SHE Change My Tire?

Flat Tire

I have had three flat tires this year.  THREE.  And all have been due to nails or screws.  What’s up with this?  Did someone working on the hardware aisle of the Home Depot move into my neighborhood?

Last time I tried to change the tire, I couldn’t find the spare.  I tore the back of my car up looking for the dang thing and finally, a child of mine took out the car manual and discovered where my Michelin was stored.  It was actually hidden under the car like on an airplane or something.  When I was a kid, the spare was just rolling around the back of the station wagon with a half can of cheese whiz and some Fiddle Faddle.  Not anymore.  In my car, you actually have to lower the tire from the bowels of the underneath with a socket.  Then it dangles between the hydraulic back disc brakes like one long rubber testicle.

So the last time I changed my tire, I decided it would be the last time that I would change a tire.  It’s a lot of work, and I risk getting grease on my bowtie.  It’s just not me.  That’s why I have Triple A.

When my battery went dead in February, I called them late at night.  I met the technician in the driveway.  SHE strolled up and hooked her positive on my positive and her negative on my negative and within a few seconds, I was all revved up.

I’ll have to admit, I was a little taken aback that a woman showed up at my house to fix my car while I drank hot cocoa and ironed my dress shirt for the next day.  I stood out there with her for a few minutes and after it was apparent she knew what she was doing, I retreated to my warm house scurrying after my children as if being a widower gave me an excuse to have a double xx chromsomer manhandle my alternator.

I was OK with the battery charge, anyone can do that.  I have jumper cables in my car and have used them quite often.  I just didn’t have another car in the driveway to help share the juice.

But I sort of had a slight panic attack when I realized that a woman might show up to change my tire.  How could I stand by while Sheera hoisted my car in the air, stripped off my lug nuts and lifted a 25 pound tire off the chassis?

I told Michelle my fear.

“That’s sexist!  Grow up dad!  Women can do anything men can do.  I’m disappointed in you.”

You’d think a father of three strong females wouldn’t have my concern.  I want equal rights for them, the same opportunities as men.  Although I’ll have to say I don’t have a dream of them changing tires for a living.

Fortunately for me, a woman did not show that night.  It was a man, with a mouth full of chewing tobacco.  A good fit for me.

As I worked to get the tire lowered from underneath my car, he glared over at me, “I got this.  You ain’t gotta do nothin’.”

I went back inside and did some push ups – a very manly thing to do.

Building Character, One Ugly Car at at Time

Subaru

Thankfully, but not surprisingly, DJ has been accepted into several institutes of higher learning.  She is waiting on two more replies and waiting on financial assistance packages.  Her wise father has communicated that he will NOT pay $60,000 for a private school when she could get an equally good education for $20,000.

We’re taking bets.  These are her current options:

UNC, NC State (Go Pack!), Furman, University of South Carolina, and Elon.  Still haven’t heard back from American and George Washington.

I will have to say DJ is a fairly strong writer, but even with her talents, writing ions of essays was a struggle.  I was the proofer, for grammar and spelling.  I didn’t write the dang things and yet I thought if she sent me one more to wade through i was gonna bust a nugget.

Thought I’d share my favorite:

I have a twin. Well, not like a biological twin. This twin does not look like me. This twin does not have the exact same birthday as me either. We were both born, or created, in 1997.  That’s as far as the physical resemblance goes. I have a 1997 green Subaru station wagon. It is the ugliest thing I have ever seen, and yet it has become a part of me and my high school career. My Subaru defines me, sort of.

 The car has been in my family for many years. My grandmother bought it brand new and drove it for many of her middle aged years. It was then passed on to my aunt who drove it from Boston, MA, to Raleigh, NC, on a regular basis. Then, it was my turn. I begged my dad to trade in the car for another one. I offered to help pay for a newer vehicle with the babysitting money I’d been saving since 6th grade.  He refused promising it would “build character.” At first I was beyond embarrassed to be seen anywhere in the trash can on wheels.  But the more I drove it, the more I realized that with the right attitude this car could be the coolest in the St. Mary’s School parking lot. I began to joke around calling the car my “baby,” or my “twin,” or the “soobs.” My friends soon caught on, and in short time I had taken a disaster and created a masterpiece.

 On the first day of eleventh grade, I drove to school and parked next to all of the shiny convertibles, jeeps, and SUVs. Instead of feeling like I messed up the status quo, I thought, “their cars don’t stand a chance.” Everyone that passed by marveled at the “soob,” as if it had been transformed into a corvette.  But it wasn’t the car that had been transformed, it was my attitude.

When I acted like the Subaru was a gem, so did everyone else. It became the car my friends and I drove to our late night runs to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, even when there were other wheels available with better speakers, seat warmers, and sunroofs. Rarely do I admit that my father is right, but having that car did build character. It also built friendships, inside jokes, memories, and of course some great Instagram pictures as we posed goofily on its roof.

 I have learned so much about myself from that little car.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Although she has already started complaining, in just a year or two, it will be my turn to pass down the good ole’ Subaru to my little sister.  I predict she will learn just as much from my baby as I did.   She’ll learn that material items aren’t everything and that your cool comes from within.

 You grow up in many ways.  In my family, one rite of passage is driving my grandmother’s old car.  My aunt got through it as have I. I hope that my two younger sisters get as much enjoyment and grow as much from the experience of driving the “soob” as I have.

 

The Changing of the Tire

tire change 2tire change 1

It seems like I spend so much time dealing with girl issues, it’s kinda nice to occasionally have a manly task to tackle. My opportunity came last week.

I assumed it was nothing when my dashboard lit up with the “low air in tire” signal. I figured a little had seeped out over the past few months, sort of like my hair gel. I’ve had the same jar for the past two years and noticed recently that it might be time to reinvest in a bit more Surfer Hair. Nothing to be alarmed about – there was time before an emergency.

I was going to stop to check out my front passenger side Michelin, but I was tired, so I kept driving.

DJ, Stephanie and I pulled into the Zaxby’s to pick up a healthy feast of chicken strips and Texas toast. I promised to warm up some frozen peas to round out our meal. I could tell they were thrilled.

As we pulled out of the drive through and onto Hillsborough Street, it was apparent my seeping was a little more serious than I had originally thought: a tire so flat I could barely turn the steering wheel.

I pulled into the service station conveniently positioned ten yards in front of us. This wasn’t a gas station, this was a real garage – like one that works on your carburetor and stuff.

How lucky am I? I thought.  Until I realized it was closed.

I briefly considered calling Triple A, but my pride wouldn’t let me. I just couldn’t stand there in suit and tie while some dude in a homemade tank top with his crack hanging out man handled my treads. I was gonna have to do this myself. Plus, I figured this was a great opportunity to teach the girls how to change a tire!

“Dad. What are you going to do?” my eldest asked.

“I’m going to change the tire,” not flinching in my decision.

“You?” Her eyebrows were up, her pupils fixed on my bow tie.

“Yes. Me.”

Stephanie had to toss her thoughts into the conversation, “This should be interesting.”

I went to the back of the vehicle and removed my suit coat and tie. I looked down at my favorite dress shirt covering my huge pecs and arms. That needs to go too.

There’s something so manly about standing in public with only your Hanes t-shirt on. White tee, suit pants and wing tips. Yeah – get at me.

DJ sent a text to the woman who was bring Michelle home from an afternoon playdate to let her know we’d be late.

I found her response extremely offensive.

“Mrs. Horton asked if you could change a tire.”

Well, I can…if I can find the spare.

This was the first time I’d had to do anything mechanical on this vehicle and I struggled to find the tools I needed to complete the task.

“The first step, girls, is to find the tire.”

We looked everywhere. Lifted every hatch and covey we could possibly find.

“I know it’s in here somewhere.”

Stephanie went to the glove compartment to get the directions.

“We don’t need directions to change a tire!”

She didn’t listen – instead she began to read.

“Apparently the tire is under the car. You have to use this thing,” she handed me a tool that I’d tossed on the sidewalk, “to lower down.”

She then stuck the metal device into a hole near the back bumper of my MDX and began to twist it. Within a few seconds, the tire appeared from beneath my vehicle.

“That was the next place I was going to look,” I informed Miss Smarty Pants.

I don’t know why they screw the lug nuts on as if the car is going to be thrust into outer space. I had to put the wrench on each one and jump up and down on it using the entire weight of my body to loosen the boogers.

As I bounced up and down, I glanced at the line of traffic at the nearby stoplight. There were three cars in a row, windows down, all packed with NC State students heading back to their dorms. All were looking at me. All were clearly amused.

What I didn’t know was that my two daughters were standing behind me with their phones at their faces, videotaping my every move. They were capturing the moment to broadcast to their friends on social media.

At first I was riled, “You are NOT being helpful! Put those things down!”

But then I warmed to the idea. This would be proof that I could indeed change a tire.

 

 

The Cost of having a Driver

car insurance
I recently called my insurance agent to see how much it was going to cost to add DJ, my new driver, to the insurance policy.  Ouch!
The receptionist told me she could give me the quotes.
“I think I might give my daughter my car and purchase a new one for myself.  How much will my insurance increase if I go that route?”
“Let’s see Mr. Tanner.   Humm – it’s going to jump a bit since she’s an inexperienced driver.”
“Oh, she’s not inexperienced.  I’ve driven countless miles with her over the past year.  It’s been weeks since she got out of the car without forgetting to turn it off.  Heck, I even taught her how to take off the gas cap.  Took two or three times for her to fully catch on, but, she’s mastered it now.  Even got her first wreck out of the way – and that was in the Driver’s Ed Car!  She is NOT inexperienced.”
“We’ll, you do have your homeowners insurance with us.  That will help.”
“Yes I do!  And, remember I went to high school with the agent’s brother.”
“Looks like its going to go up by… $2,200.”
“$2,200 a year?  Damn Sam, that’s steep!”
“Oh no Mr. Tanner – it’s not $2,200 a year.”
“Whew!  I thought something had to be wrong.”
“Yes.  That’s wrong. You see, you pay twice a year.  That’s just for six months.  It’ll end up being $4,400 a year.”
“I’m sorry.  I thought I had asked for a quote to add one tiny, sweet, cautious human to my car insurance policy NOT what it was going to cost me to put her through a year of college!!!”
“Pardon?”
“You are an evil woman.”
Things I could do with $4,400:
  •  Fly to Hong Kong with DJ and stay at the Ritz Carlton for two nights
  • Buy 1/4 of a camel in Pakistan
  • Get DJ a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle GLS with halogen projector beam headlamps including clear polycarbonate lenses
  • Purchase 25 bottles of Dom Parignon and cater a party for 100 people to come over and drink it
  • Hire a hit man to take out my insurance agent

Needless to say, we’re considering other options…

Driver’s License, here we come!

license

At the end of this month, DJ gets her license.  I’m feeling pretty good about her driving.  As I coach her, she often reminds me that she is not stupid.  I remind her that I have driven for thirty years and that it is my side of the car that is facing the mac truck she could potentially pull in front of.  It goes like this:

“Don’t pull out yet.”

“There is a huge orange truck coming our way!  Do you think I’m stupid?”

“I’m just reminding you.  Remember, you don’t know the inner beltline from your innie belly button.”

“That’s directions!  That’s different!”

She says she hates to drive, but that she can’t wait to get in a car without me.  I told her that hurt my feelings.  I don’t think she cared.

My concern has moved from unsafe driving to some basics that I think might hold her back.

She cannot, will not, just refuses to remember to turn the lights off when she stops the car at night.  The automatic bell rings as a reminder.  It does not help.

“DJ, don’t you hear the ringing?  It’s not a doorbell!  It is a reminder to either take your keys out of the ignition or turn off your lights.”

“When I was a kid, I learned to tune that ding out.  It means nothing to me.”

I called Acura, “Is there a way to switch the gentle bell ringing reminder to a nice, loud elephant call?”  Apparently there is not.

I told her today as she drove by the second missed turn on our way back to our beach house, “One day I’m gonna send you to the grocery store and you’re going to end up in Ft. Lauderdale.”

“About Georgia I would realized I had missed a turn,” she snipped.

But the end all – be all occurred Monday night when the two of us were driving back from the grocery store at Ocean Isle Beach.

“Can we stop for ice cream dad?”

“Yeah, but don’t tell your sisters.”

As we pulled into the parking place, she quickly opened the door and headed into the parlor.  I sat in disbelief.  Not only had she forgotten to turn the lights out, not only had she left the keys in the car, she had left them in the ignition.  And, the car was still running!”

“Hey DJ,” I yelled.  “You forgot something.”

“I didn’t hear the bell.”

“There wasn’t one.  The MDX thought you were still driving – because you hadn’t turned him off!!”

I can see it now.  I’m at home, comfy in my chair watching the evening news.   Brrrring, Brrrring –

“Hello?   DJ.  You’re out of gas?  Where did you drive?  Just to the mall?  It’s only five minutes from the house.

What?  You’ve been there three hours and you never turned off the car?”

Is it stealing if the keys are still in it and the car is left on?  I can hear the thief now.

“Your Honor.  I thought she was giving it to me.  The key was in the ignition and the car was running.  She even left the seat warmer on.  Looked like a gift to me.”

Good lord above, please help me.

 

Curb Side Driving

misc-man-getting-splashed-by-car

One day recently I wrote the letters SU on a post it note and stuck it to the glove compartment door in the car.  When DJ climbed into the driver’s seat, she looked over and asked me what it stood for..

“It’s to remind me to shut up when you’re driving,” I explained.

I’m really not a good driver’s ed teacher.  I am impatient with the process.  When we’re in a hurry, I want her to speed up.

At the roundabout at the corner of Oberlin and Hillsborough Streets I might chide, “Go! This is your chance.  You’ve got to be aggressive!”

When she’s seemingly flying down Clark Avenue, 3.7″ from the parallel parked cars on my side of the street, I begin to pray out loud, “Dear Lord God above, for I know we have sinned but please do not punish us this day with death.  Please Lord let us make it this beautiful morning that you have created to the St. Mary’s school driveway.”

I’ve found that neither approach is effective in changing her driving behavior or helpful in calming my nerves.  I actually find that when I keep my mouth mostly shut, she’s does fairly well.  In fact, seven months into this process, I think she’s gaining more confidence on the road, and I’m gaining more confidence in her.

There were some points early on, well let’s just say a cable network would have bleeped me.

“Dad!  Why do you scream like that?”

“I do the same thing when a cobra lurches toward me!  It’s just instinct.  I can’t help it!”

There was the time it had been pouring down rain.  Although just sprinkling at this point, there were still huge puddles of water on the sides of the road from the unexpected downpour a few minutes earlier.

I’m not sure why new drivers cling so hard to the curb, but I recall one of the scariest moments of my life was when I was 15 and riding in the back of my driver’s education car while my classmate Carolanne Rahal moseyed up Roberson Street in Fayetteville, NC.  I leaned in to the third student in the car hopeful to avoid the telephone poles that were dangerously close to my forehead.

On this damp day, I thought DJ was doing pretty good considering the driving conditions.  The roads were wet but she was moving cautiously and had even mastered the delayed windshield wiper setting.  All was good, until we approached an oncoming puddle nearly the size of Lake Michigan.  With cars approaching in the other direction, DJ kept her commitment to a football field’s length between her car door and the double yellow line.

I tried to explain that the white concrete curbing that meets the black asphalt was not a ten inch tire lane and in fact was not really meant for cars at all.  She didn’t listen, she didn’t stop and she didn’t even slow down.

As we powered through the puddle, I noticed two joggers headed our way on the sidewalk.  We all, well all but DJ, saw what was coming.  As the wall of water, more than five feet tall, rose up toward the runners, they crouched to cover their heads from the impending tsunami.  I think crouching just made it worse.  They were doused.  Michelle and Stephanie were in awe.  I was embarrassed, working to wave my hands as a sign of apology.

And DJ?  Although slightly remorseful, she got so tickled I thought she was going to pee her pants.

If her driving is any indication, she should have no trouble parallel parking.  She is very, very familiar with the curbs.

Here come the judge…

I have an Adjudication Hearing coming up at the court-house in a couple of weeks.  I don’t even know what that is – it sounds horrible.  Apparently it is where a judge hears the evidence for my court case.

Yeah, I’m headed to court.  And I’ll go all the way if necessary – Roberts, Scalia, Ginsberg – get ready.  I may be on my way.

Two Saturdays ago, I drove to downtown Raleigh.  It was Winterfest, a street fair, and DJ’s accapella group was singing on the main stage.  I drove up Hargett Street and took a left onto Fayetteville Street.  Amazingly, I saw an empty parallel spot on my side of the road – prime real estate I thought.

I have a friend who recently informed me that she is a “lucky parker” – as if it was an innate talent, part genetic and part hard work on her part.  I, on the other hand, am not.

I am the one cramming a medium-sized SUV into the “compact only” spot because there are no other options.  I am the one following the old lady to her parking spot – where I wait, my signal turned on, my heart racing for fear someone is going to nab the space before I can pull in after waiting for her to methodically load each of her 13 bags into her trunk.   I am the one sitting there when she closes the trunk and heads back into the mall.  Her visit merely a way to lighten her load and torque my rear.

I’ll admit, I have occasionally, later in the evening, parked in the parent with young children spot at the Harris Teeter.  They don’t define “young” anywhere on the sign.  Michelle is “young” … compared to my mother’s children.

And I used to park in the “visitor” spaces at work – because there are six of them, and we don’t have six guests at one time.  But I don’t do that anymore because they sent an email out and said they were going to tow anyone parked in those spots if they weren’t a visitor.  How would they know?  Would they really sit out there an watch?

So I’m not gonna win the Parking Integrity Award, but I did NOT intentionally park in the “For Electric Cars Only Plugin” parking space!  I did not see it, honest.  Why?  I’ll tell you why.

ev space

This is NOT the space where I got a ticket – cause you can see this one!!

1) The plug station is six feet (I went back and measured) from the curb.  On one side of downtown, the plug stations are right at the space, less than a foot from the curb and there are two bright green barriers on either side to designated the spot.  But not on Fayetteville Street!  I could lay down and nap between this plug station and my car.  Furthermore, if someone did plug their car in there, the cord would dangle across six feet of sidewalk!  That is dangerous.  I can just see the old lady with 13 packages tripping over it and breaking a hip – and it’s all down hill from there.

2) It is about 3 1/2 feet tall and gray.  That is the same color and size of the credit card swipe machine that you use to pay for parking.  I didn’t use one that day because it was on the weekend and parking is FREE – unless they hide a plug-in space and charge you $50 for parking in it.

3)  It was surrounded by the following things:  A gray planter, a grayish tree, gray bricked sidewalks and gray bricked borders – a black light post and the actual parking credit card swipe machine (also gray).  In addition, it was surrounded by the 3,000 people who attended Winterfest – an inordinate number of them wearing gray I noticed.  For crying out loud, it’s in front of a gray building!

I backed in and got out of the car on the driver’s side walking directly down the street for a block or so before cutting across to the sidewalk.  When I returned to my car and pulled off, I noticed the white ticket on my windshield.  When I returned downtown to find the space I was in because I could not believe I actually had missed a plug-in station, I had to get out of my car because I couldn’t see the damn thing while driving by – even though I was aggressively looking for it – BECAUSE IT IS NOT VISIBLE FROM THE STREET!

Those Horses Behinds have declined my written appeal even with an extremely detailed explanation including height, width and distance measurements.  So now, I guess I adjuncticate.  And if that doesn’t work, I’m going to the City Manager, and then the Mayor and then the Governor and to Barack Obama if necessary!

Did I mention that there is nothing painted on the asphalt to designate a special space?

I gonna end up in jail.

Sunday Post 95: The Joy Killers

Last week stunk like a rotten egg.

I got a stomach bug on Wednesday night.  It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t work, but I just didn’t feel good.  It is not fun sitting in a board meeting with a grumbling belly.  Ya sort of cough under your breath in the hopes that the people at the table don’t hear the gastric rumblings.

I woke up on Thursday dragging my butt out the door and couldn’t find my wallet.  I tore up the house.  I had my mother and mother-in-law help.  For some reason, women can typically find stuff that men just can’t – but not this time.

I offered my kids twenty bucks if they could find it.  Nada.

My buddy from work dug under the seats of my car because I had “clearly just overlooked it.”

I backtracked my steps to the restaurant where I last remembered using my VISA card.  I even looked in the refrigerator, because for me it would not be inconceivable that I set it beside the leftover Moo Goo Gai Pan.

I’ve been waiting for my new credit card for a week – been walking around with hundreds of dollars in my pocket, withdrawn from the bank with a bit of charm and an expired passport.

I can’t order my kids’ school lunches – even that takes an online credit card payment these days.  PB and J baby, paid for with cash!

Then Sunday, after driving to my parent’s house to celebrate my sweet father’s 75th birthday, my car door was demolished – by my sweet 75-year-old father.  He was backing out of the driveway on his way to church.

“Did you notice I bumped your car?” he questioned when I arrived in our pew.

“Yea.  The dangling side mirror gave it away.”

Unfortunately I cannot yet demand his license be stripped – because I need him to haul my kids around Raleigh four days each month.  Buckle up sweeties!

I think it was before the car dent that I thought to myself:  God, you really don’t like me do you?  First you take my wife, next it’s a missing wallet and the Norovirus.  Can’t you mess with Phyllis?  She hasn’t had one problem since I’ve known her.

My friend’s wife calls life’s little annoyances Joy KillersThey take a perfectly normal person and temporarily, if you’re lucky, dismantle your happiness.  In my eyes, I had become Job – well, minus the body boils, the loss of my house, my cattle and all of my heirs.

You’d think that someone who has dealt with such significant loss and pain wouldn’t let the smaller things in life get the best of him.  Nah, it’s been two and a half years, I’m back to self-pity for life’s minor infractions.

When Lisa was sick, a friend once told me that she couldn’t get rid of head lice in her house.  Every time she’d think they were gone, one of her children would show up with another nit.  It was exasperating and exhausting.  She said the way she got through it was to think, Lisa Tanner has life threatening cancer, suck it up!  This is head lice!

God’s not messing with me.  I just need to wash my hands a little better and park further back in the driveway.  I’m a little ashamed that I temporarily lost sight of what I’ve been through.  I’d gladly lose my wallet every single day of my life if it would mean that I could get Lisa back.  It’s time for me to neutralize my Joy Killers and save the self-pity for something a bit more deserving than an unscheduled trip to the DMV.

The Learner’s Permit

Check out the “hard top”

Posted by Danny

My nerves are shot. DJ’s getting her Learner’s Permit and I’m about to have a stroke.

I was wondering why this was bothering me so – and then I began to assess what was behind my uneasiness. Perhaps it is my own history with the automobile that brought back this unpleasantness.

My brother once owned a 1973 Camaro Z 28. He’s spent his life savings on this car. It was black with a navy stripe down the side. We lived in the very back of our neighborhood on Rolling Hills Road but we could hear Chad coming when he turned off of Village Drive and passed through the red brick Briarwood entranceway two miles from our house. Apparently his life savings wasn’t enough to fund a muffler.

His long hair blew in the wind as he cruised by Terry Sanford Senior High School, a cigarette hanging from his lips and KISS blaring from the radio.

I, on the other hand, drove my father’s hand me down straight shift Dodge Colt. It was white with a light blue hard top. Why was it called a hard top? All cars that weren’t convertibles seemed like hard tops to me.

We lived on the top of a hill, our driveway a steep, steep incline.

One day I was hurriedly pulling into our drive. Little did I know that my bother was barreling down the same concrete slab, in reverse.

The damage to my car was minimal. My dad and I fixed it with a hammer and jar of model paint. But the Camaro was never the same. The trunk had to be tied shut with a rope. And since my brother had invested all of his worldly possessions into purchasing the car, he had no collision insurance.

Boy was he mad. My mother thought it was funny. She has an uncanny ability to find humor at the most inopportune times.

I once lent my car to a friend. She forgot to wear her glasses. She totaled it at an intersection a couple of miles from where we worked.

On another day, Susie McKinney, a classmate of mine, parked right next to me at school. When we arrived at our cars to head home for the day, I commented on her inability to drive. “Damn Susie! Half of your car is in my space. Watch what you’re doing next time.”

I opened my car door to toss my books in the car.  Although my butt was on the driver’s seat, my legs were still outside of the vehicle.

I whipped my head around as I began to feel pressure on my legs. Susie’s bumper was meandering down the side of my car door as she turned to back out of her space. My chins and calves were trapped between the door and the bottom of the Colt. The further she backed, the tighter the crunch. I screamed, “Stop Susie!” I’m not sure if she heard me – she may have just been miffed that I commented on her parking abilities.

The next day, I had four bruises – one on the front and one on the back of each leg.

I have more stories of speeding tickets and minor fender benders. One time I won a Ford Aerostar Minivan. I drove with my parents to Charlotte to pick it up. On the way home I was so tired I asked my mom if she’d drive for a while. She agreed and after we ate lunch she took my keys and promptly hit a light post as she backed out of the Hardees’ parking lot.

Again, she laughed. I failed to see her amusement.

I guess I’ve been blessed not to have a serious incident, but each of these accidents illicit a negative internal feeling.

The thought of my kid driving, and in particular having a front row seat to the action, is unnerving.

I will say that thus far she is doing well. I, however, am working on an ulcer.

60.19 Miles – but who’s counting

Posted by Danny

I used to put about 20,000 miles per year on my car.  The past two years, it was 30,000 – the extra 10,000 miles came from a seven mile radius of my house. 

Last Tuesday went like this:

Route 1:  4:55 pm, North Carolina Dance Institute (5.52 miles) – Sneak out of the office down the back stairs so the receptionist doesn’t see me cutting out of work early again.  Arrive at the North Carolina Dance Institute to pick up Michelle.  Search for missing ballet slippers (someone’s stealing ballet slippers at the dance studio – that’s two in three weeks).  Wave to Stephanie  in her class (nice sous sous baby!).  I’ll be back.

Route 2:  5:05 pm, home (5.26 miles) – The beautiful people are getting their jogs on down Duraleigh Road!  Heading to Dellwood Drive to create some dinner.  Crock pot Pot Roast smellin’ sweet. 

Route 3:  5:50 pm, St. Mary’s School (2.62 miles) – Michelle has play practice at DJ’s high school.  Should make things easier – but it doesn’t.  “Got your script?”  “Yep!”

Route 4:  6:15 pm, NCDI (7.71 miles) – Stephanie finished dance at 6.  Hold on baby – daddy’s on the way (don’t talk to strangers, don’t talk to strangers). 

Route 5:  6:30 pm, St. Mary’s (7.71 miles) – Time to get DJ – back to St. Mary’s.  “Can I listen to my music now?”  …let’s groove tonight…share the spice of life…  Lovin’ me some Earth Wind and Fire – “Dad, it’s so embarrassing when you dance at stop lights with the windows down.

Route 6:  6:45 pm, home (2.62 miles) – “I can’t believe you forgot your pointe shoes DJ!  Can’t you just wear socks?  I do not understand why would you want to dance with a block of wood in your shoe?”  Back to the house.  “DJ, hurry up!” 

Route 7:  7:05 pm, NCDI (5.26 miles) – Pointe class has started – plie! plie!  DJ’s at dance and only 5 minutes late.  You’re 70% there buddy, you’re gonna make it.

Route 8:  7:15 pm, home (5.26 miles) – Pot Roast makin’ my mouth water.  Set the table, pour the drinks, get the plates out.  “You need help with piano Stephanie?  Ahh – is this Beethoven?”  “No, Disney.” “Knew it sounded familiar.” 

Route 9:  7:50 pm, St. Mary’s (5.26 miles) – She’d better get an academy award.  “Michelle – we’re here.  Don’t talk to your friends, DJ’s waiting.” 

Route 10:  8:15 pm, NCDI (7.71 miles) – “Give me a break!  I got here as quick as I could.  I’ve been driving like Richard Petty…you don’t know Richard Petty?  He’s a race car dri…just forget it.”  One hundred percent  of the family in one car, whew.  

Route 11:  8:30 pm, home (5.26 miles) – Victory is mine and the pot roast is done.

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