

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For the first time in a long while I can say that I may be starting to feel better. Yesterday I felt like mush, but today I’m feeling a bit more like uncooked oatmeal, a bit sturdier.

The interesting news, however, is I got the muffler on the car fixed yesterday and for the first time in ages I rolled up the driveway and was not greeted by Sammy! I gingerly got out of the car, careful not to slam the door shut. Looked fore and aft, even under the car. No Sammy. Perhaps it was the muffler noise that attracted him. Bad news is I am kind of worrying about him. I hope he’s alright wherever he is. On the other hand, I walk around the yard on tippy toes expecting him to suddenly appear.

Yarn Rascal has a tick infection. We are going to start the medication routine tomorrow. We give him preventive flea and tick medication monthly so how this came about is something I want answered. Yarn Rascal is very sensitive to all medications so any time we have to go the medication route it’s a bit unnerving. He gets reactions to his normal yearly shots. I’m going to get out his favorite Shetland Yarn and put it in the bed with him. Maybe it will be a lucky charm and we’ll get through the course of meds without any complications.

The blanket I am making my father is here. I nixed the turquoise, he’s just not a turquoise person, and substituted a dark heathered brown. I kept the dark and light greys and the cream. I wanted the blanket to resemble the colors of agates I have seen and admired. The knitting is going nicely. I haven’t hit that point yet where nothing seems to move forward, but I’ve only completed 2 of the 8 strips.

I am going to try taking pictures on my cell phone and uploading them to my computer to see if that is less aggravating than camera to computer. But I suspect it is the photo software I am hating and not the tech items.

As of yesterday, I am officially rooting for winter to arrive. Temperatures of 90 F / 32 C are beyond me unless I’m a cactus.

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I’m trying out a new life style. One in which states like calm and serene out number frazzled and anxious during a 24 hour period. I tried it yesterday and it almost worked.

Dad is out of the hospital, which is good. However I am still going at things full speed like a person who has no sense. So I decided that while I was working on my list of errands I would practice staying in the moment and keep myself open to the interesting and beautiful things around me. I would take time to breathe easily and enjoy.

I have a cold that just won’t quit and so I went to visit my doctor yesterday. Western medicine and I are slowly but assuredly parting ways, but that’s a whole other rant. I decided to take the scenic route to the doctor’s office. The one that meanders through the small river towns where you can see beautiful glimpses of the river and valley. It went fairly well except for those drivers who were determined to go 60 mph in 30 mph zones. I was determined that they wouldn’t get to me and for the most part I succeeded.

After the doctor I went to my organic food store and serenely pondered over products in the health department. I am in the learning phase of alternative medicine. I don’t want products that will set off my cancer or will interfere with the cancer drug I am taking, so I am proceeding cautiously. I came away with my old favorite Vitamin C. While western medicine puts no faith in Vitamin C helping colds and immune system, I do and it has worked for me before.

I was in a peaceful state when I turned into my driveway and started up the hill. I was planning on going inside, taking a Vitamin C and meditating for 5 minutes. Then I was planning on picking up my knitting and shooting my serenity to smithereens by watching an episode or 3 of Homeland. That show is the bane of my existence, at the moment.

When I got to the top of the drive where I park, I noticed a rather long black stick in the middle of it. I put on the brakes because it really was too straight for a stick and I didn’t want to run over it. I put the car in park and in my serene state opened the door to get out and get a closer look to move whatever it was.

I had one foot on the ground when the stick lifted it’s head and a small black forked tongue wiggled from it’s mouth. I really do not like snakes, though I respect their right to live. It was a black racer snake. Serenity vanished in an instant, my body went rigid, I flung myself backwards into the car, slammed the door and proceeded to scream at the top of my lungs while crouching on the front seat.

Screaming in an enclosed car adversely affects the ear drums. No matter how much I screamed, The Skipper, who was in the house, couldn’t hear me. The snake, who I’ve named Sammy, and I were at a stand still. He wasn’t moving, I wasn’t moving except for my vocal chords and we stayed like that for a bit.

Finally I thought that maybe the car was spooking him. So I turned off the ignition and along with it the air conditioning and waited. I had screamed myself out. Only little whimpers came from my vocal chords. It was another few minutes before Sammy moved on and I could park in my regular spot then run like the wind into the house croaking out the word “snake”.

With my serenity out the window, I nixed the meditation, popped a vitamin C and turned on Homeland. I was finally in the proper frame of mind and emotion to thoroughly enjoy it. In fact it looked rather calming after the stand off with Sammy. So much for my new life style.

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Sometimes life gives you a heads up when a rough patch is coming. Little signals warning that perhaps staying in bed with the covers over your head might be a good idea. Such was the case yesterday.

I received my warning while sipping my morning tea and watching the birds play in the bird bath in our Serenity Garden. A young bluebird dropped dead in the birdbath. Right then and there I should have gone upstairs, rearranged the yarn vault and made a space for myself, sat down in said space and closed the door.   Instead I buried the poor thing and called the local Audubon Society to see if anything unusual was happening with the birds these days. They had not received reports of masses of birds blue or otherwise dying in the area.

Not heeding the warning of the powers-that-be that I was the bug and the rest of the world the windshield for a day I turned on my computer to find I didn’t have a computer. I had a black screen, but not a computer. Of course my whole life is on that computer. I started hyperventilating. So I searched and found a plain brown paper bag that I could breathe into just before I passed out. What good is backing up all your info when what goes wrong with the computer prevents you from ever accessing the info or the restore point? These were just some of the thoughts that ran through my head as a breathed in and out, the paper bag soothingly crinkling which each breath.

Once my breathing was under control, I got in the car (mistake) and went to the pharmacy to pick up the heartburn medication the doctor prescribed. He seems to think my acid reflux is coming from the hit the esophagus took from the radiation treatments for my breast cancer and the routine stress in my life. Stress? What stress?

The pharmacy was open but not working. It had some strange power failure 10 minutes before I arrived and no medications were being dispensed because all their systems were down. I could feel my esophagus release more acid in delight.

I went back to the car and began to drive to the place where my computer will hopefully be repaired. No soon had I gotten on the highway then the “check engine” light came on and a strange metal on metal sound came from somewhere under the hood. What I know about cars is when something goes wrong I need someone other than me to fix it. Hence I turned around and the car squealed all the way home.

By now my entire esophagus was bathing itself in acid, like a diva in a bubble bath. The Skipper said the car wasn’t terminal. If I didn’t want it to squeal I needed to shut of the air conditioner. It was 87 F / 30.5 C with close to the same dense, suffocating humidity one finds in an Amazon Rain Forest. Driving without air conditioning was not an option. He made an appointment with the mechanic for next week.

Today I am getting into that forsaken car again. I will try to get my medicine then I will try to drop off the computer to be fixed. Oh yes, and I will return my now over due books to the library. But before all that, I will call the vet because Yarn Rascal just chewed up an ant bait trap. I hate being the bug.

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Yarn Rascal lives. I am hoping the yarn has passed through his little system. He stole one of the aluminium crochet hooks last night when I wasn’t feeling well, so today I am concerned with aluminium poisoning, although he seems to be fine.

Yesterday was the MRI. Seriously, King Tut had more room swaddled in his mummy linens than any human has in an MRI machine. I ended up getting sick from the contrast solution, a result I did not experience with last year’s MRI. I won’t know the test results until I see the doctor in two weeks. Needless to say, my not feeling well last night led to Yarn Rascal’s opportunity to seize the crochet hook. I’ve said it before and it is true, he knows no bounds. I really need to see if there are summer obedience courses I can take him to.

The fire sale battery is still in the car. Every time I turn on the car I flinch, expecting it to explode. While I’m driving I sniff the air searching for a whiff of smoke or any strange smell that might indicate impending fire or explosion. It is not a comfortable way to drive. My anxiety and blood pressure increases at the thought of getting into the car I once loved and felt safe in. Much to The Skipper’s dissatisfaction, his great find is going to be unplugged, ripped out and replaced. He just doesn’t know this yet.

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