The Final Driver’s License

Michelle got her driver’s license yesterday.

These transitions, they are glorious.  These transitions, they are painful.

How happy I will be that I can sleep a few minutes later each morning, I do love my bed especially before 7 AM.  How nice it will be NOT to have to spend 8 minutes of my day at the stop light at the corner of Wade Avenue and Dixie Trail.  Seriously, you could cook a 20 pound turkey on low while you wait at that light.  How nice it will be not to be running into the office with my hair on fire, the last one at the meeting, ALWAYS.  How nice it will be not to have to rush out of the office at the end of the day, the laptop constantly needing to update on my way out the door, knowing my kid is likely the last one sitting on the bench outside wondering if dad will ever come.

And SAT-TUR-DAY MORNINGS!  How does this kid end up with so many stinkin’ activities on Saturday mornings at 8?  When I was a kid the only activity we had on Saturday mornings was quietly watching Shazam so I didn’t wake my old man:

Chosen from among all others, by the immortal elders Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Achilles, Mercury – Billy Batson and his mentor travel the highways and byways of the land…

I loved Billy Batson and his mentor.

Michelle can now go on a weekend morning.  I can give her a hug and wave goodbye, still in my sweats with a warm cup-o-joe.

It’s a wonderful rite of passage.

It is breaking my heart.

My favorite time of the day is when I ride around with Michelle.  It’s when we debrief.  I tell her about my day, she shares about hers – unless she is cranky, and then we just ride.  We laugh.  We run errands.  We solve the problems of the world.  She shares new music with me, I’m hip like that.

Now it’s just me.  Me and my tired Spotify playlist.

I remember the last lunch I packed for her over a year ago when she was a student at St. Timothy’s School.  Before that day, I cursed the turkey sandwich.  The Zip Lock bag was my nemesis.  I wished for a lunch fairy to meet me each morning with the bag packed and the water bottle filled.  I dreamed of a day when I wouldn’t slop greasy lunch meat at 6:30 AM.

My dream came true.  Now I miss turkey.  Funny how that happens.

So often I ponder and wish for the stuff that will come.  Then it does, and I wish it weren’t so.

Yeah, I’ll enjoy a few more minutes of sleep.  I’ll get used to her new independence.  But damn, it went by too fast.

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On The Road Again

Michelle Driving

It’s happening again.  I’m teaching a kid to drive.  This is the last one.  Praise the lord!  This is just not my strength.

When I dropped her off for her first day of driving with the school instructor, I literally stopped, closed my eyes and prayed for that man.  He was a young father, the infant seat in his automobile clued me in.  It made me sad to think of his demise at the hands of my child.  I don’t know how much you get paid to teach someone to drive – I do know it is not enough.

After his instruction, the baton was passed to me.

If Michelle could just remember the difference between the gas pedal and the brake this experience would be so much more pleasant.

“Dad, doesn’t it makes sense that the gas pedal would be the bigger of the two?”

“Actually, I would prefer you stop more than you go.”

She asked to drive the family to my parents’ house in Fayetteville for Thanksgiving – down Interstate 95.  It was the week after she completed Drive’s Ed.  I said, “Absolutely not.”  She said, “But dad, I have three days experience.”

I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable with Michelle and I-95 after three years of experience.

I did let her drive to church the Sunday after the holiday.  Her sisters and I buckled in as she backed out of the driveway.  As we rolled toward the street, I gently said, “Brake.”  She accidentally pressed the gas pedal.  A chorus of shouts came at her from every direction.  I did not get angry at my older kids for the curse words that fell from their mouths.  I understood

“It isn’t helpful for all of you to yell at me!”

I explained that when someone was in grave danger, the response was automated, that we couldn’t help ourselves.

Maybe Acura should take her suggestion and make the gas pedal larger.  Or better yet, put the brake on the passenger side of the vehicle.  That would be helpful.

On her way home from the DMV, where she aced the written exam, we pretended to be in England – driving down Lake Boone Trail on the left side of the street.  To her credit, there were cars parked along the curb on the right side.  She was trying to give them a wide berth.  She did.  She gave them a VERY wide berth.  So wide.

She’s actually not all that bad.  I have a tendency to accentuate the rough spots.  And compared to her sisters, she’s not horribly behind.  Once DJ took a curb so tight after a major rain storm that she doused a jogger running by.  I sank into my seat from embarrassment.  He flipped her the bird.  She also got in a three car pileup on her second day of Driver’s Ed.  At least Michelle got through basic training without a moving violation!

Stephanie struggled with the whole gas/brake pedal conundrum as well majorly accelerating instead of braking while trying to park at the Harris Teeter one day.  I think they get that from my mother.  She’s not very good behind the wheel and can hardly see over the seat.  I haven’t ridden with her since I got my license.  I don’t think my dad has ever ridden with her behind the wheel.  He’s a very smart man.

I am so thankful I don’t have four children.  I simply don’t think I could do this again.  I’m anxious by nature – this parental responsibility is NOT a good fit for me.

Finding the Parking Lot

nrhd_stmarys

I woke her up at 7 AM which was the usual time.  At 7:35, I walked to the bottom of the staircase to give instructions for the afternoon before I left the house.

“Stephanie, please pick Michelle up from school at 5:15.  I’ll be home at 6.”

I heard a scramble.  She had to be at school by 8 and her feet had not yet hit the ground.  She grumbled that she would indeed pick up her sister as instructed.

As I got in my car, I received a text message.

Dad, I don’t know how to get to the parking lot at school.

This was her first day driving alone to school.  This was the first time she had to find her parking space.

I texted back, Didn’t you ride with DJ to school your entire freshman year?  Didn’t you park in that lot for 180 consecutive school days???

The three questions marks that followed my words would come back to haunt me.  They clearly sent the message that I thought she was directionally deficient.  Which she is.  But I didn’t need to remind her at 7:38 AM when she was clearly having a worse than average morning.

She called.  “You are so mean to me!”

“I’m sorry.  I just thought after being at St. Mary’s School for girls for three years, you would know how to get to the parking lot.”

The for girls was unnecessary.  It was like my dad calling me by my first, middle and last name when I was in trouble as a child.  I could have just as easily said school or St. Mary’s.  The for girls was my way of sharing my exasperation that she wasn’t attentive enough to be able to master this seemingly simple task on her own.  Perhaps it was even a dig at women in general, my connotation being that all were directionally inferior to men.

Although I know that not to be true, my youngest daughter perhaps has better directional intuition than I, I did spend the first 18 years of my life with a woman who could hardly find her way out of our driveway.

At one point my mother was driving by herself down I-95 to her parents’ house in Florence, SC, 85 miles due south of Fayetteville, NC, where we had lived for ten years at the time.  She had made the trek with my father monthly for that decade; a minimum of 120 trips.  Likely many more.

In Lumberton, she got off of I-95 south to go to the restroom.  She then got back on I-95 north to complete her trip south.  Forty-five minutes later she was shocked to see road signs welcoming her to the City of Dogwoods.  Yes, she was back in Fayetteville.

There was also the time she drove back from Florence and missed Fayetteville altogether realizing her mistake around Benson, a good 45 minutes north.

I told Stephanie to call me once she got to Hillsborough Street.  That I would try to talk her to the back entrance of the school.  It was a difficult conversation.

“Stephanie, the school is on a square block.  You simply have to follow the streets around it to get to the back.”

She needed more.

“I’m on Hawthorne Street.  How do I get there from here?”

“I don’t know.  I am unfamiliar with Hawthorne Street.  What do you see around you?”

“Houses.”

“That is unhelpful.  Do you see any other streets?”

“There is one here called… Beneful or something like that…”

“Beneful?  That’s the powder I put in my juice to stay regular.  Just drive toward the school!  You’re bound to find it.”

And she did, making it to class on time.

I need to watch my words and my tone.  But dag gone, sometimes I just can’t think like they do.

Breeze and Coffee, mmmmmm…

annie in mini

I’m almost 50.  It’s about time for a mid-life crisis.  I mean, the likelihood that I’ll live to 100 is slim to none.  I’m actually behind.

I can’t have an affair, I’m not married.

I really can’t grow a goatee; work won’t allow me to come in scruffy.

I can’t quit my job.  I got kids to support.  Plus, I really like what I do.

Sometimes I don’t get a haircut for six or eight weeks.  That’s me rebelling.  Whoa.

But this week, I sort of got to sow some oats.

DJ traded cars with me on Sunday so she could bring all of her stuff home from summer camp, and she left me with her convertible mini cooper.  Whoop- whoop!

I whipped around town without regard to anyone who might be watching.  I sang, I grooved, the breeze was inspiring.

Michelle was less enthusiastic.  She  and I have differing opinions of the appropriate use of a convertible.  My philosophy is:  It’s a convertible, the top goes down.  Period.

The other day I was driving her to cross-country practice at 7:15 in the morning.  It was beee-u-ti-ful outside, 68 degrees, sunny, a slight breeze.  Naturally, the first thing I did when I got in the car after putting my large jug of coffee in the cup holder, was to press the button that starts the process of opening the roof.

“Dad, what are you doing?”

“I don’t understand your question.”

“Don’t open the roof.”

“But this is a convertible.”

“I just braided my hair, and I don’t want to get all smelly.”

“I thought I was taking you to cross-country, not the debutante ball.  The roof is coming off!”

“Dad!”

“You are about to run around a lake for an hour.  I think this is the least of your grooming concerns.”

If it was 95 or 32 degrees outside, I might have considered her request.  But it wasn’t.

Besides, when the roof is all shut up, I sort of feel like I’m riding around in a beer can, dark and cramped.

I’ll have to admit, after spinning around in the mini, I do smell a bit musty when I get to work.  And, my hair sort of resembles Phyllis Diller’s, but it is so worth it.

There is something about breeze that brings me to life.  It makes me want to sing loudly, to flail my arms in the wind, to laugh, to take deep breaths.  Add coffee on top of that… mmm, a slice of heaven right on the I-440 beltline.

Lordy, Lordy, Driving Up I-40 (with a teenager at the wheel!)

Lucy driving

Number 2 got her driver’s permit this week.

Whew.

There are so many times I look at being a father and think, I’m going to miss this so much when they grow up.

I’m not thinking that with this particular task.  I HATE riding with people who don’t know how to drive!

After our two and a half hour visit to DMV (nah, we didn’t even have to take the driving test, and it took that long), I had a choice to make.  I could toss her behind the wheel immediately, or I could let her bask in her glory and put off the pain ‘til later.  I compromised.

I just couldn’t get the courage to let her drive down Wake Forest Road in Raleigh on the way home.  The lanes are as wide as the Food Lion ketchup aisle; even I grip the wheel a little tighter when riding by the TGI Fridays.  Instead, I drove a bit closer to the house and pulled over to switch seats.  That took 15 minutes.  Since there is a good foot between our heights, every mirror and seat setting had to be massively adjusted.  And, I had to remind her to put the car in drive – which is so very important.

After the switch, we headed up a fairly steep hill.  The car behind us was on our tail, because we were going 7 miles per hour.

“Give it some gas baby! Your grandparents are expecting us for Thanksgiving dinner, and we don’t want to be late.”

I understand the potential frustration of those driving nearby.  And yet, I don’t think they get the danger that abounds.  I want a Driver’s Ed sign on the top of my car so that there is an excuse for our roadway behavior.

We were driving down Wade Avenue to church this morning, and Stephanie was using the curbs like bumper cars.  There is more passenger side tire on the curbs in the 27607 zip code than there is on my car!  Why must she drive so close to the curb?  She practicing for a career as a street sweeper?

I never realized how difficult merging could be.   I think her Driver’s Ed teacher chickened out and spent the whole six hours they rode together in an empty warehouse parking lot.  Clearly he failed to make her road ready.

Yesterday I pondered two options for how we could get home.  I chose the one that went closest to the hospital.  The thought literally went through my head: which street would I most prefer to die on?  Lake Boone Trail or Edward’s Mill Road?  Well, Lake Boone is closer to the hospital, and we likely won’t clog up as much traffic there.  Plus, there is a Starbucks, perhaps I could pass through on my way up to heaven – offer Simon Peter a cup o joe… just in case.

I slept on my shoulder wrong last week and have had a massive crick in my neck for eight days.  I think it’s getting a bit better, and then I get in the car with my adolescent chauffeur.   Before we’re out of the driveway, my neck is so stiff I can’t nod.

Plus, she’s teeny!  Too teeny to drive.  She looks like the “Where’s the beef” lady from the old Wendy’s commercials.

I had my Sunday School class put us on the prayer list.  I’m not sure if we are going to die in an accident or if we’re going to kill each other in the process of trying to learn to drive.  Either way, things don’t look good in the Tanner household.

Another Hot Rod Tanner

wheres-the-beef

I remember it being a bit traumatic when DJ got her license.  She drove so slow and so close to the right side of the road that I considered getting a second job as a mailman.  Sitting on the passenger side of the car, I could have easily delivered the mail on our route to school, church or the grocery store.  It would have given me something to focus on other than just how quickly I might die.

Now, it has come time for my second daughter to drive.  Yes, Stephanie, all 5’1” of her, is taking Driver’s Ed.  Whew!  Perhaps even scarier than the first.

Although I have yet to warn my coworkers, we have spent some time practicing in my office parking lot.  I can’t think of anyone I’d like to take out at the current moment, but I’d suggest any of you fellow Y employees reading this be kind to me.  We’ve only practiced on weekends when those dudes in the office down the hall are the only ones still at work.  The ones who invented steel kidneys, or some medical miracle, and who are making a bazillion dollars a year.  But if you miff me, I might put her behind the wheel at 5 PM on a Monday when you’re scurrying to your car.

Other than working to help her remember the difference between drive and reverse – she’s going to have to master that – my biggest concern is how close she has to pull the seat up to get to the steering wheel.

When Stephanie gets in the driver’s seat that I’ve been occupying, it looks like a three-year-old who puts on her 6-foot-four father’s business suit.  She can’t even reach the gas pedal.

She proceeds to use the automatic adjustments to raise the seat to maximum height and shift it forward until you can’t fit a baseball between her chest and the steering wheel.  Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, at 7’ 2”, would have plenty of leg room sitting behind her in the backseat of my 2007 Acura MDX.

She kinda reminds me of the Where’s the Beef lady from the 1980’s Wendy’s commercials, or my mother.  All petite.  All requiring me to contort myself when entering an automobile after they’ve driven.

Stephanie will whip around the parking lot and then jump out of the car leaving me to readjust the seat when I take back over.  I try to squeeze in, my head touching the sunroof and my knees tickling my ear lobes.  It’s kinda like leaving the toilet seat up.  Geeze.

Oh well, I guess it’s inevitable, we’re going to be on the road soon.  So be on the lookout for a silver SUV with Rhea Pearlman behind the wheel and a very anxious father on the passenger side.  Rest assured, I’ll make sure the car’s in drive before hitting the highway.

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…

Sunday Post 124: On-the-job Training

This is it.  We got up early so we could beat the line at the Jacksonville, NC, DMV.  DJ turned 16 while we were no vacation, and we couldn’t wait two more days to get back to Raleigh.  So, this morning we drove 45 minutes to the nearest town to see if she could take the test that will push her toward total independence.

The kid in line before us slinked out of the glass room with his head down low.

“I failed,” he told his dad.  “The guy said I drove 33 in a 55 mile per hour zone.  I actually went too slow.”

Dear God above, please let DJ go too slow too.  Please, please.

I assume He can perform miracles, but DJ driving slowly may even be beyond His capabilities.

She returned from the road test with a Cheshire Cat grin on her face.  I knew my fate.

When we returned to the beach house, she announced she would be driving her sisters to lunch in Surf City, 20 minutes away.

“I’m hungry too,” I pleaded.

“We’ll bring you some back.”

My parting words were:  “I want all of my children back here, in one piece!”

“I’m with her,” Stephanie assured me.  “She won’t do anything crazy with me in the car.”

I didn’t feel any better.

Now they are gone, and I am here – alone.  I put my phone by my chair and turned the sound up high, just in case they need me.

Damn, this is sort of scary.  I think she’s a pretty cautious driver, but she’s young and inexperienced.  Oh, and the woman in line behind us at the DMV who was excited she was finally getting the breathalizer off her ignition is presumable back on the road this afternoon.

I can’t help but ponder the hours we’ve spent in my car together.  There were the Barney years in the minivan.  I could sing every word to every one of that purple dinosaur’s tunes.  There was the first time she weighed enough to sit in the front seat.  And three years ago when I was thrown into the role of primary carpooler for the Tanner family.

Although a relief to know I’ll no longer speed through town working to pick up all three girls at the exact same hour, I surely will miss our conversations.  We’ve wept, shared our dreams and yelled at the top of our voices in that car.  But mainly, we’ve laughed – laughed and laughed and laughed.

Somehow those gray leather seats bring out the best in us.  The ability to divulge our inner most thoughts made so much easier when sitting side-by-side.  I think it’s the lack of eye contact.

This whole growing up stuff is going to take some getting used to.  I fear that DJ isn’t the only one in this house who is figuring out how to become an adult.  There’s a 47-year-old who’s also getting some on-the-job grown up training right now.

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.