Category Archive: Trials, Tribulations & Escapades (mostly funny)

Jun 12

Sticking the landing

IMG_2845 by lintqueen
IMG_2845, a photo by lintqueen on Flickr.

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Jun 12

My turn in the helicopter!

IMG_2804 by lintqueen
IMG_2804, a photo by lintqueen on Flickr.

And here I am, taking my turn at the helm during the helicopter lesson.

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Jun 12

Helicopter lessons

IMG_2319 by lintqueen
IMG_2319, a photo by lintqueen on Flickr.

Adrian is about to take the helm during his helicopter lesson at NC Rotor and Wing.

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Jan 23

A real coversation via IM with one of my co-workers

Gina Norman [2:14 PM]:

Have you ever heard Foster Street by the Beelzebubs (Tufts)  [ed note: an a cappella group.  The co-worker in question was in her college a cappella group.]

Julie [2:14 PM]:

hmm i’ve heard the group

Gina Norman [2:15 PM]:

is on my iTunes — listen to it… is OLD — my college era… pre digital… 1988ish?

Gina Norman [2:16 PM]:

their version of comfortably numb/brain damage is fab

Julie [2:16 PM]:

oh wow. old school!

Gina Norman [2:16 PM]:

yep. as am i

Julie [2:16 PM]:

haha that’s awesome

Gina Norman [2:17 PM]:

I think this is the point where I say I have a Capella recordings that are older than you are, right? [ed note: This was, of course, intended to be a joke. ha ha ha ha]

Julie [2:17 PM]:

haha. if they predate 1986, then yes

Gina Norman [2:17 PM]:

oh f*ck

Gina Norman [2:17 PM]:

that’s not even funny

Gina Norman [2:17 PM]:


Julie [2:17 PM]:

sorry..  :-/


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Jan 19

A Weekend of Super Powerful Superpowers

I believe everyone has the unusual (if small and odd) super power.  Mine comes in the form of an ability to cause strangers to want to help me with things of not great consequence.(1)

This can take many forms, but most often involves small favors in retail or foodservices.  I’m the queen of using expired coupons, getting items on sale when the sale actually ended yesterday and returning things without receipts.   I’m not obnoxious at all about these things;  I just ask really nicely, smile (somewhat pitifully, I’ve been told) and am more often than not the glad recipient of largess.  Many times I don’t even ask — I just get samples and freebies and other goodnesses — I think it has to do with the fact that I consider it part of my “job” to be pleasant and entertaining when I’m shopping.

Sadly, this gift doesn’t extend to anything truly large (no Ed McMahon on my doorstep with a Publishers Clearinghouse Check), though I have streeeeeetched it (more than once) to include convincing the policeman that he really wanted *not* to give me a ticket.  (And, yes, for this I am *incredibly* grateful!).

This weekend my powers were in overdrive (2) .  First, on Friday night we went to Blue India (more correctly known as Tandoor India), my favorite Indian place because they actually make the Chicken Tikka Masala *very* very mild when I ask for it very* very mild (which is always).  Most places assume I mean “somewhat mild” or maybe “not quite as hot as they normally make it” or even “we can’t make it mild, hope she doesn’t notice” and I end up miserable with burning lips and aching belly.  I Do Not Like hot food.  Or even, by most people’s standards, “warm” food.

So anyway, despite the fact I haven’t been there in person for a year or two I think our waiter must’ve recognized me (maybe he recognized the voice that’s placed many many takeout orders, always for Chicken Tikka Masala *very* very mild?), because when aklikins ordered the buffet and I ordered my standard, he asked me if I wanted any bread, then kindly said that Adrian could share his bread with me from the buffet!  Adrian came back with the thin, crunchy peppery stuff (I wanted naan, but there was none), so when our waiter came back I asked him if there were any naan, and I’ll be darned if he didn’t bring me a basket of naan fresh from the oven!!

Then, as if that weren’t enough, Adrian got these donut-hole-looking things for dessert.  As our waiter was clearing our plates, I asked Adrian if he was going to eat his donut-hole-things (using that phrase, I think).  Adrian declined, the waiter finished clearing our plates, then returned with a little bowl with two more of the little donut-hole-things, in a hot butter sauce with some sort of cream pudding on top for me!  He told me what it was called as he was presenting it to me, but I was too busy making gleeful noises to capture the name.  Sad, because it was delightful, and reminded me (surprisingly) of something from my childhood…

Then Saturday we headed to Nantucket Grille, home of:  the only lobster roll in the area that I know of (yum!  a perennial craving since my trip to Maine); a really charming, recently-displaced-from-Southern-California-waiter, who was distressed by the cold, yet eager to keep me well-stocked in potato rolls (and brought me a sample of slaw!); *and * wonderful cupcakes.  (Amended:  the cupcakes are quite good.  The icing is *excellent* and is piled high!).

As we were departing, I stopped by the pastry case to get a few cupcakes “for the road”… I remarked aloud (yes, there are actually *some* of them that do stay *inside* my head) that I was basically “in it for the icing” and I’d just buy a tub of that if I could.  One of the managers was passing through the bakery area as I said that, was amused, and responded “I’ll get you some icing!”

And, well, I jumped up and down like a little girl.

Which cracked her up.

And resulted in me getting a tub (TUB!) of icing!  And they wouldn’t even let me pay for it because they’d been so amused by my delight!  (I did still buy the cupcakes.  All three of them, which was all they had, assuaging my guilt somewhat).

(1) I also cause grocery store lines to come to a complete and total grinding halt….waaaaay before I even get to the cashier (so, no, it’s not me “being difficult” that causes it).  It’ll be some odd combo of normal-if-they-occurred-one-at-a-time-but-unbearable-if-they-all-happen-at-once-things like:  travellers checques; a new trainee coming to take over the register (who doesn’t even know the code for bananas!!); the register running out of tape (after the new trainee comes over of course; and I guarantee he doesn’t know how to change the tape); the use of an out-of-state drivers permit (not license) to purchase cigarettes (it’s a permit, but she’s old enough to buy the cigarettes … yes, this confuses the trainee); etc, etc.

You get the picture.  Strangely this only happens in regular grocery store lines (Harris Teeter, Food Dog, etc.) not in Target or Trader Joe’s (hear the angels?  they just chorused), so I really don’ t have to deal with it all that often anymore since I only venture into a “real” grocery store once in a very blue moon.

That said, if you see me in line at a Harris Teeter, do yourself a favor and choose a different line.  You can thank me later.  :-)

(2) Adrian hypothesized that somehow the powers are enhanced by cold.  That may be the case, but it’s still not enough for me to consider moving north.  Anything below 20F is Too Cold For People.  Period.


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Jan 13

Confessions of a really bad driver (and an undeserving girlfriend)

Points of consideration:

  1. In the first place, I was very, very tired.  So tired, in fact, that I was having snippets of dreams, which wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that I was on the on-ramp to the beltline at the time. (1)
  2. Then there’s the fact that on-ramps have curbs.   Which, when you hit them going 45+ mph will tend to wake you right up.
  3. aklikins is a car guy.  He can fix things, and even owns a shop, Rod-o-Rama (2).  So when I got home from the not-quite-awake excursion, he checked out my car.   Unfortunately, he also noticed some other side effects of hitting a curb at 45 mph, like smushed-up tires (the tread was separated and it had gotten all “bubbly”) and a loosened under valence.
  4. Sigh.
  5. Little known fact: the extended warranty on tires is actually a Good Thing, unlike nearly every other extended warranty.  Thankfully, when I’d bought my tires last year, I’d been convinced of this by the Tire Guy (3) and bought the extended warranty on all 4 tires.  This meant that the replacement tire for the one I busted cost $zero!!  (Not including the new $14 extended warranty that I bought for that one!)
  6. That left only the loosened under-valence (undervalence? under valence?)… the plastic-y bit that runs *under* your bumper around the front of the car.
  7. Because he may be the sweetest human ever, aklikins agreed to switch cars with me and let me borrow his truck so he could take Meep (my MINI) in to the shop to more firmly reattach said plastic-y bit.
  8. I drove the truck (did I mention it’s a Really Big Truck?  Like HUGE?) into downtown Durham, where I was meeting my friend Kim to go to a bead show (mmmm…. my pretties…).
  9. I found a spot in the Carolina Theatre parking deck  (which was, of course, undergoing massive construction, complete with barrels and “Do Not Go Here” tape and construction fencing and truly confusing signage)  and got out of the car and was all ready to go get me some beading goodness when I noticed that there was a faintly painted “Reserved” in the spot that I’d taken.
  10. Crud.
  11. I got back in the car and ever-so-carefully started to ease my way out of the spot, knowing that there were *furlongs* of truck behind me (as opposed to the 2.5′ of MINI I was accustomed to).
  12. Keeping my eye on the ginormous SUV parked behind me, I started to turn the wheel to escape the spot.

Yes.  That was the sound of the *front* bumper hitting one of the 83 million poles in the parking deck. aklikins‘s truck’s front bumper.  Which he let me borrow because he was Fixing.  My.  Car.

I am unworthy.

(1) Being in cars *always* makes me sleepy.  I’m usually OK as long as at least one or more of the following are true:

  • I’m WIDE awake
  • I’m extremely caffeinated
  • It’s a short distance (>15 minutes)
  • It’s “exciting” driving (a new place, bad traffic — I know that seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true.  If it’s exciting then I don’t have so much trouble with the sleepies)
  • Someone else is driving  ;-)

Sadly, early morning routine drives (like my commute to work) don’t usually meet any of those criteria.

(2) It’s a *neat* shop a full service hot rod and custom shop in Raleigh, so if your muscle car needs fixing or spiffing up, that’s the place to take it.

(3) The conversation went something like this:

Tire Guy:  The Extended Warranty means that we’ll replace the tires no matter what happens to them for the lifetime of the tire.
Me: Even if I do something really stupid, like run over something pointy?
Tire Guy: Yep.
Me: Or even if someone gets super mad at me and goes crazy and slashes at my tires with a knife?
Tire Guy: Yep.
Me: I’d like the Extended Warranty please


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Oct 08

Good customer service (happy)

Perhaps a small thing, but I think really *good* customer service is so special that it’s worth mentioning.

The short version:  since [info]aklikins and I have moved in together, we’re now getting two copies of ReadyMade … since this seemed silly, I wrote them, hoping to combine (and thereby extend) our subscriptions, but thinking that the best I’d be able to manage was canceling one of them.  (It’s not like they made an error — we just moved in together!)

So I sent them this:

Due to our recently cohabitated status, we’d like to conjoin our
subscriptions, please and just have one magazine, but for a longer
period of time, if that’s possible.

and they very kindly replied with this:

We received your email about receiving duplicate copies.
We have combined your records so that you will receive only one copy.
Duplicate copies received have not been charged against your
subscription. Please allow six to eight weeks for this change to appear
on the address label. 


Win!  Easy peasy! And they’re “backcrediting” us for the issues before I got my mess together and wrote them!

Yah ReadyMade!  I think I’ll go make some Duct Tape Wallets….


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Jul 22

feeling oopy

I wanted cereal for breakfast more than I wanted to admit that the milk didn’t quite smell right.

This was a mistake.

(it was dated *tomorrow*, though).

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Jul 01

Deadly Sins for Southerners

[info]aklikins and I were discussing the Seven Deadly Sins and came up with six of them:  greed, gluttony, sloth, lust, envy and pride and then got stuck.

From a Southerer’s POV, I decided that the seventh deadly sin was probably  “ugliness.”   When Southerners say “ugly” in this context they don’t mean physical appearance, they mean “ugly” as unkind:  “She knew he was trying to sit down and pulled that chair out anyway — pure-t-ugly.”

But then I thought that perhaps the Last Deadly Sin for a Southerner is Tacky, as it can be used in wide variety of circumstances, for evils large and small.

Besides which, “ugly” implies maliciousness, while “tacky” might mean they just didn’t know any better, so it’s less ugly to say something’s tacky than to say it’s ugly.  ;-)

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Jun 09

Powers of Thought

(sadly, not in any terribly useful way…)

The other night Adrian and I were watching the Barrett-Jackson car auction 1 and in the background of one of the long shots of the cars awaiting auction you could see an old blue Dodge Charger. I pointed it out to[info]aklikins , saying “Look –a Dukes of Hazard car”  2

The *very* *next* *shot* was of Bo Duke .  I swear.  He was out in the audience, signing autographs (he apparently had a replica General Lee on the block that night).

I manifested Bo Duke.

1 I like watching Barrett-Jackson. Much like watching dog shows, I find it calming and non-brain-draining. The commentators usually have nice speaking voices and they sprinkle sufficient trivia throughout each description that I’m not bored (“1984 was the year that Mustangs made the switch from a single fold down seat to a 50/50 split fold-down seat” or “The puli, which was bred for herding flocks on the plains of Hungary, has a naturally corded coat”).   Plus, you know, there’s the *shiny*.

2 I don’t know which is more scary — that I spotted a Charger in a pan over a parking lot full of cars or that I called it out as the General Lee-mobile (it wasn’t even the same color scheme).

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Apr 30

A series of near misses

We’re in the final stages of household reorganization, and as such are dealing with *big* project things. Last weekend we got the rest of the stuff out of aklikins apartment 1 , which involved disposing of many things, amongst them two long fluorescent lightbulbs. Which I placed *gently* in the dumpster (I know those things are dangerous!), but they ‘sploded anyway, flinging glass shards all over the place. Somewhat remarkably (and thankfully) neither of us were hurt, save a tiny scratch on my chest.

Then last night we had to move the Mustang from the apartment garage to the storage unit: which turned out to be an equally traumatic, but also not permanently harmful process.

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Apr 15

Rules of Thumb

If you’re close to running out of gas and you have the time to stop and fill up, go ahead and do it.

It’s tempting to think:  “I’ll just do it tomorrow,” or “Ew, it’s cold” or “Gee, I’d rather not miss MythBusters,” but the fact is that if you don’t fill up now, tomorrow will be
and rainy
and you’ll be running late for a meeting
and you’ll have just painted your nails.

(And you’ll be that much closer to being stranded on the side of the road.)

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Apr 09

9 things I’ve learned about roller skating

aklikins and I went skating again tonight, and (being one who overthinks things), I’ve cataloged:

  1. Check your wheels.
  2. Duct tape is your friend.  I can’t remember where I’d originally read about long-distance runners taping their feet with duct tape, but given that I’m just about the blisteriest girl on the planet, I figured it couldn’t hurt.  I covered the bottom of both feet with tape (which is surprisingly easy since you can tear the tape to make little “darts” for arches and whatnot), which looked ridiculous (and elicited many amused comments when everyone was de-skating at the end of the night), but — hey — not a blister in sight!  This is, for me, a minor miracle, as I can wear “so-comfy-they’re-ugly-euroshoes” (like Merrills or Monroes) and STILL get blisters.
  3. Tighter laces are not always better.  I’ve always tried to lace the boots up really really tight as it made me feel more secure (and helped prevent rubbing and therefore blisters).  Now since I’ve solved the blister issue (two words that are kinda fun to say in a row… try it), that is unnecessary, so I tried looser lacing.  To my amazement, with looser laces it didn’t feel like my arches were cramping and my shins didn’t hurt.  (This is one of the reasons I don’t like inline skates or skiing… the boot holds your foot at an angle, which makes my arch cramp up.  Apparently my foot needs to flex.
  4. Your feet belong under your body.  The analogy that I finally came up with is that it’s like walking in really high heels (or a catwalk walk), where your feet need to fall in a line as opposed to parallel.  This is, of course, an over exaggeration, but it helped to think of it this way when I was trying to get the hang of balancing and shifting my weight.
  5. Your weight is shifted forward compared to where it is when you’re standing normally… you can’t stand up straight, as that leads to flailing (which leads, in my case, at least, to falling).
  6. The boots do help — the ankle support is useful.  I had tried some “tennis-shoe style” skates and my ankles were way too loosey-goosey in them.  I suspect that with practice this would not be so much of an issue (or maybe even if you don’t have little toothpick-ankles), but as a novice, Use The Boots, Luke.
  7. You don’t have to hold the skates on your feet, they are already laced on and aren’t going to fall off, so relax. I realized after about a half hour that I was clenching my feet (sort of like you do in order to keep a pair of flip-flops on), and this was leading to exhaustion and cramping and whatnot.  aklikins pointed out that I really didn’t need to ***GRIIPPP*** the skates and he was right.  I loosened up and things got better.
  8. You will fall.  You will look stupid.  Get over it

Which leads to

  1. Fear is not your friend.  It’ll make you fall faster than anything.

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Apr 08

Sometimes I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house

The sound of an almost-full Diet Dr. Pepper makes as it spills all over my desk, keyboard, mouse, chair, floor, etc.
The sound of a big glass vase shattering when a chair hits it (was dragging chair out of way of more of the soda).
The sound that velvet pants make as they get soaking wet. (ok, a stretch, but you get my point).

Dare I drive home?

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Mar 25

Walking disaster

1) I don’t like a single cereal1.  That would be too simple.  No, I like a one-of-a-kind, limited-edition cereal mix: granola, Heart Healthy, Barbara’s little hexagonal things that remind me of wheat chex, some sort of pine-needle-bran-thing, etc.

2) I make the mix in a giant tupperthing.

3) My kitchen is a mess (all part of the massive house reorg happening at the moment) — boxes all over the place, things in sink that don’t belong in sink, etc.

4) The only place to make the cereal mix was with the tupperthing balanced on the side of the sink.

5) You see where this is going.

6) Yah Dyson!

1 Actually there are several cereals that can “stand alone” in my book; unfortunately they’re all “sugar bombs”:  Coco Puffs, Golden Grahams, Cap’t. Crunch, etc.   I just can’t get past the guilt that would be involved eating a bowl of straight sugar in the morning, hence the “healthy mix” (and a load of Splenda on top).  Yes, I know that the result is probably just as unhealthy as the oh-so-nummy-sugar-bomby-goodness would be, but the perception… (/guilt)

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