Bigly Bestest Dreamin’ of Drivin’

@thebiglybestestdoggie: I love going for car rides! It’s so much fun! But you know what would be even more fun? If Momma taught me how to drive! Ooh yeah! Indy 500, here I come!

Look out, world! The Bigly Bestest is ready to take the wheel!

~Happy Tuesday, friends!~

Driving Mr. Mascot, Part 2

Slow down.

Slow down!!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SLOW THE @&*% DOWN!!!

With 30 minutes to spare after dropping my younger child off at his guitar lesson…

It was the perfect opportunity to continue working with my older son (a.k.a. Mascot Boy) on his driving skills.

And so he took the wheel.

Figuring it was only three miles from the music school to our house, it wouldn’t necessarily be an unreasonable walk for my younger one if scary driver Mascot Boy and I didn’t make it back alive from driving practice.

Unfortunately, the fact that it’s been unseasonably hot out made it a less than optimal scenario.

But it’s always good to have a plan, right?

Mr. Mascot decided he’d like to practice in a shopping parking lot that day.

Did you know different rules apply in parking lots?

Namely, there are no rules .

Especially in a Walmart parking lot.

Between vehicles blindly pulling out in front of other traffic with no regard to right of way, and overall mayhem in general…

The very notion of safe driving seems to go right down the toilet.

All I knew is that I sure as hell didn’t want to die in the Walmart parking lot.

I’d rather get eaten by my dog.

Not that my precious Jett would ever eat me.

But still.

Dying at Walmart/in the Walmart parking lot is definitely not the way I’d like to go.

Especially with a 16-year-old driver behind the wheel.

And not only does this 16-year-old believe he already knows everything there is possibly to know about driving…

I’ve somehow recently ended up with two backseat drivers whenever I’m driving.

Because even though my 13-year-old hasn’t had any formal driving instruction, he too  believes he now magically knows everything there is to know about driving.

Specifically, that he and his brother know everything.

And I, the driver with two decades of experience, know nothing.

As if I suddenly need coaching on how to safely maneuver a vehicle.

That didn’t feel like a complete stop.

You forgot your turn signal! Right in front of that cop over there!

I’m pretty sure even I have better judgement than you!

Meanwhile, Mr. Mascot has taken a liking to barreling full-speed toward red lights.

I’m starting to think I ought to be wearing a blindfold when I’m in the passenger seat.

He attempted to park next to the only car in the back row of the parking lot.

Which happened to be a BMW vaguely resembling The Batmobile.

Which happened to be one that we really can’t afford to gently nudge from behind or do a drive-by mirror sideswipe on.

After one unsuccessful attempt of parking straight in between the lines, I strongly encouraged him to find a different spot.

Away from other cars.

All other cars.

After surviving the Walmart parking lot, we headed back to the music school to pick up child number two.

We arrived safely.

The parking lot was under heavy construction.

So we soared over a massive mud bump, Dukes of Hazzard style.

But ultimately, we didn’t get pulled over by any cops.

And even more importantly, we survived.

So it’s a win.

I’ve come to realize that my son’s learning to drive comes at a price.

The expense of fuel.

And the expense of my sanity.

Which has long been precariously dangling by a thin thread.

Oh, but at least I’m getting a break from driving, right?

If your idea of a break is anxiety, panic, or a heart attack, then yes.

Thanks to me, my dear child, you are gaining experience.

Thanks to you, my dear child, I seem to be losing experience.

Or my sanity.

One of the two.

Or both.

~Happy Saturday, friends! Click here if you’d like to read Part 1 of our exciting driving experiences. Have a great weekend, and watch out for nervous Student  Drivers and their equally terrified parents! Haha!~

The Danger Zone... it's a real thing.

The Danger Zone… it’s a real thing.

Perilous Parallels

Turn the wheel!

Keep turning the wheel!

More!!!

And the driving instruction fun continues.

Raise your hand if you remember how to parallel park!

Aww, come on.

It’s just like riding a bike!

Really!

I mean, sort of…

As of three days ago, I still had a vague idea of how to parallel park a car.

More or less.

I hadn’t made any legitimate attempts at parallel parking since my own driving test at the age of 16.

And even then, I’d been instructed to park between two snow banks rather than actual cars.

Which is good, because I likely wouldn’t have passed if I had to wedge myself in between two real cars.

Don’t get me wrong.

I do park in parallel spaces.

But only when I can easily drive right in to them.

(Shhh!)

On particularly rough days, I struggle to park my car straight in between the lines of a parking space…

Yet, I have impressive success backing our large pickup truck into parking spaces with amazing precision.

Go figure.

At any rate, it was time to teach my teenage son the basics of parallel parking.

Because how could that be a bad idea?

And so we drove to a nearby school parking lot.

Here, let me show you how it’s done.

Uh…

Show him what, exactly?

Yikes.

Going purely on instinct rather than any delusion of certainty, I tried.

I missed.

I tried again.

This time, the car was in between the lines.

A flawless execution it was not.

But at least complete and utter mortification was avoided.

For how can one teach what they themselves cannot do?

I must not have done too horrible a job of demonstrating, as my child managed several successful attempts of his own afterward.

My boy has been taking pleasure in using every opportunity to get behind the wheel.

On the bright side, he’s been commenting on my driving with far less frequency.

The tables have turned.

Anyway…

After the sobering knowledge that some of my driving skills might be rusty, I’m tempted to try a few more rounds of parallel parking again.

Totally off topic, but…

Did you know I used to speak French fluently during my teen years?

It’s true!

But then I ceased to continue making the effort to utilize my conversational skills.

So now I sound like I’m speaking Klingon rather than French.

Because skills you don’t use are skills you lose.

So use it or lose it.

~Happy Saturday, friends! Hope you all have a great weekend!~

Parallel parking. Yay.

Parallel parking. Yay.

Driving Mr. Mascot

Who knows?

I might be a better driver than you!

And I won’t get any tickets!

Unlike you…

And if YOU keep talking, you’re going to be riding in the trunk.

Eyes on the road!

The light is green!

Let’s move it!

My oldest son, the high school mascot boy, started Driver’s Ed this week.

I’ve never seen that child take such dedicated interest in learning anything.

Ever.

Granted, the monster was a natural on his dirt bike all those years ago.

And I always pictured him to be a decent driver.

When the time came.

Which, evidently, is right now.

After just one day of class, he was already an expert.

Monitoring my speed.

Correcting my hand position on the steering wheel.

Pointing out all the road signs that I’ll obviously fail to pay attention to.

Suddenly, I have new appreciation for the meaning of driving someone crazy.

Not only won’t I be getting tickets like you, I also have way better sense of direction!

Hey! You’re going over the speed limit again!

OMG! GET OUT!

Of course, I didn’t actually throw him out of the car.

But his future as a pedestrian was looking increasingly appealing.

We coasted along to the ultimate soundtrack to insanity:

Crazy Train.

Gangnam Style.

Hakuna Matata.

The thumping music rattled my brain and bones as the rearview mirror reverberated in concurrence.

Then flashing train lights derailed my thoughts.

Oh, shit!

Not again!

Those trains sometimes take forever to pass.

Or worse yet, they’ll come to a complete stop out of the blue, stranding lines of cars for hours.

So yeah, I was less than pleased.

And so was my son.

But not because of the train.

Apparently, that was the second inappropriate word I’d used in just a matter of minutes.

Figuring I was on a roll, he helpfully downloaded a Bleep app on my phone to censor my  inappropriate moments.

Fortunately, the train passed in a timely manner.

And we were on our way again.

I’m probably already a better driver than you’ll ever be!

I’m tempted to take both hands off the wheel and drive with my mouth.

Just clamp my teeth on the wheel, and see how well that works.

That’ll show him…

Show him what, I don’t exactly know.

At least render him speechless for a moment, perhaps?

But I really can’t afford to drive erratically like that.

Sure, it would set a rather poor example for my child.

And also, I’ve somehow already managed to get pulled over twice in three years in No Man’s Land.

Which amounts to more than I had ever been pulled over in all my years of driving.

Collectively.

There’s a line in my son’s driving handbook that cracked me up when I first read it:

Avoid turning your car into a deadly weapon!

Well, my boy nearly broke protocol the first time ever behind the wheel.

Yesterday, he officially got his Learner’s Permit after acing the written test.

And so on the way to Driver’s Ed this afternoon, my favorite mascot thought he’d surprise me by starting the car before I made my way out the door.

Oh, but that wasn’t all.

He proceeded to throw the car into reverse…

And then panicked as he realized he didn’t actually know how to stop the car.

He barreled out of the garage and down the driveway at Nascar speeds, as I ran after him like a crazed woman being chased by the devil himself.

STOP THE CAR!!!

STOP THE #@&%*# CAR!!!

The car jerked to an abrupt halt straight across the street, halfway up the neighbor’s driveway.

Thank God the neighbor wasn’t home.

That guy never misses a thing.

GET OUT!

YOU ARE DONE!!!

The brake is NOT just a decorative item!

Use it!

Before I drop dead of a heart attack in the middle of this road!

And to think, this is only the beginning.

Did I mention I’m two days into a 14 day detox?

So I can’t even calm my frazzled nerves with a drink.

Oh #@&%!!!

~Happy Friday, friends! Aren’t teenagers the best? Never a dull moment. Have a terrific weekend!~

At this rate, I'm gonna need to wear this thing around my neck like a cowbell.

At this rate, I’m gonna need to wear this thing around my neck like a cowbell.

Bigly Bestest Cruisin’

@thebiglybestestdoggie: It’s been such a great day! I walked in the park! I went for a car ride! Then I jumped into the passenger seat and tried to drive the car! Life is good…

~Happy Tuesday, everyone! Doggies sure do love a nice car ride… I just never would’ve imagined how interested they might be in actually learning to drive. Haha!~

Directionally Delusional

Recalculating…

I swear, I’d never get anywhere without a GPS.

Although I don’t particularly seem to be getting anywhere with one either…

Ah.

The great Global Positioning System.

Where exactly does this thing think it ought to be positioning me?

Straight into the path of danger?

I wouldn’t doubt it.

After my younger son’s doctor appointment, we decided to get out and explore downtown.

My GPS informed me of a sprawling park with playgrounds and a botanical garden just one mile away.

I was looking forward to enjoying a bit of one-on-one time with my son.

Now I know I should’ve just dumped him back off at school and called it a day.

For the record, I’ve got a track record of getting lost just backing out of my own driveway.

Truly, I have no concept of direction.

If I didn’t have a compass in my car, I probably would’ve driven straight into an ocean by now.

Some people have an internal compass.

My husband and older son both have it.

My younger son and I clearly do not.

Instead, I’m gifted with an overactive imagination and an inclination for getting lost going nowhere.

Yes, I know GPS is not foolproof.

And sure, some people prefer to use good old maps.

But for me, reading a map is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics.

I’m convinced printed maps serve only as intricately detailed wall hangings.

Did I mention I have no sense of direction?

None.

Zero.

Zilch.

Turn left now.

Um, okay.

But that would put us the wrong way on a one way road, so I think I’ll pass.

Thanks, though.

At the fork, stay to the left.

That’s all and well…

Except following that cue just threw us onto an entirely different freeway altogether.

Would somebody please explain to me the logic of a freeway called I35E that evidently runs north and south?

Rather than eastbound, as the would imply…?

Why not just name it I35Q instead, to eliminate any unnecessary confusion?

At any rate, we could actually see the park from where we’re at…

Make a U-turn.

Make a U-turn.

Take the ramp ahead.

Okaaaay…

But which ramp?

And to where, exactly?

There are various ramps leading to six different freeways.

One of them is a toll road.

And I refuse to pay money to get lost.

No, thank you.

Prepare to park and walk the rest of the way.

Excuse me?!?

Does that seriously sound like something anyone ought to be doing?

Across a freeway?!?

I always say I want to get out and explore more.

But this was not at all what I’d envisioned.

Getting lost is never intentionally on my agenda.

Nor is driving in circles.

Or making dozens of U-turns.

With such overwhelming helpfulness, GPS surely must be one of Siri’s relatives.

In 200 ft, make a U-turn.

Make a U-turn.

Turn right.

Make a U-turn.

Seriously?

The GPS loses connection as we go through a tunnel.

On the wrong freeway, of course.

And then it can’t seem to figure out where on earth we are.

By the time it regains satellite, it’s convinced we’re coasting along on an adjacent freeway.

Gotta love complex metropolitan cities.

There’s a reason I prefer to stick to surface streets.

Half an hour later, we’re right back where we started.

I’m not getting anywhere.

Literally, I’m going nowhere…

 Recalculating…
 ~Happy Friday, friends! Who else can relate to the chaos of getting lost every time you enter a vehicle? I know I can’t possibly be the only one… I hope! Anyway, have an amazing weekend!~

The GPS never lies...

The GPS never lies…

Stupendously Speedy Stipends

“Thank you for your cooperation.”

Ha!

Like I had much choice in that matter.

I mean, short of bolting off on an attempted high-speed chase.

Which surely would’ve been quickly thwarted by the abundance of farm machinery and construction vehicles that typically dominate the roads out here.

Apparently, going to Walmart wasn’t punishment enough for one day.

I got carded for purchasing canned air as I was checking out.

Little did I know I’d be whipping out my driver’s license again 10 minutes later.

I guess I should’ve stayed home.

Who needs toilet paper and laundry detergent, anyway?

“Do you know why I pulled you over today?”

“Oh my God! Is there somebody under my car?”

Okay, no.

I did not actually say that.

I merely shook my head no in reply.

I don’t drive on the sidewalks.

I don’t plow over pedestrians.

I keep my vehicle out of cow pastures.

I’m fairly cautious, I’d say.

Minutes from home, I’d been driving up and over a teeth-jarring railroad track when I noticed telltale flashing lights in my rearview mirror.

Of course, it would be an unmarked police car.

On a one-lane road.

With no shoulder.

And no place to turn for at least half a mile.

Nothing but a long stretch of nothingness.

What was I supposed to do?

Pull off the road, into a field of hay barrels?

Preferably one full of disgruntled Longhorns?

So I crept along with those obnoxious lights flashing behind me until I pulled up to an industrial park.

Right between the shift from a 30 mph zone to a 45 mph zone, the officer’s trusty radar gun had clocked me at 43 mph.

In the 30 mph zone.

Coming down a steep hill, it’s easy to quickly gain speed if you’re not paying  attention.

He asked for my license, but didn’t bother with proof of insurance or registration.

Must’ve had sufficient time to run my plates as he was coasting along behind me, waiting to see if I’d eventually pull over.

I’m sure the motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license didn’t earn me any brownie points, either.

Sergeant Scowly Dude didn’t look like a guy who believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt and sending them off with a warning.

I’d never, ever gotten a speeding ticket in my life.

Twelve years ago, I had been pulled over at 4:30 in the morning on the way to my final shift of work before maternity leave by an officer who had been pacing me.

At 39 weeks into pregnancy with my younger son, I nearly knocked myself out by hitting my head on the visor when asked for my license, registration, and insurance.

The officer looked on in a mix of sympathy and pity while toy airplanes and diapers flew out of my glove box as I attempted to dig out the requested paperwork.

In all fairness, I hadn’t slept in nine months, which might have been a factor.

For the whole incident.

That kindhearted officer let me off with a warning.

But this guy?

It wasn’t looking promising.

And with a mess of frizzy hair from an unfortunate combination of high humidity and rain, my typical adorableness wasn’t likely to do the trick, either.

This would’ve been a good time to have my charming kids in the car, surely?

Or my sweet, affection dog?

I’m usually sandwiched in traffic between tractors and cement mixers.

Or the occasional runaway cattle who manages to wedge, squeeze, and squish his way through narrow wire fencing to freedom.

And so I consider myself fairly lucky on days where the opportunity allows me to go more than 15 mph behind a bulldozer.

I’ve actually been passed by a semi truck a time or two.

A semi truck, for God’s sake!

Do I sound like the maniac here?

And yet, I received a whopping $250 fine.

Yikes.

I have nothing against cops.

There are countless decent ones out there who do good deeds and give back in immeasurable ways.

At any rate, I’ve been brainstorming less traditional modes of transportation.

Ooh!

I’ve got it!

Nobody ever gets pulled over on a cow!

At least, not to my knowledge.

Unless, perhaps, by a cop on a galloping horse…

The only problem is, I don’t have a cow.

And I would hate to end up with an even heftier fine, or worse yet, behind bars, for alleged cow-snatching.

Perhaps I ought to find me a Longhorn.

Nobody in their right mind is gonna want to mess with that.

Just strap on a backpack with a skunk inside for extra good measure, and voilà!

Good to go!

As a bonus, fewer suicidal animals would have the opportunity to make me an unwitting accomplice as they attempt to nosedive/hop/slither to their death at the hands (or would it be body?) of my vehicle if I’m not actually in a vehicle.

So there is that.

But I suppose this whole situation could’ve been avoided in the first place if I’d been riding a skunk or an armadillo.

Or if I’d stayed home.

And believe me, I’d be perfectly okay with not going back to Walmart again anytime soon.

~Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend, and drive safely!~

Hint: It's not actually a ticket (or two) to paradise...

Hint: It’s not actually a ticket (or two) to paradise…