Sunday, May 16, 2010

Truck Troubles, Well. I've lost count.

My dear friend Ashley summed up the last thirty-six hours quite well. “Does this stuff happen to ANYONE but us?”

Yeah…I don't think so.

Three stooges strike again! Starring Denise and Jennifer Parker in their recurring roles, and this time the position of third stooge goes to Ashley Young, with cameo appearances by Harry the Hauler and the Nameless Tow-Truck Guy.

I’ll try to keep this short, but I have this problem with being concise – it doesn’t work out so much for me. Anyways.

My mom’s been in San Diego for the past week, at a horse show with three horses. My horse is doing three shows in a row starting next week, so I sat this one out and stayed at home. The week in Del Mar went about as one could expect, but the real trouble didn’t start until she was driving home Saturday afternoon. An 8 ½ hour drive is easier at night when it’s cool – it’s easier on the truck, and it’s easier on the horses.

Apparently not easy enough. I got a call from her at 11:00 p.m. wherein she informed me that she was a hundred miles out of Wilton and the transmission had gone out in the truck. My automatic response was, “I’m not coming to get you.”

As an aside, this was undoubtedly a lie. I already knew that I was going to go get her – this was more of an attempt to evade the inevitable than any real refusal.

Her response was, naturally, “Well, what am I going to do?” to which I replied, “What do you want me to do? You’ve got the only truck! I can’t come get you and bring you and a trailer full of horses home with your car!”

“Who do you know that has a truck?” she asked.

“Ashley,” I said instantly.

“Then call Ashley.”

“No way, you call Ashley.”

“No, you!”

“Nuh uh!”

(We’re very mature, aren’t we?)

Jumping ahead through several repetitions of the above, complete with rude noises and mental tongue-sticking-outs, she eventually made the call herself. Next thing I know, Ashley’s calling me.

“You’re coming with me, right?” she asked.

“Of course I am,” I said dully.

Then, we got to Santa Nella/Gustine, where she was supposedly at, only to find out through judicious use of the iPhone mapping application that she was not 100 miles out of Wilton. She was 200 miles.

It took us three hours to get to her, after which we struggled to unhitch and rehitch the trailer to Ashley’s truck. This was fraught with peril, as you can probably imagine. My poor mother was so tired that she literally unhitched the trailer and drove away with the tailgate still up. I yelled, the tailgate crunched, the trailer wobbled, and I rushed forward to catch the wildly swinging tailgate that was attached by one hinge, and then, while I was holding on to the gate trying to figure out how to get the thing off, she went and did it again.

And then we spent thirty minutes trying to rewire the trailer lights to work with Ashley’s truck, during which the Nameless Tow Truck Driver came and hitched up the red truck. Then we were all set. Lights working. Truck running. Other truck on the bed of the tow truck. We were going to follow the tow truck to the nearby truck stop, then pick my mom up and continue on for home.

It’s about 3:00 in the morning at this time. And here’s the real kicker of the entire debacle.

We literally made it half a mile before the tow truck pulled off the freeway and idled in the middle of the off ramp.

“What is he doing?” Ashley demanded. “We can’t sit here! There’re people coming.”

My phone buzzed. I answered it. My mom’s voice was full of laughter, the kind of laughter you get in a situation where your options are either laugh, or have a meltdown complete with screaming and tears.

“The tow truck broke down,” she said. “It sounds like the transmission went out.”

You just have to laugh. I mean, really? Does this crap ever happen to anyone else? This is unreal.

Anyway, we left it there and went home. The drive took another three hours, at the end of which we had to unload the horses and unhitch the trailer. By the time I got home to bed, it was 7:30 and a full 25 hours since I left it. Not a huge deal, but unpleasant all the same. Then, of course, my mom had to deal with the truck we left behind, and she’s still on that trip right now, Sunday evening.

To sum it up – the transmission in the red truck went out, it took us three hours to get there, mom drove away with the tailgate up not once but twice, it took us an hour just to hitch Ashley’s truck correctly, the tow truck’s transmission went out and it took us all night to get home. My brain is now convinced it’s Monday the 17th.

The upside? Nothing caught fire this time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One of those days...

In the spirit of my - very late - New Year's Resolution (It's only April, give me a break), I've decided to post a second time, on the same day. I know, right? That's what I thought.

Anyways, this is my method of recording everything that hopefully, one day, I will sort in consecutive order and have printed out in nice hard-back form with a pretty cover. Of course, I would never be able to remember them in consecutive order, even if I wanted to, so I'll just write them down as they come to me.

Probably not with pictures. I'm not so good at the whole camera thing.

Okay, this took place just a few months ago, mid-January. In winter, we load up the horses and haul all the way down to the groin area of California, an unofficial community of Riverside County or something, according to the signs as you enter. It's about a mile long and a street-width wide, and it's called Thermal, California, and groin about covers it. (I used to call it the armpit of California, but David rightly reminded me that Modesto is the armpit of California.)

There's a horse show series down there, seven weeks long. We attend two of those weeks, and use Time-Share weeks in order to afford it. The show of course had its share of Stooge-like moments, but this story takes place at the hotel thing we stayed at. Being that we were down there to work, we rarely got home before seven, and a couple of times not before ten. This was one of those times.

Okay, real quick I have to provide a disclaimer. The hotel was friggin' confusing, and you couldn't ever find the room numbers, and all the separate units looked the same!


The card key didn't work.

Most of you know how that feels. You hike your way all the way to the room, down identical streets and up sidewalks and across lawns, longing for a hot shower and bed, only to find that little irritating red light blinking at you when you slide your card in.

So we drop all our stuff on the ground and my mom hikes all the way back to the truck to drive back to the lobby while I stay behind with the things. And the lobby's a long ways away so it takes for ever.

Ten minutes in, the door to the room next door opens and a little old lady pokes her head out and looks at me quizzically.

"Room key doesn't work," I explain, shrugging in that you know how it is way.

"That's not your room," the little old lady said, and all of a sudden my legs go numb and my neck gets inexplicably stiff. My eyes flick to the little tiny plastic plaque around the corner. Damn, I think. She's right!

"Oops," my mouth says. Then I stand there, and the little old lady stands there, and finally I sigh and pick up all the bags of stuff you seem to accumulate at horse shows and drag myself a little ways away to make a phone call.

"We're at the wrong unit," I tell my mom when she answers.


"Wrong room!" I say louder, and resist the urge to pace and flap my arms around in agitation.

"Oh," she says, and I hear her sigh. "Okay, go outside by the street and I'll drive by and pick you up."

"Okay," I say, hang up, and drag all our stuff out to the street to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Finally, my phone rings.

"Where are you?" my mom wants to know.

"Out by the street!" I say in exasperation.

"I don't see you!"

"Then you're at the wrong unit again!"

"Well, where are you?"

"Out by the street!"

"I can't find you!"

"That is obvious!"

"I'm lost!"


"Okay," I say, taking a deep breath. "Go back to the lobby, and try again."

"Okay, I'm going back."

"No, wait! I see you!"

"There you are! What happened to that mug you've got in your hand?"

I looked down. The mug was handleless.

"I think I broke it when you told me you were lost."

"Oh. Huh."

Hey, Remember Me? Yeah! Long Time No See!

Sometimes I impress myself. Like, slack-jawed astonishment at what I just did, or is happening around me, or how I attract trouble like no one I've ever known, except for one other person. That person is my mom, Denise.

We like to call ourselves the Two Stooges, and sometimes the 'Two-and-a-half Stooges', if Adam's tagging along. In the spirit of the disastrous directions our lives sometimes take us, my mother and I have decided to write an autobiography titled How on Earth Could We Be So Stupid? and sequel, titled How on Earth Could We Be So Stupid, AGAIN?

Well, okay. Maybe we won't actually call them that - those titles might be kind of embarrassing, later on - but they're quite accurate.

I haven't actually started it yet, but I figure, at least write it down somewhere, right? Those little instances where I do a mental head-thunking excersize. Mental because I've found that if you literally pound your head against the walls in public places, people tend to look at you funny and then concentrate very hard on not looking at you at all. Sometimes they even walk very quickly to get away.

Okay, they tend to do that anyways, but usually it's because of something I can't actually control. Like my mom doing squats in the Detroit airport, or cursing a blue streak behind me as we stare blank-faced at the airport departure board that tells us we're over two hours late and our plane departed three minutes ago.

That was in Venice. Which, you'd think, Venice, right? Not so bad? Wrong.

Then, sometimes I get the feeling I should include my three-year-old cat Foxy in the Stooges thing. She'd make a full blown one, not a half-stooge. She came in the other day with a very constipated look on her face, sneezing and rubbing at her nose. Of course she didn't want me to look at what was wrong, so I had to pin her in order to get a look at the little bit of grass sticking out of her nose that atually turned out to be about six inches long. In her nose.

Don't ask. I have no clue.

And then there's Adam, who just came up to me. This was the conversation.

Adam: "Jennifer?"
Me: "Hmm?"
Adam: "My butt is itching."
Me: "Would you like me to scratch it for you?"
Adam: "Yes, please."
Me: "No!!"

I have no words. Really.

And this was kind of a useless post. Oh, well. Whatever.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Things

High-pitched yelping scream.

Friend: "What was that?"
Me: "Oh, that was the cats chasing the dog."
Friend: "Oh...?"
Me: "Yeah, I know. I have really wimpy dogs."

Also, my cat Foxy made me laugh until I cried the other day - she's the only one of my cats that can do so. Basically, we have a big kitchen full of stacked drawers and with a big center island. She's very talented at opening drawers when she wants to get in them, because they're easy to open.

Anyway, she opened the top drawer and dug around in there for a while, then tried to jump from the drawer to the center island, but easy-opening drawers also make for easy-closing ones, and the drawer slammed shut as she jumped. She sailed over and smacked belly-first onto the edge of the island, her back legs scrabbling madly, before she slid off and landed in a little heap on the floor. Naturally, being a cat and proud like that, she immediately pretended that she had meant to do that all along.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saw my cousin Jessica's go at this, and thought I'd do the same.

I've bolded the things I've done in my life.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given to charities
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice(Not yet, but we're planning to go in June!)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person(Love Rome!)
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House- the outside.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous(Lots!)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Been involved in a law suit
97. Owned a cell phone
98. Been stung by a bee
99. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
100. Learned to play an instrument

49/100 isn't bad. I'd love to see Mount Rushmore and Michelangelo's David and go to Africa and publish a book and tons of other things, although I don't think I'd want to go on an overnight train. But maybe that would be easier than an overnight plane, which is a huge gigantic bummer.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pictures of Rome

Debbie wanted pictures - who am I to deny such a request?

I don't have a lot cause the camera died after the first day, after which I bought post cards, but here are a few interesting ones...

Below, our first picture of Rome, of a strange, triangular shaped building.

Here, on our way to the Colosseum, through this tunnel. I snapped a quick picture of Mom in the entrance. Behind her is someone sleeping on a mattress.

Our first glimpse of the Colosseum.

And our Gladiator friends. The ringleader - the one who followed us - is the one on the left that I'm holding at swordpoint. Note the modern beanie.

A startlingly pretty picture of the sky over the rim of the Colosseum. The weather was beautiful while we were there.

An old temple cracked in half during World War I (according to David). I just thought it was neat looking.

The old aquaducts beneath the House of Augustus. These ones are no longer functioning, but the city is still supplied by the same network that these ones belong to, and the water is still pure and drinkable.

This is a picture I took because I love this style, with the sun behind the tree. I took it standing in the ruins of the Palatines, (The House of Augustus standing on the ruins of the House of Nero), and you can see the ruins behind the tree.

Standing on the Palatines, two twin columns stretch into the sky, a view of Rome behind them. The two basilicas in the lower right hand corner are St. Peter's in the Vatican (the leftmost one), and I think the Piazza del Popolo.

One of my favorite pictures. Sometimes I surprise myself, truly. The remainder of the Temple of Saturn.

This one has a story behind it - Mom and I wondered about the Egyptian statue in front of the Obelisk but didn't expect it to be a living person. Mom offered to go hug it for a picture, which I didn't get because I was laughing too hard. This was taken before that, from far away and zoomed as close as the camera would go. At the time, I thought it was a neat statue.

View of Rome from the Palatines. Another of my favorite pictures, because when scaled to full size it's beautifully sharp and clear, with the Colosseum presiding. I'll get this one framed when I get the chance.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book Releases

Okay, what is it with April 7th? Is it just like a default date, because three of my book series are releasing the next installment on April 7th 2009; Jim Butcher's Turn Coat, Sara Monet's Corambis, and Patrick Rothfuss's Wise Man's Fear. Is it really a release date, or just something they put down there to take up space?

I'll tell you one thing, though...if it's actually the correct release date, April 7th is going to be a field day for me. I'll be pre-ordering all three books off Amazon, and use the rest of my Amazon certificates to do so. :) It'll be so worth it.