Life Lessons From Under the Hood

Fight for the things in life worth holding on to…

Left my bat cave [the basement where I write] Saturday evening when hubby asked for a little help on the car. He’s been outside fixing, replacing, and tuning up the car since the sun rose for Monday’s inspection, the sticker that is technically 11 days overdue. We’re crossing our fingers and hoping we can get through another inspection without any big surprises.

Remember last year? “Sure Mrs. Paulus, your car will pass, after we replace all four wheels, the axle, the brakes, the engine, and that tiny little fuse that can only be reached after taking the entire car apart.”

“How many hours are we talking? What kind of loan should I take out? Will a kidney suffice?”

“The entire job, if we do it right, requires at least 52 hours of labor and yes, we do accept high functioning organs. But to be on the safe side, I’d plan for two.”

“Two thousand?”

“Two kidneys.” Mechanic with grease smeared across his forehead does not flinch. Laugh. Or wink. “Just in case.”

“For that,” I have a bright idea. “Don’t do it right. Just fix it enough to pass. I’m not looking to drive to Alaska. I just need to buy a little time, say a year, before I buy a new car. Work with me here. I’m not a doctor, but I think the last guy on ER that gave up both kidneys…Yeah, I don’t think that’ll work.”

“Well then, we can’t pass your car.”

Wahhhhh! Continue reading

Looking out from Under the Hood

 I love the movie Cars. Especially the first one. But even the sequel impressed me. I still remember watching the first Cars movie in our local theater with my then three princesses, the oldest not even six years old at the time.

As the credits began to roll [we always stay for the credits. That’s when they play the best songs on the soundtrack,] my kindergarten graduate leans over to me and whispers, “Mommy, I’m the blue car, and Bryce is the red car.”

I smile and giggle. Then I lean over to share the news with hubby. Guess what? Our first born has a crush on someone. And his immediate response: “Well then, we’ll just have to take the blue car and put it in the garage. Lock the door. And store the key.” He might have said, ‘throw away the key,’ but I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he just worries that this little girl with a genetic disposition to being boy-crazy if she’s anything like her mama, might be getting ahead of her time. No dad wants to see their little girl grow up too fast. Of course. Continue reading

My Hotty Under the Hood

[In Honor of Father’s Day, this week I’m blogging about one of hubby’s favorite things in the world: Cars! … Enjoy!]

Remember when you went to Kmart with your mom and they had the blue light special. “Attention all shoppers! For the next five minutes, and five minutes only, all white sports socks in Aisle three are an additional 50% off.” Then your mother would race her cart like a Nascar Driver over to Aisle three to get her paws on several packs of socks before they ran out. Can’t say I miss those days. Do they even have Kmarts anymore?

Anyway, in these economic times, every one’s looking to save a buck. When you save two, even better. When you save ten, you throw a party, order pizza, throw in some soda and inevitably, you’ve blown a twenty. Darnit! Two steps forward. One step back.  

The thing is, *Mom, please don’t be mad, I don’t do coupons. Sorry Mom. I know you still mail me them every once in awhile. But I just can’t get the hang of them. I tend to forget I have them. They expire. And I’ve received so many dirty looks from shoppers in line behind me as I dig through my purse for those “I just know it’s in here somewhere” moments. I’m done. I wholeheartedly applaud all you coupon kings and queens out there that have your organizers and never miss the “must use by” deadlines. I gladly place the “Clippers by Night & Savers by Day” crowns on your heads. Doesn’t work for me. So for anyone out there who still wants to save but has given up on coupons,

Here are My Top Ten Ways to Save a Penny…”Less for Less” 
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But I Didn’t Win…

To hear Sarah sing… 
My grandma, who we called Biji, loved buying lottery tickets. I kid you not. When a woman asks for lottery tickets instead of flowers for her funeral service, you know the love runs deep. So my mom handed out scratch-offs to each of us grand kids when we arrived back home after saying our farewells. I think one ticket out of twenty won $50. But the remainder of the $200 worth of tickets were duds.

According to my husband who did a little research for his Facing Fear Talk, a person is more likely to be hit by lightening than win the lottery. Hmmmm? So what makes a person walk into the convenience store, slap down his or her cash, and lose. But come again, day after day, and do it again.

I’m not talking about addiction today. I have no intention of commenting on the morality of gambling. I’m simply addressing the human innate desire to win. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have it. We all like to win. Continue reading

Daddy’s Girl…Yes I Am!

 I’m a Daddy’s girl. Always have been. Always will be.

Don’t misunderstand. I love my Mom fiercely. She’s one of my dearest friends. But when it comes down to which parent did I turn out like, I’d have to say my Dad. And I’m sure it has a little to do with genetics. But also a whole lot to do with connection. The connection began when I was a little girl.

My earliest memory of my dad is of man dressed in a suit who left early and came home late, always carrying a briefcase. Those were the days when he sold insurance and worked all kinds of jobs in order to afford his Masters in Engineering and provide for our family. 

Growing up, when given a choice of chores, I always ran outdoors to help my dad weed the garden, wash the car, or hold the ladder when he worked on the roof.

We also have a lot in common. We both misplace things. Forget things. And we are both emotional. I’d like to say we’re in touch with our feelings, but when it comes down to it, we are the criers in the family. We are also known as the talkers. As far back as I can remember, Daddy loved telling us stories. Continue reading

Thinks That Sparkle

 “Mommy, here’s a shiny one.” Sarah, my four year old, hands me a little silver speckled white rock from one hand while tossing the rock from the other into the river. “Mommy. That one’s not for’s for you to keep.”
I held the rock out until the sun’s light made it look like I was holding a diamond. Then I put it safely in my pocket. Made me think? What gives a stone it’s worth? And why is that we love things that sparkle?
Last night, as we took a night hike around our North Mills campsite in North Carolina,  billions of stars dotted the moonless sky. Sarah, gripping tightly to her daddy’s hand, looked up and said, “Ooooh! The sky is too sparkly!”
“Do you like it?” Wasn’t sure why she chose the word too?
“Yes!” Must be a four year old thing. 

A Backwards Sunny Jig Across the Finish!

[Introducing Guest Blogger Santhosh “Call me Sunny” Paulus…A.K.A. hubby, hubs, hubster, Sunshine, hotty hubs…you get the picture. With a few minor edits by the wifey.]


Beautiful Day for a Run!

Have you ever been so excited about something that you woke up earlier than your alarm clock is set for? Maybe it was because you couldn’t wait to do something or you were nervous about it. Well, Saturday March 24th was one of those days for me.

Woke up at 5:35A.M. and I forced myself to go back to sleep, but by 5:50, the birds outside my bedroom window were so loud, I just got out of bed. I was excited, and I had no idea how the day would turn out.  Continue reading

My Sexy Spring Cleaning Spouse

I am not too fond of cleaning, and organizing is not one of my top loves. Outside finding good uses for dark chocolate and writing that is. And don’t worry, I’m almost ten days into Lent, and I’ve been good. I’ve developed a minor lip twitch, wake up grouchy, and my right leg shakes uncontrollably. Other than that, I’m good.
When I married Sun, I should have known that one day, we’d be proud owners of lots of organizers. Baskets, bins, crates, and hooks. My baby loves them all. If you were looking for hubs this week, sightings of his smiling face were reported in the aisles of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Crate and Barrel, and my favorite and yours, good ol’ Target. The first two are stores that make my head spin and leave me wanting. Cuz my super-saver self just cringes at the prices, and I prefer deciding between candy bars over shoe racks any day. Continue reading

Tooth Fairy Blues

 Six years, two months, and thirteen days ago, I should have been fired. From the Tooth Fairy Corporation. In a nutshell, the Teeth business should have done their homework and checked my references before plunging me into the field. Or mouth. Of it all. 
My rapid decline began one winter morning when the sun rose after the rooster. For the record, we don’t live on a farm. At the time, my girls’ alarm clock woke them up with a goofy voice yelling, “Get up! Time to get up! Get out of bed already!” and this particular voice sounded roosterish with his trill on every vowel. You had to hear it to believe it. 

Anyway, this particular morning marked the first dawn of our first lost tooth. My firstborn had carefully tucked her tiny little white tooth under her pillow the night before. Mom of the year forgot. When tear-filled Bubbles knocked on my bedroom door, I knew before she told me. I forgot the money.…

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