Tag Archives: Louis

The Road Trip From Hell

31 Aug

Alia’s bridal shower was in May of 2011 and Rachel and I were, happily, both able to attend. We planned on making a whole weekend out of it and having super fun times. Rachel would take the bus from New York to Boston, I would pick her up, and we’d have a fun-and-girl-talk filled road trip to the great state of VT. Also, there would be snacks.

I left work early that Friday (with Mr. Louis in tow) to meet Rachel at South Station in Violet the Versa (my car that I’d bought brand-spanking new 7 months earlier). I should preface the rest of this story by letting you all know that I have a TERRIBLE sense of direction. Absolutely terrible. If I’m following directions telling me to head north on Main St., etc., I will actually pull out the compass on my phone to find north. When I’m visiting my parents, who still live in the same town that I grew up in, I have to ask my mom how to get to the mall. I once got horribly lost in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and ended up in a dark, scary hallway where the administrative offices are located.  I’m a mess. Also, at the time of this road trip, I did not own either a GPS or a smartphone. I have since invested in both. Well, more of a two-in-one deal. I digress.

I knew how to get to South Station, since it has its own exit off the Mass Pike, but from there I was just going to wing it. I knew there were a bunch of different highway entrances around South Station; with Rachel as my co-navigator, I was sure we’d easily find a sign leading us to I-93 north. Boy, was I ever wrong.

This was my first time driving downtown and it was much more confusing than I’d imagined. Damn you, Boston, and your one way streets! First, we could not find 93 north. There were entrances to the Pike and 93 south, but no north. We circled around the same intersection twice before we finally saw a sign…at the end of one of the infmaous one way streets.  So, we circled the opposite direction, of course hitting every red light, and finally made it. The on-ramp to 93 north was just up ahead…we were so close! And then: disaster struck. And by disaster, I mean a small, unapologetic, Asian man with limited English skills in his beat up old car. And by struck, I mean he literally struck my car with his car. He had been parked on the side of the road when I turned on to the street, with no blinker on indicating that he was doing anything other than sitting. However, right as I was driving by him, he decided to pull away, sharply, from the curb. He basically turned left into my car, clearly not checking his blind spot or even really looking where he was going. The collision made a HORRIBLE noise. I was so surprised at what happened that I did not immediately stop driving. I’m pretty sure I asked Rachel if that guy had just hit us, to which she replied affirmatively. Before this, I had never been in an accident where another car was involved (I had knocked the sideview mirror off of a Zipcar once, but that resulted from a collision with a wall…inside of a ferry…but that’s a story for another day).

The rest of what happened was a blur. I pulled over and Rachel and I both exited the car through the driver’s side door- the passenger side door was no longer an option. It’s a good thing she’s tiny and a good crawler. I somehow managed to do everything I needed to (made sure we were not injured, got the guy’s registration and insurance information, called the police), but the whole time all that was running through my head was “my brand new car!!!”. Rachel said I remained super calm and collected through the whole thing…so I guess I do ok in a minor crisis, which is good to know. Thank goodness Rachel was there with me. She took pictures of the car and got information from a witness who had been walking down the street- and ended up saving me from having to pay my insurance deductible! The insurance company of the guy who hit me of course tried to blame the accident on me, which is totally ridiculous. Rachel also ran down the street to retrieve my hubcap, which had popped off during the incident.

After information was exchanged, we had to find a police station, as I had been advised to go pick up an accident report. The woman I had spoken with on the phone gave me the address of the closest one, which was near Government Center, but I of course had no idea where the specific street was. So, instead of asking for directions, I just started driving. Rachel tried to look the address up on her phone, but it tried to send us to Middleborough. Wrong city, Google Maps. Nice try, though. We followed the signs for Government Center. I somehow thought calling my ex-boyfriend for directions would help. It did not. I was a little frazzled. Then, magically, we happened upon the street! It was a miracle. We then parked illegally in front of the police station (not the smartest choice, I know, but parking in downtown Boston is hard!!!) and ran inside for an accident report. The officer working at the front desk was VERY helpful AND there was an entrance for 93 north right behind the police station! Hurray! We were (finally) on our way.

Thankfully, the rest of our trip was uneventful, except for the crazy rain storm that forced me to slow to a crawl on the highway. Not being able to see out of your windshield is not conducive to driving.

Violet the Versa ended up having to have both passenger side doors replaced, her frame was bent, and there were issues with one of the wheels (I think). She was in the shop for a month. A whole month! But, she was just like new when I got her back, and I haven’t been downtown since.

That’s a lovely scrape on the ruined passenger side door. Sigh.

Song of the Day: I’m in Love with my Car by Queen

Hurricane Irene

17 Jun

In August of 2011, Hurricane Irene marched through the Caribbean and up the East Coast of the US leaving much destruction in her wake. The devastation she caused was catastrophic, and this post is not intended to downplay the severity of the situation at all; however, looking back, my day spent in the hurricane was pretty amusing and I’ve been wanting to document it for a while. However, I didn’t find it so funny at the time…

The weekend of August 27th and 28th was supposed to be a super fun weekend for me. I had bus tickets to NYC to see two college friends and, of course, Miss Rachel. The people on the news kept saying that Hurricane Irene was going to hit us, but I ignored them…until it was no longer possible to do so.  I made the executive decision on Friday to stay in Boston for the weekend, which ended up being the right choice, as my bus ride back home was canceled. New York also shut down its public transportation system, as did the city of Boston. I would have totes been stranded in New York had I gone through with my plans.

Anyway, now that my trip was canceled, I decided I should maybe start taking the threat of this hurricane seriously. My roommate, who is from Florida and has seen her fair share of hurricanes, had the same idea, although we did not share all of our ideas with each other. We both stopped by the store on Friday evening to pick up some bottled water and nonperishable food, just in case.

On Saturday, we teamed up to clean the back yard. Our landlord does not keep the tidiest yard and we wanted to make sure there was no debris outside that could come flying through our windows if the wind really got out of control. Upon the discovery of a snake in the yard, we abandoned our yard cleaning task and ran into the house. Well, I ran. And screamed. Like a girl. Which is ok, because I am a girl. We had at least secured the garbage cans and recycling bin.

The storm hit us on Sunday. For a while, it was just rainy. Then the wind picked up. A lot. There was a crash. The house shook. The power went out. And Roommate and I sprang into action. At first, we were convinced that a tree had come down on our roof. The crash we heard had been LOUD. The apartment seemed ok, though, and nothing looked amiss in the yard. Then we looked out the front windows: a HUGE tree had come down up the street, taking out a whole utility pole, crushing a car, and hitting a house. When the pole came down, it pulled a bunch of wires with it…wires that were connected to houses. Several wires had been snapped off of our house and the house next door had siding ripped off it it. Yikes.

Huge tree; crushed car.

At this point, we were both scared. We had been skeptical about this storm at first, but now it was very real. Also, our house is semi-surrounded by trees and the wind was clearly being an asshole. We decided to migrate to the basement until the winds died down. It seemed like the safest option.

Before the storm started, unbeknownst to each other, we had both packed bags with water bottles, snacks, important documents, toiletries, and clothes, just in case we had to evacuate. Roommate had blown up an air mattress to sit on in the basement. I had gotten Louis’s travel cage out of the attic. We had stocked up on candles and made sure flashlights had batteries in them. We may have been skeptical, but we were prepared skeptics. I guess my 6 months as a Brownie finally paid off.

Our time in the basement was comical. I immediately almost set the house on fire trying to light a candle. Louis got fidgety in his cage. And we all would get really quiet and hold our breath every time the wind blew. At least we had movies and a portable DVD player. And snacks.

After about 2 hours, we decided it was safe to venture back upstairs where we played Trivial Pursuit for a while. Then we went outside to assess the damage. I went out in what may have been my fanciest outfit ever: red athletic shorts, a pink hoodie with the hood on, of course, and olive green knee-high rain boots. So. Hot. I’m pretty sure Roommate has a picture.

Our house was fine. Our cars were fine. But, the power was still out would remain out for three days, during which time we got very good at living like the pioneers.  At lot of candles were used, and I managed to not set anything on fire. Not even once.

Those few days were very long and stressful, but now I just look back on them and laugh. I can only imagine what we must have looked like: two girls, sitting in a dark, creepy basement on an air mattress and lawn furniture while a guinea pig stares at them from his cage.

Song of the Day: Rock You Like A Hurricane by Scorpions

An Ode to Mr. Louis

11 Jun

When I was about 7, I pet sat my friend’s guinea pig while she and her family were on vacation. I was so excited to take care of him! After he was dropped off, I immediately took him out of his cage to let him run around my room. And then, when I tried to pick him back up, he bit me. My mom, who is not a huge fan of the rodent family, had to catch him for me. She was not pleased. I wasn’t allowed to take him out of the cage for the rest of the weekend and my hopes of one day owning my very own furry little creature were dashed for the time being.

In April of 2007, a friend of my roommate was giving away a guinea pig. My roomie, knowing I had always wanted some sort of small mammal, asked if I wanted him. I said “YES” without hesitation, and the next Saturday Louis showed up at our apartment with his fancy cage, little wooden house, and super awesome furhawk.

It was not love at first sight. Yes, I thought he was cute and he was so fuzzy and hoppy, but I was afraid to touch him. Terrified, in fact. I was convinced that he was going to bite me every time I stuck my hand in his cage. Dinner was not a happy time for me.

Over time, as we got used to each other, we bonded. Although he did sometimes nip, Louis never bit. He loved to run around my room and I loved to carry him around in the pocket of my hoodie.  He learned that the sound of the refrigerator crisper drawer opening meant carrots and his squeals would fill the apartment whenever it was opened. He would go on car trips with me (I swear he would get extra excited when I pulled out his travel cage) and loved to be outside- I nearly lost him a few times to the great outdoors; he was wicked fast when he wanted to be.

Louis has an outdoor adventure.

It was not all fun and games, though. Did you know that you have to clip guinea pigs’ toenails? Yeah, neither did I until Mr. Louis came along. Fun fact: guinea pigs DO NOT like having their nails clipped. Also, they’re not the cleanest animals and, even though you’re keeping up with the cleaning, their cages start to smell bad quickly. And so do they. Louis was not a fan of the baths I gave him in the bathroom sink, but he did like being all wrapped up in a bunch of towels when the trauma was over.  He would always fall asleep after bath time while I carried him around in his cocoon, from which he always emerged a soft, much better smelling, fluffball of a pig.

People always gave me a funny look when I told them I had a guinea pig- they’re definitely not your run-of-the-mill pet for an adult. Even I was sometimes embarrassed about it.  But, Louis was always excited to see me, he cuddled with me, always listened intently when I told him stories, never talked back, and squeaked when I fed him- what more can you ask for from a pet?

Mr. Louis passed away two days after Thanksgiving in 2011.  It took a long time for me to get used to not having him around- no more rustles coming from the foot of my bed when I woke up, no more happy squeaks when I would walk into the room.  And, although he was a lot more work than I had bargained for and did ruin a very expensive hair straightener (his favorite chew toy being any type of electrical cord), I still miss him. I swore I heard him squeaking the other day while I was sitting at my desk. I took me a minute to realize that it was a bird outside my bedroom window. I like to think that the birds remember the sound of his squeaks and want to remind me of Louis from time to time.

Song of the Day: Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd