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Category Archives: life

This. Fucking. Week. From six fucking months ago — Part THE LAST

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I had plans.

Pumpkin, chocolate, and yellow cakes at the ready.

Grand plans.

It’s going to look to great!

The GRANDEST of plans.

B. Kliban is one of our favorite artists and we have tons of books, calendars, stickers, etc.

But my plan all went to hell and I ended up crying to my daughter at 11 PM the night before her birthday confessing that my cake plan for her was just not going to work out.  I don’t know why I do this kind of shit, but I do.  I drive myself crazy, stay up all night getting every last little detail done and still end up feeling like a horrible failure.  I’m too exhausted to fully enjoy the actual experience of a birthday.  Somewhere along the line it went from “giving a memorable birthday experience” to…whatever bullshit I turned it into.

Y’all, I threw out ALL OF IT.  I made a new cake the next day, simple and plain, but edible.  I hated how it looked but Robin liked it which, while that’s the whole point, somehow makes me feel worse about the whole thing.   I didn’t even take a picture of it.  Shame and self hate and just waves and waves of embarrassment, but for what?  Seriously, for what?  I have AMAZING children.  Like, way, way out of my league kind of amazing.  I have never raised them with some kind of ego-maniacal mindset of I DEMAND PERFECTLY SCULPTED CAKES, PEASANT!  She just wanted a pumpkin cake and to have a good time on her birthday.  Like a normal human being.  Josh is the same way.  I am just all sorts of anxiety ridden bat shit insane.

So intensely long story short, most of my problems are probably created by me with a little bit of help from a predictably shitty universe.  We are coming around to the next kid birthday in less than two weeks and I’m doing my best to be prepared without beating myself up over it or staying up all night.  There will be cake AND pie involved but no insanity.

This. Fucking. Week. — Part Three (Finally)

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Cake.  I promised to talk about cake.  But first, let’s talk about Robin’s birthday activity.

For years, we have all been wanting to visit Noah’s Ark.  Robin is crazy about animals, especially cats, so an animal sanctuary famous for its big cats was too good to pass up.   If you’re not familiar with this little animal sanctuary in the middle of Georgia, it became famous for their “BLT” trio:  a bear, lion, and tiger.  From their website:

BALOO THE AMERICAN BLACK BEAR (URSUS AMERICANUS), LEO THE AFRICAN LION (PANTHERA LEO), AND SHERE KHAN THE BENGAL TIGER (PANTHERA TIGRIS TIGRIS); KNOWN AS “THE BLT” CAME TO NOAH’S ARK IN 2001 AFTER THEY WERE DISCOVERED BY POLICE OFFICERS IN A BASEMENT OF AN ATLANTA HOME DURING A DRUG RAID. AT ONLY A FEW MONTHS OLD, ALL THREE CUBS WERE FRIGHTENED, MALNOURISHED, AND INFECTED WITH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PARASITES WHEN THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES BROUGHT THEM TO NOAH’S ARK.

The trio became quite famous for their bond and it’s one of our greatest regrets that we didn’t get a chance to see them in their prime.  Unfortunately Leo the lion passed away in 2016 and Shere Khan followed in 2018.

Baloo, an American black bear, was in the worst condition of the three cubs rescued with a severely ingrown harness digging into his flesh because it was never loosened as he grew in size. The harness was so ingrown that his flesh had begun to grow over and around it, and surgical intervention was required to remove the harness and clean his deep, infected wounds. During Baloo’s surgery was the only time the three BLT brothers have ever been separated from one another, and Shere Khan (tiger) and Leo (lion) became extremely agitated because of it, pacing and vocalizing for the lost member of their family to return. After his surgery, Baloo was returned to his brothers and the three have been together ever since, with hardly a quarrel between them. […] We have a bereavement plan in place for Baloo and will be monitoring him closely to ensure that loosing his last brother doesnt take an adverse physical toll on his health. He was with Shere Khan this morning every step of the way and will be present for his burial as well, just like he was for Leos burial.

The weather for the week of Robin’s birthday was wasn’t bad except for her actual birthday.  The temperature in middle Georgia that day was in the high 90s and we were very ill prepared to walk the outdoor animal sanctuary.  Never mind that it was only about a mile to a mile and a half of trails.  We were overheating like crazy and I genuinely thought I or the kids were going to get literal heat stroke.  They were NOT sweating and just turning red; luckily, I was sweating like a pig.

This was literally the first exhibit. The looks of horror on my children’s faces when we explained they were having sex. HAPPY TRAUMATIC BIRTHDAY!

Most of my pictures are of fences with animals waaaay off in the background which is fine. That means they’re not crammed up to be gawked at by slack jawed yokels like me.

I desperately wanted to cuddle, even in the heat.

It’s not the fanciest place considering you can go for free—yes, FREE.  They run entirely on donations, proceeds from their gift shop, and other products that directly benefit the animals.  You know you want to buy a lion or tiger an indestructible toy ball!  A slow pace and making bee lines to shaded bench areas was all that was getting us through.  Being the complete idiot I am, I didn’t think at all that we’d need water because of how short the trail was.  There were no fountains along the trail or in the gift shop that I could remember.   All of the water from the park comes directly from a well on the property.  A sulfur well.  So not only was it lukewarm well water, it also smelled of rotten eggs.

That explained the bathroom smell, at least.

Bottled water from the lone vending machine was $2 each for which we eagerly paid.   Seeing the animals was a great experience but overall the weather absolutely ruined it.

The price of admission is really reflected in terms of the general feeling of wear throughout the property, but for the most part, the animals have large open spaces to move about.  It’s far from perfect, but leagues better than some other so-called sanctuaries we’ve visited in the past.  For the record, we did give a monetary donation and bought the kids some tee shirts, magnets, and stickers, most of which have since been lost.

One plus was the local Burger King/gas station combo.  It sounds silly but that place was HEAVEN.  The bathrooms were HUGE and clean, there was a waiting area to cool off and recharge figuratively and literally with comfortable lounge chairs and couches with accessible outlets to charge devices.  It was near the highway so they were built specifically for highway traffic.  Standard Burger King fare and gas station tchotchkes of course, but 10/10 would recommend stopping on a scorchingly hot birthday excursion.

This. Fucking. Week. — Part Two

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Tuesday.  Tuesday was going to be my day.  My plan was high frustration, but high payoff.  First, I had to drop my car off at the dealership for a diagnostic.  Back in November 2018, I was finally able to trade in my (13 year old!) car for newer wheels.  I’m now the owner of my third red car, a 2015 Chevy Equinox.

My car, having a good, thoughtful stare out into the sea…

The 13 year old car was a silver 2005 Saturn Vue bought new when I was young and determined to prove that I had become a Real Adult.  Obviously that whole ‘adult’ thing never happened and while buying new is kind of financially terrible, driving it to the very end of 13 years really does make it cost effective.  And honestly, if Saturn hadn’t gone out of business and I could get parts more reliably I’d probably still be driving it.  That Saturn lasted me through multiple accidents (none of which were my fault, thankyouverymuch), thousands of hours of commuting, buying my first (and only) house, and two babies and everything that comes with that.

Though it was sad to see him go, I love this new (to me) car.  I love that the interior is chocolate and black with red stitching.  I love that the air conditioner is not only functional, but efficient!  I love that it can hold about three or four more gallons of gas than my old car so my low fuel light come on fractionally less.  I especially love that when the hatch to the trunk is opened, it stays open—a luxury that I lived without for years in my previous vehicle.  Bonus:  auxiliary port for my cell phone, cup holder arm rest in the back, remote start which is borderline Kitt/Christine magic.  I’M LIVING IN 2015!

Jogging back up the beach after a quick splash…

However, used cars always have that hint of lemon freshness to them and this car has had electrical issues from day one.  Issues with the information screen (it has an information screen!) having long delays connecting, speaker volume cutting in and out, collision alarm going off for absolutely no reason on a completely open stretch of road.  The biggest and most annoying issue is the passenger seat belt alarm triggering regardless of what is in the seat.  Groceries?  ALARM.  Cell phone?  ALARM.  Heavy backpack?  ALARM.  Oxygen molecules?

MOTHER

FUCKING

ALARM

MOTHER

FUCKER.

Earlier this year I scheduled an oil change and asked the service center to check on a very specific issue:  my car creaks.  Like, a 100 pound kid can hop in and the frame squeaks and creaks.  If-this-car’s-a-rockin’ type squeaks.  I also asked about the sensitivity of the passenger seat belt alarm and was immediately shut down about that one with the excuse that it’s “sensitive” and everyone complains about it.

Okay, sure.

The service people said there was nothing actually wrong with the frame or suspension and to just ignore the creaking.  Again, okay, sure.  But a few weeks ago my car died in the parking lot at Josh’s Korean class.  This may come as a shock, but my car died because my battery died.  Even more shocking?  The shit battery was the biggest culprit of all of my electrical issues as it was completely past its life span when it was sold to me.

If they hadn’t blown off my concerns 6 months ago, I would not have been stuck dead in a parking lot in 100 degree heat because my battery would have already been replaced.  For the record, the Chevy Equinox’s battery is completely stupid to replace and is under computer sensors and just generally more complicated than any other car I’ve had in the past.

Circled is the actual invisible ninja battery.

 

Oh, the good ol’ days where you didn’t have to move heaven and earth just to get to your car battery.  For the record, circled below is where you can jump start the battery, labeled 1 and 2 in the previous picture.

Also, car batteries have a life of about 3 years, depending on the battery.  I purchased this car in November of 2018, to past the 3 year mark.  It may seem like a small issue, but it obviously led to a real pain in the ass and I’m lucky it wasn’t a worse situation.

So now that all that backstory has been laid out, Tuesday was the first day I could get an appointment at the dealership for a diagnostic.  I was still having sporadic electrical issues even after changing the battery.  I was very specific:

  • These issues are occurring even after the new battery was installed
  • These issues are sporadic and unpredictable.  Random.  Arbitrary.  Haphazard.  Other synonyms.

Their initial diagnostic came from OnStar which gave a detail of all the electrical issues I’ve been having…but no date stamp?  So maybe these issues were from yesterday, last month, or last year!  What an amazing and useless service.  Fact:  OnStar is useless if your battery dies.

Also a fact: my dealership service center is useless.  After all of the necessary detail and discussion, the Mr. still got a call asking if these issues happened before or after the battery change.  They then proceeded to tell him that they couldn’t do anything unless they knew how these problems were being triggered because saying that the issues were sporadic and unpredictable wasn’t clear enough, I guess.  They also kept my car overnight and didn’t bother to call and let me know.  The service center closes at 6 PM and after multiple calls, the Mr. finally got a text saying they didn’t find anything wrong and would have to keep it all day Wednesday.  No, they  would not be offering a rental through our warranty plan as they were still unsure of the cause of the issues and therefore it couldn’t be determined if it was a warranty issue.

Hard pass, we said we’d pick it up on Wednesday because fuck it.  Who needs a reliable electrical system?

Let me tell you, that $3,000 bumper to bumper warranty is just paying for itself.

Not having a vehicle in the midst of this whirlwind life was shit.  I know this is absolutely a first world problem but fuck that, I live in this first world and suddenly not having access to something that I’ve had almost daily for 24 years is debilitating.  Even if the car was going to be unavailable for most of the day, nothing indicated that it would be a full day/overnight/next day thing.

But if that were the only frustration on Tuesday I probably would not be writing about it.  My stress about the new office and Robin’s birthday were still very raw and only exacerbated when I received my shipment in from Party City.  Somehow, I only got one pack each of dinner plates, dessert plates, and dessert napkins.  I also ordered balloons in error—we decided to ban helium balloons this year because my local Party City is shit.

Even though I’m dumb, the stuff was still cute.

Tangent:  in college, there was a greasy spoon called Pancake City and everyone called it Pancake Shitty.  Isn’t college is just the center of creativity and wit?  Something I learned quickly:  do not order anything except breakfast there or you’re gonna have a bad time.

So Party Shitty is thusly named because they never have balloons in stock.  They always have something just off—no red star balloons, but they have heart balloons.  Or they have two yellow balloons when you need a dozen.  They also run out of helium a lot and then store use their disposable helium cans so you can’t buy those instead.  Oh, this giant pyramid of helium tanks?  Not for sale.  This has added to birthday stress in the past and between that and the rising cost of mylar and latex, we cut out the balloons completely.

Honestly, I don’t know why I only got one of everything.  I want to believe it’s a never-ending conspiracy of the universe to follow the old adage of when it rains, it pours.  But more likely is that in my last-minute panic and hurry I just fucked up the order.  I did go out to get additional plates, napkins and tchotchkes on Wednesday after I got my car back.  I also stopped by Office Depot to pick up the printed copies of party games I made and submitted online the night before.  How long could it possibly take to print out about 20 color pages?

Well, according to Office Depot, 24 hours.  I read my paper wrong and thought 12 hours—7 AM the next day after submitting (and paying for) my order at 7 PM the night before.  As Hitler once said, my bad.  The lady was nice and said they could probably be done by noon or 1 and that they’d call me when it was done.

You know where this is going, right?

3 PM came and went.  Since the order was placed under the Mr.’s account I had him call that evening to check on it.  After talking to an obviously surprised and flustered print department employee, they assured us it would be done by 7 PM and they’d call us when it was ready.

You know how this story is going to turn out, right?  I mean, I’m going to finish it, but I feel like I’m being painfully predictable here.

No call, no text, but miraculously, an email showed up notifying us that the order was ready for pick up.  At 8:50 PM.  Office Depot closes at 9 PM.

I haven’t even gotten to the cake yet.