Floating on the Jet Ski

Last year my Crazy Spinster Sister helped my dad out with the jet ski.  They were putting it into the lake for the summer season and had a foolproof plan: they’d tow it over to the boat ramp where she would ride the jet ski back to my parents’ dock and he would drive the car back.

An hour or so after dropping her off at the boat ramp, she still had not arrived at my parents’ dock.  My dad set off in the boat to go find her.  She was floating off shore not far from the boat ramp.  Apparently she couldn’t get the jet ski started.

My dad took one look at the jet ski, flipped the switch to turn on the gas and told her to try again.


Transmission Work

I recently had the opportunity to help my Crazy Spinster Sister.  One of her Ford Explorers was in the shop when I happened to be visiting.  The mechanic called and told her to come pick it up – he was done.  She needed a ride, so, being the awesomely nice sister I am, I offered to drive her.  During the short 10 minute drive, I asked what was wrong with the Explorer.  Apparently the transmission was on its last legs and since the vehicle is 13 years old and on its second transmission, it just wasn’t worth fixing.  She then proceeded to tell me, “Wow, are you sure your transmission isn’t having problems?  You might want to have that looked at.”

My car has a manual transmission.

The long, treacherous journey

My brother and I recently had the opportunity to visit my Crazy Spinster Sister in NY.  It just so happened to be on her birthday.  She mentioned she really wanted a cake, so being the awesomely nice siblings we are, we got in my car and ventured out in search of a cake.  Neither of us had been to NY in over a decade, and it was rather late so we headed in the direction of a grocery store we knew was open.  We spent some quality time in the grocery store, searching out the perfect cake, which turned out to be cheesecake, candles, toppings and beer – for us, not my Crazy Spinster Sister.  When we returned, my Crazy Spinster Sister asked where we went.  I informed her we went to ShopRite, just down the road.  Her response: “Oh my goodness!  I can’t believe you went ALL THE WAY to Hauppauge!

I goggled it.  It is 3.2 miles, 9 minutes to ShopRite.

Help? What’s that?

I recently received word my mother was having surgery to have her appendix removed.  My family is scattered along the east coast, so one of my sisters was coordinating keeping us all informed on the details.  While talking to her, we discussed heading to my parents to help out.  To me, its a no-brainer.  Who knows how long it will take Mom to recover and Dad, well, he isn’t really self sufficient.  He’d rather watch Fox News and play solitaire on his computer then make dinner.

Given the opportunity, I’m the type of person who will bend over backwards to help someone out.  My family doesn’t really know this, only because their definition of “volunteer” and “helping” is different then mine.  I believe one should volunteer to help out of their own free will and choosing.  My family believes one must do it when one is told to do it.

I also have a different definition of visiting family and vacation.  I believe when one is visiting family, especially when one is on vacation, they are on vacation and should relax.  I insist on this when people come to house.  “Do nothing” I say.  This confuses my family, who insist on attempting to do things they shouldn’t when at my house.  So when I visit them when I am on vacation and sit on my laurels (after all, it is my vacation), they see that as rude.  Most likely they think I am a selfish, ungrateful person not willing to life a finger to help anyone.  My opinion – I’d rather offer up my help when you actually need it and don’t expect it.  It means more.  It means I actually wish to do instead of being guilted into it by your glaring, judging eyes.

While discussing heading to Mom and Dad’s to help out, my Crazy Spinster Sister was a bit perplexed.  Roughly paraphrased:

Crazy Spinster Sister: Why in the world would you go?

Me: To help out.

Crazy Spinster Sister: What in the world will you do?

Me (sarcasm growing more intense): Oh, I don’t, anything someone would possibly think to do to help out.  Cook.  Clean.  Shop for groceries.

Crazy Spinster Sister: Well, I wouldn’t go.  I wouldn’t know what to do without being in the way.  And our other sister said she’d go to cook.  I don’t know what you think you could do.

Me: I am a grown adult who can take care of themselves.  I think I can do that without being in the way.  And, I think I’m capable of helping.

Crazy Spinster Sister:  Well, that’s why I’m not going.


So, good to know you have no idea how to help out.  Sometimes, I think I live on a different planet.

Brakes and Money

A few years ago, my Crazy Spinster Sister travelled to my place.  She arrived after dark and was complaining about a noise coming from her Ford Explorer.  I asked her to describe the noise.  She failed miserably, so I got in her car and drove around the block to diagnose the problem.  It was a nice metal on metal constant sound – which is never good.  I informed her chances are the brake pads are worn.  Her response: “It can’t be the brakes.  The car still stops.”

Well, the next morning we were planning on piling into her Ford Explorer and drive for 8 hours.  I was not about to do that until I pulled off her wheels and checked her brakes, which were all, thankfully, disc brakes.  So, at the crack of dawn, I pulled out my 3 ton jack, and got to work pulling off the first wheel.  My suspicions were confirmed – there was not a single bit of pad left on the brake pads.  It was completely bare and only metal!  I re-assembled everything and told her she was lucky to have survived the 6 hour drive the night before and there was no way I was getting in that car until she changed the brake pads.  So, I was kind and offered to drive instead.

When we returned from our trip, I offered to change her brakes for her.  It is a relatively easy fix and I’ve done it on my own vehicles without issue.  We stopped and picked up some brake pads and rotors.  The rotors might not have been necessary, but who knows how long she was driving with no brake pads and that just can’t be good on rotors.  The cost: $110.  Her reaction: “Oh my goodness.  That is so much.  I can pay a mechanic to do this for less.”  My response: stunned silence.

The morning after we returned, I once again got up at the crack of dawn, pulled out my 3 ton jack and got to work changing her brakes.  Did I mention it was December?

How did she express her gratitude.  By asking for $13.16 I owed her.

Help! The Internet is Broken!

I consider myself to be a semi-savvy computer person.  However, I recognize compared to most computer savvy people, I’m an amateur.  But I know the basics and can get by.  My Crazy Spinster Sister considers herself to be an expert.

One day I got a phone call from my Crazy Spinster Sister.  I happened to be over at a friend’s house.   He is a very computer savvy person.  This is roughly how the phone call went:

Me: Hello?

Crazy Spinster Sister: Hey.  I’m at Mom & Dad’s and the internet doesn’t work.  How do I fix it?

Me: Is it that the internet is not working?  Or is it your laptop can not connect to the wireless router?

<Insert laughter from my friend and his wife and stifled laughter from me>

Me: Hello?  Crazy Spinster Sister?  Hello?

Crazy Spinster Sister had hung up on me.  I tried to call back, numerous times.  She refused to answer.

And for the record, the internet was fine.  Her laptop couldn’t connect to the router which was locked down pretty tightly.

Dead Battery

My Crazy Spinster Sister owns two vehicles.  One day in December she went out to fire up one of the vehicles only to find the battery was dead.  She did what any reasonable person would do – she called AAA.  They came out, jump started the vehicle and it started right up.

My Crazy Spinster Sister didn’t understand why the battery was dead.  As she stated: “I don’t understand why it had a dead battery!  I mean, I barely use it and the car is practically brand new!”  So I asked her when the last time she had driven the car.  Crazy Spinster Sister said, “Oh, probably a month or two ago.  Maybe longer.  But it is practically brand new!  It should be fine.”

I didn’t even want to ask about the gas left in the car for that long.

Drive Thru Safari

Years ago, my sisters and I traveled to Texas.  My Crazy Spinster Sister was kind enough to drive us in her “brand new” Ford Explorer that she had had for a few years.  The best part of the trip was a drive thru safari.  For a reasonable price, they gave us a couple bags of pellets and we could drive through as many times as we wanted.

The very first critter to great us was an ostrich guarding the entrance.  It was standing in the middle of the road forcing us to stop completely.  It than wandered over to the passenger side of the vehicle.  We quickly rolled up the window, not knowing its intentions.  It leaned down and glared at us, similar to the T-Rex in Jurassic Park eying the kids in the car right before attacking.  Next thing we know, the ostrich started to head for the open sunroof.  We quickly drove on.

All the other critters were awesome.  There was all sorts of horned animals and every time they came close the “brand new” Ford Explorer, my sister would gasp, frightened they might scratch the paint.  And all the critters were well behaved.  They would usually stop what they were doing, look at us, smile and wait for us to take a picture before resuming their business.  If they wanted food, they would come up to windows and patiently wait for some pellets.  One of the last critters we encountered was a zebra standing right on the side of the road in the perfect spot for us to drive up and give him some pellets.  He didn’t even have to move and we quickly bonded with this well behaved critter.

When we came to the end, we decided we had to go around again for two reasons.  The first: the llamas were not out the first time, and what’s a drive thru safari without llamas?  The second: we wanted to see the zebra again.

The second time through, no ostrich but plenty of friendly llamas.  When we came to the spot where the zebra was, he wasn’t there anymore.  We were a bit bummed, but got over it quickly when we spotted him down the road a bit with a buddy.  These two zebras spotted the car coming, looked at each other than back at us and started walking towards us – one towards the driver’s side, the other towards the passenger side.  The first one to reach us came all the way up to the driver’s side window and proceeded to put his ENTIRE header into the vehicle and show us his teeth.  Not in a “I’m gonna bite you” kind of way, but as if to say “Look, look at my teeth!  Aren’t they pretty?  And my breath!  Isn’t it smelly?”  My Crazy Spinster Sister, who was driving, started to scream and leaned as far away as she could, which wasn’t far because the other zebra was doing the exact same thing on the other side of the car.  So my other sister was doing the same thing my Crazy Spinster Sister was doing.  What was I doing?  I was laughing uncontrollably in the back seat.

My sisters tried everything to get the zebras to back down – including throwing pellets past their heads in hopes they would chase them.  They didn’t.  Finally, the zebras spotted another victim approaching and left.  We drove on and decided we were done with the safari.  But I will always remember, sometimes – calling shotgun – not a good thing.

I was recently talking to my sisters about the trip and the zebras.  My Crazy Spinster Sister denies it happened, but I know better.


I went on vacation with my family once in Alaska.  If you love the great outdoors, you will love Alaska.  Well worth the trip.  It is simply amazing.  What did my Crazy Spinster Sister think?  She complained it was cold.

It’s friggin’ ALASKA!

Wovel vs Snow Blower

I like gadgets.  I like snow.  So of course I have an awesome gadget to shovel my driveway – a Wovel.  It is awesome.  If you’ve never heard of one, Google it.  It’s easy to use, easy to put away.  And I actually feel like I get a good workout when I get to use the Wovel, instead of feeling like I was run over by a truck.  Any chance I get, I brag about my Wovel.  So when my Crazy Spinster Sister, who recently moved into her first house, inquired where I got my Wovel, I got excited.  Apparently two snow storms was enough to convince her shoveling her driveway with a regular shovel might be a bit much.  So, I sent her the links and all sorts of information about it.  Her response:

“You spent $130 for a shovel?  A snow blower might have been cheaper.”

Crazy Spinster Sister – let me know when you find that snow blower for $130 or less.


UPDATE: Apparently it only took one snow storm for my Crazy Spinster Sister to look for shoveling alternatives.  She wasn’t around for the first.  Granted, the second was 14 inches worth of snow, but come on – just try a little.