Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ode to a Spare Tire

on my way to cbs last week, i bundled up the boys as i normally do and loaded them in the car. fortunately, nicholas was already at preschool because chris can take him most thursday mornings. i strapped them in and started out, getting about 30 yards before i realized that something was very wrong. it was the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa that really gave it away...we had a flat tire. just to set the stage a little, let me say that jonathan was *already* screaming his face off at this point, because he was so cold.

how cold? well, let's just say it was single digits. eight degrees to be exact. fortunately, since i was so close to home, i just gingerly turned around and limped home, hoping not to damage anything by driving on the rims, jonathan screaming all the way.

so, obviously the meeting was out of the question. i took the screaming children inside (daniel is now crying because we can't go and he loves cbs) and get them watching sesame street. i love pbs right now. and i go back out to figure out what to do, because i have about 2 hours until i have to be at nicholas' school for the kindergarten pickup. i decide i need to figure out how to change the tire. fortunately, it is now warmed up to nine degrees. at least i can go inside and jump around every 5 minutes or so for warmth!

let's just say that the last time i changed a tire was...never. ok, maybe once when i learned to drive, but even that is doubtful. thank goodness for the owner's manual. and stan's automotive shop, whose workers never laugh at me when i call them up and say "ummm....what do i do now?" i will show you in pictures what happened next...

that's right, you perceptive readers....after i got the spare tire on and the car jacked back down, i realized that the spare tire was *also flat*. what are you supposed to do with a flat spare tire? did i mention that it was nine degrees? i thought so. anyway, i did what any other self respecting tire changer would do in this situation...i called stan's. and, just so you know why i love them so much, i will tell you that they sent a guy out with a portable air filler-upper to my house to fill it back up.

so, with 20 minutes to spare before i had to be at the kindergarten pickup, i had a new tire (with air!) to drive on. go stan's!

the whole time, i was also thinking, thank God that this happened where i could have the kids inside watching sesame street, instead of screaming their faces off on the side of the road in single digits while i jacked up the car.

oh, and so you know, my friend chara told me that there is a thing called fix-a-flat or something, and you can repair a flat without all this mess. stan says it's not great for your tires, though.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hungry Planet

i just finished reading this book...anyone else? essentially, the authors visit families in different countries for a week, photographing their life and documenting what each family eats over the course of a week. each family also poses with a weeks worth of food, and there are statistics about each country so that you can somewhat compare. some interesting parts:
  • how much the food in industrialized countries doesn't actually look like food--that is, they are pictured surrounded by boxes, bottles and packages, and very little that you would recognize as part of a plant or animal. by contrast, in developing nations, sometimes they would have absolutely no prepared food, or a couple of bouillion cubes or something.
  • how disparate the amount of food available is, depending on where one lives.
  • how much musk ox meat is eaten by people in greenland...something like 29 lbs per week. per person.
  • all the different types and parts of animals that are eaten around the world...congealed blood or deep fried scorpion on a stick, anyone?

it was also striking the way that the authors would juxtapose different families...for instance, they did 2 different families living in chad, one who was a refugee family from a neighboring war-torn country, and one a local family. also, there were 3 different families from the US, and how different they were from each other, yet really very similar as compared to the world.

overall, a very interesting, somewhat shocking book...anyone else got a good read to share?