It’s All in the Numbers

The trip is over and it comes down to this:

18  Days

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4 Hotels

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9 Nights in Hotels

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10 different beds I slept in

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8 Planes

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39 Hours Driving

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25 Hours Walking Around Disneyland

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7  Times I Crossed Time Zones

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9 States I Was In (not counting the repeats)

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15 Counting the repeats

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3 Number of Car Rentals

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9 Travel Companions (at various times)

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4 Friends I hadn’t seen in two years or more

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1 College Graduation

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1 Triathlon

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1 incredibly packed (with brother’s belongings from college) Nissan Sentra for the 2 day cross country drive

leg room

x

3 gerbils that came along

=

Probably the best family vacation we’ve ever had.

Three Days and Counting

…until I leave on vacation!!!  Here’s the official breakdown for the next 2 1/2 weeks (because if I have to remember it all, you at least have to read about it)

– July 21st: Mom and I fly from Little Rock to Salt Lake

– July 22nd: Drive from SLC to Idaho Falls/Rexburg with mom

– July 23rd:  Attend brother’s graduation

– July 24th:  Drive from IF to SLC with mom and possibly brother.  Fly out of SLC to Spokane, WA to hang out with friend (VERY excited about this part!!)

– July 29th: Fly from WA to SLC

– July 30th: Drive from SLC to Burley, ID with mom, sister,  and brother.  Meeting brother’s fiance there.

– July 31st:  Attend sister’s triathlon in Burley.  Drive from Burley to SLC with all of the same people.  Attend family reunion in SLC

– Aug 1st:  Fly from SLC to LA with mom, sister, brother, and brother’s fiance to meet up with other sister and her family and head to Disneyland

– Aug 4th:  Fly from LA to SLC with brother and brother’s fiance.

– Aug 6th/7th:  Drive from Utah to Arkansas with brother

– Aug 8th:  Sequester myself in my room away from human contact

– Aug 9th:  Emerge from room to go back to work at preschool

Will we all get along the whole time and still like each other when it’s over?  Probably not.  There’s too many possible high stress situations for one trip: college graduation, triathlon, a family reunion for pete’s sake, and Disneyland.  Multiplied by all the time we’ll be trapped in a car for long periods of time.  I also predict that I have a dormant illness that will manifest itself the afternoon of July 31st.  Guess the reunion is out for me…darn it.  This trip is one for the books and should be interesting to say the least.  At least there should be good blogging material right?  RIGHT???  Despite my misgivings, I’m actually pretty excited.  Ahh, the naivety of beginnings.

Otherwise Known as the “I Don’t Know Parade”

This year my mom and I did something a little different.  We wanted to keep it low key but still go out and do something to celebrate the holiday, so we decided to go to a nearby small town and check out the local scene.  I figured since I live in Arkansas, right in the middle of the I Love America bible belt, there should be something good going on.  I envisioned local shops selling homemade pies and fudge, artwork depicting our American heritage, and who knows, maybe some cool antique collections of American memorabilia on display.  Wishful thinking is what that was.

We saw that a small town about 40 -45 min. away was going to have a parade and though I’m sort of bah humbug when it comes to parades, I sort of thought it might be fun to check out.  We got there about 40 min. before the parade was to start and there were already people lining up on the street (for the record, we were there that early b/c I couldn’t remember how to get there or how long it was going to take).

The parade started at exactly 10:00 and went as follows:

I was there and I still don’t know what the golf cart was for.

As far as I know, Arkansas isn’t known for its pioneer heritage so I’m not sure why those girls in front are dressed like that

I don’t know what those girls and that lady have to do with the fire department or why she’s in a wife beater

I think that first vehicle used to be a part of a tractor.  I don’t know why old men are driving either one of those things.

Random kids riding their bikes.  Yeah, I don’t get why either.

Nascar represented of course

That’s how we do floats up here in these parts

FFA represent!  I thought there would be more kids on this one.

That’s a bulldog mascot in the truck so, maybe something to do with the high school?

Again, not so sure about this pioneer heritage they’ve got going on here

What the hell??

That’s it.  That was the WHOLE parade.  By 10:12 it was over.  There’s only one street that goes through the town and it took three times as long to get out of there than was the actual length of the parade.  I think my favorite part wasn’t the actual parade itself but watching the local people.

I knew I was in for a treat when not even 10 seconds after the road had been blocked, a beat up old car came and swerved around the road block, cut across the parking lot where we were parked.  The lady driving was missing a couple of teeth, wearing a small tank top over her slightly larger frame, her teenage passenger smoking a cigarette, and with her windows rolled down yelled (with her southern accent adding two extra syllables to the last word), “This is g@#damn bullshit!”  Ahh, America.

*Sorry the pics are small and crappy.  Of course, the same can be said about the parade.

Hold the Onions and Hair Please

Tonight my mom and I swung by Sonic and I ordered a Jr. Delux Burger and some tater tots.  When I got home, I discovered two things about my burger:  1.  The meat was missing and 2. There was a hair where my meat should have been.

I was a little annoyed but didn’t want to drive back to correct a $1 burger.  But then my stomach growled and I really did want that burger, so back to Sonic I went.

On the drive over I was thinking about the situation and what I was going to have to tell them and started to laugh.  Sure it’s gross but to not get any meat on a burger?  Seriously, who gets orders like that?  Oh right, I do.

I pulled in and pressed their little red button and the following conversation happened:

(perky high school girl voice) Welcome to Sonic.  May I take your order?

(my dry sarcastic boss from Office Space voice)  Yeah, I was just here and ordered a Jr. Delux Burger.  It was missing the meat but it did come with a hair.  So… I’d like a new burger.  One with meat but minus the hair.  That would be great.  Thanks.

I would almost pay money to have been inside to hear me say that over the intercom.  Imagining the looks on their faces will have to do I guess.

Meet Lulu

Isn’t she just the cutest?  I was on my way to Wal-Mart when I saw her trying to cross the road.  Naturally I pulled over and she became Lulu, my pet turtle.  It’s not unusual to see these little guys walking in the streets, so I’m sure she won’t be my only one this summer.  Almost as sure as I am that she will escape and be well on her way to the Mexican border by morning.  Or at least to the entry of the neighborhood.  Assuming of course a dog doesn’t get to her first.

I haven’t even had her for 12 hours and I’m already turning into some crazy turtle lady.  What would she prefer to eat? (Good grief.  She’s a turtle.)  Will she know there’s water in the bowl? (Pretty sure a turtle can find water.)  She seems to like to burrow into my shirt.  She won’t suffocate herself will she?  See, what I mean – crazy turtle lady.  And the list goes on and on.  Someone needs to start making some local friends stat!

I even went to Home Depot to get some chicken wire so I could fence her in the backyard.  When I asked the guy working there where the chicken wire was he looked at me and said, “What do you mean by chicken wire?”  Well….I mean chicken wire.  Not sure how much more clear I can be on that.

My mom asked me how I know Lulu is female and I was telling her what I had read on google.  So basically it comes down to the males being more colorful and attractive.  I guess there are a lot of species where the male is more attractive than the females.  Which I suppose makes sense if the female is choosing her mate.  I remember hearing of some species of bird where the male has to do some sort of mating dance for the female.  If she likes what she sees, then it’s on.

Sometimes I think of questions I should ask a guy on the first date and always mean to write them down.  Usually I’m thinking about them because a friend is talking to me about a bad relationship they’ve had (or are in) and I start thinking about the things I should find out beforehand.  Like, “what’s your credit score?”  “how much debt do you have and what’s it for?” “toilet paper over or under?”  “Crest or Colgate?”  “Mayo or Miracle Whip?”  You know, hard hitting questions like that.  Well now I think maybe I should take some pointers from the birds and have the guy do a little dance on our first date.   Can you imagine asking someone to do that?  Or being asked?  Hilarious.  Maybe I should do a blog entry on how we should mimic the different behaviors of species in our own relationships.  Hmm…..

Anyway, here’s one more of Lulu for the road just because she’s so darn cute.  And yes, I do realize I would never be able to tell her a part if she were next to another box turtle:

I’m Not a Productive Person but I Play One on TV

For the past two weeks I’ve had Back to the Future Syndrome.  Usually this is when you move back home after a year or more and it feels as though you never left but you can’t remember being there.  And things have changed while you were gone but since it feels like you never left, you aren’t sure when all the changes could have happened.  And there you have the final scene when Michael J. Fox wakes up after only a night and yet a week had passed and nothing was as it was before: Back to the Future Syndrome.

Well I haven’t gone anywhere but the days have gone by so fast, I can’t really remember them.  And yet I was here.  Maybe it’s a Back to the Future in reverse.  Or sideways.  Maybe I’m actually in an episode of Lost.

What I can sort of remember is that my brother was in town for a week during semesters at school.  Has he really been gone four months already??  I’m still around kids ALL THE TIME which has really just blurred into a collage of sand, snot, building blocks, and funny conversations.  Earth Day was yesterday and I helped the kids create the Earth in art form using blue/green paint, a magnet, a coffee filter, and a save the Earth sticker.  It was as though I had transformed into a craft version of Macgyver.

I’ve been tanning so I no longer have to write CLEAR on forms that ask what race I am.  And I got my hair highlighted this past week and absolutely love it.  I don’t know why I don’t get my hair done more often.  I come out of there feeling like the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I’ve been feeling so good the past few days I’ve been bust’n a move to old school Madonna in my car.  You’re welcome people I pass on the road.  Road workers outside my neighborhood, I’m talking specifically to you.

I spent a few hours this week laying sod (thank you tetris for giving me mad skills that finally came in handy – I knew you weren’t a waste of time) and tomorrow I’m going to donate blood so my “humanitarian” efforts for the week can be checked.  I also made 5 dozen cookies and have dough to make another two – just thought I would randomly throw that in there.  This time next week I’m going to be back in Illinois visiting my sister and her family with my mom.  Next weekend is also Toad Suck Daze here and for those (all of you) who don’t know what that is don’t worry, I’ll explain in my next post.  But speaking of traveling, my family has been trying to get a mega trip together this summer.  I don’t know all the details yet but I can tell you it looks like I’ll be going from Arkansas to Utah to Idaho to Utah to Idaho to Utah to California possibly back to Utah or if not back to Arkansas.  All in two weeks.  And I’m trying to squeeze a side trip of my own in there to Spokane for a few days.  If you feel like contributing to that fund by all means, go with those feelings and help a fellow blogger out.  No?  Well, you can’t fault me for asking.

Oh and did I mention I’m sort of thinking about going back to school?  Oh how I love that I can make my life seem more busy and productive than it really is.

My First Car

I didn’t get my first car until I was 21 years old.  Sure, I drove myself to school when I was 16.  But the family poop, brown minivan hardly constitutes as my first car.  Neither does the blue Plymouth station wagon affectionately christened D.D. (del diablo or “of the devil”).  Don’t get me wrong, these were great for cramming as many people imaginable inside but they were hardly the beacon of motorized style.  No, I was just paying my dues.  And in time I was the proud owner of this little beauty:

I know what you’re thinking but don’t hate.  This rotting piece of tin was mine for three months, getting me from Laie to Honolulu everyday for my internship.  And don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I got a tetanus shot not longer after I took these pictures.

It had so much to offer.  Two tone brown rust color body work, actual rust, holes from the salty sea watered air (what you can’t see is a massive chunk of hood missing from just such a hole), and check out that snazzy ceiling cover.  The spare tire was flat (which I discovered as a result of an unfortunate incident with a flat tire that I may have to blog about some time) and had a nice film cover of spider webs in the inside and I discovered live roaches, yes you read that correctly, live roaches living in the trunk (which I also discovered as a result of the unfortunate flat tire incident).

By the end of the summer the car produced and incredibly loud popping sound whenever I turned the wheel in any direction…something about the front wheel bearings or axles?  And by the end I could only drive for about 30 or 40 minutes before the car overheated and I’d have to pull over, let it cool down, and dump water in it.  And who could forget the crazy night when both of the headlights went out when I was still a half hour from campus?  And how I couldn’t replace the bulbs because someone had stripped the screws and I had to take it to a mechanic who charged me $20 to change them even though it took him two minutes and I brought the new bulbs with me.  Or the time when both windshield wipers went out the same day during a rain shower (and no, I’m not kidding)?

But hey, the radio worked and miraculously someone actually paid me money for it when I left.  Good thing or else I was just going to abandon it in a parking lot or push it off the cliff into the ocean….just kidding…sort of.

The Saga Continues…

Just when I thought Murphy with his stupid law were done, he came back for another blow.  My brother’s car was STOLEN right from the repair shop.  Apparently they were in the process of fixing it and had removed the bumper and trunk.   When they showed up today it was gone – sold for parts no doubt.  *sigh*  Seriously.  I hate you Murphy.

The Tire

I know I said there was only a 2 inch gash in the tire but I was looking at it in the middle of the night by the light of my cell phone.  Here’s what the tire really looks like:

IMG_3950

IMG_3949a

May be a little hard to see but there are four slashes, each larger than 2 inches – two on each side of the tire.  Pic 1 – right side middle, left side bottom corner.  Pic 2 – left side upper corner, bottom center.  Man, it could have been really bad last night.