Friday, July 27, 2007

Revenge of the Rabid Squirrels

This is a story about a girl and some squirrels.

It all started on Monday, July 2. I was planning to meet some friends for lunch, but my car was acting funny.

(This was not a good sign - all I wanted to do was to get it to Texas and my dad could give it the stern lecture (and fixing) it needed. And I was a little sensitive to problems, since a few weeks before it had gushed antifreeze all over the parking area in a friend's neighborhood - my heater core gave out. I did NOT need one more thing going wrong!)

Anyway, the car had a hard time starting, which was weird. But I can change a battery in a pinch so I wasn't too worried. And then, as I was heading up the driveway, it acted REALLY weird and I heard a hissing noise, so I paused. And then I smelled gasoline. Figuring this was more than a battery losing juice, I backed up, parked the car and got out, only to find gas leaking on the pavement.

Here's a little disclaimer about Kristine and car problems: if it's something non-mechanical that I can fix, I'll take care of it without tears. Otherwise, it makes me cry.

So I called Dad, who does long-distance diagnostics, and he said "fuel line." Not something I could fix myself, so I called the mechanic. He's a really nice guy and he stopped by my house that night on his way home. You know, it's never a good sign when the mechanic says "Whoa! How in the world did THAT happen!" The problem? A hole in the fuel line. The cause? Well, he'd only seen it like that twice before, and both times some type of vermin had chewed the hole.

Enter the squirrels, little furry harbingers of doom.

Above: two of the suspects, eating berries where my car would normally be parked.

So the car was towed and fixed. And I parked up in front of the house, hoping squirrels were not the bloodhounds of the rodent world, tracking it down for another bite. But everyone agreed this was a freak incident - surely they learned they learned their lesson after tasting the gas, surely they wouldn't do it again. Unfortunately, I didn't learn my lesson. About a week later, I came home late one night. And I thought "What are the odds? I'll park in my normal spot." Apparently, the odds were pretty good! Because they chewed another hole in the fuel line.

This time, Joshua rescued the car, spending a few hours replacing the fuel line again. (Thanks, Joshua!) I wanted to spend a little time teaching the squirrels a thing or two, but I did manage to refrain from any violence.

And so this is how the story ends: I spent my last few weeks in Maryland having fun with friends, figuring out how to get my piano sold, getting my car fixed more than once, and thinking bad thoughts about the neighborhood squirrels.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Lickety Split

Ah, Texas. I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes right about now, but it's home to me. I left Maryland about 8:15am on Thursday, July 19 and headed for the wide-open west. Drove about 850 miles the first day and stayed on the west side of St. Louis that night. On Friday, I had about 750 miles to go before arriving home in Amarillo.

Heading from Oklahoma into my personal promised land, Texas:

My poor car has been having some significant problems in the last few months, so I feel really blessed to have made it in one piece! Well, there was one little thing that went wrong. Somewhere between Tulsa, OK and Amarillo, the power door locks decided to quit working. But I didn't need to get out of the car anyway, right? But let's take a moment to celebrate a little milestone: 130,000 miles!

PS – Strangest sight on the road: someone in Frostburg, Maryland is building a replica of Noah's ark. Hmm…

Friday, July 6, 2007

Independence Day, Baltimore Edition

Had a great time this year on the 4th of July! Went up to Baltimore, where a gathering of 20 or 25 people was taking place at a friend's apartment complex. Some of the guys did a great job getting the fire going and grilling vegeburgers, hotdogs and veggie kabobs:

And then, in the pouring rain, we set out to find a place to watch the fireworks in downtown Baltimore. (Actually, we were glad to be up there, since the fireworks down in D.C. had been canceled due to a tornado warning.) Because of the rain, some people had decided to leave and we found a prime spot on a hill. And even though I was soaked, it was great!