Is it just me, or is Utah colder than normal just now? It is quite possible that it's just me, since I still catch myself thinking about my toasty warm Kenyan village, but it sure seems pretty nippy out there.
Today was a peaceful day. I am in transition right now and consequently am spending a week or so at my parents' house. This morning, I got a call from my old roommate and comrade Emily. She married my high school friend Steve, and they are in town at Steve's parents' place for the holidays. Emily invited me to come partake of the family tradition of decorating gingerbread houses this evening, which invitation I accepted.
Steve's family (ie his mom) are serious about their gingerbread houses- these are the real deal. At my house, we make houses out of graham crackers and call them gingerbread houses; these ones are really gingerbread. So I was given a nice little bare gingerbread house and set in front of a dazzling array of sweets and told to decorate it however I wanted. Dave, of orange soda bath fame, also made an appearance and since he didn't have time to decorate a whole house, he satisfied himself with decorating a few gingerbread men. The first one he did was decorated by a large frosting cross in its middle. He called it the Drawn and Quartered gingerbread man. This one was eaten quickly to put it out of its misery. The second one held a peanut brittle flag in a pretzel staff in its hand. This one survived to grace the door of my gingerbread house with its protection.
Steve and I also had an entertaining discussion about the unexpected way things turn out sometimes. I call him my high school friend; let's be honest. Back then we were more like acquaintances who were generally on all right terms with each other. Steve would frequently do things that annoyed me and change that status quo to acquaintances who were generally not on good terms. However, several years after high school, we found ourselves in the same BYU ward and discovered that we could be friends after all. In fact, as Steve likes to tell the story, it was in coming over to my apartment to discuss a dinner group with me that he first began to notice Emily, who was my roommate (even though Steve likes to tell it that way, it should be noted that there was no romantic attraction going on except between he and Em. Just sayin'). Anyway. I digress. The point is that nine or ten years ago, I would have raised my eyebrows so high they would have shot out of the ceiling if someone had told me that after we were both done with college, I would be making gingerbread houses in Steve's kitchen and watching him soothe his baby daughter. Upon hearing me voice this, Steve concluded and I concurred that it was because he married an amazing woman (and because that woman happened to be my roommate).
Upon finishing the gingerbread decoration, I drove to Provo to meet up with Cim and some of her friends for dinner at the Bombay House. Since Cim spent a couple of months in India last fall, she had a great time looking over the menu and asking our server about his hometown in India (which happened to be right near where the village she lived in was). Time spent with Cim is always good. I parted paths with them at the door with a smile on my face and strolled over to my car. It remained completely dark when I opened the door. That's a bad sign, I've learned the hard way. Sure enough, turning the key in the ignition had no effect.
Quicker then lighting, I whipped out my phone and called Cim. They were just about to pull out of the parking lot, but they came over to my car instead to help assess the situation. The first problem was our lack of jumper cables. Cim started going to other people in the parking lot (not that there were many) to see if she could find someone who could lend us some. No luck. She then went into the restaurant, where someone claimed to have them in their car, but discovered they were absent.
Then began our adventure. We all piled into the suburban and drove around Provo looking for jumper cables. We quickly discovered that by now it was quarter to ten, and not many places were open. Finally, we found cables at an AutoZone which was open until eleven, bless them. We returned to the cold, dark parking lot triumphant- and discovered that we couldn't get the two cars close enough to connect the cables. There were two other cars in the lot besides mine, and one of them was parked on my left, right where we needed to put the suburban. After some fancy driving over snowbanks in an attempt to get the suburban battery close enough to mine, we gave up that tactic and called the brother of one of the boys to bring his Pathfinder.
Fifteen minutes and several cheesy Christmas songs on the car radio later, we were once more happily hooking the car up to the jumper cables, only to discover that it still wouldn't turn on. We adjusted the cables and tried again and again- and then we heard an engine start up. The guy who was helping me was elated, but I furrowed my brow. Something about the engine being on sounded different than normal, and none of the dashboard was lit up . . . then I realized that someone had gotten into the car next to mine while we weren't paying attention, and they had just happened to start their engine at almost exactly the same time as I had turned my key. We were so cold and it was so ludicrous that I almost fell out of my car laughing.
At long last, we managed to adjust the cables just right so the car finally started. Then my faithful friends agreed to follow me home to make sure I didn't end up stranded somewhere. For this I was grateful. I didn't actually end up needing their help, but it's kind of unnerving to be driving down a highway at 55 mph and have your headlights and dashboard dim drastically.
Now the Vanilla Bean is sitting in my parents' garage, having undergone a minor checkup from my father, who, while he is probably not an MD as far as cars are concerned, could probably be likened to a NP. He knows a lot. And I am slowly learning from him. In this case, he is not sure what the problem is. So, since it is late and it is cold, we will wait until tomorrow. I'm not really one for long showers, but I took a long hot one tonight to try and return heat to my system.
So far, it's a rather unusual Christmas week.