Week of minor misfortunes leaves her wondering what's up NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE


January 22, 1993|By LOURDES SULLIVAN

February may belong to Cupid and romantic love, but January belongs to the Imp of the Perverse.

Why else would our abnormally warm, even balmy weather turn freezing just before all the outdoor festivities of the inauguration? Why would some federal employees get Monday and Wednesday off, but their Howard County children get Monday and next Monday off? Why else would cars go crazy this week?

Not in this order, I was rear-ended, a friend's car stalled on Saturday night, so I had four impromptu house guests for the weekend, I left my headlights on and wore out the battery, my sister dented my front end, and, the final indignity, I locked the keys in my husband, Mark's, car in the Laurel Shopping Center.

This last one turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant and amusing event (not that I'm looking to repeat it any time soon). A nice father type (baby seat in the back of the car) tried to help. He rummaged in his trunk for a coat hanger, and when he could not find one, ran to Hechinger's for help. He offered to let us sit in his car to stay warm while waiting.

A young woman in a van did have the magic coat hanger. You cannot open a locked Mazda that way, but she did fish out my coat through the back vent. A very well dressed young man in a sports car asked, as he strode purposefully toward us, "Need a booster?"

I answered "No, I need a Slim Jim." At that, our would-be rescuer backed away quickly, saying, "No," his hand held out to ward us off.

I'm not sure what happened, but the best explanation is that he thought we were enlisting his help in stealing the car. Maybe there's crime wave being commited by middle-aged women.

Yes, we cruise parking lots looking for decrepit 8-year-old cars with 150,000 miles on them. Then we cunningly recruit innocent bystanders to procure illegal tools for us. They open the cars, and then, with a maniacal laugh, we jump in and lurch away in a cloud of oil fumes. I can see us now, the subject of FBI briefings, our portraits in the post office, a threat to misbehaving children: "Be good or the clunker heisters will get you."

Mark came to the rescue at just about the same time an officer showed up to open the car. But to all the people who stopped by to help, or who offered warmth and helpful suggestions, thank you.


I'd had my fill of winter. Saturday a week, Jan. 30, I'll go look for the groundhog who heralds six more weeks of winter and bribe him. I'll join the staff of Savage Park for a nature walk and groundhog sighting, then take advantage of the hot chocolate ++ and snacks they'll provide. Cost is $8 per family, and the tour begins at 11:30 a.m.

Information: Department of Recreation, (410) 313-2762.


Give your child a birthday party he or she'll never forget. Let them romp through streams and woods, explore fields, make a craft, and listen to nature stories. Best of all, someone else makes all the preparations. For more details about holding parties in the county parks, call (410) 313-7254.


It seems too early to plan the garden, but spring comes sooner than expected. There's a 2 1/2 -hour course at Hammond High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, on choosing and raising plants from seed. The cost is $8.

Information: (410) 313-7254.

Also remember that the University of Maryland's Extension Service has master gardeners on hand to answer questions on any horticultural topic.

Information: (410) 313-2707.

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