I am Very Lucky that I Ended Up with the Man of My Dreams

images1Keith and I met at a date auction in college.  (Read about the auction here)  And our first date was to Fridays.  We were classy college students like that.

I drove.  Since I was the only one with a car.

After the date, which I think we both agree went well, I dropped him off at his dorm.  He asked me to come in because his roommate was having a party.

I said no.  Shook his hand.  And drove away.

He was thinking, wow, that was the shortest relationship ever.  I was thinking, eh, I don’t really like parties.  I’m just going to go home.

So the next day, I send him a super cool and chill instant messenger on AIM.  (Remember AIM?)  And we arrange a second date.  Same thing.

I drive.

Another great date.

On the drop off, he asks me to come up for a party.  I say no.

I leave.

Then my sister has the great car accident of the year in a cornfield.  And this guy calls right as I’m trying to get my sister out of a crashed car.  So I yell that I can’t talk and hang up on him.

And now he definitely thinks this relationship is over.

Eventually, I call and explain that my sister was in a car accident and your call came in right ask my sister was finally stopping screaming.  We make up.  We arrange another date.

We go to dinner and a movie this time.  And he finally figures out that I just don’t like parties.  It isn’t personal.

He stops asking me to come.  And we keep dating.

And eventually, like all romance stories, next comes love and then marriage.  But no, no baby carriages.

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The Only Accident Claim Ever that Included Corn Crop Replacement

RoadYesterday we were talking about car accidents.  And I think we might want to spend some time on the youngest sister and her corn field accident.

Once youngest sister gets her driver’s license, she sets out on her first distance solo drive to visit my Grandparents. I, being the absolutely generous and giving sister that I am, let younger sister drive the SUV home while I take the mini van.  But I lead.  It’s an oldest thing.

Now, you have to know, these are country roads.  In the middle of Amish country.  And the Amish drive buggies.  Pulled by horses.  That like to poop in the middle of the road.

So I’m driving along, and I see some horse poop.  I decide that I’m going to go around the poop.  And I watch out of my rear view mirror to find out if my sister decides to drive around it or through it.

Youngest sister doesn’t see the poop until she is right on top of it.  And instead of just plowing through, she jerks the wheel and misses the poop.  Unfortunately, now she is shooting off in to a corn field with a large SUV on un-flat ground.  We don’t know how many times that car flipped but she definitely got a close-up view of corn through the front windshield.

(This has to be the only accident report ever that includes corn crop reimbursement on an insurance claim.)

Since, I’m watching this whole thing take place on my rear-view camera (thank God I was watching that closely!!), I quickly turn around and head back to the last spot I saw my sister.  And I could hear her screaming the whole way.

The Amish owners of the corn field come running out, people driving by stop to help, and I’m running toward my sister as fast as possible.

So now, once again.  We are in a corn field.  And all corn fields look alike.  So I’m trying to explain to 911 our location.  Finally, I give up.

I hand my cell phone to one of the Amish guys hoping that he can tell the 911 operator the address of his corn field.

Amish guy.

Cell phone.

Seeing the problem?

He looks down at the phone like what is this contraption of the devil that is projecting voices?

Yes, I realized my problem right away.

Fortunately, other people had called 911 and an ambulance was already on its way.

So I called my grandparents.  Who rushed right over.  And my parents.  Dad rushed right over and Mom rushed right over to the hospital.  And my Uncle.  Who was driving in the same general vicinity.  By the end, it looked like a big family reunion.  In a corn field.  That the insurance company had to pay the farmer for damages.

Don’t worry.  Sister was fine.  The car took the worst of it.  But if you ever find yourself in Amish country and come across some poop in the road … just go through it and treat yourself to a carwash later.  No sense risking a ride through a cornfield.

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The Year of the Accidents

AccidentEventually, all three younger members of my family received driver’s licenses.  And pretty soon there were 5 of us driving around town.

Remember that statistic where 99% of accidents happen within 5 miles of your house?  Well, you can make that 99% of accidents happen within sight of your house.

Just ask my family.

The year started with me rear ending someone down the street in the ultra-cool Chevy Lumina mini van.  It wasn’t a bad accident.  And I still don’t remember exactly how it happened.  But I was the only one brave enough to get in to an accident with that Chevy Lumina.  And I’m not even entirely certain that the Lumina was damaged.  I think that car had a force field of angels surrounding it and my family would have done well to just continue driving this car.

Because next up is my sister rear-ending someone on the way to school.  In my Dad’s Buick SUV.

(At this point, I guess my parents gave up on forcing us to drive the lumina minivan anywhere cooler than school.)

Friday morning, my Dad picked up his newly fixed SUV from the body shop.  And my sister drove it to an after-school activity.  (Do you see where this story is going?)

She made almost all of the way home but just as she was making a left-hand turn in to our driveway, she was hit by a car drag racing down the street behind her.  My mom watched the whole accident happen from our front window.  I think she ended up being the most injured – from running down the gravel driveway shoeless.

But the car was totaled.

The day it was picked up from the shop.

So my Dad bought a new car.  A beautiful Mercury SUV.  That he gave to me to drive around town.  I guess I had finally graduated from mini-vandom to being the only other member of the family without any major accidents.

Meanwhile, my mom’s car was hit by a bus.

A city bus no less.  I don’t think that car was completely totaled.  But it took weeks to get back.

Finally, we have a new round of cars (or newly fixed cars).  The (still existing and undamaged) mini van, the beautifully large SUV and my mom’s car.

So, right about now, my youngest sister gets her license.  And she totals the new SUV in a corn field.

At this point, my Dad gives up and buys himself a absolutely boring Honda Accord.  And I bought my very first car all by myself.  A little yellow ford.  See above photo.

And that is the end of the year of the car.

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My First Car

New ImageI was pretty proud of my first car.  An 80s something Ford Station wagon.  Complete with backwards facing seats, bench seats in the front that fit 3, and bullet holes… wait, what?  Bullet holes?

Ok, fine, they weren’t really bullet holes.  But they did certainly look like them.  See, this car was already old when I got my hands on it.  And it had survived many Midwestern winters.  So it was only natural that the car got a little rusty.

But my Dad had the brilliant idea to sand off all of the rust, prime over it and repaint the car.  Well, it would have been a brilliant idea … if we hadn’t gotten lazy and only completed the first step – sanding off the rust.  And you guessed it.  The rust came back.  But this time, since the doors were now thinner (thanks to the a-fore-mentioned sanding), the rust came back faster and more aggressively.  Pretty soon, the whole back side of the car was covered in little holes that looked just like bullet holes.  So (being of the mindset, never let the truth get in the way of a good story) I naturally let all of my fellow high-schoolers know that my car had been shot.  It made more sense then having to explain my Dad and I never got around to finishing yet another project.

But it was still my baby.  And I proudly drove it around town.  Much to my sister’s dismay.

I was one of the oldest in my class so I was the first to get a license and the keys to a car.  So of course I wanted to show it off.  My favorite part of the day was driving past the front of the school where all of those younger than me were still waiting for their parents to pick them up.

Unfortunately, my sisters’ thought this was much less cool.  And they ducked down in their seats and covered their heads with a towel.  Maybe if they couldn’t see out, maybe no one could see in.

Bad news sisters.  You didn’t fool anyone.

I still don’t know if it was because of the car or just the fact that they didn’t want to be seen with their much more dorky and definitely less social older sister.

My plan was to eventually paint little flowers around the each tiny hole.  But when this baby left me stranded on the side of the road, my parents decided it was time for me to start driving the much less cool but more reliable mini van!  And not just any mini van.  A dark blue Chevy Lumina mini van.

Van2I know, I know.  You are all jealous.

But let me tell you, this car was also great.  I could fit all (I swear there were more than 1) friends in the car and we could go anywhere we wanted.  Well, anywhere we could get on the $5 of gas anyway.

I think everyone should have to drive old, ugly cars.  Think about all that self-esteem I built for the cheap, cheap price of hand me down cars.

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A Rite of Passage: The 16 Year Old and Her Driver’s License

CalmThe day I turned 15 and a ½, I signed up for Driver’s Ed.  My Dad would drop me off after school and I would spend 3 hours learning about the horrors of driving.  The images of totaled cars wrapped around trees, drunk driven cars in the middle of living rooms, and of course, the requisite picture of a completely immobilized persons in hospital beds.

Even though the class did its best to persuade us to never get our own driver’s license … my parents decided it was time for me to overcome my fears of becoming Driver’s Ed fodder and learn how to drive.  (Probably so they could stop driving me all of town for random things like Drivers Ed classes.)

And other than that one mishap where I confused the gas pedal for the break pedal … I think I learned successfully.

Then day I turned 16, my Dad did one last obligatory drive to the BMV.  I passed the written portion of the exam with flying colors (ie. perfect score other than that one question about how long it takes a semi truck to brake in the rain.  I don’t know.  I’ve never driven a semi.  And wouldn’t it depend on how much rain and whether or not the truck had adequate brakes?  All things that I feel were not taken into consideration on the question).

Next up was the driving portion of the exam.  The grumpy instructor greeted me with a grunt and climbed in to my ford station wagon.  But I think he had a right to be grumpy.  After all, he willingly put his life in the hands of an enthusiastic 16 year old barely ever driven driver.  At least we stayed off the expressway.  I suppose you can only get in so much trouble when the average speed of your trip is 25 miles per hour.

I’m happy to report that the only part of the driving exam that I failed was remembering to turn on my blinkers when parallel parking.  And I guess I didn’t learn the lesson because I still always forget to turn on my blinkers when braving the act of parking between two cars.  I’m to busy trying, you know, not to hit the other car!

Then the real fun started.  I got to take over the joys of driving siblings and self to school everyday.  This meant that I was in charge of the leaving.  If I needed more time in the morning, my sisters were just going to have to be late with me.  And if I wanted to stay and socialize… actually, 16 year old me didn’t really like socializing.  So the more realistic situation was if my sisters wanted to stay and socialize after work … too bad so sad.

Thus is the power of a driver’s license in the hands of a 16 year old.

It might be time to consider raising the minimum age for a license to something more like 30.  But parents every where would revolt.

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Mountain Climbers

Dog1I think Kazoo might be blind.  Or at least, we know she had no depth perception.  It’s taken her 4 months to get up the nerve to jump off the couch.  Forget about going down stairs or off decks.

Although, she did it once.  Jump off the deck that is.  I’m pretty sure she didn’t even realize that there was a drop.  She just flew right over it without stopping.  She refused to do it again.

But she will climb things.  She likes to be up tall.

Especially when that makes her taller than older sister.

I think she also likes anything that gets her feet off of the cold wood floor.  This must be the reason why she only has accidents on carpet.

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Raising Lap Dogs

Mom1I have little dogs.

I don’t have anything against big dogs.  But I’ve always had little dogs.  (Not that small, carry around in purse, little.  My goal is to always get a dog that a grown man wouldn’t look ridiculous walking by himself.)

And we live in a city apartment and I don’t know how big dogs get enough outdoor exercise.  My little dogs?  Two mile loop and they are out for the rest of the day.

But the best benefit of little dogs?  Lap snuggles!!

Snuggling with the puppies can be the highlight of my day.  And sometimes I even let other people snuggle with the puppies.  See?  I can be generous and unselfish.

Ok, fine.

The real situation is more along the lines of my dogs love laps.  And new people’s laps are the best laps.  But at least I am a big enough person to let them stay there.

Mom2

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