Archive for » August, 2011 «

I was sipping coffee in the lobby of a local tune-up shop early Monday morning. My car needed an oil change.

Just as I expected my car to be done, an auto mechanic poked his head in, and asked for the owner of a white Volvo. Oh! That’s me. I happily raised my hand.

He waved me to follow him into the work area. As I stepped into the garage, I could see that my car still sat in one of the stations, with its hood popped up. This could not be good…I braced myself for abuse.

We stood in front of my car’s open hood, looking at the engine. He wiped out a thin strip of paper, and told me that he tested the paper with my brake fluid, and the tip of the paper turned purple. I saw that the tip of the paper was indeed purple. Then he produced a bigger and wider strip of paper which had more colors, and he placed my shade of purple against his color code guide…it said that I needed to have my brake fluid flushed and replaced.

“I can do it in half an hour, $79.99.” He informed me.

But he wasn’t done, he had more recommendations to make.

My car’s next impending doom had to do with the fuel injection. He didn’t have any color-coded stripes to help him explain away this time. So, he pointed here and there, and spent quite a few minutes explaining the problem to me verbally. I had no idea what he was talking about. But, I pretended to understand, looking here and there, and glancing at him now and then.
I suspected that he understood perfectly that it was all gibberish to me. And that satisfied him just fine. His intent was probably to inject fear into me so I would reach for that plastic in my wallet. He might have thought that it was working. He was confident enough to end our session by telling me that my rare breaks also need to be replaced. What mother would drive around town with bad breaks!

Well, he was WRONG! My car just spent a whole week at the Volvo dealership 5 weeks ago for major work. With the exception of this impending oil change, my car had received a clean bill of health.

The mechanic only succeeded in upholding their industry’s conning reputation. I was totally unconvinced. But I was irritated as hell. Lucky for this mechanic, my rising anger wasn’t targeted at him. I was pissed at the man that I have been married to for almost 14 years.

The car is one of the few things in our household that I ask my husband for help with. And he is not helpful! If I insist, then it will take me days if not weeks of calling, emailing, and daily nagging to get him to take action. And the car better be having a life-threatening defect. Oil changes do not qualify.

Fifteen minutes later, I finally paid my bill and left. As I drove to my office, my mind wondered back to that guy I call my husband again, who was likely still snoring in our bed. He might be sleeping peacefully, but my mind was at war with him. Later that morning, I calmed down substantially. I decided that I should work with my husband on the car. I have better odds of beating him than the mechanics. I made peace with him, and formulated a plan.

Moving forward, I will submit to him in writing whenever a car issue needs to be dealt with, and he will be given three business days to take action on it. And if he likes to stay happily married, he BETTER JUST DO IT!

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Category: Humor, Parents  2 Comments

“If you die, what kind of heaven would you like to go to?” my 11-year-old asked me.

Almost every day after dinner, the kids and I take a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood. On our walks, we talk about their school and a potpourri of random subjects. Even absurd and off-the-wall questions can expect to be entertained with answers.

“I have always wanted to go to the heaven of the ancient Greek gods.” I knew the answer. I have already given thought to my after-life.

“Why?” 11-year-old.

“Their heaven looks fun.” me, then added, “I have seen many paintings of the Greek gods in Europe’s churches and museums, and these gods are always partying!”

“The Greek gods always hang out in some beautiful scenic place, with a huge, grand marble palace in the background. And they have these cute pink-cheeked fat babies with wings flying around them.” me, describing my memory out loud.

“Yes! I remember the fat babies that can fly.” 11-year-old chimed in.

“Those babies can be mischievous, but they never cry.” me…I love chubby babies.

“And the gods themselves. They are always half naked, relaxing with their wine and grapes, having a great time. Now that’s heaven!” me.

Dionysus-The god of wine...

“Yeah…”11-year-old smiled approvingly of my choice of heaven.

“Not like the heaven of our church. Everything is hospital white up there. Plus a couple of bearded old men. It seems so boring! I am not even sure I want to go there.” me.

“I wonder why the Christian church never bothered to make their heaven more exciting. They have been around a long time, and have had lots of power and money.” me.

“Because you know their hell is worse.” 11-year-old.

Here is my previous related post: CEO Christians

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I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, happened to look out the window into our backyard, and was stunned by the sight of our apple tree, which had toppled over.

Toppled Apple Tree

This apple tree was a mere branch when we had it planted in the summer of 2000. It has blossomed into a big apple tree, dwarfing the two neighboring lime and peach trees .

After the initial shock passed, I decided that I wasn’t sad about this tree. I had never like this tree much. It produced a tart tasting apple that no one in the family liked to eat, but its bigger sin was producing an obscene amount of apples each year, causing rotten apples to fall all over our backyard.

I have many passions in life, but gardening is not one of them, so the over production of apple fruit was strictly the fault of the tree itself. And I believed that the weight of the apples contributed to its own demise.

This presented the perfect opportunity to get rid of it! I planned to find a tree remover to come in and haul this tree away. But someone beat me to it.

On Sunday morning, I came down the stairs and saw my husband and kids tying up their old sneakers in the backyard, with some old gardening gloves, and primitive tools.

Rusty old shovels

“What are you guys doing!?” Me

“What do you think! We are going to remove the apple tree for you.” Hubby.

I had a good laugh.

“Are you crazy? You can’t move this big tree by yourselves! You don’t even have a chain saw.” Me

“We will give it a try.” hubby.

I had not envisioned this trio for this task. But decided to let them go at it. They will see the comedy of their misplaced determination in no time.

This apple tree had me stunned a second time… By the end of the day, hubby and the kids brought the tree down completely,

Completely uprooted tree

gathered up as much of the loose apples as they could,

Huge garbage can of falling apples

chopped the tree in pieces, and moved everything out to street side in 3 big bundles for pick up.

One of three piles of cut up apple tree

They even left the hole where the roots and base of the apple tree once occupied intact, so it will be easy for me to plant that avocado tree that I have always wanted.

I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family…

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Category: Kids, Parents  One Comment

One last reminiscence of our fast fleeting summer…

Iao Valley

Looking for a beach?

Makena Beach, Maui


Somebody's dog baby by the beach

Crab Claws

Flowers on Lanai island

Tropical flower

Relaxing at Honolua Bay

Loco Moco


Maui Sunset

….. School starts next Wednesday!

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Maui's Local Boys

I snapped this picture-perfect photo a couple of days ago on our favorite beach in Maui.

What are the boys doing sitting there like that, you ask… waiting for the next big wave that hits the shoreline!!

Local Boys catching wave

I was smart enough to park the whole family behind these tan and muscular local boys. They put up a good show for us.

Makena, a.k.a. the big beach, a.k.a. break neck beach is one of our favorite beaches on my favorite Hawaiian island of Maui.

Makena, the Big Beach of Maui

Makena is a long stretch of fine sandy beach on the southern tip of Maui. It features big powerful surfs that break close to the shoreline.

Long Sandy Beach

It is always tricky to get in and out of its enticing turquise crystal clear water. You have to time it just right to not get pounded by one of its powerful surfs. We always enjoy this beach with a great deal of caution. But the local teens love to muscle into these waves with their boogie boards to ride and do 360 degree flips into the air.

Braving Makena's Big Powerful Wave

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