Driving Ms. Daisy

Today a woman honked at me as she passed by my right hand side to enter the freeway! While doing so she gave me the old high handed Italian salute with the meanest deadlocked eye stare I had seen in quite some time! Now quickly being one to find fault with myself first I rapidly recollected the previous 2-3 minutes she had in fact been latched to my six and whether or not there was any way I had in fact wronged this poor desolate soul. I mean had I finally reached the dreaded old guy status while driving? I am not even eligible for my AARP card yet so the thought of a gray haired man swerving back and forth while traveling at 15 MPH under the speed limit with a Morgan Freeman grin upon my face just didn’t seem to fit the profile for this lead foot driver! I continued to ponder the ramifications of some unjust action cast upon her poor misunderstood self in regards to me having done something egregious?

There was nothing.

In fact the only fault I could find was my ability to stay ever so slightly under the posted speed limit while traveling extra cautiously due to several containers of fuel teetering precariously in the bed of my truck. This of course was due to the absence of ratchet straps (I forgot them) to secure these containers. I also had stopped for a full three seconds at the stop sign (gasp) prior to heading up the overcrossing for which she held no intentions of tapping her brakes judging by the way she moved as though I was towing her through the intersection.

So after carefully deducing the situation it meant apparently she was truly upset because I was in fact fully impeding her day.

How thoughtless of me! How irresponsible was I? I mean shit, I guess the first clue for myself that something was amiss should have been when her Acura symbol was trying to hump the RAM on my tailgate? Not many in such tiny disposable automobiles would ever dare challenge the mighty RAM for fear of self-destruction at the braking foot of an otherwise in desperate need of anger management male driver! Yet here I was doing my best to find Zen, stay centered while breathing carefully and calmly as to not inflame the continuous chest pain I live with on a daily basis. No I instead held strong, ignoring her pushy, NASCAR style bullying undertone! A selfish, grotesque abuse of automobile etiquette I was hoping would not ruin what had been an otherwise superb morning! I tried to think maybe she was having a medical emergency or family disaster which led to her rudeness behind the wheel, or maybe she was going to lose her job because she is late all the time and today was the last straw? Yeah, that could be it, after all it was not my fault she couldn’t get her ass out of bed on time, or maybe ran late because her kids moved like snails (probably also selfish little heathens)! OOOORRRRrrrr it’s simply because she is a hot headed ass who doesn’t like not getting her way on a minute by minute basis so in turn she makes everyone else’s day shit to appease her selfish needs??!!! Yep pretty sure that’s hitting the proverbial nail on the fucking head judging by the California wave I received as she passed on by! Heading onto the freeway where I am positive her negative attitude and poor driving skills probably molested and ruined many others mornings before she exited her 3000lb anger machine to become a two legged devil raining a shit parade upon all who fell beneath her shadow! So, far be it from me to let this one little act of indiscretion on her part ruin my morning, my perfect, once every two or three months, NO KIDS FIGHTING, OUT THE DOOR ON TIME, CHEERFUL GOODBYES AT SCHOOL DROP OFF GOD DAMN FUCKING SUPER AWESOME MORNING!!!! IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!! NOT UP IN HERE!! N O T  U P  I N  H E R E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Deep Breath)

In hindsight I am sure it’s all Trumps fault…..

Think I’ll Tweet about it.

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An American oxymoron…

 

My 13 year old asked me the other day while watching Top Gear, a television show that originated in the UK and has grown to a spin off in the United States.

Dad; what is the difference between a GMC truck and a Chevrolet truck?

Sitting back in my chair, realizing this was a moment where I could lay waste to any positive view he may hold towards these vehicles with a short idiotic tirade, I gathered my thoughts leaned down, put my arm around him and using my best Ward Cleaver laid this little number upon his unsuspecting bewildered eyes.

Ahhhh-hemmmm!

(Clearing my throat, using my best grandpa jones old man inflection)

The difference between them son is symbolic of the widening indifference in our countries mental acuity.  You see when our country was young, led by intelligent, strong willed, dedicated individuals we as a country knew the difference between right or wrong. A child could play in the street without fear, a woman was revered by men, a mom was considered the, be all end all of every child, and your house was your home, not a temporary storage area until you moved again hoping to make an extra buck.  Community meant that everyone cared about their town and participated in its growth.  You didn’t just live there to commute somewhere else without a care in the world about your neighbors or their well being.

The difference clearly rested in a country becoming accepting of all races and religions without prejudice.  Remembering we are all products of family members who immigrated here and just because we are third or fourth generation doesn’t mean we hold some inalienable right over others trying to achieve the same dreams. Yet that is exactly what we continue to do and every race and ethnicity is as guilty as the next when it comes to this process. Our country started with the ability to parent each other’s children without fear of retribution, living under the guise of “it takes a village”.  Education was a number one priority and teachers were revered for success afforded them through flexibility not unattainable federal guidance. Teachers are taught to “have the power” and “Show students the way” yet due to spineless administrators and frivolous lawsuits our children have all the power backed by parents wanting an education for their children but refusing to back any teachers play when it comes to their precious heathens.

Oh yes son the difference is clear as daylight! For you see in this country we have allowed so many to abuse the legal system for so long that a citizen of the United States is now considered guilty until proven innocent. Prisoners have all the rights and citizens have little to no protection from the criminals.  Our police forces have been told to uphold the law using the iron fist of justice, yet the iron fist has been reduced to cheap tin and is now tied behind every officers back leaving them unable to complete any given task or have the appropriate authority to do so.

In god we trust is upon every dollar yet church and state has been cited as a conflict of moral/ethical principal. The difference is right in front of your face son. Hold the door for a woman today and you are oppressing her right to equality, don’t hold the door and you are rude self centered man. Rape and abuse are the center of every television drama, glorified for all to see which seems to be an oxymoron in a civilized society.  The real housewives of any city USA are a ratings boom feeding these women millions of dollars. As American women we should be ashamed of these poor excuses for humans yet we glorify their shallow self centered struggles. Meet any woman who behaves as they do in real life (not reality TV) and she is instantly a trash talked bitch cut from the pack and left to obscurity.

What is the difference? ah yes, everyone gets a trophy when playing sports and no one loses; because if we have all winners that means someone will feel bad about losing, possibly stunting their ability to feel good about themselves in the future.  It also means that no one person will know what it feels like to truly succeed at something through failure, there bye over time eliminating the need to perform and win from our genetic make-up.

Our society is told to go outside and live life daily, these directions come from the confines of a television we paid way too much money for because its quality is so good you actually feel as though you are there, thusly preventing you from actually being outside. The difference is complaining about the rain while sniveling about the sun, whining about the heat while crying about how cold it has become!

The differences are right in front of you, you are bombarded with them every day.   WE (Americans) choose what we believe in as individuals, then we stick to it come hell or high water! Its what makes us great as a society, but its also what may in fact lead to our downfall.

In reality there are no real differences, a tweak here a few horsepower there, but essentially the very same truck. Over the last 100 years “we the people” have become so blinded by the Hollywood glow of some that lead, so ethically corrupted by misled faith, disenchanted with reality, bought off by envy and the American advertising machine that handles everything from a bar of soap to the Presidency, that “we the people” actually believe  there is a tangible difference between a GMC and a Chevy truck.

If you don’t think other countries aren’t laughing at our pig headed stupidity then drive down to your local Honda/Acura-Nissan/Infinity- Toyota/Lexus dealers and see who is having the last laugh at your expense..

Oh yeah, by the way son the GMC truck is waayyyy better than a piece of junk Chevy truck any day! Duh!  Stupid Chevy owners…

 

 

License to drive…

 

Mirrors adjusted? Check! Seat is in the proper position? Check! Steering wheel is placed at the optimal level for a 10 and 2 hand hold? Check! Are you mentally ready to drive today son? To which a death glare is leveled upon my kindly old man face.

And so goes the dilemma a father faces while teaching his 16-year-old to drive. His son frigidly sits behind the wheel; grip tighter than a vise, knuckles Casper white as the truck moves slowly out of the driveway onto our mile long dirt road.  Plenty of room here to screw things up before he merges with the masses of Dario Franchitti’s/ Dale Earnhardt’s vying for position on Americas roadways! 

Now all of this is supposed to be a monumental moment; a point in family history where a father enjoys sharing his knowledge of the road and joy of driving with his son/daughter. Yet all I feel is fear! Now over my storied employment history there have been numerous adults who learned to drive the behemoth 18 wheelers that dot our highway landscape from your truly! Never once did I trickle even the smallest droplet of sweat! I could firmly place my cup of coffee on the dashboard and nary a drop would spill from the styrofoam chalice. Yet with the family prodigy I am as nervous as a death row inmate waiting for a pardoning phone call. 

Maybe my nerves would wear a little softer if my son showed some “drive” (nice play on words huh?) when it comes to this enormous responsibility. But he is so lackadaisical about the whole process it leaves me screaming ugly profanities inside my head! Why? Why is so indifferent? Why does he not seem to care about the outcome? He doesn’t come across as self entitled. He says he truly wants to learn the finer art of motoring. Yet getting him into gear (another fine motoring reference) has been sticky to say the least!

When I was a kid (flashback moment-didiloo,didiloo,didilooooo) life was like this;

Hi everyone my name is little Betty! I am only 13 years old and I love cars! I have models of cars that I built scattered all over my room, wanna see? The Chevelle and 1957 Bel-Air are my favorite cars but I would drive a Chevy truck with a 454, nice wheels, tires, painted blue with ghost flames! Yes sir by golly that is the truck for me! I clean horse stalls and do all sorts of chores saving money up so that one day I can get my license, purchase my truck and drive where ever and whenever I want! Only 23 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 16 hours and 12 minutes until I get my license! I like to sit in my dads old GMC and pretend I am driving all over town! Every day after school and on the weekends if you want to find me, that’s right where I’ll be! Ahhhh Shucks, I can’t wait to drive!!!

Flash forward-(didiloo, didiloo, didiloooooo)

It’s taking so long to turn 16! Being 15 is a giant pain in the butt! Do you know when I turn 16 I will own the coolest truck in town and be dating girls left and right! Summer is gonna blow if I don’t get my license! Man, cruising around in moms station wagon with my permit is a giant drag! But I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Shhhh come in a little closer so no one else can hear; when my parents are gone I steal the old man’s GMC and cruise all over town! I know cool huh! Yeah its ugly but seriously who cares and who needs to be 16, when you have an all access pass to party time with no license needed! Turn up the tunes, pick up the friends and whoop, whoop, just cruise! As long as I am home before 8, because you know that’s when my parents get back from their Monday night association meeting and my dad would kill me if he found out! Oh yeah, I am soooo cool!

Flash forward a little more (didiloo, didiloo di-oh you get the point)

Yes! I have my license! I have a truck! I have freedom! Life is great! So long suckers, I’m hitting the road, places I need to see, things I need to do and they don’t involve this place! Van Hagar playing loud, windows rolled down so all you “walkers” can partake in some choice music as I roll on by! Owning a car is fantastic! If you have the means I highly recommend it!!

Present day:

I get nothing from the lad! No enthusiasm for driving, cars or trucks, nothing, nothing at all.  Where have I gone wrong? Is this even my child? Spinning donuts in the parking lot, drag racing out on Fry road, cruising downtown Petaluma on a Saturday night with hundreds of other cool cars and trucks! Loud music, screaming, laughing and having a general good time! Isn’t that enough to entice a young lad to give it a go; to want his license more than anything on this God forsaken planet?

What is that you say? Cruising has been deemed against the law? Hanging out with your friends is considered loitering? A custom car with loud pipes and a cool stereo is now disturbing the peace? To even think of working on your own car you need to aquire a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanics. On top of that insurance and gasoline are five times the price they were when I was a kid?

Well hell, it all makes perfect sense now! What incentive does the lad have? Why would he want to drive at all?  Why would he even care? Apparently there is a reason they are called the “good old days”.  Because it was good and now we are old which leaves the youth of today nothing but boring days ahead!

So out of the driveway we go, his hands in the perfect 10 and 2 position, the stereo is on, air conditioner set and he is piloting this barge very well down the road.  I resist the urge to browse Facebook as we roll through the countryside. I am trying to build his self-confidence by acting like I fully trust him while I am slyly paying attention to every little detail of his driving manners.  It still ends up being a moment I will cherish forever.  We drive many miles over several days with small corrections here and there, then finally giving him the freedom to drive comfortably without repercussion he relaxes and settles back into the seat.  Another driver on the road, another human reaching the pinnacle of freedom for their age; He may be ready to take the final test securing his permanent license. It might be time for the sensei to release his student out into the world. We pull the truck over and with a sincere smile along with the adoring eyes of his father I lean in and tell him what a good job he is doing, he slowly looks over with a half cocked smile and says thanks. Still no real excitement on his part…

Maybe we should just scrap the whole idea and find him some public transit?

Dont poke a stick at the…..

He travels down the stairs like an ogre, heavy and disheveled. Rubbing his bare feet on the floor there is no doubt where he’s been or where he is headed. Shoulders dropped low, slack-jawed and mopey; don’t make eye contact for he shall unleash vengeance upon all who gaze. The ogre heads to the basement hoping to find some suitable clothing for the day. He begins pawing at the clothes basket like a bear would a tree trunk looking for grubs. Left paw, right paw he swats what is not his out-of-the-way. An annoyance really, these clothes he cares little for, or where they may land. Finding a shirt and pair of shorts he then takes to climbing out of the basement with a gasp and a grumble. Those who stand in the kitchen run for fear of falling victim to his foul mood.

I ask him where he is headed? I do this for I am not scared, nor do I cower at his presence. I am like an old lady with a rolled up newspaper ready to swat the creature on the nose for snorting my direction. He mumbles something about being upstairs, followed by a mild tantrum in regards to his little brother not picking anything up in their bedroom. All of which had nothing to do with the original question, but I let it slide for now. He vanishes back up the stairs and I sit, listening to his heavy footsteps across the floor. I can almost tell you play by-play what he is doing by the foot shuffle that carries through the ceiling overhead.

The others have gathered again hoping to eat before oaf re-enters the kitchen. But this is not be. Slowly he comes back down, dressed and ready for school. The deep furrowed brow he held before seems to have lightened a bit, showing some of the finer features of his face. He pours a bowl of cereal, covers it with milk and sits at the bar staring intently. I ask what he is staring at and all I receive is a shrug. Let the ogre eat I say quietly to myself; let the ogre eat..

He finishes his bowl and walks towards the sink to deposit the fine china and utensils. As he passes a smile arises! It’s not much but the corners of his mouth did raise to an acceptable level. So much so that yes, it’s officially deemed a smile! We have turned the corner! Houston we DO NOT have a problem! It is going to be a good day! I calmly smile back, keeping calm as to not jump the gun on this one! Go easy Betty, go easy!

He finishes his morning chores, including feeding all the horses and comes into the house with a full-blown smile! Its like the sun shining right in our kitchen! The flowers all lean his way! The dogs drop to their bellies and bask in the warm glow! He shines! He shines brightly and his mother hugs him with equal warmth and affection.

The children gather at the rear door, lunches in hand, books at the ready. All are prepared for school and most are excited to go. Mom readies herself, one last sip of coffee and off they head into the world! All run towards the car as if it were a game of tag! They are excited for the oldest is driving them to school today. Something about a kid driving other kids that makes them giggle. Three are gone but one remains at the back door. He is still smiling, staring at me with rosy cheeks, hands in pockets, back pack slung across his shoulders. The warmth still radiating from his face, I can feel his love. I walk closer and he wraps his arms around me, squeezing with all his might. He tells me to have a good day, I do the same and with a wink he is off.

He is no longer the same ogre from earlier lumbering about dragging his club and grumbling. He no longer swats at things like an angry bear. What moment brought about the change? I believe it is an uninterrupted bowl of cereal that does the trick for this lad. As I turn and close the door I soon realize that I am the very same ogre prior to my morning cup of coffee. Hmmmmm???

The legacy continues..

Every 15 Minutes

Steam rises from the hood as a faint wail can be heard off in the distance.  Sound is muffled, vision distorted he doesn’t understand the images placed before his eyes.  A kaleidoscope of colors passing through a spiderweb prism is all he can associate.  Looking to his right he finds a pair of shoes.  Not just any shoes but the Sketchers he bought his girlfriend for her 16th birthday.  Why? He wonders.  Why are they there on the seat of my car and how are they standing on their toes.  The improbability of shoes standing on their toes is more than his mind can process.  He shakes his head trying to clear the cobwebs but the alcohol in his system wont let it happen.  So he stares at the pink Sketchers in disbelief.  

The pink Sketchers he bought his girlfriend on her 16th birthday are in fact not standing on their toes.  They are still connected to her feet, feet that lead to her legs, legs that stretch through the windshield of his 2004 Nissan where she lay motionless on the hood. Dying.  The girl he loves is dying on the very hood that steam now rises from while a faint wail can be heard in the distance.

She cant seem to make it stop.  She doesn’t remember taking a nap, but now that she has found peaceful slumber she only wishes for what ever is dripping on her face to quit!  She dreams of water or syrup sliding across her eyes.  Swatting at the sticky substance she is not sure whether its real or part of her warm comfortable dream.  Then she feels it, starting out as a low uncomfortable burning, her dream translates it into fire.  Surrounding her, leaving her trapped yet somehow she knows better, fighting resisting the dream. Her eyes finally opened by the rush of adrenaline surging through her system, brought forward by the searing pain across her face. The sticky substance now identified is blood! She screams then screams again, taking in all the air her lungs will allow.  Her seat is covered in blood, the dashboard is covered in blood, her clothes are covered in blood.  Wait a minute; she thinks to herself.  Calm down and relax; is all she can say.  Her dads voice ringing in her ears for all the times she felt panicked and he calmed her down with those four little words.  Honey just “calm down and relax”.  She remembers getting in the car with her friend, they were headed to a friend’s house for a study group..  Wait her friend! He was driving them! She slowly turns to the left and its then her world is changed forever!

She now knows where the blood is from, oh sure some is from the head wound that burns across her scalp.  But the majority is from him.  He lies motionless against the door pillar, color gone from his face, lips barren and dry, a sandy glaze across the whites of his eyes he breathes no more. Still, lifeless, anything but the laughing energetic young man he was a mere 5 minutes ago.  She screams for him to wake, he doesn’t budge.  She slaps his face praying for a reaction! Anything! Anger and fear rip through her as she comes to realize he will never wake up, never move again, the charming, smart, dorky boy she had known since 5th grade was gone forever. She lays against him crying. Not knowing what to do or where to go, she cries.

The faint wail off in the distance is not a wounded animal, it doesn’t come from a piece of machinery or a child who has just been punished it comes from a shadow, a silhouette, an anomaly spread out on the pavement 25 yards away.  It twitches and writhes this anomaly of disproportion.  The top half in a serious battle with the bottom half. A losing battle from what can be gathered at first sight.  This shadow seems to be swimming on pavement, for it surrounded by liquid.  A red lake that ripples with the breeze it appears to be flowing to the lowest level it can reach.  Moving closer we see the shadow, the anomaly is wearing softball gear.  A bat off to the right a cleat off to the left stuck in the center of what appears to be a childs water-color.  Smeared across hot black asphalt lay various shades of red.  She doesn’t know why she is face down and can’t move her lower half.  She doesn’t understand why she is vomiting non stop. She feels a “fight or flight” reaction that she can’t control.  Like a trapped animal she howls, claws and fights against the chains that bind her to this place.  An abdomen that wont flex, a pair of legs grotesquely deformed, rotated and broken, she fights.  She has fought her whole life against those who said she couldn’t.  She has fought her whole life to achieve her small successes in school , at home and on the field of play, now she fights purely for her life.  She cannot move anymore yet she still fights.. 

He has shaken the cobwebs and moved beyond the pink Sketchers.  Trembling with fear he opens the car door and stands up to survey the origin of steam rising off the front of his car.  He cannot believe what lays before his still blurry eyes.  Two vehicles are heavily damaged, the front end on his car is folded up like a piece of paper, his girlfriend lay on the hood. Bleeding. Unconscious. It appears he has struck another car in the driver’s door.  A portion of the drivers head lays split open on the center post of the car.  It appears another occupant, most likely a female is crying and shaking the driver looking for a response.  As he walks around the front of his car, pulling out his cell phone he see’s a bloody pile of clothing fighting against itself on the street off in the distance.  It also appears to be a female and she has a bat, glove and is missing her shoes??

What has he done?  How did this happen?  It was only minutes ago he was at a party, laughing, drinking and having a good time with his girlfriend.  What is he going to tell his parents?  What is he going to tell her parents?  This can’t be happening he is going to college in 6 weeks!  What does this mean for his future?  It was only a couple of drinks right? He tells himself he is fine and there is no way the cops will ever know..

He makes the call to 911…

Every 15 minutes a person is involved in an alcohol related accident.  This is the premise of the Every 15 Minutes program held at high schools across the country prior to Senior Prom and Graduation.  Every 15 Minutes is a two-day program focusing on high school juniors and seniors.  The program challenges them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety and the responsibility of making the right decisions.  The program also focuses on the impact these choices make on family, friends and the community. 

The story I wrote above was about our scenario today April 26th 2012.  It is an re-enactment or compilation of many accidents I have responded to over the years.  For as the Every 15 Minutes program has an impact on the children and their families. Drinking and driving has an impact on all first responders.  The firefighters, the police officers, the ambulance crews and the hospital personnel who fight for your child or family members life.  People who are advocates for their survival.  These are images I carry with me always.  Images I can’t erase or just forget! People whose lives were changed forever from one poorly made decision. I remember them all and share them with you so you will remember to never get behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking. 

Dont drink and drive. 

 All pictures are of high school actors who volunteered to help raise awareness to teenage drinking and driving. I am very proud to be a part of the Every 15 Minutes program and the lasting effect it has on our participants, their family members and the audience that witnesses the event.

Who taught you to drive??

RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT, RANT ALERT

Oh yeah ladies and gentlemen its time for Betty to bust out the pain! Lay down the smack! Bring up the blazingly obvious that all of you notice, bitch and complain about to yourselves but never to anyone else!

Drivers Licence Mayhem

As far as I know if you own a driver’s licence in the great United States of America then it means you passed a test allowing you to hold said licence.  Correct?????  It means that when you decided it was time to obtain these valued credentials you studied, went to drivers education classes, partook in valuable drive time on both freeways and surface streets with a certified instructor? Right????  Last but not least, like the rest of us valid card holding members of the united front of commuters you sweated buckets while a DMV representative sat alongside you, with a clip board in hand, guiding you through a designated course, determining if you had the ability/talent allowing you behind the wheel of your current 3400 pound bucket of rust! Didnt you??

Yet with all that being clearly stated why on earth do you lack the ability to safely merge onto the freeway?  At what point and time in all those hours of behind the wheel training did anyone ever show you how to pull all the way down the on ramp at elementary school zone speeds to then stop, look over your shoulder and pray for an opening you can squeeze into from 0-75 mph? With your Prius! It’s not going to happen! Unless you own a Lamborghini Gallardo and are a very talented driver you are not going to make this move without serious consequences!

Of course it must run in the family because this morning I met your cousin Captain Oblivious!  You know Captain Oblivious don’t you?  Yeah, he’s the one that comes down the on ramp at freeway speed and never looks over his shoulder!  Stereo up loud, hands at the ten and two position, head faced straight forward!  Tractor Trailer? He don’t care! Giant 4×4? Better get out-of-the-way! He coming down that ramp like a skateboard to hell and there’s nothing you can do about it! He figures you will move out of fear!  Apparently he missed the chapter about safely “merging”!  Under the definition of “merge” it must read Merge: to ram large object into small or non-existent space without repercussion. The rest of us missed that chapter of the book but not you Captain Oblivious! Not you!

Of course my rant wouldn’t be complete without a visit from out other traffic family member!  Flat floored Fred!  You see Fred enjoys driving really fast! Fred runs the stops signs with the skill and grace of even the best California stop artist! Fred can’t help himself as he moves between lanes like a skilled race car driver.  Drafting off a Lincoln, cutting the front of a Ford and pushing his way into position at the next stop light all so he gets the jump on you the moment it turns green! But Flat floored Fred has a serious flaw. Dont put him in the fast lane on the freeway!  We have all seen him at his best! He darts down the on ramp at full throttle, smoke billowing from his 1993 Cutlass Supreme! He is coming fast, faster, faster than BAM! Across three lanes like Steve freaking McQueen! That car settles into the fast lane looking strong and stealthy until suddenly the anchor falls out of the trunk! Now Flat floored Fred shows his true side, its 55mph.  Yep he’ll break every intown speed limit all damn day long but get him on the freeway and suddenly we are driving Ms. Daisy!  Heres a hint for Flat floored Fred.  If everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) is passing you from all three of the right hand lanes.  Get out of the fast lane!!! You are just frustrating everyone! They all want to kill you!  That is defintley not the “your number one” sign they’re flashing you!!!!

And what the heck is up with roundabouts?  These little freaks of roadway nature are nothing more than an excuse for most people to see how fast thier cars can go while drifting!  No kidding! They may work in Europe to ease traffic congestion but here in the states they are just an invitation for the Red Bull Drifting series to have try outs! They are perfect! How many times can I go around this thing sideways, smoking the tires and blocking all others from entering into the circle of trust?  You know whats an even better idea? Place the round abouts right next to high schools!  Yep thats the ticket! Then the teenagers can all pretend to be Tanner Foust! Its pure genious!

Man I feel better! Its true purging is good for the soul!

Now piss off all of you before large 4×4 guy with dents in his truck loses his temper and shows you the bumper of the Betty mobile!

Versatile Blogger Award

I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

You really like me………

I have been nominated for the Personal Blogger Award by Vanessa Chapman http://vanessa-chapman.com 

This is an award bloggers award to each other as a way of showing appreciation for the blogs they enjoy. I am humbled and honored.

(I plagiarized the rules from Vanessa as I feel there is no reason to re-invent the wheel.)

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1. Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your post. Easy-Done

2. Share 7 things about yourself. Ok hope I don’t scare anyone, but easy-done.

3. Pass this award along to 15 other bloggers. Fail! Only could nominate 13! 😦

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award. Will let them know as soon as I’ve posted this

Seven things about myself;

  1. I am 45 years old and I can’t wait for retirement. When I refer to retirement it is not in the sense of me walking away from a career, gold watch in hand to sit on some god forsaken island, smoking pot until I die.  On the contrary, I cant wait to start the second half of my life.  To re-invent myself and live life twice.  I have had a stellar first half, the second half can only get better.
  2. I can walk into a burning building, rescue people from a crushed or damaged vehicle, repel off a 5 story building with confidence and walk under a ladder without fear of superstitious reprisal.  But I cannot, and I mean no way, no how can I stand being in the proximity of a spider.  Those eight legged little freaks get me every time.  You want to hear a full-grown 200 pound man jump and scream like a 6th grade school girl then toss a black widow my direction.
  3. My ability to tell the dimensions of something from sight are frustratingly astounding.  Spatial relations are my thing and I am borderline “rainman” about it.  Have a picture to hang, I can tell you one side is off 1/2 inch any direction just by looking at it.  Just had your new bookshelves installed, I am the guy who within 20 seconds of being in the room knows exactly where the carpenter “cheated” or “shorted” you on material.  It makes me crazy and it makes my friends crazy as well.
  4. Scary movies are stupid and a waste of time.  I laugh through them which annoys everyone.  I can tell exactly what is going to happen when it is going to happen. 
  5. 1950’s pin-up girls are awesome.  You can have your skinny, anorexic, vegan, boney butt tooth picks.  I like my women with natural curves, and clothing that leaves something to the imagination. 
  6. When I was 10/11 while walking up my long driveway (we lived in the country) a car pulled up with a creepy guy in it who asked me if I wanted a ride.  Then told me to get in the damn car. He had one hand on the wheel and one in his trousers.  Thank god I had enough sense to run.  I still have nightmares about that guy even at 45. 
  7. I am terrified I will fail as a father.  I put up a good front, but deep down inside I always feel as though failure is right around the corner.  It’s why I write this blog.  It allows me to laugh, vent, and share my experiences.  I can look back on it when I am feeling low and remind myself of all the good I have done with my children.  I know they will laugh looking back on all this as adults.

15 bloggers to pass this award along too.

Soshi-Tech- http://soshitech.com

More valuable information in one blog than should legally be allowed in the states of California and Utah.  Everyone else is OK!

A Detailed House- http://adetailedhouse.com

I love houses and the fine art of decorating them in some of the finest trim.  If you are a closet design geek such as myself who also thinks you can take on any project, than this is the blog for you. The photography is very well done also.

Raising a Realist- http://raisingarealist.com

Scott is a mild-mannered high school English teacher. This blog is his attempt to capture all of his daughters moments.  As a parent of four, I can relate with his tag line. “126 kids but only one will wipe my but when I am old”

Mayahood- http://mayahoodblog.com

Adventure seeker, world traveler turned mother.  She has a mixture of her views on motherhood along with guest posts.  It is an entertaining blog.

Bucket List Publications- http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com

This one is near and dear to me as it is a blog that completely follows the premiss of getting out there and doing all those things you keep putting off.  They even pick some of your bucket list suggestions and through donations make it happen for you.  It’s quite the premise and I enjoy reading it immensely

A Confederacy of Spinsters- http://confederacyofspinsters.com

This is one of my favorites!  Three women from Texas, each one taking a turn writing about life trials and tribulations all under pseudo names.  Grace, Mae and Kate.  Its is always witty, relevant and fun!  I look forward to new postings they way one waits at the window for a long-awaited package from UPS. 

Musings of a stay at home Jewish Father- http://stayathometatte.wordpress.com

Another blog dedicated to a male role model at home raising his child.  Its funny and real with great pictures as he chronicles the day-to-day life of a stay at home dad.

In My Opinion- http://diane-ownes.com

Diane is on a quest to ask a different, relevant question everyday for a year. Interesting concept and I find the answers entertaining.

Debut Dad- http://debutdad.wordpress.com

Brenden is a first time dad who lives in Australia.  He blogs about juggling the changes in his life with the birth of their first-born child. Good luck Brenden and keep em coming. 

Vanessa Chapman- http://vanessa-chapman.com

Vanessa nominated my blog,  and although she is already nominated I enjoy her blog and look forward to every new edition she puts forth.  From superstition to the purchase of a new pair of boots.  She is funny and I find her blog to be a good way to blow a little time at work! Ha!

365 trinkets- http://365trinkets.wordpress.com

This blog is a reminder of how much crap we accumulate as adults.  His mission? To get rid of 365 trinkets he has stored as treasured keepsakes over a 25 year period.  The blog revolves around taking pictures of each one (for memories sake) then getting rid of said item. 

maggiemaeijustsaythis- http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.wordpress.com

A blog dedicated to writing poetry and personal trials and tribulations.  I enjoy the freedom with which she expresses herself.

Take a shower- http://takeashower.wordpress.com

A blog about Eloise and the raising of her five children.  She writes about the past and present, reflecting on the moments in time with the raising of her five children.

I am sorry to say I only have 13 to nominate for this award.  I fail!  But the thirteen I have chosen I follow with great intent.  I enjoy many other blogs but they are new to my collection and I havent gotten the chance to know them well enough yet for a nomination. 

Vanessa you were right, I also anguished over my choices.

Rain

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Falling from the sky at an incredible rate of speed, this miniscule object hits the ground with a tremendous splash. Others follow blindly and before long it feels as though you cannot hide from their obvious presence. If try to pass by them, follow you they will. North to south, fast or slow, they come at you with incredible diligence or smother you with a windless drive. We need their presence in our lives and while some welcome them with a smile and open arms, others curse their arrival. Always at the most inopportune moment. Either way, by the look on your face and the discouraged look on everyone elses face around you there is no denying its presence.

Rain

We need rain to survive. I personally relish its arrival and can sit for hours watching it out my second story window. The view is fantastic. I peer across our farmland witnessing the power of Mother Nature as she rolls out of the foothills onto our flat plain. The waves of water or sheets of rain paint the landscape with a variety of colors, shades and light. These are the pictures of earths never-ending beauty I wish to take with me when I perish.

Yet, as I watch the news I am left dumbfounded by the leading the stories. We have not had any winter yet, the fields are dry, the hills are barren and we are nearer to spring then fall. One would assume people to be dancing in the streets over the prospect of an upcoming three-four day storm. But what I see is just the opposite. Our newscasters, field operatives if you will, have taken the time out of their busy morning to locate, or track down every “nay” sayer on the street. Apparently we are so self-absorbed in our personal lives we have forgotten the simple teaching from grammar school. Sun= growth, rain= hydration, the two combined through our planets cycles help keep us alive. Yet here they are relishing in their apparent 15 seconds of fame letting us all know how inconvenient this rain is to their particular life on this very day.

I bet if you were to track down the very same people during the summer months. Then ask them how they feel about the month of scorching temps we have endured, they would wine and snivel about how inconvenient it was for them to be suffering through such egregious temperatures!
Are you kidding me?

Hey idiot here’s a little hint to help you understand a simple basic concept. It rains/snows in the winter, and its warm/hot in the summer! BAMM, like that I have solved all your problems. You now have nothing to complain about in the weather department. You can go forth and plan your wardrobe accordingly, put your garden or flowers on a feeding cycle and even plan family vacations all around this little educational tidbit!

For fun let me expand on that just a titch. Some winters (get ready for this is a doozy) it rains more than others! (I know you are scratching your head in confusion) Some times during summer it is hotter than years previous! WOOOO HOOOO! Mind Blower huh? And sometimes (sit down you moron, I don’t want you to pass out at this revelation) during spring we receive light showers!! I know amazing huh?

So next time the camera gets shoved into your face and some plastic looking, game show host pronouncing, over educated, self-absorbed glory hunter asks you how you feel about the recent weather. Look them dead in the eye and expound your love for all-weather, then politely remind the field reporter all weather helps our planet to grow and survive. Finish him off with the complimentary; what a stupid question! Dont fall into the complaining trap, especially about something you can’t control.

For those who may have noticed I haven’t commented about actually having to stand in the rain. Or blanketed you with witticisms about driving in the rain, getting groceries in the rain, picking kids up in the rain or walking to your car in the rain. It’s because, I get it! Being wet and cold is no fun but it’s all part of living on this glorious planet. There is nothing you can do about it. Purchase a good umbrella or slip into an excellent rain coat! You don’t have to like it, but please don’t make the rest of us miserable because you have chosen to become “Debbie Downer”.

Now go over to your window and appreciate what ever view our world has to offer you. Because no matter where you are I challenge you to find something beautiful staring right back at you.

Look, It’s a double rainbow……

Reminiscing about my first car..

My oldest is almost sixteen, although that may be of concern to some parents for me it brings a sense of excitement and joy. The other day we ventured into the DMV so he could take a shot at passing his driver’s license written exam. I am proud to say he is now behind the wheel of any car we allow him drive. My son handles the pressure of driving a vehicle with incredible confidence. He remains calm and relaxed, very aware of his surroundings and for a new driver relatively smooth on the accelerator. The complete opposite of myself at his age. I was nervous. Terrified really, it scared the hell out of me driving down the roadway. I must have looked like a triathelete crossing the finish line when I finally drove on the freeway! Sweat pouring down my face, shirt soaked in perspiration! 55 mph seemed as though we were traveling at light speed! All those vehicles around me while moving fast, I swear looking out the windshield was like peering out the front of the Millenium Falcon at warp factor one! While we are on the subject of reported space junk, I was always relegated to driving my mothers 1972 Pontiac station wagon. Yuck! Major cool points lost! I prayed everyday that none of my friends saw me in that chocolate-brown hunk of poo with wood siding!

Yet my son doesn’t seem to care. Mini-van or truck, scooter or explorer it means nothing to him. As long as it has a steering wheel and motor he’s willing to drive. I don’t know if that means I had higher standards as a kid or he just enjoys the thought of driving so much he doesnt care. I really wanted to drive too! I started daydreaming about it when I was thirteen. I would spend endless hours on a Saturday just sitting behind the wheel of my dads 1963 GMC truck pretending to drive. I would close my eyes and see myself steering through town, waving at my friends, all while applying the clutch and shifting gears. My dream car was a 1966 Chevy Chevelle. Second runner-up was a 1968 Chevy half ton stepside truck. I dreamt about them, prayed I would own one. I knew exactly what they would look like, from color paint, rims, interior and stereo systems to where I would park them in the high school parking lot. I had it all figured out.

So what went wrong? Why doesn’t my son seem to care the way I did? Why doesn’t he have the same love for cars ? Why are his expectations so low? He has no answer to any of my questions when I ask him.

In my day your car was a rite of passage, a step into manhood, it defined who you were as a young male. Today no one seems to care. His friends don’t care! When I pick him up at the high school there isn’t one nice custom car/truck in the parking lot. Even the little Honda’s are bone stock! What the hell!

Anyway I wrote this a while back in regards to a piece about your first vehicle. I entered it and it was chosen as one of the final stories. The whole reason I looked it up and am posting it to my blog is simple. I am left pondering. Will my children have the same memories of their first vehicles as I did? Or have those days gone the way of cruising and eight tracks? Gone forever, replaced by video games and techno geeks?

Anyways here it is….

My Freedom

The day I brought it home I had no way of knowing the effect it would have on my life so many years later. This machine of dreams made of steel, fabric, glass and wood. It was green and had the smell of old vinyl which hit you hard as you opened the door. The body lines curved, rolled and seemed to run on with no end. The glass was large and bulbous, when you sat inside you felt as though you were a fish looking out at the world from a mobile aquarium. There wasn’t much chrome on this metal masterpiece and that was the way I liked it. Anyone could have a flashy ride with a little money and some elbow grease, but it took someone with confidence and grit to pull off the industrialized look that it held when your eyes fell upon its shadowy form.

My 1964 Chevrolet stepside had a three on the tree with a 289 V8 that rumbled at idle. The gas tank was right behind the seat, which left a hint of petrol wafting through the cab on a warm summers day. Right next to the fuel cell I had carefully mounted a motorized windshield wiper container, which I had filled with whiskey. There was small tubing running under the rubber flooring towards my glove box. When you opened the glove box there were three cup rings where whiskey was dispensed through a small metal wiper fluid nozzle into your waiting glass. The entire thing was wired to a marine switch which ironically in today’s age of not drinking and driving was located next to the ignition.

I loved this truck! I hardly slept at night waiting for the morning, just so I could drive it somewhere, anywhere! I made up excuses to run errands for friends or family just so I could be behind the wheel. It rode rough, had a steering wheel the size of a manhole cover, no air conditioning, and drum brakes that didn’t stop worth a darn. It was primitive, but I loved it! Whenever I see one drive by I am flooded with memories of first dates, parties with my friends, drag racing at the end of the boulevard (yes we still cruised back then) and loading up with my closest buddies then traveling where ever and whenever we felt like it.

You see this was my first truck, my first car, rolled into one. It was the epitome of teenage masculinity, my identity, my solace. It opened the door to freedom from my shuttered world and behind its closed doors it held all the secrets of our journeys together.

Maybe he shouldnt have memories of a first vehicle after all. Sounds like trouble waiting to happen. A Honda civic will do nicely thank you….

Purging the think tank…

 

I have decided as of late there are a few things I need to get off my chest.  A few opinions that continue to rattle around in this perplexed brain of mine. Some may find them humorous, some may not agree with them.  I am pretty sure it will not be my best work but I must get them off my chest just the same.

All my opinions and or ramblings stem from good old-fashioned observation.  Observation of family, media, television or just the average individual walking down the street.  Some may say I am judgmental, discriminatory or just plain narrow-minded.  I say poppycock! My observations merely point out what I consider the funnier moments, behaviors of life.  The things we all do and say weaving together the fantastic fabric blanketing our daily lives.

Now that I have justified my temporary existence here goes…

Number 1

I am sorry I feel the need to remind you that when you become over 40 you should dress appropriately!  I know you feel as though “on the inside” you are still 25 but wake up, you’re not! Wife beaters, high tops and hip hop jeans that you hold up with your “free” hand, make you look like a moronic douche!  Dont know who you are trying to impress their “G money” but every time you smile your face wrinkles up like a chinese shar pei! Thats ok though “Dog” the wrinkles hide well under that flat brimmed $60.00 baseball cap that apparently was designed to be worn backwards and over your sagging ear flaps? Being a bit of a baseball cap wearing aficionado, I never realized the creator was such a visionary he recognized the need early on to cover your ears and shade the back of your neck as opposed to your eyes! Oh yeah by the way there “swagger”, that high school girl you just checked out while licking your 40-year-old pursed lips, she just vomited a little bit her mouth.  You basically just eye groped someone who could be your daughter! Trust me when I say, she don’t want to “get” with that! Word up homey, I wont knock you too bad, I mean I fully get the need for the multiple piercings! Where else are you going to store all that fine 3 and 4 carat cubic zirconium you flashing? Bling Bling bitches! Money in the hoooouuuussseee!!!!

Number 2

Valentines Day is coming which means its time for me to pick my advertising company of week! This is the company that most exemplifies what I hate about advertisers and the strange affliction they have with peddling their products at the expense of hard-working parents, husbands and dads!

Papa Murphy’s you are a winner! Ding Ding Ding!  Thank you Papa Murphy’s for taking the low road when it comes to valentines day!  Nothing says world-class, college drop out, slacker loser like a commercial peddling your heart-shaped pizza for Valentines day! A worried man is in the kitchen with a hand-held blender failing miserably at cooking a perfect Valentines day dinner, presumably for the girl he loves! Not only can’t he cook but he is also portrayed as a buffoon!  Poor guy, so pathetic and sad, thank goodness Papa Murphy’s is there to the rescue with a perfect heart-shaped pizza! Just what every woman wants on valentine’s day! And you thought “Jared” had the corner of this market all locked up! Little did you know that instead of spending $500-5000 on jewelry for Valentines Day if you had just spent $7.99 on a pizza you would have won her heart (get it? heart-shaped pizza, won her heart? hee hee)  and been money ahead all in the same night! Well our sad sack, moron did just that and you know what? It wasnt just for his girl, no it was for his wife and their three daughters! (All together now ahhhhhhhhh). He serves the pizza while they laugh at him for being a dork! Papa Murphy’s you suck! Purely from the standpoint I will not tolerate any company portraying hard-working parents like absolute incompetent boobs!

Just my opinion….

Number 3

Dear auto makers, please quit pandering to the public and create a car that is environmentally friendly, stylish with tons of horsepower.  I know you think you are onto something with this “electric” car thing, but has anyone addressed the concerns for what we are going to do with all the batteries when they are finished? Not to mention the fact that unless you are the Tesla sports car, to be electric you must look like a suppository on wheels (Prius)! What continues to astound me is with millions of highly educated people in this world, technology exploding faster than we can keep up with, why don’t we have a decent sized, attractive 50 mpg car? Why? Looking for a simple answer, thanks for listening.

Bye the way it also worries me that if we do flood the market with 50 mpg cars the price of fuel will skyrocket to make up the difference. Either way I think we are screwed.

So there you are, like I stated earlier, not my best work, but I really felt the need to vent. Someone mentioned to me today they were amazed at the things I wrote about, wondering how I came up with so much stuff to say.  I told them it was easy, the secret is to never turn off your brain.  It’s the only one you have so get to using it, you might be amazed at what comes from inside…