Tag Archives: Driver

Classic Post: Summer Driving, Going Crazy

Image by Devexcelsure from Pixabay.

This post first appeared on June 13, 2018.

Is road construction a good thing?

During my pre-driving days, I liked it, especially on long family trips. Bright-colored signs, flags, cones and barricades broke up eternal stretches of highway. Burly men (no women were road construction workers then) drove huge trucks, bulldozers and graders. Lines of traffic snaked along roads, semitrailers’ air brakes whooshed and horns honked — all very exciting.

Road construction kept Dad and Mom occupied. Flapping maps, they forgot to monitor my siblings and me. When who-was-looking-at-whom crises arose, we kicked each other freely.

Dad’s mutterings graduated to addressing aloud the sins of fellow drivers and construction workers. A pastor, he didn’t swear. Instead, he called them Zeke, Pete, Cedric and Mephibosheth:

“Zeke and Cedric, are you going to yak all day? Or actually work?”

“Park it or drive it, Mephibosheth!”

Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

He addressed irritating women drivers as Gertrude. Unless he was really mad. Then they became Sister Shumpett.

“Sister Shumpett, you’ll send us all to Jesus!”

We kids loved the drama.

As an adult, I’m not so thrilled. Hostile plastic barrels target my car. Reduced lanes can’t accommodate a skateboard, let alone semis rocking around me.

Image by Lilly Cantabile from Pixabay.

Other drivers go crazy, too. Speed limit signs become mere mirages as they rocket past at warp speed. Others meander across skinny lanes as if they are middle schoolers riding bikes on a summer afternoon. Pete, Cedric, Mephibosheth, Gertrude and Sister Shumpett are alive and well on summer highways during this millennium, too.

So how can I ask a stupid question like, “Is road construction good?”

Before you add my name to the above list, consider this: The only thing worse than road construction is no road construction. In the Bahamas, Hubby and I nearly drove into the sea because no one had bothered to barricade a washed-out road, let alone, fix it. In Ecuador, we smacked our skulls repeatedly on a bouncing truck’s ceiling, following la calle para burros (the road made for burros).

Image by Natalia Kollegova from Pixabay.
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.

We’ve also driven in Michigan, a state whose annual highway repair budget is $15.83. Unfortunately, for family reasons, we continue to drive in Michigan.

I’ll soon pull our pop-up camper, as Hubby insists I spell him. Look out, Zeke, Pete, Cedric, Gertrude, and Sister Shumpett!

And you thought you already were being driven crazy.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite — or least favorite — road construction story?

First Bike Ride of Spring

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay.

Our early tandem rides always challenge my husband and me. We huff and puff and yell at each other to keep pedaling — and that’s just to leave the driveway.

Our winter weights slow us. Dogs that normally would pursue us might not bother: I’d get more challenge out of chasing a parked car.

Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay.

The bikes are in good shape, though, as Hubby’s serviced them. Fired up his cyclocomputer that records mileage, speed, and number of bugs swallowed.

Cyclists face risks. The above-mentioned dogs might reconsider and supplement their diets with ankles. Some drivers consider bikes figments of their imagination. Occasionally, a crazed farmer attempts to flatten us with his tractor. Why? Maybe his girlfriend, Daisy, dumped him, and he has hated bicycles built for two ever since.

Twenty years of tandem riding, and we’re still married.

Still, Hubby and I take to the road.

With him in captain position (front seat) and me as stoker, we pedal away. Hubby, who once participated in 100-mile rides, supplies most of the power. He also steers, changes gears and brakes. He does maintenance and records our data.

Me? I make hand signals. Correctly, most of the time. Impressed? Hey, I fill water bottles too.

As we pedal along country roads, landscape changes become evident. A new house has sprouted. Somebody blacktopped their gravel driveway. One homeowner has planted peach-colored geraniums instead of his usual red ones.

Image by James DeMers from Pixabay.
Sometimes a little encouragement from friends keeps us going.

“Great to ride again,” I yell to Hubby.

He nods, mostly to keep bug-swallowing statistics low.

After several miles, though, the bicycle seats become a pain in the butt. A month must pass before our muscles adjust — or total numbness sets in.

Plus, sunshine fooled us. We ignored the wind’s gleeful gusts. At the beginning, Hubby said we might set new speed records for a first effort. With the west wind behind us, we might eat lunch in Pittsburgh.

Then we turned.

With the crosswind, our bike almost flew to Pittsburgh.

Still, the last gasping miles couldn’t detract from a river’s flowing green loveliness as we crossed the bridge. From intoxicating fragrances of early lilacs. From bunches of redbuds along the road as if God had tossed bouquets to us.

This road near my house goes by a different name, but I call it Redbud Row.

Why should He do that? It’s not like we created all this beauty.

But we’ll take it, giving thanks on this first bike ride of spring.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite spring outdoor activity?

New Year’s Resolutions? Already?

Image by Sam from Pixabay.

What do you mean, it’s 2023? Didn’t we just change millennia?

But if we’re going to be delusional, let’s take it all the way: Didn’t The Beatles just arrive from Britain?

Unfortunately, reality refuses to go away. I should believe the mirror and get down to the important — and now, bearable — business of making New Year’s resolutions.

Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay.

Years ago, I revolutionized this prickly process by making only resolutions I could keep. A 100-percent success rate has confirmed my process’s validity. So, with confidence — and not a little smugness — I present:

Rachael’s Resolutions for 2023

First, I resolve not to embrace the Liver Diet.

I will add another size to my black pants collection. Probably not a smaller size.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

Continuing the clothing theme: I will leave ink pens only in wash loads that include my husband’s best shirts.

I will lose 23 of my husband’s left socks. And zero of mine.

In 2023, I promise not to buy a Tibetan mastiff puppy for 1.9 million dollars, as one dog lover did. Hubby, not a canine devotee even when it’s free, breathes easier.

His mood improves further when I resolve to root against the New England Patriots, LA Lakers, Kentucky Wildcats, and St. Louis Cardinals during 2023. Forever and ever.

Image by Jason Pinaster from Pixabay.

I will not attend Punxsutawney Phil’s arrival in full ball dress — even if he and his groundhog buddies are wearing tails.

Next summer, I promise to eat three cherry Popsicles® with real sugar.

I will clear the dining room table in 2023. When in-laws visit.

However, I refuse to disturb dust in my living room. Why disrupt an archaeological wonder in the making?

Ditto for four nonfunctional boom boxes and the garage bulging with 1980s computer equipment.

Image by Azmi Talib from Pixabay.

I resolve to pray for drivers who cut me off: “God, please bless my interstate enemy — and protect everyone in his path. By the way, could You also dismantle his transmission?”

I resolve to yell at my computer more than I yell at people.

That smile crinkles will outnumber frown wrinkles.

Whew. That last goal appears impossible.

Unless I also resolve to ruin someone’s bad day with kindness. Every. Chance. I. Get.

Image by James Chan from Pixabay.

Together, those final two resolutions may blow my 100 percent success record. But don’t you think it’s worth it?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What resolutions will you make for 2023?

Must We Mess with Our Cell Phones?

Image by Esa Riutta from Pixabay.

When my car and I swerve to avoid someone hypnotized by a cell phone, I secretly wish for a water pistol. Though, even if I shot cold streams out the window, would the driver look up, confirming zombies have not yet conquered Planet Earth?

Only if I soaked her/his phone.

Image by Michael Hourigan from Pixabay.

My generation did not allow rotary phones to tyrannize us, right? Though how many Boomers refused to leave the house, waiting for a special person’s call. …

Nowadays, I grab my cell phone too often. I do know better than to text around younger generation pros. With help-this-old-lady-across-the-street compassion, some with speed-blurred thumbs offer to assist me.

Poor, overworked thumbs need a break. In fact, we should give data use, phone bills, and ourselves a break. What cell phone alternatives can help me break the habit?

Hubby and I have discovered one way: holding hands. On walks, we radicals converse, laugh, listen to cardinals’ songs and luxuriate in autumn beauty.

Image by Lenny Rogers from Pixabay.

Friends may walk together, too. Having only texted for 20 years, they may need to exchange photos for identification purposes. Soon, though, they’ll discover the joy of talking with a real person.

Other suggestions:

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.
  • Wave at passing drivers. Imagine your town if all drove like you.
  • Splash in puddles for fun instead of being sprayed while texting.
  • Mentally rearrange someone’s outdoor furniture.
  • Plant an imaginary flower bed at a plain house. Enjoy landscaping triumphs without an aching back and dirty fingernails.
  • If walking past an elementary school, thank God you’re not the old woman who lived in a shoe. Or the unnamed wife of Feodor Vassilyev, eighteenth-century peasants with the Guinness record for number of children: 69.
Image by Janusz Walczak from Pixabay.
  • While in educational territory, mentally recite U.S state capitals you memorized in fifth grade. Mrs. Baker would be proud.
  • Hop with one foot on muddy ground, so school kids think a single-footed alien visited.
  • Search for cars dirtier than yours. Write congratulatory messages on windshields.
Image by SD5432SD from Pixabay.

I offer final, unsolicited advice to young cell phone zombies: The love of your life could pass while you’re playing Super MarioTM. Or watching cat videos.

Wouldn’t holding that special human’s hand — maybe forever — be much more fun?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What could you do instead of fiddling with your phone?

Classic Post: Weird Things for Which I’m Thankful

This post first appeared on November 22, 2017.

No doubt, our Creator appreciates gratitude for freedom to worship Him, for family, friends, food and shelter. But my cornucopia also bursts with weird things for which I am thankful, including:

Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay.

Avocados. As a missionary kid in Mexico, I picked them up like apples under big trees. I still am a guacamole junkie. How many other fattening foods are good for me?

Shots. Immunizations don’t rank as my preferred activity, and certainly not my grandchildren’s. But because of shots’ protection, holiday hugs and kisses induce only mild winter plagues.

Black, washable pants. They love sparkly holiday tops and simple ones. They’re immune to stains and grandbaby spit. Roomy in the rear, they don’t desert me after the holidays, as many of my clothes do.

My piano. I don’t own a grand or even a baby grand. But my little Baldwin comprised our first major purchase after Hubby finished medical school. I thought we should spend his first paychecks on practical items. He insisted, “You miss having a piano.” Whenever I play, it still sings a love song.

Our baby trees, whose lanky little branches and colorful fall foliage inspire me with lavish dreams for their future.

Image by lovini from Pixabay.

Our camper. The one Hubby purchased when I was too sick to fight it. Even sitting idle, it sets us free. Already, we picture days in the green woods and s’mores around campfires on starry nights.

Gummy worms. Incredibly lifelike, they possess magical powers. When decorating a grandson’s birthday cake, they enable me to resist eating it.

Our brown sofa. Thank God, Hubby talked me out of buying a red one. Otherwise, after eight years, it would present a less-than-artistic mosaic of peanut butter, jelly, pizza, mustard and gravy stains. Because of, um, the grandchildren. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

My neighbor’s yard. Raked and pristine, it gives me a goal to shoot for when I grow up.

Free chips and salsa. A highlight of dining in Mexican restaurants.

Image by Lilly Cantabile from Pixabay.

Laid-back drivers. People who drive sl-o-o-ow-ly on two-lane highways annoy me to the point I pray aloud to occupy mind and mouth. They even force me to notice the loveliness I miss when whipping by as usual.

Accelerators. Cars wouldn’t be much good without them, right?

Ditto for brakes. And headlights.

Paper towels. While living in Ecuador for two months, I missed them terribly. (Thank goodness, Ecuador did manufacture toilet paper.)

Our grandson at the beach.

Baby smiles. They always ruin a bad day.

A critic might protest, “Your list goes on forever!”

True. I never run out of weird things for which to be thankful, because my Creator never, ever stops giving.

He’s weird that way — and wonderful.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What odd reasons for gratitude pop up on your list?