What’s My Age Again?

May 16, 2007

Hike This!Ahh…. more proof that I have not yet grown up. It’s a good thing too, or this past week might have killed me.

When I was young, my dad took me to all kinds of amazing places, and I decided to share a few of my favorite spots with them along the way. Oh boy….. I ain’t as young as I used to be….

Yeah, it was one heck of a trip. We stopped on the way there, and hiked for 5 hours and covered 10 miles up on Petit Jean Mountain. We explored the Rock Cave House, and showed the kids cave paintings and pictures pecked into the stone that dated back to 8000 BC. We didn’t INTEND to hike 10 miles. We unknowingly got onto a trail made for boy scouts. My asthmatic ass made it through, but my thighs may never be the same.

On Sunday, we took mom out to eat, then took her to the botanical gardens in OKC so we could work off what we ate. Then I went to Grandpas and got out the John Deere so I could mow (more like bush-hog) his yard. I got done about 10pm, so I was mowing my headlight, and when I finished we got to swappin “snake stories” in the house. ( I am DEATHLY afraid of snakes). This was prompted by the escapade I had just endured while takin’ care of the mowing biz. I had to mow up a steep incline, where all I could do was pull the tractor forward and back to mow. During a back-up, I thought I saw a snake, and I came up off the seat to see “what the hell!?…” Well, on this tractor, when you get off the seat, it shuts off, as a safety feature. Oh helllllllll nooooooo… When it started boggin’, I threw my ass back down on that seat something HARD, and threw the tractor into high and romped the gas, causing it to pop a wheelie on the way up the hill, which meant having to throw myself OVER the front of the tractor while keeping enough weight on the seat to keep it from dying again.

The kids thought I was playing “tractor rodeo” and simply showing out. While I think it’s great that the kids have that much faith in my tractor driving abilities, it was sooooooo not the case at that moment. It was fear and snake loathing at its finest that prompted my rodeo-oics.

Anyhow, no sooner did we walk out of grandpa’s, did we find a baby rattler right behind the truck. Luckily, we had apparently driven over it and squished in in half. Still, I went from a 39 yr old to a 3 yr old in about .000001 seconds. Sometimes, I am SUCH a girlie girl. God, I hate that.

On the way home we hiked a few more miles up at Devil’s Den, where we did some cave explorations, danced under the Twin Falls, played in Cold Creek, and cooled off in The Devils IceBox. My friend had a panic attack in down in the bowels of the cave over the bats, and while it took us 40 minutes to get down where we were, it took about 8 minutes to get out, with her in the lead. Later, we ran into fresh bear tracks, and pretty much jogged the rest of the way out of the woods.

Oh yeah…. and the snake on the hill? It was nothing but a small green stick. Don’t tell the kids though, I never did….

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The Mechanic and Me

December 16, 2006

Tales From the Countryside (CH 4)

I was a daddy’s girl, and I grew up southern style. By that, I don’t mean I was a “tom boy”, nor was I a debutante. I blended the two into what I believe to be a perfect balance of eclectic, eccentric, outdoorsy, intelligent, multi-talented femininity.Smiley

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “WTF is she talking about???????” Smiley (And here is where i tell you….)

My father was bridge foreman for the railroad (Mo-Pac) for 32 years. He would be gone for two weeks at a time, and only home every other weekend. My father was right up there with God as far I as I was concerned, and when he was home, he belonged to ME. He taught me everything he knew. Probably not because he always wanted to, but more likely it was because he couldn’t get rid of me for an instant. I think he figured as long as he taught me something new, and sent me to practice whatever it was he imparted to me, he could breathe for a minute. It never took long however, because I never wanted anything more than to see my father smile, and I learned quickly, from pouring concrete to construction. One of my earliest recollections is of the only fight I ever knew my parents to have. I remember like it was yesterday, sitting in the kitchen on a stool when i was 8 years old, and my father lacing up hiking boots on my feet. He was on one bended knee, and he had a coil of rope on the floor next to him. My mom walks in, stops dead in her tracks and says “Clovis, just what the hell do you think you are DOING!!?!?!?” My father turned to my mother with the most confused look on his face and says “what?” My mother says… “Clovis, you are NOT taking that child up on the ROOF with you!!!”, and my dad says “But Val, I have a rope! I’m gonna tie her to me while I replace the shingles, so she won’t fall off, and she can hand me the nails!” Smiley

Yeah. I thought she was gonna choke him to death with that rope. When she picked it up, I swear…. it kinda looked like a hangman’s noose there for a second. Really. It did….

Anyhow… the point of that retrospective is this. Thanks to my daddy, I also know a wee bit about cars. Not a whole lot, mind you, but enough to get by. I can rebuild a Holly 4-barrel quadrajet, drop in a 350 or a 327 4 bolt main,
replace my own brakes, and change a starter, flywheel, or alternator. So, when I have a damn car with OBD, I know how the hell to read it. OK?

For those of you who DON”T have a CLUE what an OBD stands for “On Board Diagnostic”.
OBD serves as an early warning system that alerts you to the potential need for vehicle repair through the “Check Engine” light on the dashboard of your vehicle. It flashes codes that tell you what ‘s wrong with your ride. You can read them, look them up, and diagnose your own damned car, without having to rely solely on what some “mechanic” tells you.

Now then… Chapter 4 really begins with me, and my OBD the night I got back from night of terror in Tulsa. Yep, I got home, and checked it. The only code it’s flashing is a 41. i go inside, look it up on the internet, and there it is. It’s the EGR valve, and guess what that means? I was right. It’s electronic, and will make my car run like it’s constipated when it’s f****d up. I crawl under the car at midnight with a flashlight in hand and start tracing. yep. It’s F*****D!

Soooooo….. the next AM I call my grandpa and the mechanic, and tell them what the problem is. But noooooooo…… “that’s not it” they say. GRRRRRRRRR!!!!! They will NOT listen to me. I “don’t really need it” they say.

Soooooooo…. I have spent the last 4 days waiting in this God-forsaken 7th circle of hell. (Oklahoma is no longer OK to ME!!!!!) In the interim, the “mechanic” has checked the pressure on my fuel pump, replaced the fuel filter, totally removed the catalytic converter, and a few other various waste of time things.
He tells me yesterday, “must be that EGR valve”.

Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
YA THINK?!?!?!?!?!?!?
HOLY SHIT!
Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

By now, my grandpa has sunk so much into that car, it’s all pretty much new under the non-existent perverbial hood. He just doesn’t wanna spend the $250 it’s gonna take to get it fixed. I’m thinking at this point that Old Man Murphy won.

But Wait~~~~~~

The trumpet sounded last night (by way of the telephone) and I was informed I would be getting the money western union from people at home who love me and want my ass BACK there. I bolt to the shop, tell the mechanic I am picking up the part in the AM, have the car ready to install it. He tells me he’ll have it done by the afternoon, and I can go home on Sunday.

Sooooooo… this AM I get up early, go to the shop, and tell him I’m headed to OKC for the part, and he says “cool”. I get back, and guess what??????? The mother fucker (excuse da language, but really… WTF??Smiley has closed the shop up tight, left early, with my car locked up INSIDE, and no one has heard from him since. Did I mention, he lives BEHIND the shop, and sure as hell wasn’t there either?

The S.O.B. RAN and HID!!!!!!! Smiley

That’s ok. I got something for the mechanic. You just hide and watch…

Don’t fuck with a southern woman who has been held hostage in hell for two weeks, and wants nothing in the world but to get home to her son.

Oh yeah….the “mechanic” and me… uh-huh…

Guess no one ever told him that hell hath no fury like a single southern mother scorned.

Murphy may be tough, Karma may be a bitch, and my Dogma may be dead, but they ain’t got SHIT on me!!!!

To be continued…

And where the hell is a disgruntled Smiley carrying a baseball bat????


Me, My Car, and Murphy’s Law

December 10, 2006

Me And Murphy’s Law Current mood: indescribable

Old Man Murphy and his freakin’ Laws. Gotta love ’em, aye? Have I mentioned that my personal sanity is almost threadbare at this point?

So, I’m in Oklahoma where I have just picked up the car my grandfather gave me. It’s a great ride for a 94 Probe. Sunroof, automatic everything, electric seats, gray leather interior, cruise control, perfect alignment, and wheels/tires on it that are worth as much as the car. Best of all…. it was a freebie!

Then, coming home from the store with my mom, she makes the comment “yeah, well it’s ok, but you haven’t hit the interstate yet”. To which I reply with a tenative laugh ,”mom, shut the hell up and don’t jinx me”. Mom says with utter sincerity, “old man Murphy doesn’t care if you say it aloud or not”.

Either way, we met Mr. Murphy about 10 minutes later, when he bashed my freakin’ car with his freakin’ law.

Yes, at 60 mph, Mr Murphy decides I don’t really need my car hood, or headlamps.

I’m just drivin’, chattin’, and laughin’ with mom when WHAM !!! We hear a clattering sound, the hood flies up, disengages, goes soaring over the top of the car (missing the windshield and back glass, thank God) and SMACKS into my trunk before sailing like a frisbee into the adjacent lane in front of oncoming traffic.

Yes, it’s just another day in my life.

I whip the car around and go after the hood. I pull up in front of it, stare it down like something that should be slaughtered, and get out of the car.
My mother… she’s speechless…bless her heart…
I walk up to the perfectly unmarked hood, stare it down for a moment longer, pick it up , and walk back to check out the car-nage. (Get it!? Carnage!? LMAO!) ((Shut up. It was funny to me.))

I can’t help myself, standing there, holding the hood, looking at the opening where my v-6 is proudly(?) displaying itself. I start smiling. Then the giggles kick in. It is only when my mom gets out of the car and hold the door open saying “honey, quick, stick it in the back seat!”, that I totally lose my composure, and erupt into eye-watering, side-splitting laughter. A few cars slowly manuveured around us, but I’m fairly certain they were afraid to stop, fearing that I must have lost my mind somewhere. I can’t stop laughing! It was just the funniest thing in the world to me. My mom is starting to look at me in a most concerned fashion, and takes a step back from me, which makes me literally double over and HOWLLLLLLLLLL with laughter.

This one truck finally stops and two guys ask if they can help… my mom is looking from them to me, like “OMG HELP HER”…… and all I can do is laugh and laugh and laugh!!!! My mom asks them to put the hood in thier truck and plz follow us home. I guess it was adrenilin cause that hood felt like a feather to me, but it kinda seemed to be given that one guy a hard time.

We did finally make it home and figured out the hood had never actually been fastened to the car. It was simply “resting” there, and had been held in place by the thick sheet of ice that had weighed it down and had also been attached to the wiper blades. No latch, no hinges, no nothing. Just a hood with some ice that decided to melt.

I love my life…..every day is an adventure….

Tomorrow begins my adventure in car hood replacement…..


Tales from the countryside (Ch.1)

December 9, 2006

I thought I’d blog my Oklahoman adventure, an installment at a time….

Well, to get to the Amtrak station, I had to travel from Wynne to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. My cousins drove me, and we left about mid-afternoon. I live in an area that is flat field land , but it can still be beautiful.

The area I live in was once covered by the ocean, millions of years ago, with Crowley’s Ridge being the shoreline. Several thousand millennia later, the ocean had receded, and we were blessed with an abundance of ancient rivers which cut out so much of our Ozark and Ouachita mountains. When you know what to look for, you can can see the reminders left behind in the turned soil of the fields and farmlands.

Some people look at the dirt and just think “blech”… dirt. I watch the rolling furloughs and see the different shades of History the ground changes to as I pass by. It may be a red clay, sometimes gray, almost the color of concrete, and then I can see it go from a drab mousy shade of brown to a crisp, rich swath of ebony black. Those are the ancient river beds. When I have the windows down, especially just after a rain, I can even smell the difference. I can see it too, in the crops that lie in those beds. They are lusher, taller, fuller, greener… and I think about what must have been there then. The animals that came to those ancient rivers to drink. Who hunted them? Was it an Indian tribe, or was it an earlier man? Was it even mammal that drank from the river, or something much older, and pre-historic in nature? What would I find if I dug just a little deeper, going below the disced and plowed topsoil turned over by modern machinery? Another mammoth, perhaps?

Do you know, they have already found the remains of 11 mammoths on that ridge? I can only imagine what else lies buried and hidden beneath the surface….

And that was before I even boarded the train….

MysRee