Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spoiler alert!

Don't worry.... I'm not going to say anything about "The Hunger Games" (except to say that we saw it last weekend, and it was very good). I just realized I never told the story about how my spoiler fell off my car.

First, you should know that my car is named Muskie. Muskie Mazda. It's been a family tradition to name our cars, and with a few exceptions, the name always starts with the same letter as the model of the car. "Muskie" was an obvious choice because I'd just graduated from college at Xavier University, home of the Musketeers. Anyway, when I mention Muskie in the story, I'm referring to my car. (And feel free to laugh at me all you want, but I do regularly refer to my car as "Muskie," and I talk to him sometimes as though he's a real person. "Him." See? He's a guy, too. And part of the family.)

Last summer, the day before our wedding, I was pulling out of the driveway when I heard a noise like something had fallen either on or off of my car. I put it in park and got out to check but saw nothing. Later that day, I noticed the brake light built in to the middle of the spoiler had come loose and was literally hanging by the wire. My dad looked at it that night but couldn't figure out what may have happened except that it just fell off.

A couple of weeks later, I took Muskie to the shop for a different repair and, while I was there, asked them if they could fix the light. They couldn't (at least not without buying another piece, which would cost quite a bit), but they said they could remove it and it shouldn't be that noticeable. I told them to go for it. They removed the light and put it in my trunk, where it's remained ever since.

See?

I'd also asked them to tighten the spoiler, as it felt a little loose. (I never used it to open or close the trunk, and if I ever saw anyone who did, I reminded them not to.) They did tighten it up, and I was on my way.

Over time, I did feel it getting a little weaker, especially in the middle, where the light had been. I was very careful when opening and closing the trunk. I figured one day, the spoiler just might come off. However, I didn't expect it to happen at the time or place that it did.

A few weeks ago, David's uncle passed away, and David, my brother-in-law, Dan, and I drove to New York for the funeral. We took Muskie. We were at the funeral home for the visitation when David said his contact was bothering him, and he was going to go out to the car to get a new one. He came back in a few minutes later with a new contact and some bad news: the spoiler had broken on my car. (I'm sure he referred to Muskie as "your car"--he doesn't call him Muskie as I do.)

"It broke? What do you mean?"

"I mean it's broken. Like right down the middle."

"Like it split in half?"

"Yes, exactly."

We were in a different state about 500 miles away from home, it was cold and raining, and we were at a funeral home. Perfect.

When I went out in the rain to see Muskie, it was exactly as David had described.



Poor Muskie. The worst part was, one of the screws on the left side was missing, so that side of the spoiler could easily swing out. We didn't want it come even looser and break off and possibly hit another car. So we came up with the next-best solution: duct tape.

After we left the funeral home (driving very slowly and carefully!), we stopped at a grocery store on the way to the hotel, where we bought duct tape and paper towels. When we got to the hotel, we pulled in under the covering near the door, where we dried off the spoiler and taped the middle. We also wrapped some tape around the loose left side.

That was on Thursday afternoon. We got back to Indy on Saturday evening, and during those two days, I checked on the tape and the spoiler every time we got in and out of the car. Each time, I patted the trunk and said things like, "Poor Muskie. Poor guy. Hang in there, and we'll take care of you once we get home." I frequently looked back at the spoiler while we were driving, too, to make sure that it was holding up securely. It always seemed to be fine. Not surprisingly, David and Dan made fun of me every time I checked it or said something to Muskie.

On Sunday morning, David removed the spoiler. It took all of five minutes. The trick now was figuring out the next step. We could buy a new Mazda spoiler, which would cost a lot more (the estimate I got was about $600, and that was with David installing it) but would be the easiest thing to do. Or we could buy a "knockoff" spoiler, which would look just like the real thing but wouldn't actually be a Mazda part. It would be cheaper but would require a little more work because we'd have to fill the holes where the old one was and drill new holes to match the new one. The third option would be to just fill the holes and skip the spoiler, but that, too, would require more time and money, because the spots would then have to be sanded down and painted to match the rest of the car.

We haven't actually made a decision on what to do yet. The spoiler is still duct-taped together and sitting in our garage. The duct-taped middle allows it to fold easily, making it more convenient to store.



Our main concern about the car was that water would get in when it rained and would leak into the trunk. But duct tape again came to the rescue:

  


Classy, right?

Anyone have any suggestions on where to find a new spoiler?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Pearly Whites

I'd like to take a moment to brag about my teeth.

I went to the dentist yesterday for a cleaning and check-up. The dentist told me (several times) that my teeth looked great. He called them "amazing."

That's right. Amazing. I have amazing teeth.

This wasn't the case six months ago, when I went for my last check-up.

I've always had good teeth. I have only had one cavity in my life, in the second or third grade. I had sealants and braces. I went to the dentist regularly, brushed twice a day, did that disgusting fluoride mouthwash once a week in grade school. All was good.

Until last fall, when I went to the dentist for a check after an almost-two-year absence. I'm ashamed to admit it, but once I'd moved across town, I decided to find a new dentist so I didn't have to drive 40 minutes to my old one. Unfortunately, it took a couple of years before I got around to finding a new one. It wasn't until last spring that I finally called the dentist that my husband used and recommended to me (very highly recommended to me). I found out they didn't take my insurance, so when I got married, I got on my husband's dental insurance and made an appointment.

I wasn't worried about my teeth because, embarrassingly, there had been another time in my life when I'd skipped the dentist for a couple of years (shortly after I graduated from college and got a new apartment in Cincinnati but didn't get around to finding a dentist right away), and my teeth had been fine then, so I assumed they would be this time, too.

But they weren't. Last fall, after doing the check-up, the dentist announced that I had three cavities. THREE. I'd only had one my entire life, and now I had three more? It was crazy.

I went back a couple of weeks later to get those filled, and over the next six months, I took ridiculously good care of my teeth. In the past, I'd only flossed every now and then (I know, I know) but now I started flossing almost every day. I cut back on Coke and other sweets. I was determined to not have another cavity.

And the extra attention paid off yesterday, when I got the "amazing" comment. Now, I just have to keep this up.

I mentioned that David gave me a very enthusiastic recommendation of the dentist. He kept telling me how awesome he was, and I laughed, but now I understand why he said that. Our dentist is great. He's friendly and honest, and his staff is wonderful as well. The hygienist yesterday remembered me from six months ago (she asked me when I'd cut my hair, because it was shorter than she remembered). When I was getting the cavities filled, they told me, step by step (in plain English), what they were doing. When I was checking out and I had an insurance question, they called the company right then to get an answer for me. One time, David got to his appointment on time but had to wait a few minutes before they called him back, and the dentist came in and apologized for the delay and gave him a $5 Starbucks gift card for the inconvenience. Now THAT'S customer service! Oh, and he's also a big supporter of local music. What a fun guy!

If you're in Indy and looking for a dentist, I highly recommend ours! His name is Dr. Kolman, and his office is in Broad Ripple. His website is www.kolmandental.com


Note: I wasn't asked to do this review, and I wasn't paid or compensated in any way for writing it. I'm just really happy with my dentist (and my teeth!) and wanted to share his information with you. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! What a great day.... it's Friday and the weekend is mere hours away, the weather is beautiful and HOT (in fact, we're supposed to reach a record-breaking high of 80 today here in Indy), and we're in the thick of March Madness

In fact, I'm watching basketball as I write this. My Kentucky Wildcats came through with a big win last night, and I'm hoping I'll soon be able to say the same for my Xavier Musketeers, who play tonight.

My brother is on spring break this week, and he's been in Indy for the past few days to see his girlfriend, who also lives here. Last night, the two of them came over for dinner and the Kentucky game. My brother is a big UK fan like me, so it was nice to have another fan to watch with.... unfortunately, there aren't as many as I'd like here in the middle of Big Ten country.

What are your plans for the weekend? Tonight, David and I are going to his friend's house to watch some basketball, and tomorrow we're going to meet my brother and his girlfriend for dinner and to watch the next UK game. (Funny story: My brother was home in Louisville over the weekend, and last night, as he and his girlfriend were leaving our house, we were talking about getting together tomorrow for the game. Then he said, "Oh yeah, we should have dinner. Dad gave me money last weekend and said it was for the four of us to go out to dinner." So, looking forward to a dinner on my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

So, yes, lots of basketball this weekend. I'm also going to work on my sister-in-law's wedding invitations.... they're getting married later this year and I'm designing the invites as part of a wedding gift to them. I'm also going to try to talk David into playing tennis with me at some point. He enjoys working out, so it shouldn't be too tough to convince him.  :)

And, of course, tomorrow is St. Patty's Day. Perhaps there will be some green-beer-drinking to go along with the basketball-watching.  :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Productive Weekend

Note: Yes, I realize this post is rather long. However, it isn't nearly as long as my Saturday afternoon/evening felt with The Great Light Project. Read on to find out more about it.

As I mentioned in my last post, we were out of town last weekend, but we got a lot done around the house the weekend before that.

Our project for that Saturday morning was replacing the door handles. I don't have a "before" picture, but the old ones were patterned and brass. Most also had a few paint splotches from when the doors had been painted. It was time for an update.

We went to Lowe's and looked around and picked new ones that we liked. They were rubbed bronze and had a satin finish (which the Lowe's employee told us was what was "in" now), and best of all, they matched the hinges already on the door. This was a big deal, as we didn't want to have to go through and change all the hinges, which would most likely have been expensive and taken quite awhile. Also? The new handles matched the ones to the front and side doors that my dad put in whenever I first bought the condo.

After a slight obstacle (during which we returned the handles, thinking we couldn't use them, only to repurchase them about 15 minutes later, after finding out we could), David installed them all in less than an hour.

Here's a photo of the finished product:


After we finished this, we went to Qdoba for lunch. David explained that, in the past, whenever he successfully completed a home improvement project at his house, he would go to Qdoba for lunch or dinner.

"Like a victory meal?" I asked.

"Yes, exactly."

When we got home, David started examining the light fixture over the dining room table. We'd talked about updating it, too, but I was under the impression that the door handles were the only project for the weekend. But David must have had other ideas. He took a sip of his Coke and told me, "I'm just going to cut the power real quick to get a better look at this."

I knew where this was going. Another project for the afternoon, apparently. And he hadn't even finished his victory lunch. That's some confidence.

After a bit more time studying the light, he said, "I'm going to unscrew it at the top and see what it looks like. It shouldn't be too difficult to replace."

Ah, famous last words. Our afternoon project ended up carrying on into the next morning.... but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Before David took the top apart, we took down the glass plates hanging from the light fixture. Then a light bulb broke in the socket. It was at that point that he announced, "I think we've passed the point of no return."

Here's a visual:


Yep, time to upgrade.

This could be an extremely long story, but to summarize, we spent the next five hours buying a new light from Lowe's, assembling it (with extreme difficulty, which including quite a few "discussions"--AKA arguments), discovering, when it was almost finished, that the frame was bent and we wouldn't be able to use it, returning it to Lowe's, feeling dissatisfied with their other products, going to Home Depot to buy a different light, and attempting to assemble it instead. Oh, and throughout this whole process, there was much grumbling, mumbling, and cursing at the various light fixtures. Most of it was from David, but I threw in my fair share, too.

By 7 p.m., the daylight was gone (the power was cut, so aside from a flashlight, the light outside was all we had to work with), and our sanity wasn't far behind. I'd spent more than an hour holding the second assembled light fixture above my head and shining a flashlight toward the hole in the ceiling where it was supposed to connect, while David stood on a stepladder and tried to attach it.We couldn't get it attached, and we couldn't figure out what the problem was, but finally we decided it was time to call it a day.

The next morning, we studied the light, studied the old light, glanced again at the manual, and watched a couple of YouTube videos about installing light fixtures. The videos were especially helpful, and we went back to work.

About an hour later, it was finished! The light was successfully installed! I don't remember now what our exact problem was, but basically, I think a couple of the five or so parts that needed to be lined up to screw the light into the ceiling were mixed up in the wrong order. Ugh.

And here it is:


Beautiful, right?  :)

In case you haven't figured it out yet, neither David nor I are very handy. We have good intentions, and we try hard, but we automatically triple the installation time that the manual gives us, knowing that we'll come across a few bumps in the road in the process. We're proud of the work we did that weekend, but I think we're finished with home improvement projects for a little while.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm back!

After a brief time away from the blogging world (things have been busy!), I'm back. There's a lot to cover, so let's do a bulleted list, shall we? I like lists.... especially bulleted ones.

  • Bathroom update. I know everyone is very anxious to see final pictures of the great bathroom remodeling project (uh, I mean, of the new paint color). It is finished, and it wasn't until last weekend that everything--OK, almost everything--got put back in place. I was attempting to put one of the shelves back up when a piece snapped off. It needs to be glued back together, but I haven't had time to do that yet (keep reading, and you'll see why). However, as soon as I get that taken care of and get the shelves put back on the wall, it will finally be COMPLETELY finished, and I will post pictures. The color? Still a secret. The results? Not quite what I'd expected, but I'm very happy with it.
  • Road trip. The past week has been a crazy one. A little over a week ago, David came home with the sad news that his uncle had been diagnosed with liver cancer. It was pretty advanced and had spread to four or five different places in his body, and the doctors said there wasn't much that could be done. Three days later, his uncle passed away. That was on a Monday, and on Wednesday evening, David, his brother, and I headed to New York for the visitation and funeral. We got back Saturday evening. If it hadn't been for the the sad reason for the trip, it would've been a fun time. The drive is long, but it's an easy one (almost all highway and very few back roads). David got to see a lot of his family again, and I got to see a few people again and meet some family members I'd never met. Overall, it was a nice visit.
  • Home improvements. Last weekend, we were in New York, but the weekend before that, David and I got quite a bit done around the house. We replaced all the door handles (the old, outdated ones were patterned and brass; the new, updated ones are bronze with a satin finish) and put in a new light fixture over the dining room table (again, the old was brass and the new was bronze). We don't plan to move for at least another year or two, and possibly more, but there are quite a few small projects that need to be done, and we figured we could do them sooner rather than later--that way, we can spread out the amount of time and money involved, and we can enjoy some of the updates before we move. I'll post pictures of the updates soon.
  • The car. This, too, deserves a post all its own. We decided to take my car to New York, and the day before we left, I took it to get an oil change and to get the tires rotated. Long story short, I ended up having to get two new tires as well. While we were in New York, the spoiler broke in half (yes, there are pictures, and yes, they'll get posted soon) and we had to tape it back together with duct tape for the drive home. David took the spoiler off the next day, but we're currently shopping around for a new one (preferably one that doesn't require paying $600). Anyone have any ideas?
  • Farewell to Peyton. This is a sad one, too. Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay announced last week that Peyton's career with the Indianapolis Colts has ended. I've always loved #18, and he's done an unbelievable amount for the team and the city. He'll be missed, and I'm sure he'll miss us, too. Thanks for everything you've done for us, Peyton, and good luck to you wherever you go (and I'm hoping it will be Denver).
More car and home improvement updates and pictures to come soon!