Tag Archives: cars

I’ll show YOU, Boreas!

Howdy! I hope you all had the best of Thanksgiving weekends. Well, those of you that do such things. Meaning, I suppose, MERKANS. The rest of you didn’t do Thanksgiving this weekend, right? Right.

Here we are back in the real world. Well, mostly that means a month of buying anything that isn’t tied down in order to wrap it in pretty paper and gift it to others. As one does in December. I am…oh, I don’t know, about 40% done with Christmas shopping? Maybe? I should be further along but sometimes you have to wait for paychecks to come in. However! Christmas cards are done, and as soon as I’m done writing this, Christmas DECORATING will be done. Baby steps, ladies and gentlemen, baby steps.

Let’s talk about bad decision-making!

Sometimes, you make poor decisions. No, not YOU, specifically, but yes, probably you. I mean, I don’t know too many people who haven’t made a poor decision now and then in their lives.

Me? I make those decisions on the regular. Hilariously, the good decisions I make are usually mistakes. The bad decisions are the ones I agonize over and finally decide “let’s do this” and then BAM! BAD DECISION HITS YOU UPSIDE THE HEAD YO!

I also have the added problem of decision-making while under the influence of stubbornness. I am a stubborn little thing. If someone tells me what to do, I immediately want to do the opposite. I don’t ALWAYS do the opposite – I can usually talk myself out of it – but sometimes my stubborn gene sets in and I’m all “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, ‘THE MAN!'” and then look out, world, I am not using any sort of common sense to navigate. Like, none. At all.

At the beginning of November, I told my mom, “Wouldn’t it be fun to come home for Thanksgiving and surprise Dad?” We decided it WOULD be fun. So we all secretly planned it all month. And then a week before Thanksgiving WINTER STORM BOREAS raised its evil head.



WINTER STORM BOREAS (because we name our winter storms now) was supposed to be like the WORST THING EVER and dump like 18″ of snow on my whole route home Wednesday night. And at first I was all, “eh, I’ll just not go.” But then my mom started telling me I COULDN’T go. “YOU WILL DIE!” said Mom. And Stubborn Amy kicked in. STUPID BOREAS! STUPID BEING TOLD I COULD NOT GO! STUPID RUINING OF THANKSGIVING! STUPID RUINING OF SURPRISING! DOWN! WITH! THE! MAN!

So when the weather reports started saying the storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, I was all, “I AM GOING SCREW THIS” and got in the car right after work and took off. People said things like “are you sure?” and “um…Boreas?” and “you will die, maybe?” and “maybe you should text me when you get there? IF you get there?” and I was all “I WILL BE FINE I AM PLATINUM!”

It was raining here. I could handle rain. Half an hour into the drive, traffic ground to a halt. We started seeing signs that said “right and middle lanes closed due to accident.” We all sloooowly merged over. Come to find out two tractor trailers had not only hit one another, they’d tipped over, spilling their contents all over the place. It was quite nervous-making.

But I sallied forth! I WAS SALLYING!

The night started to get colder. The winds picked up. This led to frozen roads and the car getting PUSHED to ONE SIDE. The winds were that bad. So I had to use BOTH hands on the wheel and pay super-close attention. I started thinking, “this might not have been the best idea.” But! Stubborn! Sallying, dammit, SO MUCH SALLYING!

I stopped at the rest stop I always stop at and did some deep breathing. Whew. At that rest stop, you have about an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes, until you reach my parents’ house. I could do this.

Went in. Rest-stopped. Came out. And it was snowing like hell. A woman was crying outside the door. “I DON’T WANT TO DRIVE IN THIS ANYMORE,” said the crying woman. A frat boy fell down in the parking lot because so icy.


So what does one do? Get back on the slippery windy highway and drive back to Albany where the weather was better, but drive through all that again? Or keep on a’truckin’ (or car-in’, I guess) and just deal with what was coming?

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn.

I kept going.

The roads got worse as I drove. At least on the highway you could see the lines. Nothing seemed to have been plowed once you left the highway; the roads were all packed-down ice and snow and slick. Slick, slick, SLICK. And it was snowing hard enough that I couldn’t see.

I’d told Mom I’d be home by 8; that gave me an extra hour in case of traffic or weather.

8 came and went. I couldn’t call anyone; it was too slippery to not pay attention to the roads, and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.

I almost went off the road, all-told, 4 times. I cussed (at the weather, at myself, at other drivers) too many times to count. My check engine light randomly came on. I couldn’t change my playlist so I listened to the same 20 songs over and over and OVER. (Luckily, I loved them, so I was ok with that. And now I know ALL THE WORDS.) I said, “THIS WAS A VERY STUPID DECISION!” repeatedly.

But I kept driving.

And I finally pulled into my parents’ driveway at 8:40pm. Five straight hours after I’d left. My mom came to the door and looked FRANTIC. My dad came, looking confused, saw me, got BIG HUGE SURPRISED EYES, and then opened the door. I thought he would yell out, “what are you doing here?” and it would be all a happy surprise but he ACTUALLY yelled “THIS IS NOT FUNNY! NOT FUNNY AT ALL!” and then SHUT THE DOOR ON ME! He did not even help me bring in my things in all the snow. So I went in with all my things and was all “OLD MAN I AM SURPRISING YOU FOR THANKSGIVING COME GIVE ME A HUG” and he stomped in all “BOREAS SO STUPID WHAT WERE YOU THINKING” and then gave me a hug and said “it is nice to see you” very quietly so I won Thanksgiving.

This is getting hellaciously long, so I will rush through the rest. We had a lovely Thanksgiving, including the following things:

  • napping
  • sleeping in
  • hanging with The Nephew
  • eating our weight in Thanksgiving foods
  • watching Kill Bill 2 with Dad and having to explain the plot to him and giggling
  • visiting my grandmother
  • helping my dad figure out how to turn his new cell phone onto vibrate
  • ordering things for Dad on Amazon (“what is this PRIME? No SHIPPING? This is AMAZING!”)
  • rolling my eyes until they almost ruptured at the constant stream of Fox News that happens in that house
  • looking at eleventy-billion photos of Mom’s trip to Rome (“AMY! The statues were NUDE! Can you IMAGINE?”)


Then on Friday morning, after my nephew cheerfully greeted my sleepy-eyed self with “Aunt Amy! You are awake! Do you want to race?” (I did not want to race, but I totally watched HIM race), I packed up leftovers and the car and Dad filled it with gas and wiper fluid and gave me many pretend-gruff hugs and off I went. And luckily the drive home was uneventful (except Dad didn’t close the hood all the way, and I didn’t realize that until a couple hours into the drive, so Dad was all, “YOU! COULD! HAVE! DIED!” but I didn’t die. Obviously.)

So: yep. Very, very stupid stubborn idea. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t. That was a terrible drive. I’m too old for that shit. But, overall: a very, very good Thanksgiving. Got to spend it with my family, for the first time in a decade; got to read with The Nephew; got to hang out with my dad; got to eat so much delicious food. NOM.

But if I try to do something ridiculous like that again, please slap me upside the head and tell my stupid, stubborn self that it’s better to be alone on the holiday and alive than dead on the side of the road trying to get some turkey and family hangtime. Good grief.

OK, not as stupid as this...which made me cackle like a moron...but still pretty stupid.

OK, not as stupid as this…which made me cackle like a moron…but still pretty stupid.

Every time I’m on the road it’s Special Driving Conditions, baby. I AM SPECIAL.

I was thinking today, as I was in traffic on my way home:

How many of these people would pass the New York State Learner’s Permit test, were they to take it today?

Now, in my defense, the drivers today were totally the worst. We had speed-em-up-slow-em-down Harry, who…well, did exactly what his name suggests. He was in front of me and he’d go normal speed, then putter along, then normal speed, then putter along again, and it was MAKING! ME! STABBY!

Then I had the guy who seemed new to town, and would hesitate at every single intersection. Do I want this one? No. How about this one? Nope, not this one. Oooh, this one? No, that one’s someone’s driveway. What about this one? Oh, shit, that’s the greenhouse’s back entrance. TURN OR PULL OVER I HAVE LAUNDRY TO DO!

Then there was the guy who kept coming to panicked stops for no reason. I feel like maybe he had something wrong with his foot. EEERK! Stop. EEEERK! Stop. Why are you DOING that? There’s not even a REASON!

My half-hour drive home became forty minutes and I was super-crabby by the time I got home.

Oh, is THAT what it is? Thanks, helpful graphic!

Oh, is THAT what it is? Thanks, helpful graphic!

So about halfway there, I started thinking. This isn’t the way we were taught to drive back when we were studying for our permits, was it? And we’re like, what, thirty years or something FROM getting those permits, more or less? Shouldn’t we be BETTER at this shit, not worse?

(Side note: I passed my written permit test without a hitch. I think I got one, maybe two questions wrong. I have always tested well. I tend to know, when there are multiple-choice questions, what’s being asked for. Or I can at least narrow it down to the two most likely answers and have a good track record of choosing the right answer. This is also why I would have been very good at that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire show. It was multiple-choice questions. I would have won that. Totally won.

However – this is a very long side-note – I did not pass my driver’s test the first time. The first time, I had a very mean old man who was SUCH A STICKLER. I couldn’t parallel park, but just not being able to parallel park doesn’t fail you. What failed me? I was driving – I am not even kidding – three miles an hour below the speed limit in a 25 or 30 mile-per-hour speed-limit zone. And he was so mean. He actually YELLED at me to speed up. Then said, “Not that it matters. It’s too late to pass this thing now.” I was CRUSHED.

The second time I went back, I wore a very short skirt – I was skinny then, it was my year I was skating the edge of an eating disorder – and a low-cut top and flirted my way to a passing grade with the younger instructor and the only thing he failed me on was parallel parking, because, per the instructor who was looking down my totally jailbaity top the whole time, “Eh, it’s a small town, you’ll never need to know how to parallel park, anyway. About a year later, I moved to Binghamton, New York – which is a city. Where you need to CONSTANTLY parallel park. I still can’t parallel park correctly. I’ve done it once correctly in my whole life. ONCE.

I am not proud of this passing-a-test-with-my-tits thing, but I really wanted that license.

END SIDE NOTE, which was just here to give a personal touch to this post. I did not start life as a very good driver, but I’m passable now. I’ve been in two accidents since I started driving, and wasn’t injured in either of them – just bodywork to the car(s). And the last one was 13 years ago. So I think I’m a decent driver, or at least know how to stay out of people’s way.)

ANYWAY. Where were we?

I thought it might be interesting to see, considering that it’s been 22 years since I took it, how I’d do on the NYS Learner’s Permit test if I were to take it now.

Did you know you could take the test, or at least a practice version, online? You totally can. Ain’t technology wonderful? I had to study from a smeary newsprinty booklet, if I remember correctly.

There are nine sections. Because I love tests, I took ’em ALL. With varying results.

We start with traffic control. Traffic control was a LOT of guessing. Why? Because it had questions like “What does a rectangular sign mean?”

Good grief. I don’t pay attention to the SHAPE of SIGNS! Unless they’re octagonal or triangular. I mean, sincerely. However, I somehow got all of those. (The answer to that rectangle question was “speed limit sign.” Hard, right?)

I actually got a 92% on this part so I was feeling pretty confident. I only got a couple of stupid things wrong because I overthought them (and, in my defense, one was worded oddly.) Also, were you aware if there’s a flashing red light, you’re supposed to stop? I have to wonder if I was on the road, I would know that, and I’m just not knowing that because I’m sitting on my couch, or if I really don’t know that and therefore am just seconds away from a multi-car pileup that kills a billion people.

Next! Intersections and turns! This’ll be good, right?

WRONG. I got a 69% on this. (Heh. 69.) I know, that’s ridiculous. I got 4/13 wrong. Two of them were hand-signals. I knew I was just guessing on those. I have no idea what the hand-signals mean. (I think they mean, “Get your turn signals fixed or take a cab, asshat.”) And again, two of them were oddly-worded, and one had me waiting in the center of an intersection to make a turn, which seems VERY unsafe to me.

Like I'm ever going to remember these. I'll just think you're car-dancing or something.

Like I’m ever going to remember these. I’ll just think you’re car-dancing or something.

Maybe I’m really a terrible driver after all.

Next! PASSING! Oh, I pass a lot of people. Because I am a speed demon. (There was not a section about speeding. If there was, I think I would have won the hell out of that section. Or lost, I suppose, depending on how you view it.) I totally got 100% on this section, which means I am excellent at passing. Get outta my way, yo, I AM PASSING YOU AND I AM VERY GOOD AT IT. I am 100% good at it, actually.

Parallel Parking! What do you think. Did I pass this part?

Noperoonie! I got a 56%. I FAIL AT PARALLEL PARKING. I am the WORST. I have no idea what the rules are; I hate parallel parking, and I will drive around for like half an hour to avoid having to do it. (Oddly, I got the parallel parking questions all right; it was the “no standing/no parking/no stopping” questions I got wrong. I don’t know what the difference is. I just don’t park there. Isn’t that the best way to handle something of that fashion? Just don’t park there?)

DEFENSIVE DRIVING! One hundred percent, baby! I apparently am excellent at both passing AND driving defensively. I think these are both important things to be good at. Better than STUPID PARALLEL PARKING.

I was pretty sure I was going to win Alcohol and Other Drugs, But I think I spaced out and missed one of the questions so did NOT get a perfect score. (The questions were hilarious. “Which of these will help you sober up? A., Running around the house, B., Drinking 14 pots of coffee, C., Drinking more alcohol, D., Time.” SO HARD! WHICH SHALL I CHOOSE?)

This is SMRT smart!

This is SMRT smart!

Next we have Special Driving Conditions. Hee! Special. I’m totally special. Will I win this one?

No. But close. 88%. There were a lot of “expressway” questions, and I don’t know what that means. Do we have expressways here? Is that the same as a highway or a freeway or whatever? Or is it like the Autobahn? VERY CONFUSING!

I got 100% on Sharing the Road, so anyone on a bicycle or walking should totally love me.

I also got one wrong on Road Signs, but it’s, again, because I got distracted and forgot to finish one of the questions. I kind of lose at attention-spanning, more than anything.

So I suppose, if this were the real thing, I probably would have passed, overall. (But I think I did better when I was a kid. However, I studied and studied back then; this was taken without any studying.)

As for the driving portion…well, here’s my thought. When you start driving, you’re all alert and paying attention to shit and nervous and you’re on your best behavior. Then you’ve been driving a while and you’re all “HO HUM OLD HAT” and then you stop paying as much attention. You don’t need to know what SHAPE the signs are. You know that’s a speed limit sign, or a railroad crossing sign, or whatever.

So most likely, if I were to take the driving portion of the test today, I’d pass – but I wouldn’t be driving like normal-Amy, I’d be driving like I do when I have a cop behind me. Checking all the signs and the speed limits and such.

However, there’s no hope for the asshats I was driving home behind today. NONE. There is no reason for driving like that. Maybe you people should have to re-take your driving tests once and a while or at least STAY AWAY FROM ME when I am ATTEMPTING TO DRIVE HOME because, as proven, I am very good at both passing and defensive driving so you should probably bow to my greatness and just let me around you because I have laundry to do, yo. And just because I win at sharing the road doesn’t mean I want to share it with YOU.

Go take some driving tests, you guys. I’m curious if you, too, win driving in New York State. (Also, some of the wording is kind of hilarious, I just have to say. And what else are you going to do today, work? PLEASE. Don’t even make me laugh.)

Cat-wars and roadtrips and sports follies: a day of random goodness, part two

Welcome back, friends! And enemies, I suppose, but I hope none of you are enemies. How distressing would THAT be? I don’t want my enemies reading this. ENEMIES! Be OFF with you!

Yesterday we discussed SOME things, today we will discuss MORE things. I know. I have lots of things to tell you. What can I say, I live a life of excitement and mystery. Except since I tell you all about it, there’s not so much “mystery” as there is “no mystery at all.”

World War Flea

Update on the Newcat/Dumbcat situation: Newcat continually attacks Dumbcat. Dumbcat used to just cower in the corner and make pathetic noises that made my whole heart ache, but he apparently is tired of that, so now he’s standing up for himself and HISSING and SPITTING and BATTING HIS LITTLE ARMS IN RESPONSE. Then I break it up because I’m afraid someone’s going to get hurt. Newcat still loves me and follows me around like a little smitten kitten. The other night, the cats decided to play King of the Mountain. Guess what was the mountain? My hip. Under the covers. In bed. First Dumbcat wanted to sleep with me. Then Newcat decided SHE wanted to sleep with me. So she leapt into the bed. MUCH FIGHTING MUCH HISSING MUCH SPITTING! And I was half-asleep so I said “mrph stop cut it out so tired” and then whoever lost tumbled off the bed and whoever won settled in. It was dark, I’m not sure who was the victor. Then like an hour later, THE LOSER DECIDED TO CHALLENGE THE WINNER TO A REMATCH! So another leap! MORE SPITTING AND MORE HISSING! More me saying “why is what is this stop no please what?” This happened pretty much hourly all night long. Luckily they seem to have discovered a victor because it didn’t happen again the next night.

This obviously exhausts Dumbcat. What a tough life, aw. (Also, that FACE! Isn't he so squishable?)

This obviously exhausts Dumbcat. What a tough life, aw. (Also, that FACE! Isn’t he so squishable?)

Then today I got home from work and they’d knocked everything off the end table and unplugged all the cords for all the things I had plugged in, so apparently they worked together to save electricity or something. I’m not quite sure what happened there. Thanks? I think? Maybe?


Dad’s on his annual pilgrimage to Florida as we speak. He just arrived. He took off Saturday night and arrived this morning. (Well, MONDAY morning for you. I’m writing this days ago. Sorry to break your brain.) He bought a total old-man car for the trip. He’s been driving a really old car that pieces fall off of for the longest time, and FINALLY listened to his daughter and got a new car. Well, it’s not NEW, it’s a little old, but it’s totally a huge silver Buick. I have been picking on him about this for DAYS. “Dad, you have to drive down the middle white line with a car like that at 30 miles per hour on the highway, that’s the rule for cars like that,” I tell him. “NOT FUNNY I AM NOT OLD,” he says.

I found this photo on something called "Classy Cars." Hee! Classy = OLD PERSON CAR.

I found this photo on something called “Classy Cars.” Hee! Classy = OLD PERSON CAR.

Now he is in his condo for the next month. Apparently this condo is decorated in the best of 60s chic and the walls are all mirrored and he said that was scary and when he wakes up in the middle of the night to pee he’s going to think there’s a robber in the house but it’ll really be him. “You could put a positive spin on it and think you’re having a party,” I said. “I HATE PARTIES,” he grumbled.

Not Dad's condo. But probably similar. Look out for robbers!

Not Dad’s condo. But probably similar. Look out for robbers, Dad!

He also told me this story. Background: his brother and his sister-in-law are staying in the next condo (my godparents, Uncle D. and Aunt M.), and his sister and his brother-in-law are staying in the OTHER next condo (my aunt G. and uncle P.) They all went out to happy hour, so I think they might have all been a little tipsy.

Dad: So P. and I went over to get D. and knocked on the door, but no one answered.
Me: OK. Maybe they went out.
Dad: They did not. Their car was in the lot.
Me: Maybe they went for a walk on the beach.
Dad: No. I tried the door and it was unlocked.
Me: Sheesh, homebreaker, way to barge in.
Dad: P. said, “I bet they’re doing it.”
Me: DAD. I do not need to hear about my godparents DOING it.
Dad: People still do it when they’re godparents, Amy.
Dad: That’s not very many times. Why two?
Me: They have two children. Two times. Done done done.
Dad: People who are married do it.
Dad: So when P. said “I bet they’re doing it” we ran away and also were laughing.
Me: You ran away giggling like teenagers?
Dad: Not GIGGLING. We’re not young GIRLS. We were LAUGHING. Like grown-up MEN.
Me: This story makes me laugh. Maybe Aunt M. was in the shower and Uncle D. was out on the patio looking at the ocean.
Dad: Stop pretending they weren’t doing it.

I was looking for something funny related to doing it and this has NOTHING to do with that, except extraneously, but OMG did this make me laugh like a moron.

I was looking for something funny related to doing it and this has NOTHING to do with that, except extraneously, but OMG did this make me laugh like a moron.

Also, Dad had a very funny joke, courtesy of HIS dad, who I sadly never got to meet but I would have loved so much because he was intelligent and very funny. See, Dad was held up in an accident-related traffic jam on the Virginia-North Carolina border. It was a huge accident. 6 people (I think?) died and 70-some were hospitalized because the highway was foggy and people just kept running into each other.

So Dad and I were talking about how if the weather was really bad, is it better to stop if you can’t see? Or is it better to keep going? Because both ways, you’re probably screwed. You stop, someone hits you. You keep going, someone hits you (or you hit someone. Or go off the road. Or hit a sign. Your options are unlimited, really.)

Dad said, “Did I ever tell you the story my dad told me about driving in really bad weather?”

Dad never tells me stories about his father. They make him too sad. So this was very exciting. No, I said, he hadn’t told me that story.

“Well, Dad said that you’re supposed to always keep an eye on the white line in bad weather, or when it’s dark. So you can stay in your lane. It’s your guide. Well, one night, this guy he knew was in bad weather. So he kept his eye on the white line. Kept his eye on the white line for a long time. Until, BAM, he smashed into the back of a truck. It wasn’t a white line. It was a milk truck that had been leaking.”

The moral of the story is, the white line is a nice guide, but also look up once and a while. Or that milk trucks are leaky, maybe.

The moral of the story is, the white line is a nice guide, but also look up once and a while. Or that milk trucks are leaky, maybe.

I laughed. That was a good story.

“I’m pretty sure Dad made that up. But you didn’t interrupt him when he was telling a story. Because he was the best storyteller in the whole world.” Dad was quiet for a minute. “Until you. Now there’s you.”

Then I got sniffly and blamed seasonal allergies.

You’re welcome, Syracuse fans

So remember we talked about my excellent bracket-picking skillzzzzz? As of this point, my brackets are the most busted. I am in last place in the group I’m in to win a gift card (which might mean I have to buy the gift card for the winner – Dad is quite sure that’s how it works, even though I told him I was pretty sure it’s not) and I’m losing to Dad in our group (but we still could both win – I’ve got Louisville to win the whole thing, and he has Syracuse, so it’s still up in the air. So I might be buying him a McDonald’s meal – or I might be getting one bought for ME! Whoo-hoo! Come on, Louisville!)

Hee, I assume this is one of the coaches, but he looks like an orchestra conductor.

Hee, I assume this is one of the coaches, but he looks like an orchestra conductor.

In Jim‘s group, I’m out (I think I’m third-to-last) and Dad can’t win, although he did better than I did. Jim’s doing pretty well but I don’t know if he can win, either. Dad is VERY DISPLEASED he is losing to the guy who is dead to him.

“I think he’s using cyborgs,” he said.

“Cyborgs? What?” I replied.

“All the people we’re playing against in that group, that are beating us: he made them up. They’re not real. They’re cyborgs.”

“They’re half-human, half-robot people?”

No one told me I'd be playing against cyborgs!

No one told me I’d be playing against cyborgs!

“No. They’re IMAGINARY,” Dad said, exasperated.

“Well, if they’re imaginary, they might be CYBER, but I don’t think they’re CYBORG,” I said.

“You make up a lot of words,” Dad said. “Whatever they are, all I know is, that guy is about fifty times more dead to me than he was when we started this. He’s cheating. CHEATING ON BASKETBALL! With CYBORGS!”

Oh, this is bad, Jim. When you decided you were going to create a half-human, half-robot army to cheat at basketball, I don’t think you understood the can of worms you were going to open. SO! MANY! WORMS! JIM!

Jim asked me on Facebook if HE was a cyborg, and I told him no, of course not, as all my internet people are female truck drivers. “Female CYBORG truck driver,” Jim replied.

Touché, Jim. Touché.

Also, I want to extend my warmest “you’re welcome” to the Syracuse fans out there. Because I didn’t choose your team, they have made it to the final four. If I HAD chosen them, they would have lost. Dreadfully. A long time ago. Possibly while holding up a sign saying “Sorry, Amy, you should have known better.” So, Syracuse fans, you are WELCOME. I will take any thank-you gifts you have to offer, such as chocolate, cute pajamas, or CAT TREETZ. (I didn’t type that last one. I think you can guess who did. His name starts with Dumb and ends with cat. Don’t be taking over my keyboard just to get yourself treats, bub.)

There! Whew! Two days of ALL THE THINGS OF RANDOMNESS! Now it is…Wednesday? Yes. Most assuredly Wednesday. Happiest of Wednesdays to you all. You and you and EVEN YOU.

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