Apr 30, 2008

Is it Noise Pollution or Ministry? – April 2008

Walk with me… or in this case ride. You know you been there, driving down the road minding your own business. Maybe you’re on your way to work or to drop the kids off at day care (and when I say kids, please understand that I am including pets that are dropped off at day care… not joking, I have more than one friend that makes that stop each morning and they pay dearly out the you-know-what for it too). You roll to a stop light and are trying not to make eye contact with the multitude of goobers that are crossing the street and staring into your car and not watching where they are going. Oops… the guy in the crusty jean jacket just bumped into the lady who is chowing down on what appears to be a skillet burrito from the golden arches and I can almost taste the hash browns that I know for a fact are tucked safely in the red and white paper bag that’s poking out of the top of her gym bag.

Gradually, but noticeably, I begin to feel a vibration. For a split second my hard drops and I think to myself, ‘Oh no, this is the big one! What about Jeremy. Where is he today, will he be able to duck and cover… or is he supposed to hide under a desk… or are you supposed to get in a hall way and put your head between your knees… or is this the natural disaster that you are supposed to find an over pass and get underneath it…. Or do I find an interior bathroom … or is it a door way… Man I am so not prepared for this!!! Shoot!!! I knew I shouldn’t have left those dirty dishes in the sink!”

Pause… Note to reader: I have never encountered an earthquake I could feel, or even a trimmer or an after shock, but in my minds eye, this is what it would feel like.

Just before I start hyperventilating and begin searching in the glove box for a pin and a napkin on which to write my last will and testament, I notice, to my left, out of the corner of my eye, a bright yellow SUPER SIZED hummer with chrome accents! Not the gas friendly, soccer mom sized, cute one, but the gigantic one that takes up a lane and a half. The ‘Pimp My Ride” stereo system with complimenting LCD’s in the head rest are not only shaking everything that belongs to them, It is shaking everything that belongs to me (inside and out), the car next to me, the crusty jean jacket man and golden arches girl! There is a mother on the other side of the street clutching her toddler in her arms pressing one of his ears to her chest and covering the other with her free hand. “Is this legal?!!!” I shout to myself out loud.

Note to reader: It must be known that I am a lover really of all music, but my pre-sets are generally K-Love (contemporary Christian music), FM 100 (top 40), or new country. On this particular morning though, it was K-Love and the song was Jeremy Camp’s You’re Worthy of My Praise.

So there I was… sitting at the stop light with my fingers in my ears not even able to hear myself think much less hear my own radio, when it dawns on me that three can play at this game! Mr. Pimp My Ride and his environment eating hummer machine, little me and Moose, and The Man Upstairs, so hear goes nothin’!

I give a quick glance to the yellow monstrosity who’s windows are tinted so dark that I am sure it’s illegal, and say a quick prayer. With a couple of quick presses, the sun roof slides open and the tail gate window slides down. I gently bite my lower lip and commit. I press my thumb to the [UP] volume button that resides on the left side of my steering wheel and up, up, up goes Jeremy Camp.

“I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise”

I look to my left still just a black window, I look to my right and the man in the blue Honda next to me is still hanging onto his steering wheel with all of his might.

Again, I gently bite my lower lip and press the [UP] volume button and again, up, up, up goes Jeremy Camp.

“I will worship with all of my heart
I will praise you with all of my strength
I will seek you all of my days
I will follow all of your ways

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise
You are worthy of my praise "

Oh, ooh the man in the Honda is looking my way and grinning and giving me the thumbs up. I grin back and with my new found courage I press the [UP] button again.

I will bow down and I'll hail you as king
I will serve you, I will give you everything
I will lift up my eyes to your throne
I will trust you, I will trust you alone
I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise
You are worthy, You are worthy
You are worthy of my praise

By this point I am dancing in my seat and singing at the top of my lungs at the longest light in the city of Memphis, not really caring who hears me. I look to my right and Honda man, Crusty, and golden arches are head bobbing to the beat. I look to my left and the hummer expecting to see my own reflection in the glass, but his window has been rolled down. It really was a priceless moment like the first time your husband caught you in your underpants singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or some other I am woman hear me roar song) into your hair brush. (Don’t say you’ve never done it!)

I quickly press and hold the [Down] button returning Mr. Camp to just below what would be considered a respectful volume level and the man in the bright yellow sunshine eating machine shouts over to me, “Hey!!! What music is that?”

“Jeremy Camp” I say with a little less courage than before.

He nods and looks away but doesn’t roll up his window.

A couple of moments pass and from somewhere deep within me I hear my self blurting out “It’s 94.9, you can listen if you want to. What happened next is completely true, and far beyond my wildest imagination. Within moments Jeremy Camp was coming from both of our stereos
“Oh, I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long, I long to worship
Well, you alone are worthy of my praise
You are worthy of my praise."

Till Next Time,
Bon Voyage!

Apr 22, 2008

Catalytic Converters... Who knew!!!??? - Supplement

I have been asked by a few people to tell them what exactly I thought a Cadillac Converter did. So to send myself even further onto the automotive knowledge short bus, here goes.

I honestly thought that a Cadillac Converter had something to do with the California emissions laws. I remember as a child in the summer my sisters and I would watch The Price is Right while our nanny, Cat, talked to her boyfriend on the phone and read romance novels with Fabio on the cover. Whenever it came to the showcase showdown and they got to the car they would always say...

"You could win A BRAND NEW CAR!!! THIS 1987 Cadillac Allante could be yours! Some of its features include leather seats, air conditioning, power windows and locks, power steering, a standard transmission, Cadillac Converter California Emissions, AM/FM radio 5 speaker stereo system and wood grain accents." How glamorous! I didn’t know what half of that stuff was but I was sure of one thing whatever it was I wanted it, along with an easy bake oven, the My Little Pony Home Sweet Home Stable (which apparently now is advertised on E-Bay and Craig’s list as VINTAGE… hummm does that make me vintage also???!!!), the original leader of the Transformers Optimus Prime for my very own (I wanted that one so bad that I called the Transformers hotline and talked to him for 23 mins… a 900 number… and got into so much trouble that my parents took cable away from my entire family and actually, come to think of it, never got it back.), and to never ever ever have to buy school lunch again… except on pizza day!

So maybe it wasn’t the smartest thought, but I knew that out in California, where all of the famous people lived they always got fancy things, things made especially for them. They were the mavens, the trend setters. They are the reason I wore leg warmers with tennis shoes. They invented the side pony tail and jean jackets. Who was I to say that they couldn’t invent an entire part for a car to take all of their sunshine super star rays and convert them into something cool to fuel cars?

So there you go. That’s the truth with no poetic license taken.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Apr 12, 2008

Catalytic Converters… Who knew!!!???

Note to Reader: I know I said earlier that I love to tinker, and I am pretty technically inclined. So please take this post for what it’s worth. I am a smart girl, I promise, but it must be said that I am a very literal thinker.

My most recent venture into the technical world of the AutoZOne Field (meaning the stores) brought me to a store that serves as an excellent resource for us “chair sitters” at the SSC (Store (Support Center). The purpose of the workshop I attended was to give me a little more technical knowledge so that when I am out in the field I feel a little more useful and can really get out there and HELP put Customers First!

Additional Note to Reader: I LOVE MY JOB!!! I’ve had some great jobs along the way that have shaped me into the “go getter” that I am today, but it must be said that I truly love where I am and the company I work for.

I returned to work the day after the workshop telling my team all about the wealth of knowledge that I had picked up.

1 - If your check engine light comes on, the first thing you should do is check your gas cap.

2 - Not every one that works on cars calls the parts they need by the correct name, but regardless, they expect you to know what they are talking about. (I still don’t know what a “dog bone” is, so if you do please let me know… hummm, could this be why dogs chase cars?)
One of the highest selling products on a rainy day are Duralast Gold wiper blades, and I now know how to install them! Yahoo!!!

3 - When you are standing all day in a store it really doesn’t matter how cute your shoes are. If you want to throw them out of the car window on the way down the interstate on your way home, you must at least consider the possibility of ugly, comfortable shoes.

4 - Working a cash register is really not as hard as some retail establishments make it look. If I can do it ANYONE can.

5 - Go Joe is AWESOME when trying to remove car nastiness from your hands arms, etc.

6 - And last but not least, when you upgrade your exhaust system to a “Flow Master” and they turn off your oxygen sensors that could be the reason your check engine light is on.

Our conversation turned to the fact that I learned how to use an ODB2 tester (see picture on right), which is the device you use to get the code that will then tell you the reason behind your check engine light being illuminated. I had tested a gentleman’s Cadillac Escalade and gotten both P14 and P17 codes, which are oxygen sensor and Catalytic Converter issues. Well after giving him a few of the listed suggestions and finding that he’d had an after market exhaust system installed (remember the above mentioned “flow master”). Using all the effort I could muster and trying not to laugh, I let him know that that was where the check engine light was more than likely originating. My whole team was proud and the conversation could have ended at that, but since this is a blog worthy story, you know it didn’t.

We started talking about Catalytic Converters in general and how they have become in recent months a VERY popular item to steel off of the under side of an SUV. Someone had herd that the thieves could roll under your truck snip a few wires and be out of there in less than 30 seconds. The motivation is that a Catalytic Converter is made from several precious mettles like platinum, gold, copper, and a few others. The bad guys are taking them and breaking them down and selling the mettle. I was flabbergasted to say the least. It is just beyond me why someone in general feels they are entitled to something that isn’t theirs. I made the comment that that was crazy and I wondered out loud how someone would even know to do that. Then I gave a big sigh and said that I was very glad that I didn’t have to worry about that with my car, because “it’s very low to the ground and also because it is a Ford.” All heads in the general vicinity turned to face me, but I wasn’t finished. I went on to say that I was also glad that we “decided on a Toyota for our SUV, one less thing to be worried about.”

“What do you mean Lili?” one of my co-workers asked.

I didn’t think it was a hard concept to grasp, but what the heck. “Well I mean that I was glad that we didn’t decide to buy a Cadillac so we don’t have to worry about a Cadillac Converter being stolen, that’s all”. Everyone laughed and I began to blush and my mind began to roll back the conversation. I had missed something and by the looks of it, it was big.

Without going into too much detail on my public humiliation it was explained that all cars have Catalytic Converters, not Cadillac Converters. This is a lesson I will never forget!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Apr 4, 2008

Honey, I think I broke Moose – Clarksville, TN – March 2008

Note to Reader: I must confess, I LOVE GADGETS!!! Buttons knobs, dials, displays, you name it and I want to figure out how it works. When I was 11 I took apart a clock radio and put it back together… and it worked... and there were no parts left over!!!

Additional note to Reader: I am stubborn!!!

Well we took Moose on his first road trip this weekend and he was a complete hit! It rained most of the weekend, minus about two hours on Saturday afternoon. Well I took the opportunity to investigate every nook and cranny of our new wheels. I pushed every button, looked in every compartment, flipped every switch, moved every seat, found every cup holder (even the ones that are hidden in the doors in the back seat), and sat in every seat to get the prospective. I even crouched low in the middle of the center back seat to get the view from our future baby seat. The bottom line is, I REALLY LIKE THIS TRUCK!!!

So there I was standing outside Moose talking to my mother-in-law (MIL) and examining the fancy key chain that has buttons to unlock Lock, panic, and a forth button that has a picture of a tail gate with an arrow on the window that I had not yet pushed. So we were discussing if that button would indeed put down the back window. So I push it and it beeps and nothing else happens. I push it again, but this time two times fast. (There is no logic in this except for maybe the same logic that causes you to push an elevator call button that is already lit… you know you do it too!) Still nothing except beeping. Well third times a charm I think to myself and I push the button and hold it down… and the back window slides slowly open! “YAHOOO!!! SUCCESS!!!” My MIL is grinning at my reaction and I proceed to push and hold the button to return the window to the closed position. “BEEP BEEP BEEP” says Moose and nothing more. Hummmmm… again I try and again Moose says “BEEP BEEP BEEP”.

I look down the hill at my loving husband who is investigating the garden his dad has planted and then back at my MIL who has either lost interest in my antics or does not want to be incriminated with me and is now heading quickly away from me to “walk the dogs”.

“Think Lili” I said out loud to myself and rolled my eyes back in my head trying to remember if the car salesman told us about a trick to the back window. Then I remember that the drive out tag was still posted on the window when it was rolled down and it did make a crinkling sound when it went down. Just as I think that I have jammed the window down and am beginning to search for signs of my destruction the sound of thunder rolls through their horse pasture and the wind begins to pick up. I looked up at the sky and saw it begin to shift from light gray to dark. I looked back down at the place where the window slides into and everything looked okay.

“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness...” I repeat as I move around the truck searching for some sort of secret button with a picture that matches the one on the key chain. I hop into the driver’s seat and do a quick once over and… there it is just to the right of the steering wheel. I press it and hold it and still Moose does nothing and says “BEEP BEEP BEEP!”

“Gerrrr” I think… out loud again, what is wrong with this truck I push again and hold and again… “BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!”

“I’ll BEEP BEEP BEEP you, you silly truck if you don’t put up your back window!!!” Again I do a sweep of all the buttons window controls; a button that has a window and an X on it, which I think must mean “kids, don’t roll down the windows, and just in case you try, this little button locks them to keep you from doing it”, mirror mover buttons, lights, wipers, hazard lights, and the button that matches my key chain. I hold my breath close my eyes and push the button again as the thunder rumbles again.

“What on earth are you doing? You look retarded what ever it is.” It’s my husband! Split second decision make up a story, never figure out how to close the window, and pray that he’ll buy that it just came that way, or tell the truth.

“I rolled down the tail gate window and I can’t make it go back up. And all moose will do is ‘BEEP BEEP BEEP’ at me” I say poking out my bottom lip. “I’ve tried everything! I have pushed every button... Twice… and nothing is working.”

“Oh really he said and leaned into the drivers window with a big old ha ha grin on his face and he looks down at the window buttons “did you try this one… twice?” he said poking the ‘kids don’t roll down the windows button’ once popping it up (“unlock” I would guess” and a second time (has to be “lock”) which is where it was when I got in the truck. He pushes it a third time and opens the driver’s door in one fluid movement reached over me to push the button that matched the one on my key chain. Moose’s window slid gently into place just as the rain drops started to fall.

“I thought I broke moose!!!” I said with a very sad face.

“Nope, he said you just got punked by him! Love you babe” he said and planted a big kiss on my blushing cheek.

“Love you too!”

Till Next time,
Bon Voyage!

Future Road Trips - March 2008

My husband and I just welcomed in the newest member of our family. No, again no babies were born, our first joint married people big decision and purchase was finalized last night. We are excited and proud, and really all around THRILLED to introduce you to “Moose”! (See photo to the left) He’s a silver 4 wheel drive Toyota 4 Runner with tan cloth interior, a roof rack, a sun roof, and about ninety-five cup holders!!! His name, “MOOSE” comes from the fact that he was born in Colorado and tells us that he use to chase moose when he was there... or is it mooses, like cabooses… no maybe its meese, like geese… hummm… You get the idea! Anyhow HE’S GREAT!!!

We will now be able to take road trips with out renting cars! (our previous cars were about 13 years old and although they could be trusted to take us to and from work, church, the grocery, and the oh so important ice cream run in the middle of the summer on a day that it is so very hot that your clothing is threatening to go on strike because you are sweating so much, or a Sunday morning doughnut run, they could not be trusted to go long distances.

Needless to say I love love love this monster truck SUV. And feel wildly privileged then I am rolling down the street in it. He still feels too nice to be ours. We can’t wait to take it to the mountains of East Tennessee later this year!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!