So, to answer your unasked questions, no, I have not vanished off of the face of the earth. Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. The Bermuda triangle did not claim me and I have not run away to Cozumel with bob the pest control specialist.

Instead, I survived a summer with four energetic children which included moveing halfway across the country in a car alone with said energetic children and two energetic dogs and lots and lots of inappropriate music and snacks to placate the masses. Then I survived a holiday season that included a plane flight to Buffalo in December with a walking baby who wasnt in the mood to be restrained for five hours, a seven year old whos voice has no off button, and a severe plane phobia. And most recently, I survived three months of subsisting entirely on Coke and nicotine. (The beverage, that is.) as such things will tend to do, this eventually landed me in the hospital where I spent last weekend comfortably pressing the go button on my morphine pump every ten minutes and rewarching the first twenty episodes of Veronica Mars.
Needless to say, I’m still alive and have expanded my gastronomic repiortoire to include such things as “meat” and “fruit” and “medication” once again.
I’ll be back soon with some summer and holiday tales, posts that have been written in my head for months but which I have failed, for some reason to be able to find the will to actually sit down and write. Retrospectively, I think perhaps I was isolating myself a bit, after the let downs of real life, I think I couldn’t bear the thought of you, dear Internet, letting me down as well. But I am back and here to stay. I promise. I’ve missed you greatly.

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When it Rains, it Pours.

Or something like that.  If you follow me on Facebook, you are probably aware that I’ve had a bad few days week month.

But, in the style of our new project, Love Hate Review, I’ll start with

The Good:

Spring is here in full force

– which in Florida, means it went from 40 degrees to 90, but I’ll take it. Cold is not fun for the arthritic joints.

Anyway, with spring come dragonflies.

And pool parties.

My Baby is Unrealistically Cute.

See for yourself.

Have I Mentioned we Have an Awesome New Site?

I am having so much fun with it. Reviews and Giveaways, what could be better!

The Bad:

Vaccines are Tricky.

Elijah had his six-month appointment. (Newsflash-he’s huge, but proportionate. And cute) And he got shots that I had been putting off, well… because. Anyway, after the injection, the office has you wait in the waiting room for ten minutes. So I sat down and started feeding him. And as I was, I noticed his face starting to redden. Then his arms, and his chest. Within minutes, his entire body was covered in hives.

Of course, panic ensues.

After we ascertained that he was not in fact, going to go into shock and stop breathing too,  we watched him for a million-year-long hour and his hives started to slowly fade.

But now he can’t get conbo shots, everything has to be separated and he has to be monitored closely, because they have no idea what triggered it, and the next time, the reaction could be much more severe. As if I don’t have enough issues with shots as it is.

Too Much Bodily Fluid, Not Enough Valium.

Pretty much everything in this house has peed, pooped or puked on or near me this month.

Fords Suck.

Yes, we already know this, but Friday, mine completely blew up. Oil mysteriously disappeared and my engine seized. So, no car for two weeks while they replace the engine, and its going to cost eleventymillion dollars.

Arthritis Sucks.

‘Nuff said.

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I didn’t disappear again.

Nope, I’m here. Or more precisely, Here. With friends. Check it out!

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Dear Ford, Again.

I’m writing this post to let you know why I will never be buying another Ford.

My experience with Ford started about three years ago.After going for an incredibly long time without my own vehicle, we took a trip to CarMax. Eventually, after some consideration, we picked out a Ford Explorer. I made this choice for many reasons. I needed a reliable family car, that would fit my three children and the fourth we were planning to eventually have. Also, I really did not want a minivan. And at the time, I was under the impression that Ford’s were decent, solid, American-Made cars. The Explorer was used, (a 2003 8 cylinder XLT model) but it had decent mileage and was in good condition. it has a third row that’s not too complicated to get to and can hold groceries and strollers and the myriad of crap a soccer-mom-of-four has to cart around on a daily basis. And more importantly, we wouldn’t have to strap the baby to the roof.

In the end, we paid too much for it, but we figured since CarMax was simple and easy, and since this vehicle was going to last awhile, being Ford Tough and all, it would work out fine.

So we brought it home and I was  thrilled. For about a month.

The day after CarMax’s 30 day warranty expired, I realized the CD player didn’t work. Oh well, no big deal, I thought.

A month after that, I rolled down a window and it never rolled back up. When I went to get it repaired, the mechanic showed me the insides. He explained how parts that used to be made of steel were now replaced with cheaper plastic and much more prone to break. I wasn’t thrilled about the mechanisms that hold my windows in being flimsy plastic, but what can you do? Right?

I few weeks later, I discovered that I could no longer roll down another window. Well, at least this one wasn’t stuck down, right? Unable to afford another three hundred bucks to have the door ripped apart and the flimsy parts replaced, I chose to leave it as it was.

Two months after that, the check engine light went on. Scared to find out something else was wrong, I waited until it was time to go in for my routine oil change and has the mechanic run tests to see why the light was on. Turns out, there’s something defective going on with the air filter, and it was actually recalled, but since my car isn’t under warranty anymore, Ford says they can’t replace the part unless I pay for labor. The mechanic told me that it wouldn’t make a difference in the way the car runs anyway, it was just a sensor that causes the check engine light to light up, so again, I let it go. And try to annoy the check engine light. Heaven forbid I really need to check my engine, because I’ll never know.

Around this time, my car started stalling at stop lights. Again, I take it in, and they can’t find the problem. It’s only intermittent, and it starts back up again right away, right?  And, that car didn’t actually hit me when I stalled in the middle of that intersection with all my kids in the car, so it’s all good. Right?

Another month, another issue. My car alarm goes off at 2 in the afternoon. I watch it from the window, doors locked, phone in hand, convinced I am being robbed. (No such luck.) I key the alarm off and write it off as a fluke. Maybe it was the wind.

Yeah, right.

Fast forward to 3 A.M.  And 3:45, and 5am. And the next day in Target when I am paged over the intercom because my alarm is going off. Another trip to the mechanic, where I am told, it is probably a faulty door sensor, registering an open door when there is none. But there is no way of knowing which door sensor without checking them all, and it could take untold hours to rip apart every door and check them. Which adds up to money we do not have.  And they are unable to simply disarm my alarm. If I lock my doors, the alarm goes off. Sometimes, it goes off anyway, just for fun. Also, since it intermittently thinks the doors are open, while you are driving the dashboard incessantly beeps a warning at you. And, as an added bonus, the interior lights, and sometimes headlights don’t go off. So I have to carry a car battery charger around wherever I go. And when I drive at night, I have to manually turn off the interior lights, which can’t be done without turning off the back lighting for the clock, radio, speedometer and gas gauge.

At this point, I can’t play my music, I can’t roll down my window, I can’t lock my doors or read my gas gauge, and I have to Flinstone run my 6 ton SUV full of kids off of train tracks when it stalls. But at least I have a car, right?

Then one morning, a year and a half ago, I go out to do some grocery shopping. As I go to put my earth friendly shopping bags out of the back, I am greeted with a lovely sight.

This, my friends, was what I saw.

Here I am, freaking out, trying to figure out what I did. Did I back into something? Did someone smack the back of my car? Did I slam the trunk too hard? Steve is going to kill me. Crap Crap, CRAP. I rack my brain, but can come up with nothing. A few weeks later, another crack appears, again, first thing in the morning, it is just there.

As near as we can figure, when it gets cold out, ( But not that cold, remember, we live in Florida.) the hardened Play-Doh or whatever the back is made out of, just… cracks.

Once it happened to me, I started noticing a funny thing. Seventeen other Ford Explorers in my neighborhood have the exact same cracks. What?

(Seriously, I am going to start a photo gallery of all the Fords with cracked rears that I come across. (If you have one, post a link to a pic in the comments!)

So then, last month, I’m driving my daughter home from school. I’m making a left turn, against traffic, because I don’t have a green arrow, and suddenly, my car doesn’t go. Oncoming traffic is speeding at us, and I’m standing on the gas pedal, and I’m barely moving. A light on the dash tells me “Conserving power,  because you are overheating.” or something to that effect. (I was a bit too panicked to write it down or commit it to memory.) Luckily the oncoming traffic managed to swerve and not kill us all, and I manage to putter into the gas station that was fortunately only 3 feet away.  Where it turns out, I was completely out of fluid.

There was NO warning.. just boom, out of fluid. Back to the mechanic, who can’t for the life of him figure out where exactly, it is going. There’s no visible leak, but my coolant is going…somewhere. Somewhere expensive, that’s probably going to require an engine replacement. Which we can’t afford, on a car that’s barely HALF paid for. So now I get to drive around with gallons of leaky antifreeze in the back of my kid and dog filled, safe family car.

Now, keep in mind, I regularly maintain my car. Change the oil, rotate the tires, get tune up’s. All the things you are supposed to do. None of these things are due, in any way, to anything I did. Every single thing is a manufacturing default. And you can’t tell me Ford doesn’t know about the problems, with as many other cracked-rear Explorers driving around as I have seen.

I’ve had it. This is ridiculous.

Why should we, as consumers, have to put up with this crap? Especially on the second most expensive thing we buy? We get better service in Victoria’s secret, and if a bra I buy from them falls apart after several washings, they will replace it. For free! We pay so much for our vehicles and they are apparently made to just fall apart. All this corner cutting and putting people in danger by making thirty-thousand dollar pieces of junk, and they wonder why the car industry needs bailing out? Wonder why people prefer to buy cars made in Germany and Japan? Hell, at this point, I would prefer a Toyota.

We should demand better service. We deserve better quality.

Please pass this on to anyone you know who is thinking of buying a car, and if you already have a Ford, please share your stories with me.

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A day in the life of me

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Every Day Is Earth Day

Years ago, I decided to make a change by slowly replacing things in my life with healthier, more natural things. I admit, with my health problems and everything else going on in our lives, “going green” has fallen low on my list of  priorities, but I haven’t forgotten about it.  I managed to go from chemical cleaning products to “natural” commercial products and now, I’m going all the way. Vinegar,  baking soda, tea tree oil, castile soap, essential oils. Rags and elbow grease. I admit. it’s not as convenient and easy, but after I cleaned yesterday I was amazed at how shiny and beautiful it all looked. And smelled.  But the best part of all was how I felt.

I think I am finally free of commercial cleaners and chemicals. My kid can lick the floor, and be in the bathroom while I am cleaning it and i don’t have to worry about him getting poisoned.  I don’t know why it took me so long.

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Not-So-Smooth-Criminal.

I’d dropped Kiki off at school as usual, and was heading home with the baby when it happened. I saw the policeman standing on the side of the road with his radar gun. He made eye contact and waved me over. Shit.

“Do you know how fast you were going?”

“Twenty-Six?”

“Twenty-six. And do you know what the speed limit is?”

“Twenty-Five?”

“Wrong, it’s a school zone. The speed limit is fifteen.”

“Um. Oh.” I glance in my rear view mirror at the End School Zone sign a good block and a half behind me. But,  I bite my lip because nothing good will come of me opening my mouth in this situation. Trust me, I have learned from experience. The baby starts to fuss.

Officer Smiley then asks me for my license and registration. Shit!

“Um, Yeah. I forgot my wallet in my diaper bag at home. I was just dropping my daughter off and I live right… Um…You can look it up, can’t you?” You are lucky I have pants on.

“Yeah. Whats your name?”

I spell it for him and he wanders off for a good ten minutes. When he comes back he looks annoyed. So am I. Elijah is past fussing at this point and is full out screaming.  And it’s cold and my engine is off so there’s no heat.

“I can’t find you in the system,” he says. “Are you sure this is the correct spelling?”

I spell it again and suggest he try my maiden name too just in case. Another ten minutes pass, which I spend trying to avoid eye contact with every other parent from my kids school as they stare at me on their way past. I can see them all wondering what I did. I fervently wish his car was behind mine, to block the easily identifiable trailer hitch. Shiiiit.

Officer Inconvenient returns finally. “You still aren’t coming up. What’s your social?”

I relay the information and  ask if I can get out of the car, because at this point, my son is full-on-red-faced wailing at the top of his lungs.

“Nope, stay put, I’ll be right back.”

Another ten minutes or so pass, during which I realize several things. I forgot to take my medication, I have to pee, and I’m not wearing a bra.  SHIT!

A  month later, he returns. “You still aren’t coming up. Give me your social one last time.”

“575-” I say.

“Seven-five-Seven”

“No, it’s FIVE SEVEN FIVE”

“Sevenfivefive…”

….

Eventually, Officer Dyslexic gets it right with the computer and discovers that I do actually exist and am not some fugitive drug-muling soccer mom. At this point, I’ve taken to grinning maniacally and parade-waving at the rubberneckers. I think I’m going to skip this months PFA meeting though.

When he finally comes back with his ticket book I’m startled, as I’d been busy trying to figure out just how hard it would be to clean pee out of my upholstery and if it’s maybe worth the effort- and Elijah is busy strangling his blue bunny whilst screaming his anger at it. He’s hungry at this point, and no amount of consoling will do.

“Well, I’m doing you a favor. Speeding in a school zone is an expensive ticket. Instead I’ve given you a ticket for failing to carry your license. It was a huge waste of my time to have to look you up in the system. Be sure to carry it with you from now on.”

My lip is now bleeding because of how hard my teeth are dug into it, but I manage to smile and nod, and mumble a “Thank you”  before I flee back to the safety of my home, where I look at the ticket.

Crap. 110 bucks! Steve is going to kill me.

Surprisingly, he is pretty cool about the ticket, and I forgot about it until a few days later when the first driving school flier arrives in the mail.

Hmm. But, my ticket didn’t put points on my license.

Then I realize it’s in his name. Turns out, HE got a $300 speeding ticket the day before.

And when we go to pay mine, they ask to see my license. As long as I have one, the fee?

Ten bucks.


*Disclaimer* This actually happened several months ago, but I never got around to finishing the post until now.

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