Saturday Steals: Free Oil Change

Jun 27, 2010 3 comments

My last oil change was at Jiffy Lube.  I paid over $100 for their "signature service" and in return received "free" coupons for a bunch of crappy deals I never even used.  This time, I tried a different approach.  I got Matt's dad to do it. 

I had actually been planning on doing this for quite some time now (as in, 2000 miles ago) but just never got around to it because I'm out of town, like, every day.  So finally, yesterday, Matt went to his volunteer thing that he does every other Saturday, and I went to his house to visit his dad.

It's kind of weird going to your boyfriend's house when he is not there or coming with you over there.  Just sort of like, hey, I know he's not home, but ummm... can I get an oil change?  Luckily, his dad agreed.  He actually kind of owes me because I bought him about $50 worth of dried cranberries one time that he hasn't completely paid me back for yet. 

We went over to Auto Zone where they were having a really good deal on Valvoline oil.  $15.99 for 5 liters and a filter.  While I was there, I learned that once you use synthetic oil on your car, you can't go back to the regular kind after that.  So I went with the regular kind, to support my poor friends in the oil industry I suppose.  Ha ha. 

The oil change would have went smoothly except for one minor detail.  About a month ago, in a moment of pure genius, I accidentally kicked the hood release so now it doesn't really work anymore.  We spent a while trying to pry the hood open manually with dowels and screw drivers and things of that nature, but it wasn't really working.  Finally we ended up doing something Matt had suggested in the first place, which was to pull on the cable with pliers.  I tried to suggest this to his dad, but I didn't really understand what cable Matt had meant, and I kind of still don't.  But anyway, it worked, and it was super easy to change after that.  I could probably even do it myself after a couple times of them telling me what to do. 

During this process, I learned a couple things.  1) Plastic produce bags are an incredible invention that serve many purposes, including using them to unscrew the oil nut and filter so you don't get dirty oil all over yourself.  And 2) Jiffy Lube screwed both of these things on only finger tight, so that they could have just fallen off at any moment.  Awesome. 

All in all, it worked out well.  So I guess the moral of the story is, don't pay $100 for something that your boyfriend's dad will do for free.

Some food we made this weekend

Jun 21, 2010 3 comments

Blue corn nachos with lamb steak sauteed in onions, rosemary and basil in garlic olive oil, topped with cheddar, fresh sliced jalapeno, and fire-roasted black bean salsa

Beef flank pinwheel with provolone and spinach


My Apartment is Clean!

Jun 10, 2010 3 comments

Matt is impressed

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Mount Taylor

Jun 3, 2010 6 comments

Despite the car crappiness, I did have a very nice holiday weekend.  Neither Matt nor I had ever been to Mount Taylor, so we weren't sure what to expect.  It's a volcano, so I was thinking steep-y steep with pine trees and stuff like that, which it did have.  But I wasn't expecting this at all.

This is the beautiful meadow where we had our campsite.  I loved it.  And there were quite a few more just like it.  We spent part of the last day scoping out other places we could camp next time.

Camping is not much without a campfire.  Even though I've been camping like a hundred times thanks to my job, and I know how to collect wood and build campfires just fine, I was not very much involved in these activities much beyond digging out the fire pit and putting rocks around it.  When camping with your significant other and his friends, it is important to remember that fire building is an important demonstration of male-ness that you probably should just avoid being involved in. 

So I took pictures.

Manly men doing manly things.  GRRR!!!


Finally, the fire was ready.

And then we could eat!  We ate quite well on this trip.  The couple we went camping with are vegans so Matt and I lived it up with sausages, burgers, scrambled eggs and cheese while they had tofu.  Each to their own, I suppose.  They were fun to camp with, though, and they brought chocolate beer.  Which is delicious.

After the first night, the other couple left because it was too cold.  It was really cold at night.  We estimated we were up at about 8500 - 9000 ft.  Albuquerque is at about 5000 ft, so we were pretty high up there.  Add that to the sun going behind the trees and the wind coming through our little valley, and we definitely needed hats, gloves, and two jackets.  I was really warm in my sleeping bag, though, which was nice.  

In the days that followed, we explored more of the mountain and saw some really beautiful things.  My pictures really do not do it justice at all, because I am super impatient and just randomly point and click at things.  Matt takes his time, zooming in just right to line up the perfect shot.  So I might have to steal some of his to get a more accurate representation.  But for now, you're stuck with this.

Some cool looking rocks

Another awesome meadow

Pretty view and my really dirty car

And for the last one, see those mountains off in the distance?  Those are the Sandias in Albuquerque, about 2 blocks away from my house.  At this point, we were almost at the top of the mountain, which is somewhere around 11,000 feet.  It was amazing.

More Car Problems

Jun 1, 2010 2 comments

I can't believe it's been since May 20 since I posted anything.  I feel as though I have been perpetually out of town.  I should be out of town this week.  I was going to go to Silver City for horse training but it was canceled because of a fire or something.  Since I was planning on doing that, everyone else decided to go work in Glenwood, which is about 2 hours away from everything I'm mapping, so it would be pointless for me to go meet up with them, considering the drive from here is like 5 hours.  So I'm staying.  It's kind of nice to not have to go anywhere for once but I'm nervous that it's already June (!!!!) and I haven't started on anything yet.

I figured out that I am allowed to go work on my own for a little while on Mondays if that's how it works out.  But it has to be something close to town and the main road, because apparently I am a terrible driver and have a bad sense of direction.  Really, who knew? 

Anyway, so this weekend Matt and I went camping on Mt Taylor, which is in Grants about an hour away from here.  I had fun for the most part, minus a few crappy things.

On Friday night, I spent the night at his house because it would be easier for us to leave from there together on Saturday morning.  I parked my car, which we were taking because it is bigger and has all-wheel drive, in the street so that his parents could get out easier in the morning (they were going to Kansas).  At about 3:45 am, we woke up to loud noises outside and a car driving away very fast.  Matt had a bad feeling so he went outside to investigate.  He came back to report that someone had been throwing rocks at cars, and that mine had gotten hit.  The rock hit the back driver's side door just below the window, scratching the paint and punching a quarter-sized hole in the fiberglass.  Considering it barely missed the window, I was very lucky in that sense. 

Matt's neighbors down the street, a very nice Vietnamese family, were not so lucky.  The entire back window had been smashed out.  We talked to them in the morning and the man asked us to call the police for him, probably because he was embarrassed by his English skills, which were good enough, just hard to understand, especially on the phone.  When the police officer showed up, we told them about the neighbors and pointed out the car to him, but he pretty much ignored that and just took down our information.  I guess everyone has to file a separate report, which I think is stupid, but what can you do?

This morning I filed a claim with my insurance company, so it looks like I will be getting the exact same door fixed that was just finished being fixed like 2 months ago.  That's awesome.  Plus I also somehow broke the hood release, all my doors are squeaking for some reason, and the tires are out of alignment.  This is looking to be a spectacular fun-filled week of car fixing appointments, or at least making appointments.

I left work early today because of cramps.  Is that bad?