New Feature: The Weekly Whine


Long-time followers of my various blogs might remember that for a good long while I ran a cocktail blog and, I have to say, sometimes I miss it. I miss that scheduled time to come up with something tasty and fun to share and the idea that every week I’d carve out a little time for myself to kick back with a cocktail, wine, or other beverage and share with my Internet friends.

So I’m gonna bring it back, or try to, but with a twist! Each week I will post a whine or rant for the week, attempting to find the humor in it all, and pair it with a wine or other libation. And here we go, our first Weekly Whine. Join if you’d care to; misery loves company and no one needs to drink alone!

I have a few whines to choose from this week (work, the dog, the weather), but I’m going to go with one that inspired this new feature, that of the ever-looming unexpected car expense.

I had a pretty good weekend, this one that just passed–I got up on time both days, took care of some chores that had been waiting way too long, and even made time to have lunch downtown and hang out at Fuzzy Goat and knit on Saturday afternoon. A really good weekend.

So Monday rolls around and Todd, on a rare occasion, leaves for work before I do because he and his boss had to head out of town for the morning. So not only is Todd not there, by the time I go to leave he’s supposed to have been on his way out of town.

Do you see where this is going?

Of course my car wouldn’t start. The battery was stone-cold dead because I, in my haze of self-satisfaction, completely forgot between the time I pulled through the Chick-fil-A drive thru for a Frosted Lemonade and the time I pulled into our backyard, that it had rained a bit and, like the good motorist I am, I had turned on my lights and wipers in the midst of our little sun shower.

And left the lights on.

Sadly, this happens more than I want to admit, and usually I’m careful to the point of paranoia, but my mind was completely elsewhere that day, to the point that I walked in and asked Todd if it had rained while I was away, because I noticed the street was wet. Yes, I’d driven through it and completely forgotten in in the space of 5 minutes (because that’s about how far it is from the aforementioned stops).

Anyway, Monday. I did message Todd, even though I didn’t expect him to be able to rescue me, and I used the Progressive app to schedule service and messaged my boss to tell her I’d be late. Fortunately, Todd was able to swing back by as they hadn’t left yet and I was able to make it to work only 30 minutes late. End of story, right?

You do realize we’re in a Mercury Retrograde, right?

I was only a little surprised that my car, once again, would not start when I went to leave for the day. I’d worked a tiny bit late to finish up a daily task and was the only one left in the office, so of course the battery was dead again. This time, though, it wasn’t totally dead, I got that super-scary clicky noise that everyone who drives dreads, because the clicky noice with no engine turnover so very often means your alternator isn’t working. And replacing alternators sucks!

For the second time that day I used the Progressive app to schedule a service and went back into my office to wait for the gate to ring through. I thought about actually working (I had plenty to do), but opted to scroll through facebook instead. The Pop-a-Lock dude arrived on schedule and was able to get my car started right up (yay!) and suggested I drive straight to an AutoZone or similar and have them check my battery.

He also said there was no way I still had my original battery, but I’m 99% sure he was wrong. Yes, Electra is still sporting her original battery from when I bought her with 16 miles on the odometer in October 2006. Well, was, because after going to two auto parts places in Thomasville, I was given the definitive news that the alternator was fine, but the battery was done for. Considering their relative cost, yeah, I was okay with that!

This week’s wine in Knockout from Farmer’s Daughter Vineyard, a local winery that, contrary to many in the southern Georgia, northern Florida wine set, does not use Muscadine grapes! While I have nothing against muscadine wines, I’m really loving what the Pelham, GA, vineyard is turning out!

Knockout is their sweetest red. It’s very jammy and practically succulent with lots of berry notes. It’s also so smooth–all of their wines are–that you can down two glasses without realizing just how potent it is, only to stand up and realize just how knocked-out you are!

I picked up this bottle at their tasting room in downtown Thomasville when we were out carousing after the First Friday concert this month. You can taste their full flight, from the Bro’s Cider to the Knockout for $11 pretty much anytime, and they have cheese plates and other goodies, too.

Cheers to another week done and dusted, my friends! Anyone else have a whine to share?

Interior Trunk Release: Not Just for the Kidnapped, Apparently!

Everyday Adventures

I can’t be the only one that thought that was the sole purpose of those get-out-of-trunk-free pull tabs under the lid, right?

I'm sure this is one of those features you never hope to need...

I’m sure this is one of those features you never hope to need…

Sole purpose until Wednesday night, that is.

You see, I did something fairly dumb on Wednesday: I left my lights on and completely drained my battery. It’s not the dumbest thing ever, of course, and I know people do it all the time, but this is the first time in all my years as a car owner to do it, and yes, it’s dumb.

Especially because I’m usually religious about checking the lights when I get out of the car.

But Jenn, isn’t your car new enough that it makes noise if you open the driver’s door when the lights are on, I hear you ask?

Yes, yes it does. It’s also the same chime that the car sounds when you open the driver’s door with the key still in the ignition. And Electra and I don’t always agree on that fact.

See, Electra is a 2007 Saturn Ion 2. And Electra gets very possessive over the car key, often not wanting to give it up, especially in the summer when the steering column gets overly warm. It’s just the way she is. When she got her ignition replaced as part of that big GM recall I thought that would solve the issue but, no, apparently the attachment goes deeper than that.

To convince her that it’s okay to release the key, there’s a dance that involves recranking the car, jiggling, jostling the wheel, or releasing the car from Park and putting it back, sometimes forcefully, to give her peace of mind.

At any rate, more mornings than not, key in my hand, Electra still tells me with that strident chime that the key is still in the ignition and no I will not let you use the power locks to lock the driver’s door, you don’t want to be locked out of the car, do you? And more mornings than not I manually lock the driver’s door and make sure the light are turned off just in case.

Except that morning, obviously, and the poor battery was so dead I wasn’t even getting clicks. And I was the last to leave the office. Of course.

But it’s okay, I pay for roadside assistance as part of my car insurance, so I’ll just call them up and make use of it.

Or not, as the muzak that played while I was on hold was some Lovecraftian love-child of a 14.4 modem and a cassette tape being played backwards. It squealed and squelched and assaulted my ears. Just in case someone was listening/talking I shouted into the phone that I couldn’t understand anything over the caterwauling. But I sat there on hold for 5 minutes before it cut out on me.

So I called back, went through the phone tree again for another 6 minutes of less-screechy “music” before getting disconnected. There’s also been a voicemail from the insurance company trying to figure out if I needed assistance or not, so I called AGAIN and held for 23 minutes. Long enough for their ‘you’re call is important to us, please hold/higher than normal call volume/we’ll keep playing music til someone picks up but won’t keep making these announcements’ spiel three times. Judging from my phone history those are 8-minute loops.

About that time, though, one of the guys in the building behind my office came out to move his car and I flagged him down and asked for help.

Him: What side is your battery on?
Me: Neither, it’s in the trunk.
Him: Really?!

Do you know that it never occurred to me that the trunk release button on the underside of the dash required at least a little juice from the battery. I mean, you can use that button without the car being on at all, the key nowhere near! But apparently the Ion2 puts the car in severe lock-down when the battery dies, because I was also unable to remove the key from the ignition. And that aforementioned dance? Yeah, I couldn’t get the stick to move. No matter how hard I pressed the break or pulled the shifter, it wasn’t budging.

So, um, how was I going to get into the trunk to the battery?

That once-ridiculed interior trunk release, that’s how!

Granted, I had to get into the trunk to use it, but my backseat folds down in two sections so it’s possible. Except for the fact that the latches that keep the seat backs in their upright and locked position are released from–you guessed it–the trunk.

Thank your celestial deity of choice that the last time I put the back seats back up, one had not fully engaged its latch. And then blame Murphy for the fact that it was the smaller of the two sections that would open so that I could shimmy through. A barrette and a piece of my dignity were the only things lost in the process.

Because sometimes the thing you most need a picture of take place when no camera is handy...

Because sometimes the things you most need a picture of take place when no camera is handy…

Let’s also say a thank you to whatever still, small voice prompted me to wear pants that day–the first time in weeks. If I’d been wearing my usual dress or skirt ensemble… well, it’s probably best not to go there.