Tag Archives: driving

Day Four: “But It’s So Confusing!”

I wish my nails were as nice as this stock photo person's are.

I wish my nails were as nice as this stock photo person’s are.

When the Daughters were learning to drive, Hubby became Super Dad.  He had infinite patience with their behind-the-wheel time and knew just what to say to keep the lesson an educational and soothing one.  Me, I spent most of my time saying “OK, OK, OK you can use the brakes now like now now NOW!” which is why I did one session with each and that was the end.  But back to Super Dad.  He was terrific with them and outfitted them with everything they could ever need:

  • The AAA card so they would never be stranded.
  • Jumper cables.  I don’t think they knew the car had a battery, but whatevs.
  • Emergency flares.
  • Solar blanket.
  • A neat carrying case for everything.
  • Maps

This last one mystified them both.  “What do I need these for?”

Super Dad was baffled.  “How else will you know where you’re going if you’ve never been there before?”

Driving Daughters pull out cell phones and point to apps for Scout and Google Maps.

Super Dad was even more baffled.  “Okay, but you need the bigger picture.  You know how many times those things are wrong?  And what about when you need to exit a highway to find a Dunkin Donuts or a bathroom, you need the map to know how to get back!”

Driving Daughters shrugged and went on their merry ways.

Recently Super Dad pulled out a map for a trip one of them was planning and pointed out the route and where the best driving might be.  He gestured at various cities that built loops and beltways and discussed the merits of each one and their relation to the overall trip.  He turned the map over to show the larger cities in their own little maps and where they might want to stop for a meal.  Satisfied he had made his point, he folded up the map expertly and handed it to the Daughter.

“That’s too hard and confusing,” she said.  “It’s easier to use the phone.”

“Please,” he said.  “Just take the map.  Just in case.”

She relented, more to make him happy than to actually use it,

To this day, I don’t believe either one has ever looked at a map to get a picture in their head of where they might be traveling.  The punchline to all this, of course, is that they both majored in History in college.  Hello!  Where would History be without maps?????

Super Dad just smiles.

That's my new swear word when I'm driving now.

That’s my new swear word when I’m driving now.



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Back to the important things.

Yesterday I tackled some of the 40 pounds of apples we picked, and created three dozen apple streusel muffins and a glorious sour cream apple spice cake that I want to marry.  In fact, I just had a piece for breakfast and I’m totally not sorry.  Of course, the picture would have been more charming if the East Coast wasn’t experiencing a second summer right now, with temps expected to hit the upper 80’s.  Really, Weather?  Weren’t you done with these shenanigans in September?  It’s October 2nd, for pete’s sake, and it’s just not normal to have such high temperatures while large brown crunchy leaves are falling.  See to that, wouldja?

I also thought some more about writing.  I have long wanted to create a series of books appropriate for middle-school aged children, and I have a couple of good ideas tucked away.  But I also know that I have a long way to go before I even start a page with the words “Chapter One.”  Mainly, I have got to get my house in order, both mental and physical, and that’s not as easy as shaking myself and saying “off to it, girl!”

The physical part needs cooperation from the resident dwellers.  We have all been working at combining two households, purging 25 years of accumulated things (I didn’t say “stuff,” I was being somewhat respectful) and trying new ways of doing what we’ve been doing all along.  Some of it is working beautifully.  Other things, like having a new bed delivered, have been an exercise in patience.  This is my third attempt with this bed, and today I have to stop in the store for yet another issue that has arisen.  Is it really supposed to be this difficult?  It’s a bed.  It’s not building a house or shooting a movie or testing a cookbook’s 900 recipes, it’s delivering a frame, a boxspring, and a mattress.  Not too tough, you would think, but apparently there’s a whole world out there of people who don’t work on Mondays, who don’t inspect boxes before they ship out and discover there’s a big rip down the side and all the necessary parts to connect the frame are missing, who schedule a re-shipment A WEEK after the first one, who deliver the SAME RIPPED BOX THE SECOND TIME, who apologize on the phone and say someone will be there tomorrow and can we offer you a $30 gift card for your trouble?  Dude, I just want my bed and nothing in your store costs less than $75.

The mental part happens when I’m knitting.  If I’m not watching something to distract me, I knit methodically and I try to align my thoughts that way.  Invariably I start with the thoughts of “I should be at work.  I don’t have work anymore.  I left the job I loved.  Did I love it?  Yes, I did.  Well, not everything.  There was …..” and that’s when I notice I’m gripping the yarn tighter and my gauge has tightened and my teeth are clenched and and and …. okay, this is still an issue, time to think about something else.

It happens when I’m driving.  As I’m running errands or hitting the highway to see Younger Daughter in college or heading out to rendezvous with friends I project ahead (as all the self-help books tell you to do) and imagine where I want to be this time next year.  Then I tussle with reality and fantasy a bit, and come back to the real question that hasn’t gone to sleep: do I still want to be a teacher?  I don’t know the answer to that yet, and that’s the part of my mental house that I need to get in order.  Perhaps I’m too close to the situation that just happened to give it any real objective analysis and I should give myself a bit more of a break.  Perhaps there’s too much pressure and my internal mind is saying “relax, there’s time,” which is why I tussle with my thoughts.  Tussle is a cool word.  Like a genteel fight.

Or perhaps there’s simply not enough apple product in the house.  So when I return from my drive along the shore, there will be apple bread.

Picture time!


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October 2, 2013 · 10:00 am

I Love People


Dear God, help me remember I love people, even when they are Elvis impersonators. Amen.

My daughters will tell you the title is false, because whenever I’m driving and I run into a smackload of stupid, I don’t get road rage; I sigh and say I hate people.  But no, really, I do love people.

I love the people I came into contact with yesterday.  My friend Karen and I met for lunch at Panera (Yes, I had salad.  And unsweetened iced tea.)  (Alright, and a half of a cookie.  Shut up.) and it was so great to be with somebody who gets me.  We have a good sense of snark together, we’re pretty compatible on the smarts level, yet so different in other stuff that I’m never bored speaking to her.  She’s also a great vehicle for getting out of myself and also for remembering that I’m not the scum of the earth.  

I also saw my doctor yesterday.  She is such an awesome doctor because she does not lay down any lines of BS to make herself that Doctor-God combination that really irks me.  She is human and willingly admits if she got something wrong or just doesn’t know the answer yet, and follows up with phone calls home.  She has made my life better in so many ways, and I’m lucky to have her in my life.  My dad was, too.  When he moved in with us and had his first appointment with her, he was shocked when she called at home to see how he was doing and if he had been comfortable at the appointment and if there were any questions he had forgotten to ask.  He shook his head over it all night, totally impressed.  My dad didn’t impress easily.

I also saw my knitting store gals.  Lisa owns the yarn shop and has never not made me laugh.  She has that profound gift of asking questions about you because she’s interested, not just curious and then she remembers what you tell her.  Dude.  That’s like the hardest thing for me to do sometimes, and she sees how many customers?  I often blurt out the “oh, right, yes, now I remember you telling me.  He’s in Sweden, right?  Connecticut!  I knew it was something like that!”  Yeah, go me.

Jesh was there, too, and besides having a cool name, she is a really cool 20-something who has the tenderness and compassion of a much older woman.  She is funny and talented beyond belief, and is getting married next year and has already knit her wedding shawl.  I’m taking bets on if she’ll break down and knit the flowers.

People have a way of taking me outside of myself, yet at the same time centering me and finding the good inside myself when I’m feeling a wee bit useless.  (You know, the whole leaving my chosen profession thing.)  There is something about a smile that reaches all the way up to people’s eyebrows that melts my heart and makes me feel glad I got the chance to encounter them.

Then I drove home and I hated people again.  Maybe I should amend that to say I hate people driving cars.  

But that’s a story for another day.  Hah!  Keeping you hanging, that’s my evil plan.  

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