Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Pumping My Own Gas and Other Firsts

By Lois Winston

It’s official. This Jersey Girl is no longer a Jersey Girl. I have the Tennessee driver’s license and license plate to prove it. And it’s a very strange feeling. For one thing, I now have to pump my own gas, something I could previously only do when driving out-of-state. I think it’s been about ten years since I last used a gas pump. New Jersey has a weird law that doesn’t allow ordinary citizens to fill their own gas tanks. Even if you happen to be the person who invented the modern gas pump, you have to leave the filling to the attendant. Oregon is the only other state that doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas. What century are we living in? 

It’s been so long since I pumped my own gas that on the drive down to Tennessee, I first grabbed the diesel nozzle. Luckily, they’re designed in such a way that you can’t accidentally fill your tank with diesel if you don’t drive a diesel automobile, but it took me a minute or two to figure out why I couldn’t get the nozzle into the gas tank. Then I managed to dribble gasoline on my hand and shoe. This experience will definitely go into a book at some point. It’s the author’s way of turning lemons into lemonade.

 

I’m experiencing many more firsts with this move. Our new home is the newest house we’ve ever owned, only seventeen years old. Prior to this, our newest house was built in 1939. The oldest was built in 1893. And the first home we ever bought was a Sears house kit. (No, we didn’t buy the kit from Sears. I’m not that old!)

 

This is the first house I’ve ever lived in without a basement. Even as an apartment-dwelling city kid, we had a basement. But this is also the first house with an attached two-car garage. I think I’m going to like that, if I can navigate in and out without sideswiping either my husband’s car or the garage wall.

 

There are many things I’m going to miss about living in New Jersey—being so close to Manhattan theaters and museums, living less than an hour from the ocean, being able to walk to shopping, instead of having to jump in the car for every errand. And some really good friends.

 

However, I’m certainly not going to miss snowstorms and the power outages they generally entailed. I did suffer through a four-day outage a few summers ago while visiting family in Nashville, but it was nothing compared to the nine day-outage we endured during Superstorm Sandy and the freak early snowstorm that followed, or the countless blizzards and Nor’easters that have brought down power lines over the years. 

 

If the power goes out in the summer, you can walk around the house in your underwear or a bathing suit and cook your meals outside on the grill. It’s far worse to wear seventeen layers of clothing indoors and have to shovel your way through three-foot high snow drifts to get to that grill in winter.

 

I’m also looking forward to making new friends and exploring my new state—once all the cartons are unpacked. I’m just not sure I’ll ever make the leap to saying, “Y’all.”

 

~*~

USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

 

Website: www.loiswinston.com

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22 comments:

  1. Congrats on your move. Will miss you being nearby. Definitely going to Nashville next year and will look you up.

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  2. Dru, I'm looking forward to your visit and am trying to entice others to make the trip.

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  3. Welcome to the South. Lesson 1: Stand in front of a mirror. Practice saying, "You-All" very slowly at first, then pick up the cadence. Once it rolls around your mouth a bit, double the speed. There you go, you're sayin "y'all" like a true Southerner, bless your heart. BTW, I Love your books. Lesson 2: "Grits" is the singular form of a serving of the traditional food. Do not attempt to order "a grit" at any Southern establishment.

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  4. LOL, Liz! I've actually had grits. And bless your heart for loving my books!

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  5. Welcome to the South. You'll still be a Yankee until the day you die, but it's a fun way of life.

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    1. Debra, you can take the Jersey Girl out of Jersey, but you can't take Jersey out of the Jersey Girl. ;-)

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  6. LOL! Priceless post, Lois, and you'll be discovering more and more. So much material. Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

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    1. Thanks, Donnell! Y'all wouldn't believe how many times I day I hear "y'all". ;-D

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  7. Seems like you've adjusted to the culture shock, Lois. Welcome to the South!

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    1. I'm trying my best, Gay! Thanks for the welcome.

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  8. Happy move! My eco-broker realtor was going to hang up a tennis ball to help me park in the garage, but with only one car, I have much room for error. I did put a sticker on the wall to help me know when I was far enough in. My mother NEVER pumped gas. Even when most stations went to self-service, she found one that still had attendants. ;-)

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    1. Mary, we bought some bumper thingies for the floor, but I still need some way of lining up the car. I miss cars with hood ornaments. It was always so easy to line the hood ornament up with the curb when I parked. Now I either run into the curb or wind up a foot away from it. If I had a hood ornament, I could put some tape on the garage wall and line the hood ornament up with the tape when I pull in.

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    2. Hmm, could you put something on your hood in the center? Maybe something magnetic or a sticker?

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  9. Congratulations on your paradigm shift. May all of your adventures in TN be happy ones.

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  10. LOL, I had no idea you can't pump gas in those 2 states---after a gazillion years, I STILL miss having an attendant do it.

    Y'all are using your garage to actually park cars? Down here in St. Augustine, we mostly use them for overflow storage, maybe because basements don't exist ๐Ÿ˜

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  11. No basements here, Leila, but we've got small cars and were able to put some large metal shelving in the garage for storage AND a workbench for my husband. Not quite the storage we had in our NJ basement, but we did donate or discard quite a bit of stuff we hadn't used in years before we moved.

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    1. A neighbor put shelves over the garage door, not visible from outside so as not to advertise the availability of whatever he stores there. I think he can only get to them with the garage door closed.

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  12. Nothing of great value stored in our garage, Mary, just the stuff we had in our basement in NJ. And the garage doors don't have windows. So no one can look in to see what's inside. Interesting fact, I've noticed there's a trend around Nashville where builders are building mid-century modern homes with full glass garage doors. You can see right into the garages! I guess they want to show off their expensive cars, but I think it's really weird.

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  13. Strange indeed. Now thinking of cleaning all that glass . . .

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  14. Be careful - "y'all" just sneaks up on you and before you know it, you're using it!

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  15. I loved not having to pump my own gas when I lived in New Jersey. Then I took a work trip to Switzerland and rented a car tof tour on my own for the weekend and did not know how to pump my own gas. Eventually figured it out!
    Enjoy your new home!

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