Tag Archives: Road construction

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?

Spring’s Mixed Signals

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.
Image by Sergey Gricanov from Pixabay.

If you’re like me, you’re relishing signs of spring that crowd your senses like April customers at a Dairy Queen.

Signs like a dramatic improvement in Mr. Fahrenheit’s and Ms. Celsius’s attitudes. Like the births of tender, green leaves. Like bevies of daffodils flaunting finery like little girls on Easter morning.

We are in love with spring, the only season when even joggers smile.

So do flocks of cyclists and skateboarders. Intoxicated with warm weather, they forget that narrow-minded laws of physics don’t care if it’s spring. They still insist the riders cannot occupy the same space as a car.

However, though Midwestern weather is always iffy, scraping windshields and icy roads are perils of the wintry past, right?

Surprise! Road construction and road closing signs, like the season’s first weeds, have popped up along every highway.

Are we still in love with spring?

Image by 00luvicecream from Pixabay.
Image by julita from Pixabay.

Absolutely. Apple and lilac blossom fragrances mingle with those of lighter fluid, charcoal, and hamburgers, wafting throughout neighborhoods. We have surrendered to the mad urge to clean grills for the first time this season (and the last).

Even the first smell of sunblock, now required for outdoor forays, becomes a portent of warmer and better things.

Image by Markku Vuorenmaa from Pixabay.

Spending more time in the yard, though, awakens us to the realization that snow no longer covers fast-food cups, broken pencils and soaked letters from the IRS. That hundreds of small stones, shoveled with snow into the yard, might cause sulky lawnmowers — already reluctant to start — substantial grief.

Are we still in love with spring?

Absolutely, as Hubby and I know the perfect antidote for home improvement commercials: getting away from it all, aka, camping. When the first ray of springtime sun penetrates March gloom, he begins preparations for our escape. Researching new camping gadgets — er, equipment — represses melancholy anticipation of yard work, repairs and remodeling. New purchases bloom on our Visa like dandelions.

Sadly, though, we give up winter’s comfort food to consume odd meals from the ice-encrusted freezer — such as Squash and Smelt Tortellini Surprise — as I make room for summer garden vegetables that, as of now, are only imaginary.

Image by Henryk Niestrój from Pixabay.

The smelt tortellini casserole wasn’t so bad. It beat the rhubarb-succotash dish, covered with ancient turkey gravy.

But we are still in love with spring.

Right, dear?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are your favorite/least favorite signs of spring?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Unanswered Prayer

O Lord, I’m sure You remember my griping to You about road construction last summer. Griping out LOUD. OMG, I’m so glad You—and the workers—didn’t listen.

Has Murphy Visited Your House?

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

This maxim originated in 1949 with Air Force Captain Edward A. Murphy, Jr., who ran a bungled aerospace experiment. Perhaps his holiday gathering didn’t resemble a Hallmark movie’s, either.

Few do. Anyone celebrating Christmas wrestles with Murphy’s Law.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.
  • If you’ve decorated, young children/grandchildren will un-decorate.
  • If you hide medicines from them, you’ll have hidden them even better from yourself.
  • If you’ve moved plants and breakables to your bedroom, they’ll remain safe — until you and your spouse rise for nocturnal bathroom visits.
  • If light strings work, five minutes later, they’ll short-circuit your entire block’s electrical grid. Repairmen will come “after the holidays.”

Murphy’s Law also wreaks havoc with holiday feasts. Along with meeting fat-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and pescatarian (fish only) requirements as well as free-range partridges that have roosted in pear trees, hosts face numerous other challenges.

Image by Oscar Portan from Pixabay.
  • If everyone shares dinner responsibilities, COVID-19, flu, road construction, blizzards and/or meteorite showers will necessitate a host’s wild dash for a turkey that can thaw and cook in 15 minutes.
  • If you make real giblet gravy, older diners recall Grandma’s tasted better. Younger ones request gravy-in-a-jar.
  • If you overload grandchildren with sugar, parents will disappear for a week.

Then, there is the weather.

  • If half your family votes for snowmen, and the other half for clear roads, you’ll receive a compromise politely called wintry mix. Less politely: slop.
  • If eight grandsons visit, it will slop all day. Every day.
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Murphy’s Law loves to tinker with generational differences.

Image by mpmd2009 from Pixabay.
  • If the eight grandsons play Monopoly, keep ice bags handy.
  • If you own five identical, yellow toy cars from Cheerios® boxes, all your future NASCAR drivers will claim the same one.
  • Mary, Jesus’ mother, might have welcomed a little drummer boy, but most moms of infants — and cranky, old adults — don’t.
  • Though … if grandparents turn up “Jeopardy!” volume to seismic levels, they still insist children are too loud.
  • If no one brings up politics or COVID, the don’t let-your-kids-tell-my-kids-there-isn’t-a-Santa discussion keeps communication flowing.

With Murphy’s Law on the loose, grinches could present an excellent case to ban holiday get-togethers.

But grinches don’t understand that Family Law trumps Murphy’s. It declares love is worth risks. Worth gravy, Santa and Cheerios® car clashes. Worth learning to pronounce “pescatarian.”

After Christmas 2020, who would have it any other way?

We celebrated a merry, outdoors Christmas, but we’re glad we can hug this year!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How does Murphy’s Law affect your Christmas?

Summer Driving: Going Crazy

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. Huge trucks, bulldozers, and graders growled and spouted smoke. Burly men (there were no women road construction workers then) drove the heavy equipment. Jackhammers appeared to enjoy breaking up Planet Earth. 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 soon graduated to addressing aloud the sins of fellow drivers and construction workers. A pastor, he did not swear. Instead, he called them Zeke, Pete, Cedric and Mephibosheth:

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

“Look out, Mephibosheth! Somebody else, take the wheel!”

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

“Sister Shumpett, are you trying to send us to Jesus?!”

We kids loved the drama.

As an adult, I’m not so thrilled. Traveling anywhere during summer, I go crazy. Hostile plastic barrels target my car. I drive in reduced lanes that can’t accommodate a skateboard, let alone semis rocking around me.

Other drivers go crazy, too. Construction zones become existential: “I drive. Therefore, I am.”

Our Visa bills for gas support that mantra. But that’s all we know in construction areas, as highway signs become mere mirages. Drivers 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 in 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).

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 may soon pull our pop-up camper, as Hubby insists I learn to spell him.

Look out, Zeke, Pete, Cedric, Gertrude, and Sister Shumpett!

And you thought you already were going crazy.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: So … is road construction a good thing?