Monday, August 11, 2008

the war is over in Krakozhia

I'm at home-home for a few days. I've flown with my dad and scooted around with him on his Pee Wee Herman look-alike moped. I've made spaghetti squash with my mom and hugged her a lot. I've visited my brother and his kids and met his new one, David.

I also met my long lost cousin Nikko. When I was little, I remember looking at a particular picture of him and wondering and wondering all kinds of things about that little boy looking at me. It was really quite epic for me to meet him. He probably didn't feel the same way, but then, he probably didn't have my mysterious picture staring at him his whole life.

Tom Hanks is kissing some girl named Amelia in my living room. A lot of people think that The Terminal is a really boring movie. I think it's really funny. One of my favorites, actually. I love the part when the janitor sits in the food court watching people fall even though they are surrounded by "Slippery When Wet" signs.

Before I left, I checked my oil and transmission fluid like a good girl. I even put in some oil, and used the gas station man's disposable funnel to throw in a little transmission fluid for good measure. My trip to my brother's was pretty uneventful, except for some seriously slow traffic for about five miles just out of the cities, and a few checks on the side of the road to see if my bike was still as with me as it was when I was at the gas station.

So my brother said it smelled like burnt rubber when I got there. I had been smelling it for a little bit, too. I guess it wasn't the car ahead of me. I popped my hood and found oil everywhere, and an oil cap face up sitting on the head gasket, right where I left it. A little piece of junk was stuck in the cap; an exact imprint of the cap was cookie-cuttered out of the foam on the inside of my hood. I had forgotten to put the oil cap back on.

"That would explain the smell."
"Yeah. It would."
"Well, at least you won't do that again."
"No. Probably not."

So I called Dad like I always do when I have car troubles. I think this is the point when he usually feels out of control and frustrated. But it was ok this time.

"No big deal," Dad said. "You need an oil cap."
"Got that, still."
"Really? Lucky. And oil."

Jason's six-year-old knows that "vehicle" is a better word than "car" when describing "auto". I think that's cool. But I haven't hung out with tons of six-year-old's lately. I bet she can spell it, though, which I'm pretty sure is significant.

So Dad and I cleaned off my engine when I got home with Lightning Degreaser. Then later, my car sputtered and died right when my mom passed me on the highway. The timing was incredible. And my dad was only a minute away - something all you home-dwellers really take for granted. It is amazing that my car broke down while I was at home. stopped running for a second because we got water in the engine. It was an easy fix, but while all of this was occurring, the muffler finally let out its secrets after years of keeping silent. So, I got a new muffler, an oil change - "That's one way to change the oil." - and gas money from Mom and Dad. It's a good day when your car breaks down at home. It pays to be at home, but I'd come home even if it didn't pay like that.

I also got some bruises and a good, solid neck ache from when my uncle took me water skiing. I got up right away on one ski which I felt good about. I figure I'd better announce it here so that everyone can know how cool I am. But I wiped out three times, and he said that the boat uses more gas when you wipe out. He said I wasn't very cost effective.

My mom and I usually have funny communication breakdowns in the kitchen. We picked a spaghetti squash from the garden to cook for dinner. Mom said something about using bread for a back-up in case the spaghetti squash didn't turn out. She said that we could have spaghetti sloppy joes. I nodded, but that really confused me. Why were we having so many different things for dinner? Spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, or just bread with spaghetti sauce, and spaghetti squash.

Did you know that spaghetti squash is a substitute for real spaghetti? You eat it with spaghetti sauce, I guess. And it's good. Home-grown, good.

My friend's in Serbia. He wants to come home, I think, but there's something stopping him. All kinds of junk stopping him. It's sad for me, because it would be nice to see him. But he's not sad. At least he says he's not. But one time, he didn't believe me when I told him I wasn't depressed. And I wasn't, mostly. It's the other part he guessed about. And I guess there's another part of him - the part that desperately wants to go home and feel at home there.

It's not always perfect at home. Sometimes things are hard at home, but it's always home. It doesn't matter if there's wars going on at home like in Krakozhia in The Terminal. There's still nothing to be afraid of. It's home. And it's good to be home.