January 6th, 2012

As I review the last 4 weeks of 2011 I gotta tell you: I’m not sorry to see it go.

You might recall from my last update that I’ve been in 24/7 pain since the end of September. When I make it to my chiropractor about the pain he says, “Your sacral-whatcha-ma-call-it is all locked up. You’ve been sitting too much. Too many plane rides, car rides, sitting all day. Stop sitting so much.”

Well that is a fantastic idea. Shame about the desk job. It kind of requires SITTING.

Shame about that scrapbooking promise. It kind of requires SITTING.

Nothing helped: not pain killers: over the counter or prescription.

Exercise was out of the question…..too painful.

I finally understood, I mean really, really understood emotional eating. The only time I wasn’t in pain was after one too many glasses of wine or when I was eating. Obviously being hung over on a school night isn’t a good plan, so I dove straight into a carton of Haagen Dazs’ dulce de leche Or a vat of all natural almond butter. Spoon anyone?

As long as I was eating: the creamy caramel-vanilla sweetness of ice cream melting on my tongue and then sliding down my throat, or the smell of roasted almond butter, creamy as well, but with a completely different mouth feel, I didn’t feel the pain.

It’s no secret that my relationship with food is troubled. I share it openly…..and unfortunately, the pain, the inability to exercise, and the only ‘painkiller’ that eased the brutal pain in my lower back and hip caused me to pack on so many pounds I found myself back in the Plus Size section of the local department store. Seriously not my favorite.

Fast forward to mid December….because it’s gotta get better, right?

One of the chilliest weeks we’ve had all season rolls around and for the first time since early Spring I feel a real bite in the air in the mornings and evenings as I walk to and from the parking lot into my work.

But luck is smiling on me.

One of the executives having a reserved underground parking spot at work was working remotely that week. He emailed me and offered up his parking spot.

“Now it’s a little tight,” he warns.

I think to myself, “Mister, I was born in a tight spot! I can wiggle my way of out anything.”

The first day in the warm, heated, cozy….yes, it was a small parking spot, my car slid into the stall and then out of at the end of my work day. No Problem.

The second day, as I’m backing out to head home, I hear a strange, grating sound. I hit the brakes! Sure enough: I’ve misjudged the 3 foot in diameter column and have just scraped my driver’s side mirror. Dangit!

The third day, I contemplated not parking in the spot. But a bevy of tired, slightly patronizing motivational quotes rolled through my head:

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”
“Get back in the saddle”
“You must do the thing you think you cannot”
“Never never never quit”

So I did. Or didn’t, as the case might be.

Within seconds I’m wedged into the stall quasi-sideways. Somehow wrapped catawampus around the concrete pole with no way in. Or out.

How could this happen, you might be wondering. “What do you mean you can’t get out? You did yesterday? I mean you got in, right?? You must be able to get out!”

Well dear readers, I was thinking all of this and much, much more.

Even better: It is 8am.

Picture this: here I am, wedged into a parking spot with no room to maneuver. Every inch I try to move: back up – scrape. Pull forward – scrape. Back up – plastic crunching. Once again the column extracts its pound of flesh from my car. (I will step away from the easy smart a$$ comment re: wishing the pound of flesh had come from elsewhere, like my behind. Okay. Okay. I just couldn’t leave it alone!).

I am in such a pickle I can’t even physically get out of the car: not on the driver’s side or the passenger’s side. Front or back.

Did I mention this was the EXECUTIVE parking lot? At 8am?? And for the plebe’s (like me) to get into the building you have to walk through the – wait for it – executive parking lot. The elevator is right next to my crammed in sideways car!

I try to remain calm. I say all the things I’m sure you’re thinking. I consider calling someone, but whom? And besides, I’m basically in a concrete bunker so I don’t even have cell coverage.

At this point I can see only two options: ram the car into the front wall and shatter the bumper, affording me enough space to maneuver. Or scrape the living hell out of the driver’s side as I back out, taking my best shot at the 3-foot concrete pole.

A few years ago I was hit in the bumper and it cost over $1,000 to fix the damage. Taking that into consideration I decide perhaps the most economical thing to do is scrape the paint off of the driver’s side. I mean how much can a little paint cost??

Here are a couple of shots of the damage.
IMG_0373IMG_0372

Mr. J called it the ghetto-mobile and said he wasn’t going to be seen in it. (Okay, that wasn’t him. It was me. I drove his car until I could get mine in the shop.)

Just so you know: I chose the wrong option. The damage to the driver’s side cost $2,000. The bumper would have been $750-$1000.

Luckily for me, I was traveling out of state for the rest of the week. I was able to get the car into the shop to be repaired while I was gone. Fantastic! Now I can lie like a dog if someone asks me at work, “Hey, did you hurt your car when you were stuck?” I’ll point toward my better than new car and say, “Heck no!”

Pride and pocketbook: they both hurt. A lot.

The following morning, because I was flying out, and cowering like a…well, cowering thing, I decided to work from home. I get ready to jump in the shower and boom: there is no water!

Huh??

“Mr. J!” I yell, “I was about to get in the shower but there is no water.”

“There is too. I just brushed my teeth.”

“In the shower?” I ask, confused.

“No. In the sink.”

I turn the faucet in the tub again. Nothing. “I can’t take a shower in the sink, darling!”

“Do I look like a plumber?”

The conversation devolved from there.

For the first time in the 10 years we’ve been in our home our pipes were frozen.

We don’t know what to do. We’re not from this far North.

And why the heck have they never frozen before? What the heck changed? And it is the beginning of the season: so trust me when I say: they will freeze A LOT.

We call a plumber. He recommends we open all doors in the house ‘for circulation’ and turn up the thermostat. He’ll be along as soon as he can get there. After turning up the heat so high that we strip down to shorts and t-shirts (hastily dug out from being packed away in September), we figure out the frozen culprit are the pipes around the jet/Jacuzzi tub we have in the master bathroom.

Mr. Plumber gets there, strips off his coveralls, wipes the sweat from his brow, looks around, and charges us $150 after telling us we have a construction problem, not a plumbing problem. “And oh by the way: you should leave the intake door open around those pipes while it is still arctic outside.”

Did I mention we have cats? Let’s leave the intake door open and encourage the cats to crawl under the floor in our house?? Uhm. No. From the moment we had opened the intake door for the plumber we’d had to lock up two cats who were bound and determined to get inside the new cool place they’ve never been before.

What were our options?

Leave the door closed and risk burst pipes until we can get someone out about the apparently vanished insulation? Or risk losing a cat to the underbelly of our house?

How about a compromise?

We do what any redneck would do: we MacGyver an apparatus designed to:
1. Let warm air flow to the pipes
2. Keep the cats from disappearing forever down the rabbit hole beneath our house

The Ghetto-fication of our household is complete:

IMG_0374

Please, please, please, 2012 – do me better than this!