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Posts Tagged ‘chores’

The Continuing Saga of the Upsell at Mr. Lube

April 28, 2011 13 comments
mr lube

Image by dog on wheels via Flickr

They see me coming a mile away. They, the mechanics in their overalls, and I in my ponytail and SUV filled with car seats and crumbs. I steel myself for the upcoming battle of knowledge, or lack thereof on my part, and wonder how much they will take me for this time.

They impatiently wave me forward into their garage, and I inch along, for the umpteenth time cursing the width of my car. Plenty of room, he says, but his definition of plenty is different from mine – in mine, it is more than one inch.

Just the oil today, I tell him, trying to speak their language of brevity, and looking him straight in the eye as I do so. My eyes tell him, I may be a woman, but I am not a pushover. I am quite certain he gets this message, as I see his eyelids widen and then squint ever so slightly. He knows I’m on to him.

We go over my details, and I am dutifully up-sold on the type of oil my car requires. Not just standard issue for this baby, I get it. No need to explain.

He passes me a newspaper and a coffee – my favorite part, it always keeps me coming back. The promise of caffeine, news, and five minutes of peace. I dive into the news, gleefully dissecting the Life and Business sections. As though happening across an oasis in the desert. Just as I’m drunk on information, the mechanic taps on my window.

You do realize, he says sternly, you are 7,000 kilometers overdue for your transmission fuel replacement, as well as your rear differential fluid?

I’m forced to pause my news party and consider this. I have had a transmission drop out of a car once, and it wasn’t fun. I don’t fool around with transmissions. But the rear what? The last time I came in it was air filters, and they got me with the idea of my children breathing toxic fumes from the exhaust. But this sounded different.

Of course I pretended to know exactly what those things were. Oh yeah, those, I said casually, I knew they were coming up. And how much is it to replace those…fluids?

The figure he rambled off was roughly four times what I had expected to pay for my oil change. And do other people replace these fluids, I blurt out, blowing my cover and proving to him that I know nothing about cars, as he no doubt suspected from the beginning.

Well, people who properly maintain their cars do, he answers. Which of course resonates with me: knowing nothing about cars, I’d rather err on the side of proper maintenance.

Finally, I ask him how long this will take. He shrugs and says 15 minutes. I consider this. I have yet to peruse the Politics and News sections,  I could put that fifteen minutes to good use. And then, the kicker: he will throw in a free car wash. Well, in that case…I tell him to go ahead. He does so, humming as he works.

As I leave the garage, I wonder if I am driving a well maintained vehicle, or if he is a commissioned salesperson laughing at me as I exit.

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Let Your Mind Soar While The Dirt Flies With Podcasts

April 19, 2011 8 comments
Chris Anderson is the curator of the TED (Tech...

Image via Wikipedia

PVR’s and TIVO‘s may be all the rage, but what has really changed my life for the better are podcasts.

Gone is the boredom that plagues me while doing household chores like cooking and cleaning: listening to podcasts fills my head with great ideas and inspiration instead of mindless chitchat and commercials, although make no mistake I also blast top 40 hits upon occasion. That really gets the broom going.

But for more introspective moments, ITunes has a great library of inspiring and interesting presentations from TED talks, and I’ve been rapidly going through them. From TED I’ve segued to CBC radio. I love The Age of Persuasion with Terry O’Reilly, but seldom listen to the radio when it airs on Saturday mornings or Thursday afternoons.

Now I download them for free, and stockpile podcasts like the stray socks that come out of my dryer. I can get my groove on with Jian Gomeshi’s show, Q, or get inspired for a run with Marathon Talk, all from the comfortof my own bathtub. This is powerful stuff for someone who’s braincells cry out for stimulation, yet my laundry pile has taken over my house.

It’s a win-win. I am mentally uplifted while there is an extra sparkle to my kitchen faucet. Because the only thing worse than cleaning is thinking about the futility of cleaning as you clean. Far better for your mind to be millions miles away from the task at hand.

Sometimes, it’s much better to not be present. Podcasts take me to conferences and studios all over the world that in another life I would be at, but not in this one. While I’m waiting for someone to invent a transporter that will beam me up, Star Trek-like, podcasts can partially take me away from dirty dishes and floors.

I find namedropping TED presentations or CBC broadcasts into dinner party conversations is more scintillating than what happens to those socks. My popularity is on the upswing, people are looking at me with renewed interest. Or maybe they’ve tuned me out altogether.

Help enlighten me: what are your favorite podcasts?