Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Because it made me feel young.

Sunday afternoon, Clay and I drove out toward Grand Lake for an afternoon at The Diecast Drags. Tables, tablecloths, and good food in crockpots set up in a bodyshop with the cars moved out -- at a first glance, it kinda reminded me of Christmas with Grandma way back in the day.

My Grandma never had a fully detailed-to-scale Hotwheels dragstrip though...


I'd read about this whole diecast racin' thing before, it sounded like fun -- so, in the weeks leading up to this particular race, I took to keeping an eye out for likely racers, both in my present collection and on the pegs in the stores. I rounded up a few that seemed like they'd be good for the "open package" class; the double-decker bus had to be a sure bet, and I couldn't resist that little blue '65 VW Fastback that felt heavy even in it's little cardboard package.

I'd also did a little drilling and prying and stuck some lead into a few cars too. I cut up weights from the wheel balancer, and I also used lots of split-shot sinkers. Along the way, I learned (the hard way, and not for the first time) that Super Glue is evil, nail polish remover melts Matchbox Car wheels, and the hot glue gun isn't always the best bet. I stuffed lead into a Hearse, a fertilizer truck, a new Dodge Charger, and a old-style VW Beetle. That Beetle just had a real crummy feel to it, so I didn't even waste time puttin' it on the track. The Charger wasn't much better -- one front wheel was stuck up in the inner fender and wouldn't move, but after a discussion of friction and three wheels being less friction than four, I tossed 'er in.

I didn't take very many cars with me; I thought I'd really gathered up a fleet, but once I managed to round 'em all up, there weren't that many. I ended up with one of those plastic baskets that's about as big as the bottom of a paper grocery sack and about eight inches tall -- a miniature laundry basket, full, but not crammed full. I tossed in my sinkers, glue, and paint pens just for good measure. I had the only basket in the bunch. One plastic tote, one shoebox, one Hotwheels carrying case, and several of those huge tackle boxes, the big, serious, hard-core tackle boxes. I'm talkin' about makin' Jimmy Houston proud, big, biiiiig tackle boxes.

Maybe it's part of OCD, but I'm a sucker for anything that comes in it's own "handy carrying case." The tackle box with a car in every slot and tools & glue in the bottom along with a bag of racin' quarters, oh my my, how freakin' cool is that... Heyyyyy, I think I still have a huge peach Caboodle buried way back in the very far corner of the bathroom cabinet... I could bring the "only-girl-factor" into another form of racing!

My favorite, I'd say my best of the day was the '65 VW Fastback -- built like a dragster to begin with, it had a fully detailed rollcage and a meaty little motor sittin' on it's metal frame under a metal body. The weight made it do a great job, it won several rounds, as did the double-decker bus. Impressed by the "open package" performance, I stuffed it full with as many sinkers as I could to race it again in the leaded class, where it beat out a lead-filled fertilizer truck even bigger than the one I'd brought -- mine wouldn't track straight enough.

And oh, the fun of being the only girl in the bunch... My Mom worries about it, but there was no hostility here, just good fun. I often worry about not being quick enough to think on my feet, and I often think of just the right thing to say about five minutes past the opportunity to say it. Being asked one of the most odd questions I've ever been asked as an adult was a real shocker, but I think I did alright with it.

I know I'm different, I know I often don't fit the mold, I've grown accustomed to a certain number of odd questions. I can enjoy the ones like "How did you end up in the parts business?" or "How the hell do you drive so many different cars all the time?" I grin when people see my nine earrings and ask if any of 'em hurt, and I always love the racing-related questions like "How do you get that hair into a helmet?"

Standing there between Clay and our buddy Donald, I hear a voice behind me. He's got a beer in his hand and several more in his belly, and sure enough, he's tryin' to get my attention.

"Hey... Do you need to go to the bathroom?"

Holy shit. Do I have something on my pants? Or my shirt? Am I standing funny? Am I squirming? I don't feel any need at the moment, but is there something I'm doing that makes me look like I'm in need???

I couldn't think of what else to say, so that's just about the list of questions that I asked in response.

His answers, amongst stifled laughter from the guys on either side of me, were just as odd as the original question. There was something about offering to let me take his truck (and his two kids) "around the corner" to his house to use the can, and while I was there, I could ask his wife to find his other glasses so I could bring 'em back for him. Apparently there was some drunken thought put into that which made it look like a win-win situation, he'd get his glasses, I'd get a chance to use the can -- drunken thought apparently makes it okay to ask a relative stranger if they need to go to the bathroom, and drunken thought also must've made it seem okay to turn the two kids and the truck keys over to somebody he'd just met an hour or so before.

After he finally figured out that what he'd said was quite odd, he tried to justify it with "Well hell, ya try to use somebody, and..." Gee, drunk thought makes logical conclusions? Wow... Then he tried again and asked me if I'd "watch the kids" while he was gone around the corner to get his glasses. Really?? Oh come on, it's not like he was payin' attention to 'em at all, what's the damn difference?

I never saw him leave, but I did see him stumble around with the sunglasses on well into the evening.

Along with the youthful feeling of playin' with Hotwheels, I also got the five-and-under feeling of being asked about needin' to go to the potty.

Ain't life grand?

Oh, and we're all gettin' miles and miles outta that "hey, do you need to go to the bathroom?"

I gotta remember to pick up some new drill bits so I can crack open a few more cars & get 'em ready for lead.

More later... _\,,/

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Did somebody say El Charro?

I know I've done these before, but I'm doin' this one now 'cause when I read it over at Redneck Diva, I was smitten by the mention of El Charro. Mmmmmm... El Charro...

Four places that I go to over and over:
Clay's house.
Hobby Lobby.
The Library.

Four people who e-mail me (regularly):

Four of my favorite places to eat:
El Charro (still worth the drive, even though they closed the one in Glenpool)
The Minuteman (in Prattville, seriously the only place to get pizza)
South Of The Border (my "first love" when it comes to Mexican food, 51st & Memorial)
Pepper's Grill (The Tortilla Soup is heavenly, and they cook a great steak too)

Four places I would rather be right now:
In my comfy ol' chair, with some knitting.
Across the street, gettin' the Excursion hooked up to the scanner to find that miss.
In my bed, curled up under a warm blanket.
Anyplace warmer than it is in here.

Four TV shows I watch over and over:
"One Tree Hill"
"This Old House"
Laugh if you will, but I still love those old tapes of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"
"Austin City Limits"

Four unusual things in the room I’m in:
A vintage "California Raisin" with a saxophone.
A tennis ball with a basketball needle stabbed into it.
Some kid's driver's license, which we fished out of a truck door.
A bottle of "Off," which I really hope I'm done with for the year.
(Hey, I'm at work, we've no shortage of unusual things here.)

Four concerts I’ve been to:
Southern Culture On The Skids (twice)
Widespread Panic (twice)
Willie Nelson & Bob Dylan
The Reverend Horton Heat (three times, I think, maybe more)

Four things on my calendar:
I really should see about getting a Flu shot...
My follow-up to decide yay-or-nay on Gallbladder Surgery. (Please God, say "nay.")
Another Reverend Horton Heat Show (on Clay's Birthday)
Another Salvation Army Car Auction (also on Clay's Birthday)

Four fears:
Large-ish (or larger) dogs.
People who drive while drunk or high.
Early death by violent means.

Four unusual things in my purse or wallet:
Cordless test-light. (If I leave it at work, it'll come up missing like the air-powered rivet gun & heat gun did.)
A box of raisins. ("Healthy," even if I have to force myself to call them a "snack.")
Two class rings, found in crashed cars here at work. (They're on CraigsList, I'm just waitin' for e-mails.)
That Idle-air adjustment screw that I bought at last year's racer's auction and never got around to installing.

Four chores I hate doing:
The cat's water dish - it gets so nasty I use Cool-Whip bowls so I can throw it out instead of trying to wash it.
Wrestling sheets onto the worlds fattest mattress. (but it's worth it 'cause it's sooooo soft!)
Dishes, if they've sat in the sink too long or somebody tossed one in there without scraping it off first.
Dusting, because it n-e-v-e-r ends.

Four favorite animals:
Hannah Kitty.
Clay's birds, the ones who don't draw blood. ;)
Anything that's cuddly...
I might think about getting another Hedgehog one of these days...

Four speed dials on my cell phone:
My Mom
Line 4 here at work.
My Uncle Wayne. ;)

Four places I have called home:
An old house on West Edison in Tulsa.
The top of a hill between Claremore & Owasso.
The middle of "God's Country" out North of Sand Springs.
A rock house on a dead-end street between Owasso & Sperry.

Four websites (not blogs) I visit:
Arvest Bank.
The Pond. :)

Four people who have been in my car:
Clayton, My Dad, My Mom, and Randy, who lets me mooch his scanner every now and then. ;)

Four things I am wearing:
Levi's 550's.
Soft, fuzzy socks.
Dark grey sweatshirt.
A bra that I freakin' hate.

Four things I am looking forward to:
Getting that set of plugs in the Excursion so I can go play with it!
Turkey & Cake, 'cause my birthday is on Thanksgiving this year. ;)
Trying to figure out what to do about Christmas. (buy or knit??)
I am almost always looking forward to the weekend!

Four favorite types of candy:
Nestle Crunch (in all forms, including melted & slurped!) ;)
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Miniature Butterfingers ('cause of the chocolate ratio, heh)
Brach's "Gum-Dingers" (the red ones!)

Four sports teams you like:
The ones with motors. ;)

Four things found in your fridge:
Diet Dew
Miracle Whip

Four rituals (not just a task) you do every day:
Blowdrier & round brush. (I'm still amazed by how Jacy rocked my world teachin' me that)
Log onto Google Reader.
Set my alarm(s) for the next day.
Lately, I fall asleep with my iPod instead of the TV.

Four things currently within reach:
My nearly-empty Diet Dr Pepper.
The MacBook's power adapter. (it's wwaaarrrmmm!)
My phone.
My car keys.

Four things you know how to cook (not bake or grill):
Totally bitchin' top-secret lasagna.
Pretty good Tortilla Soup.
Mom's Mexi-Melt.
Helper, but only with hamburger, I refuse to touch it with chicken due to a bad experience. ;)

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Since 2000...

My first time in a race car was the last night of the 1999 season. A few months later, with a little cash, a little leftover Pell Grant money (shhh, don't tell), and a little help from my Discover Card, I bought the first Twenty. Shortly thereafter, I tumbled head-long into an era of my personal history that's often known as "The Dave Experience."

That first year of racing was quite interesting. Dave had a trailer, which I ended up with, but when it came to pulling that trailer, sometimes we were so close to up-a-creek it wasn't even funny. Sometimes it was Dad's ol' six-cylinder F-150, sometimes it was whatever Dave had brought home from wherever he happened to be working at the time, anything from a half-ton Chevy from a small family-owned concrete company to an enormous crew-cab International diesel from a big contractor.

In 2000, Ford came out with The Excursion; the big four-door SUV based on a single-wheel one-ton, seats for eight, Powerstroke Diesel, big enough to handle a good-size trailer... I didn't need any convincing, I wanted one. I so seriously wanted one, but the price scared the shit outta me. I knew there was nooooo way I could make the payments on something like that.

Toward the end of the 2000 racing season, Dave was makin' good money even though he had bad credit, so I finally agreed to go take a walk through the Ford dealership out in Sand Springs. I still wanted an Excursion, but I knew that since it was his money, I really had to let him have the final say. We ended up at the Chevy dealership on the other side of the fence, checkin' out an F-250 on the back row. It was less money, a long bed, and it had a big block too, so that's what we got... That black & silver truck is the reason why the second Twenty ended up with black paint, and even after we went with a fully orange paint scheme, the 20's are still orange numbers with white trim on a black background.

Here I am, years later. The big-block F-250 is long gone, to wherever good ol' trucks go when the insurance company pays 'em off. Dave's still close, but long gone to wherever good Catholic boys go when God calls 'em away from their prayin' Baptist girlfriends. The first Twenty will never see the track again, save for parts that have migrated through other cars and into the present Twenty. My Discover Card, which was with me before college and stayed with me (thankfully) even through "credit counseling," is still with me.

Saturday morning, I flicked out my Discover Card for something I'd wanted for a long time. With a salute to The Salvation Army of Tulsa, I handed the Mark 8 keys to Clay and drove home in this:

This Just In!

It's not perfect, but it's very, very nice for the money I spent. It's not the Powerstroke Diesel that I wanted, but it was such a deal, I really don't mind. It feels nice out on the road, it's fairly clean inside, and it's huge. It's seriously big, and I'm seriously crazy about it!

More later... _\,,/


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fifth Grade.

That know-it-all guy was just here, and yes, he did ask me what I thought about the election.

I told him what I thought about a carhop gettin' pissy with me about it and I told him I wasn't discussing it.

Now, on to where I was going with the fifth graders...

What the hell did I just type there?? I am not going anywhere with fifth graders, but I did have a fascinating moment last night that made me smile. That's where I'm going, to the Northeast corner of the store.

Last night we went to Hobby Lobby in Owasso, and just as planned, I was checkin' out a basket of clearance sale yarn. I stumbled onto some that was labeled "stripes," as opposed to "variegated" like the yarn right next to it... It was a brand I've yet to knit with, but it fascinated me 'cause it was super-soft, burgundy with bits of green and smaller bits of white so it was Christmas-ish without being too red/white/green/garish. It wasn't glittery, but it had a hint of a shiny look to it. The coolest part: it was only a $1.67 a ball.

Over my shoulder, at a distance, I heard someone ask, "Do you knit?" As I looked that direction, I saw a lady on her cell phone walking through the fabric department headed toward the yarn. "Oh, so you don't knit, you crochet, okay, well, she's gotta have knitting stuff, I'll call ya later."

When she was close enough, she asked me if I knit. I was so proud to say yes, but I still worry if I'm good enough to be an "ambassador."

She told me her daughter was in fifth grade and needed to take needles and yarn to school the next day because they were all going to learn to knit!

I think she may have been a little surprised by my squeal of glee...

I hope I did okay; I told her what I knew about beginning knitters -- what I'd found as a beginner myself, anyway. Smooth, non-bumpy yarn is easiest to work with, and needles that are a little bigger than you might expect are great for learning how it all needs to go.

She picked some soft pale pink yarn and a pair of translucent needles from right there by the clearance basket, patted my shoulder, thanked me oh-so-sweetly, and hurried away.

Somewhere today, probably Owasso, there's a whole classroom full of fifth grade kids who are learning to knit!

A whole bunch of brand-new knitters!!

I'm so proud I could play a tiny part in that!!!

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Blame the truck. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I've got some diverse friends. I hang out with a few different groups of very different people and rarely feel uncomfortable. I like to think I can find something in common with almost anybody; I like friendly people, and it's easier to be friendly than to act all judgemental and refuse to talk to someone who might see some things a little differently.

I just like friendly people, I really do. I can usually find something to talk about with almost anybody -- cars, music, restaurants, books, sick humor. I understand that certain concepts just won't work with certain groups; a circle of Baptist women probably won't take kindly to sick humor; but my "Girls Night" crowd will probably bust out laughin' and throw a little sick humor back at me. If I can find something in common with someone, I can usually ignore the other things that might make some folks back away. If I can talk with someone about something we share; a memory, a book, an activity -- I don't really care who they vote for or who they sleep with or what color they are or if they refuse to eat meat.

Sure, I can probably say something that would piss people off, but I'd rather make 'em laugh. I don't mind answering questions or making conversation, but I'd prefer not to argue.

One night at dinner with The Girls, before the Primaries, I popped off a little something that got me a table full of shocked faces; that night, I decided I'd better be very, very careful who I shared my political views with. I was a little stunned to hear someone say "I'm a woman, of course I'm voting for Hillary!" and I was even more stunned that there were no shocked faces aimed her way. After that, I decided I should just kept quiet 'til the conversation turned to pets or crafts or food.

Sure, I have friends who are voting the same way I am, and I love to talk with 'em -- I also have friends who are not voting the same way I am, and I still love 'em just the same. I'm just not interested in arguing, so let's talk about something else. That guy who thinks he's always right about everything shows up here every now and then; I give him the ol' "smile/nod" quite a bit, especially when it comes to politics, because I just don't want to deal with it. My own Mom, who is not registered and does not vote, has been all over me about my choices for this election -- I hear enough arguments at home, I'm just not interested in dealing with them anyplace else.

Last night I heard a little teaser for a news piece about something like "what your car says about how you vote." I remembered the teaser right about the time I put my three hundred dollar Mark 8 in park at the little church where I go to vote, and I kinda wished I hadn't missed it. I waited in line behind four people; the folks who run my particular polling place have been doing their jobs for several years and they were really smooth at movin' 'em on through. There were a dozen or so people at the kiosks filling out ballots, but I was in and out in under ten minutes, even with reading through the four state questions. When I was finished, I went back out to my car, sat down in my tan leather seat, and stuck my little "I Voted" sticker on my shirt. Still wondering what my car might "say," I drove on to work while trying to make sure I didn't end up with chocolate milk on my shirt too.

This year, my little sticker has stayed put because I finally grew a brain and stuck it on my right side instead of my left where the purse handles, laptop bag strap, and seatbelt all rub like crazy. It was still there at lunchtime, when I agreed to make a run to Sonic because surely some tots won't kill me, I did have a fairly light breakfast. My car was blocked in, so I ended up heading out in My Dad's truck. Dad and I tend to share political views, but he also forgot to watch the news piece, so nobody has any idea what his truck "says" either.

At Sonic, I ordered lunch for the four of us, and since it was on special, it included four drinks. I sometimes wonder about carhop (or drive-thru worker) logic; I could see 'em handing the drinks through the window one-by-one if I had a station wagon or minivan full of people to hand 'em off to, but sometimes they're just not thinkin' about one single person taking lunch back to everybody else at work. I'm not usually unkind when it comes to tips, but no drink carrier means no tip. Today, I was impressed, 'cause when the carhop came out, she handed me the three Cokes and one Diet Dr Pepper in the cardboard carrier with the handle on top. Schweeet! A thinker! She saw the one person in the short-cab pickup takin' lunch back to three other people! I was really thinkin' I'd let her keep the change, which was better than twenty percent and over five bucks.

I sat the cardboard carrier shotgun seat to prop it against my purse so it wouldn't lean too much, and as she handed me the two sacks of burgers and tots, she saw my little sticker. As I handed over the money, she asked who I had voted for.

I have no idea what got into me. Maybe it was the boldness of chatting with a couple friends who had made the same political decisions as me. Maybe it was knowing that My Dad had voted the same as I had. Maybe it was Dad's truck. Maybe it was NPR. Who knows...

For the first time since this whole campaign got started, I gave my honest answer instead of just keepin' quiet about it.

Whups. I guess that wasn't very smart.

She just shook her head as she counted out the change, and as she put it in my hand, she said "Oh well, we can't all be perfect."

I was so shocked I had no idea how to respond, but I can tell ya one thing for sure, bein' pissy made that tip money go straight back into my purse.

Maybe I'll spend that money on something cute tonight while I'm avoiding the media frenzy that'll surely be all over television. I really don't plan on watching -- I said a little prayer and marked my ballot, that's all I can do, watching the TV won't change a thing, so I'll probably be looking through baskets of yarn or shelves of model cars instead.

Most of my friends have a pretty good idea who I voted for and would probably not act all pissy about it one way or another... If a total stranger is going to ask me a question, I think I'd rather have 'em ask me what kind of tampons I prefer.

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Monday, November 03, 2008


I can't even count how many different stories I've read about cell phones in public; like the one about the guy in the bathroom who was on his phone and got mad 'cause the guy in the next stall was talking to him every time he tried to talk on the phone.

"How ya doin'?"

"Good, how'bout you?"

"Shit, I gotta call you back, some jerk in the next stall won't shut up."

Saturday afternoon as I was headed into the ladies' room at Hobby Lobby, My Mom called. I answered and headed on in there -- since there wasn't anybody else in there, I figured it'd be no big deal to just hold the phone on my shoulder and keep talking. I told Mom where I was and what I was doing just to be sure there wouldn't be any awkwardness.

Somebody else came in. Things got a bit awkward.

I didn't want to be that weird person talking on the phone in the next stall, so I was hoping Mom would just keep talking and I could just keep listening quietly as I rushed to zip my jeans and wash my hands.

Mom was saying what she wanted to say and it was working out pretty good 'til the noise from the paper towel dispenser came across the phone. Mom stopped telling her story and asked "What the hell was that noise?"

"Oh, I was gettin' paper towels."

So, now I'm that weird person talking to herself out by the sinks.

Maybe it would've been less odd if I'd just kept talking for no real reason and just sat there in the stall a while longer 'til the other person was finished and left. "Who called you from Oklahoma CIty? Well yeah, that is odd..." Heh.

I didn't really want to deal with making eye-contact with the person who heard me talking to myself about paper towels, so I dried my hands super-fast and hurried my weirdness back out to the model car aisle where I could be easily seen with a phone, as well as another human being, and just talk without worrying about it.

Fast forward to today, Monday afternoon...

I have a couple on the other side of the counter who are on their third trip here today and claim that the truck is "leakin' outta that silver thing in front of the radiator." Mmmm-kay, well, the grille is silver and in front of the radiator, but does not contain any substance that might leak out. I determine that it's the AC Condenser, they say yes, I ask the important questions to determine that it's an '89 Ford Truck, and I send somebody out to get one off the shelf. "He'll be right back," I say.

While they're waiting for him to bring that condenser down the ladder and back into the lobby, the phone rings.

The phones on the counter look like this:

(I know, my notebook is lookin' kinda raggedy, but...)

So, with only the three of us in the room, there's a ringing sound, and there's me, lifting that big, obvious receiver to my ear.

The caller says he talked to someone a couple weeks ago about an axle for an S-10 Blazer. I know it wasn't me, but since I'm the only one on the counter, I figure I'd better puzzle it out and see what I can find...

With the big ol' phone held up to my left ear, and a computer keyboard underneath my right hand, I ask "What year was it?"

The caller replies "2000." The female half of the couple also replies, "1989."

As I my right hand flips away at the ten-key portion of an older PC keyboard, I try to remember the four-digit code for S-10 Blazer. Silently, in my own head, I'm struggling with 54, 56, 65, 64, oh, there it is, 2-3-5-6, and as I manage to punch it in, I say, into the phone, "And it's an S-10 Blazer, let's see..."

The caller replies, "Yup, S-10 Blazer." From across the counter I hear a nearly frustrated voice say "No, it's a Ford Truck!"

The couple left without the condenser, because that "wasn't it." They needed "the other thing in front of the radiator, the one that had transmission fluid running out if it." Well, then that's not the condenser, that's the transmission cooler.

I'm just glad they're not sittin' here givin' me the heebie-jeebies anymore.

The guy with the S-10 Blazer is picking up the axle tomorrow, I'll have to ask him if he could hear anything in the background when we talked on the phone. Heh heh...

Sometimes it's a bitch, but sometimes it's hilarious!

More later... _\,,/

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