Car Wash

My son has been home from college a few times this year but we hadn’t been up to see him at all.  So when he sent me a picture of cows thinking his car is a Tic Tac, I thought we better take a trip to do a welfare check on him. We set out early on a Saturday morning to go see him and found out on our way that he needed to be at a rodeo about an hour and a half from campus that night. Since he said his clutch was giving him “a little trouble”, I told him he could take my car once we got there.  We arrived later than we planned because we spent 3 extra hours crawling up the coast of California making our filthy lying Google maps estimate of a 5 ½ hour trip into 8 ½ hours. I have no love lost on the 405, I can tell you that. He was close to being late for the rodeo, so when we got there he kissed me on the cheek, threw his keys at me, yelled over his shoulder not to judge him, and sped off in my shiny new SUV.  Judge him? I turned to find his car and took a minute to locate it.  All I saw was a filthy little maybe white car that couldn’t possibly be his.  I walked closer and yep it was his. That’s what he meant.  Oh I judged him all right.  I opened the door and not only does his car resemble a roller skate, they both smell the same on the inside.  We bought him a tiny car since we know if it were any bigger he’d live in it and thought for sure he can’t mess it up too much since there’s nothing to it.  I get it since he works on two different ranches and rides bulls and living in an apartment keeps his gear in there, but seriously?  The entire car was full of mud with bugs on the grill from who knows how long that were now forever part of the paint. The picture of the cows was accurate.  There were lick marks on all of the windows and the entire windshield.  How in the heck did he even see out of it?  My Middle and I decided to take it straight to a car wash, then head over to my son’s apartment to check it out after. I had to go back a few years to remember how to drive a stick and quickly realized that “a little trouble” with the clutch meant that 1st gear was gone all together.  Not to be discouraged, we bumbled off in 2nd.  We hit the nearest gas station with a car wash and filled up his tank, which is about the size of a Gatorade, and selected the deluxe car wash.  When we came out of the car wash machine I got out to see how well it worked.  It didn’t.  I thought that maybe the car is so small that the machine only reached the top and the sides, which were only marginally cleaner, since the rollers never really touched the front or the back. I went in to ask the attendant if I could run it through again for free since it was still pretty gross.  He didn’t believe me that a car could be too small to get cleaned, but since he didn’t even bother getting off of his high stool behind the counter to look at the car, I wasn’t backing down.  Look Carl, I am stuck in a smelly car and can’t roll down the windows while it’s being washed.  I just drove 8 ½ hours to get here, through LA mind you, and I am hungry and I have to pee. That was all irrelevant at this point but I think it helped my case.  I could tell that he didn’t want to deal with me so he gave me another code to use for the car wash and swiveled away from me. It was all a waste of time and money since even the second run through the wash did absolutely nothing. We decided to take it to one of those self-wash places that was 2 miles away, which seems close but required a ride on the highway using only 2nd and 3rd gear.  We got there finally and pulled into a stall.  I put a dollar in the machine giving me one minute. I decided to spend that time first rinsing it down with water before adding foamy soap. I selected the high pressure water option and pulled the trigger.  The pressure was so hard it knocked me off my feet into a puddle and I shot water about 30 feet in the air.  What the heck?  I got up and realized that I couldn’t wash this tiny car with this thing, it will blow it down the street!  I told my Middle to get back in the car hoping that a little extra weight in it will stop the car from moving. At this point I only had about 40 seconds until I needed another dollar so I rushed around rinsing it down.  I kept putting dollars in the machine running around the car cleaning as fast as I could until $15 later when the car was clean and I was sweaty and exhausted.  My hair was at a new level of frizz, pushing my hair tie to the limit and my butt and leg were wet from falling on the ground.  We puttered out of the car wash stall and over to the vacuums.  We vacuumed for $5 worth and weren’t making any progress so I just threw away his floor mats, ordered new ones from Amazon right then and there and called it a day. You can’t win them all. Leaving the car wash, I drove the wrong way down a one-way street. I freaked out, stalled the car, pushed in the clutch to start it and tried ramming it into the non-existent 1st gear before I realized I needed to start out in 2nd. I didn’t think to turn the car around so I did all of this while jerking the car down the road the wrong way, begging Jesus to take the wheel, and passing a highway patrol car as we went.  I just turned to him, gave a small finger wave and shrugged.  I think he could tell by my hair what kind of day I was having and didn’t even mess with me. From there we went back to the hotel to shower and take a nap. I was done.  I had just spent almost as much money on washing my son’s car as I did buying it in the first place and I didn’t have the energy or mental capacity to see what a disaster his apartment was. That adventure was saved for the next day.

Dear California,

Dear California,
I’m writing to you to express my concern about not making Daylight Saving Time permanent. It’s dumb. Here is my argument proving the dumbness of it. Since we “sprung ahead” last weekend, I am a new person. The fact that I am awake and writing this at 8pm is proof enough. Last week I was in my pajamas ready for bed at 5pm, as I was from November until just this week. I even exercised after work today, which in itself, is a miracle. Now I am actually awake and productive for several more hours per day. You know, making hay while the sun shines. My quality of life has improved so much. I don’t feel like I am alone in this and I know that many people would agree with me. It’s hard to live a normal life slinking around in the dark. A few weeks ago my daughter asked me to take her out for frozen yogurt after dinner and I looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. What? It’s dark! I’ve already showered! Are you nuts? Go to bed! It didn’t matter that it was 6:30pm, it seemed like midnight. I feel like I have put up with a lot from you without complaining too much. I pay a lot to live here and quite frankly with the weather you’ve provided in the last few months, you are not holding up your end of the bargain. You haven’t been very good about making decisions about the laws around here so I thought writing to you might help. I don’t know why you have to continue changing the time and ruining our lives every fall, but you need to figure this out. Let’s ixnay changing clocks back for good OK? As of yet, there is no financial gain from controlling our daylight, so let it go. We need our sun. We are not vampires California. They live in Washington.

Sincerely from SoCal,

The Real ID, My trip to the DMV

I just left the DMV. My license was expiring next month so I decided that when I renewed I’d get the Real ID. From what I’ve heard, once you get the Real ID the government will know your every move, which for someone like me is probably a good thing since I get lost a lot. I mean really who cares? I’m more worried about Siri. Seriously, I dream about something and the next morning my iPhone shows an advertisement for it.

So here’s what happens when you go to the DMV without an appointment. First, you wait in a long line to be directed to the actual line you are supposed to wait in. Then after the second line, you check in and fill out an application with a lot of personal information. I tried to fill it out electronically but I couldn’t figure out the mouse they had. It was a huge ball with buttons all around it so I filled out the paper application instead. Turns out the computer also had a touch screen but I didn’t know that. I had to answer questions like my hair color, weight, and height. My hair color I think is called 4N but I’m not sure why they need to know that. Weight? I thought the weight I had on my current license sounded good, so I just put “same.” I mean do they want my weight with or without shoes? In the morning? What are they asking here? My height is the only question they asked that doesn’t vary almost daily. I finished filling it out and sat down for about 1 minute before my name was called. I was thinking how cool it was that I didn’t have to wait very long. When I went to the window the lady needed clarification about some of my application answers. Seriously? She asked about my hair color and told me I should have put “brown.” Oh. Then she looked at me and looked at my current license and asked if I meant that I weighed the same as 15 years ago when I got my license last. Yes, Janice, that’s what I meant, geez. I sat back down for about a zillion minutes before I finally got called back to another window to finish up. The lady asked for a ton of paperwork proving who I am. I brought everything. Passport, birth certificate, car registration, social security card, several utility bills, marriage license, Costco card, and the results from my latest pap. I think my grocery list was even in there. I was not going to wait there all day just to be told I didn’t have the right stuff and have to come back. I paid the fee and they retook my picture, which is hideous since I wasn’t prepared for it. I didn’t do my hair and I was wearing a shirt that expresses my love for tacos. I don’t think I can even put that picture in my wallet. I don’t want to disrespect Michael Kors like that.

So that was my experience getting the Real ID. We are all supposed to have one by 2020, so I suggest getting it now. Just make an appointment, gather up all of your paperwork, bring hand sanitizer, and you shouldn’t have a problem. In just a few long hours you too can have your Real ID and a virus, just like I do.

It Takes a Neighborhood

It takes a village.  Or at least in my case it took a neighborhood.  Back in the days when I started my day with Mr. Rogers instead of Mr. Coffee, I was fortunate to grow up in a house that resembled Leave it to Beaver.  Dad worked hard and mom stayed home and took care of us and the house, minus the heels and pearls. She was always working while we were outside playing from sun up until the street lights came on and we stayed within earshot of her, or else.  Dinner was always made at home and was served at 6pm.  We played in a giant Pepper tree, used eucalyptus leaves as currency, and had bikes for transportation.  You didn’t need a phone to communicate with us.  The only text message we knew was typing “boobies” on our calculators, and you could find us by seeing which house had a pile of bikes on the lawn.  We had a neighbor that yelled at us whenever we went in her yard, day or night, but all and all, life was easy.

I had a best friend on each side of my house. On one side there was chain-linked fence between our houses.  We started climbing it around 3 years old and stopped the day I got married and left the neighborhood.  Her and I are 10 days apart in age, which I hated that she was older when I was little but am totally cool with now that we are in our 40’s.  Even as a really little kid she had chores to do before playing and I didn’t. I think it was because I am the youngest of 4 and was able to sneak out on chores. She did things like water plants, sweep the pool and wash cars. Every day I waited impatiently for her to get done so we could play, “Ok but Rainbow Brite was hoping to hang out with Teddy Ruxpin so bring him over when you are done.”  

On the other side of my house, on top of a hill, was my other best friend.  She had 6 siblings.  That house always had a lot of people there so adding one more wasn’t a big deal, and they never locked the door.  I used to show up early in the morning and sneak upstairs to wake her up.  Then we’d lie on the floor of her huge family room and watch TV and play board games until everyone else got up.  

All three of us turned out to be successful, hard-working adults and I know that the neighborhood raised us well. I use the lessons I learned as a kid every day raising my own kids.  They know that working hard and having dinner as a family is important, having chores to do as a kid builds adults with integrity, respecting other people’s property is a must, and locking the doors at night is probably a good idea.  

Ice Cream Man!

The 80’s.  The time when a stranger came to your house and offered you ice cream and candy and your parents were cool with it.  Our ice cream man’s name was Danny.  He wore a pinky ring and a short-sleeved button up shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve that he left open to his mid chest.  He had a tattoo of a naked lady on his right arm and wore his dark hair slicked back like Craterface from Grease. We thought he was so cool although looking back, he was probably straight out of prison. 

We would stop what we were doing when we heard the high-pitched jingle of the ice cream truck’s arrival. We’d yell, “ICE CREAM MAN!” and race to find money and catch him even though he drove only about 5 mph. If we missed him as he drove by, we’d wait for when he came back down the road on the other side.  I wasn’t allowed to cross the street so my brother would carry me piggy-backed to the other side so I wouldn’t miss out. We’d impatiently wait in line hopping from one foot to the other trying to avoid burning our bare feet on the hot asphalt as we waited our turn.  I usually got something that had a rock-solid frozen piece of gum in it or a push-up.  It didn’t matter which one I got since it was so hot any ice cream melted all over my dirty hands before I had a chance to finish it. I loved it anyway.

Those were some of my best summer memories although, as a parent, I can’t help wondering what in the world my parents were thinking?  

Cleaning House

My kids hate it when I watch shows like Hoarders and Tidying Up. They know that right after I’ll be on a cleaning rampage and I don’t communicate with our belongings or thank them. I don’t even want to analyze why we have so much stuff. I don’t care. Thanks to Marie Kondo and Gladis the hoarder from Hoboken, I have donated, sold, and trashed most of our stuff. I can host one of those help messy people clean up shows, I totally could. However, I would take it to the next level. I’ll just grab at random items and sling them over my head into a giant pile without much thought. I could do this so easily and the show wouldn’t take up an entire hour. It would be more like 10 minutes. I’ll call it “I’m Throwing Out Your Crap-You don’t need it, it’s gone, get over it.” Tough love. So, hey, if anyone needs help, I’m your girl. 

Go Ask Your Dad!

There are 3 times in a mom’s life that her kids need her the most. When she’s on the toilet, on the phone, and the instant she turns on the vacuum. When my kids were little it was always something urgent like watching a dance that was made up on the spot or listening to a play by play dialogue of the show they just watched for the first time, again. It always starts with “Hey, Mom?” Followed by a question that could be very easily answered by dad but since he’s watching TV, or sleeping, or doing nothing at all, they don’t want to bother him. Of course not. They bust into the bathroom and ask, “Hey, Mom? Can you sign this?”  Go ask Dad! Come on! He has opposable thumbs and has been signing his name since the third grade.  I’m not sure that they understand “parent signature” includes him. Or when I’m on the phone and I finally get through to an actual human after navigating a thousand options and being on hold for 30 minutes, “Hey, Mom? Can you help me with my math homework?” Did you just walk past your dad to come in here? But my favorite is when I’m vacuuming and my kids, who have basically ignored my existence for the entire day, pick that exact moment to ask me a question. I can’t hear you! I swear if I have to turn the vacuum off for this it better be good. The only time the kids ask dad first is when it involves something cool they want to do that they know I will absolutely say no to. Like my son’s latest, “Hey, Dad? What do you think about me bull riding?” Uh, go ask your mom. 

I’ll Drink to That

Raise of hands of those who have kids that clean out their reusable water bottles and don’t leave them scattered all over the house. No one? Ok, neither do mine. Half the time the inside stinks because they just refill them a million times without cleaning them. We have been a plastic water bottle free family for a while now. It was purely to save the planet, which is necessary, and keep water cold for 4 days, which is not.  Instead of 27 half empty plastic bottles littering the floor of my car, I now have at least 2 heavy, metal, possibly deadly projectiles if ever in an accident, reusable water bottles rolling around my car. Each kid has a few different colors and sizes so no one can ever complain about being thirsty as I remember being for most of my childhood. We would ride our bikes for miles and stop at the park to drink hot water from a crusty water fountain that barely spouted any water or find a random hose and fight over who got the first drink after hours of playing Red Light, Green Light. We couldn’t drink that water fast enough. That’s probably why us 80’s kids are so awesome. We drank dirt, lead, and whatever else came through the pipes in our tap water and we survived. Recently, my daughter had the nerve to complain at a soccer game that her water was warm because she forgot to add ice to it, which immediately prompted a “When I was your age” lecture from me. She was disgusted that we actually drank from hoses. Whatchu talkin about Willis? Really, she was commenting on what I did when half the time her water bottle smells like Sea World?

Whatever Your Name Is!

When I was little my mom used to mix up my name with my siblings all the time.  She didn’t call me by one of my sister’s names, it was more like a morph of all three of our names and then a sigh. “Ro-Nae-Me, ugh, whatever your name is, come here!” This was years before Hollywood started doing it and I think my mom should get the credit as being the first. Somehow we always knew who she actually needed to talk to. When it came to other people, if she accidentally called them by the wrong name, they might as well have it changed because that’s what she would call them, forever. My nephew Brandon became Brian and that was it. As the youngest of four I guess I’m lucky she ever remembered my name at all, or that I even existed. There was a lot going on in that house. So many times she’d stop in her tracks and look for me in a panic. I was always right there following behind her. The littlest has to be smart like that or they can get left behind. As a kid I swore when I grew up and had kids I’d never forget their names. Well here I am and dang it if I can’t get their names straight to save my life. This also includes my animals. I don’t morph names but I definitely change them. My dog Ryder is called Louis and the cat Sullivan is Wheezy.  Lou and The Wheeze. Who the heck knows why? I think it’s genetic. I hope it stops with me because it can get a little embarrassing in public. Just ask my three kids Coco, Boo, and Stinks. 

Laundry’s Done!

Laundry’s done! Washed, dried and folded!  I don’t know where I went wrong with this one, I really don’t. It’s my Middle. You’d think a normal human would know how to undress. She’s always had a slight flair for the dramatic so I can just imagine the scene when she was attempting to take off these skinny jeans. What was the emergency? Who was she angry at? Certainly it wasn’t the jeans fault. Mostly she does her own laundry because I am tired of the extra effort it takes to fold her clean clothes. I’m on a tight schedule here people and I don’t have time for laziness. Today, I was on a cleaning roll and didn’t want to leave any surface uncleaned, which included everyone’s laundry. I ran around gathering dirty clothes and shoved them in the washer without really paying attention to what was going in. I rarely even sort it. What? It’s not really necessary. I don’t check pockets or turn anything right side out so how you give it to me is how you’ll get it back, minus the stink. This really came back to bite me two soccer seasons ago when my Little turned her clean soccer socks right side out and a gallon of grass shavings flew everywhere. Lesson learned after a mom freak-out and she agreed to take them off the right way and shake them off before putting them in the dirty laundry basket. All of her clothes are taken off like that now. She’s my perfect angel. 

So yes, I’ve posted a picture of my middle daughter’s clean pants. Inside out, underwear attached, with the ankles twisted and stuck in the leg. Think it will make her think twice next time she changes?  No, probably not.