Thursday, June 19

Never So Happy to Drop $60 and Some Coffee

I have this little game I like to play. I know I can't be the only one that plays it. I've lost the game a time or two and I REALLY thought I was about to lose it tonight. It's so much more exciting when I have a new opponent, and fortunately, I was able to beat my new opponent tonight.

I like to play chicken with my car's gas gauge.

Way back in an ancient time and place, before Audrey (of course I have named my car Audrey--there are no other names that would be appropriate), I really knew my buddy Mitsi (the Mitsubishi--are you sensing a pattern with my car names?). Mitsi and her gas gauge would yell and scream and throw a fit at me, trying to convince me that it was time for a stop at ye old Money Drop-off Point (sometime referred to as a gas station). But I knew better. I knew Mitsi was a Drama Queen and could make it 24 more miles after that light came on, so I would proceed to drive 23.9 miles before filling her up.

(I am conveniently ignoring the part of the dating process where Mitsi and I ended up stranded on the side of the road for two hours because she won a round of chicken. That may or may not be how I found her exact limits. It also may or may not be how she ended up with lipstick on her roof.)

But Audrey, dear Audrey, she is still a bit of a mystery to me. I do not know the inner workings of her gas consumption reporting. Is she exaggerating for comedic effect? Is she minimizing her needs?

Yesterday Audrey's "You May Want to Consider Purchasing a Wee Bit of Fuel at an Appropriate and Convenient Moment" light came on as I was driving home from the Softball Game of the Century (which I will not be talking about because it wasn't what I would call the prettiest game ever). I figured I would just stop in the morning. That was before I remembered that getting Alexis out the door in the morning is like trying to shove a herd of buffalo into a groundhog hole. Once that reality smacked me in the face, I figured I would run at lunch. That idea was destroyed by a really fun day at work that did not involve any eating or running (or breathing, for what it matters).

So, after work.

Except, I never leave work early enough to do something constructive BEFORE I pick up Alexis, so I had to do that first. Once Alexis was in the car, Audrey's Polite Reminder Light had been on for about 15 miles. A wise person would have driven directly to the nearest gas station, but not a cheap person. Nope, a cheap person has to drive an extra five miles to a gas station that takes Fuel Perks (a local grocery store gives us money off gas for shopping there--it's kind of like trading bags full of money for a few cents off gas, but I do manage to come out ahead on the game). I had 40 cents off per gallon to use, OF COURSE I was willing to risk running out of gas on a busy road in the middle of rush hour.

About half way to the gas station of choice, Audrey's Polite Reminder Light turned into something entirely different. The damn thing started flashing and dinging and flashing and dinging. I don't speak Ding, but I think it was saying, "You @#%@#ing moron, get your @$^%@$@# !##$ to a gas station NOW. Or else. @#%@#$."


At about the same time, I suddenly realized that chugging a Caramel Macchiatto as you are walking out of the office will result in a desperate need to visit a whole other part of the gas station not long after. To say that I was tense and VERY FOCUSED on reaching my destination would be the understatement of the century. I was muttering obscenities under my breath at each and every driver that stood between me and the gas station. All the while, Alexis was alternating between playing LELLO CAR! and calling out what she wanted to do.

"Wook at fish!" (She recognizes the aquarium store. Yes, that is a sad statement.)

"I wan French Fries!" (The Golden Arches get that reaction every.single.time.)


"Go eat noodles!" (Thai restaurant.)


"Go toy store!"

I didn't even care that I was losing LELLO CAR! by a landslide. I just wanted to take care of business and put some freakin' gas in the car that was yelling at me REPEATEDLY. I was soooooo focused on the road and getting through all the obstacles that stood between me and my destination.

Then, suddenly, from the back seat came the most blood-curdling scream I have ever heard. That scream -OH SO- very nearly scared the macchiato right out of me.

Alexis dropped her stupid barrette.

We made it to the gas station and I made it to the bathroom, but that stupid barrette will never be heard from again. It didn't deserve to live after it caused the Toddler to very nearly scare the pee out of me.

Oh, and Audrey? GAME ON.


  1. I love that precious little nose and this story very nearly made me laugh the miller lite out of me ;-0

    I love that game! I play it frequently and it makes my hubby want to throttle me.

  2. Oh man...I don't have the guts to play that game...Did you see the Seinfeld episode (yes, all in life can trace back to Seinfeld) where Kramer did that with a dealership car? Priceless!

  3. Your car dings at you!? Oh man, that would drive me batty. My hubby would definitely be disconnecting whatever wires necessary to stop that annoyance. But I had to LOL at Alexis. Just when you are on the verge of freaking out about some calamity, your kids start having their own fits about important things like "I dropped Ariel!".

    Yeah, been there, done that. (minus the dinging car).

  4. oh, I play that game, too...because I like seeing how much I can shock myself with how much it costs to fill up my little car when it's only on fumes...yesterday? $49.79...needless to say I nearly crapped myself.
    and the barette incident?...we have similar ones involving books and cars, and even songs (if a specific song is over before Gavin's ready for it to end).

  5. So, is there now a total on just how long you can ignore the dinging before she wins?

    Personally, I've yet to find out exactly with mine, I chicken out at about 62 miles past the 'courtesy' light.

  6. I'm too chicken s#%! to play that game. ;)
    Whew! So glad you made it.

  7. Your competitivness totally cracks me up and Alexis is KEY-YOOT!

  8. i have played that game.

    i may or may not have lost in front of my house.

    or on the freeway offramp.

    i admit nothing.

  9. There is nothing more boring than putting petrol in your car though is there. That is my excuse for leaving it until the last possible minute anyway. I've recently blogged about that nightmare when you're half way home and a little voice from the back seat says "I need a wee."

  10. Absolutely no guts here. I have never, in all my 42 years, been in a car that ran out of gas. Planning to keep it that way. (Oliver says "petrol". I thought it would be fun to teach him that since his Daddy teaches him all sorts of other British, aka "proper", words.)

  11. Running out of gas haunts my dreams...cuz in my dreams, I alwasy run out in Transylvania. Why? I have no idea but if I ever go there, I'm bringing extra gas!


  12. I am a fan of that game myself. Jim said the other day, "How come every time I use your car, you are on empty?" "I don't know what you are talking about"

    Awesome picture!!

  13. My Passat used to tell me how much farther I could go on the gas I had left, but my Jeep offers no such luxuries. Still, I push it to the limit. At $4/gallon (which is what I paid this morning), I'll keep on pushing!

  14. LOL! That is one reason I love the little gauge on my van that tells me exactly how many miles I have till empty. I USE that puppy. I'm not as daring as you, but by golly, I get close!

    And we've SO had the barette-type incident as well. (mumble, mumble, swear, mumble).

  15. Hilarious. I never play the gas game with my car. It took running out of gas once that makes me fill up when my tank hits 1/8th left. And, I speed to the closest gas station because it it an EMERGENCY! I wish I had your courage.

  16. Great post! My husband plays the same game with his gas gauge, except that he lost a few months ago. He ran out of gas on the highway, in a snow storm, while wearing his business suit :)


  17. I get in so much trouble around here if I let the light go on. You know, because it is so bad for my '98 Jetta (sarcasm.)
    Especially from my step-dad who is a mechanic. Yes, so much trouble.

  18. I just played this game last week. I won too, but I think not by much. Why do we do this stuff again?

  19. And that's why I love the subaru. Sure, it has that gas light come on. But if you look slightly to the right, it'll tell you about how many miles you have left.
    So I know my car is a drama queen. I always have about 50-60miles.
    As for the blood curdling screams for no reason from the backseat...yikes, I hear ya there. Only its more "I threw my blankie/car/sippie cup and really didn't mean to"..

  20. mental note - go pee before reading your blog because you nearly made me pee laughing so hard!

  21. my husband plays that game... with whichever car I will be driving next. drives me batty.

    I am too anxious a person to play that game. once that light comes on, all I can think about is where and when I am stuffing 1/2 my paycheck... er, uh, filling up my tank with gas.

    may start calling it petrol. sounds so refined.

    and if you think one toddler screaming in the back is bad, just wait. especially when the second screaming is for no reason other than the first screaming. empathy sucks!


  22. anglophilefootballfanatic.com10:08 AM

    Can I say I love you even more for naming your cars, too? How do I love thee? Lemme count the 800 ways.

    And, I would NEVER get that far down. Puppy ran out in my car when the kid was abot 8 weeks old. I wanted to go kamikazi on him.

  23. I start to panic when the car gets to 1/4 tank so no I could not play that game (the husband does though--makes for an interesting morning when I get into my car and see that polite light ;) )

  24. I start to panic when the car gets to 1/4 tank so no I could not play that game (the husband does though--makes for an interesting morning when I get into my car and see that polite light ;) )

  25. i HATE to see my gas light come on. It's personal for me. When that light comes on, I know I've failed and self hatred is released to curse through my veins...

  26. As someone who has a car that is from the EARLY 90's, I have no such luxury as a dinging sound just an annoyingly bright orange light that "fades" in and out and then eventually stays on. So if that light should accidentally burn out... I'm royally $%*#!

    And the little screams from the back- I totally know what you mean- except I was a nanny... and beings I'm not the mother I couldn't tell the difference between an "I need changed bc I crapped my pants" scream and an "I need food NOW before my stomach eats it's self" scream or the "I'm sick of being in the car already I want the Wiggles on NOW" screams. and there were sometime a combination of the 3 from 2 kids. AGHH.

  27. I too live by the gas light. But, I also have my little side kick up on the ceiling that tells me exactly how many miles I have left as it gauges my MPH. So when I see the light, I look at my friend who whispers, "screw her...we still have at least 50 miles left."
    Then we wait....there have been times that it says I have zero miles left, but it still starts (even if I have to roll in neutral down the driveway to flat ground) and I get to the station a couple miles down the road!

  28. Love that story! I'm a pusher too...of my gas tank, of course. Not drugs.

    I know that I can go at least 8 more miles after my computer says "0 Miles to Empty". I wonder if I can go 9?

    I'm so glad I found your blog? I grew up in the North Hills but live in Westmoreland County now. Ever since I started blogging, I've been wondering how I can find other Pittsburgh bloggers. Then I stumbled across your blog on BlogHer and Poof! There a whole list!

    I'm so excited!

  29. My hubby plays that game too. now i personally am a chicken and until this year NEVER played that game (and actually have never run out of gas!) but since the price of gas is $4.07 i push it to the limit. oh man. i hope my car doesn't start screaming at me like that. wonder if that is an option on all cars or just yours! :)

  30. I don't know my car's limits, which shoked Hubby. You gave me an idea, though. I'll set the tripometer next time. Right now my car has been setting in the shade for 2 days and needs gas. But, I ran the battery down Wednesday and had to get a jumpstart and I'm afraid to drive it until hubby gets back in town. I don't want to get stranded anywhere.

  31. I refuse to play that game. I will take on horses that refuse to go into trailers, toddlers that refuse to eat what they're given and shirt designs that won't come out quite right. But playing chicken with the gas guage is way more than I'm willing to deal with.

    You've got guts. I've got 4 kids who would not be fun sitting along the roadside.

  32. I'm such a fraidy cat...I fill up when I'm at a 1/4 tank because I FEAR! getting stranded.

  33. You really are daring. Once my tank hits a quarter tank I'm filling up. It would so be like me to be stranded on a road in the middle of no where at 2am with Hope in the really, at 2am I guess I would be alone.

    That would probably make it easier for the children of the corn to come get me while I was waiting for the hubs!

  34. Had a great time playing this game with my cousin traveling to and from College in Idaho. The old Dodge van that her Dad let us drive did not have a working gauge. We always filled up after 200 miles (odometer did not work either, we just watched the mile posts) just to be safe.On one trip we missed the exit to gas up. The next town was 120 miles away. We pressed on.

    We found out that day that the van had at least a 30 Gallon tank.

  35. LOL I have played that game too much. Now that my boys are 8 and 10 they watch the gauge. They now get nervous when the warning light comes on and when it says we are down to 3, 2, 1, 0 miles until empty.

    It's not fun playing it when the kids are actually stressed over it. I feel badly for them.

    And it would not be good either to be stranded without gas with kids in the car. Sigh.

  36. I've been the loser that game so many times I've lost count. Its sad how bad I am at it.

    In fact, I ran out of gas in my driveway this week. I know. I am an idiot. But at least I didn't have to walk home this time. Its the pity prize, but I'll take it.

  37. I admire your guts. I played that game all the time back in the day. Until I lost. Once. Only a block from the nearest station. The area I was in--it might as well have been 50 blocks.

    It was a long cold, dark, scary walk.

    Now, I do everything in my power to never have to see that stinking light.

  38. You're a brave woman . . . I'm all about filling it up when it's like half a tank so that I am under the illusion that I'm paying less because I'm putting less gas in my tank. Sad, but it keeps me happy.

  39. That was a very man thing to do, BB Mom -- you know, almost running out of fuel, but more importantly forgetting that even items seemingly so boring and innocent become EVIL when dropped on the floor out of reach!

  40. Ooooo...I've never had a car that verbally taunted me while playing that particular game. Very cheeky.

    My hubby doesn't get my refusal to get gas until the light is on. (And I miss Fuel Perks.) He gets so annoyed every time he gets in my car and sees that I have less than a full 1/2 tank of gas. My thought is that they make that light for a reason.

  41. Oh my that story had me giggling!!! I have played fact I played it tonight unintentionally!!

    And Alexis' narration certainly helped :D

  42. there are two kinds of people in this world. Those that get gas and those that dont.

    I know which one YOU are! So funny!

    Keep me posted on the score!

  43. I'm really creative like you when I name my cars. Mine is named Alexis! Get it? A "Lexus"? You didn't need me to explain that to you, did you. I just didn't want you thinking I named my car after your daughter. Not that I even knew about your blog way back when I got the car. Okay, I'll shut up now.

  44. You totally crack me up. I can't even begin to tell you how funny I find it that you are competitive with toddlers and inanimate objects. :)

  45. ROFL!!!!! WHY did I wait so long to come see you??? You just gave me the exact relief I've been seeking..
    Now I will add barrettes to the popsicles I want to ship to strangers.

    It is AWESOME to read Burgh Baby!

    Oh, and the game? My hubby plays and loses--all the time! Finally told him not to call me anymore. Ever.
    I'm wondering if Audrey is cranky because she's a hybrid? Or is she just better on mileage than Mitsi because of size? I can't remember what you said when you brought Audrey home. At least she talks to you though. My poor Prince Philip (Sophie named him) is so old he can't even light it up anymore!

  46. OMFG, wow. Mine actually tells me how many miles I have left, and the dealership told me ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY *DO NOT* let that thing get to 10 miles left, as it could jack the fuel injector up real good.

    Yesterday the light had been on for a while and I let it get down to 30 miles left. My fill-up? $75. I am laughing in your face, Colleen.

    Cars previous to this one didn't have that handy miles left feature, but I've never been one to play chicken - my older sister and I got stuck once in no man's land near LAX after my dad told us that his car *didn't* need gas (I was 14). So yeah, never been one to risk running out.

  47. windy city steel city10:50 AM

    Don't forget about the companion game featuring our good buddy "Check Engine Light". He often likes to play tag when the gas cap isn't screwed on tightly enough or needs his oil to be changed. Found a good way to beat the "gas light" game. My Honda holds 17 gals per the manual and yet every time I fill up after he beckons me to, the gas ticker never seems to be higher than 14. so are there 3 extra gals in the tank teasing me. Oh wicked fuel prices!

  48. I play this game too often, and my hubby hates it. I just don't do it when he's around. hehe.

    Glad you made it!

  49. Dude, you truly walk on the wild side.

  50. hee hee!!! That was super funny...that it wasn't me *S*

  51. Hahaha I do the same thing with my car.It always ends in me stressing out while frantically trying to find a gas station where I won't go completely go broke.

    Cute pic as usual!