Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pens Pens Everywhere

Today's assignment has to do with pens. In many households, there are an abundance of pens that are dried up, don't work or just are not accessible in the place where they are most frequently used. So today, we are supposed to go through and get rid of the dud pens and keep out the stud ones. Slight paraphrase of the assignment, but you all understand exactly what I'm saying anyhow.

Now, a little confession, or actually, maybe a few of them. First off, I am a CNA and as such, I have pens galore. I also have a Tupperware business, as well as a knitting business. Plus, I have an addiction affection for great writing tools AND great writing surfaces. My issue is not so much that I can't find a pen when I need one or that I have old ones that don't work. It's more of the issue that I have pens for different purposes. I prefer a medium gel roller ball pen for writing resident's names on their supplies at work, but a sharpie would work just as well and I have recently taken to carrying one with me at work, following the example of another aide. For documenting, I prefer a fine tip ball point pen (in black ink so that it's legal). For my Tupperware business, I prefer to hand out cheap ball point pens that I get 20 to a package at the dollar store. Hubby prefers a hearty (and by hearty, I mean pricey) gel roller pen.

Then there are the pencils. I prefer mechanical pencils most of the time, although I must confess that sometimes there is just something about the feel and smell of a regular graphite pencil that I find gratifying and inspiring. Hubby prefers the new Sharpie liquid pencils. Once again, a "hearty" product. On the other hand, I have to admit - they are nice and I do keep one on hand to use myself. Natty prefers mechanical pencils over graphite ones and thankfully at this point, he hasn't developed more specific preferences yet. JoNo prefers the graphite pencils and Miss Punky Pie and Boo are willing to use whatever they can get their hands on. Now, if only we could get Boo to realize that toys and walls are NOT the best medium to use for his, ahem, artwork, we'd be set.

Wow. That was a major tangent. All of that to say that what I needed to do was round up our writing utensils and sort them out based on who uses them, where they are used and which item is the preferred instrument. So now that I have done that, I shouldn't have any reason to not have the right instrument at the right time to write with. Okay, the last part of that sentence was totally cheesy, but meh, it's my blog and I'll be cheesy if I wanna. :)

Today's assignment for throwing out old pens, pencils, crayons, etc. was worth 40 points with bonus points for adding the purchase of new ones to the shopping list adding on the potential of an additional 10 points.

Total for today: 50 points
Total for January: 260 points!

Time For Me Thursday

Hmm, trying to figure out what I want to write about. I did a few things for me today. The first was going shopping first thing this morning. I was actually waiting in Hubby's van outside the Target store near my house for about 10 minutes before they even opened their doors for the day. I was super stressed out by 8:30 in the morning, if that says anything. Hence the text to my best friend, Chris, "Arrrrggggghhhhh, so frustrated I just want to scream" at like 8am. So Hubby sent me out for some "me" time. I checked out the Christmas clearance at Target and spend a whopping $9.63 on TWO bags of ornaments. Some were big and some were small, and I don't know exactly how many I bought. They are the ones that you buy individually though. And I saved $81.00 on them too. Gotta love 90% off clearance sales. And I only got ornaments that I truly loved.

Hubby, Punky and I went out for lunch today. They let me join them on their usual Daddy/Daughter Thursday lunch date. Punky wanted McDonalds but we gave her a myriad of other options and she finally chose Red Robin. Though to be honest, even Red Robin is getting to be on the "oh no, please not that again!" list. But we went and got to sit in the section of one of our preferred servers, Casey.

She is really nice and fun and knows our kids. She and I have even hung out together away from her work. (As I said, it's starting to become a "please not there again" place - it shows when the people who serve you know you so well that you hang out with them too.) Anyhow, Casey even made Punky a strawberry shake that we didn't order - just to be nice. And we were invited to her son's 6th birthday party on Sunday at a laser tag place. It'd be something that Hubby, Natty and JoNo would enjoy - not so much Punky, Boo and I - although we'd likely go along, we just wouldn't play. Casey and her son, BayBay, share a birthday, which is actually on Monday. I think it'd be fun to go to the party. My kids have never met BayBay although I have. I think Punky and JoNo would get along well with him.

After lunch, we went out and did something that I've been wanting to do for almost a week now. But before I get to that part, I have to tell you a story first.

At the beginning of 2010, we had two vehicles, a 2000 Hyundai Elantra (mini) wagon and a 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan. We got the Elantra back in 2005, back when we were a family of four and I got pregnant with Punky just months after that. The Elantra seats five so all was good and well with that. Hubby also had a Honda which seated five. Then we got pregnant with and had Boo - and we needed to take both cars everywhere we went as a family. But thankfully, the Honda died in 2008 and we got the Grand Caravan, which seated seven and was just perfect.

Okay, fast forward to October of 2010 and just after I started the new job. I was driving the Grand Caravan and another driver rand a red light and hit my van, totaling it and turning Punky into an intense backseat driver. We got a new van the first part of November, just before Hubby and I took our 10th anniversary vacation. So then we had the 2000 Hyundai Elantra wagon and the 2003 Dodge Caravan.

Then in December, I was hit again by another driver who failed to yield. This time it was in the Elantra wagon. The car that hit me? A Cadillac. My door has been crunched in since then, and I can't open it from the outside and actually, I often have to open the back door before I can open the driver's door. This has been done by reaching across the seat from the passenger side to be able to reach both. So, the process looked something like this:

  1. Unlock passenger door
  2. Crawl in
  3. Reach across to unlock the driver's door (thereby unlocking all the doors)
  4. Reach into the back seat and open the back door
  5. Open the driver's door
  6. Crawl out
  7. Close passenger door
  8. Go around car and close back door
  9. Get in driver's door
  10. Close door
All of that just to get INTO my car.Okay, it was inconvenient, And on some of the -0* mornings, it was downright uncomfortable. And yes, I complained about it sometimes to Hubby. But for the most part, I was still grateful. The car still ran and I loved it. It got incredible gas mileage that I had never realized nor appreciated until I was commuting 120 miles each day.

So I was commuting my 120 miles each day with my crunched in door until late December. One morning as I was on my way home after having to stay half an hour late for work, I noticed that my battery seemed to be having a trouble keeping a charge. My head and dash lights would dim then come back to regular power. This happened a few times, then about 22 miles from work and 38 miles from home on a stretch of highway that isn't heavily traveled, I heard a pop followed by a hissing sound under the hood and then noticed steam starting to billow out from under the hood. It had happened once before last summer and back then something had casued my coolant to shoot out of the overflow hose onto the warm engine and so I had put more coolant in it to be able to drive it home until the thermostat could be looked at. It was looked at and fixed and running well. So when it happened again, i knew what it probably was. I pulled over, go out, checked the coolant reservoir and sure enough, it was empty but there was coolant on everything else under then sun hood. So I called Hubby, left him a message so he would know I was going to be late getting home, then called my father-in-law (from here on out referred to as FIL). Mind you, it was 6:55 a.m. at this point. I woke him up and told him what had happened. He offered to call a tow truck and to come get me. I told him that I didn't need a tow truck, I just needed some 50/50, explaining what it was and where to buy it. So, he got up, got ready to go, stopped at a gas station, bought the coolant and drove out to where I was. I had my knitting with me so I sat and knitted until he got there.

When he arrived, I refilled the reservoir and headed into the next town, eight miles away. By the time I got there, my car was overheating again, but the reservoir was full. We decided that since the car had made it those eight miles before overheating, that I would drive into the next town (another eight miles away) and then stop to let it cool down before going another six miles to get to the edge of the city we live in. Then to take periodic breaks driving it the remaining 14 miles to the service station that we use.

So off we went, with FIL following behind me. I made it almost a full mile before the car overheated again. I pulled into a stranger's rural driveway and via cell phone, FIL and I decided to go back to the town we had just left and to call the tow truck after all. So we did. It took AAA thirty minutes to find a tow truck and then another hour for it to get to us (by then it was 9:40 a.m.) The guy loaded up the Elantra wagon and took it to the service station we use.

The next day, I found out that it was going to cost nearly $7,000 to fix the wagon. Antifreeze and oil were mixing due to a broken gasket, the thermostat wasn't working properly and I had some sort of electrical issue as well, which is what had caused my dome light/horn/radio/cigarette lighter, etc. to not work either. We only paid $6,000 for it back in 2005 when it had 26,000 miles on it, so there was no way we were going to spend $7,000 to fix it now. The decision was made to start looking for a new car.

I looked at a number of sites, checked dealerships, etc. then found a car that I really wanted. It was a 2001 Hyundai Elantra sedan with similar mileage to my Elantra wagon and it was just as fuel efficient as my wagon too.

After lunch today, we went to the dealership and took it for a test drive. We did notice a few things that I wanted them to fix as part of the purchase agreement, and let them know about them. We then called Hubby's parents and they came down and took it for a test drive. We all discussed it and then put in an offer on the car that was $750 under the asking price, and the dealership accepted it! So now I have a new (to me) Hyundai Elantra sedan. And it's purty too!  See?