Sunday, November 11, 2012

Seat Belts & Rotting Bodies

Alii, dear strangers. First, an update on the Stormtrooper/Vehicle of Despair. That thing that I mentioned might happen--the thing that would undoubtedly lead to my death--well it happened. The fourth window stopped working. You know that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur finds that knight and chops each of his limbs off one by one until he's just a torso and head? Well that's basically exactly what happened with the Stormtrooper. Except instead of arms and legs getting chopped off, it was automatic windows that stopped working, one by one. Also, less blood.

Guys, I don't even know how to explain to you what that moment was like when we realized that the fourth window had finally given up the ghost. We casually walked to the car, talking about some important thing, like whether it would even be possible to, without the person's knowledge, perform a surgery on them where you loop the large intestine back up to the throat. We climbed into the Stormtrooper. It was exactly 195 degrees inside that vehicle. We gasped for air as Daniel started the engine. I reached over to push the automatic-window button on the passenger's door, the only window that could still roll down. And, nothing happened.

Our pleasant conversation then turned to this:


Well? Roll down the window.

I can't. [Trying again] I can't! [Trying again more panickingly] I CAN'T! HOLY HELL THIS IS IT WE'RE GONNA DIE!!!

NO ELI!!! Open the damn window!!! OPEN IT!!! IT HAS TO OPEN!!! THIS ISN'T FUNNY!!!

I'M PUSHING THE BUTTON AND IT'S NOT DOING ANYTHING!!!

SO HOT! LOSING . . . CONSCIOUS . . . NESS . . .

DANIEL, I THINK THIS REALLY MIGHT BE IT!!! I CHEATED ON MY 4th GRADE S.A.T.S! ONE TIME I STOLE BUBBLE GUM FROM A GROCERY STORE! I PEED INTO A SINK AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE ONCE BECAUSE THE TOILET LOOKED QUESTIONABLE AND I REALLY HAD TO GO!!!

Wait. Seriously? You really did that?

Did what?

You peed into someone's sink? Like some kind of animal?

It was years and years ago. And a total emergency. Oh, actually I've done it twice. Two different places. Maybe more . . . I'm not really sure. BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS CAR!?!?!

Wait, do you ever pee into the sink at our house?

NOW'S NOT THE TIME, DANIEL! THE HEAT! THE WINDOWS! DEATH!

If you are peeing into the sink at our house, I'm not sure I want to survive this car ride.

Anyway, riding in a shut vehicle in Palau without airflow during the middle of a sunny afternoon is every bit as terrible as one might imagine. Within minutes we discovered the only thing we could do to bring relief: drive with the doors open.

The hard thing about driving with the doors open is fighting the wind resistance that pushes against the door from the other side. It's quite the arm workout.

The door-open-driving went on for a couple of days before an exasperated Daniel burst into my office and told me he almost fell out of a moving vehicle.

I almost fell out of a moving vehicle.

What? Who's vehicle? Were you delivering newspapers?

The Stormtrooper. Our vehicle. I almost fell out of it!

Weren't you . . . driving it?

I was driving with the door open and I took a sharp left turn going up a hill and the door swung open while I was holding on and pulled me half-way out of the vehicle!

I listened to this story, even though it was completely ridiculous.

Daniel, I've never heard of someone falling out of the car while driving it. I didn't think that could happen? I thought only passengers could fall out.

I know. [And he said this next part like the world was changing in a bad way and things could never be the same for us] Eli, I think we might have to start wearing seat belts.

Ok, first of all, I know. Gasp. We weren't already wearing seat belts. I'm practically a felon now in the U.S. That's probably why I moved to Palau. But in our defense it's not really a rule down here, and the speed limits are really slow, and it's really hot and stuff.

But guys. Now that the Stormtrooper's windows have stopped working and we have to drive with the doors open, we feel like we have to wear seat belts. I'm cool with wearing a seat belt. But I want it to be my choice. I don't want it to be because I have to in order to stay alive.

I mean, I guess most people wear seat belts so they don't fly through the windshield in a car accident. But we wear seat belts now so we don't fall out of the car on sharp turns because we're holding the doors open. That's what I find unacceptable.

And, fyi, driving with the doors open only cools the vehicle down about 2%. Yesterday I needed to drive 4 miles from my apartment to the Mormon church building for a meeting that happened to take place during the very hottest part of the day. Daniel didn't have to go to this meeting so I was completely alone and thus only able to drive with one door slightly ajar. I cried the entire way. Not tears of heat exhaustion. Tears of despair. I cried hot tears of despair. When I got out of the car, I looked down and my khakis were totally and completely wet. My pants were wet! All the way down to my shoes! My shins had perspired so much that it actually seeped through my pants. It looked like I had peed everywhere. But not in the sink. Apparently "that's unsanitary."

Guys, this is not an ok way to live. I don't mean to be insensitive and I know there are bigger problems in the world than sweaty shins. But that doesn't mean that this is an ok way to live. It just means that anyone who has bigger problems than sweaty shins is living in a way that is even less of an ok way to live. People who have smaller problems than sweaty shins, but nonetheless complain about it, are totally out of line though and need a serious reality check.

And having to wear seat belts is only the second worst thing that is happening in my Palaun life right now. The first worst thing is that my apartment smells like a rotting corpse and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. Especially ever since we got rid of the rotting corpse.

Because of the humidity and heat, everything seems a little damp all the time. And I sweat through my clothes within seconds of putting them on. It's like the outside of my body is a water park. Except no toddlers in swollen diapers. But the same amount of foot disease sharing, unfortunately. The constant sweating is not helping the smell situation in the apartment. It smells exactly like your little brother. Except he has a flesh-eating disease and halitosis.

Sorry about your brother, by the way. I should send flowers. I apologize if they seem sweaty when they get there.

Anyway, we bought two cans of extra-strength Febreze and emptied them onto every stitch of fabric in the apartment, opened all the windows, lit 2 candles, and then performed an exorcism for good measure. And after that the apartment didn't smell good. But it didn't smell bad either. It just sort of became neutral, which I can totally live with.

The neutrality lasted for 12 hours before the smell returned with a fierce vengeance and was worse than ever.

And now you are all totally excited to come visit me. I'll pick you up from the airport in the vehicle of despair and if you're still alive by the time we get to the rotting corpse apartment, you can help me perform another exorcism while I pee into the sink.

~It Just Gets Stranger

44 comments:

  1. haha welcome to the tropics. just a quick advice, try to fix the windows by having a manual roll up window or you will die of the bad smell you were talking about. for the bad smell, are you sure it isn't the queen of colors?

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    1. Opposite. I'm sure it IS the Queen of Colors.

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  2. Hahahahaha. I WANT to visit now. It's almost an adrenaline thing. I want to see if I can survive a visit to see Eli. Ya know.. like skydiving.

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    1. If you could bring Season 2 of Lost, that would be helpful. I just finished the first season (a little behind the times) and just found out we don't have any others.

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    2. You can watch all the seasons on netlfix instant! :)

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  3. This sounds crazy, but can you take the doors off, like a Jeep? You'd still have to wear seatbelts, but you wouldn't have to worry about dislocating an arm if you take a turn too fast. For the apartment smell, if you're SURE you disposed of all the bodies, try putting open boxes of baking soda around, and if you have a rug (in the tropics, good grief, whhhhhy?!?) try sprinkling it with baking soda, leaving it for 15 minutes, then vacuuming it up.

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    1. Thanks for the tips. I am tryng to figure out if the doors can be replaced or something. Obviously I can't keep driving it like it is now.

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    2. Skip the baking soda, go for active charcoal, or white vinegar. charcoal will neutralize ANY smell, and truthfully, most likely the smell is biological of some kind, vinegar will kill most minor bacteria or fungus, including the spores. actually, for a rotting corpse, i would do both! (and by goodness, get a flea dust for the Q of C!)

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    1. Apparently the problem is with one little part that nobody makes anymore. So miserable.

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  5. I like Kat's open jeep idea. It could be a very healing experience to rip the doors off.
    Pants?? Why for the love of all that is good are you wearing pants in the tropics??? There's a reason shorts were invented, so the sweat can dry and you don't appear to be incontinent.

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    1. So I brought some very light pants for certain occassions. And it's not always that hot down here so sometimes they are just fine to wear. But I cannot wear pants in that car ever again. I'm going to start going naked from now on.

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    2. Firstly, you are in Palau...you can go around in a floral Speedo and a fishnet shirt and no one will care there...no one will know here. Secondly I have been thinking about the door problem...everyone is thinking too simple. You need to create something more complicated. I am thinking of some sort of pully system drilled into the roof of the vehicle which has, maybe, climbing ropes that crisscross throughout the car and hooks on the two final ends. This roping system must be exactly 10.8 inches shorter, when pulled through the maze of crisscrosses, than what would hold the closed when attached. Then get two blocks of pumice stone covered in foam (both should be 5.5 inches thick). When you get in the car, you can wedge the foam covered pumice stone in the doors and attach the rigging system. Also, you need one of those small battery fans that you can blow over big block of ice.

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  6. I'm with rejoicinginthetruth about the pants. Any time I can go without having to wear pants is a good time!!
    About the windows, afer about 5 seconds in 195 degree weather I would have taken a HAMMER to those bad boys!

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    1. The hammer idea is about number 7 on the list. Today I'm at 5.

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  7. how about okie-fying it and removing the windows and replacing with thick plastic that you can roll up when driving. that way you can roll down when needed to avoid the critters? just a thought.

    Heather

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    1. Where is Palau on the map? It has snowed here before Thanksgiving, which is unacceptable. Also, would you consider it suitable for infants?

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    2. Why my comment showed up in a grey box is beyond me. My apologies to Heather.

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    3. Heather, that may be exactly what I end up doing. The car is basically useless if I can't get some airflow in there.

      Miss E., is it suitable for infants? I brought Daniel down here so obviously it's fine.

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  8. I've only been to your blog once before. I think I found it on Pinterest a few months ago. I got bored at work and signed on to my blog and remembered reading yours and nearly dying from laughter, mostly because I was trying to keep it in (since sitting at my desk, surrounded by co-workers, who might actually be trying to work at the end of the day.) And this is your first post....Bottom line, move home and I will marry you. The end!
    Sincerely,
    Stranger L

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  9. This is why I love your blog. And strangely I kinda want to come visit now. haha maybe for the smell (this might sound weird) but try putting baking soda boxes out (and open?) That normally eliminates odor as the box advertises. and thats weird because febreeze always works. hasnt failed me yet. must be a tropics problem?

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  10. bring on the heat. and the humidity. i'm still coming for a visit.

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  11. remove the door panels, remove the windows, replace the door panels. Get a personal mister, or have someone send you one from the states. you put water in it, pump, spray. Instant evap cooling! I live in Arizona and totally feel your pain!!! and for goodness sake, take your work clothes with you and change into them at work! Thanks for making my laugh, my kids just look at me like I'm crazy when I read your adventures! Take Luck! mrsgroovus

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  12. This blog pretty much settles it. I probably won't be coming to Palau.....between the heat, the smells (you know how I am about smells), the foot disease, ahem...the swearing, the lack of AC in the car and no sign on the internet of a quilt shop there I can't see the point in coming unless you can convince me otherwise? Xoxo. Mom
    Ps. Someone I know said he would not swim around those islands...'too many sharks." Is this true? :-/

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    1. Mom, most of these problems are fixable. Except for the swearing. In the words of my favorite 1990s PSA, "I learned it from watching you, ok!? I learned it from watching you!"

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    2. Eli!!! YOU know that's not true! It was Dad! Remember?!! Our Navy Veteran! ;) Xoxo

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    3. In my family, mom used one word: dammittohell. Wondering if that might be useful here...

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  13. Quick question (because I've missed a handful of your posts since you've been in the lovely Palau): does your apartment have carpet? If so, I wonder if the smelly problem lies therein...

    Story time: my younger brother bought a fun little Jetta a few years back on KSL. The car's previous owner was a smoker, so it took Goose (my brother) a while to get rid of the smell of smoke. (Like, months.) After a while, his car started stinking. Horribly. Perhaps of rotting flesh, even. Goose did EVERYTHING to get the smell out of his car; shampooed the seats and carpets, detailed, he even shampooed the trunk. Febreezed the hell out of that thing. The smell just got stronger. Finally one day, out of desperation, he pulled out the carpet on the front passenger's side (where he determined the smell to be the worst). When he pulled back the carpet, there was a plethora of maggots. For real. He scoured the hell out of it and sold that car at a loss. And he was thrilled to be rid of it.

    Anyway, Eli, I hope it's not maggots, but when you say it smells like rotting bodies...I have to wonder.

    Also, I'm deeply sorry that your fourth window doesn't work! I laughed good and hard, but I am so sorry for your loss!

    I might just start praying for you, Eli. And Daniel, too, of course.

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    1. No carpet, but I did ship a couple of rugs because I have issues with skin on tile. And your story made me cringe. I have a few maggot stories of my own. PTSD.

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    2. Sorry to hear you have your own maggot stories. Glad you don't have any under your carpet. Good luck. (Shudder)

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  14. Definitely go with the baking powder tip. Febreze only covers up odor, it doesn't eliminate it. That's why the odor came back. It's like spraying perfume on a dirty body. Adding smell to smell!

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  15. My father has a few swear combinations that might be appropriate in this situation - "Hell's a fire" and (when things are really bad) "Hell's a damn fire!"

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  16. I bet the rotting corpse smell is from the evil geckoes. Or their poop. Both smell awful. I had the same window problem with my car, but I live in Hawaii, which has the same heat and humidity as Palau, but also has seatbelt laws, and I'm pretty sure it's also illegal to drive on the highway with the doors open here. I feel your pain.

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    1. I agree with the assessment the smell is coming from rotting gecko corpses.

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  17. I think you should marry me.
    And yes sir, I am temple worthy.

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  18. I would love to visit! Thanks for the invite! How does sometime next year sound? lol you are great!

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  19. This post is completely brilliant. How can one person be so incredibly clever so many times!

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  20. Well....did you ever discover the source of the smell?

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  21. Just when I thought I couldn't possibly love this blog more, you go and reference the Grail...The Black Knight is my absolute favorite scene. The comparison to your vehicle of despair was breathtaking. I would guess that your lack of airflow is slightly more dire than the unfortunate knight's mere "flesh wound.". You poor, poor thing...:(

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  22. I have this post bookmarked. At least once a month I come back to it and laugh until I cry. I often have to stop partway through to dry my tears before I can continue. Thank you for chronicling your pain for my (and everyone else's) enjoyment.

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