High Speed Pursuits and Showers

Yesterday, I had to make a run to our local post office to pick up a couple of packages they had attempted to deliver while I was gone over the holidays. Our post office isn’t very far away. I’d guess maybe a mile or just slightly over that. Anyway, I live on a street with two schools on it, and our apartment complex is basically sandwiched between them. I was pulling out of the driveway, and I stopped at the street to check for traffic before pulling out when a silver Honda CR-V flew past me followed by at least six police cruisers – lights, sirens, the whole nine yards. At first it didn’t dawn on me that a police chase was happening right in front of me, because my very first thought was, “Wow! Those cops must have an urgent call to be flying down THIS street that fast!” which was followed not even a second later by, “Oh holy shit! They’re chasing that guy!” I checked again to make sure no one was coming and made my right turn into the street, going the same direction the maniac and police cruisers had gone, and when I got to the stop light at the corner, I noticed the idiot in the CR-V had plowed down all of the signs and shrubbery in front of the school there. They were all laying out in the street. Three more police cruisers quickly flew past me while I was waiting at the light, driving balls the walls down the street in front of me. At that point, I decided it may be a good idea to turn off my radio and crack my windows so I can listen for them in case that imbecile decides to come back in my direction.

Luckily for me, that was the last I saw of them, but after I stopped at the post office I had to run to the bank, which is a few miles away in a different city. As I was driving down the main road to get there, I started seeing small chunks of tires and car body, a headlight, and other debris strewn across the lanes I was in. Needless to say, this shook me up quite a bit, because I usually observe this sort of Southern California insanity from the comfort and safety of my own living room, rather than physically in person. Had I been even thirty seconds faster in leaving my apartment complex, this jackass could very well have hit me on the street while I was driving. I definitely consider myself quite lucky.

One of the packages I got at the post office was the Christmas present my husband’s aunt sent us. I love this! It’s the coolest idea ever, because we will use it the entire year, and she knew it. I was so excited when I opened the envelope and saw it, because I love looking at scenery photos.
IMG_3454

How awesome is that?! We have a Swiss calendar, in French and German, to use this year. What’s really cool about it is that I had told myself yesterday morning, before heading out to run these errands, that I should really stop at the store and buy a new 2016 calendar. Now, I don’t need to.

El Niño has finally arrived here in Southern California, and I’m so stinkin’ excited about the rain, you have no idea! I planned this week’s meals around the weather, and today it finally decided to rain on us, so I’ll be making split pea and ham soup in my Crock Pot. I’ve mostly held off on my soups and chili this year, because I didn’t want us to get tired of them before the rain came. Now, it’s here, and I’m taking full advantage of it!

Advertisements

Woah! What Happened?

Summer, I guess. It got hot here. We’ve had some rather unusual weather, and it’s been totally kicking my ass pretty much the whole time. My man-child also got out of summer school, so I’ve been handling him all day, as well. I completely forgot about my little blog in the process, and neglected it.

I’ve been pretty busy around here, and for some insane reason, I’ve been sleeping a whole lot, too. I don’t understand why, but I just cannot get through an entire day without taking a nap unless I sleep in until 11 AM, and that’s only possible on weekends. I don’t understand it. I don’t feel particularly shitty in any way I can actually name, but I’ve just felt so exhausted by 1 PM. I don’t know if it’s just a phase with my Fibromyalgia or what, but it’s getting to the point I’m getting seriously annoyed over it. I don’t really feel like I have the time to take naps, but I can’t get away with not taking them either, lately. If this is still going on by the time my kiddo goes back to school at the end of this month, I’ll probably book an appointment with my doctor to see what she has to say about it.

My mother is going to be moving out here around the first of October. She’s pretty much just done with Texas and wants to come out here. We also could use an extra set of hands for our child, since he’s disabled and takes more “handling” than the average nine year-old. The plan, as it stands now, which is constantly changing because my mother can never make up her mind, is for her to come stay with us for a couple of weeks and find a new job out here and then we’ll all move into a 3/4 bedroom house, since that will be the best idea all-around for all of us. We lived with my mother for a little over a year back in Texas, so it isn’t going to be a new experience, and since she’s starting to get older and still works full-time, she’s finding it harder to keep up on her own place by herself. Also, having her live with us will provide the benefit of extra care for our child and will make it easier for my mother to transition to living in a huge city. We’ll also be splitting all bills such as rent, utilities, and groceries, so hopefully, all of us will be able to put a little more away and create more of a nest egg for ourselves. I think that, with the right boundaries put into place and the right understanding between her and ourselves, this can be a very good set-up for all of us.

She keeps wanting to rent a big U-Haul and bring a bunch of stuff out with her, and I keep trying to tell her that it would just be cheaper for her to have a huge garage sale and sell everything and then go buy all new stuff once she gets here. That’s what we did. We spent maybe a little more than $2000 total to furnish our place out here, and the way we had all of the expenses figured, we’d have spent a lot more than that to haul it all out here and store it and then move it into our new place. She’s so determined to bring things like her treadmill out, though! And she’s headstrong, so if she doesn’t make the decision not to drag it out here herself, then it will be coming.

So, I’ve been perusing all of the available rental listings for our area. We’ve found a few houses that we’re interested in, but for whatever reason, once we drive by we find things we don’t like about them. At least we have a couple of months to do this, so there’s no rush to settle on the first thing and not get what would work the best for us. Ideally, we’d like to find a house with central A/C (no, not every house out here has that!) and a back yard with grass and a covered patio. Since most of the year, the weather is mild here, spending time outside is actually feasible, and my child has always wanted a place with a yard to play in.

That’s what I’ve been up to, lately. Busy and very exhausted.

I Miss Spring!

This week we’re supposed to hit triple digits. Summer has come and it looks like it’s here to stay. That means I’ve had to close up the apartment and turn on the air conditioner, so we don’t bake to death! I appreciate that the heat here in Southern California isn’t sweltering and sticky like it is back in Texas, but I really don’t like heat, either way. I like Spring temperatures.

Spring is my favorite season. It’s the time of year when everything turns green again and looks beautiful, before the heat of summer bakes all life out of it again. It’s the time of year when it’s not too cold and not too hot. You can feel comfortable with your windows open, and most of the time you don’t even need a fan. I get a lot of my cooking and baking done during the Spring, because it’s just too damn hot to heat up my whole house with my stove or oven during the summer, and during the winter, I’m busy making things that will keep you warm, so I don’t really have time to experiment.

I also like Spring because my birthday is smack in the middle of it. I know that as soon as everything has turned lush and green and beautiful, we’ll be celebrating me, and who doesn’t love that?

I think the season I like least of all is Winter. Winter in Texas meant cold, rainy weather, and it was always overcast and gloomy. Everything looked ugly. The trees were bare, the ground was wet and brown, and the sky was always the ugliest shade of gray. It made me want to curl into a ball and just cry all the time! Here, it’s not so bad. We just have to deal with the horrible smog that stagnates over us toward the end of winter, but for the most part it stays fairly warm here, because of the Santa Ana winds. But, that is the main reason I dislike winter here. Santa Ana winds make you miserable! They’re so hot and dry that you feel like you’re shriveling up and cracking everywhere. The winds suck every little drop of moisture out of your body, so if you don’t constantly inhale water like it’s going out of style, you end up with chapped lips, and cracked, bloody hands.

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

What the Hell?!

How did it get so damn cold here overnight? I don’t even understand. Yesterday was a fairly mild day, and today I woke up freezing my girl-nuts off! Seriously! I’m so cold, you could use my fingers to keep wine chilled.

It’s not supposed to get this cold in SoCal! It’s just not supposed to happen. I want my nice, mild winter days back! Either that, or if it’s going to be freezing cold, can we at least have some rain? I can endure the harsh cold if there is a nice rain storm happening along with it.

Yes. It’s 45℉ here.

I’m such a wuss! If my grandmother read this post, she’d probably laugh hysterically at me. She routinely deals with sub-zero winter days where she lives, so my measly 45℉ most likely sounds like an amazing day to her. I just don’t like it. I moved to Los Angeles so I wouldn’t have to deal with cold winters…

I’ll manage, though.

A Stranger in Los Angeles

I’m not sure anyone would have that hard of a time visiting LA and acclimating to the local customs and traditions. I also don’t really know if there’s any local slang, beyond the fact that our interstates are all freeways, and you don’t call them “I-10” or “I-405” but rather “The 10” and “The 405.” Since we’re such a large city, it’s not usually hard to find something, somewhere that will make you feel at home.

The only issue I had when we moved here was the fact that people don’t seem to like it when you’re brutally honest and speak your mind. I’ve found that when you say exactly how you feel, that usually ends with major drama. Being the type of person who doesn’t sugar-coat anything, I think this is the hardest part of our move here. It’s harder than having to learn how to get from one place to another or anything else. It just seems that people in Los Angeles really do not like honesty, and they’d prefer little white lies over the cold, hard truth most of the time.

The only other thing that I can think of that might drive someone a little mad who visits here is the parking rules for some streets. Sometimes, they’re just so confusing, it’s better that you find somewhere else to park. Signs like this will leave you scratching your head for hours!

NoParkingSigns

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

So, tell me in the comments what would be the strangest thing about your town’s local customs, traditions, hangouts, or slang for a first-time visitor?

Fire Season is Officially Upon Us

And, may I take a moment to whine and say how much I hate it?!

We had amazing temperatures this past week or so. I’ve been enjoying the cool weather and being able to have my windows open all day and not feel like I’m baking. But that’s all going to change tomorrow night. Thursday and Friday, at least, are going to be nasty. We’ve got Santa Ana winds in the forecast. Those are never fun!

For everyone not in Southern California who has no idea what Santa Ana’s are, let me explain a little. In the Autumn and Winter when a high pressure system settles over the desert, it causes the air to move away towards areas of lower pressure. Since the deserts are at a higher elevation than places along the coast, it moves downhill. As this air moves, it heats up and loses almost all humidity content. The winds are usually the worst in the passes of the local mountain ranges, where they can overturn tractor trailers and completely wreck traffic. They’re very difficult to drive in. By the time the air makes it down the mountains and reaches us here in the Southland, it’s usually around 100° with humidity in the teens or single digits.

This air also sucks almost every drop of moisture out of the vegetation in the wild land areas, such as the Foothills and San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. Since we’re already in a severe drought, this is even more dangerous. The label the weather people around here use for the Santa Ana’s is “fire weather” and “fire season”, because this is usually when devastating fires start and, being fueled by high winds, burn out of control for days. I’m especially not looking forward to this part of the Santa Ana’s.

Last year, the Colby Fire burned just north of where I live. I took a video using my phone while driving home from dropping my husband off at work.

Excuse the white orb in the lower right hand corner. That’s my phone’s holder, and I couldn’t seem to move my phone enough to get that out of the shot.

I’m not worried about fires burning my house down, because I don’t live right up against the hills, but the air quality is so poor when fires happen that it’s very difficult to breathe outside. This means that even if the temperatures are nice outside, I’ve got to close up my windows and turn on my air conditioner to keep from having to breathe this smoke and having everything in my house covered in a layer of soot and ash. It also isn’t very nice to your vehicle. This ash covers everything, even vehicles parked under an awning, and it’s corrosive, so you want to wash it off as soon as possible to save your paint job.

I think it goes without saying that the end of this week has me worried. I’m not thrilled with the prospect of another giant wildfire around here. I can do without the excitement, and I very much can do without the smoke! I’d also be pleased as punch to avoid the high temperatures. Santa Ana winds just aren’t my thing!

 

Dear Autumn – Where Are You?

Most of my readers know I’ve been trying to bait and coax the weather gods into delivering us a beautiful Fall here in Southern California. We had a rather nice summer, up until these last couple weeks, which were completely horrid. Right now, the temperatures are “average” according to the local weathermen, and I’m not looking forward to the temperatures rising back into the 90’s again tomorrow. This is heartbreaking!

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.46.26 AM

I’m a huge fan of all things Autumn. I love crisp Fall air, red and orange leaves, every drink possible being flavored with pumpkin, and I’m very much looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving. I haven’t yet picked out my son’s Halloween costume, but I’ve already figured out exactly what I’m fixing for Thanksgiving, which in turn dictates, to an extent, what I’ll fix for Christmas.

I’ve already started into what I call the “pumpkin craze.” These past two weekends, I’ve made pumpkin spice lattes for Saturday breakfasts. These are so delicious and easy to make, I sometimes wonder why I didn’t try this sooner! I’ll probably post the recipe soon.

Something else I like to make as soon as eggnog is available is “eggnog lattes.” I love these! They’re basically a plain latte, only instead of using steamed milk for them, you steam eggnog instead. It’s so amazing, and once you’ve had one, you’ll wish eggnog was available year-round. The one important thing to remember when shopping for the eggnog for these lattes is that you MUST buy the extra-rich type, such as Borden’s Extra-Rich or Southern Comfort in the black carton. Regular or canned eggnog is too runny.

Now, I’m wishing eggnog was in stock at my grocery store!…

Dear weather gods – can you please quit fucking with us, here? All of us are tired of the heat. It’s time for temperatures to be dropping, not rising, so could you kindly get on with that? We’d appreciate it very much if you did!

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

Come on, Mother Nature!

Help a sister out! I’m so tired of the heat! Can Autumn just be here already, so I can turn the air conditioning off and open my windows again? It’s getting stuffy in my house, and outdoors is borderline intolerable for me. This heat is exhausting, and even at night my bedroom is hot and sweltering. I want to be able to fling my windows open, place a fan or two in front of them, and enjoy a cool breeze fluttering through my house and cleansing out all of the stuffy air in here.

I can’t even use my oven right now. This is seriously cramping my cooking style. I’m so worried about adding extra heat to my already warm home that I’ve been avoiding cooking at all costs for the last week. I’m craving a homemade pot pie, and I don’t know of any other way to make one properly besides in a hot oven.

I’ve even taken to only wearing my coolest, most comfortable clothes to try to keep from overheating during my forays into the outside. Ugh! I want to wear my maxi dresses again, but they’re just too warm. I’ve lived in shorts and tank tops these last few days out of pure frustration with the temperatures.

I’m very much looking forward to this heat wave breaking. I want cooler temperatures during the day, and I want them to fall below 70º at  night. Also, would it be too much to ask for a few good rain showers, possibly a thunderstorm or two thrown in as well, for good measure?

Give me some of this, pretty please!

rain_lightning_purple1

NEVER Trust Your Car Dealer!

When it comes to getting repairs done or having your vehicle serviced, never, EVER, trust your car dealer to look out for your best interests, especially if you are a woman. I think it’s common knowledge that mechanics in general like women because we generally tend to know less mechanically and are easier to pull one over on. That is, unless you’re a woman like me who had a good dad who taught her about cars. I know how to change my own oil, I just can’t because I’m not allowed to where we live currently. I know how to change brake pads and rotors; I know how check my fluids and where all of their reservoirs are located in my vehicle. When I pop the hood of my car, I have a good understanding of what I’m looking at and the same goes for when I crawl under my car.

Therefore, when I take my still-under-warranty car into the dealership to be serviced and tell them that the oil pan seal is leaking and needs to be replaced and they try to tell me that no, it’s probably my oil drain plug without even having crawled under my car, I immediately start thinking that they will be trying to bilk me for every red cent they can possibly pull out of me. I know where my oil plug is. I know what the entire oil pan looks like and where it’s located. I know that when I see oil drip from between the two pieces of my oil pan onto the ground, that my oil plug has nothing to do with that.

Also, I was aware already that my tires needed to be replaced. I also know what it feels like to drive a car that is out of alignment. When I first got this car, it wasn’t aligned and I had to have it aligned by the dealer within a week of driving it off the lot. I also know that when tires get replaced, unless your old tires are showing uneven wear and/or your car is pulling to one side, you do NOT need an alignment. So, when my ever so “helpful” serviceman called me and informed me that they wanted to install new tires and perform an alignment on my car, I asked him, “Are you also going to refill the halogen fluid in my headlights while you’re at it?” This sarcastic question was basically in reference to a hilarious video I’d seen of a phone call between a fictitious mechanic and a clueless woman.

They also wanted to replace my cabin air filter, and my fuel air filter, $57 parts and labor for the first and $119 parts and labor for the second.  Each of these is a simple DIY job and the parts themselves are roughly $20 each plus tax. We replaced my cabin filter last night and it took us all of five minutes to do. Since I never over-fill my gas tank when I fill it up, my fuel air filter should be perfectly fine and hasn’t given me any problems yet, so I don’t think I’ll be changing it anytime soon since it’s just part of the EVAP system. They tried to tell me my battery was horribly bad, as it only had 250 CCA, with their “minimum” acceptable CCA being 450, but that battery could very well last me another year. I know how to not stress a battery and considering that I live in a very temperate climate, I could probably make it until at least next summer before really needing it replaced. They wanted to sell me one for $150. I can go down to the local WallyWorld and get one installed for $99, or spend a few extra bucks at AutoZone and get a little better quality for $120.

I laughed reading over their notes when I got home yesterday evening. It’s kind of hilarious how much they will try to nickel and dime a person for every little thing they can on their vehicle. $199 for a freakin’ brake job?! My brakes still have a little life left, and PepBoys does brake jobs for $139. Plus, I could always just drive down to the closest AutoZone, jack my car up and change my own brakes and save MAJOR dough.

Just remember, when you take your car in for any type of work and they perform a “free” multi-point inspection, they just want a reason to look for parts and services they can sell you. Research the hell out of anything that is recommended before agreeing to have it done. This is as easy as pulling up a DIY video for replacing said part to determine if you feel comfortable going it alone. Also, at least half the services that you will be pushed to buy aren’t even needed.

Take that from the resident mechanical cynic.