New (School) Year, New Me

I have that autumnal Back To School Energy right now, that feeling that it’s A New Year, And A New You, and I’m brimming with goals and things to do and filling my days up with Productive Activities And Work-Related Things. Either it’s a coping mechanism for the house being dead quiet all day and my birds flying the nest, or it’s just a natural part of my yearly cycle; whichever it is, it’s a good feeling to Cross Things Off The Lists.

I am almost done Kondo-ing the entire house! I only have the kids’ schoolwork and artwork bins to take care of – things that probably should wait until AFTER the first week of school, because EMOTIONS – and I probably should take care of the storage room filled with old paint cans and, apparently, shoe boxes. Well, the paint cans can go to the firehall, and I think we can all agree that this will be a very pleasant task indeed, although not as pleasant as when the kids were small and the firefighters would kindly let them sit in the truck and give them fire safety colouring books. There’s a big, big difference in being an early-thirties mom with two adorable little boys, and being a forty-one year old woman lugging paint cans by herself. I mean, they probably aren’t going to give me the tour or let me sit in the truck.

That reminds me, I really should clean out the schoolwork bins sooner rather than later, because when Jake was in preschool I chaperoned the field trip to the firehall. I rarely volunteered for field trips, and so that probably indicates my feelings about the firehall. Anyway, the firefighters challenged two of the parents to a race, to see who could put on the firefighter’s outfit the fastest. Is it called an outfit? I don’t know. You know what I mean – the boots, overall pants, coat, helmet and everything. I was chosen to be one of those parents. Somewhere in one of those bins is a photo the preschool teacher sent me, of me in the firefighter outfit with Jake.

I should probably mention that I won the race. It was against the lone father who decided to chaperone. IN YOUR FACE, STEVE.

(His name may or may not have been Steve. It’s actually killing me that I can’t remember his name.)

My husband has been pretty busy these days, lots of regular stuff plus doing little things around the house like repainting the bathroom after filling giant holes in the wall. The contractors installed towel racks but didn’t use wall studs, and after four years one finally gave way, leaving gaping holes in the drywall. Luckily my husband is a handy kind of guy, but it still took a lot of work and a couple of trips to Rona and Home Depot to get new towel hooks. All of which is to say, I decided that I would take the car in to get an oil change, which is something – BLUE JOB – that he would normally do.

I know, I know, it’s totally retro of me to refer to vehicle maintenance as a Blue Job, but that’s the way it is in this house. I am totally cool with it.

Some of you may remember what happened the last time I took the car for an oil change, but this time, I thought, would be different. For one thing, there’s no nail bar at this dealership. For another, this dealership doesn’t require appointments but instead prides itself on quick oil changes. Or, express lubes.


It sounds so dirty!

Anyway, my husband had informed me that there would be no charge, something about included with extended warranty, blah blah blah car stuff blah blah. When I got there, I confirmed this with the fellow who checked me in, and after Looking It Up In The System, he said that indeed, there would be no charge. Yay! I went to the waiting room to stare at the tropical fish tank, read Do Your OM Thing, and admire the chutzpah of a woman wearing the absolutely most colourful floor-length caftan I had ever seen.

You can probably guess the punchline here. When the lady at the service desk called me over, she charged me, and informed me that our two remaining free oil changes would not be free after all, for reasons which remain mysterious. I never know what to do in situations like this. I should probably be more assertive, and squeaky-wheel-ish, but I guess I’m not. When it comes to vehicle maintenance, I have absolutely no confidence in my ability to deal with things. I would have called my husband at work, but I knew he was on a conference call. So I paid it, went home, and texted my husband.

A livid phone call to the service manager, which I was not party to, has resulted in the admittance that the woman at the counter had made a mistake, a credit at the dealership, and much annoyance on my part. Why. WHY does dealing with vehicle stuff have to be so fraught for me? Why do I have no confidence in myself when it comes to cars? When am I going to figure out how to open the hood of my minivan? These are all very good questions and perhaps, in my quest for Kondo-ing everything, New Year, New Me, and reorganizing my life, I should work on this. Personal growth, the automobile edition.


  1. I feel you, sister. It’s bad enough trying to do the stuff you’re not comfortable doing, why can’t the people there NOT FUCK IT UP so you’re even less comfortable? I’m probably due for an express lube (hee) soon too, actually. I make Pam come with me, though, and she squeaks for me if necessary. A friend who will grease the wheels for your express lube is a friend indeed.

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