How Old Were You When You Started Driving?

#noblopomo Day 12, WordPress Photo Challenge: Tiny

Most men started driving when they were tiny.

Maybe women do too, but in my world cars were a way to get somewhere, not the destination. Not in my husband’s world. Cars were the destination.

A few of my husband's tiny cars
A few of my husband’s tiny cars. In the background he poses with Chip Foose when his big car won an award, and he won the door prize. Wahoo! 

In Woodlake kids drive tiny cars on the street one day a year. The Kiwanis Club hosts a Soap Box Derby during Rodeo Week in May.

A tiny car for a tiny person to drive.
A tiny car for a tiny person to drive.

Kiwanis checkers insist that drivers are 8 years old, but we know that some tiny racers have slipped by with their parents’ permission.

tiny-101

A crowd gathers to watch the tiny drivers race. Even the golf cart looks big in comparison.

Runners race chase the tiny cars as they speed.
Runners chase walk after the tiny cars as they are pulled to the starting line.

How it works first time up:

Hold on for dear life!
Hold on for dear life!
  • Kids and parents check in.
  • A Kiwanian asks for the child’s driver’s license, and the kids stare back without a smile. Parents grin sometimes.
  • Elementary teachers and parents conflict over verify their grade level.
  • The child puts on their safety helmet.
  • They trudge up the ramp and step into the car.
  • The Kiwanis pusher holds the car until the race begins.

So Far So Good!

Tiny drivers hang on!
Tiny drivers hang on!

Gravity does the rest of the work.

Go! Go! Go!
Go! Go! Go!

The kids soon learn that one car goes faster. They do not get to choose which car they drive.

The next time they race, they are brave. The race lasts about an hour depending on how many kids show up.

Let's do this!
Let’s do this!

The Kiwanismotto is “Serving the Children of the World.” This is one of many fun ways that Kiwanis of Woodlake serves the children of our community.

Other activities include:

  • Toys for Joy – making sure that all children have a present for Christmas.
  • Dictionaries for all third graders. (Kiwanis and Rotary)
  • Special Olympics Bowl-A-Thon
  • Miracle Mile of Quarters – to raise money for the Children’s Hospital
  • HOBY Conference Scholarships
  • College Scholarships
  • Outdoor Environmental Education Scholarships
  • and much more

If you would like to help us or join Kiwanis, please contact me tchistorygal@gmail.com.

Kiwanis is a tiny club in a tiny town of ranchers, farmers and farm workers. At last count I think there were 19 members working tons of volunteer hours each month.

If you would like to help Kiwanis to spread the word about what they do for the community of Woodlake, CA, please share this post with your friends and groups.

For more thoughts about tiny, click here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

Oops- We Waited One Day Too Long to Trade in Our Car: Eulogy to a Prius

We named her Pris. She was my baby for nine years, and we went everywhere together. She is my subject for this week’s WP Photo Challenge, Oops.

Pris1
See how glazed over her eyes are?

When her heart ruptured, I rushed her to the hospital and she underwent expensive heart replacement (hybrid battery) surgery, and we brought her home. Within just a few months she had another major attack, this time of her central nervous system (touch screen computer system). We took her back to the hospital, and the surgeons told us it would be $1,800 to put her back together correctly. I told Pris that was too much. She was not happy with me.

Her circulatory system was most affected by her central nerve damage. If she was cold we could press on the top of the screen to turn on the front and rear defroster even though the touchscreen buttons were on the bottom of the screen. If she had a hot flash, we could turn down the temperature of the air conditioner on the steering wheel, but her fan automatically came on full blast. (A real oops!) If we got tired of listening to her fan, we could turn it down by turning up the temperature on the steering wheel. That is not a problem in the winter, but when the outside temperature is 110 and her internal temperature is 130… (oops again)

We looked at cars for several weeks while Pris continued to limp along.  She tried to tell us the end was near. She dropped her rear view mirror and left it dangling by its cord. Vince stuck it back on. She complained because it was loose and it rubbed her windshield every time I hit a bump, but I ignored her complaining. She got in a little accident when someone backed into her at a stop sign – or she snuck up to kiss the car. We weren’t sure which, but she had to have plastic surgery. Even with insurance her face lift cost us $500. She showed wear around the door where her insulation started to sag. I told Vince I wasn’t paying for any more plastic surgery. One minute Vince could live with her for a few more months. At other times I could. Both of us should have known better.

Meanwhile Pris got sicker and sicker. One day she turned on her red triangle with the flashing exclamation point. She had leaked out all her oil in 1,000 miles. She was on a 3,000-mile checkup instead of 5,000 miles after her heart surgery. Vince filled her with expensive oil, and she felt better. She turned off her red triangle. He took her to have her oil changed about 500 miles later. Friday, she told us she would not go one mile farther, and she turned on her red triangle again. A sign appeared on her touchscreen to put her into park.

Vince and I finally HAD to agree on a car to replace Pris.  You can read about that in  a earlier post. I could afford something at the Corolla level.  I can’t tell you what he said about the Corolla because his son is proud of his. Vince told me I should get a Cruze when Pris started with her second episode. I could afford that without any help from him. Although I had drug my feet, I finally decided that a Chevy Cruze would work. We bought it after the shortest test drive in history. Vince wouldn’t even go along. He wanted to get on the way to go our Audi appointment, but  almost any car he liked and some he didn’t – an Audi, , ATS, Fusion, or Volt would need his financial help.  He wanted a Porsche, and that required all my contribution and then some. So he quickly agreed to the Cruze.

no name Chevy Cruze

We brought Pris’s replacement home Friday, No name Chevy Cruze. Pris looked forlorn, but if Friday was sad, Saturday was worse. The dealer gave us $700 in trade for Pris – dead or alive.  Vince drove her onto the tow truck. I couldn’t watch, but he took these pictures.

Pris 3 cr

Then she drove away for the last time. The mailbox looks like her cross.  She still looks good for her age – 9.5 years. Bye bye Pris. You were a good girl, and I love you. RIP

Pris 2 cr

For more mistakes aka “WP Photo Challenge – Oops” click here.

Drawing Your Hand – Would You Choose a Chevy Cruze or an Audi?

For her post today Cathy Tenzo’s blog revealed her hand to the world. For a poker player that might not be so good, but for an artist… Not so good either, according to Cathy. She said that hands are among the hardest things to draw.  I had time to waste while my husband debated about getting ready to go look at cars, so I decided to try sketching my hand.

tchistorygal's hand #1No I wasn’t thinking of punching him. I was actually pleased at the results for a first try. I don’t think I’ll quit my day job, but it was a relaxing thing to do instead of tapping my toes or playing Spidersol. When we got home tonight, I scanned it, cropped it and cleaned it up a little in Photoshop.

After I finished my morning sketch, we sped off to trade in my 2006 Prius with 227,518 miles on it. He backed it out of the driveway, put the Prius into drive, and the nasty red triangle light with a huge flashing exclamation point appeared on the dash. That’s not a symbol for excitement when you see it on the dash – trust me. It appeared three months ago and we had to buy a new hybrid battery. That ! cost us $4,000, but we figured we had just bought us a reliable used car. Moral:  don’t have a heart transplant if you’re 126 years old, or if you’re a Prius with 225,000 miles.

We had waited one day too long. So now you know how long a Prius can last.

He was able to get the car back in the driveway. Then off we went to  driving Vince’s Prius to look at a Camry in Hanford that advertised all the gizmos we I wanted. When we arrived, the salesperson needed to run a quick errand for another customer. He pointed us to the bagel bar – big mistake. I enjoyed a Panera Cinnamon Crunch bagel, but didn’t buy the car. We had another appointment so we scurried off without hurting anyone’s feelings – since the next appointment was set in stone. We started off to an appointment with the Audi dealer in Fresno.  Before we left Hanford I sidetracked us to visit the Chevrolet dealer, since it was right on the way.

What I really wanted was a fully appointed Volt that gets an advertized 106 miles to the gallon. I just feel so righteous when I’m driving a car that squeezes more miles out of every ounce of gas.

Vince does not/did not support my Volt fetish, and wanted me to try a Cruze. I snubbed my nose at its 30 miles to the gallon fuel rating, but I determined to keep an open mind. (hahaa) Jean and I had tried to test drive one in Scottsdale, but not one salesperson came out to help us. That is Jean’s pet peeve, and I wasn’t too pleased either, so we ended our car shopping and stuck to clothing. Back home again, Hanford, CA was the Cruze’s last chance to impress me.

The salesperson, a trained psychiatric nurse, drove out to the extra sales lot and we followed. I’m not saying that he psyched us out, but he didn’t get psyched when we told him that we were on our way to drive an Audi. We went to the other Chevy car lot, but we refused to drive him back so we could head up to our appointment. Psychic Nurse, Michael took a new truck, and we followed him. I popped into the Cruze LTZ RS, and he turned on my heated seat. (The more initials it has, the better Vince likes the car.)  As the car sloshed through the mud in the parking lot dirtying up it’s lily white bumpers, I warmed up, and my personality mellowed. We dashed around the block. I decided that for the difference in price, between a fully appointed Cruze and an Audi, I could live with the Cruze.  We I bought it. Since I really didn’t care it I got the car or didn’t, I was an amazingly ferocious negotiator. I told them it was either a Cruze, Audi or Porshce. I didn’t care which. I was fairly pleased with the results considering that my Prius, RIP, was no longer a back-up. By the time we finished, it was 3:30, and Vince had not eaten anything since his last power bar following his exercise workout. I didn’t have a Snickers handy.

We left for lunch, and got back to the car deal to pick up Vince’s car at rush hour.  Vince jumped out of our new Cruze to head home in his car, but …he lost his car key. Good thing he had eaten!

We drove back and forth between the dealer and Panera during rush hour – yes Hanford, CA has a rush hour that rivals Los Angeles because of the freeway construction. An hour later when we changed seats once again, we found the key. I had been sitting on it after it fell out when he was driving, I’m obviously not the Princess and the Pea.

We are now sitting safely at home with a hot cup of  tea and a neck ache.

So, I’ve revealed my hand today. How was your day today?

 

Notes on Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – funniest book ever.  I can hardly get through this.  I’m 17% done.  I have written something since I was old enough to write.  No pressure to publish, just love to write.  Can’t help myself really.  It just flows out. Anne Lamott can tell you exactly what happens.

Marsha
What should I write today? the autobiography of my childhood, or a book about the history of – oh say – women?

 

“You sit down to write… what you have in mind is…a history of-oh say- say women. …Then your mental illnesses arrive at the desk like your sickest, most secretive relatives.  … After a moment I may notice that I’m trying to decide whether or not I am too old for orthodontia, and whether right now would be a good time to make a few calls, and then I start to think about learning to use makeup and how maybe I could find some boyfriend who is not a total and complete fixer upper, and then my life would be totally great… Then I think about all the people I should have called back before I sat down to work and how I should probably at least check in with my agent and tell him this great idea I have and see if he thinks it’s a good idea, and see if he thinks I need orthodontia-if that is what he is actually thinking whenever we have lunch together…”

Maybe you will be better at finishing this book than I am so far.  As soon as I start reading, I have to write the same thing that happened to me only in a different way.

So I’m trying to get through at least one more chapter without stopping to write any more of her funniness.

HOWEVER, I’ve been on a writing roll since 12-27, but husband told me yesterday.  I thought he meant 12:27, but that’s another argument. (minor, minor one folks)

The other day after rewriting Girls on Fire for at least four hours, I took a break to take the dog outside.  The good news is that I had dressed.  Many days I don’t change out of pajamas until I know I have to go somewhere, and now I hate to leave the house for any reason.  But that day, I did throw on some jeans and a t-shirt I’d been wearing for a day or two.

Retirement MMP & K

My hair was still rumpled in a way only women with hot flashes understand.  The straight bangs that used to be thin and straight are now fluffy in all directions.  The back of my hair sticks out about an inch from my head then falls limply leaving a huge part the size of my  hand in the back.

bing car

So I walked out on the front porch and waited for the dog, who I’ve ignored all morning, and who drives up but the Bing car.  Maybe you’ve never seen the Bing car.  It’s white with a black sign on the side that says Bing.  On the top is a 5 or 6 foot pole, and on top of the pole is a camera(s).  The Bing car drives down your road at about 30 miles an hour shooting pictures from all angles from the camera(s) perched on top of the car.  The result will be pictures you can zoom down to see your street at any angle.  I’ve always worried that one of these cars will shoot through the fence in the backyard when I’m skinny dipping at midnight so no one will see me.  So far, until last week I’ve been safe, but last week the Bing car drove down my street.

Road Trip
Road Trip Yes, it took plenty of gas.  

I wouldn’t worry as much, but the picture that is up on Google has been there since we had our GMC motor home, which was about 6 years ago.  So I’m obsessing that this horrible series of shots of my bad hair day will be up there for everyone to see for the next 6-7 years. What if I become famous?  Will newspapers pick this up and publish it?

Now do you see why I’ve only read 17% of this wonderful book?  You’d better read it yourself instead of waiting for a book review from me.

How are you today?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

A container holds something.  A car holds people.  Therefore a car is a container.

Smile, it was supposed to be funny.  :)
Smile, it was supposed to be funny. 🙂

Actually, the museum building is also a container.  It  contained mock buildings, which contained relics.

containers4

Container is a noun.  Contain is a verb.  Vince and his son could hardly contain their excitement when we went to the California Auto Museum in Sacramento.  Uncontained excitement, like uncontained anything spills out and gets all over.

containers3
Have you ever seen such intensity? I couldn’t contain myself from taking this picture.

Their excitement spilled all over me, and I loved the museum, too.  My pick for today’s visit – a classic Woody.  This container even contains a container in the back.

container2

If you ever get to Sacramento, don’t miss this well-kept secret.

wordpress-20141For more container posts click on the icon above.