Love Peace and Coconut Grease

because the world doesn't need anything else


October 2015

Hamsters In My Car Part 2, Police Infraction & Other Expenses

I walk away from the mechanic having spent $356.66 on a new serpentine belt to replace the old one that had made hamster wheel sounds. It feels great to know that I finally have it all done now.  Last week has been a very taxing week with all the bills I had to pay. By no means are my bills greater than the average 29-year-old. I just don’t like having to spend money on excess fees.

On Columbus Day, a police officer had me pull over because of my expired tabs for which I incurred a $288 infraction. He had told me that I may be able to reduce the fine if I took care of it right away. Upon my urge to resolve the issue immediately I find out at the vehicle title office that my car is due for an emissions test which meant that I couldn’t get my tabs until after completing the test. So, I called the emissions testing center and find out it is closed on Big-Freaking-Deal Columbus Day! I could not stop mulling over the fact that there was this stupid infraction staring right back at me. At that moment I had begun to blame myself for not being careful. The tabs were clearly expired over 3 1/2 months. I should have known this but I didn’t because at the time I didn’t have a good way of keeping track of my tab renewal reminder letters for my three cars. I now have just one car so this way I will remember next time.

The next day I had made sure of driving my car to the emissions testing center right after my staff meeting at work. I had made sure to pick up an order of Chinese food from the market. There was a combo deal going on for just $5 which includes chow mein, fried rice and two entrees. I didn’t eat yet as I was planning on eating later to save time because the meeting just threw off my timing by an hour. I was ready to get on the road with the right mindset to get things done. It turned out that on the way I had become very lost. I kept passing by the emissions testing center or I would hit a dead end. It took me more than three drives back and forth to find the exact location. A kind man who worked at a construction company was able to point me in the right direction. The signs were confusing. The roads were even more so. Eventually I was able to reach the testing center and was relieved to find out that my car had passed emissions. I was happily (and hungrily) on my way to the vehicle title office when I saw a McDonald’s and decided on a nice, refreshing lemonade and a small iced water to go. I awkwardly made it to the end of the line just before snubbing a well dressed man with dark features. Sorry man, but this lady’s thirsty. Not allowing myself a proper respite yet, I hurried over to the title office, pulled a number tab, and sat down next to a woman who begrudgingly allowed me to sit next to her on a very old, yet sturdy, wooden bench. A brief moment later the same man who I snubbed in line sits next to me on the bench. Just then I see a fumbling man who forgot to bring his emissions paperwork which causes me to yell out “I’m number 05 I’ll be right back.” I hurry over to my car to get my paperwork and then I hurry back to the office. I’m called over to a representative who looked at me as if I were just as crazy as the fumbling idiot before me. I pay my fees. Just as I’m ready to put my tab on I glance over at the driver next to me who is also applying his newly paid for tab. I notice that I registered my car in June so I’m wondering why not get a tab for October? Then I rush in to see the same lady who had helped me before. I later learn from her that my registration month stays the same. So I go back to FINALLY apply my new tab on my license plate and I notice the same polished McDonald’s guy effortlessly removing his old tab and applying a new one. I’m looking at how ridiculous I had looked with my preschool scissors in my hand as I’m trying to get rid of the old tab. At that point I had given up and just slapped on the new tab. I pulled out of the driveway feeling a bit more relieved to be done with two things for the day. I pull into the driveway of a McDonald’s to enjoy my well deserved Chinese combo meal. It was probably the most satisfying meal in a long time. I glance at the time. It had read 3:50pm. There was one more thing I needed to do and that was to pay for my infraction. So I called the number to the place and learn it closes every weekday at 4pm.

I know there is a lesson in these turn of events. I’m not exactly sure of what I had learned but the only thing that is coming up is my fortunate misfortune of being able to relate to that fumbling idiot you see at the dmv sometimes. It is a waking reminder that I’m living in a reality in which there are ugly sides to life. It’d be great if life is easier but what will I learn if I’m not challenged by these random moments of unrest? So the next time you come across a disheveled individual while in queue at the movies, grocery store, dmv or wherever, please have the compassion to care about humanity. Save your judgemental glances for someone more deserving.

By the way, my infraction was reduced to a mild $50.



Weight Gain and Weight Loss: The REAL Neverending Story

“..a never ending story
Ahahah ahahah ahahah…”

— Limahl

Folks, let me tell you this straight up.

There is a way to lose weight without becoming a member at a gym. The gym industry is only interested in selling their services to people who want to lose weight fast. On top of that, many places know how to grab onto your credit card numbers by convincing you that you can’t get fit without them. Well, let me be the one to two you this: Yes, we can!

I’ve been through a weight gain and weight loss struggle nearly all my life. I’ll tell you my personal experience working out at a very well known gym. I was there for a one day trial after which I was immediately manipulated into signing an agreement. The representative had said that there was a special promotion going on for families which would require the signature of the current member — my sister. I had told the representative that I couldn’t find my sister and that I’d need to wait. So the representative said I could sign for her. I asked if it was okay and she said yes. Thinking it was a great idea I immediately let my sister know that I’m finally a member. Let’s just say she wasn’t too happy. She was livid. I had never seen her so angry. At the time I didn’t understand the big deal. I mean, I was able to schedule my first training that day and the manager had made me feel extra special by offering me 6 more consultations at no extra charge. So of course I was confused. So anyway, long story short, my sister had cancelled her membership with this particular establishment so she could afford payments on her new car. A few months later she learned that they still had my account active even though I signed through her account. The total came out to be over $2000. Let’s just say that that occurrence had caused a major rift between my sister and I for over 4 years. Now my sister and I are on friendlier terms (even though I still can’t stand her at times). A stupid gym membership debt is not worth the headache if it means it’ll ruin your financial, mental and emotional relationship with anyone. Sure, you may lose some weight but all that effort will be long forgotten when you regain those 15 pounds. It’s time to break the cycle. Force yourself to exercise and weight train at home. I’m here for you if you need my support. 

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Groovin’ to Billy Blanks Jr.’s Dance With Me Groove & Burn

I really enjoy working out to Billy Blanks Jr.’s  Dance With Me: Groove & Burn because I have not seen any other work out video like it. I never thought I would be the type of person who would enjoy sweatin’ to any DVD. I just always thought it is what old people would do. I’m very impressed by the content of the DVD which has a very sophisticated menu. You may have the option to watch from beginning to end or you may customize your work out by picking and choosing video titles between “Warm Up,” “Disco,” “African,” “Latin,” and “Cool Down.” “Warm Up” includes gentle, breathing controlled dance steps to activate all muscles throughout the body. “Disco” incorporates arm-toning exercises. “African” shows you how to move your leg muscles. “Latin” will make your core, abdominal muscles lean. “Cool Down” will help you stretch out your body and ease any sore muscles.

I am on to my fourth or fifth time dancing to Groove & Burn and plan to do so for each day until Halloween. I hope I have the strength and energy to keep this up. I’ve already lost 10 lbs so far, and hope to lose more weight by the start of the new year.

Hamsters in my car

Today I learned that my car needs a new serpentine belt tensioner. I felt sorry for the mechanic who had to go over every detail about what car parts I need and what goes where. He was making some notes about the car parts. Tension belt needs to be replaced because it’s making the same noise you hear from a hamster cage. You know the sound when a hamster is running in its wheel as if running any faster would get it out of its cage. I’m due for a tire rotation as well. During the check up I had discovered that my car’s bottom engine cover is missing. I had the mechanic explain to me the engine cover’s function which includes protecting the engine from water splashing from the road. To replace the engine cover would cost me $365.25 for a piece of plastic the size of a table. The mechanic had told me that it is an optional purchase and not required. After getting my oil changed and important auto fluids topped off the mechanic washed my car. I should’ve specified that I had wanted all the crumbs from my too friend in-car snacking to be vacuumed carefully. I had realized too soon my missed opportunity to get every penny’s worth. I’m scheduled for the next appointment hopefully by Friday. I’m looking forward to a quieter – hamsterless – drive overall.

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