You’ve Been Warned (a rant)

I thought I'd give you all a warning so you could take cover. When you see a big mushroom cloud rising over the center of Iowa, you'll know that Hubs has informed his mom that we're going camping to a racetrack this weekend…without her. Yeah. OMG. The world is going to end with a bang. At least, that is my expectation.

The only time we have ever taken the RV anywhere without her was once last year when she was at my sis-in-law's place out of state. The only time. She even got pissy about that one when she got back and found out. She has somehow taken ownership of that which was never hers. Can't quite figure that out. It was never even in her family. It was my parents who gave it to me.

From the very first time we took it out she went with us and started "nesting". She couldn't just sit and enjoy nature or visit or relax. She had to be sweeping out the RV, sweeping the rug we put outside the step, picking up sticks, yelling at my son to remove his shoes before he got in the RV… WTF? It is an RV, not our home. We have rugs down on the floor to protect the carpeting – we're not stupid. We're at a campground and/or a racetrack. We expect dirt. She even brought rugs of her own, which she said were old and she was donating to the cause…yet, this week as the guys were cleaning out the RV from the Supernationals, she had some hissy fit because one of the rugs was missing. Your point? Who knows where it ended up, but I'm betting someone would take the flat screen high-def TV my hubs put in there quicker than they'd take your friggin' rug!

She fidgets. She can NOT sit still. She's always shuffling, putting things away, getting things out… last year I'd stocked the RV to the gills with food and when the guys decided to cook burgers, I was all like "there's catsup, mustard, pickles, mayo, etc, in the frig… help yourself." These are adults we're talking about after all, and I'm on vacation too. But, nooo… she's got to go inside, drag all that shit out of the frig and put it on the table, then try and force it on the people eating the burgers. Some of which weren't even my family, but race friends who stopped by and were offered a burger. What part of "no" couldn't she understand? Then, of course, you can't leave anything in the sink to be washed… and you can't leave a blanket unfolded or the table left down as the bed, even if no one is using it as a table and will be using it as a bed in another twelve hours.

The other thing that annoys the hell out of me is the woman is one of the most negative people on the planet. I realize the irony in me saying that as I post a negative rant, but trust me. You can't say anything to her that gets a positive response the first time out. Oh, she'll back-pedal, but to start out with a smile and a positive comment. Ain't gonna happen. I had to laugh at the Supernational finals the other night. We were on the catwalk, pinned in like sardines, and surrounded by a bunch of my son's friends and racing buddies that hadn't made it in. First, they started by pushing her to the front as she's very short… then making her stand on a cooler… but what made me laugh was the whole time they were calling her 'grandma'. (She hates to be called that. She hated it from the time her grandkids started being born. She was never what you'd call a 'warm and fuzzy' grandma. My kids mainly remember being given the invite to come to grandma's only to be put to work picking up sticks in the yard, or some other menial task. Fun times, let me tell you! ) Then, as the night wore on and the beer flowed, the potty mouths kicked in. I, for one, have a potty mouth. I admit it. My kids do too. All of them. They can all control it, when in the appropriate setting, but I think nothing of having the f-bomb flying around my head, especially at the track. One of my sons' friends leaned over and whispered (as much as you can whisper at a race track) "Grandma just gave me the evil eye!". Seems he let fly with a few explatives, and she scowled at him and said something about "that wasn't necessary". Oh, puuleeaze… lady, you are at a race track, testosterone is flying, beer is being consumed, and you are going to be the potty mouth police? Good grief. I found out later that night that a woman friend of my daughter-in-law moved to another part of the stands because she, too, got the "evil eye" from my MIL for being a potty mouth. I swear, if she could think of a way to crush someones' fun, she'll do it.

So… that brings us back to the weekend. There is a race about 40 miles from home. There are races Friday night and Saturday night. Youngest daughter has been kind enough to offer to take care of the critters. Son and wife will drive back and forth as DIL has to work. Basically, it will be Hubs and I. Alone. Camping. For two days. Have I mentioned alone?

Watch for the mushroom cloud. I know it's coming.

8-26-04 *Update*

*Update* A year ago I begged for, and got, over 30 comments. This year? Half that. Half. Is it you or is it me? If I beg will you leave a comment? C'mon… there have to be more of you out there than that. I know it. I've seen the stats. You being lazy? C'mon…pretty please? Can't I get more than last year? 

Can you believe it? That's when it all began….

Thanks everyone who is still here, or who came along late! So, just for fun… can you tell me ONE thing you've learned about me in four years?

Oh, and if you are new or don't want to play, just de-lurk and say hello. I'd love to hear from you!

Tipped Over

Hey, look, Ma! I learned a new phrase this weekend! "Tipped over"… as in you've had a bit too much to drink. One of my daughter-in-laws (the racer's wife) and her friends were using this over the past week and, on Saturday night, it described me. Why? Because my son (the racer) did awesome in the Supernationals!

I've spoken before about this race, and he's not raced in it for a few years. This year he and his dad (Hubs) decided to go for it and it was a week to remember.

First, some background. The Supernationals are a huge deal. It truly is national. Cars come from all over – including some international ones, Australia usually has a car or two there. I don't know how many cars were there, but over 400 in my sons' class alone (modified stock car). The way it works, is, everyone is trying to get in the big race on Saturday night. All the races leading up to it are to qualify for that race. You start every night being in a heat race (of which there were 40-some). You must win your heat race to qualify for that nights' A-main, which, if you get in the top two of that will be qualified for the Big Race. If you are second place in your heat race, then you qualify to run in that nights' B-main. The way you do in the B-main figures into a points system that determines how you will finally place in what they call the "Last Chance" race on Saturday night – a last chance to get into the Big Race.

Last Sunday Hubs and son took the RV and the car trailer over to the track and got a good spot. Son and dil were staying there through the week. Monday and Tuesday nights were qualifying for the stock car class, so just watching – no racing. Wednesday night was the first qualifying night. I didn't go, but luckily my son drew a pretty early heat race so Hubs was home before midnight. Son won the heat race that night and went into the A-main, where he got spun out so didn't qualify. Son was fine, car was fine. All was good.

Thursday night I went. Son got second in the heat race, so went into that nights' B-main where he also got second place. Again, we lucked out and he had a fairly early heat race so again home fairly early.

Friday I didn't go and it was late. Son drew the 39th heat so didn't even race until about 1 o'clock a.m. It didn't help that we'd had some showers in the evening and the races got pushed back about four hours…  Son won his heat race again and qualified for that nights A-main. He got 10th place that night after starting 17th. Arrggghhh. Hubs got home about 4 a.m.

Saturday night. The Big Race night. I went. By now, things have been weeded down quite a bit and not so many cars are left. He ran in the third heat race and won. Then he ran in the "last chance" race where he got to start on the pole and also won! Now I was stressing… out came the beer. By the time he ran in the Big Race I'd had a few but I wasn't "tipped over" yet. He started 27th and after 40 laps ended up 10th. Not too bad a finish out of 400-some cars that started the week!

I'm so proud of him. We all had fun, he had fun, he was safe, the car ran good, and we came home with a car, a motor, and a driver. (The first four cars that win get their motors auctioned off, and lots of people sell their cars at the Supernationals). Normally, by this time of year we've sold the car so this is a different year. There are some more races that have some good payoffs yet to come this fall, and with harvest being about a month behind there are still some good racing days ahead.

Tipped over? Hell yes, I got tipped over. It was called for!

And Yet Another Surprise

If you've been a long-time reader (at least since March) you may have remembered this dilemma. Well, when I came to work yesterday I was greeted by a dark office. This in itself is not unusual, as people are taking vacations this time of year. However, when I walked in and flipped on the light it seemed a bit… empty. My "roommate" had quit.

In discussing it with one of the other guys I work with, he informed me that the quitting had officially taken place on Friday, but that he'd shown up early in the morning to clean out his desk. The music that he'd constantly play and leave on when he left for hours? Gone. Yay! I can go back to listening to my own music tastes, thank-you-very-much.

Also, it was well known in the office that he had been job hunting. I hadn't needed to say a word. I found out that one day when I was gone he'd been looking at some well-known job-hunting site on my computer and left the screen up for the plant manager to see. Tell me he didn't want to be caught! I guess the manager played dumb, just looked at it and said, "Now what dumbass would go and leave a job-hunting screen open on the computer like that?"  After turning whiter than his normal scandanavian complextion had him, I guess he was pretty quiet, but as far as they knew didn't do that one again.

He also applied for a job with the company that my former "roommate" had gone to. He had moved out of state when his brother was killed in an accident to be closer to his family and young nephew. He is still a friend and keeps in touch… so when the "big dummy" (as he is referred to and trust me, it fits) applied for a job with them, former roomate had called to talk to the manager about him. The manager had to be honest and just say he was pretty lazy and it probably wouldn't be a good fit. This was a couple of months ago, so they knew he was continuing to look.

I wish him well, I do. I honestly don't look forward to having someone new to have to "break in". Guess when you've been at a job for nine years there will be some of that, though. It is just part of the whole process. With the fall crunch right around the corner I hope they can find someone good that can step right in and so the job. It is badly needed.

Who said all surprises are bad ones?

Experiences You’d Just As Soon Not Have No.1

In keeping with random themes I have, we here at The Torn Pages have started a new one, prompted by the past 24 hours.

Years ago when I met my husband, he had a motorcycle. It was not a Harley, just something else. He'd had a Harley before he met me, but somewhere along the way had traded. At any rate, when we got married we didn't have a conventional honeymoon, but rather loaded an old camper-topper on the pickup truck, hooked up a trailer to the back and hauled the motorcycle out to South Dakota. Anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle has probably heard of the big motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD, in the summertime? Well, at that time I hadn't but Hubs had gone to it a couple of times and even though this was not at the time of the rally, he wanted to show me around the area. Plus, c'mon…it's South Dakota! A very beautiful state with lots of things to see.

So my first real exposure to a motorcycle was on the back of one going through the Black Hills. I'd post pictures, but the "helmet hair" would be too frightening.

Fast forward a few years and for one reason or another we both lost interest. I know why I did… it was a trip from Iowa to Wisconsin in the rain… but why Hubs did I'm not sure. Probably had something to do with four kids and logistics.

Now fast forward even further and you have come to a couple of weeks ago when youngest son bought a Harley.Although the thought was never far from Hubs' mind, suddenly the bug was alive. A week later we also were the proud owners of a Harley. Then became the 'accessorizing' phase, followed by the "getting re-acquainted" phase. That's pretty much where we are now.

We've taken a couple of short rides and figured out a new seat was in order for me – my ass isn't getting any smaller – and I needed some boots, we got helmets, etc. Yesterday we decided to go for a ride and test out the new gear. We did some riding over near the river and wound here and there – it was a beautiful day. We have some goggles on order, but at this time I can only see when we're going fairly slowly, otherwise the wind bothers my eyes too much and my glasses don't protect enough, so then I'm riding with my eyes closed. Luckily this time we were riding slower and I was able to look around quite a bit.

As we were going down near the river on a county highway, a dump truck was in front of us. I'm new enough to riding that I'm paranoid as hell. I had visions of rocks dribbling off the truck and bounding into us so I kept watching for it. Hubs stayed back pretty well, so it wasn't like we wouldn't have some time to react. Then after a bit I noticed an suv following us. Now I was wondering if that guy was going to pass us and if he'd have enough room to go around us and the truck or would he try to get in front of us… you know, all those crazy things that go through your head when you're riding along on a beautiful summer day.

Because I was watching so carefully I saw it happen.

One minute we're riding along and then next I hear a huge BANG!… and the truck in front of us throws a big piece of rubber our way while simultaneously veering across the oncoming lane and slamming into a deep ditch… landing on its side with the load – which turned out to be horse manure – spilling out all over and the gas tank about 300 yards into the nearby field. Hubs kept his cool and pulled over to the side of the road. I look at him and ask if he has his cell phone. I have mine, but figure his is right there in his pocket. He says he doesn't know where we are (at the time not thinking about the fact cell phones now have the GPS in them just for this reason)… when I see the neighboring farmer heading our way running down the road. I say, "He'll know where we are".  Suddenly an arm comes up out of the truck… "I'm okay"… a faint voice.

I couldn't believe it. The guy was okay. A small cut on his lip, otherwise he was fine. His truck was toast, but he was okay. Another neighbor pulled up saying he'd called the highway patrol. Several people stopped to make sure things were okay, and the suv that had been following us had pulled over when we did got the rubber off the road. Hubs went and helped the guy climb out of his truck.

As bad as it was, it could have been soooo much worse. I know that, and we talked about it, but I didn't think it had bothered me so much until I had nightmares about it all night last night. I mean, if he'd had gravel and spilled it on the road it would have been a problem for us… If someone had been in the other lane coming… If WE had been in the other lane coming… if the guy hadn't had his seatbelt on and had gone through the window…if it would have blown out when the guy was going really fast down the hill next to the river to make it up the next hill… I mean, your mind can come up with a million different scenerios.

Thank goodness it wasn't as bad as the things my mind can come up with. Still? Is on the list of one of those experiences you'd just as soon not have.