So, my car tried to eat me this weekend.

My car tried to eat me this weekend. Well, it tried to trap me in its bowels, which is close enough. It was definitely a Stephen King moment in my life which is typically devoid of horror movie motifs. I prefer to think of my life as an offbeat comedy, somewhat lacking in major plot developments, but featuring lovable characters, not killer cars.

Last Saturday around seven I got in my car to grab some dinner, turned on the engine, and suddenly heard a horrible CHUNKA!-CHUNKA!-CHUNKA! sound, like squirrels were pelting my car with walnuts, which would have been just one more reason I’d be glad to be moving out of this neighborhood already. After I took about two seconds to FREAK THE HELL OUT, I turned off the engine and the sound continued, which is when I finally figured out I wasn’t being attacked by the local wildlife. Instead, my power locks were having an epileptic seizure.

To make things worse, turning off the engine and removing my keys from the ignition did nothing to stop the problem, which makes sense if you think about it. If working locks depended on having your key in the ignition, we’d all have to become a locksmiths to get back inside our cars. And if we were all locksmiths, why bother having locks at all?

So, there I was, sitting in the parking lot on the weekend at an hour when most mechanics were probably closed, in car that was both locked and unlocked like some twisted Schrodinger’s cat experiment I did not choose to be a part of. My first instinct was to ignore the problem and deal with it later, because that’s always my first instinct. But I couldn’t really abandon my car in this state. Someone could break in and steal my collection of CDS from the 90’s! Also, I was really hungry, and I didn’t want to drive to Panera like this.

So do you know what I did? I READ THE MANUAL. I know. Horrors! As someone who works with computers, reading the manual is looked down upon with scorn. It’s like admitting you don’t already know the answers to everything. It’s awful. But I did it. I figured there must be a fuse somewhere that I could yank to disable the power locks, hopefully without disabling everything electrical in my car because I really didn’t want to lose all my radio presets. I was able to locate the fuse box on the passenger’s side of the main console, find the fuse pullers velcroed to the back of the fuse box panel, and I pulled the right fuse (on the second try, sorry, cigarette lighter). And the seizure ended. Yay!

At this point I wanted to give myself a round of applause for exorcising the devil from my car without having to call a priest. There really is something empowering about fixing a problem you’ve never encountered in a field you know next to nothing about, all while listening to a horrible CHUNKA!-CHUNKA!-CHUNKA! sound. I owned that car! Which is only proper, because I actually do own it. Self-reliance is a powerful drug.

Now let me speak the question I’m sure is on your mind, “Jennette, are you still able to unlock your door with your key fob?” The answer is, YES! By some miracle I am still able to unlock the driver’s door with my key fob, though the same can’t be said for the rest of the doors. But who cares about those doors? After I pulled that fuse I was struck with the terror that from now on I might have to unlock my car door WITH A KEY. How awful that would have been! I might as well start getting off the couch to flip through the TV channels.

I should probably take the car to a mechanic to make sure this incident isn’t the first sign that something is wrong with my entire electrical system. Thankfully I can drive there without my car beat-boxing the whole way.

Longtime blog reader Jacqui to be on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition on Sunday, June 10th

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

Jacqui has been reading my blog for a long time. I just searched the comments on my old PastaQueen blog to see that she’s been reading since 2007 and has posted well over a hundred comments, so she’s earned a high rank in the Macaroni Military. Salute! She used to comment as JEM from the now defunct site agirlworthlosing.blogspot.com, if you’re curious. I recognized her email address right away when she contacted me earlier this year to put together her web site. It’s strange, yes, but I know some of you better by your email addresses than by your given names.

Anyway, Jacqui needed a web site because she’s being featured on the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition this Sunday, June 10, at 9:00 Eastern Time. (She’s up against the Tony’s, I know, so DVR that and watch Jacqui live, ok? Neil Patrick Harris will understand.) The episode is two hours long, so settle in with your butter-less popcorn.

I can also tell you, there’s no better reminder to get a client’s site done than to keep seeing promos for her show while you’re watching the Indy 500. Every 20 laps I was like, “D’oh! Gotta’ launch that site soon!” For more info:

Big congrats to Jacqui! I’m looking forward to watching her episode.

You never know if you’re Douglas Adams or Ray Bradbury

Back in March 2000 I saw Douglas Adams and Ray Bradbury speak at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis. Admittedly, I made the three hour drive from college to see Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, but Ray Bradbury was a nice bonus. Douglas Adams was as lively and funny as you’d expect him to be from his writing. He strode purposely across the stage while he read from his books and didn’t sit down once during his presentation.

Then Ray Bradbury came out. He was an elderly, overweight man who was rolled out in a wheel chair. I also think he had an oxygen tank, but my memory might have embroidered that detail on later because I perceived him to be in such poor health. He’d recently had a stroke and was clearly still recovering. Despite all that, he too gave a fascinating presentation about his life and writing experiences. It was a great night and I was very happy I’d managed to make it the event

However, if you’d have asked me which one of these men would be dead within the next 15 months, I would have bet all my money, my car, and my meal card on Ray Bradbury (if I’d owned a car). The man seemed to have his left axel in the grave already. But it was not Ray Bradbury who died in May of the next year; it was Douglas Adams who had a heart attack at age 49.

In the years since then, I’ve occasionally thought of that night and Googled Ray Bradbury to see if he was still live. And up until last Tuesday he always was! That dude just kept on rolling. My browser history proves that I last checked his Wikipedia page in May, less than a month ago. But no one lives forever, and he finally checked out of the planet at age 91, which is almost twice as much time as Douglas Adams got.

The lesson I’ve learned from this is you can’t judge a person’s longevity by their appearance. Douglas Adams may have been bopping happily across the stage, but his arteries were filling with plaque and he had an imminent appointment with the grim reaper. Ray Bradbury had to be wheeled on stage and looked like he was knocking on heaven’s door, but I guess heaven only responds if you push the doorbell.

We may think we’ve got 30, 40, 50 years left to live, but you never know. And even if you’re sickly and ancient, you might just hang in there for another decade or two. Who knows? Life’s short, or long, or somewhere in between. Sometimes I don’t think I’m making the best of it, and I’m reminded that I should because you never know if you’re a Douglas Adams or a Ray Bradbury.

Blogger Deathwatch 2012: Still alive!

Hello! No need to send sympathy cards to my mother (though she always loves getting flowers). I’m still alive! I am living on coffee and TV dinners, but I am still alive. I am digging my way through lots and lots of web design work. So busy! So exhausted! So popular! It is horrible in the best way. I officially stopped taking on new clients for my web design business last week because it is all too much. I will blog again, someday, when my right shoulder stops hurting from all the mouse usage I’ve subjected it to. No joke.

Exciting and not-so-exciting things that have happened to me in the past month:

  • I got a new phone and it is awesome! I want to snuggle up with it at night and sometimes I do. For real. It is a Samsung Galaxy S II Epic Touch which is a name longer than John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, though less musical. It plays Netflix videos! It can take my heart rate! It can identify songs playing at the grocery store! It kind of freaks me out, all the things it can do. How can my phone do these things? It’s hovering over that line between significantly advanced technology and magic. MAGIC.
  • Someone spent $1617.48 with my business debit card and it wasn’t me! The last time I spent over $1600 in one places was when I bought a car 6 years ago, so I’m sort of jealous they went all Big Spender without me. I reported the fraud, but couldn’t access any money in that account for a week. Also, I only ever use that card at grocery stores, so someone got the number with a skimmer, which quite honestly freaks me out. I will never buy groceries again! Or…actually…I set up a business account at a bank that doesn’t require me to make a debit card purchase every month to avoid maintenance fees. Screw you, Bank of America!
  • I am moving in a month and sort of pissed about it because it’s the first time I’m moving not because I want to, but because I’m fleeing my neighbors. I hate my asshole neighbors more than I hate having to move all my crap, and if you’ve ever moved than you know that is a hell of a lot of hate. I’m heading 1.5 miles north to a smaller, more expensive apartment where they presumably don’t smoke pot indoors, and the rental manager reads my blog so I’m pretty sure she’s got my back if they do. That also makes her the only blog reader who knows my gross annual income. I hope she was impressed! Probably not.
  • On the bright side, I have been truly dedicated to my walking routine for the past month because I know I need to be in shape to survive my move. I’m moving from the second floor to the second floor, and I don’t know how my poor little knees are going to handle it. I’m guessing “not well.” Not well, for the win. That said, I weigh within one pound of what I did in January, so I’ve been maintaining my weight really well this year, better than any year in recent history, or perhaps ever.
  • And perhaps the most thrilling news, in 20 days it will have been an entire year since Java Bean broke a glass! Let’s hope he makes it. Granted, this achievement has less to do with a change in Java Bean’s behavior as it does with the fact that he’s trained me never to leave glasses out on the table before I go to bed. I should probably get the round of applause instead.

That’s all for now. I shall return again someday. Maybe we can teach my phone to blog for me by reading my mind and converting my thoughts into well-formed, humorous entries. There’s an app for that, right?

Houseplant Deathwatch: May 2012

You might have been wondering how those houseplants I bought a few months ago are doing. And if you were, I hope you’re not a member of the Society Against Cruelty to Houseplants.

Palm suicide

The fronds on this palm kept turning brown and dying for several weeks. Then one day I walked into my bedroom and felt like I’d discovered a plant suicide. It went from bad to beyond hope in about 24 hours. There’s still some green, so it could probably be saved by the hands of someone who actually knew what they were doing, who is obviously not me. This situation makes me think of how the human body will shut down less vital systems when its starved, like an anorexic girl who doesn’t get her period. The palms kept throwing off fronds in an attempt to keep the plant as a whole alive, until it passed a terminal point. It makes me feel like a plant sadist, quite frankly, and I hope plants don’t feel I guess living with chronic pain makes me more sympathetic to any kind of suffering.

Fern

As for the fern, one day I walked into my office and noticed it had suddenly wilted. I thought it might be too far gone, but I poured some water and it and amazingly enough it had perked up by the end of the day. I guess H20 treatment is like plant CPR.

Spider plant

The spider plant is doing alright, though some of its leaves have turned brown. I was encouraged when it shot out the little feeler with baby spider plants on it over a month ago, but there hasn’t been much growth since then. I might need to transfer it to a bigger pot if I want it to grow.

I still haven’t bought proper pots for the plants, which probably displays a lack of commitment on my part or just my reluctance to spend more money when I’m getting by with what I have.

How do you get rid of a houseplant? I’d feel bad just chucking it in the dumpster. The Orange County trash and sanitation department might get mad if I do that too, since it’s clearly marked as illegal on the dumpster. Perhaps I can drop them off on the front door of a greenhouse, ring the bell, and run away like I was dropping off an unwanted baby at a church.

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Want second helpings? Devour more entries in the archives.

 
 
Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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  • I find myself singing along to the songs at the grocery store a lot lately. I don't know what this means, but it can't be good.

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