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Archive for December 1st, 2006

Two week notice

Friday, December 1st, 2006

I joked with the newspaper adviser last week that I was giving him my two week notice. Of course, there were only two weeks of daily production left. Now, we’re down to one week of production/regular classes and then exam week.

Although I will certainly be breathing a big sigh of relief Thursday night around midnight when we send our final page of the semester, I know more than most Stater editors how little that can mean. I’ll still be on guard for unexpected news the following week and ready to pounce with stories on the Web. The naming of a new president last spring caught us off guard, but we pulled off two special sections to break the news. Now, we’re seasoned pros at responding to the unexpected — as much as 21 year olds can be seasoned at anything.

But even then, after the Friday two weeks from today, I will leave my baby in the capable hands of another person, a person I’ve essentially trained. I will cease to be responsible in any way for the paper I’ve practically lived for nearly every day during the last three years. The newsroom will no longer be my second, or in many cases first, home. And by this time next year or the following year, mail poring in from companies with out-of-date listings will give pause to whomever is editor. He or she will do as I do when I come across a piece of mail addressed to my former editors: reminisce and wonder “whatever happened to…” And the Stater, or whatever it has come to be in its new converged newsroom, will go on. I will be a footnote to a footnote in its history. But, let me say, as far as footnotes go, it was one hell of a story.

Why I avoid oil changes — take two

Friday, December 1st, 2006

My life is not a sitcom, or a drama, or even one of those horrible made-for-TV Lifetime movies. But sometimes I swear it seems like it. I have these moments where I’m stuck doing something or standing somewhere and I think to myself, “If I ever write a book about my life, this is definitely getting included.” Last night I had one of those painful moments.

I went to Akron last night to grab dinner with my mom and go to Border’s. Everything’s fine on the drive there. Everything’s fine on the drive back. As soon as I pull into a parking spot on campus, however, I start to smell something faint like maple syrup. As soon as I put it in park, it starts smoking. Clouds of white smoke pour from the right side of my engine. I turn the car off and get out in the pouring rain (because in all great car trouble scenes there’s pouring rain).

I hit the release button on my hood, determined to see if I can figure out the issue. (Yeah, right.) That was my first problem, I didn’t even know how to open the hood. I call the Stater to find someone to help me. (Take into consideration that we are by nature not car people.) Then I call my dad, who is my go-to on car problems. I know when I call my dad and say, “Dad, I just had an accident,” or “Dad, my car won’t come out of park,” or “Dad, I know it’s 3 a.m., but we have a flat tire and we’re on some random two-lane road in Cuyahoga Valley, and we don’t have a jack or know how to change a tire,” he will answer and either calm me down or say, more often than not, “I’ll be there in…” But he doesn’t answer. So, I stand in the rain and wait, looking like an idiot to the dozen or so people who walk past me because while my car’s hood is still smoking, I’m just staring at it, immobile.

Eventually, after we open the hood and I am satisfied nothing was actually on fire or anything, I calm down. Sean says it was probably just overheated or something. But that makes no sense. My car has never done that before, and isn’t the coolant, which I had replaced the day before, supposed to prevent that? The smoke came from the area where the coolant is at, which leads me to believe a) the guy who changed the oil and coolant spilled some on the engine or b) he screwed something up when he was working on it. Either way, I have to go back today or (probably) tomorrow to figure it out. It definitely shouldn’t be doing that.

You know, my dad asked me last week if I’d want triple A for Christmas and I told him it was probably a good idea because I’d be moving away soon and wouldn’t know anyone. Maybe he knew something I didn’t.

My mom called back later (she was my call after my dad), and I explained what happened. She asked her friend who used to be married to a mechanic what that might be. Immediately her friend replies, “Oh, maple syrup? That’s bad. That means your heater core’s going bad.”

So, whatever a heater core is, I have to add that to the list of things to be checked and fixed when I’m done with all these papers, projects, exams and classes — basically, when I graduate and have a little free time. It really is sad that I look forward to a real job where I’ll work 40 hours a week instead of 60+ on top of five classes. I might have time to read all the books I buy at Border’s, or take up another hobby… maybe working on cars?