Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Taking care of business

About 5 years ago, my glasses broke so I got a new pair. Thankfully my prescription was only about a year old then, so I didn't have to get another eye exam. I'm still wearing those same glasses. Needless to say, I should get an eye exam. And new glasses, as these have loose screws that I have to tighten a couple of times every day and the lenses still fall out on a regular basis. And I got hit in the face with a volleyball on Sunday and they got majorly tweaked.

So I made an appointment for this afternoon. Yesterday morning, I woke up with only one eye functioning. The other was stuck shut. Ah, my old buddy, pink eye, has returned. "It's been awhile since I've seen you," I remarked. Then I added, "And really, I haven't missed you." Now I will wait until probably next week to take care of my glasses problem.

On the subject of buying a new car, we test drove some more over the weekend and had one of those "God!" moments. After the first test drive at a major-brand dealership, the sales guy was all like, "Is it the car you've been looking for?" "Aw, I was sure you'd come back and say it was perfect for you." "Do you want to step inside and talk some more?" When we left, I complained to Andy about how a salesperson who would act like a human would be much more likely to make money off of me. I probably complained for a good 10 minutes on our way to the next place.

When we arrived at the next place, it was as if we were on Candid Camera. The people we talked to there were exactly like I described wanting salespeople to be! They treated us like we were family. When Andy turned on a car to test drive it, the fuel light came on. The guy genuinely felt bad (someone else had just had it on a test drive, so we didn't think anything of it) but said, "Well, I'll have to drive it up to the corner to get gas in it or you can" and he handed us their American Express Business credit card.

We didn't find the car we want there, but we now have them looking for a car for us while we sit on the couch watching Ocean's Eleven and eating Bon Bons.

If we find out the service we received wasn't a fluke and they continue to treat us the way we hope, I'll be sure to mention their name and give 'em props - that way they get some free advertising to all 3 of you who read my blog.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A reason to buy the Subaru

We're shopping for a car to replace my ailing truck. Yesterday we visited CarMax just to sit in a few different models that may be of interest to see whether they're even comfortable, before dealing with a full-blown test drive. This was particularly the case yesterday as we went out while the temperature was about 25 degrees and it was snowing, so there was no test-driving going on.

To get to Laurel from Ellicott City took much longer than it should have, with people driving 20 mph on I-95, which was merely wet with very light snow falling and lots of cars to melt it off the roadway. Talk about annoying!

We skipped the highway on our way home and took back roads. The back roads were covered in a dusting of snow (covered, but by less than an inch of snow) but they were hilly and curvy. We started down a hill only to see a large gathering of vehicles with their flashers on at the bottom.

"Abort! Abort!" we decided. There was one driveway along the hill so we turned around in it and tried to get back up the hill to go a different way. Unfortunately, we couldn't get back up the hill. Our newly-tired front-wheel drive with traction control van couldn't go anywhere but sideways. Andy and I know how to drive in the snow (really, we do) so we were a bit surprised to find that we were unable to negotiate getting started up the hill. There was a van identical to ours that turned around just after us and got stuck just ahead of us on the hill.

We tried various maneuvers for about 10 minutes before a diesel-engine, dual-rear-wheel Chevrolet truck came by and asked if we needed assistance. You bet! Andy helped him get his tire chains on and hook up the chain to the front of the van. While they were doing this I was wishing we were in his position, being able to help people so practically. I tried to imagine who he was - what kind of job does he do that he has such a truck, is he just out for something else and found all these people in need, etc. I thought through the outward-focused service mindset that our church is really working on and wondered where this man's desire (or at least willingness) to serve came from.

I saw he had some of those "awareness ribbon" magnets on his tailgate and I assumed they were war/military-related. I squinted to read them and could make out only the first and third ones which said, "Support Farting" and "Support Lap Dancing."

I'm going out on a limb to assume that he probably doesn't get his willingness to serve from feeling full of the Holy Spirit. But I could be wrong.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A dandelion in a field of poppies

I visited a Roman Catholic Church last Saturday for a mass in Spanish. I don't speak or understand Spanish. I know a few words, but that doesn't help in a real-life conversation - or a church service. I also was the only blonde in the crowd. I told Andy my hair said, "Look at me!" Then I realized that lots of people live their lives feeling like that everyday and it's good for me to be in that situation. Granted, my situation was insulated in that I was there with Andy's family including relatives visiting from Mexico, so I had a sense of belonging because they looked and sounded like everyone else there and I belong to that family. (And, surprisingly, they do take ownership of me.)

Were I Catholic, I'd know what was going on in the service despite not understanding the language, but I had the double-whammy of not understanding AND not being exposed to Catholic mass in the past except for a few isolated incidents. Yet, I could still tell that I shared something deep with these people - a genuine belief that God is bigger than all of us and that Jesus came to teach us to love.

Andy's dad and aunts asked me whether I liked the service. I thought it a strange question because, obviously, I didn't understand any of the service! But I did say that although I didn't understand any of it, I enjoyed being in that type of situation where I was wildly outnumbered based on my race and cultural experience because it helped me learn about other peoples' perspectives while showing me that deep inside our hearts, we all share so much in common.