Tag Archives: driving

Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Freak Out

Life advice from Abby:

sweat

I would like to think I never overreact.

It’s not true, but I would like to think that about myself. The truth is that sometimes something like my spoon falling into my oatmeal can garner the same reaction from me as having to go to the hospital again or call a guy to remove a raccoon from my chimney–all three things that have happened entirely too much these past couple months. 

SPOON INTO THE OATMEAL, PEOPLE. 

Anyway, because I’m a helper, I decided to create a guide of sorts with a few questions you can ask yourself the next time you feel like flying off the handle.

Are you in the pasta aisle of the grocery store?

Good call. Pasta is delicious, but this is a maniacal maze of shapes, sizes, and sometimes even colors that if considered for too long, will drive even the most sane person to madness.

Do you want long or short? Small, medium, or large shells? Ziti? Rotini? Penne? Elbow? Bow tie? I DON’T KNOW I JUST WANT TO SMOTHER IT IN PESTO!

What to do:

Keep your eye on the prize–pasta, pesto, and other edible things that may or may not start with “p.”

Consider 1) the damage-to-clothes-while-consuming ratio–what affords you the least chance of spillage, 2) how much fork work you want to do –longer means more twirling while short means more stabbing and 3) why no one has invented macaroni made out of cheese in the first place.

Are you running?

Are you attempting to move at a rapid pace while wearing neon spandex? Are your muscles burning, along with your lungs and calories you just consumed from inhaling the eight pounds of pasta you just made because you can never figure out the right serving size? 

What to do:

Unless you are being chased by a wild animal, just stop. While physical exercise is vital, jarring your body up and down on hard pavement is not. No one should have to endure that. Cease and desist immediately. Take off your Nikes, post on social media about how you just went for a run, and nama-stay on the couch in corpse pose to recover. Power yoga for the win!

Are you dealing with Comcast?

Have you been on hold for 45 minutes? Are you refreshing your browser every .03 seconds and restarting your router only to get the same browser error? THIS IS A LEGIT REASON TO PANIC!!!

What to do:

Unfortunately, there are some things out of your immediate control, and you will probably find yourself going through the five stages of grief–denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance–while on hold for the third hour. This is natural. Let it happen.

When you’re finally connected to a person who assures you that they’re working on the problem, let them know you’ll be “working” on paying your bill whenever you get around to it. Once your connection is restored, be sure to make at least four jokes about “Comcrap” on social media. This appeases the gods.

Are you reading an inspirational quote?

Are there uncomfortable words like, “success” and “motivate” or reference to “Keeping Calm and Doing Something Completely Random” shared by someone you thought as a “friend?”  You might be reading an inspirational quote.  

What to do: 

Distance yourself from that person immediately. Block. Unfriend. Do what you have to do to remove yourself from that situation. You don’t need that kind of pressure in your life, especially if you’re shopping for pasta that night. . 

Are you driving?

Are you behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, minding your own business and putting down an awesome version of Uptown Funk to the zero passengers in your car? Are you the only effing person on the planet who knows how to slightly lift one finger to use a turn signal or go the speed limit in the left lane OH MY GOD YOU DON’T HAVE TO BRAKE WHEN YOU’RE MERGING ONTO THE HIGHWAY!

What to do: 

Actually, if you’re already yelling that at a high volume and using selective hand gestures as you pass the idiot driving with their head up their ass, you’re already doing okay. Gold star. Keep those roads safe. 

Were you eating and now you’re not eating? 

Scene: You were eating. You reached for what you thought was the last bite of food, only to realize you had already eaten the last bite of food and now you’re so emotionally unprepared that you don’t know what you can do. Now you’re not eating. Now you’re sad. 

What to do: 

Wipe the tears and the crumbs from your face, take a deep breath and evaluate the situation. Is there possibly a piece of pita you dropped on the couch? Maybe under your napkin? If not, I suggest you go towards the light, and by that I mean the light in your fridge.

Remember, hummus is the spackle that can fill a hole in your heart.

If after asking these questions you still feel like freaking out, just make sure to do it loudly and in a public setting so we can enjoy the show. I’ve found sometimes people will even throw you some tips. I’ve made $24 this year alone which is enough for a cart full of pasta…

BUT OH MY GOD WHAT KIND?!? Here we go again.  

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Adventures at the ATM

There’s a good chance the Pope and his posse could pull up behind me in the Popemobile at the ATM and I would still think they were plotting to mug me or judge me for taking too long to complete my transaction.

In my defense, I had never even used an ATM before a couple of years ago. I have no idea why that was, but I have since remedied the situation and can say I’ve probably used one in an excess of two dozens times since that first jaunt. However, like most mundane activities, I can find something to complicate the situation.

atm

A normal person would simply drive up to the machine, insert their card, enter in their PIN, complete their transaction, grab a receipt and move on with their life. In case you are new here, I’m not entirely normal.

While there are moments of ATM glory, there are also moments of shame and most of those moments look something like this:

  • Drive up to cash machine
  • Reverse back the required amount to align car window to machine
  • Set parking brake, put the window down, glance around to make sure no one is lurking nearby
  • Grab purse and try to pry the debit card out of my wallet
  • Find mint and get distracted by my good fortune
  • Focus on card and then swear as it refuses to budge out of my wallet
  • Turn the radio down—too distracting
  • Precariously hang out of the window to insert card
  • Attempt to insert card into machine
  • Re-insert card the right way up
  • Glance around again for would-be muggers
  • Enter PIN
  • Enter amount of cash required
  • Press cancel and re-enter correct amount of cash required
  • Back up the car again to retrieve an envelope for soon-to-be-delivered cash
  • Retrieve cash and receipt
  • Glance around again for would-be muggers
  • Grab purse and place cash and receipt inside
  • Look for another mint but find only disappointment
  • Drive forward two feet
  • Reverse back to cash machine
  • Precariously hang out of the window to retrieve card
  • Grab wallet again and shove card into the slot provided
  • Silently memorize the facial features of the irate male driver/would-be mugger in line behind me
  • Drive forward two feet
  • Bath my hands in sanitizer
  • Move on with my life

You see how exhausting this is?

No wonder I held off so long.

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How To Go Through a Car Wash

I’ve made no secret of my driving pet peeves.

horn

But one of the things I find most difficult about operating a motor vehicle is the car wash. In fact, at times I find it down right scary.

It starts with the Herculean task of lining my driver’s side wheels up with the tiny track line that leads into the car wash cave. I carefully watch the attendant for direction—he waves me a little to the left, to the right, no! no! back to the left!—before I finally receive his seal of approval, a raising of his hand and a stern nod of his head.

I quickly exhale and regroup before remembering I have to put it in neutral and take my hands off the wheel and my foot of the brake . This poses dual problems for yours truly, as first I am worried that I will somehow run over the attendant as he does the initial rising off of my car.

This has never been an issue in the past, but yet I have this concern.

Once I am confident I will not be dragging said attendant under my car throughout the rest of the rinse, I am expected to believe that even though I can’t see what’s on the other side of the soapy brushes and gushing water, both me and my vehicle are safe.

Evidence would suggest otherwise, as after the initial rinse, the big red things that look like giant bottle cleaners come flying at my vehicle in all their whirling glory.

At this point I’m still doing fairly well, considering I’m in a car wash, and comforted by the fact that I like clean cars.

But then the blue things start flying at the sides of my car with such force that my external rearview mirror is shoved forward. Considering I have no control over where I’m going and can’t see through the suds anyway, this really shouldn’t be an issue. However, given my OCD, I have to resist the urge to roll down my window and pull it back into its rightful position.

I stay strong. I resist. 

At this point I’m begin to freak out a little more because now I’ve got the big red things flying at my windshield and the big blue things flying at both sides of my car and long linguini-like rags slapping at the roof. I’m convinced that I will be the exception, that they will bust right through my windshield and suffocate me in their sudsy stealth.

So despite the fact that nothing except static will come through in the car wash cave, I blast the radio as loud as I can. I think this is somehow supposed to comfort me.

It doesn’t, but planning what I will say to the news reporters who will interview me after my harrowing experience does distract me until the rinse cycle begins.

Around this time I can breathe a little easier, although now giant dryers threaten to suck me into the car wash cave vortex. But  I literally see the light at the end of the tunnel and finally exhale a bit.

I wait for the blinking red light to turn green so I can perfectly plan the switch from neutral to drive as the track shoves me off. Approximately 2.4 seconds after leaving the car wash cave, I roll down my window and adjust the mirror, with the sight of my car’s clean exterior making the $5 spent all worth while.

Until I get stuck behind a car kicking up slush at my windshield.

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. 

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The Seven Deadly Sins of the Parking Lot

No matter what your opinion is on shopping, there’s one thing we can all agree on — the parking lot is a paved hell. It should be simple. Park the car, get out of the car, go about your business. But there are always a few who go to the dark side and ruin it for everyone else.

Lust

Lusting after a closer parking spot turns many people into Parking Spot Stalkers so overcome with desire for your spot that they dedicate themselves to claiming it for their own. 

While the logic employed by the Parking Spot Stalker makes sense—a closer spot is often more desirable than one farther away— there can be a troubling gray area when it comes to their actions. If it’s dark out and you’re a woman being followed by a car creeping up behind you like Charles Manson in a Volvo, it’s safe to assume they’re not sightseeing and it’s hard not to feel as if you’re about to become a special on Dateline.   

And God forbid if you forget where you park and have to cut through across the lane to find your car, as they’ll think it was an intentional move on your part, speed past you with a look of disgust and be forced to park in a spot that’s a full 10 feet farther away.

Envy

When lust gets overtaken by blinding envy, you are presented with the Parking Spot Rusher. This driver is so envious of your spot that they don’t patiently keep a safe distance back, turn on their blinker and wait. No, along with blocking other people from passing, they keep creeping up closer and closer while rolling their eyes and sighing so loudly you can hear it through two layers of car window glass.

parking

This just in: The person in the parking spot cares more about trying to load a week’s worth of groceries into the trunk of their car before trying to strap a tired and cranky kid into a car seat than you finding a suitable spot at that second. Unless you’re going to get out and help them load up the car, just keep a safe distance back.

Gluttony

There are certain people who feel themselves to be above the laws of parking space lines and take up two or three spots. They presumably feel their vehicle is so pristine and important that the thought of the unwashed masses coming near it can’t even be entertained. You’re not a special snowflake. Color inside the lines.

Greed

While envy and lust can cause people to act out in pursuit of a prime parking location, it’s also up to the person who parked there not to let that position of power go to their head. When walking in a parking lot, it’s important to make your intentions clear. If you’re leaving and sense the parking lot stalker, a simple nod at your car will suffice to alert them that yes, you will be leaving.

If you’re going back into the store, shake your head so they can journey down the lot and continue to stalk someone else.

Sloth

The grocery carts have a home. The carts like to go to their home, which is clearly marked and not hidden in some cart corral cave accessible only through a series of security measures and secret handshakes. Moms who have to do their shopping with youngsters in tow get a pass—as long as they make an effort to put the cart where it won’t obstruct someone else’s ability to park—but for everyone else, laziness is no excuse.

A shopping cart left to run amok could possibly cause a great deal of damage and injury, not to mention those abandoned in empty spots will inevitably cause someone to pull halfway in before realizing the cart is there and angrily backing out, pissing off people behind them. Nobody wins.

Wrath

How many times have you been driving through a parking lot when out of nowhere some lunatic comes speeding at you from the opposite direction—ignoring the yellow lines and arrows painted on the ground— and nearly causes a head-on collision?

News flash: Just because you’re pissed your wife sent you back to the store for tampons doesn’t mean the rules of the road don’t exist when a trip to Costco is involved. Follow the yellow brick road, so to speak. The arrows are there for a reason.

Pride

They say pride comes before the fall, and this applies to pedestrians walking down the middle of the lane as if they have super-human pedestrian powers that override people in their cars trying to get past or around them. Pick a side—any side—and no one gets hurt.

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Thoughts Everyone Has While Driving

Most adults have some experience with driving a motorized vehicle, and whether you’re a road rager or a calm commuter, you’ve probably had a few of the same thoughts while navigating the roads.

I don’t care if my mirrors are perfectly adjusted, I’m still going to turn around and look while I back out of the driveway.

Sigh…more like, “Warning: Objects in the mirror may appear older and more haggard than you would like them to appear.”

Where is the street that I have to drive down? Maybe turning down the radio will help.

What?! I just got gas five days ago!

Crap. What side of the car is the gas tank on?

(Singing to radio) I should be a singer.

(Dancing while signing to the radio) I should also be a dancer.

OH MY GOD I HAVE TO SNEEZE THIS IS THE SCARIEST THING EVER!

The number of red lights I hit is directly proportional to how bad I have to pee.

Oh, good lord people. It’s a four-way stop. Not a Rubik’s cube.

Ha, ha. That sign said “Speed hump.”

Since I have all this extra time, I should probably rehearse arguments in my head, just in case they should ever come up.

That car a few miles back let me in, so I’ll be nice and let you in, too. HEY! WHERE’S MY FREAKING WAVE?! That’s it. I’m done being nice.

OHMYGODISTHAT…ugh. Commercials and songs should NOT be able to include a siren while I’m driving.

Do I have to turn on my wipers or can I see through these drops for another couple miles?

Ugh. Old people.

Ugh. Young people.

If you beep your horn .03 seconds after the light changes green, I can promise I will shut off my car, lie on the hood and feed birds for an hour.

What are you doing in the fast lane? Seriously?

A car is not an invisibility force field that shields you from the general conventions of society. We can see you picking your nose.

Crap. Now I have to pick my nose. Is anyone looking?

Get off your phone you idiot.

I hope my car appreciates the fact that wince when I hit a pothole.

There is no need to stop completely when making a 90-degree turn where there’s no stop sign, stop lights or opposite-direction traffic.

Do I honk? Do I not honk? Has the window of “honking” passed?

The back windshield full of Beanie Babies kind of contradicts the “Thug Life” bumper sticker on your minivan, dude.

Seriously semis? Do not race the semi truck in the lane right next to you, forcing all of us to watch this sad little drama play out. Nobody wins, especially the lines of cars stuck behind you.

Nothing says “midlife crisis” like a yellow sports car.

People who don’t understand how to use a blinker should probably just stay home.

Was that a cop? I should get extra credit for going the speed limit while driving through that unexpected speed trap.

(Gives a little wave to the pedestrian.) OK. Walk along…a little quicker. No, really. Stop in the middle of the road and contemplate life while I wait to make a left turn.

Are you taking a photo? Of yourself? You’re in a car. That makes no sense.

I need one of those stick person window decals of a distressed woman on the couch with the fridge decal stuck way on the other side of the window.

Okay. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that last one, but you know, it’s a “Thug Life.”

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My Car Thinks I’m an Idiot

A few weeks ago I purchased a new-to-me used 2013 vehicle, not for vanity, but because my old car was rusting, didn’t always start and forced me to put more money into it than a disgruntled senior citizen puts pennies in the slots at a smoky casino.

Equinox

So with another Michigan winter on the horizon—lord help us all—it was a proactive move that made me feel responsible—Yay! Safe, new car!—and simultaneously depressed that I had to spend such a large chunk of money on a car.

I hate cars.

Well, I don’t hate cars, but I don’t really know an RPM from REM and frankly have no interest in finding that out. But what I did find out soon enough is that my new car thinks I’m an idiot—and honestly, it’s probably right.

The first clue was when I thought the fancy new key was actually a weapon in disguise. Instead of the customary key I was used to, I was given this fancy thing that ejects with a push of the button. Along with starting my new car, I plan to use it as a silver spear of self-defense should the occasion arise.

Once I got past the actual starting of the car, there was the small matter of the NASA-like dashboard. Not only does it let me know how fast I’m going, but also tire pressure, oil levels, temperature, radio volume and the first 1,203 digits of Pi.

In addition, I can program in 36 different radio stations to my “Favorites” bar, which is handy considering I listen to about six different stations. Ever. But should I decide that I want to get into Mexican rap, there is apparently an XM station for that, my amigos.

When I put the car in reverse, a video camera takes over that console and shows me what’s behind the car. Handy if there is something directly behind my vehicle. Not so much if a juvenile mouth breather on a scooter comes dashing across from the side. However, the kicker is that while I’m backing up I am NOT allowed to change the radio station or adjust the temperature.

Very tricky, my four-wheeled friend.

Speaking of the temperature, there are just too many options. If I’m cold, I want to be warm, but I don’t know if the little arrows pointing at the person on the screen will blast up through the front vents or defrost my front windows and possibly a Thanksgiving turkey.

But the biggest surprise was when I was driving along pushing buttons and had a temporary moment of panic. While I rarely question my bladder control, the seat of my pants got so warm that I wondered if I had reached a stage of not only vehicular incompetence, but also incontinence.

I was relieved—no pun intended—to find it was just heated seats. Another example of why I’m why I can’t have nice things.

On the upside, it only takes me about 10 minutes to find my car in a parking lot now instead of still looking for the old one, and I expect it will only take 25 more trips to the gas station to remember that the gas tank is on the opposite side it was on my old Blazer.

But at least I have the On Star person to talk to for free for the next two months before my trial runs out, as there are times that I just need to vent. They often seem a bit confused that I’m not actually directionally lost, just wandering a bit emotionally, but I think it’s a nice break for them, too.

Start your engines.

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Citizen’s Arrest

Do you know why I pulled you over today?

This is a citizen’s arrest, my friend. You have the crappiest car on the road, yet pimped it out with a large spoiler and the loudest exhaust system on the planet. Add in the obscene rap music from cheap speakers with no bass, and we’re going to have to write you up.

Your reputation?

Let me educate you, son. Community studies have shown that chicks don’t dig a loud exhaust on a 1993 Ford Escort or the fact that the only thing bigger than your tires is your ego. I’m sorry you had to learn the hard way.

Plus, it’s a 4-way stop. Not a Rubik’s cube. Pay your fine and be on your way.


Drop the apple or else the Pet Peeve Police is going to have to cite you for clamorous consumption.

Why?

Not only is the loud crunching of your apple cutting throughout the quiet room like a firecracker, the loud slurping of apple juices that follows each bite gives one the impression that both Mr. Ed and a lapdog are enjoying the fruits of some produce plant’s labor.

Plus, it’s been proven that hearing the sound of people loudly eating food is one of the best ways to no longer enjoy it yourself, and seeing as how I love fruits and vegetables, I’m going to have to ask you to either cut up said fruit or just tone it down.

During this probationary period you’re also to refrain from corn on the cob. Public consumption of this vegetable is strictly prohibited and limited to confines of home. For everyone.


Excuse me young lady. Please step to the side of the locker room.

It has been reported that you were overheard talking with your “besties” about how “totes old” and fat you felt despite the fact that you’re a 20-year-old woman with the metabolism of a manic hummingbird with hyperthyroidism.

On top of that, you turned “Jersey Shore” on the TV in the cardio room, walked for 5 minutes while checking your phone and then left in a cloud of JLo perfume without offering the remote to anyone else. I was willing to overlook that last charge until you called me “sweetie.”

Three strikes. Don’t let the door hit your perky butt on the way out. (#forreals)


Ma’am, please move your grocery cart over by the large stuffed animal-filled crane machine. It’s come to our attention that you are a menace to the sanity of shoppers. Why?

First, you were observed violating code 45D—creeping up past the plastic grocery lane divider and piling on your items with no regard for the personal space or the power of that plastic partition. Back it up, woman. You’ll have your turn.

Second, you were talking on your cell phone while at the checkout counter, completely ignoring the cashier while loudly discussing your husband’s colonoscopy prep. This is a clear violation of, well, society.  

Finally, you stood at the register and studied your receipt for 30 seconds before moving your cart towards the door, so at this time we’re going to have to ask you to do all of your shopping at Wal-mart.

The punishment must fit the crime.

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Your turn. Who deserves a Citizen’s Arrest?