Saturday, June 18, 2011

Come to think of it, there are no problems when Katy Perry's Extra-Terrestrial is on...

You know how you have those little things that you should get fixed, but don't? Just something small and annoying, but you can deal with it, so you just let it slide? I have a couple things around the house like that, including the caulking around our sliding glass door that I think is letting ants in, and the weed whacker missing a bolt which makes it impossible for me to start. But the main thing that doesn't work right? My car radio.

More specifically, it's my husband's car radio. I drive the car most often, because it gets better gas mileage. However, it's his car and his radio. You see, I may have mentioned before that he is...frugal. So when he decided he was going to buy a car to replace the pickup truck that he sold, he put on his negotiating face and went to the dealership with the newspaper. There was a stripped down version of the car he wanted, for the cheapest price advertised, and that was what he wanted. The only problem? The car didn't come with a radio. So he harassed the salesman to put a radio in the car. Now, I didn't expect to get some sort of stellar sound system, but I didn't expect what I got.

At first, it was just the odd anomaly. Once in a while, the radio would turn itself up. Self-adjusting volume was...interesting. I usually have the volume between 5 and 7, and it would turn itself up to about 17 or 19. My daughter was not fond of this. The clock would lose a minute or two a week, making me cut it a little close on getting to work. But these were just intermittent annoyances.

Next, the display started acting up. It wasn't that some of the LEDs stopped working. It was like aliens were taking over the radio - strange symbols would appear and then the screen would go blank. I tried to take pictures of it, but a) it would mostly only happen when I was driving, and I'm not very steady at taking pictures while the car is moving, and b) if I could take a steady picture, the alien symbols would disappear when I pulled out the phone's camera.

The latest problem, which makes me think the aliens have actually taken control of the radio, is that the preset buttons rarely take the radio to the station I select. I leave for work between 6:15 and 6:20, and right around that time, every radio station in my area seems to go to commercial. So I try to find some music, and start hitting buttons. Preset 2 will give me preset 3. Preset 4 or 5 sometimes adjust the volume all the way down. Preset 5 will let me adjust the equalizer. Preset 6 will give me preset 6, but then all the other presets will only lead to preset 6. Apparently, the aliens really like pop music. But only the totally pop music station, because the crossover type pop station will almost never show up. And commercials. They like commercials too.

(We just took a trip to Chicago, and I got 5 days of the blessed relief of picking one station [93 - WXRT] and sticking with it. They play the best music, so there's no need to change the station)

As an added bonus, it plays CDs just fine when my husband drives, but every CD I've put in just generates an error message. Theoretically, you could hook up an MP3 player to it, but I am afraid of what would happen if I tried it.

I could have had this fixed or replaced, if I had followed up on it when it first started happening. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get that done. So now, we have a very strange radio. And since it mostly behaves when my husband drives, he thinks it's hilarious that the aliens only want to talk to me!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I should have bought a Power Ball ticket too...

I've been pretty lucky lately. Well, in general, I feel like I'm pretty lucky - I have a wonderful husband (when he's not being annoying) and a delightful, hilarious daughter, in addition to a very entertaining extended family. But I've been the beneficiary of some extra luck lately.

Lori Lavender Luz was hosting a giveaway at her All Thumbs review page recently. I won a great set of glass storage containers, some recipe cards, and a flexible measuring cup. I would have taken a picture, but everything went immediately into the dishwasher (except the recipe cards, of course!) so I could use them right away!

My other big win is a trip. One day, at work, I received an email from one of the managers regarding a travel/training opportunity. The training and lodging is funded through a particular program, but if you were one of the first 100 to register, your travel expenses would also be paid. Since I work for state government, and since the state coffers are empty, training opportunities have been few and far between...unless I'd like to pay for them myself. I'd rather spend my travel money for leisure than work, so I haven't been able to go to any professional meetings in quite a few years. I was able to get my registration in, and now I get to spend a week in August in Jackson Hole, Wyoming! There are worse places to attend training, I think. I'm hoping I'll get a chance to snag a rental car and take a quick trip to Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful.

We've already had our first vacation this year - my daughter and I spent the weekend in Chicago attending my niece's graduation. I'm planning a couple more trips too. This should be the most exciting summer I've had in a long time!