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Battery AND Alternator

14 Aug

So…remember yesterday when I wrote about my SUV breaking down on the side of the highway and how I had to get it towed to the mechanics then go rent a car?

Do you also remember how I was crossing fingers and pleading with the universe the problem would be the battery, a fairly easy and compared to other problems, cheap-ish thing to fix?

Well! The universe decided it was time to come for me and instead of the problem being the battery OR the alternator, it was both, with the serpentine belt thrown in for fun.

Seems the alternator was dying and as part of it’s death dance it took the battery and the serpentine belt with it. Like a double murder and suicide, inside my engine. My alternator was one mean bitch.

On the positive side (because oh boy do I have to try to find one!) the mechanic I go to is amazing and had it fixed by this afternoon so I left work early (which sucks) so I could drive in the rental to the shop, hand over my credit card and have a little cry over all that money being added to my debt (sigh), then leave my suv there so I could drive the rental back to the airport in rush hour, then take public transit back to the shop to finally get my suv.

I left work at 3:15pm and got home around 7:45pm, so ya know, just a minor chunk of my day eaten up. *rolls eyes*

At least by taking the rental car back before 8:30pm I am refunded for one of the two days I booked the car for. Only not right away. Seems they charge you right away, when you pick up the rental, but if you return early and get a refund that can take 2 to 3 days to process. Kinda annoying but I’ll keep an eye on the Visa and make sure the refund goes through.

The cost for all those repairs, in case anyone is curious, is $1485.43. Then add in the car rental which should, once the refund goes through, be somewhere in the mid $90s. Oh, and don’t forget to add in the cost of the tow at $77.

It’s been an expensive 24 hours. 😦

piggybank

The mechanic confirmed the battery did last way past the normal length of time, and with all the repairs those three things should be good for, shoot, I can’t remember how many years he said, but a good chunk.

So yeah, now I am even more in debt, but my vehicle is back to working and hopefully thingsΒ  will calm down a bit. There has been a lot going on the past couple weeks and I could really do with life just settling down a little bit, the stress ball in my stomach would definitely appreciate it lol.

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Battery or Alternator

13 Aug

This evening, while driving on Highway 91N my car died. My dashboard all of a sudden gave me zero info, all the orange arrows were down at the bottom left as if the car was off. While going around 80km or so my dash showed I was at a stop. Even though I’d just filled up my gas tank the dash said I was on empty. You get the idea.

I wasn’t sure what to do but figured if I could just match everyone elses speed and get home I’d figure it out there.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. As I rounded a bend my suv decelerated, and that is when I realized I had been keeping up speed only because of momentum (ah science!), the engine wasn’t running.

Crap.

So I pulled over on to the shoulder, turned on the hazards, and realized that I was stranded on the side of a busy highway with no clear plan of how to get out of the situation.

Double crap.

Lucky for me my parents drilled in to me when I started driving to always always always have a current BCAA Membership, if I use it even once in the year it has paid for itself, well, I was definitely going to use it today! I called, got a very nice lady who was patient with me while I tried to figure out how to explain exactly where on the highway I was, and eventually a tow truck was dispatched to me.

While waiting I texted a friend to let her know I’d be missing our Zumba class and she, being the amazing person that she is offered to help. The plan became she would meet me at my mechanic’s shop and drive me to a car rental place, all we needed was for the tow truck to show up.

A tow truck did arrive, with a very attractive driver (yum!), but he was not my tow truck, sigh. A municipal city employee saw me on the side of the road and called it in and the tow truck was dispatched to see what was going on. He offered to tow me up the road to a truck pull off but I was worried if I was moved anywhere the tow truck I was actually waiting for would never find me, so I said I’d stay where I was. We had a lovely little chat, he took a look at the engine, had me try to turn it on so he could hear what it sounded like, then suggested he try boosting the battery.

Turns out vehicle batteries have an approximate 3 to 4 year life span and mine is coming up to 10 years old. Oops? Although, gotta say, props to the battery for lasting so long!

Anyways, back to the story, he boosted the battery, and the suv started! Yay! He said to drive it to my mechanic, do not for any reason turn the engine off, and I should be able to get to my destination. He leaves and I call BCAA to cancel my request for a tow truck. Only, I’m still navigating the stupid automated system when the suv died. Again.

My inexperienced self is guessing it died because instead of driving once it got started again I sat there idling so as to avoid the ticket I would surely get if I phoned BCAA while driving.

Safety killed my shot at getting home unaided by a tow truck. Stupid safety.

I say stupid safety because my BCAA plan only covered the cost of 5km worth of towing, after that it is stupidly expensive. How stupidly expensive you ask?

$77.09 worth of stupid.

Ugh.

The tow truck driver dropped the suv and I off at my mechanics shop, it was of course closed, and I did the classic write a note and attach it to my car keys and toss them in the mail slot thing.

All this time my friend had been googling trying to find a rental car for me because my phone was nearly dead and I couldn’t search myself. The only places open to rent a vehicle were airport locations so she drove to the airport while I called Budget to confirm they really did have cars at the airport because the website kept changing car availability when we checked.

The guy I spoke to was so hard to understand, and not clear on what he was telling me, but luckily I had the basic info I needed from the website, so I pre-paid for a vehicle and we went to the Budget Rental desk at the airport.

The guy at the actual location was so nice! I told him I needed some clarification on things because the guy I spoke to on the phone was very confusing and hard to understand and he immediately agreed he most likely had been since my order had my first name spelled wrong, and it isn’t a hard to spell name! I got my questions answered, once again swiped my poor Visa card, and became in possession of a car so small I’m not convinced it isn’t a toy. I drove home in a Honda Fit.

honda fit

So. Small.

And yes I know I am being spoiled and all woe is me when I should be grateful to be able to get a rental at all. And I am grateful! I am. I’m just also tired, and drove home is something that made me feel like I could be squished on to the road. And I’m freaking out about how much all this is going to cost because the rental cost $180 and gets me the car until Thursday 8:30pm and by then I’ll either be able to return it and will be dealing with a bill from the mechanic or I’ll need to extend the rental because repairs are going to take even longer, and probably cost even more, and well yeah, stress. Money stress sucks.

The first tow truck driver thought it was the battery, which if it is, would be the cheaper fix. The second tow truck driver thought it was the alternator, which is apparently a very expensive thing to fix and if that gets worked on I should also get the battery replaced, so double whammy.

Guess which one I hope is right? πŸ˜‰

Please be the battery. Please be the battery. Pleeeeeeease be the battery!

please

A Mouth On Fire

2 Aug

Last night I bit in to a Snickers bar and had the oddest thing happen. As soon as the chocolate was touching my lips it felt as if my lips were on fire. Tingling, painful, fire sensations all along my lips. Being the dummy that I am I continued to bite in to the chocolate bar and the “on fire” sensation spread to the inside of my mouth.

fire

How my mouth was feeling. Super pleasant πŸ˜‰

For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what was going on. This is not what a Snickers is supposed to do to your mouth!

I paused, read the package to see if maybe it was some weird special kind that is supposed to be a spicy or hot flavour, which yes, I realize makes zero sense, but I dunno, I couldn’t think of what else it might be.

While reading the label I was holding one hand over my mouth, as if that might magically make things better. (go ahead, roll your eyes at me, I’m rolling them at myself).

After I removed my hand I started googling to see if I could figure out what was going on and while reading horrifying articles about nut allergies I scratched at my cheek and rubbed my eyelid and omg fire! The fire sensation immediately started in those two spots also. My eye started watering, my cheek felt like it was under attack, and all the while I still felt like my lips and mouth were on fire.

So I did what seemed normal and messaged some friends, described what was going on, and waited for them to solve the mystery of why I was on fire. They didn’t know either but our best guess was I, over night, became allergic to peanuts.

I say overnight because I almost daily eat peanut butter, don’t judge, to me a day without peanut butter is just sad. Plus a week or so ago I ate some mixed nuts, and well, lets just say nuts and I have always gotten along juuuuuust fine.

The idea I might all of a sudden be allergic was not at all appealing.

My face started being itchy but whenever I touched it to scratch the fire sensation would spread to that spot so I did my best to resist and eventually things calmed down a bit.

By the time I went to bed my cheek had a rash, my lips looked like I had lip liner on because they were lined red, they also still felt tingling and fire like, my eye had at least stopped tearing up, oh, and one nostril felt like it was on fire. So ya know, great shape to easily fall asleep in.

In the morning I was happy to find the rash was gone and my eye seemed fine…don’t you love how my first concern was over vanity issues and not say, the pain issue? πŸ˜‰

The fire sensation had gone down to tingling and my lips felt like how they do after they have been sunburned, they feel swollen but don’t really look it, and feel stretched a bit too tight when I smile. Something new was the fire sensation was in my throat in one little patch.

Except for the dreadful idea I might now have an allergy things seemed to be getting back to normal.

Well. Let’s just say your girl isn’t always the smartest, and when I got to work I snacked on a mini bar that has as its number one ingredient peanuts. Didn’t even think about the whole “maybe I have an allergy thing and should be careful for a bit” issue. Just bit right in. And what do you know, nothing happened, except my enjoying the snack bar.

Guess who isn’t allergic to peanuts? This girl! Yay!

I even made sure to eat some peanut butter at lunch just to make sure. You know, for science.

But now the Snickers Bar causing all that pain and weirdness is an even bigger mystery. Maybe it was contaminated somehow? Maybe they changed their recipe and some random ingredient in there gave me that reaction? Maybe my body was trying to teach me a lesson about eating chocolate bars late at night?

Before I ate the mini snack bar with the nuts in it and the peanut butter I was going to ask my doctor to set up an allergy test for me but now I don’t know that I need one. Instead I am going to contact whoever it is that makes Snickers Bars and let them know what happened and see if they know what is going on. Let’s see if they can solve the mystery!

 

Eton Mess

3 Jul

For Canada Day (that’s July 1st for all you non-Canadians) I went to Squamish to hang with a friend and her peeps. We went for a walk with her dog, then back to her place where she made a delish dinner and I took care of dessert.

My only vague self imposed guideline I have for dessert on Canada Day is I want it to be red and white. I figure, if I’m going to have a flag on my car, and wear a t-shirt that has some sort of Canada pride image on it, and be all in your face about how it is Canada Day then that might as well extend to dessert. Listen, it may be weird logic but it is my logic, so let’s just all pretend we are ok with it, ok? πŸ˜‰

Now granted, Eton Mess is a very English dessert, but the two countries still have a connection, and well, it is one of my fave desserts and I wanted to try making it. The first, and only, time I had it was in Wales at some random restaurant. The menu didn’t adequately describe it so I had no idea what I was getting in to when I ordered it and oh wow was I happy when I got my first taste. It is a light, not too sweet, perfect for the summer dessert, aaaaand, it is red and white!

The most simple version I have found online involves meringues, whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and cut up strawberries.

Basically, you make meringues (or buy them if you can find them ready made), blitz some strawberries to make a strawberry sauce, cut up the remaining strawberries in to bite sized pieces, and make the whip cream (or I suppose you could buy that ready made also if you wanted). Once all the ingredients are prepped you crush about three quarters of the meringues and mix them with the cut up strawberries, then you mix in the whipping cream. Add some of the strawberry sauce and lightly mix so it gets swirls of red. Then you evenly distribute between serving bowls and top with the rest of the broken meringues and maybe a sliced strawberry if you want to try to be artistic about it. I opted for saving some of the strawberry sauce and put a layer of it in the middle of each of the servings. If I make it again I’ll also drizzle some on the top of the dish, ya know, for prettiness sake. πŸ™‚

Eton Mess 2019

Eton Mess, Canadian style!

The recipe I used is from the BBC Good Food website (www.bbcgoodfood.com), they also have an app if you’re interested, bbcgoodfood.app.link . I can’t vouch for the app, I haven’t used it, but it is there if any of you want to give it a try.

The ingredients measurements are:

2 large egg whites and 120 grams castor sugar to make the meringues

500 grams of strawberries, chopped. 1/3 of the strawberries get blitzed to turn into sauce

450 ml double cream (I used whipping cream) and 1 tbsp icing sugar for the whipped cream

A minor annoyance is that the recipe says to “spoon dollops” of the meringue mixture on to the baking tray, and cook on the bottom rack in the oven for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.

What, I ask you, is a dollop? And why in the world is it being used as some form of measurement? In a recipe! For a food that can easily burn! Oooooh, if the BBC could have heard the names I was calling them when I saw the word “dollop” they’d have ducked for cover. I ended up using the large sized spoon that comes in your cutlery set, and put similar sized “dollops” on to the baking tray, it made ten “dollops” in case you were wondering.

Other than the “dollop” issue and having to call my mother to get help converting Gas 1 to an oven temp that makes sense over here (ended up using 250F), the recipe is easy to follow, and has good results. So here is a link to the recipe I followed, in case you want to take a look:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/eton-mess

If you’re American you could always top with some blueberries and make it a red, white, and blue dessert for July 4th. And as far as I know there is no rule that says you have to use strawberries so you could always use raspberries, or some combination of red fruits to jazz it up a bit, get a new flavour in there. I might try making a raspberry sauce next time for the middle layer…we shall see!

My friend’s dog and I taking selfies, he has the best expressions! lol

 

Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival

21 Jun

Normally my posts are recaps of something I have done or seen but this time I’m giving you a chance to take part, via your computer screen, with something I will be doing this weekend. Oh the excitement! lol πŸ˜‰

This weekend (June 22-23, 2019) is the Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival. That is a mouthful! So from here on out I am just going to call it Concord, k?

 

 

Concord is the largest dragon boat festival in North America. The racing takes place over two days, Saturday and Sunday. Opening festivities are Friday evening but I have never been to those because I am always working. Teams come from all over the world to take part, for competitive teams it is a qualifier (think of how some marathons are qualifiers so runners can take part in the massive marathons, like the Boston Marathon), even if you are a rec team the festival is still a big deal. For my team, we race other races during the season but our big one, the one we say we practice all season for, is this one.

No pressure or anything. πŸ˜›

For those who can’t get to the festival to watch in person, or who want to avoid the crowds and ever changing weather, you can watch a live feed online, which is how you can (sort of) join me this weekend.

The link to the live feed is:

http://concordlive.ca

Races are from 8am to 6pm (approximately) and are about every 11 minutes. There will be an announcer explaining everything you are seeing, which is useful because it can be hard to tell when watching a race the order the boats cross the finish line. There is a whole reason behind that but it is too lengthy to get in to here, just know it involves buoys, water, and angles.

I remember from last year that after the weekend was over you could go back and watch the feed for at least a couple days, I don’t know how long it was left up, I just know I went and watched our races because I wanted to see what they looked like. I point this out so that any of you who are in drastically different time zones can take a look when it is over instead of staying up late and being half asleep while glancing at the feed…which I realize is me making a large assumption that any of you will actually watch but hey, a girl can be optimistic at times, right?

So yeah, not much else to say at this point, I’m going to go get my gear ready and meander my way to bed, I’m psyched for the weekend and hope we do well! If you watch, awesome! If you don’t, that’s cool too, but maybe send some positive vibes my team’s way, you know, for good karma points if nothing else. πŸ˜‰

dragon_zone_twisted_hips_logo

Paddles Up!

 

 

 

 

Ninja Squirrel

16 Jun

The other day I encountered a Ninja Squirrel. Now, maybe what I saw is normal in the world of squirrels but it sure didn’t seem like it to me!…though, when I think about it, I suppose the only thing I know about squirrels is they are cute, so not exactly a font of squirrel knowledge over here lol

I came around the side of the house, heard a scrabbling noise, looked up, and saw a squirrel running along the side of the house. Not on an awning or ledge or anything, just on the wall, like how Spiderman climbs buildings, only noisier and with less spandex. πŸ˜‰

spiderman

Picture a squirrel doing this, only going length wise instead of up.

So there is this squirrel, running along the length of the wall and I’m worried he is going to fall and hurt himself so I stop and watch, I suppose thinking he needs a witness to his death, or maybe I can catch him when he falls…which yes, I know, bad idea!

Ninja Squirrel gets close to the end of the wall and I’m relieved thinking he will go around to the front, get to the porch, and safely go on his way. Well, apparently that is not what the squirrel was thinking because he turned around and started coming back along the length of the wall. Up high, so so high. He stopped at an upper window, didn’t go on the window ledge for a moment of respite, just snuck a peek through the window like a not so subtle spy. Guess he didn’t see anything he liked because he turned around and started retracing his path. By this point I finally got my act together and was reaching for my phone to take some video because this was definitely something to be shown to friends and what does he do?

Gives me heart palpitations is what he does! The little brat leaps, leaps like he has a death wish, free falls through the air, and actually manages to land on the top of the fence.

How? How did he do that? It was crazy to see!

When he landed he didn’t even take a moment to have a deep breath, or consider the magical feat he just accomplished, or take a bow, he just scampered off like this was all just one more day in his awesome Ninja life.

Is this what squirrels are doing when we are at work all day? Scaling walls to look in our windows then flying through the air as part of their escape plan? I wonder if he comes to the windows to annoy the cats…

ninja squirrel

I think my neighbourhood Ninja Squirrel needs a new outfit.

Book Review: The Silent Patient

29 May

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

The Silent Patient

Read the book.

There, that should be all that is needed for a book review. Right? A simple line saying either to read it, don’t read it, read it with low expectations…things along those lines. And yet, reviews are never that short, which means this one won’t be either, though I will do my best to not spoil anything for you, in case ya know, you actually go read the book.

The Silent Patient follows two story lines, Alicia’s and Theo’s.

Alicia is an artist who is in a psych hospital for killing her husband. The book is called The Silent Patient because Alicia stops talking, doesn’t say anything to the police who find her and her dead husband, not a word to her lawyers or other family members, not to any of the psychiatrists who try to treat her. Eventually she is committed and it looks like she’ll never get out. Her art becomes more valuable and there is a mystery around what really happened.

Theo is a psychotherapist who works at a different hospital but jumps at the chance to work where Alicia is when there is a job opening. He has been fascinated by her story since it first hit the news cycle and he is convinced he can help her.

The writing goes back and forth between Theo’s life, (his childhood, how he meets his wife, how his personal life is, through to some not so great parts about his personal life that I will refrain from mentioning so as to not ruin everything for you) and the time period in Alicia’s life leading up to the murder of her husband.

We get insights in to both characters personal lives, what they are thinking and feeling, we see how others treat them and how they cope with adversity.

Then the twist happens and boom! All the stuff you’ve been reading aligns in a slightly different way, clarity hits your brain, and you’re all “holy crap, I didn’t see that coming!”

Which you’ve got to admit is pretty great considering how often you can predict what the twist is going to be and how the book is going to end.

One thing, about a third of the way in to the book, it starts to drag and I got bored. Bored to the point I put the book down for three days and it was a max seven day borrow from the library, so not like I had three days to just waste. I only picked it back up because I hate leaving books unfinished, and I’m definitely glad I picked it back up. So prepare yourself for a potential loss of interest and push through it. Keep going, it’ll be worth it.

All of that to say…

Read the book.

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