Saturday, December 11, 2004


I really need to write more often, because I usually have way too much to say if I wait too long.

Last Tuesday, December 7th, was my birthday. My office door was adorned with a "Happy Birthday" streamer. It didn't go up that high where it crossed the opening, so I suspected that the culprit was fairly short. Given that the majority of my friends at work are 5'1" or under, this didn't narrow it down too much.
It turned out that CL did it, but GA assisted with the tape. I generally think of everyone as being tall, so it was cool comparing people's heights while they were standing in my doorway.

GA had told me the previous day that she, CL, SY, EB and possibly some other people would take me out to lunch. We finally decided on Champa, since that's so convenient and very good. I had my usual Thai Iced Tea and shrimp Pad Thai. GA and SY left early and CL rode with me. I was suspcious at their leaving early, but I couldn't get any info out of her. I turned out that GA and SY had gotten a fourteen piece cheesecake sampler at BJ's. We had that afterwards, so I was completely stuffed during the afternoon. GA got me a whole bunch of assorted Marvin the Martian things and a stuffed penguin wearing a toboggan and scarf. TH got me a set of vinyl juggling balls.

On the way home from work that night, my car started running very roughly. My parents and I drove to ACME Foode and Beverage Company, where I had rainbow trout with capers, bacon and caramelized onions over roasted potatoes. For dessert we shared Jamaican style gingerbread with housemade vanilla icecream, drizzled with cranberry compote and surrounded by a moat of caramel sauce. The gingerbread was very dense. The consistency was somewhere between a brownie and a piece of toffee, but it was nice and spicy.

When we arrived at ACME, I noticed a strange smell, but decided that perhaps it was related to the restaurant. When we got back to my house, the smell was very strong and decidedly bad. We decided that it would be better to back the van out onto the concrete bad to keep the smell from getting any worse inside the house and to potentially keep the house from burning down if there were something seriously wrong. My mom drove me to work for the next couple of days and my dad was able to take it to Braxton Tire on Thursday morning.

It turns out that the problem with my van was actually the brakes. I'd noticed a problem with its pulling to the left for a long time, but they had never been able to find anything wrong. I had just gotten used to it. Well, it turns out that the caliper on the front right side needed replacing, as well as the hoses. They said that one of the pistons in the caliper was frozen. With an oil change, it all cost me $500. Nice. At least it's all fixed now and it's running beautifully. I guess I know what failing brakes smell like now, too.

The best thing that happened this week is probably that my new washing machine got delivered! Exactly two months after my four month old washing machine failed, Lowe's delivered a new one. It is shocking to me that it took this long. Frigidaire's customer service is just awful. I had to talk to four different people before I found someone who was serious about helping me. Even then, I had to call Lowe's several more times to make sure they got the authorization and followed through.

On Friday I made another lemon meringue pie for my brother's impending visit. It turned out well. I was extremely worried about it, because I almost dropped the thing in my lap when I was baking the crust and a piece broke off the edge. It also cracked quite a bit and I thought the filling would seep under it and make everything soggy. It actually turned out great. There still wasn't as much meringue as I would like, even though I used the standard hand mixer beaters this time.

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