Friday, July 24, 2020

7 Quick Takes about New Minivan Rides, Adventures in Grocery Shopping, and Weird Times in the Animal Kingdom

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?

1


We got a new (to us) van! Our old one, bless its heart, should have been put out of its misery years ago. May it rest in peace.

Saluting the old van as it drives away for the last time.

We traded it in for the new van (and by "traded it in," I mean "got $250 taken off the purchase price because the dealer said he would sell it to a junkyard") and honestly, Phillip and I felt a little sad about leaving it there.

In the 12 years we owned that van, we added four babies to our family, took camping trips and cross-country road trips, and generally just lived a lot of life in that car. Each dent in the exterior had a story, and unfortunately so did most of the stains around the kids' carseats. If you looked closely, you could even see the names of my 16-year-old and her best friend from kindergarten scratched above the driver's side rear wheel.

Circa 2008, when our family looked tiny and the van was new (to us.)

That thing was a workhorse that literally gave its life in the service of our family.

2


The only catch in getting the new van was that first we had to get there. It was an hour away, on a 93-degree day, and we made the drive in our old van without A/C.

Despite feeling a little woozy from some minor heatstroke (I'm not even joking about this,) we made it, bought the van, and enjoyed a much quieter and cooler ride home.

Our new van!

We've been a two-car family for about 4 years now, and the new van we got is an 8-seater so we can all fit. To celebrate, we immediately piled everyone in the car and went to the beach.

3


One thing we were unaware of until just recently was that in 2008, a new law was passed requiring vehicle head restraints to be uncomfortable torture devices. Every single car built now is equipped with headrests that slant forward at a sadistic angle.

I get that it's to protect your neck from whiplash if you get in an accident, but it literally prevents me from holding my head up straight which is NOT HOW YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DRIVE.

I didn't notice it at first, but 30 minutes into the ride home my neck started to hurt and I realized it was because of those dumb headrests.

It got worse over the next few days and I was in physical pain from driving the car. I tried everything, including adjusting every possible setting on the seat and headrest, buying and returning back supports and neck pillows on Amazon, and sobbing into my hands crying "What have we done?!?"

After all that, I finally think I found a position that is tolerable (comfortable, even?) as long as I don't have a ponytail or any kind of hairstyle in my hair. Ideal? Not really, since I don't even remember what people do with hair besides put it in a ponytail. But I will deal.

One of my kids also says the head restraints drive her crazy, but says it's okay if she has a pillow to put behind her back. The others are too short to hit the headrests or apparently have awful posture to begin with, which I guess is a separate problem that seems to be working for them in this particular instance.

4


Remember how we bought a replacement toilet seat last week? Well, we needed a second one for the kids' bathroom, too.

You can't go into your Amazon account and click the "Buy It Again" button on a toilet seat with a straight face. Heck yes, I want to buy it again! Give me more of this toilet seeeeeeaaaaat!

When it came in the mail, one of the kids opened it (probably to see if there was anything good inside) and left it sitting on the kitchen counter, and since I hadn't gotten around to moving it, it was sitting there as my daughter I were cooking dinner.

"I need more counter space," she complained. "I have to set this bowl of food down but I don't want to put it on the toilet seat."

"It's clean," I shrugged, clearly being the orderly, on-top-of-it mom I always dreamed I would be.

She wrinkled her nose. "I know, but you know how 'a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?' It's like that... but the opposite."

She had a point. I moved the toilet seat.

5


In non toilet-related cooking news, we've been "visiting" Indonesia for our Educational Summer Vacation this week and making a ton of yummy Indonesian food.

More details on that in my Saturday night country update, but in the meantime I'll tell you that I cleared out the Asian section of the grocery store and then made a separate trip to the Asian market in town to get everything else I couldn't find.

I love going to the Asian market. 

I'm usually the only white person there, drifting cluelessly from aisle to aisle and trying to stay out of the way of the people purposefully shopping who actually know what's in half the bottles and boxes on the shelves.

I feel like I'm pulling a fast one over on everyone, because guess what: I can't read any of the signage telling me what aisle I'm in or any of the labels on the products! I'm literally just wandering around pretending I'm supposed to be here!

I bought these and I'm only 70% sure they're prawn chips.

I always feel like I'm getting away with something when I pay for my stuff and the cashier lets me go without comment, as if I know what any of it is or what I'm doing with it.

6


Over here we 'e really enjoying having pet rats and think they have the most adorable little faces. About 60% of our conversations are about how cute they are.

I overheard this the other day:

12-year-old: [holding Scout and doing an impression of Gollum going "My precious!"]

14-year-old: You know, the rats and the ring from Lord of the Rings are a lot alike. They're both tiny and get lost easily. They also do unexpected things, like turn you invisible or have a bunch of babies.

7


Speaking of babies, in studying Indonesia we're learning about the komodo dragon.

What. The. Heck.

Komodo dragons are ridiculous. How is this species still even alive? Apparently if they can't find a mate, female komodo dragons can reproduce asexually... but then all the babies are male. So male komodo dragons outnumber the females 3:1.

How does that even work? The animal kingdom is so weird.

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5 comments:

Diana Dye said...

I love the Asian market too! It's the closest thing I get to travelling internationally. I pass on all the prepackaged cookies at the grocery store but I'll buy them all up at the Asian and Mexican markets when I'm not even sure they are cookies.

AnneMarie said...

We just got a minivan a couple days ago! Tis the season for van-buying, I guess ;) I'm slightly petrified to be driving such a nice car (it's is used, but it's way nicer than the other beat-up sedans we've bought in the time that we've been married) but we're all pretty excited about it.

So, your mention of toilet seats makes me think of a friend I had in college--for a gift exchange once (the limit was $5 or something, I think) she bought a cheap toilet seat from WalMart and splatter painted it. It actually looked really cool, though it was super random. Obviously wasn't intended to be used, but more of a decoration/conversation piece I guess? I thought it was pretty creative.

Anonymous said...

Random Internet stranger here, but my husband also hates headrests. He has solved this problem by taking them off the seat and replacing them backwards. It is possible if he ever gets in a serious accident his head will fall off, but he says it is much more comfortable in the meantime.

Jenny Evans said...

Random Stranger: I have heard of so many people doing that. A safety feature is only safe when it's also functional, I'm not sure why that concept didn't get through to car manufacturers.

Kimberly said...

If male komodo dragons outnumber the females three to one, why the heck can't the females find a mate? Are they just too picky?