Car Trouble

So, I bought a car 2 and a half months ago.  It’s nothing special.  It’s a used Hyundai Elantra, so it’s not the nicest car in the world.  But, I noticed that it would behave badly sometimes.  Mostly when I had driven it two days in a row.  Not a good thing, especially when it took me 2 hours to drive the 45 minutes from Nelsonville to Lancaster because I kept having to stop.

I called the dealer in a tizzy last Wednesday and expressed my disgust at this, and they told me to bring it in.  I called back yesterday (Monday) to talk to them about how much this is going to cost me.  In my estimation, the car would have had to have been doing this long before I bought it, so it’s their responsibility to fix it for me, preferably at no cost to me.  They swore up and down that they did a thorough check and that all major problems were found and rectified.  Clearly not.

I dropped my car off to them yesterday afternoon.  It’s a small, family-run dealership, which means that they genuinely care about their customer and want them to come away satisfied.  I called them this morning to find out what was going on.  Apparently, my dad had called before I did.  I do in fact need a new transmission.  I asked what the status was and how much he thought they’d make me pay.  He told me not to worry that he’d call my dad with the details.  That made my blood boil a little.  I AM an adult, even if I’m living at home right now.

Around 4 this afternoon, my dad called to say that there may have been a misunderstanding with the car place, as they’ve been calling him with updates all day.  He said he wasn’t trying to interfere just wanted to tell them that he’d be able to pick up the car today if it was ready soon.  They took that to mean that he’d be handling it.  But, they told him that they’re only going to charge me $600 for everything since I bought the car so recently and they wanted to set things right and make sure I’m happy with them and the car.  That is a HUGE load off my shoulders.  Instead of the feared $2000+ I was expecting, I’m paying only $600.  I think my annoyance and my dad’s involvement probably helped them to make the choice to make me happy.  I would prefer not to pay anything at all, but I’ll take this over paying full price.

Sunday Updates – November 28

I survived Thanksgiving!  It was a pretty fun one this year.  I did get a little stressed out at one point, not because of all that I had to do but because people would not leave the kitchen and let me cook.  At one point there were 4 people in there, all in the way of what I was trying to do.  I know that they were trying to help to make sure that I didn’t get too stressed, but their presence made me more stressed than I ever would have been had they just left me alone in the kitchen.  For a big production like this, it’s much easier if I do much of it myself because I know where I’m going and what steps I need to take to get there.

I am happy to report that I did run the 5K Thanksgiving morning, and something incredible happened – I won my age group!  That NEVER happens!  I was the fastest woman aged 30 – 34.  I was shocked.  I ran it in 29:30, which I was very happy with.  It’s not the 22:00 and faster that I was doing in high school, but I’m happy that I ran it in under 30 minutes.

I skipped Friday’s party.  I went to my step-aunt’s deli/bakery to help them decorate for Christmas.  It was an okay time.  One of my dad’s brothers, his wife, and 5 of their kids were there, along with my step-aunt’s oldest daughter.  We got everything done pretty quickly, which was a little surprising.  The reason I skipped the party I planned to attend is that none of my siblings stayed in town for it, and I didn’t want to go by myself.  I know that’s a pretty lame excuse, but I wasn’t feeling super-comfortable with the idea when the time came.  It’s mostly all my brothers’ friends getting together in a house and getting completely plastered and being dumb boys.  Plus, Adam’s girlfriend Kelly wasn’t going to be there, so I couldn’t count on any female support when I got there.

Saturday, I spent much of the day on the couch watching Star Wars Episodes 1, 2, and 3, then I went out for sushi with a friend.  Those three Star Wars movies are pretty much flaming piles of crap, especially the first one.  I just want to punch that kid for his bad acting throughout the entire thing.  Next time I’ll watch most of it without the sound because there are some pretty bad-ass fight/action scenes, but the dialogue is awful.  I didn’t think that I had watched all three, but I guess I have because things were familiar.  I guess it boils down to me being a traditionalist and liking Episodes 4, 5, and 6 more than anything new.  The sushi was pretty good.  Not the best I’ve ever had, but it was decent.  The restaurant we went to had karaoke, too, which was…interesting.  There were a few good singers, but the rest were just painful.  We didn’t sing, but we were there for some of the singing of others.

Today, I went to the baptism of my friend Allison’s little girl, Cecilia.  It was very nice.  They had a little get-together afterward at my favorite pizza place (Donato’s), and I had a great time.  I saw Emily and Megan, and the four of us (me, Emily, Megan, and Allison) made some loose plans for this coming Friday – we’re going to go up and do the zoo lights in Columbus.  It should be fun!

This week, we’re doing a dry-run of the cupcakes that we’re making for our bakeshop project, and we’re making cookies.  We may also be making cream puffs, which my parents are going to be thrilled about!  My dad loves cream puffs.  I’ll let you know how things go later in the week!

One Day More

Thanksgiving is upon us!  Well, it’s almost upon us.  I’ve already started cooking, though, so I consider it to be here.  I have butterflied and salted my turkey.  It’s in the fridge now, brining.  I have fried all of the bacon for my stuffing.  I am tripling it this year (it’s seriously that good), and to make things easier in my head, I kept the three pounds of bacon separate.  I made onion dip.  I made the biscuits for the stuffing, and I toasted them.  They’re going to hang out on the counter until Thursday when I put everything together.  I’m exhausted!  It’s only 8 PM, but I have been cooking since I got home around 11, and I went for a run after class this morning, so I’m beat.  I’m going to head to bed soon, I think.

It is, of course, a bitter-sweet Thanksgiving this year.  It’s exciting that I get to share my mad kitchen skills with my family for the first time in probably 9 years, but it’s sad because of the divorce.  I’ve been staying occupied, so I haven’t been thinking too much about being alone on the holidays.  Of course, in an existential sense, we’re all alone, so maybe I shouldn’t worry so much!  It’s just strange to be moving toward single on a holiday I used to share with the one I loved most.  Such is life.

Coincidentally, I am booked with something fun to do each day this weekend!  I think the universe knew that I needed some distraction from myself.  I am running a 5K Thanksgiving morning, followed by a full day of cooking and eating.  I am going to a party on Friday, and I may consider going Black-Friday shopping with my parents and sister.  I’ve never been on the consuming side of Black Friday, only the shitty “Oh, God, why am I working retail” side.  I am going out with a friend for sushi on Saturday.  And, Sunday is the baptism of my dear friend Allison’s little girl.  This weekend is fairly packed!  I love it when I have a lot to do!

The quarter is almost finished.  I can’t believe I only have about 2 1/2 weeks of classes for the Fall!  Then, it’s 2 1/2 weeks off.  Winter quarter starts on January 3, and you all know how excited I am about that!

Sunday Updates – November 21

This is going to be a pretty short post tonight because I don’t have very many updates.

My parents and I went shopping for the ingredients for the Thanksgiving meal yesterday.  We got everything except the turkey, which I’m picking up on Tuesday at a local market called Bay’s that sells local meats.  I’m doing the usual butterfly and dry brine technique that I’ve used for the last couple years.  It works really well, and the turkey is always delicious.  I’m also making Smokey Bacon-Biscuit Dressing (recipe here for anyone interested!), so I have a ton of prep work to do over the next three days to get ready!

I’ve got my Intro class tomorrow morning, and we’re doing a dry-run of the final recipe we’re supposed to make for our bakeshop project.  My group decided on Tiramisu cupcakes.  They look pretty good, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow morning!

That’s really about it for me!  Nothing has really happened since Friday when I last posted.  There’s not as much going on this week as their was last week.

Baking News

This just in…I’m in a punny mood today.

I went down to school and registered for my Winter classes today.  I have mentioned before that I’m super psyched about my schedule next quarter, but now that I’m actually registered, I kind of can’t wait for things to get started!  I’ve got two classes Monday (Classical Pastries and Cake Production), with a 5 hour break between, which has me leaving school Monday evening at 10:30.  That’s going to be pretty brutal, but I don’t have anything until Tuesday evening, so I may be able to sleep in a little Tuesday morning.  Wednesday next quarter, I’ll be working for my uncle at his office.  Thursday, I have Yeast Dough Production from 1 until 5:30.  Friday I have Pastries and Desserts all morning long.  I also have to fit in 12-14 hours in the production kitchen each week.  Again, I’m pretty psyched!

The woman who helped me register told me that the residency appeal process is pretty quick once I turn in the paperwork, so I’m going to make sure I get that done on Monday.  I have three pieces of paper that I need to get notarized, and I need to print off a copy of the proof of filing my taxes for the last 2 years.  I’ve got everything else that I needed together, so I hope to be classified an in-state student before too long!  That makes me very happy.  If I can avoid having to pay anything out of pocket moving forward, I’ll be completely thrilled.

This week in Breads class, we made pancakes and waffles, banana bread, and three different pie crust doughs.  We’ll be making pumpkin, pecan, and apple pie next Wednesday.  That means that I don’t have to worry about making pies next Tuesday!  I’ll be picking up the turkey, prepping the turkey, and making the biscuits for stuffing after my morning class Tuesday, so having a little less to do is nice.  My Nutrition teacher gave us the option of either coming in to class to take the 5th test or taking the 5th test at the testing center, so I will be able to leave campus earlier than usual on Wednesday.  That will be pretty good, too.  I’ll be able to get some additional prep-work done, and I’ll probably be able to make most of the appetizers that I have planned.  Yay for Thanksgiving!

Sunday Updates – November 14

I have had a really fun week!  It started out pretty average, but it turned into a lot of fun.  Wednesday evening, I went out and partied with some friends from class.  It was good to be reminded of how much fun college is!  Thursday I didn’t do much.  I watched some superhero movies and talked to Aaron on the phone.  Aaron’s always good at lifting up my mood!  Friday, I went to lunch with my friend Chrissy from high school.  I went to dinner with my parents and ran into my friends Allison and Emma.  I got to meet Allison’s baby for the first time, which was really cool!  Last night, I went out with my friend Joi from high school, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s work friends.  I had a blast!  Joi’s boyfriend and his friends are mostly in IT, so it was really great to be back with a bunch of IT nerds.  I have missed that so much.  It was so wonderful to be back with a group of people who get my jokes.  I’m usually the only one laughing, but they all got my nerdy references!

In between the fun, I’ve run a few times this week, too!  I did 3 miles last Sunday.  I did 4 miles on Wednesday, and I did 4 miles on Friday.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to run today or wait until tomorrow after class.  I think that I’m going to wait, but I haven’t decided for sure yet.  Maybe I’ll throw in a load of laundry and see how I feel after that.

I’ve got a few things that I need to get done today for school, and there are a few things I’d like to do.  I need to write out my recipes for Wednesday, and I need to print out some recipes for my Intro class.  In the Intro class, we have to work in groups to come up with a plan for a bake shop, including the equipment we want to buy, the recipes we’ll use, the hours of operation, and the location.  I also need to get together some information on a presentation I have to do in my Nutrition class.  I have a partner for that one, too, and she’s super nice.  Our topic is Diet and Exercise.  I need to write papers for the Mixology class and the Beer and Wine class.  I also have to do some laundry and some sewing, and I would like to make my Parmesan black-pepper biscotti today.  My mom asked me to make a baked ziti, so I’ll be doing that for dinner tonight.  At some point, I need to go to the grocery to pick up some ingredients.  Wow!  When I type it all out, it sounds like a ton of stuff!  It’s not going to take very long, though.

Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away!  I get to pick up my turkey next Tuesday.  My sister’s boyfriend is a chef, and she asked me to sort of include him in food prep because he was telling her that it will be hard for him not to come into the kitchen and get involved in what I’m doing.  I sent him my menu and my prep schedule, and I asked him about ideas for munchy food for during the day.  He came up with some good ideas, and I think he’ll probably end up lending a hand in the kitchen at some point.  Clara said he won’t be able to help himself, which is kind of funny!

So, that’s it for me, at least for now!  I hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

As my title today may have suggested to you, I have something that I need to share.  You all know that I left Maryland to move back to Ohio and go to culinary school.  That’s only one reason for my sudden departure.  The biggest reason is that Tim asked me for a divorce.  I’m not going to go into any of the details, and I am not going to get into any bad-mouthing or harsh words, but he and I are no longer together.

The reason I haven’t been talking about this until now is that it’s been too painful, but my therapist had me do some exercises that have really helped.  I have a weekly appointment with her to help me get through this mentally intact.  Though I’m not thrilled about it and may never be, I’m reaching a point where I’m started to feel more accepting of it.  It’s helped to have family and friends (that’s you guys!) to support me.  Even if this is news to you, know that your support of and excitement over my move back to Ohio was what got me through those last few weeks at UMUC.  I would have been a puddle of tears on the floor if it hadn’t been for you!

I really want each and every one of you to know that I deeply appreciate all of your encouraging words and excitement for me in my last weeks at UMUC.  You all mean the world to me, and I could never thank you enough!

Now that I’ve gotten that out, I’m happy to report that it looks like I’ve got a job!  I’ll be working at my uncle’s office one day a week during the quarter.  He said they’ll put me in the system as an “on-call office assistant” which just means that if I’ve got more than my usual one day free some week, I may be able to work at another office in the area.  That’s pretty cool because it means that I could potentially work more during the breaks between quarters.  There’s some paid training, so I should start having a paycheck pretty soon!  Yay for work!  I didn’t realize how much I’d miss 40-hours-a-week until I didn’t have it anymore.  This will really help with keeping me as distracted as possible.  I need less free time for my mind to wander.  I know you guys will think I’m crazy, but I’m signed up for 19 credit hours, and that doesn’t seem to be that much.  Granted most of my classes are easy intro stuff, but I remember college being more challenging.  I’m finding that I’m kind of bored, especially when I’m not in the culinary classes.

My schedule next quarter is actually pretty exciting.  I have “Baking Lab” which means I’m in a real restaurant kitchen baking for the Inn.  This class is actually called Baking Lab; I’ve been calling the kitchen time in my Breads class baking lab, but it’s not quite the same since we’re in more of a classroom environment.  I also have Cake Production, Pastries and Desserts, Classical Pastries, and Yeast Dough Production.  I’m going to try to transfer in as much stuff as I possible so that I don’t have to take the general education classes after all.  I initially thought I’d just take them all, but now that I’m here, I’m not seeing a purpose to comm, psych, and sociology classes for what I’m doing.  I’m pretty happy with that, because it may mean that I’ll finish a little faster than the 2 years.  I’ll likely have to take Accounting and Personal Finance, but I’m not too worried about that.

I’ve got a kind of busy day planned today.  I have to go to my uncle’s office at 10:30 to fill out some stuff; I have lunch with a friend from high school at 1; and I’m hoping that I can get a run in this afternoon.  The run may not happen, though.  I got a flu shot on Wednesday, and it’s left me feeling a little odd.  I’m not sick, just a little off, like my lungs forgot how to breath and I have a little nausea.  It’s nothing severe, more annoying than anything.  Tomorrow, I am hoping I can get together with another friend from high school.  I haven’t seen either of these ladies in years – one for 13 or more; the other for only about 2 or 3 – so I’m really looking forward to catching up.

Have a great day, guys!

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