Some might say I’m being “lazy”

But I prefer to call it “awesome.”

In the past six days, I have not gotten up before 10:30 a.m. and I have not gone to bed before 2 a.m. (one time I fell asleep on the couch at like 10:30, but then I woke back up at 1 a.m. and was awake for at least three more hours). Ian and I (and occasional random friends) have been playing Rock Band 2 on our new Xbox 360, and I have been playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion pretty much non-stop since Christmas night.

Before the break, I said to people who asked what I was going to do with my week after Christmas off, “I’m going to sit on my ass and play video games all week long.” But in the back of my mind, I told myself I would also clean out my closet, clean up our office and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors. I also have to go get a new driver’s license since my last name is now different.

But you know what? I am really enjoying myself. For the first time in several months, I feel truly relaxed. I love just hanging out with Ian being silly, having the cats sleep on the couch next to us as we play video games or watch TV (or play video games. Seriously y’all. Like six hours at a time), not having any plans or anywhere to be or anything to do.

I had a couple things to knock out for work yesterday, and I’ve got a project to complete on Friday that will probably take me about six hours, but I can do that in my pajamas on the couch (and I will).

You know what my big goal for today is? Take a shower and go to Kroger. That is the only real task I have to accomplish. Well, that and I need to find some better armor because these steel greaves and cuirass aren’t protecting me from shit in those caves.

Hark the herald video-game geeks sing

So Christmas was great. It’s kind of a bummer that we spend a month (some of us more than that) anticipating the holiday, and then it’s just… over. But luckily having the next week off to play with our new Xbox 360 will help dull the pain.

Did I mention Ian’s mom got us an Xbox 360? And a friend got us Rock Band 2?

Let me tell you, opening that Xbox Christmas Day took me back to circa 1988 when my parents got me and my sister the NES. It was glorious. I think the Xbox 360 solidifies our ascent into nerddom, as we now own seven gaming systems: NES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Wii, Playstation, Xbox and Xbox 360. We won’t get into how many computers we have in this house.

So yeah. Christmas. Good times. Excuse me while I go wail on the drums some more. I am a prodigy, apparently. (And modest, too.)

Exhaling in 3…2…1…

Two and a half days to go this week until I go on a week-long bender Christmas. I know most people associate Christmas with Jesus Claus, but because I work for an awesome company, I now associate Christmas with some much-needed relaxing time off to myself. Starting Christmas Day, I will have several days* in a row where, if it behooves me, I can legally sit on my ass all day long playing video games, eating Doritos and refusing to shower.

This has been a great year, but the last couple months have been hard. I need a nap, a drink and a hug. And I plan on procuring all of those—quite possible at the same time—very soon.

*I will be working on and off over the break, but luckily my kind of work can be done while wearing pajamas and sitting on the couch

Update on the Honda Civic issue

Tonight on the way home from work I called Honda’s main customer service office to find out what I could on my own about this supposed service bulletin that went out saying my car’s upper rear control arm kit was defective, which makes the two rear tires wear unevenly, messing up the alignment of the vehicle.

I spoke with a very nice woman named Kawana who said that if a service bulletin goes out about a defect on a vehicle, almost all of the time, Honda will pay for the repair. NOT WHAT REDDELL TOLD ME.

Even more interesting, she looked up my car’s VIN and couldn’t find any service bulletin attached to it. I advised her that I was 100 percent sure there was something wrong with my vehicle, and she said that while she believed me, she was a bit confused that the dealership would mention a bulletin that she couldn’t pull up.

She advised me to call the dealer and get the bulletin number, and then call Honda back (unfortunately she didn’t have a direct line I could call her back at) to follow up. She said that while my vehicle is out of warranty, Honda makes every effort to repair defective parts and they would forward my information on to their case department to determine if they were going to pay for all of the repair or part of it.

I didn’t get into my whole “When I buy a brand new car, I don’t expect to have to fix defects on my dime that have been defective SINCE THE CAR WAS MADE, not just something is wrong because the car is aging” argument yet because they couldn’t really do much without the service bulletin number.

So it’s going to be interesting to see if Reddell was lying to me about the service bulletin. I mean, obviously something is wrong with my car because it makes a roaring noise and shakes. But maybe it just needs its wheels balanced. Or maybe it does have a defective upper rear control arm kit, but Kawana just couldn’t find it in the computer. Or maybe it applies to some Civics but not mine (though she said she searched for bulletins of this type on all Civics, and all she found was something on Accords).

Either way, I already know Reddell wasn’t telling me the whole truth. I need to get that service bulletin number to know for sure. It will be interesting to see if they give it to me (according to Kawana, they are required to give it to me if I ask).

More follow up later.

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No money, mo’ problems

If there were ever a time I needed to win the lottery, this would be it.

Evil Twin is still sick. Besides the diabetes, for at least two weeks he’s been painting the catbox brown—when he manages to get it in the box. Sometimes he just explodes on the floor. We’ve probably spent around $1,000 on him since finding out he had diabetes in July, and we just can’t keep hemorrhaging money to find out “nothing’s wrong, it’s just his diabetes.” But we also can’t keep changing the catbox every day, cleaning shit up off the floor and wall, and worrying if he has some other sickness that could spread to our other two cats.

On to the second money-pit problem.

For about two or three months I’ve been hearing a roaring sound coming from the back wheels of my car, and as time has passed the sound has gotten louder. The car also shakes a bit when I get up around 70-75 mph. When I took my car to Reddell Honda for an oil change yesterday (I only take it to the dealer for oil changes because they send me coupons that make it cheaper than a Jiffy Lube type of place), I asked them to take a look.

They called and told me the rear control arms on the suspension were defective—something Honda “put a bulletin out on a few months ago” to all their dealers. The problem affects several Civics made in 2006-2007, mine included, but not enough to warrant a recall. It’s not a safety issue, but it causes my rear tires to wear unevenly, making the roaring noise and the vibration.

Then they dropped the bomb: I had to replace the rear control arm kit, get an alignment and two new tires. For $600.

Now, my first question to them was “I bought a new car from Honda under the impression I was getting a NEW car with no problems. If THEY made a defective product, THEY should have to fix it.”

The tech’s response was “Your car is no longer under warranty. You should have bought an extended warranty.”

My thought was “No, you buy an extended warranty in case something goes wrong AS THE CAR AGES. You don’t buy an extended warranty to protect against stuff that the manufacturer fucked up from the get-go but never told you about.”

The weird thing is that when the service tech called, he said he had already spoken to the service manager and they were willing to split the cost of the control arm kit with me. Now, that immediately set off alarms in Ian’s mind. Why, if Honda was not reimbursing them for fixing it, would they offer to split the cost of the repair with me? Right off the bat? They also told me that they would only honor the “we’ll split the repair with you” for another 5,000 miles. No explanation as to why.

I have never had any problems with this dealer before. Actually, after we dropped my car off for the oil change, I remarked to Ian how nice they always were. Hmm.

We looked online and found several people talking about this issue, but most people—in and out of warranty—are getting the repair done at no cost. Some have to pay for tires, some have to pay for alignments, but most are getting the rear control arm kit covered for them because, duh, it’s Honda’s fault.

So we are thinking either one of two things is happening:

  1. Honda is reimbursing their dealers for the entire cost of the repair, and Reddell Honda is trying to get $600 out of me by making it look like they are being kind
  2. Honda is not reimbursing their dealers for the repair, but the total cost really is $600. Reddell is just saying they’re splitting it with me to make me go ahead and do it

I have a hard time believing that a defective part—something that has been defective since the car was made and is just now manifesting itself because the tires have 51,000 miles on them—would not be fixed by Honda. I have had three recalls on the car and had them all fixed free of charge. Only one was a safety issue; the other two were just like this. Just defective parts that could cause more problems down the line.

This repair HAS to be done. If I don’t fix the rear control arms, every pair of new tires I purchase will wear unevenly and be ruined. I will never be able to rotate my tires because moving the front, good condition ones to the back will ruin them. My alignment will always be out of whack.

Why the hell would Honda not cover that, in or out of warranty?

I’m hoping that when I call Honda on Monday I will find out. This all smells funny to me.

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Random thoughts I had about MTSU while reading Sidelines

1. I love reading the MTSU crime briefs. Hey assholes, stop leaving your book bags unattended when you go into the bookstore in the KUC. There are lockers there for a reason. Also, what kind of buzzkill calls the campus cops because she smells pot?

2. If you didn’t feel like you joined “the real world” until you graduated college, you’re an asshole. Obviously I only say this because I’m jealous, as I worked full-time my entire time in school.

3. Someone told me the other day that it now takes approximately five years to complete a bachelor’s degree at MTSU. And this is after they lowered the number of credit hours required to graduate. So now I don’t feel so bad about taking six years to graduate—as a double major—under the old, stricter rules. Yeah, I rule.

What really grinds my gears

You know what really grinds my gears?

When I read shit like, “Mom Inventor Overcomes Fear of Flying to Invent The Worlds Easiest Luggage ID.”

Why the hell is it important to point out she’s a mom? Do we say, “Dad Banker Asks Government for Bailout Money,” or “Dad Doctor Researches Cure for Cancer”?

No, we fucking don’t. But apparently, women today are still not able to have identities that aren’t tied to their reproductive status.

Nobody ever asks a dude when he wants to have children, or how many he wants to have. Women get asked that shit all the time. When a married woman gets knocked up, people ask her, “Are you going back to work after the baby is born?” Nobody asks the man that shit. Because, duh, the man is going back to work; to do otherwise would mean he had some sort of mental disorder. On the other hand, women who put the kid in childcare and go right back to work are looked at like they should be reported to children’s services.

So how about this, America: Unless there’s some compelling reason to note the parental status of someone you’re profiling in an article, just leave that modifier out. Mkay?

And that, my friends, is today’s installment of “What Really Grinds My Gears.”

*Note: There are two other things that piss me off about this article:

1. The inventor says she invented it because she wanted to be able to recognize her plain black bag on the airport carousel easier, yet the writer insists on including the fact that she is divorced and a mother of two as though it were the reason for the invention.

2. The headline states that she overcame a “fear of flying to invent…” But the actual story never mentions her being afraid of flying. And even if she were afraid of flying, it obviously had nothing to do with why she invented the product, which was because she couldn’t recognize her black bag among all the other black bags on the luggage carousel.

An appropriate celebration

Last night Ian and I were joined by about 12 of our closest friends (and some others just as welcome) for his 30th birthday celebration at Dugger’s, a karaoke bar in Murfreesboro.

The night was filled with drinks, fried bar food, karaoke, more drinks, laughs with best friends and fun conversation with people we don’t see nearly as often as we should.

As the night progressed and the drinking glasses were emptied repeatedly, I was pretty sure we were all having a kick-ass time. But it wasn’t until I woke up this morning—splayed out on the couch, room spinning, head thumping, still smelling like the cigarettes everyone else in the joint except me smoked the night before—that I figured we had partied appropriately for Ian’s birthday.

And as I drug my sofa king hungover self up off the couch at noon to get ready for a friend’s son’s first birthday party, I kissed BK on the head and noticed that somehow she, too, reeked of stale cigarettes and spilled booze.

So you know what? When your night includes karoakeing “American Pie” with your best friends; testing the limits of your liver cyst with all the wine, shots and beer you tossed down your gullet; you only remember getting home because someone puked in the car a few times; and the next day even the cat smells like the debauchery of the night before, it’s official: You had fucking raged.