Tag Archives: driving

Reaching for the stars. Just Sayin’.

I don’t always  do the whole “New Year’s Resolution/Goal” thing.  However, after encounters in 3 different parking lots today, I am firming up the tradition.

My goal for 2014 is to NOT be uncerimoniously mowed down by a little old white-haired lady driving a Honda SUV.

I am not certain it is attainable – but fingers crossed, eh?

Just Sayin’.

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Parallel thoughts.

A shameful confession: Outside the office is a section of street where parking is allowed, and, although there is AMPLE free lot parking in the comically large suburban office lot behind the building, the street offers quick access to the building’s door. This makes it a delight for me certain people who may be wearing unsensibly high heels and carrying way too much crap back-and-forth to the office.

HOWEVER, the other day this super-sweet spot was open SMACK in front of the building and I passed it by, telling myself it was too small for Frederico Escapé:
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It wasn’t too small. You could get a damn Econoline van in there.

After parking in a different, less awesomely-close spot, I realized this and it hit me :I am in danger of losing my parallel parking mojo.

FORSOOTH! Do not speak such vulgarity!  (The English lit degree pops out every once in a while, I can’t stop it.) 
I have long spent an inordinate amount of time ribbing The Mr. about his lack of parallel parking skills.  He has used many excuses for why he can’t take various killer spots throughout our years together:  his last Acura had “blind spots” that prevented it,  the Jeep is “too big” and “the backup camera alarm is too sensitive,” and my personal favorite he “doesn’t see as well at night,” (HELLO, you are Driving Miss Keri here, pal – PRECIOUS CARGO – update your prescription, yo!!)

The point is, Keri can parallel park.   I remember distinctly going with my mom and my dear lifelong girlfriend to go see a potential apartment in the city for soon-to-be-college-student-Keri a few weeks before high school graduation, and seeing a tiny spot on  the crowded street.  Too small, remarked my friend and I.  OH NO – not for my mom who learned to drive in the city!!  She wedged her little Sentra into a spot I didn’t think would fit a Vespa, and my friend and I gasped in awe.

I was hooked.  I had to do that too.

So I did.  NO NO – So I *DO*!!

There is no way in hell I am losing my ability to fit Frederico effortlessly into spaces that appear to be Yugo-sized.  I can’t tell you the joy I feel in executing a perfect park right in front of a patio full of people at happy hour, when every dummy out there is just DYING for me to take out the bike rack beside me or jack up my hubcap.  Forget it, suckers – not City Keri, not Reluctantly Suburban Keri, not even So-damn-old-they-repo’ed-my-licence-Keri.  Never.

The shame of abandoning a bomb-diggity parking spot is NOT one I will accept as normal. Mamma’s not going out like that.

RAGE RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT!  (English lit degree again.  I am totes sure that Thomas would be down with me borrowing it to talk about my mad parking skillz.  Yep.)

If you need me I’ll be setting up a makeshift parallel parking obstacle course with the trash bins in front of the house.

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Well, we can drive around this town….

I keep making wrong turns.
I am not talking about metaphorical “woe-is-reluctantly-suburban-me”, “how-the-hell-did-I-end-up-here” wrong turns.
I mean really, I keep turning in the wrong places.
In the town where I grew up, where I could probably have driven blindfolded 15 years ago. But that blind familiarity is kind of the root of my wrong way issues.
Last Friday on my way to the local craft brewery (which we did NOT have when I was younger – cheers to progress, Colorado style,) I was mentally checking off the running “to do” list for upcoming weekend plans and piloting the Keri-mobile along my merry way.
Until I put ‘er in park, grabbed my purse, put hand on door handle and stopped short.

I was in the high school parking lot.
THE HIGH SCHOOL PARKING LOT, FFS.

I always know where I am going, but, on certain roads, there are destinations so deeply engrained in who I am, that I just end up there without meaning to.
It happened A LOT with the house where I grew up in the first months after we moved here; I even ended up IN the driveway (my traditional high school parking spot,) one time. Can you imagine looking out the window of your home as some random lady pulled her ride up under your basketball hoop like she owned the joint? (Don’t worry – it is just that for so long, I kind of did. But maybe lock your doors so I don’t absentmindedly end up in my old garden level bedroom before I come to my senses next time.)
The old rec center, the Mexican restaurant where I worked, even the building where my bank was – I’ve ended up at all of them. It’s an internal autopilot I seem powerless to overcome.

Honestly, even if I am actively aware of where I am going, chances are still good that I won’t end up where I mean to in an efficient manner. Our little town is, frankly, not-at-all little anymore. That means roads. Lots and lots of new roads. “Take the second left past the park” is sort of how I get from A to B. That used to get me to the grocery store. But 3 new roads later, it got me into a hospital construction site. Every time I leave the house, I should probably pack a snack (well, there are the floor goldfish,) because who knows when I will find my way to where I am actually supposed to be!?

Evidently, I am on the road to 1993 in my mind. (Come to think of it, KBCO is still playing the same music, maybe I am being hypnotized by the Gin Blossoms.)
Pardon the doddering old lady in the parking lot, students of BHS.

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The M.U.V.

Frederico Escapé is a mess.
Let me qualify that statement, actually. The INSIDE of Frederico Escapé is a mess.
For realzies.
The depth of the disaster hit me full force recently when “Corporate-y me” found herself feverishly pitching Scholastic order forms, hordes of napkins, junk mail, bobby pins, paci-covers and gah-knows-what-else into the back seat so my colleague from the Boston office could get a lift. (lucky him, eh?)
He is one of my faves, and has witnessed the special horror that is my desk, so he was a-ok with the sitch, but seriously, yo, it’s getting pretty thick in there.
The thing is – 99.99999999999% of the time the Keri-mobile is transporting Jr. and Mommy. Nobody else.
My beloved U.U.V. (Urban Utility Vehicle) of my city-dwelling, self-centric days has given way to the unintentional, unavoidable metamorphosis of suburban parenting:
The M.U.V. (Mom Utility Vehicle.)
Deceptively clean and serene in outward appearance : blueish gray, shiny, windows free of grime.
But crack open one of those doors fitted with the extra sun screen to protect tiny eyes and ZOMG!
Who pulled the pin out of the mom-supply bomb!?
Wet wipes and tissues, blankies and pacis, tiny baseball caps and T-shirts…. All mixing together, ever-churning as the car stops and starts and turns and takes on new layers.
A suddenly-yellow light produces an almost-impossible-in-size forward wave of sippies and goldfish “cackers” and school newsletters from below the seats. It is surreal, even to me.
Don’t misunderstand me here – I am not going down without a fight. I have all kinds of equipment designed to keep everything I could ever need in my M.U.V. organized, tidy, and available with no digging below the seat required. There is the handy cargo bay organizer wedged next to Binky-the-wonder-dog’s collapsible crate in the “way back.” It houses extra coats/layers for the whole family, picnic blankies, balls, and other “outdoorsy” items any Colorado native feels somehow compelled to drive around with at all times. It is stuffed full. I never remember what the hell is in that thing. It does make a nice wedge to keep Jr’s City Mini stroller from sliding around when I stop fast with it back there. (Stopping fast seems to cause a lot of issues for me. Maybe I am not the stellar driver I think I am. Nah.)
In the seat pocket in front of Jr’s throne car seat, an industrial-sized container of wet wipes, a box of tissues, and a trash bag for keeping the used versions of those paper products contained. Mostly. (Again, see “stopping fast” references. Damnit!) Below his feet a bin for toys and pacis and cloth books (no paper when I can’t reach him – he is a paper eater, and the freeway is no time to attempt to break that habit.)
In theory I have everything in place I need for the M.U.V. to be as shiny on the inside as it is on the out.

Except Life.
Except when 2 nights of barfing makes it MANDITORY for me to cover every square inch of interior in the burp-cloth collection I am relieved to say I still have pack-ratted away in the basement just to drive the 5 minutes to the doctor’s office. (Which end up not being barfed on, and living wadded up on the floorboard for months, because that third arm I keep asking for seems to be on backorder.)
Except that a toddler with a snack trap full of cheerios is happy as a clam eating away and singing along to Veggie Tales until that moment when he isn’t – and the cheerios become some sort of anger confetti, whipped around the interior of the vehicle to express his unease. This never takes place on a side street when pulling over might be possible. Not offering snacks at all IS a possibility; however it may result in said toddler deciding that the carseat is, in fact, the portal to hell, and the firey flames are creeping up his backside as I attempt to pilot Frederico safely to our destination.
The Mr’s reaction to this, er, situation, ranges from a mild side eye when I rush after a minor crumb explosion in the garage (“ants, Keri… you will cause ants,”) to recoiling in horror at the idea of actually riding anywhere in my rolling preschool.
Whatever – I’d pit my M.U.V. against his Jeep that he treats like a Bentley in an end-of-times sitch any day.
Blankets, water, books and games – hell our family could eat like kings off that floor board for WEEKS and be fat and happy. (Kings eat ground up teddy grahams and goldfish, right?) Crisis AVERTED.
What do you suppose The Mr. would do in the same situation in his ride? Keep warm with that tiny little shammy he cleans his sunglasses with? Gnaw on a floor mat?
Mmm hmmm.
LONG LIVE THE M.U.V.!!!
(Seriously though – what’s that smell?)

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Swagger doesn’t NEED a label. Just Sayin’.

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This was on the back of the mini van in front of me today.
No, Ma’am.

I mean I get the whole “workin’ wha’cha got” thing, I super do.

But this?  Worse not better.
Swagger that boat wagon outta my way, yo.

Just Sayin’.

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