Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hold Your Breath.... I've Got Gas Problems

Home again, home again jiggedy jig.  Nothing brings out my patriotism quite like an American grocery store....The shelves, the carts, the variety, the ready to eat food, the fresh produce, the everything you need for the house in one store that's open 24 hours....!.... God, I love America!!

After two months of My So-Called Danish Life, I am back in the swing of my Real World American dream and Denmark seems more distant than The Jersey Shore. Back to the car culture and getting used to the Road Rules....

I really missed having a car, but I really didn't miss having to fill up the gas tank.  For whatever reason I really hate filling up the gas tank.  I just hate it.  I always hope the tank will go empty on Trevor.  And it's not because of money. I would pay double money to never have to stop the car.  I hate interrupting my plans. And I especially hate that little daunting light that threatens to strand me on the side of the road.  You'd think if I hated that light so much, I'd avoid it at all costs and fill up at a quarter tank before the little light ever comes on.  But I don't.  I continue driving until it's empty.  Every time squeaking in a smaller and smaller trip.  Hoping the gas light will come on when Trevor's driving so he can fill it up.  It's like playing hot potato.  The longer you're driving around, or passing the potato as you say, the higher the anxiety level goes because you know it's coming and you don't want to be caught with the music stopped and the gas light glaring at you. 

Another old American habit of mine is sleep optimization.  I do not wake up any earlier than is absolutely necessary to take a 10 minute shower and grab a piece of bread, or a granola bar, or a handful of chips, and a glass of juice and run out the door.  Then I stuff my face in the car while driving slightly faster than the legal speed limit suggests at the same time maintaining that I am not the fastest driver on the road and arriving to work maybe 5 minutes late.  I have it down to a science.  And you know me, I LOVE SCIENCE...

So back in the habit (with Whoopi Goldberg), I'm running a little late to work, as usual, and a block away from home the damn gas light comes on.  Dammmmmnit.  I am right next to the gas station, but unfortunately we live next to the most expensive gas station in the city and probably the country for that matter.  I am not stopping here.  Plus if I stop now, I will definitely be late to work.  I have gone 20 miles before with the gas light on and did not have a problem.  I can make it to work.  I will fill up on my way home from work when I'm not in such a rush.

I get to work and today I planned ahead and brought my lunch with me. I have my lunch bag and my gym bag.  I start checking e-mails, going about my daily routine.  I go to get my phone out of my purse, but cannot find my purse.  Must have left it in the car.  I check the car.  No purse.  Must have left it at home.  Oops.  Must have really been in a rush this morning.  Oh well, as long as I don't get pulled over on the way home I should be ok.  I continue going about my day until about lunch time when I realize..... I have no gas......  I have no money to buy gas.......  I have no phone to call Trevor if I try to make it home without gas and get stuck......  If I try to make it home without gas and get stuck and I can't call Trevor, someone might call the cops........  If the cops come to help they will definitely ask for my license which I don't have and I will definitely get a ticket. 

I immediately do some google searches about how far you can drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla once the gas light comes on to see what my options are looking like.  The results vary from 16-50 miles depending of course on speed, if you're running the AC, if you're going uphill vs. downhill, and if you're going highway or back roads.  I have already driven 15 miles at highway speeds. I could go empty in 1 mile or I could go back and forth to work a couple more times.  But there's no real sense of security here.

Frustrated, anxious, embarrassed, I give in to the "better safe than sorry" philosophy....better get off my horse and ask for money before being stranded on the side of the road and having to explain oh so much more... I e-mail one of my trusted--aka he has known me to do much dumber things and he still talks to me  (side note:  he was the one to house me and Trevor for a holiday slumber party the night Trevor was dressed up like an elf and fell in a puddle when both of us were in no shape to drive)....I trust this guy  --colleagues to see if I can borrow $10.

  I peak over the cubicle wall.  He is staring at his computer monitor.  He must have seen the e-mail notification pop-up.  He does not respond right away.  I click "Send/Receive" to make sure the e-mail's been sent.  Wait 5 more minutes.  No response.  I dare not risk verbally asking him for money as I work in cubicle city.  No secrets are safe here.  Everyone will know what a bonehead I am.  It is too much of a social suicide.  I convince myself that he saw the e-mail and is not responding because he doesn't have the money and I start to worry.  Who the hell am I going to ask now?  One person at work already knows I am "special"  and now I have to admit it to someone else? Nevertheless, the consequences of not admitting are guaranteed disaster.  I e-mail another co-worker in another department who has absolutely no influence on my professional development or bi-annual reviews and ask him for $10.  He responds right away and lends me $20.  Ten minutes later the first co-worker comes by and give me $7. 

I get my gas.  Go straight home for my wallet, then to the bank.  Pay off my dues first thing the next morning.  Now let's just forget all about my gas problems.  OK? Thank You...

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Hills are STILL Alive!

And now you can watch them over and over again in this 21st centruy commemorative clip compliments of Mr. T.J.O.G.!! 

After embarrassingly running around the hills of Austria, Trevor has compiled a 20-seocnd music video to sum up our wonderful trip....

Even though it looks like we may be all alone in these shots....we are not...There are people watching....Trevor making me run... run again... jump again....run again...And in the last shot where we dramatically hug in a lover's embrace, Trevor actually smashed his man knees into my little knobs.  You can see me briefly rub my knee, and then Trevor apologizing in what looks like a heartfelt moment in the mountains.  Ok so not the most romantic real life ending, but I did like the way it eventually came out!  So I guess you can say we lived happily ever after!

These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Here is the last blog of pictures from our European vacation.  Some might argue that the last few days had some of the best highlights of the trip.

We went on an organized Sound of Music tour where among other things, we learned some new jokes. Some of us were really excited about the tour:

This is where Mozart was born (side note...he was not involved in the Sound of Music....the movie that is...)

I am aware that this is a bad picture but out the bus window you can see the bridge where Maria and the Von Trapp children run across the bridge in their curtain clothes singing "doe a deer" or "these are a few of my favorite things"....one of those fun songs.

The Salzburg fortress

This is the lake where Maria and the kids row up to the back of the house and flip the boat...side note:  Grettle nearly drowned when filming this and threw up all over Louisa.

This is the back of the house where the backyard shots were filmed however it is not the mansion used for the house.

Our tour guy Peter
 Peter's jokes:

Did you hear about the guy who lost his left side?   He's Al-right!

Did you hear about the golf club that's giving out 2 pairs of socks?  It's for in case you get a hole in one.

Why did it take so long to film the sound of music?  Cuz you can't get a Plummer on the weekends!


I'm sure you remember when this thing was used...

I am 27 going on 28....!

On the way to the Mountains and Lakes region:

We passed the headquarters of RED BULL!

Red Bull is owned by some Austrian who went to Thailand, discovered this tasty energy drink, came back to Austria, carbonated and marketed it an vwalla!

Trevor loves the Sound of Music

Wow we are such tourists...


This is the church where the wedding scene was filmed

the church is located in Monigsee a cute little town outside Salzburg

Inside the church

Austrians having a sit

$2 Stiegl beers on the bus!

watching the sound of music on the way home for the umteenth time

Mirabell Gardens

the dwarf from the movie!!

garden from the movie


The Abby!  Where's Maria!?  I want to show her my finger....

After the tour we went back to the hotel and watched....The Sound of Music ....

Me and my birthday Austrian hate...with Sound of Music in the background...
 Then we went to a local brewery for dinner.

Die Weisse

mmmm goulash

The second to last full vacation day was my actual birthday and instead of bustling around the city streets, Trevor and I went for a hike,  Up Untersbeg mountain.  Where the hills are alive!

contemplating my next step as as a 28 year old

meh I think I will just have a good sit

lost in the Alps

potato goulash?  don't mind if I do

can't beat the view

 After the hike on Untersberg we decided to continue the birthday celebrations at what was once a birthday present to Hitler....the Eagle's Nest.  The Nazi's built Hitler this little tea house high on a mountaintop for his 50th birthday.   Not going to lie... it kind of gave me the creeps...
We took a bus 4 miles up a closed off road then walked through this tunnel to the elevator

same elevator

From the top:

Eagle's Nest...now a tourist restaurant

Im down there somewhere...

Nice shot, Trev

Then we drove out to Konigsee, a little town on a lake, and had a nice little dinner

Auggie's at night

For my big, birthday, going out celebration we decide to check out an Irish pub, because that seemed like a sure fit for a good time.  It was fun.  We had ourselves a few Guinesses and we tried really hard to make friends with the bartenders.  I was waiting all night for the opportunity to tell them it was my birthday in anticipation of a free drink or shot, but we were having a hard time keeping the conversation going.  So well after a few drinksand for lack of the opportune time to make a casual mention of it I just blurt it out.  The bartender, now very excited, yells well come you didn't tell us originally!? He walks out from around the bar and comes over to my side and shakes my hand..... As he's shaking it the other bartender comes out and tender #1 tells tender #2 it's my birthday and so the second bartender comes out from behind the bar and also shakes me hand.... This is just weird.  i just wanted a free drink not a hand shake! 

bumper sticker in the bar

University of Portland student center

Our last day in Salzburg and we decided to take it easy.  It happens to be 95 degrees this day.  The only thing I want to do is jump in a lake.  We start walking to the lake, but it is too far.  And we are too hot.  And now we are too hungry.  So we head back towards town and get some food...

This is where Mozart lived when he was older

We found this horse pond

and then found this tunnel

so we walked through it

and out the other side

Then we decided to try and find the Steigl brewery.  According to our map it should be a few blocks away.  But upon arriving to where the icon suggests, we notice a little arrow underneath indicating the brewery is a few kilometers east of where the map ends... damn.  But we've come this far... we can't go back now.  So on our day "off"  we end up walking around Salzburg for at least 5.5 hours in the sweltering heat...But we did eventually find the brewery:

We paid the admission fee and spent about 15 minutes in the exhibit...

This was Trevor's favorite part:  a bed-sized beer pillow!