Friday, October 28, 2011

Walmart might have over-reached

So my coolant light came on in my 2008 VW Beetle. Turns out that I am in charge of my vehicle's maintenance. And I'd been thinking my husband was handling it. 
When he said, "You're supposed to get your oil changed regularly", I replied, "I thought you took care of that? I've always bragged about how wonderful you are for taking care of those things"

Didn't work. I'm in charge. I'm supposed to read some little sticker in the upper corner of my windshield. Fortunately, the little plastic sticker proved I was only 34 miles passed my due date.

"Tires, too?", I squeaked since I've had a low pressure light come on several times over the past 8 months.

"Just putting air in them. You are NOT in charge of replacing tires - you wouldn't get the right kind", he replied.

Needless to say, my husband will have lots of time to watch sports this weekend - it's not like he and I will be sharing any...quality time.

So, I thought, the most economical way (money and time) to get this darn oil change/fluid top-off would be to combine it with my $5 Friday grocery shopping trip. Fortunately for me, there is a Walmart next to the grocery store. The fella there (who I suspect has maybe played too many contact sports), was fuzzy on details. Every time I mentioned the coolant light, he said they would top off wiper fluid. 

So he tapped, tapped, tapped on a little handheld device that looks like those old brick cell phones (that's where they went!), and got my name wrong. Kathy turned into GABA. I can see how that would happen. Similar sound and, frankly, GABA is a much more common name.

Sign here, he said. I said, did you write down coolant fluid? And suddenly, he remembered that they are not allowed to touch coolant fluid or brake fluid. Well, I still needed the oil changed so I autographed his brick phone and went shopping.

That's when things went downhill. I swear, whenever a person is harboring unfair resentment toward their spouse, bad things happen.

After the 1 hour, I tried to wheel my little shopping cart from the grocery store to the Walmart auto location. My little cart had some kind of Lo-Jack!! It locked a wheel about 50 yards from my destination and no amount of kicking got it going again. So I had to fetch a Walmart cart and transfer all my $5 treasures (strawberry topped cheesecake!).

At Walmart, I had to wait 20 minutes behind a woman who wanted proof that she (well, her car) had received the super premium oil as stated on her bill. I totally understand that. I don't understand how there is only 1 register and - despite super-premium woman's request - they could not suspend her transaction and let me go ahead. (She might be my new and best imaginary friend yet).

After satisfying super-premium woman, it was my turn. I waited several minutes while the cashier tried to scan my repair order before telling me: it won't ring up because they cancelled your order.

They didn't change my oil? I asked

"No, GABA, they didn't", the cashier told me. "They say your canister housing can't be loosened".

So, I had waited over 20 minutes just to get my keys back. They hadn't called my cell (after collecting the number upon check-in), they spelled my name wrong, and as I looked over the repair order with the prominent CANCELLED covering most of it, I found that they had spelled canister incorrectly.

I don't really believe that correctly spelling canister would've assisted in loosening it, but this GABA is never trusting Walmart with anything automotive again.

Five Dollar Friday and Breast Cancer

Today is $5 Friday at my local grocery store. This is also Breast Cancer Awareness month. Or next month is - I am never sure if we're operating on the magazine schedule or not. You know, how magazines publish the December issue in October? Which, by the way, will prove the world won't end on 12/31/11 if Family Circle releases a January 2012 issue (unless of course all the pages are blank).

Last year, the check out clerks were flummoxed by my attempts to make donations that rounded up my total charge. This year they are trained to offer that. It is fun to watch some of them try to do the math without using their iPhone calculator.

But, it does get some so flustered that one young man asked me: would you like to add, um, 18 cents to your total to, um, support Breast Cancer?

I indignantly refused and asked him, in what universe, did he think we'd actually choose to give money to support a cancer when so many others were donating to support a CURE?

I hope I get that checker again. I'd like to think that both his math and verbal skills may have improved. 

If not, I may start a donations drive for his education.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just In Case

We were eating lunch in a little strip mall deli, seated next to the wall as the place was pretty crowded. My husband had captured the sports section of the newspaper (score!) and was reading about the sports events he had already watched after listening to the 24 hours sports radio channel talk about the events before, during and after they happened.

My point is, he was very engrossed in reading. As usual, I was idly looking around, wishing there was a gift shop, making (silent) snide remarks about some of the other customers' attire when I looked out the front window.

A black car had pulled up and the guy driving was reaching all around with his door half open. I noticed he was donning a Santa beard, sticking a corn-cob pipe in his mouth and grasping a half empty bottle of whiskey.

Hmm, I thought. That seems a bit odd. He exited his car and I noticed he wasn't wearing a shirt, hadn't closed his Santa jacket and the jacket had Playboy written on the back.

That's weird, I said to my husband. Whmp? he mumbled. I described what I was seeing. Hmmph, he said. Oh good, he's not coming in here, I said.

But within a minute or two, the guy was back at his car looking very angry. I activated the camera function on my phone and lined up my shot. What are you doing?, hubby asked.

Well, he seems pissed and he's right in front of this big plate glass window getting into his car and I thought I should take a picture in case he crashes through. That way the cops will have his license plate#.

Hmmph, hubby said.

Oh, don't worry, I told him. Where we're sitting should be ok. I think the car will miss us and we're kinda far back for any flying glass.

This is the sort of conversation we often have/don't have (depending on which of the two participants/non-participants you query).

The good news is the guy just pulled out of the spot and drove away. The bad news? Well, my husband's sports-induced deafness apparently doesn't cover the people sitting slightly behind us and in the center of the room (or ground zero as I had called it). They seemed to lose their appetite and glared at me as they hastily left.

See what happens when you eavesdrop?

Here's my photo in case the guy hunts me down:

Coffee Leather

You can purchase 100% fruit roll-ups (or even make your own). Sometimes it is called fruit leather. Now, you can really pack some nutrition in with varieties that include pureed vegetables and still mostly taste like fruit.

But why has no one invented coffee leather? I would buy it!
Imagine a coffee bar that tastes like good, strong coffee without icky sweeteners. I've looked up coffee jello, coffee jerky, coffee paste, coffee leather... all with no luck.

If you have any ideas on how to make a coffee bar/leather/roll-up/jerky, please let me know.

What's for Breakfast?

I'll tell you what is not for breakfast: vegetables. 

Notice that I managed to use a colon correctly, I think.  I really like vegetables and I've heard rumors they are nutritious. Yet, when perusing the breakfast menu at a restaurant, the only token vegetable other than potato appears to be the queen of transgender foods: the tomato. (Is she a fruit or is she a vegetable? If she appeared on Dancing with the Stars, with whom would she be partnered?)

Why is the only corn we consider for breaking our fast FLAKEY? If we can work zucchini, beets and carrots into dessert, why not work it into breakfast? Yes, I've heard of the Denver omelet - some green peppers make an appearance along with some onions. But barely. They are mere decorations for the copious amount of ham and cheese.

Spinach omelets always seem to contain about 12 servings of spinach (I imagine the cook thinking, thank God I can get rid of all this spinach) and a vegetarian omelet is usually a Denver omelet with mushrooms instead of ham. News flash - mushrooms are not a vegetable.

Try scrambling some corn in your eggs. It is delicious! Try serving roast vegetables fresh from the oven instead of hash browns. Yummy! Get crazy with the idea and throw some creamed corn into your pancake batter. Yowza!

Truthfully, though, this isn't a big issue for me. I don't usually eat breakfast. Until someone invents coffee-jerky (and I cannot tell you how many hours I've spent researching it with no luck), I'll probably continue to drink my breakfast: coffee with a little cream.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grocery Store Adventures

The other day, my destination was the local branch of a grocery store that has superb sales every Friday. My trip, however, took a non-mandatory detour when I exited the freeway to avoid a miles-long backup in traffic. Since every other driver had seized upon the same opportunity and the same off-ramp, taking the frontage road looked as if it would be just as slow-moving.

No problem, I thought, happily patting my Droid smartphone. I’m sure there is another branch north of here, I’ll just search my map function. Thus, empowered I drove directly to the other branch.

While my usual grocery store is a “flagship” location (something I learned while settling a small issue with the store manager quite a while ago), this location was apparently the “barnacle” version. It was dirty, cramped and looked like an aged hooker at dawn after an unproductive night. Not that I’ve ever actually seen an old hooker at dawn… I am NOT a morning person.

The produce section, my favorite, was not as well stocked as the impromptu, operating-without-a-permit roadside stands that sometimes pop up. And, they did NOT have the five dollar deals that had prompted me to wait until Friday. Nevertheless, I summoned up my pioneer spirit and found enough ingredients for a revised meal plan.

At the register, I chatted with the woman who was waiting behind me. She had no items at all and I assumed she was buying some you-gotta-ask-them-to-get-it-from-a-locked-display item. We joked about forgetting our reusable bags (although I had mine right there) and the many uses for the plastic bags – mostly as dog poop scoopers. Since we both clearly had dogs, I inquired about local feed stores as I also needed to get the right kind of dog food.

As the cashier, overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of my 12 items, listened in, she kept asking, “Is this item yours, too?”. Wondering, I guess, why the next customer had no items while I had so many. I kept answering, “yes, it is. All the items until you get to that little bar are mine”. Finally the cashier said, “Are you two together?”

In jest, I said, “Oh, do you see that woman too? I was thinking she might be my imaginary friend”. The cashier said, “Wouldn’t you know?” and I replied, “How would I ?”.

Finally reaching the end of my purchase, I was handed a “come-back” coupon fo $5 off my next purchase. I love those coupons. They apply to anything except the 3 evils: liquor, tobacco or milk. (Yeah, I, too, have always wondered why tobacco was in that group. It is not a liquid)

Remembering that I always lose those coupons before I “come-back”, I thought – hey, let’s do a random act kinda thing. So I handed it to my imaginary friend.

She smiled with absolute delight and said, “wow – I can get a bigger bottle of vodka now!”

To which I replied, “Oh, you can’t use it on that”

And she said, “You already gave it to me and can’t take it back! I can use it on whatever the F* I want!”

No wonder I have so few imaginary friends.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What happened to singing in the rain?

I was at a department store today looking at leggings, idly wondering, if skinny jeans don't exactly flatter my figure, why did I think leggings would? Said leggings were in the same section as purses, wallets and umbrellas . Which is where things got weird.

Now, I love musicals, I really do. But never, not once, did I expect people to burst into song in real life. I don't know how many times I said it, but I've  said it at least once: life isn't a musical no matter how much you hum.

However, maybe there is something to this Glee madness. Now, I have eschewed that television show in an attempt to be on the leading edge of political correctness. That show has openly gay people who burst into song while executing smooth dance moves and dressed in cutting edge fashion. If that isn't a stereotype, what is? (I said to myself as I switched to Real Housewives of Insanity).

But, as I was perusing leggings (by Elle), the store's music department began to play a song by someone named Rhianna who was declaring her devotion by offering to share her umbrella-ella-ella. AND nearly everyone around me began to sing. Gals were executing moves and smiling at each other while I stood there mutely shocked (and not just at how small the large-sized leggings looked). 

So, apparently I've been completely wrong. At any moment it is appropriate to SING LOUDLY with the background music in a department store. And to wink at strangers while echoing umbrella with ella-ella-ella.

I have to say, I felt like I'd been left out of the umbrella's protection from reality. I considered humming "Singing in the Rain" but couldn't bring myself to do it. Life is, after all, not a musical - no matter how ho-hum.