Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fill 'er up

I got a good laugh yesterday at my own expense (which makes for cheap entertainment). The engine in my dear, paid for car ran hot all the way up to work. A little distressing, considering the temperature always sits at just below midway. Since I was already late, (so much for doing a good turn daily), I slowed down and hoped that whatever was "wrong" would wait until I had a lunch break before changing status to "REEEEEly Wrong". My dad raised his girls to be self sufficient in terms of basic car care and maintenance. Granted, you probably won't find me under the hood on a week night, wearing grubby coveralls that say "Lou" on the pocket, but I can determine if fluids need to be topped off.

Plan A was to run to Autozone up on 44th, grab a gallon of coolant, top of the reservoir, and coast home in (cooler) style. News to me: Unless AZ is actually located on South "Forty-ninth and Three-Quarters", Dex lied to me. It's not there. And I truly did not have time to get pulled over for dragging State in front of a hospital and a high school. Can you see it now: "Honest, Officer, I was just making sure that Autozone was right where I left it...." Plan B involved the next Sinclair station. I slid into a parking spot in front of the store, paid for the coolant and cheap paper funnel, and confidently popped the hood. "This is CAKE!" I thought. "Dad will be so proud." Even the guy in the pickup next to me seemed surprised to see a woman doing this without masculine aid. As I filled the reservoir, I was mildly alarmed that the level had gotten so low; I nearly emptied the container. Still believing that I'd single-handedly saved my car, I mashed the cap back on and headed to the trash can.

'Twas then I realized I had just filled the wiper fluid reservoir.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Definitely not another bitter Valentine's post

Every February 14th, and perhaps for the six weeks before that, we are deluged by the sights, sounds, and standards by which being in love should be measured. Shopping centers and grocery stores slap cheap shiny red decorations everywhere, playing on the false pretense that the degree of love felt for another is directly proportional to the amount of money shelled out for said other. Sure, the shopping is fun, but your recently-acquired significant other is gonna toss those kitschy red plastic champagne glasses in the next two days.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter about being single during this celebration of couplehood. I'm content, for now, to be as I am. But, I have matured somewhat since my bitter single days at BYU when I forever had roommates with boyfriends and fiancees who were more regular fixtures in our apartment than the furniture nailed to the floor. (For those who were wondering: NO, you don't get a full tuition refund if you graduate without a ring on your hand.) These days, I get warm fuzzies for my friends as they pass milestones in their relationships. Seriously.

Over the last few years, my understanding of love has changed ... quite a bit, actually. As a little girl, love = marrying tall/dark/handsome. (Admit it, you thought so too.) That's what my mom got. Why shouldn't I? She always told me to be open-minded, though, because I might end up with someone who wasn't at all like that. Honestly, that got me a little freaked out, and I wondered if God would send me a short blond troll just because it was the complete opposite of what I'd imagined. Maybe I should've just held out for "tall" and gone from there ... but I digress. The point is, the more I've paid attention, the more I've come to understand that love is not an achievement, it's a soul-deep attribute. There are no shortcuts, like picking up a "Boyfriend in a Box" at the Bookstore--et voila--you find love. You have to take every step on the way, or the entire journey means nothing.

Three of my younger siblings have gotten married. These couples have passed the newly-newlywed phase and are beginning to learn all kinds of weird things about each other. And I mean weird. For me, some of the stories they've shared make perpetual bachelorette-hood look really good. For them, it's another step in a great adventure as they come to really find out who they married. These guys and gals apparently think it's the greatest thing on the planet! Part of me thinks these things should have been discussed before the "I do's", but I guess that'd take all the fun out of waking up next to someone who could be considered a veritable stranger. And WHY would I want to miss out on THAT??

My parents are complete opposites. She's the fireball, he's the conservative with the warped sense of humor. (It's true, I come by it honestly.) But they've come to match exactly in all the ways that matter: values, priorities, communication. They'll hit their 30th anniversary this year, and they still act like they got married last week. Mom and Dad hold hands and kiss in public, dance in the kitchen even when there isn't any music, and give each other "good game" pats as they pass in the hall. When we kids roll our eyes in protest, Mom reminds us that we're lucky to have parents who still like each other. She's right. But that still doesn't keep us from making gagging noises or bellowing at the top of our lungs like Johnny One-Note to drown out the answer to the rhetorical question, "Do you know why I married your dad?" Trust me, you wouldn't want to hear it from your mom, either.

When I work at the temple, sometimes I'm stationed where I can see the patrons head down the stairs. My favorite thing about it is the elderly couples helping each other down the staircase, even if neither of them should be walking down said stairs in the first place. They cling tenderly to each other's hands, their heads together, whispering inaudibly. And when they reach the main floor, almost without exception, the gentleman escorts his girl to the door of the ladies' dressing room and bestows a brief tender kiss on her wrinkled face before he turns to go change. How cool is this? To be 80 years old, looking nothing like your college photos (and certainly not feeling like it) ... You've traveled uncounted rough trails together, and probably blazed a few new ones ... In spite of all this, to still be able to look in your spouse's eyes and see only the best in them? Truly, this is one of the sweetest fruits of being in love, for this charity suffereth long, and is kind, and beareth all things.

This Valentine’s, I’ve had a fantabulous hair day, attended a handgun class, run a couple miles at the gym without passing out, and picked up takeout from one of my favorite restaurants. And just now I’ve popped the top off a bottle of Meier’s Burgundy and started a Rachel York CD. All in all, it's been a great day. Perhaps this is the last year I do this solo; I don't know. But for now, let me raise my glass in a toast to all those who remind me of what I have to look forward to:

To my siblings and in-laws, who make me want to get married just so I can show you how sick it is to watch you in the kitchen. Three legged hug, indeed.

To Mom and Dad, who have got this love thing down pat.

To the senior couples, who make me want to grow old with someone.

And last, but not least, to the man I marry. Remember this phrase: “Curvy, sassy brunette.” Now, hustle up. I’m still waiting.