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Archive for the 'Family' Category

Way ahead of his time

Friday, December 15th, 2006

So, my sister, my mom, her friend and my nephews are having a serious discussion about God. My 7-year-old nephew, who had been sitting there silently just blurted out: “What if God is the devil, and the devil is God, and he’s just tricking all the angels?”

He’s only 7, and he’s already thinking all philosophical and deeply considering his religion. That kid is way ahead of his time.

How cabbies get a bad rap

Friday, December 15th, 2006

My father is a cab driver in Akron. He’s been driving cab for most of his life and all of mine. (In fact, he met my mother when she was a dispatcher at the cab company.)

So, today when I read “Cab slams into downtown restaurant” in the Beacon, I didn’t even finish reading the story. I just called him up to find out what happened.

That photo is crazy. The cab was apparently hit by someone who ran a red light and thrown through the window of the restaurant. And the witness said it sounded like “a bomb going off.”

When I asked my dad about it, he just laughed. The driver, a friend of his, is OK. Apparently though, he was joking with her earlier about the accident. After checking to see if she was OK, he asked if she wanted to go to lunch, he heard there was a new drive-in restaurant downtown. Hehe. That’s my father for you. I definitely inherited his sense of sarcasm.

If nothing else, the driver has another great story for her kids/friends. One of the best parts about having a cab driver for a father is the awesome stories he hears and the things he sees. Seriously. If you wanted to do participatory journalism and write a book about a city, becoming a cab driver would be a great way to do it. You get to mingle with everyone from coked out professionals to drunk college students to the normal working class people. Hmm. If I had the guts to be a cab driver (and I didn’t think my parents would kill me for considering it), that would actually make a great book.

Smoking ban goes up in, well, smoke?

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

As this Beacon story (Smoking drifts back into area businesses) notes, several area establishments have quite literally been ignoring the new statewide smoking ban, which went into effect last Thursday.

I actually debated this with my father on Sunday. He (a smoker) pointed out that everyone was (and will continue) just ignoring the ban, so it didn’t even matter. Apparently, the bowling alley I used to work at (which was always a sort of shady place) is just telling smokers to pack the back party room and smoke there because they don’t want snow being trampled in all night. The smoke in the bowling alley alone probably took a year or two off MY life just because I had to breathe it constantly every night I worked. I remember guys would come up to the counter to smoke cigars. Cigars! I would literally choke while taking their order thinking “now, is that necessary?”

My father went on, “You think the bars in Kent are enforcing it? You’re wrong. Nobody is.” To wit I replied, “The ones I was in Thursday didn’t have a single smoker, and Ray’s yesterday and BW3’s today… nobody was smoking in any of them.” Perhaps because Kent was so close to its own ban, the bar owners resigned themselves to the inevitable. My dad’s argument to continue flaunting his cigarettes in public places was that it was a basic right. My reply? And not being exposed to pollutants that literally decrease the length and quality of my life, that’s not a right of mine? He then went into the old well “fast food is bad for people but they haven’t outlawed it” argument, and I quickly put that one to bed as well with a retort, “Well, if I chose to eat at McDonald’s then so I harm myself. I’m not hurting innocent bystanders or forcing it down anyone else’s throat.”

It’s not that my family and I don’t see eye to eye on most things, we do. It’s just that I am the one who sticks up for my position even when everyone else disagrees — probably because I’m the most informed. But seriously, as the article points out, enforcement or no enforcement, choosing to continue smoking is breaking the law.

In other unrelated news, this panda video is adorable.

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?

Why I avoid oil changes

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

After I dropped off the last $300 Kent State will ever squeeze from me at the Bursar’s Office this morning, I decided I’d stop at Starbucks and then grab lunch before going back to the newsroom. As I was leaving Starbucks, I happened to notice the oil change sign, and it reminded me that I needed to get the oil changed in my car. Needed is actually an understatement. I absolutely had to.

My father actually yelled at me — my parents have never yelled at me — last weekend when he took my car for a few hours to get new tags for my license plates and get it e-checked. He noticed the sticker I’ve been avoiding eye contact with all semester. The sticker that reminded me I should have taken my car in about 2,200 miles ago.

It’s not that I’m a horrible car owner. Well I’m not the most responsible one, as anyone who knows about the window that wouldn’t roll up can attest. I kind of let it chill for a month before I had time to take it in for repair only to have the shop tell my mother, who told my dad, who called and laughed at me, that it wasn’t working because the window lock was on. (I still contend that when they fixed the issue with my gear shift they bumped something that fixed the window. There is no way it was the window lock. I tried that and everything else just about every day I got in my car.) I just don’t have time to worry about things that don’t actually prevent me from getting from point A to point B. So, I try to ignore them as long as possible, which is why I took my car to get an oil change today.

I pulled into the oil change place and popped my hood. About five minutes later, I noticed the one guy step back and say, “What the heck is that?” Now, you know it’s a bad sign when the man working on your car deems it necessary to call “hey look at this” to two other people. I gulped.

Apparently, as I learned today, your coolant is supposed to be neon green. He held up a container with some of mine and said, “Your coolant is brown, and it smells bad.” I just looked at him and asked how much.

Add an extra $80 to the oil change and factor in the Starbucks and the Bursar’s office, and I easily spent between $400 and $500 dollars today. Gulp. Considering that’s half a month of the editor’s salary at the Stater, I’m pretty much screwed.

Still, I guess it’s better than the last time I got my oil changed. That was the day they told me my back struts were broken. I still don’t know exactly what struts are or how they break, but I do know that they cost about $500 to replace, even when your grandpa hooks you up with one of his friends. In fact, I’ve only recently finished paying my grandparents back for that one.

Sometimes not knowing is better. It’s easier to ignore, which is exactly why I avoid getting my oil changed.

¿Hablas Español?

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Sí y no.

Hablo un poco Español. But I wish it were more.

I just popped a bag of popcorn for the first time in a long time. I didn’t want to be that girl and make the fire alarms go off because I left it in too long, so I read the instructions to gauge the right amount of time. The only problem was the instructions were in Spanish. At least the ones in the back where instuctions normally are. I had to flip over the find the English directions.

Granted most packaging sold in the U.S. remains predominantly English, I have a feeling this transition toward bilingual packaging is definitely gaining popularity not losing it. Not that it’s a bad thing. As my sister, the Spanish teacher, is quick to inform me when I point out this trend, “In a decade there will be more Hispanic than European people in the U.S.”

It makes me wish I hadn’t been so zealous to end my Spanish training when I realized I could choose between math or a foreign language. What used to be pretty good when I graduated from high school is now pretty spotty. Although I still put up with my sister talking to me in Spanish when she doesn’t want other people to understand her comments, my own abilities in the language have deteroriated a lot. But, as I know she is right, I’m thinking I’ll be dusting off those “Learn Spanish” CDs she used to teach herself when she was in high school. ¿Por qué no?