Saturday, May 03, 2008

Well-Traveled Mom in Scrubs

This last week has been nuts. Sunday I flew to Seattle. I took a driving class called Driving Dynamics. The class is mandatory for my company as I spend about 80% of my time in my Fleet vehicle. The truth is, my job is the most dangerous in the company, simply because of the amount of time I spend on the road. Pretty scary. I think this class should be mandatory for all drivers, especially for teens. What they teach you in driver's ed? 50% crap. Pretty scary since I've been driving for...let's see...20 years (damn, I'm getting old) and operating on the principles that I learned from the poor bastards that got tapped for summer driver's ed duty.

The folks teaching this class are all professional drivers - mostly racers. I got a piece-of-crap rental car that didn't have the required ABS for the class, though the rental agency INSISTED that all their vehicles have ABS (it's actually amazing how many new cars have ABS as an option!). I drove 20 miles in driving rain to get to Tacoma for the class, hydroplaning all the way. I was determined to make it this time, considering my experience in Denver trying to make it to the same class (see "Worst Day Ever"). My hands were numb from my death-grip on the steering wheel, but I made it... then realized that the reason the car probably drove like crap was that the tire was essentially flat.

Thanks Avis!!! So glad you Work make sure I die.

Anyhow, the class was so much fun, a few hours of classroom time and a lot of time driving the hell out of our cars. High speed obstacle courses, brake-slamming and steering (hence the required ABS), and a few trips around the course in a "slide car" - mimics driving on ice, useful here in the Midwest - and I figured out I'm a damn good driver. I created not a single orange-cone casualty. Like Mom always said, though: There are a lot of idiots out there. Your best bet is to be prepared, and now I am. 20 years later.

My kids will take this class when they first get their licenses. Guaranteed.
So since I was "in the neighborhood" (ha!) I was asked to stop by Rapid City, South Dakota to cover a case. Another place I've never been.

Now Seattle is breathtaking, when the fog lifts. Vistas galore. Snow-capped mountains, valleys of deep-green Fir sprinkled with all the local exotic (to me) flowering shrubs and spring blooms. A lovely humidity that my hair wasn't fond of, but that my pores breathed in thirstily. I think I heard them sigh. Midwest winter is dry, dry, dry. Seattle is lovely and damp. I could live there. Easily.

Rapid City has it's own beauty. A place that Spring hasn't quite reached, still snuggled in it's golden-brown winter blanket, but with the barest hint of green peeking through. I always wondered how the Black Hills got their name...I saw it first hand. They look very dark, purplish-black. I'm not sure why. The effect of these hills dotting the golden landscape was beautifully alien. Everywhere in Rapid City had a view. I'm not sure how I managed to always be on a hillside, but it happened.

And my Avis injustice was redeemed! All they had for me to rent there was a brand-spankin'-new silver Ford Mustang. 15 miles on the odometer. I was in heaven. Unfortunately I had to work and fly right out, so I only put 30 miles on the thing, but I put some of my Driving Dynamics skills to the test....whee!

One day home doing a case at my old workplace...okay, half a day. At 2pm I was asked to fly to Minneapolis that night to cover a case the next day. Can't really say no, so I did.

Minneapolis has a very nice Vetrans' Hospital, which I was glad to see because I think lots of Vets get crapped on by our government when they need healthcare. Don't get me started!! On the way to the hospital, the cab driver pointed out the Vetrans' Memorial Cemetary, where One-Hundred-Sixty-Five-THOUSAND vets are buried. From 5 wars. Sobering indeed. Too bad it's so close to the hospital; it's not exactly what I would want to see while headed to the hospital if I were sick.

So my morbid mind got to wondering: Do they cremate these heroes? Or bury them vertically? Or maybe it's just an optical illusion and these thousands of white stones aren't as close as they look?

Amazing that this is a dinky cemetary compared to Arlington.

So I got in late last night, and JeepMan left at 3am for Moab, UT. He and some buddies are driving out to go offroading in the Arches National Park area. Lucky SOB!! Well, he certainly deserves it after his 14-week stint as a single dad. And I get to spend a whole day with the kids myself before they are off to Grandma's for the week and I am off again to Parts Unknown for my job.

I am making the most of this time with the kids (can't you tell? I'm blogging!). Seriously though, we made crepes for breakfast - my specialty. The kids helped, which they love. Plato read the recipe and I taught him about measuring. Lulu got to stir and make a big mess. "Who cares?!!" I trilled, as the kids giggled and said Dad would be grumpy about the mess.

Finally, I get to be the "fun one." I've waited for years!!

Wait....hang on a minute...


Opportunities galore! I just plunger-ed a toilet that Lulu had tried to flush half a roll of TP down because "I hab die-ah-wee-ah." Yippee.

I did take the moment to teach her that girls have to wipe their poopy from front to back, not back-to-front. See, you gotta have moms. I'm pretty sure JeepMan doesn't know that....

Better go before someone sets the house on fire or something.

Happy Weekend!


Tiff said...

Lulu - never anything in half measures with that kid!

That Driving Dynamics class sounds like fun. I'm pretty sure that my health/drivers ed teacher did the best she could, but as far as I know she wasn't a race car driver on the side :-) Although if I recall she did have a pretty hot little car.

Monnik said...

That class does sound like fun. now that I have a kid old enough to drive (if she'd pass her permit test) it's something to think about...

Hope you enjoyed your day with the kiddos. Making crepes *is* fun! Plunging the toilet, not so much...

Debbielou said...

You've got the best of both worlds !
Have fun !!