Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jealous????? You betcha.

Jealousy, the green eyed monster is back. I haven't seen him in ages and wasn't sure if what I was feeling was him or some heartburn starting. I was catching up on facebook since I haven't been on there in ages and I read a post from Max to his girlfriend about his upcoming leave (vacation). His unit is taking a break and going to Okinawa for a couple of months to replace some members injured during an IED attack. He is taking leave during that time before they go back to Afghanistan.

While reading the posts I saw a message from Max to his girlfriend about him looking forward to seeing her. I wrote a note about it and found out she is going to Okinawa to see him. I had a funny feeling in my chest and wasn't sure what it was at first. Then memories slowly started to kick in and I realized I was actually jealous. I am a pretty easygoing person so being jealous was a feeling that I haven't had in ages.

One, I didn't even know about the trip and had to read in on Facebook of all places. Two, I love to travel and have only been overseas once on a cruise. That was just a western carribean cruise and since I was on a cruise ship and my passport is still empty I don't think it really qualifies. Three, I am not going to get to see him for a year since he is taking leave there and not coming home.

I have tried to plan a couple of trips but life kept getting in the way. For example, I was going to meet a boyfriend in Paris for New Years 2000 but because of the Y2K hype everyone at my hospital was banned from taking vacation from Thanksgiving to February. I seriously considered quitting just so I wouldn't miss a once in a lifetime opportunity. Someday I will get that darned passport filled.

So what do I do with this monster. I haven't dealt with him in ages and not sure what to do. Strange, weird, and not a good thing.......

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Strange life as an EMT

I worked in a volunteer crisis unit as an EMT with a big city fire dept. It is a special unit that helps on certain calls so the the responding police and fire units can do their jobs and get back into service quickly. We would handle murders, codes, suicides, fires, mental health patients, and traffic accidents. In short, we basically handled the people so the firefighters could do their job.

Before I became a volunteer I had several friends that were firefighters and they would keep me rolling with laughter with their stories and I would think "They have to be making this up!" After a year of working with the unit I knew from personal experience that they were not. It is incredible some of the stupid things people do. It has given me the experience to meet some amazing people, see some crazy stuff, and meet people from all walks of life. Names and some details have been omitted to protect the privacy of those described below.

On scene of a fatal car accident I was hanging out with a tiny female police officer while my partner was dealing with an upset driver that caused the accident. The officer and I were just chatting and I remarked to her that I couldn't believe she, as tiny as she was, was an officer. She laughed and we kept on chatting about calls, life, and work. Next thing I know some knuckle head had somehow gotten by the very obvious crime scene tape and was driving towards us at the scene. She had her back to the driver and I gave her a heads up. Well she whipped around and started yelling like a banshee at the driver and reamed him a new one. After she was done with him she came back over to me and sweetly said "Now what was I talking about?" I just looked at her and said "OK, Now I know how you are able to be an officer and remind me to never piss you off!" We were laughing for a bit after that one.

I get called out to a code (a patient that needs CPR). We get there and the officers there tell us that they called it and were waiting for the medical examiner (ME). We had to go in and deal with the patients mother and help her with information, what was going to happen, and find a friend to come over to take care of her. After we got her taken care of we had to wait for the ME to show up. Strangest thing I thought I would never experience in my life was sitting there in the living room with everyone else and there is the patients body laying there in the middle of the floor with a sheet over it. Don't get me wrong as we were respectful but we couldn't do anything but wait there.

We get an assistance call from a neighboring city fire dept. They didn't give us any information as to what they needed so we were flying blind and curious was to what it was about. When we got there the fire engine crew was standing there with a homeless guy. They were in front of a grocery store and he was munching on some food the firefighters had bought from the store for him. Short story was his stuff was stolen during the night and they wanted us to take care of him. We talked with him for a while and convinced him to allow us to take him to a shelter. He was standing there with dirty clothes but had on a pair of crystal white socks. He was telling us that his stuff and shoes were stolen and he was upset about that. We know from experience that one of the most valuable items for a street person is a good pair of shoes. I admired his socks and asked of the firefighters had given him a pair. He said "No, I like to wear clean socks." He was a happy guy and was content with living on the street. He was totally different from what you would imagine a street person would be like. He was friendly, chatty, a bit ripe, but overall a nice guy.

We get called out to the bad side of town for an overdose. When we get there we see that they have the patient already at the hospital and the officer shows us where the girlfriend is. Bracing ourselves for an upset, possibly drugged out, girlfriend we start doing our thing and the girlfriend is actually doing much better than we expected. She was chatting like it was a regular day and her friends were on the phone ordering pizza and asked us if we wanted some and what we would like on our pizza. I had to do a double take but nicely refused and thanked them for their offer. Uh, I would think that a normal person would be biting at the bit to get to the hospital or at least be wondering how the patient was doing. She never asked. Weird!!!!!!

We were called out to the scene of a fire and our computer gizmo that gives us directions to the location was being a cranky brat. We got to the general area but had to look at street signs and make guesses to get where we were going. We could see and smell smoke but where was another story. As we are looking around, making multiple U-turns, and trying to figure out a way to get to the fire the bigwig chief passes us. Later on he passes us again. Later on he passes us again. After that he pulls up behind us and follows us just as we finally figured out where we were going. When I got out of the van he came up to us and said "Thanks, I thought I would never get here because my stupid gizmo is being a brat!" I laughed and said ours was also but glad to be of help. I am sure some neighbors were wondering why 2 fire units kept going up and down the street.

Early one morning we get called for a "Frequent Flyer". Frequent flyer is someone who repeatedly calls 911 even though there is no emergency. Before we even get out of the van a very large, think bodybuilder large, captain comes up to us and says "You gotta do something about this lady. She is driving me nuts, won't listen to me, and I have only had 2 hours sleep. We have been here several times in the past and she won't quit calling us." He was mad and I know from experience that you don't want to make a captain mad, especially if he has been working back-to-back calls. We went inside the house and sitting there in a recliner is a little tiny 90 yr. old lady. We asked her what is the problem and she said "He is being mean to me and I need to go to the hospital and he won't take me." Before I could say anything the captain started talking to her and she is arguing back and then she stands up and the two of them are arguing back and forth like two kids. Trying to keep a straight face and not laugh I finally get a word in and get her to calm down and told the captain that we would handle it and that he and his crew could go home. We talked with her for an hour and patiently explained as clearly as we could the rules of calling 911. We ended up putting in a request for adult services, made her lunch, and went on our way. Wish I had a picture of those two arguing.

There are many other stories and some of them are in THIS post.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My trip to El Paso,Tx

While I was on vacation I went to El Paso, Tx to attend a runners convention with many of my friends from all over the country. 128 of us gathered together and stayed at the Mesa Inn. It has been our hotel for our convention for 11 years. She may be getting old and rusty but with the owners warm welcome and Texas sized jacuzzi we could never find a place to equal.

The Mesa Inn has been around since the 60's and the original decor, including shag carpeting and furniture, is still there. I have actually been trying to buy the hotel but haven't found the investors yet. I have been told several times "game winning business plan but I can't with this economy do this right now." Aw shucks.......

The convention is held in January. Even though it is winter time and the weather can be crazy, we have been lucky to have perfect weather every year there. It is pretty cold at night and I have even had my very wet beach towel sitting by the jacuzzi frozen solid and stiff as a board. Try getting the nerve to exit a hot jacuzzi and run back to your room when it is 20 degrees. But during the day it is sunny and perfect. We even had it up in the mid 70's one year.

Some of us, like me, get there on Thursday because we can't wait for the fun. That night we would have a short trail that is composed of mostly locals. I drove on that trail because I volunteered to carry the beer. Warm in the car and carrying the beer that everyone is after. Can't get much better than that.  On Friday those of us already there go and meet for lunch at L&J restaurant. It is a one of the most popular restaurant and has awesome food. You have to try it if you are ever in the area. We eat, talk, welcome new comers from the airport, and have a ball.

We all gather around the fire pit on Friday afternoon and get registered for the weekend. After that we just laze around, wait for dinner time, and get caught up on things that happened over the year since we saw each other. On Friday night we had a pub crawl with the theme Elvis.  We always get regular people at the bars asking who we are, what we are doing, and could they get a picture of us. We would dance, sing songs, drink, and be merry. During the pub crawl we also sold raffle ticket's to raise money for a legendary runner from the El Paso chapter who had suffered a massive stroke. We went to 4 bars and rode the local chapter's school bus back to the hotel. That bus was our designated driver for the whole weekend.

On Saturday we ran the first of several runs for the weekend. One was a run across the border to Juarez and then back. About half the group went on that one and the other half did a run around the downtown area. It was a fun and funny with the few lost runners straggling around. The lost ones would ask the locals if they saw a bunch of crazy people running around and they would usually point them in the right direction.

Saturday night was spent relaxing in the hot tub and rehashing the funny things seen and done on that days run. We had our traditional BBQ Brisket that we do every year and I am drooling now remembering it. Later on that evening we had a DJ in the banquet room and bring your own poison to the bar set up. Another night of dancing, singing songs, drinking, and being merry.

Sunday is the big marathon day. There are 2 runs set up for that day, one being a marathon (24 miles if ya don't get lost) and the other one a turkey (easy) trail for those hungover or not gutsy enough to do a marathon. We had 48 compete in the marathon and all but 1 completed it. The one guy, who always gets lost, had to call for a ride back since he was completely lost and not even close to the trail.

Sunday night we again had dinner and a party with lots of games like quarters, beer pong, poker, word games, and people just relaxing again in the hot tub to ease sore muscles. Sunday night comes way to fast for all of us and we are dreading Monday when we all have to part ways and wait for next year to do it all over again.

Monday is the what we call the "Hangover trail". It is actually a short walk from our hotel to our local hangout Kings X Bar. It has a restaurant attached that has great food and we all hang out there while people slowly leave in groups for the ride back to the airport for their flight home. Usually we are already talking about the next years convention and what trails we could do.

Over the weekend we have breakfast and dinner provided along with endless beer. I will usually go to my favorite places for lunch since I drive there. My favorite place to go is Smitty's BBQ. It is an awesome BBQ joint with several types of BBQ'd meat available. Gotta go there if you are ever in the area.

Another popular place is Chico's tacos. Ask anyone from the area and they will know what you are talking about. I haven't been there yet and won't because I promised Max that he and I would go there when he gets back from Afghanistan.

So another year done and I am impatiently waiting for next year to do it all over again. Until then I will go back several times because I love the area, people, have many good friends there, and will keep working on the hotel deal.

Now if I can just find a money man then I will be there permanently and be happy as a clam.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Favorite Books

After my last bout with a nasty little cold I have renewed my love of reading books. I love all kinds of books but mostly mystery and military fiction. I found a love of military fiction because when I was little my dad loved them and I would snag them when he was done. His favorite is Tom Clancy. I like his books but a few are very long winded.

I learned to read fairly early on because of speech therapy and loved it. When I was in 2nd grade we were assigned to read a book and write a book report. Most kids did basic books but I picked "The other side of the mountain" by E.G. Valens. My teacher gave me a hard time because she couldn't believe that I actually read the book. But then she also didn't believe I belonged in mainstream school, that I should stay in the deaf school.

My sister and I trade books all the time and find new authors to recommend to each other. We would even warn each other of a good one by saying "This is an all day Saturday one!"

My sister tends to like the same book genre as me with the exception she loves Steven King and Dean Koontz. I only like a couple of them but the rest are a little out there for my taste.

I would go to the library and just browse the rows and rows of books. Grab one that looked interesting and dig in. Some I never finished because it would just drag on but I did find some great authors this way.

A few of my favorite authors of all time are J.D. Robb, Sue Grafton, Vince Flynn, and W.E.B. Griffin. Patricia Cornwell was a favorite but lately her books have gotten a bit dry.There are many more but this is the short list. 

I rarely buy books new and usually get them from the thrift store. When I am done with them I would donate them back to the thrift store. Cheap, no clutter, and I am passing it on to someone else to enjoy.

I don't have a Kindle yet but it is on my wish list. For now I just stick with books from the library, thrift stores, trades from my sister, and a Kindle program that I have on my Droid phone.

Friday, February 18, 2011


A group of firefighters have taken on a record breaking journey around the world to raise money for charity. They stopped here in Phoenix, Az on their North America leg of the trip. They will log 26,000 miles, 28 countries, over 9 months.

The amazing thing is that they are driving one of their fire trucks, named Martha, from the UK on the long road trip. Since the crew is paying for the trip themselves 100% of the money raised will go to the charities.

They will stay overnight at Phoenix Fire Station #30 and enjoy our traditional Friday Fish Fry Night for dinner. Tomorrow they will join Station #35 for breakfast before taking off on their next leg of the journey. They will also be joining the crew at Station #30 on any calls that they receive while staying with them. Should be interesting what calls they get to experience.

FOLLOW THAT FIRE ENGINE is dedicated to the memory of Garth Moore, who passed away on 18th July 2009 at the age of 63, after a brave battle with lung cancer. Garth was a Fire Fighter at Wimborne Fire Station in Dorset and dedicated his life to fighting fires and saving the lives of others, over the course of his 33 years in service.

His son Steve Moore is FOLLOW THAT FIRE ENGINE’s expedition leader. The goal is to raise money and awareness for three charities; Macmillan Cancer Support, The Fire Fighters Charity and The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

So if you see them on the road give them a big wave.

Link for the website: Follow That Fire Engine

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Eccentric Geniuses/Geeks in the family

My family is composed of Geniuses, Geeks, and Nuttsos with a huge dose of eccentric added to the mix.

Let's see, who do I start with first.

Great Grandfather Poppy. I was lucky to be able to know Poppy growing up. I didn't realize for years how rare it was until I had friends that never knew theirs. Everyone in the family tends to live to their mid 90's. Now Poppy was the Eccentric Genius in the family. Think of Albert Einstein without all the crazy hair. He was a master in Morse code,Ham radio, Earthquakes, Seismology, and would build many items from just nuts, bolts, metal, and wires. This included home made earthquake sensors and machines, windmills, a grandfather clock, and several radios for starters.

When he was getting older and couldn't drive anymore he wanted a scooter.  Everyone in the family did everything to keep him from doing that because we all knew that he would tinker with it. We could just envision a call from the cops about him do 100 mph down the road. I learned so many things from him and cherish the memories of a workshop with the smell of oil, paint thinner, paint, and burning metal from the soldering iron.

Cousin Steven. He was in the Eccentric Genius Group. After he graduated school he left to work as a mime on the streets of San Francisco. He wrote a play there and had a long running show at an "Off Broadway" theater. He then went back to Hollywood and became an actor, writer for many TV shows past and present, and even had a series on HBO based on his play.

Uncle Chas. He was in the Eccentric Geek with some genius mixed in. He has traveled all over the world doing many different jobs and has seen so many things. He was actually in the right place at the right time to be a part of history. For example, he was in Saigon as a reporter during the mass exit, he lived in Grenada during the invasion, and  lived in Africa and worked with a president there until the president was exiled.

My parents. They were the Eccentrics period. They were what I called Middle Class Hippies. Had their parties and hippie beliefs but also had a regular job with a house and kids. They loved to travel and went all over the world.

My brother. He is the Eccentric Geek. He grew up as the typical Geek. He would spend hours in his room playing with computers. This was back in the really, really early days. Our first computer was a really basic DOS computer. It didn't do anything unless you programmed it to do something. He still has his original Commodore 64 computer along with original Star Wars figurines. He is a Dungeons & Dragon addict and of course is in the IT field.

My sister the Super Genius. She would make my life miserable with her perfect grades when we were growing up. She never had to study much and got an A as easy as it is for me to change a tire. She worked her way up the corporate ladder the old fashioned way with smarts, not with a college degree. Because of that she is highly respected and sought after in her field. She is super book smart but dumber than a doornail when it comes to basics like cooking. Good thing she married a man that knows the basics and can cook. He and I usually roll our eyes when she asks silly stuff like where do I go find the paint stuff. I would have to be on the cellphone giving her step by step directions while she is in Home Depot. Love her to death and would not change a thing about her.

Another cousin is in the nuttso category. He would jump from one thing to another. Kinda like a bipolar manic. He would suddenly move to Washington and start a doughnut shop. Then one day he would wake up, sell the shop, move to Utah, and start renovating a house in the middle of nowhere. Then one day he would sell it and disappear for a while. Then he would come back on the radar and start working on another project. He is different now that they have him on meds. I kinda miss the crazy side of him that I knew growing up. You never knew what he was up to and it was always interesting.

Me, I am the eccentric something in the family. Wild, crazy, creative, smart, funny, and love people. I am the one who has no problem shooting a 2-legged animal but will not shoot 4-legged animals.

Mom said that when I was born I hit the road running and I always kept everyone guessing and would surprise them with my crazy antics. When I got arrested, my parents just shook their heads, laughed, and said "Only you would do something like that!". Or the occasion when I was a toddler, I fed the dog one of my hearing aids and flushed the other one down the toilet. Mom was laughing and crying over that one. They say I kept life from getting boring and they actually look forward to what I do next.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mechanics just don't trust women!

After the loss of my Camaro I needed to have something to drive. I was engaged at the time and my now ex-husband was on a Southpack deployment with the military. He had a pickup truck that was sitting around unused because he was gone and it needed a new water-pump. Since I needed a vehicle I figured that I would just replace it myself. I wasn't working at the time and we didn't have much money because the military pay at that time sucked!

So I consulted with my dad and asked him what I needed to start with first. He loved working on cars and I saw he was itching to get in there to help me. I said thanks but I wanted to do it by myself. So off I went to the parts store for a book on repairing that model truck. I researched it and figured out what I needed. I went back to the parts store and I went up to the desk and asked for the parts I needed. The guy looked at me like I had grown two heads. This was a theme that was to continue for the rest of the time.

I got all the parts and tools together and the next morning I had the truck parked in the parking lot behind the condo waiting to be torn apart. Well I discovered that old trucks have old rusty screws and bolts and they don't come off easy. With some manuvering and standing on the wrench a few times I got everything off. Dad came by that night to check out how I was doing and was impressed with what I had done so far.

Since I had the water-pump out I figured that I would get the radiator pressure tested and cleaned. I borrowed my dads truck and hauled it to a place in Oakland. When I walked into the place carrying a huge radiator everyone did a double take. At least the guy at the desk was nice to me after he stopped laughing. I told him what I needed and he showed surprise that I knew what I wanted done. Well, I am no dummy and if I don't know something then I research and learn about it until I can do it.

After the radiator was done I started assembling it back together and realized that the water-pump had this little hole in the bottom of it. Now I know that it is supposed to hold radiator fluid and with that hole, it won't work very well. So off I go to the dreaded parts store and ask about that hole. The guy looked at me like a child and said that there is a nut the goes into the hole. I said  "Well you may think I am stupid but why would you sell a water-pump with a hole and not include the nut for it?" He shut up real quick and grabbed what I needed.

During this process I decided to replace other stuff since I was there and had nothing better to do anyway. I replaced the hoses, belts, spark plugs, distributor cap, and wires. This required several trips to the parts store as I went along. Over time I did win over the guy there and he actually started talking to me about my project. When I got everything done my Dad and I went out to start it. I sat there with my fingers crossed and prayed for nothing to blow up. It fired up and purred.

I never told my ex what happened with my Camaro and what I had done because I wanted to surprise him. 2 months later he came home and was shocked I drove over with his truck to pick him up. After a quick welcome home he got in and tore out of the base. As soon as we left the base he pulled over into the parking lot of a warehouse. I looked at him weird and asked him what he was doing. He said nothing and got out and opened the hood. He had a worried look on his face and was checking it all out. I was a bit mad by then. I told him what had happened and that if I had done it wrong then it wouldn't have been running fine for the last 2 months. He didn't say anything at first and then after a while of checking it over said "It looks Ok. Thanks" That should have been the first red flag for me but as usual, love is blind.

Over time I learned how to do a lot of stuff on cars and can change a tire in 10 min. flat. Today guys still have a hard time believing that a girl can do automotive stuff. Last time I had to change a tire in the parking lot of my place, every guy driving by me just stared at me with a look like they were seeing an alien in drag. Oh, well. At least I won't be one of those people that will be sitting on the side of the road waiting 2 hours for AAA to show up.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The loss of my Camaro "Baby"

My first camaro I owned was my baby. I loved that car. I would clean and detail everything on it every week. I would even clean the fake leather seats with a toothbrush to get every nook and cranny clean. I did pinstriping on the front windsheild up on top. It was the fad in those days and got my car noticed. I wish I had a picture of that.

One rainy day in Oakland, Ca I was going somewhere, I don't remember where, and got on to a notoriously short on-ramp. You had to take a sharp turn and then gun it to get up to speed with the traffic. Well I did the turn and then the rear end started hydroplaning. I corrected it and finally got it under control and just when I was gunning it, it fishtailed violently again in the opposite direction. Next thing I knew I was spinning out of control into the freeway traffic. When I was stopped finally I realized that I was sitting sideways in the middle of the freeway. Oh crap!

I looked out the passenger window for traffic and all I saw was the huge grill of a Mack truck coming at me. Had a second to think "Dang this is gonna hurt!" and held on. That 18-wheeler hit me on the front of the car, spun me around, another 18-wheeler hit me on the rear end, spun me around the opposite way, and then another one drove over the front end. All I remember was that grill coming at me, crash, banging, noises, and getting rattled about.

After all the movement and noises stopped I opened my eyes and looked around. In my daze I realized that my baby was still running and none of the windows were broken so I tried to drive it to the side of the road. It actually moved, granted very wobbly, so I got over and just sat there a bit stunned. I got out and just stared at my baby. She was mangled and had a headlight hanging out by the wired like an eyeball knocked out of its socket.

Next thing I knew one of the truckers came up to me and was worried about me. He asked me if I was OK and all I could say was "My car! She is mangled! My baby!" Finally reality shook me awake and I said that I was fine and was everyone else. Everyone was OK except the last guy to hit me was pretty mad. The trucker that came to me actually kept him away from me and took care of me. Wish I knew who he was so I could thank him.

Now the freeway is all stopped up with rubberneckers and there was tons of police and fire there. Funny thing is that my Dad was stuck in that traffic jam and complaining about it, not realizing his own daughter was responsible.

During this an officer came up to me and pulled me aside. He asked me if there was anything in the car that he needed to know about. Dazed and confused I just stared at him. I asked him what the hell he was talking about. He took me over to my car and in the corner of the smushed trunk was a bunch of white powder. He asked me what that was. Well I said I don't know but if that is what I think it is I am going to kill whoever put it there. He just started laughing. We later figured out that it was the fire extinguisher that exploded in there.

I refused medical care because I was by then embarrassed and just wanted to go home and nurse my wounds. I also refused a tow truck because I didn't want to pay for it. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy but I asked the officer if I could and looking doubtful he said OK. I slowly nursed her back on the road and drove home. Everyone on the road was just staring at me the whole way home.

I parked in front of my place and went inside to figure out what to do next. Now I lived in a very small town back then and knew a ton of cops. They all knew my car because of the distinctive pinstriping and it was the only white Camaro ever parked there. Next thing I know I am getting calls from them asking what happened to my car. Seems one of them drove by my car and told everyone else.

After I called my mom she came home and took me to the ER. I was hurting pretty bad by then and was found to have numerous bruises all over, even in places that didn't make sense, and whiplash. I got a foam neck brace that I had to wear for 2 weeks. I hated it because it made me feel like I was one of those people who fake injuries to get money. I hid out in my place until I could go out in public without it.

A couple of days later we took my baby into the dealership to get an estimate for the insurance. I knew it was going to be a total loss even though I was hoping it wasn't. When I drove it there it was like driving a jalopy. It would go down the road bouncing forward and back. When I drove it into the garage of the dealership everyone in the place stopped what they were doing and just stared at me. You could have heard a pin drop in that moment. The mechanic I talked to couldn't believe I was able to drive it to them and was doubtful about it's prognosis. It was a total loss.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Learning how to drive.

Speaking about cars on my last post I started remembering when I learned how to drive. It all started out one summer when I was 14 and went to visit my sister in Palm Springs for a while. Boy was that an awesome and educational time. Parties like I had never seen before.

My sister hated to drive and decided one night to start teaching me. Well, I wasn't gonna pass that opportunity up. I did pretty well and had a ball there. When I went home I never told my parents about that part of the vacation.

Fast forward to when I was getting my learners permit. Because I was held back when I was younger I was already going to be 16 starting my sophmore year. They didn't offer Drivers Ed for freshmen so my parents had to teach me and sent me to of all places "Sears Driving School". Yep, it was embarrassing driving in that car. I was in a class with a bunch of offenders who were there to get their tickets written off. Anybody watch the old 50's classic blood/guts movie about driving dangers. Car's crashed, bodies, etc. I got the joy of watching that one.

My dad took me out to teach me how to drive for the first time in "Da Boat" at night in the parking lot of a grocery store. Now mind you he didn't know that I already did so I had to fake it. Guess I didn't do too well faking it because he said about 15 min. later "You have driven before haven't you?" Classic freeze moment: do I tell or not? Well I fessed up and he started laughing. He said that he figured it out right away and didn't care.

When we bought my first car it was a stick shift. That was a huge learning curve. Lots of stalls and my little brother in the back-seat laughing but I finally got it. We were in that same grocery store lot and my dad said I did good. He then told me to go around back. The back of the lot which I didn't realize has a hill down and then back up. Going back up the hill dad suddenly yells STOP! I slam the brakes (little bro got a bit smashed up on that one. Hehehehe) Heart pounding I look at him and was scared what I did wrong. He said Ok, go ahead now. I start to go and instead of forward I was going backwards. Brakes slam again. (little bro quiet now after 2nd head butt Hehehehe) Again after several false starts, rolling backwards more than forward, stalls, I finally got it and was done and now had freedom....

I didn't use that skill much because we were living in Phoenix, AZ at the time and it does not have hills. A year later the memories come screaming back when I was living in the San Francisco area and decided one night to venture out to SF city with friends. The hills there are nothing compared to normal stuff.

I was lost but having fun discovering all kinds of stuff and then found myself on a huge hill with a stop sign in the middle of it. And of course with my wonderful luck I had a truck stop behind me right on my butt. No room for error. I raced the engine a bit before letting that clutch go and flew out burning rubber. At least I didn't hit that darned truck behind me. I did not want to explain to my parents what I was doing in the city in the first place.

My whole world opened up once I had the freedom to go places without having to beg for rides. Granted the begging still had to do with gas money but it went quite a bit further then now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My first car

While I was in Texas talking with an old friend we got started talking about our first car. It was a pretty funny conversation. He had just recently bought a car that was the same year and model camaro that he had for his first car. I told him about mine and one thing led us to another and we were wondering how we were able to execute some of the acrobatic acts that young frisky teenagers do. Now days, if I even tried to execute some of the things I had done I would be in traction for a month not to mention have a lifetime prescription for the chiropractor.

"Da Boat" This was the car that my sister and I learned how to drive with. It was an embarrassing monstrosity but that engine had some incredible power. We would drive that boat around with a baseball cap pulled down low so no-one would see us. We did everything to avoid driving it but it sure came in handy hauling Kegs for a party. Shhhhh, I don't think my parents know about that one.

My first baby was a Metallic Blue Datsun 310. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it because I love the color blue and it was blue outside and royal blue inside. Even better was the fact that it was in the price range that my dear old dad was willing to pay. Pic gives you an idea of what it looked like except blue. Lots of crazy memories in that one. I actually wish I still had her because no matter what I did to her she kept on going faithfully. I sold her to buy my next car.

Next car I got was purchased from my mom, a 79 Camaro. I was on cloud nine with that baby. It was fast, cool, and got the guys attention. I did the whole nine yards to it. Pinstriping, louvers on the rear windows (before we had window tinting for you young folks), and the required roach feather and crystal hanging from the rear view mirror. Sadly it was totaled in a car accident. I will have to write about it someday. I shed a few tears over her loss.

My replacement car was an 85 Camaro, getting the theme here yet guys???? I actually didn't like this one very much. Probably because I was still missing my other baby. It served it's purpose until I had to sell it to my baby brother for a bigger car. He totaled it 6 months later. That was the 2nd of 3 cars that he totaled.

86 Ford Taurus. The next car was bought strictly because of need. We needed a bigger car in order to carry all of Max's medical equipment around. After the first time he was discharged it was evident that the camaro wasn't going to work. The next time I was in the hospital with Max I sent my ex-husband and Evil Mother-in-Law out to go shopping and get back to me with what they found. We hadn't had time to find anything yet but I told them what I liked and didn't like and what we needed. Of course Evil Mother-in-Law bought the exact car that I put on the No-Way-Jose-Will-I-Ever-Drive-That-Piece-Of-Crap list. I hated that car the entire time I was stuck with it and was happy when it was sold off.

79 GMC Suburban. This car was purchased because of growing family and the transmission on the stupid Taurus was dying. Was OK and did it's job well. It had a weird paint job. Red/White on the outside and Forest Green on the inside. Joke was that it was like a Christmas tree.

This car was an Oldsmobile Achieva/2 door. I needed a car fast after the divorce and it was cheap. Done. That car was like a weird little alien and had a mind of its own. Even my brother-in-law thought that it was a wacky alien thingy. It would lock its doors by itself whether I wanted it to or not. Now we are not talking about automatic locks that lock after several minutes. It would lock at all different times. Even when I had the door open, keys in the ignition, and radio playing when I was working on it. Also I could only turn off the headlights if I put on the emergency brakes. That made it fun when I had to drive on to a military base. Huh! Like I said "Alien Car"

Now my second baby was the 98 Firebird. Now we were getting back towards the cars I love. Sleek, fine looking, and FAST!!!!!! It had T-Top and a banging stereo system with 2 amps, huge sub-woofer in the trunk and 7 speakers around the car. I rocked till my hair vibrated from the noise.  I had it for several years before mechanical problems came up. Went to several mechanics and they never could figure it all out. Each one quoted a different source of problems and each estimate was in the range of $1500-3600. Plus there was no guarantee from each one that it would fix the problem. Well I wanted to keep the bucks in my pocket more than in the mechanics pocket. So sadly off she went.

My current car is a 2008 Pt. Cruiser. It was my very first car purchased BRAND SPANKIN NEW. It was a super good deal that couldn't be passed up. Little did I know that they would claim bankruptcy right after I bought it. Still, it is a cute little thing and gets me to where I need to go. The only thing that I really don't care for is that the seats are uncomfortable. I am looking for options on that one and use a $3 back wedgie from Walgreen's for now.

What was your first car? Did ya love it or hate it? I would love to hear your stories on yours.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Toilet Papered Cop Car Caper

Nellie, of Diary of a Midlife Cruiser posted a blog a while back asking us to list 7 things our blogging buddies didn't know about us. One of the things that I listed was that I had toilet papered a police car. I had several comments asking me details about that and have decided to let you know what happened. NOTE: For obvious reasons I have changed the names of the individuals involved.

Many moons ago I lived in a very tiny town. My best friend Missy and I were young, single, and living la vida loca every day. I was living next to a huge military base with tons of cute, sexy, single guys and had the beach right in front of my place. What better place can you think of for a single gals playground.

Over time we met and became friends with several police officers in town. One of the officers, John, had been giving us a hard time because of an earlier joke and even pulled me over while I was on a date for no reason other than to razz me and see who my date was. We decided it was time for some payback.

Now Missy and I were notorious for pulling pranks and practical jokes and knew we could come up with something good. One night Missy and I decided for payback that we would toilet-paper(TP) John's car.

I don't remember exactly which one of us came up with it because we were playing quarters, a drinking game, pretty much all night. We decided to do it the next weekend because there was a big cop party at a guys house and we could use that as our alibi.

So with TP stored in the car we went to the party and spent a while mingling. John was on duty that night and stopped by to say hi, then left to take his lunch at the station. He had a crush on a certain dispatcher and had been eating lunch there. After he left we went to get Joe. For alibi purposes we only had 1 officer, Joe, there to help us with diversion while we were gone. We split up, started wandering around the party, and then casually wandered into the backyard. After a bit we made a quick exit and drove over to the police station. I parked a block over and we slowly made our way through the bushes and trees. We froze every time a car drove by and hoped nobody was walking by on the street. That is all we needed, to get caught sneaking around the police station in the bushes in the middle of the night.

John was parked on the street in front of the police station. After checking the time to make sure we were OK and looking for car lights we quickly did our TP business. It was so hard to keep from laughing out loud.

I can say that it was the fastest TP job done on a car and it looked mighty funny with the light bar sticking up out of all the stuff.

After that we ran back to my car and got back to the party. We could hardly breathe because we were laughing so hard. Once we got back there we had to quickly compose ourselves and look normal. That included picking leaves and twigs out of our hair and clothes. Once done we entered the party via the backyard and casually strolled into the party.

About 30 min. later a very angry John stormed the party and came right to Missy and I. He pointed at us and yelled "WTF did you do to my car!?!" Well the whole party stopped and it was dead silent. John was so mad that he didn't even notice that everyone was looking at him.

We, looking oh so innocent, said "What are you talking about?" John blurted "You toilet papered my police car didn't you?" Next thing you hear is a huge roar of laughter coming from the crowd.

That is when John realized his mistake of yelling. We told him that we were at the party the whole time but wished we had thought of that and could have seen that. Everyone there said "Yep, they were here the whole time. We never saw them leave." John left furious and still not believing we didn't do it. The entire dept. was razzing him about it for ages and they never did find out who did it.

The only regret that I have is that I don't have any pictures of it. As you can understand, we needed to make a quick get-away before being caught and the last thing we were thinking of was a picture.