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Name: La Nina
  New Jersey

I'm a Jersey girl without the big hair or the accent (well, most of the time anyway), but with all of the bad driving and the penchant for weekly manicures.
Oh, and I'm an interior design student. That's how all of the weird terminology comes into play.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005
DIY - (Brit.) do-it-yourself: DIY house decorating. Also, D.I.Y., d.i.y. (From the Random House Unabridged Dictionary on

This is probably the stupidest thing in the world for me to get excited about, but I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

I am two steps closer to becoming a grease monkey.

On Monday I was on my way home from Boston and was dealing with some really yucky weather, so I'd have to give my windshield a little splash every couple of minutes. Well, whaddya know, I discovered that when you do that a lot, you run out of wiper fluid. So what did I do?

I refilled it. Myself. Without assistance from anyone and really having no idea how to do so going in. Oh, yeah. I am AWESOME.

Check me out! ... Not you, Hasselhoff, you helmet-headed cheeseball. (And that's not actually me. That's Patricia McPherson. Okay, I thought it was funny at the time.)

Now I'm also here to let you know that I did not do this without trials and tribulations. I bought the fluid. That was no problem. Then I popped the hood. Now the fun begins.

So I go to the front of the car in order to lift up the hood and rest it on that little arm thingie (Hey, I managed to complete the task; I don't need a quiz on the components.), and the hood's stuck on something. What the heck is it? I try just pulling on it really hard. Usually the simplest method is the best method, well, most of the time anyways. Not here.

I squat down and peer into the crack. Dang latch is stuck on something. Or maybe that is the latch. Oh, I don't know. As I stare at the mechanism, I grasp that the hook end of the latch has to go up in order for the hood to be able to open. I get to work on lifting the hook end. Crikey, this thing isn't easy to lift, and I think my face is turning red from the effort. Not good. What's Plan B?

Plan B turns out to be the "stare at the latch some more" plan. I proceed with Plan B for a good five minutes. Then I realize that the latch has a push-down mechanism. Plan B successful. Rawk!

The little arm thingie part goes without a hitch. That's a relief. It was certainly easier than looking down at the engine and realizing that I have no idea where the fluid is supposed to go. Time to modify Plan B. What feels like hours pass. Then I find this in my engine:

DISCLAIMER: This picture in very few ways resembles what I actually saw in my engine. The colors aren't even close, it was a lot smaller, and the cap was kinda roundish and not rectangular in the least. The symbol's right though.

By now I've been in the freezing cold for like, twenty minutes, I'm filthy, and I've totally ruined the paint job ... on my nails. And now the friggin' cap won't come off. The only thing I can think of at this point is to start cooing to the old girl. "C'mon baby," I purr. "I know I call you a piece of s&*# all of the time, but you know I don't mean it, so c'mon and open for me, okay?" And golly gee willikers it works! Note to self: keep on file as Plan C.

After much spilling of fluid, closing all of the things that need closing in swift succession, and a quick (and thoroughly awesome) test run, I'm back on the road. How cool is that?

It's just occurred to me as I write this as to precisely why I am so pleased with myself. A year ago I wouldn't do any manual labor. I don't think it was out of snobbishness per se. In fact I think it was the opposite. I just completely lacked the confidence to do it. And now I paint with aplomb, do the hammer and nails thing with ardor, and now I can maintain my car. If that's not a huge step in personal development, I don't know what is. Have to say it one more time: that is so awesome.

A Couple of Quick Updates:

1. Thank you for your concern over my Diet Coke consumption. For the most part, I have cut back to 1-2 servings a day.

2. The Cow has relented! I have a phone appointment this evening with Cow Tech #13, during which I will make arrangements to ship my cruddy computer to them at their expense and they will either fix it or send me a new one. Phew!

    posted by La Nina @ 5:06 PM  


Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

We're proud of you here,

Self confidence is a wonderful thing, for sure. However, as in many things, there can be too much of a good thing.

We would like to suggest an experiment. Allow (read:DEMAND) hubby trade cars with you for 2 weeks.

When time comes, hold out for that sporty thing you like.

There is a reason we are SC&A, you know.

6:34 PM  
Blogger La Nina said...

Nice suggestion, gents. Someday when I have a husband, I may very well try that out.

I think my boyfriend from another state should get to keep the car that he purchased for the time being. :)

6:41 PM  
Blogger ems said...

Whoohooo! I wish I could call myself a grease monkey.

(tnx for visiting my blog)

8:49 PM  
Blogger Brian J said...

Way to get all grease monkey! That rocks the mullet. I had to buy a new (used) car over the holidays and totally had to bluff my way through the whole ordeal. All things car related (except for driving them) make me nauseous.


It's not too late -- Michele sent me!

12:37 AM  
Blogger Trashman said...

Who are aplomb and ardor?

8:34 AM  
Blogger Lindsay K. said...

Hi, I'm new to your site. I really love it and it's quite funny. Good luck with the computer, I've just been there, done that this past week. Tech.'s over the phone can be so confusing and clueless sometimes.

Have a great day!

8:42 AM  
Blogger VDOprincess said...

Woot! Go you! I must say that I completely understand...the first time I had a flat tire I had to wait until I was rescued by a (handsome, single) fireman; the last time I changed it myself. I must admit it was more fun the first time, but there's more sense of accomplishment DIY. And cute, single chicks are all about "sense of accomplishment."

10:42 AM  
Blogger Müzikdüde said...

The last time I felt like this was the day I watched my wife give birth to my daughter.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

You have mastered the art of talking to recalcitrant machinery, to obfuscating customer relations personel, and to your over-eager sweet tooth.

Kudos, kid. Definitely a big step forward in Kaizen.

10:36 AM  
Blogger christ*el #3tx said...

i am proud of you on both counts. the DC and the GreaseMonkey.

and just in case you ever find yourself needing to put in brake fluid.... it WILL remove nail polish. dont ask me how i know this ;)

1:28 PM  
Blogger La Nina said...

Nikka - The term "grease monkey" sounds so groovy, don't it? btw, enjoyed your site and made you a girl blog (see right)!

Brian J - LOVE that expression "rocks the mullet"! Thanks for coming to visit, and my thanks to Michele as well!

Trashman - They were a cartoon duo in the '30s who were overenthusiastic about everything. Hilarity ensued.

Lindsay - Welcome! I took a quick look at your site as well. Nice pics on there. I'll be spending more time on it soon enough.

VDOPrincess - Accomplishment, schmaccomplishment -- go you with the fireman, girl!

John - Nice.... um.... work. Or something. LOL.

Mathieu - Okay, you stumped me. I understood everything you said save for that last word. I need edumacating.

christ*el #3sc - Good to know. You are obviously more of a grease monkey than I am. :)

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Nina, I am so proud of you for filling your washer fluid? Perhaps next is checking your oil? Can be a little dirty, but good to know how to do. I was a little tomboy (ok, I still am) and I had my father teach me how to do basic maintenance like check and refill all fluids and properly check the air in my tires.

5:48 PM  

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