My Latest Car Inspection Report

Inspection Summary for: MARSH, RACHEL D.

05/09/2017 1:52 PM


1999 Honda CR-V EX RED

Odometer In: 240966

License: XYY-8047


Sub Estimate #1

Lube, oil and filter

Labor: $35

Parts: $117.52

Total Taxes: $17.83

Sub Estimate Total: $170.35


Sub Estimate #2

R&R front disc rotor and alignment

Labor: $57

Parts: $478.98

Total Taxes: $90.05

Sub Estimate Total: $626.03


Sub Estimate #3

Radiator air shutter

Labor: $125

Parts: $732.60

Total Taxes: $208.75

Sub Estimate Total: $1,066.35


Sub Estimate #4

Something something something something car terms blah blah blah

Labor: $679

Parts: $2,450.38

Total Taxes: $980.57

Sub Estimate Total: $4,109.95


Sub Estimate #5

Automatic power steering transmission fluid I’m blue da ba dee da ba daa system flush exchange disc rotors hips don’t lie catalytic converter mmbop oil filter engine replacement.

Labor: $1,975

Parts: $3,050.45

Total Taxes: $778.94

Sub Estimate Total: $5,804.39


Sub Estimate #6

A voltage regulator, whatever the heck that is

Labor: $480

Parts: $3,728.55

Total Taxes: $752.90

Sub Estimate Total: Call your parents


Sub Estimate #7

Family vacation to Cancun

Labor: $4,085

Parts: $5,728.55

Total Taxes: $1,752.90

Sub Estimate Total: Your firstborn child


Sub Estimate #8

Transmission harmonic torque converter module

Labor: A LOT

Parts: We don’t even know if there’s a number for this

Total Taxes: Your rent for a year

Sub Estimate Total: Bankruptcy


Grand Total All Sub Estimates: the equivalent to your entire college tuition, times three, plus six years of indentured slavery, with an additional $65 service fee.

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Should I Reinstall My Bangs?

I was bald for the first year of my life.

I went that entire year having to rely on my large eyes, easy smile, and rolls of fat to get people’s attention. I didn’t have the advantage of thick, shiny hair, like many of my associates had, to fall back on.

Every day was a struggle.

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Eventually my hair grew in (blonde, in case anyone was wondering). I went through the “Baby’s First Haircut” photoshoot, and I’m sure somewhere there’s a lock of my hair stuffed into one of those baby scrapbooks that literally no parent has ever completed.

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So as my hair grew and became like a normal child’s, my hairstyle matched those of any young white girl’s in the 90’s: long hair that was usually tangled in hundreds of places, topped with thick bangs sitting straight across my eyebrow line. And if I was lucky, my mom would toilet paper them on special occasions.

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To put it bluntly, I was…well, I was adorable.

Then came third grade. When every girl whose parents had bestowed bangs upon them decided to grow them out. And since I was definitely cool, that’s what I wanted to do too. I asked my parents to buy me clips to help shove them aside during the growing process, and they did.

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By fourth grade, my forehead was the clear, bangs-free forehead I had dreamed of.

I lived the low-ponytail, center-part life every day until middle school.

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Like I said, I was definitely cool.

Then in seventh grade, the bangs fad returned. And since I was definitely cool, my bangs also returned. They were the feathery kind, not as thick as before…and I think they lasted about a month until I realized that they did not look good I was too cool for them.

My hair has gone through a lot of alterations since then, including some highlights, blowouts, bad haircuts, good haircuts, its own recent decision to become curly, and more split ends than I care to even imagine.

And now I’m starting to wonder if the bangs life is for me again.

And that’s where I need your advice.

If you’re thinking, “Well Rachel, how can we give you advice if we don’t know what your hair would look like with bangs?” I have a solution. A solution called the internet.

I’ve replaced my face with some celebrities’ faces, to see what exactly I would look like with bangs. I sat on my couch last night experimenting with all sorts of potential hairstyles, and I’ve set aside the best options for you to look at.

Take your time, sleep on it, don’t feel like you need to answer right away. But here are some accurate depictions of what I could look like with a new ‘do, for your careful consideration.

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Technology these days is amazing.

Anyway, thank you for your contemplation, and I look forward to your feedback.

Boy, the Crazy Thing About Richmond is that They Really Like Smiling

To all both of you who asked when I was going to do a follow-up to my last blog post about Dunkin’ Donuts (one was my mom, and one was my mom when she was drunk), here it is.

First let’s recap: I went to Boston, it was a great city, I enjoyed myself, and I had a heated run-in with a Dunkin’ Donuts employee where very little smiling happened.

After that incident, I concluded that the stereotype about rude northerners and warm southerners was accurate: all northerners are mean, and all southerners are hospitable and friendly to everyone they meet.

Then I realized, maybe that’s not fair. Maybe it’s just all Dunkin’ Donuts employees who are cold and unfriendly. So I went to one in Richmond to find out for myself. And during my experience there today, the cashier gave me a survey code to fill out online.

Survey

Did you wait in line to place your order?

Yes

√ No

What Dunkin’ Donuts item did you purchase for yourself?

Food only

√ Beverage only

Food and beverage

Please select how you placed your order:

Placed order using the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app

√ Placed order with a crew member inside the store

Placed order using the drive-thru

Please rate your overall satisfaction with your visit at this Dunkin’ Donuts:

√ Highly satisfied

Satisfied

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

Dissatisfied

Highly dissatisfied

Please rate your overall satisfaction with your visit at the coldhearted Dunkin’ Donuts up north:

Highly satisfied

Satisfied

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

Dissatisfied

Highly dissatisfied

√ So dissatisfied I don’t think I could ever return

Did you come back inside to get some ice in your coffee because we serve it so gosh darn undrinkably hot all the time?

√ Yes

No

Did the cashier roll her eyes and wish you would go away, or abide by your request with a smile?

Rolled her eyes and wished that I would go away

√ Abided with a smile and even offered to stir the ice into my coffee so that the temperature wouldn’t get off-balance

Did the cashier bid you a good day as you left?

√ Yes, it was so nice!

No, not even close

Please tell us what you liked most about your experience at this Dunkin’ Donuts.

Where do I begin? The second I walked in the door, I was greeted with a huge smile and a meaningful “Good afternoon.” This kind of service does not happen everywhere, I can tell you that.

And then, she was so eager to know how she can improve, that she gave me a survey to fill out. This kind of service also does not happen everywhere.

After I ordered, I walked outside and realized it was too hot to drink right away. What a dilemma! So I went back inside and asked Karen for a few ice cubes. She was so helpful. She walked me through the whole ordeal with ease, even giving me a new lid so as not to spill the coffee everywhere. This kind of service…well, you know.

How would you suggest we can improve our service at Dunkin’ Donuts?

I think you should send all of your Richmond Dunkin’ Donuts employees to Boston to train them how to be nicer.

 

 

Thank You for the Birthday Gifts

Just when you all thought you were done hearing about my birthday, you were wrong. There are just a few acknowledgments I need to make before officially moving on to my 29th year. I want to thank the people who helped me celebrate my birthday last week, but in particular, the people who gave me stuff.

Zucchini bread

Thank you, Ben, for bringing me that slice of zucchini bread that your wife made. Tell her it was pretty good.

A birthday voicemail

Thank you, Melissa and Jack from 103.7 Play, for calling me while I was at lunch with my mom and wishing me a happy birthday. I have absolutely no idea how you got my phone number or how you knew that it was my birthday, but it was really nice of you to say something. And it made for a great story that all of my friends enjoyed hearing over and over.

A card with a bunch of money in it

Thank you, Dad, for giving up years ago on trying to buy me something I might like, and switching to straight up cash.

A happy birthday email

Thank you, River Lofts, for not only providing me a place to live for the past three years but also sending me an email with a small birthday cake graphic, acknowledging my special day. That was really above and beyond.

The offer of a free croissant

Thank you, Alex and Greta of Lecker Baking Company for offering me a free birthday croissant, that I do one day intend to redeem.

A bike that I bought for myself

Thank you, Rachel, for buying me that bike. I know I’m really going to get a lot of use out of it. That was super thoughtful and literally, exactly what I wanted.

A gift card to Union Market

Thank you, Sarah, for fueling my already excessive habit of frequenting this Church Hill establishment. I’ll use it wisely (on beer).

A book about going to strangers’ houses and documenting their lives

Thank you, Josh, for the book that you wrapped and brought to me at work. So far it has provided me hour of entertainment.

Tickets to the Book of Mormon

Thank you, James, for combining two of my favorite things: theater and organized religion. Oh and for wrapping the tickets in that box of chocolates that you got as a Christmas gift from your company. I know you didn’t actually intend to give that part to me, but you let me take it anyway. That was really nice.

An iced coffee refill

Thank you, Katelyn from Urban Farmhouse, for refilling my iced coffee for free after I told you it was my birthday, even though technically you were supposed to charge me a dollar. Birthdays are important, coffee is important, and now I consider you important.

Some books

Thank you, Mom, for those books you gave me. I can’t wait to read them.

Oh, and also thank you for giving me life all those years ago, etc.

A virgin Mary candle with Amy Poehler’s face on it

Thank you, Brittany, for always knowing what I need even before I knew I needed it.

A beer

Thank you, everyone who bought me a beer the night of my birthday. I totally forget who the heck did, but gosh I know I appreciated it.

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Things I Accomplished at 28

Just as a reminder to everyone, my birthday is on Thursday (February 2). And since my birthday is this week (February 2), I’ve started reflecting on the last year of my life (since the last February 2), and what I’ve accomplished at 28 (which began February 2, 2016). Not to toot my own horn, but my 28th year (which is ending on Thursday, February 2) has been full of success.

  • I went a full day without chewing gum
  • I mastered phallic latte art
  • I ate produce from Farm Fresh and lived to tell about it
  • I voted
  • For pizza

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  • I learned how to make poached eggs (with these silicone floating cups my mom gave me, but it still counts)
  • I took a bunch of pictures of this dog

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  • I got three free haircuts
  • I held a baby
  • I STILL HAVE MY CAR (this is an accomplishment)
  • I drank Guinness out of a diet iced tea bottle (this is also an accomplishment)
  • I had a meme made of me

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  • I got published here
  • And here
  • And here
  • And here
  • And here
  • I got a tweet liked by Jason’s Deli (#blessed)
  • I traveled to five different states
  • I re-learned how to ski
  • I re-learned how to use the Richmond bus system
  • I re-learned the sign language for “turtle”
  • I’m a robot!

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  • I saw my old high school classmates at my reunion
  • I got an anonymous note on my car from a loyal fan

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  • I moved unwillingly
  • I became a man

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  • I became a mom!

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  • I watched that 45-minute YouTube video of Nick Offerman sitting in a leather chair by a fireplace
  • I stood in a four-hour line for a tattoo
  • I volunteered at Comfort Zone Camp three times (as should everyone else seriously sign up it’s a great cause)
  • I dined with Seinfeld

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  • I went five days in a row without showering (ON ACCIDENT)
  • I finally saw a Star Wars movie (joking, I didn’t)
  • I finally stopped believing in Santa Claus (joking, I didn’t)
  • I paid my credit card on time every month
  • I got a salad at Chipotle

Driving in the Snow

The biggest running joke in Richmond is the fact that no one knows how to drive in the snow.

Well, actually the biggest running joke in Richmond is that there are too many grocery stores.

But the second biggest running joke is that no one knows how to drive in the snow. The minute the weather channel so much as mentions the possibility of snow, people suddenly forget how to maneuver a car; there are dozens of unnecessary fender benders, vehicles stopped in the middle of the road, and utter confusion as to what these red, yellow and green lights mean.

And ha, ha, I love pointing and laughing and making fun of locals for being bad at driving in the snow just as much as the next guy.

But here’s the thing: I’m terrified of driving in the snow. I’m that person that everyone hates for driving so slowly, and for braking where there’s not a stop sign, and for putting on my emergency flashers even when the snow isn’t sticking to the road.

But here’s the other thing: I don’t drive in the snow. Because it gives me extreme anxiety, and also because I’m not good at it and I don’t want to cause unnecessary accidents. But mostly because it gives me extreme anxiety. I’ll cancel any sort of plans or commitments that require me to drive in the snow, and if I can’t, I’ll walk.

So I say I’m one of those snow-drivers that everyone hates, but no one will ever know because they’ll never witness it.

Anyway, as you all know from the bare bread shelves among the hundreds of local grocery stores, Richmond just had a “severe” snowstorm, and you’re thinking this story is going to be about how I had to drive in it and the horrors that that entailed.

It’s not at all. This story is actually about how I almost died in West Virginia.

I did. I almost died in West Virginia.

Last Thursday, my roommate Kathleen and I took her car and set out for a weekend ski trip at Canaan Valley, West Virginia on a Thursday at noon. A four-hour trip seemed like a breeze, even with the looming snow forecast that evening. With Waze set and a phone full of podcasts, we left, plenty of time to spare before the snow began.

Not that that even mattered because frankly the only snow we were concerned about was the kind we would be skiing on over the weekend.

One stop for Sheetz sandwiches and another stop for Starbucks coffee later, we made it halfway to our destination. Kathleen drove, and I sat as navigator. We got through Harrisonburg, jumped off the highway, and, based on the GPS, we were looking at back roads for the remaining two hours. Par for the course, right? That’s the price you pay for skiing in the mountains. Totally, no big deal.

But then those back roads became really narrow.

And then we both lost service on our phones.

And then those narrow roads became curvy as well. And the wind started blowing. And the sky got darker.

And that’s when it began…

The snow, I mean.

But I also mean the terror.

It wasn’t so bad watching the snow fall for an hour or so. But then the temperature plummeted. And the snow started sticking. And our phones continued not to work. And we didn’t know where we were. And suddenly I regretted ever watching a horror movie in my life because this was exactly how they all began.

Enter that extreme anxiety I mentioned earlier.

It took us about 45 minutes to realize that the directions we were following from Google maps were completely wrong, and we had missed a crucial turn a long time ago.

Which was completely fine, because we were surrounded by busy streets and bustling city centers with plenty of people who could help us out.

No, we were surrounded by snow-covered trees and isolation.

We did remember seeing a dimly-lit lodge a few miles back, so we yanked a U-turn, drove back, and pulled into the parking lot. They had just closed for the night, but there were people inside; so we desperately banged on the glass doors like any well-mannered girls would. A woman opened the door.

“Hello, we’re trying to get to Canaan Valley Resort?” Hoping she’d tell us we were just a few miles away. Or, by some miracle, already there.

It’s never a comforting feeling when someone looks out at the cascade of snow, then cautiously asks what kind of car you’re driving. Then looks at you like she might be the last one to ever see you again.

But, with a lot of backtracking and many more miles to go, she did tell us how to get there.

“If…you can make it,” she said as we walked away.

No, she didn’t say that, but I’m SURE SHE WAS THINKING IT.

So, we got back on the road, with snow rapidly wedging itself between our tires and the road.

We continued up and into the mountain, with the roads getting narrower and steeper, and the snow getting slicker.

At this point, I just want to share all of the thoughts I had in my head, thoughts I thought would never get out into the world because I figured they would be trapped at the bottom of the ice-covered mountain inside my lifeless body within the hour:

  • I’m never getting into a car again if I survive this.
  • I still have never seen the movie “Goodfellas”
  • Do UFOs really exist?
  • I wish I at least had fulfilled my dream of winning a car on the Price is Right.
  • Even though I would never drive it!
  • I hope no one finds those dirty magazines under my bed.
  • By dirty magazines, I mean weed.
  • Come on, no one has dirty magazines anymore.
  • But did Adnan kill Hae?
  • I really wish I had done that “IOU” thing for Christmas presents this year.
  • Did I leave my hair straightener turned on?
  • I’m simply dying to know who’s wearing whom at the Golden Globes.
  • Who is going to inherit all of my clothes?
  • Who is going to inherit the buy-nine-get-one-free Sheetz sandwich I’ve saved for so long?
  • At least I’m having a good hair day.

I know everyone is dying to know the outcome of whether or not I survived this.

An hour and a half of narrow roads, ice, heavy snow, fishtailing, cliff sides with no guardrails, white knuckles, and regretting all of my life decisions…we made it to Canaan Valley Resort.

One extremely large glass of wine later, we were able to laugh about it.

And even though I made it through this incident, I still will never have any interest in driving in the snow.

So if you’re ever traveling through snow-covered Richmond and you see my car stopped in the middle of an intersection, or driving slower than someone walking next to it, please forgive me.

Or, get into my car and drive it home for me because, I’m probably suffering from PTSD.

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We forgave the snow.

Small Town Santa

movieposterThis week I thought I would find something a little less…romantic (which, you guys, is so hard when finding a Christmas movie. Something about this holiday sure puts movie makers in the mood).

But, I in fact, found one that has very little to do with romance and a lot to do with Santa going to jail.

Small Town Santa: On the eve of Christmas, Sheriff Rick Langston has lost his holiday spirit. But when he arrests a home intruder claiming to be Santa Claus, his world gets turned upside down.

Let’s go.

Beginning scene: A young whiny girl is on the phone with her dad, begging him to come over for Christmas. The dad, a handsome local sheriff, sits at his desk in the dark at the police station and gives her excuse after excuse about how “Your mom and I don’t get along too well.”

Then a bunch of stuff happens that doesn’t matter at all, like Young Whiny Girl having a dream about being in Santa’s toy shop, or a couple of naughty teenage hooligans coming into the police station after throwing eggs at a house.

A few hours later, a homeless man comes into the police station, turning himself in for stealing the local church’s baby Jesus from the nativity scene (oh no!!). Clearly he just wants a hot meal and a place to sleep, and that fact doesn’t escape the sassy black female cop (diversity!). She tells him no sirree! But the other two cops, Handsome Local Sheriff and this scrawny blonde cop, insist that she let him go to the jail cell. Which is for some reason located within their small office.

A bunch more unimportant stuff happens, like how we learn that Scrawny Blonde Cop has a toddler, a wife, and a terrible relationship with his trashy mother-in-law. The next few scenes are also laced with more witty comments from Sassy Black Female Cop, of course. And a scene where Handsome Local Sheriff yells at kids for throwing snowballs as he drives home.

When Handsome Local Sheriff gets home, he finds a jolly old man with a white beard and a red plaid shirt in his kitchen. He claims he’s Santa! Just looking for cookies! But Handsome Local Sheriff doesn’t buy it, and brings him to the jail with Alcoholic Homeless Man.

While they’re at the sheriff’s office, a hot blonde mom and her teenage daughter come to the station to deliver canned goods. Chimes play. Looks like there IS some romance in this movie! Unfortunately, the daughter is a sassy rebellious teenager. Ugh.

A bunch of other stuff happens that doesn’t matter at all.

Some more stuff happens that doesn’t matter at all.

Nativity scene with a stuff monkey (baby Jesus got stolen remember?)

In the meantime, Alcoholic Homeless Man and Jolly Old Man Claiming to be Santa have a lot of heartwarming interactions in the jail cell. Jolly Old Man Claiming to be Santa even convinces Alcoholic Homeless Man to stop drinking! It’s a Christmas miracle.

Some more scenes about the Hot Blonde Mom and Handsome Local Sheriff bonding.

Some church scenes.

Handsome Local Sheriff comes back to the sheriff station to check on his inmates. A lot of heartwarming conversation later, he lets them out. Another Christmas miracle.

The climax! At Scrawny Cop’s house (yes, his trashy mother-in-law is there! Drinking too much white wine as usual!) The whole town has shown up, and everyone is in the Christmas spirit. In fact, Alcoholic Homeless Man has decided to become a realtor again like he was before he became alcoholic and homeless.

He overhears a conversation about how a recently engaged woman (yes, we see the proposal!) needs to find a new house now that she’s getting married. He gives her his realtor card…guys, I think everything is going to work out for everyone.

I won’t spoil the ending or tell you about how Handsome Local Sheriff and Hot Blonde Mom kiss by the fireplace, but it’s surely a movie that will give you the holiday tingles.