Saturday, October 06, 2007

It Just Suggests Happiness

I’ve had a very interesting week. Tuesday I was at Barnes & Noble proofreading in the cafe and a guy about my age came over and hit on me - gave me his card and told me he “just had to come flirt with me.” I haven’t had anyone approach me like that in years. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was flirted with by a stranger. It was nice to know I’m still that attractive. The incident wouldn’t have been so weird by itself, but...

On Thursday I was at the mall and decided to get Starbucks before I left. As I was standing in line another guy came up and hit on me! This one looked no more than mid to late 20s. I was like WTF? I haven’t consciously been putting any of that kind of energy out there. He was probably a really nice guy but his tone of voice was a little creepy so I was nervous walking to my car in the garage, but it was all good. I figured he may have been talking like that because he was nervous.

Today was a beautiful day for an entirely different reason; I went on an apple picking adventure. I’ve never done that before and it was a fun new experience. It was a large group that went - about 25 in all. Kristy, who I work with, organized the outing. Most of the group were Kristy’s friends, and they were some nice folks. Jess (who also works at Pearson) and her boyfriend, AJ, are closer friends of mine and went with me in the car. We met the rest of them there. I was disappointed that Mark didn’t go, but I know these kinds of things aren’t his cup of tea and he had some obligations with his son this weekend.

It was like romping in a fairy tale. The sun warmed my skin, the orchard was full of monarch butterflies, and the apple-scented breeze followed everywhere you went. There is nothing more awesome than picking an apple right from the tree, polishing it up on your shirt, and getting sticky hands eating it out in the fresh air. If Eve had really existed, I couldn’t blame her a bit.

We found one tree that was loaded with fruit, and I ducked under the leaves to get a particularly fat beautiful apple. I found myself in a little alcove between the branches and it was so cool looking from inside out, greeness and sweet-smelling fruit all around... a very surreal moment. I could’ve stood there for an hour just taking it in. Made me wonder if the birds appreciate that view as much as I did.

The orchard was on a pretty steep hill and after hauling a half-full bag around for an hour we took a little rest. I picked up three apples to see if I could remember how to juggle. I was surprised it came back so easily. My friend Merle Hampton from high school taught me originally, but I haven’t tossed any beanbags around since I graduated. I miss Merle. None of our mutual friends seem to know what became of him. He was great at juggling and magic tricks. Anyway, Jess wanted to learn how to juggle so we spent a good half hour teaching her. She picked it up pretty well and by the end of the day she could get the apples around a few times before dropping one. It takes a lot of practice.

After running around the orchard all afternoon we went to dinner in Warwick. It’s a quaint little town (blink and you’ll miss it) and the restaurant didn’t look like much from the outside, but turned out to have amazing food. I had Caribbean seasoned pork chops - a little out of the ordinary for me, but wow it tasted good. My friends agreed that the food was deserving of their Zagat rating.

Most of the group went to a drive-in movie after dinner. That would’ve been fun, but the three of us decided to hang out at the coffee house around the corner instead. We had a great chat on the porch while sipping tea and lattes. Welcoming in autumn doesn’t get much better than that.

We brought a bushel of apples home and set them out on the counter, but quickly gave up trying to remember which was what kind. You can smell them all the way upstairs - it’s awesome.

I’ll tell you what too: a hot shower is more satisfying after you’ve been getting good and dirty all day out in the sunshine and fresh air. It’s like a special kind of clean. A good meal, good friends, and good conversation just make this day one for the books. My only regret is that I forgot my camera.

Monday, October 01, 2007

No Shame in Being Crazy

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

~ Apple Computers

Sunday, September 30, 2007

On The Road Again

I've had my Camaro for about 10 years. It's only a V6 but it's a stick shift and has an aftermarket spoiler on the back so it looks like it has more balls than it really does. It used to sound that way too until I moved up here to the bEast coast and the rust got to the muffler. The original muffler had a deep throaty rumble, but the second one was a run-of-the-mill Midas (as is the third). It's sounded castrated to me ever since, but someday I'll restore it to the extreme coolness that originally made me swoon at the dealership.

I'll tell you what's the best thing about this car though: I know how to change parts under the hood. I'm not such a grease monkey that I want to don coveralls and slide underneath, but my grandfather taught me how to fix a few simple things. It's fortunate that Chevys have big enough noses that everything is pretty reachable in the engine, unlike the foreign cars which are packed tighter than jeans from Hot Topic.

Grandpa always said it must've been built on a Wednesday because it hasn't had too many problems (knock on wood). A couple years ago though I had trouble with a mechanic that broke the IAC valve when he was replacing another part. He "fixed" it by putting a zip tie on it to hold the broken part in place. It worked, but c'mon - a zip tie? In a hot engine? Do the laws of physics mean anything to you?

He said it would be $130 to change the valve (even though he broke it!), so I asked him to show me what it was exactly. I think he wasn't counting on a girl that's not afraid of a little dirt. I bought the part myself for $70, undid the two bolts that held the old one to the top of the engine, bolted the new one on in its place and it's run fine ever since. Took me about 5 minutes.

Last summer I also dismantled the dash, removed the stereo head unit and installed a wire in the back so I have a direct hookup for my iPod. Works like a charm. During that process I had to get something from Radio Shack. The salesman and I got into a conversation about what I was doing and he finally asked me, "Do you intimidate your boyfriend?"

The most recent problem has been the battery. I let it sit in the garage for too long last year and it killed the battery completely. Gives new meaning to "like a rock" when you turn the key and nothing happens. I bought a new battery a month ago, but it was having trouble holding a charge. I thought it might be something electrical draining the battery, but our new mechanic thought maybe the new battery was just a bad one, so tonight I disconnected it (for the second time), hauled it back to Walmart to exchange for another one, and installed the new one (again) all by myself. Once everything was tightened up, I got behind the wheel and turned the key and sure enough it fired right up. That is one of the most satisfying sounds ever: hearing the engine turn over after you've been messing around under the hood. Now we'll see if it still feels like starting tomorrow morning. Gotta love a Chevy.