Tag Archives: driving

On Main Street

Current rental sitch….

When I was in my junior year, I got in an accident right out in front of the High School.

A driver decided to run a stop sign and drove into the passenger side of my car without so much as slowing down. I jumped out, adrenaline racing, screaming at her “Why didn’t you stop!? My friend’s little sister is right in my passenger seat! You could have hurt us!!!” (I distinctly remember saying “my friend’s little sister, even though she was only a year younger than us, also very much my friend as well.)

Her answer was that she saw the stop sign, but didn’t stop. K

There we were, right as all the traffic was coming out of the school, blocking one of the busiest intersections on Main street while I sent someone to call the police.

It took a bit, but here came the officer up the street from the police station to sort things out, and the other motorist’s face went from a look of determination to disappointment when I burst into tears, called the officer by name and sobbed into his hug “she hit me and Sara in my jeep, Bart!!”

So off she went to get her ticket, and off I went to start the process of dealing with filing a claim with her insurance, etc. With a LOT of help from my dad.

And so it was… 20-something years later, on Halloween evening, that was sitting at a stoplight on that same Main Street, in my jeep, waiting for a red light to change.

When suddenly, the motorist behind me decided it was time to go. And so he did. Into the back of the Keri-mobile at the still very much red light.

This time no one was in the car with me. This time when I jumped out there wasn’t any screaming – I just said “are you ok? Do you have your insurance info?” And dialed the police non-emergency number.

But it was not-at-all lost on me, the eerie feeling of déjà vu, as I stood there waiting next to my injured Jeep, in the intersection on Main, for a hometown police officer to arrive, thanking the people who stopped to make sure we were ok. Even car crashes in your hometown spark memories.

Information exchanged and reports complete, off I went to take Jr trick-or-treating before starting the claim process (I did refrain from calling my dad for an assist this time, although I had to stop myself a few times – insurance stuff sucks!)

All involved with both of those accidents were fortunate to walk away with damage to vehicles, and not the people inside them, and as so-very-often happens to me now, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratefulness at the sense of community that has lasted all of these years as my little town has grown (and grown, and GROWN.)

We bundled up and walked the neighborhood in the cold Colorado twilight of Halloween, and of course I got misty eyed watching my son with his friends, and laughing and shivering along with our neighbors.

We are so lucky to be here in this wonderful place with these wonderful people.

(So neighbors – go easy on the Colorado native driving the economy rental with Kansas plates, it’s all the insurance company would spring for!)

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Old. As. Dirt.

This just in, I am ancient.

No really – I am officially an old lady.

I made the horrifying realization today on my way home after Jr’s parent/teacher conference (during which his teacher said he was totally ready for Kindergarten, which sounded like “and he is leaving for college tomorrow” in my ears, so I was feeling the passing of time pretty deeply already.)

2 things happened within the span of maybe one mile that confirmed my lame-old-mom status:

I recently cut the cord with my SIRIUS subscription, so I am kind of a station flipper of late, trying to figure out what stations play what I like.  I flipped to a song a love and was singing my heart out driving down the road, enjoying the sun FINALLY being out after days (and days) of rain (and snow.) Awesome!! The song ended and the station identification came on – KOOL 105.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. It was THE OLDIES STATION. The one we used to beg my dad to turn off when we were young because it was SOOOOOOO lame.

Translation – I am now, SOOOO lame.

At almost the exact moment that this terrible understanding was washing over me, I glanced in my rearview mirror and noticed that there was a little black sedan attempting to climb into my back seat. At least that appeared to be what the driver was doing, because the car was so close to the back of me I could see the freckles on the teenage girl’s face as she drove. I looked down to see if (like old ladies do,) I was driving abnormally slow. Nope, 3 miles an hour over the posted limit, totally reasonable.

I glared in my mirror and maintained my speed, not to be pushed into speeding by her presence. She continued to maintain her ridiculously small following distance, senior hat tassle swinging off her review mirror, until the car next to me (also driving normal speed,) turned into a subdivision.   Then she blew by me before swinging back into my lane and into the same turn lane I was heading for. She was going to the high school.

Something SNAPPED – my inner little old lady was shaking her cane over her head on the lawn of my mind and shouting “YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!” I embraced my ancientness.

I snapped a pic of her plate number as we sat in the turn lane. Her eyes shot lightning bolts in her rearview mirror. The light turned green and she tore away, speeding around the corner and into the school parking lot. I ambled by at the speed recommended for the school zone, tootled on home, and did what lame old ladies do in situations like these: I called the school.

Enjoy your chat with the resource officer, young lady.

(Because that is what lame old ladies call young people. Now seriously, get off my lawn. I will be on the back patio bumping the KOOL 105.)

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Thank you, drive through.

This morning I got trapped in a gas station car wash.


I have been ACHING to wash the crusty layer of dirt and ice slicer and other assorted winter crud off of the MUV of late, but there is no point if another round of snow is coming later that day to re-crustify it all anyway.

So today after I dropped Jr off at pre-school, I saw a gas station with no line at the car wash, (miracle I thought… perhaps it was really an ominous sign,) and pulled in to get ‘er done.

All was well, the wash’s arm started its second soapy pass around the Keri-mobile, and I settled in to read some email. (Did I mention I HATE car washes? They freak me the hell out. But so does the idea of leaning my favorite coat up against my dirty-ass car, so I distract myself while inside the necessary evil.)

Then I noticed how quiet things had become. I gave the wipers a swish to get a better view of what was happening, and it started to sink in.

The lights were all out.   The mechanical arm was stopped right at my front bumper. Soap and water dripped from the ceiling into the puddles on the floor, making plopping noises in the creepy quiet


Panic set in – the doors weren’t moving… It was all steamy and soapy smelling and dark.

HEE HEE HOOOOOO. HEE HEE HOOOOO. (At least that express childbirth class was good for something. Random panic breathing.)

I frantically googled the phone number for the gas station (what did we do before google, for serious people?)

No one answered the phone (stupid worthless google.)

I took a deep breath, opened the car door, and stepped out onto the floor of the car wash. I half-expected some sort of alarm to go off or something – you aren’t supposed to get OUT of your car in the car wash!!


Instead all I got was a big steady trickle of soap down the front of my face and coat.

I followed the signage to the manual switch handle for the garage door in front of me, heaved open the door enough to get out, and walked to the front of the gas station.

The dude in line for the wash behind the closed back garage door honked. (I mean seriously. Ass.)

Mr Gas Station Man seemed not-at-all surprised to see my drowned-rat looking self coming toward the counter.

“The car wash just quit mid-cycle, and I was kinda trapped in there, and the arm is stuck in front of my jeep, and it’s all soapy, and I kinda so am I and….” (I was still panicked from my clearly harrowing experience in the tomb.)

“Oh yeah – I will give you a new code… I’ll reset it.’

WTF dude? I am TRAMATIZED here. Your carwash tried to eat me alive.


It took some convincing to get the guy in the front of the line (honker/ass) to let me punch in my new code so I could retrieve my car from inside the wash – and I admit I did NOT like it one bit when the doors both closed around me again.

Suddenly letting The Mr wash my car doesn’t seem so bad.

Does this shit actually happen to other people?

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The Many Ways You Piss Me Off While Driving

So Jr is 3-and-a-half, which means he repeats the EVERYTHING.

In an effort to prevent him from repeating a string-of-cuss overly colorful recounting of the trip to preschool to his teachers and classmates each day, I have been biting tongue until it bleeds to keep from narrating the transgressions coming against us as we motor those few miles each day.

It is a total bitch.

(One of the MANY words I REALLY like to say that I can’t say anymore, because he has outgrown the portion of toddlerhood where he buys the “oh mommy said witch… you know like Room on the  Broom?” bait-and-switch to a lame G rated word.)

I have a A LOT of pent up pet-peeve in me right now, and if this plan is going to work out long-term, Suburbia, Im’ma need you to PLEASE work with me here and STOP doing the following things:

Using real plates/glasses/UTENSILS etc, in the car.  Why do you have your ceramic “World’s Greatest Mom” coffee mug in the car?  Why is your kid drinking OJ out of a glass with no top that is made OUT OF GLASS?  WTF people – get a damn travel mug. That is going to spill.  Or break.  Or both.

Eating full-on meals in the car. This kind of goes with the last one, but I am BEYOND confused by it. When I look over at a stop light and see a dude using his knife and fork to cut  piece of smothered breakfast burrito on the family Corelle, I feel uncomfortably like I am at his breakfast table. Andplusalso, ” hands at 10 and 2 “(or 9 and 3, depending on when you took Drivers Ed,) NOT “hands on knife and fork.”  If you have to eat (and I get, better than most, the urge to eat while doing all the things,) then try a McMuffin like a normal person.  I hear Taco Bell wraps up all that stuff you have on your plate in a tortilla and smashes it shut with a sammie press.  Try that, yo?

-Having special time with the family pet. I love my dog to an extreme degree.  I have covered that already.  But cuddling your Great Dane on your lap with his head out your driver’s side window while navigating the main drag across town is kind of a recipe for distracted driving.  And Fido needs a doggie harness, too.  Love = strapping ’em in, pet owners.

-Practicing personal hygine. I am not in your kitchen, and I am not in your freaking bathroom either.  I didn’t see very much of this on my drive to work when we lived in the city, but it is rampant out here.  Is it because people have farther to go, so you just leave earlier and take the entire contents of your bathroom cabinet with you in your Honda? It isn’t just the over-played bit about women doing mascara in the rearview (although that does happen,)
it is toothbrushing, and hair geling, and face shaving, and curler removal, and full on foundation application.  At 45 MPH. RIGHT behind me as you roll up to a red light.   Just stop it.

*special snowflake – when I say “you” I really mean “them” as in “those bastard offenders.”  Unless them is you. In which case, I MEAN YOU.

-Oh, and this garbage

-And this

-And also this and this because winter is coming so begin planning now

-PWP- Parenting While Piloting.  You know who you are.  I am not talking about telling Billy to stop smacking his sister, or handing Jane a tissue behind you.  You are the one who is somehow miraculously behind the wheel AND in the back seat physically breaking up that fight or Nose Friedaing that toddler while driving NOT AT ALL in your lane right beside me. That shit can wait. Use your “Swagger Wagon” DVD player to stifle the brood until you get to school and drive.

-Picture taking.  I don’t care if it is the most beautiful sunrise ever in the history of time.  Or if the aforementioned Great Dane is “wearing” your infinity scarf (hashtag, HILARIOUS!) Put your damn iPhone down before iScream or youCrash.

Seriously…  whatever it is that you have to do with your hands, just don’t do it in the car. 
Sing along with the radio.  Watch the guy next to you pick his nose at the stop light instead of checking your phone.

And above all else, pay attention to where I am, on the road, with my kid, who is WAY more important than your stupid lipstick…. Because if you thump us with that minivan or sedan or whatever, I will NOT be biting my tongue to protect my rep around Jr’s school.  I have MONTHS of pent up cuss…

I. Will. End. You.

Safe Travels, now.

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No really, I got this.

It’s no secret that Keri’s first choice for relaxing isn’t mountain recreation.

I confess that when it comes to the purple mountains magisty that is The Rocky Mountains, I tend to take an “over it” attitude. It’s a sin and a shame, but growing up here makes it easy to take for granted.

That being said, I want my kid to have the same experiences that I did when I was growing up – all of the hiking and frolicking and camping (ok, maybe we can skip camping… cabins are nice… walls are good,) and even skiing (NOT with me – HELL NO,) that growing up in Colorado should include.

Then later in life he can go ahead and roll his eyes at the idea of it all too, if he decides to.

That was the agreement – the point of moving way out here away from the city, right? Get Keri out of her comfort zone, get Jr into the crossroads of all the different parts of Colorado, get The Mr (bless his Texas transplant little heart,) closer to the mountains so he could be all, um, mountainy again (gigglesnort.) Check check and check.

Except it has come to my attention that people assume that I am bad at the whole “mountain fun time recreation” thing. Like my distain = my inability.

Um, no.

Keri can hike. Keri can drive the passes. Keri can get on a damn gondola. Keri can drink you under the table at 9000 feet and get up the next day and chase a toddler through tourist crowds.

If you’d like, I can also build you a fire, toast the perfect marshmallow, sing camp songs until hell and gone and splint your hiking injury with my trusty bandana and a stick (ok, I don’t know if I could still do that – but somewhere in my youth I could. Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.)

The level of surprise from family and friends at the idea that Keri is comfortable in the mountains took me WAY by surprise.

I admit, I have no love for being a passenger in a car driving through the mountains – control freak Keri likes to be the pilot (are there seriously people who don’t though? I can’t imagine!) Andplusalso, in true native style, I am ALL about our state’s booming tourism industry. It is beyond important to our economy. It does NOT make I-70 a place where I want to be driving on a Sunday afternoon. Traffic jams suck. Traffic jams on 6% -9% grades with semi-trucks? There needs to be a new word for that level of suck.

But kind of crummy travel issues aside, what’s not to enjoy? It is pretty and peaceful and things slow down a bit up there.

Last week I marveled at Jr’s 3 year old bravery as he cautiously did his first ropes course in Vail. I watched him squeal with glee on the gondolas, and observe flowers and bugs and rocks and rivers with wide, curious eyes. This momma can’t deny it – the Rockies match her son’s adventurous, open spirit perfectly.

So hide your shock, friends – Keri is dusting off her hiking boots and heading for the hills.

Relax. I know what I am doing.


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