At least we can laugh about it

“Didn’t you just want to say to that guy, ‘We’re going on a road trip!!!!’?!?!?” my mom asked me, referring to the cashier at Wal-Mart. The idea of eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts had clearly gone to her head.

“Not really,” I said and yawned. Departure for South Carolina at 9:30 p.m. had dumped us at a Wal-Mart 40 minutes later.

We loaded the car and set off to hit a nearby Tim Hortons for Iced Cappuccinos. Mom rolled through a stop sign at the edge of Wal-Mart’s parking lot. Both of her hands left the steering wheel as she raised them in excitement on the main road. I noticed a cop sitting in the parking lot to our right.

“Mom…there’s a cop sitting right there.”

“So what? I’m not doing anything wrong.”

Lights turned on. His siren wailed. My mom’s face shone red and blue from the reflection in the rearview mirror.

“OH SHIT!” she said when she realized we were the culprits. She (just barely) pulled into the Tim Hortons parking lot and rolled down her window. “Hello, Officer.”

“Could I see your license and registration?”

I fished the registration out of the glove box, Mom retrieved her license from her wallet.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked. We told him “no.”

“You have a headlight out on your car,” he said.

He let us go, but warned us that we’d better change it before setting out for South Carolina. We had three options: 1.) Give up, go home and start again tomorrow during the day. 2.) Carry on and risk getting pulled over again – or worse – ticketed. 3.) Change the damn headlight.

You have to know that my mom NEVER gives up and NEVER settles. Guess which option we chose?

We drove back to Wal-Mart, purchased an H7 headlight, checked out at the jewelry counter (we didn’t feel like walking all the way down to the other end for registers) and set out to do what we needed. I called my brother to ask if he could help (he lives near the Wal-Mart), but he and his friends were too drunk.

My mom parked her red Suzuki Forenza (named Flo) under a light in the parking lot. I held the flash light while she rooted around under the hood, trying to extract the rotten bulb. When we got the bulb out, we realized we had taken out the high beam instead of the regular headlight. Well, fuck. We didn’t have the tools to get to the headlight. Dad wasn’t even able to change the left one on his own the week before; he’d taken it to a mechanic. But, remember, my mom NEVER gives up.

We piled back in and turned right out of the parking lot.

“Hey, there’s that cop again!” I said.

“Watch, he’ll pull us over… HE IS!!!” my mom exclaimed. Before he could turn his lights on, my mom turned into his parking lot. I rolled down the window and yelled “Hi, again!!!”

“Oh right… you’re the ones heading to South Carolina,” he said. (I think he thought we were lying. Who the fuck leaves for South Carolina at ten o’clock p.m.? We do.)

My mom explained that we were heading to our campsite fifteen minutes away to get the tools we needed.

“We’ll beep and wave when we drive by again!” she said. We drove away laughing our asses off.

At our campsite we broke fingernails trying to get the headlight into its place. Flo’s owner’s manual shows an easy way to extract the whole light unit from the car. We didn’t have the right tools to unscrew the bolt (of course). We worked with a pair of just-boughten pliers and our tiny hands.

Tempers rose. We screamed at each other. We threw around “Fuck!”s and “Goddammit!”s.

I tried to shove the bulb in its place. It got tangled in the wires and what we came to call the “spring thing.” I got frustrated.

Mom tried it. Got frustrated.

I tried it again.

It seemed to be an endless cycle.

Finally, over an hour later, “I THINK I GOT IT!” Mom exclaimed. “Quick! Get the cap on before it falls out of place!”

I screwed it in. We tested it. HALLELUJAH. It worked.

At one o’clock – four-and-a-half hours after our original departure – we set out again.

“This is a typical Steves family trip,” I said, laughing.

It took us over 16 hours to get to Columbia, South Carolina. It should have taken only 12.

It was well worth it.


Eight poems later…

All the rest have thirty-one…

Throughout this 2009 month of July, I:

  1. cried over something that happened to my lovely grandmother,
  2. cleaned my grandparents’ entire house,
  3. rolled coins with my boyfriend,
  4. listened to about 2,210 songs (about 71 tracks a day),
  5. attended Warped Tour for the first time and got to see my favorite band in concert again,
  6. returned to Darien Lake with my boyfriend and his family to ride rides and such,
  7. rode Superman at Darien Lake and loved it,
  8. listened to the song “Ignorance” by Paramore 28 times,
  9. laughed as my boyfriend told me about the 76 bug bites he had gotten while outside at my house,
  10. became a choo choo train with the conductor played by Miss “Taco,”
  11. got two stories published in our local newspaper,
  12. realized that if I save money I can have my Mac Book Pro by January,
  13. had two Orthodontist appointments,
  14. walked around Wal-Mart with my mother with a box of large sized condoms in our cart seeing if anyone would notice (and trying to keep a straight face),
  15. saw the new Harry Potter movie,
  16. snuck Jell-O into the movies,
  17. got home from the movies in 2 1/2 hours when it only should have taken 40 minutes,
  18. mimicked a bunch of chickens with my friend,
  19. dressed up like Ginny Weasley,
  20. got told a life story and a sad one at that,
  21. was shown where my daddy had gotten in a fatal car crash way back when (caused by a drunk driver),
  22. spent three hours down at the Fire Department and actually got to put on a uniform and oxygen tank (that was a real treat!),
  23. babysat a little golden retriever puppy,
  24. ate two chocolate bars in the course of one single day,
  25. listened to the song “One Day I Slowly Floated Away” by Eisley 25 times (and I’m still not done!),
  26. got angry about the crappy weather,
  27. swam only about four times (and we own a nice inground swimming pool),
  28. ate lunch at a place called Wienerville with one of my best friends,
  29. wrote a blog entry that caused quite a bit of controversy,
  30. wrote eight poems,
  31. and learned how to use all of my senses to really live.

Now, it’s the thirty-first of July. There’s only one more month of my summer left before I return to school as a junior in high school. [Weather Permitting] I’m going to make this month last as long as I can. I think Mother Nature’s trying to make up for all of the crappy days of July we’ve seen this year by making today a nice day and I’m going to go and embrace it. Maybe I’ll go for a dip in the pool and make it five times that I have entered it this July.

baby Grady
baby Grady


I am no longer mourning the loss of my lovely Pumpkin. He has passed on, I have moved on (shedding tears, yes) and tried to keep living life (which really wasn’t all the hard, I am sorry to report).

Every Christmas Eve we have our Family Christmas. We wake up, open the presents that we bought for one another (I had Jordan’s name this year – yes, we pick names), and then laze around utilizing whatever it is that we received. Well, this year it was all mixed up. I woke at thirty minutes after eleven, quickly added fringe to both Jordan’s and my daddy’s scarves, and then went downstairs. Everyone was up except for Adam. I decided to take a shower while I waited for his awakening.

After I got out of the shower, my parents were almost out the door by the time I made it into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee. “Gotta go run to Wal-Mart!” they said. I didn’t think anything of it.

I settled down with my coffee (don’t worry, I always put more creamer into it than actual coffee – maybe I shouldn’t even be drinking it!) in the Family Room and readied myself for the endless marathon of Man Vs Wild that was stretching out before me into infinity. My parents took off, and I sat around watching Bear and letting him teach me survival techniques. Except for the time we switched the channel to TLC (and watched that crazy family with almost eighteen kids!) because we had seen the Man Vs Wild episode that was showing, our TV stayed on Discovery Channel until my parents got home.

They pulled in, we muted the TV and went into the other room to open presents. My dad was first (him being the oldest), and so I went and got my finished scarf for him and let him open it. After that, my mom told me to wait for Trevor, and I noticed something moving in a crate near the tree. I instantly teared up and was yelling at Trevor to get in the room QUICK. As soon as he got in, I rushed over to the crate (the one with the big red bow on it that I failed to notice when I grabbed the present for my dad – I don’t even know how that happened) and opened the little grey door. Out came this tiny little grey, tan, and white kitten. I burst into tears and couldn’t stop gushing over this cute little thing. “Hey, Em! You better get the toy out for her that’s in the crate too” came Jordan’s suggestion. I kneeled down and looked in the crate, ready to reach out and grab said toy. Instead, there was a pair of tiny little eyes staring back at me. “OH MY GOD!!! TWO?!?!?!?!” Yeah, I started crying – I was so happy that I got the one – well, two – things that I wanted.

Welcome to our family little Ruby and Eloise. Already we have started calling Ruby “Rube” and “Rubes,” and Eloise has now been dubbed “Elle,” “Ellie,” “Weeze,” and “Weezie.” I have taken many a photo of them with my camera, and have spent a lot of today watching them play in the bathroom (where they are staying for now). It’s going to be fun to watch them grow up!!!