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Stormin’ Across Kentucky

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

Saturday

Quote of the Day: “People teach their dogs to sit, it’s a trick. I’ve been sitting my whole life, and a dog has never looked at me as though he thought I was tricky.”

- Mitch Hedburg

Our early morning departure kind of turned into a noon departure. After awakening at the Patch-arosa, we discovered their plans were not as solidified as they thought and our goodbyes last night ended up premature. So, we went through another set of goodbyes as they left to go to their daughter’s graduation and we packed up and left for some final coordination plans in Fredericksburg, VA.

The first thing was something I had been looking forward to fo a long time. My son and I had a deal: he could let his hair grow to a shag carpet only until the end of school and then we’d make one final visit to the barber shop. THIS was THE day.

When he got in the chair, I grabbed one of the folding chairs in the waiting room and positioned it right in front of him. The look on his face was full on: “You are NOT going to sit there and stare at me in the face!!!”

My reciprocal look was “Au contraire, mon friar!!! I’ve been waiting a long time for this and I’m getting a front row seat, literally.”

The hair came off in sheets. By the end, my boy emerged little by little until there was a pile of hair around the chair and Alex was once more a member of the respectable.

Getting around on Route 3 with Truckasaurus pulling Uranus was a challenge and for the last few days, I was getting more than a little worried because each time I drove Truckee, I smelled burning oil. I hoped it was just a small oil leak getting on the hot engine and I soon discovered what was happening. We stopped at a gas station to fill the tires (75 cents for three minutes of air? Are you friggin’ kidding me?!!!) and when I popped the hood to check the oil, I discovered something very interesting.

Did you know that a truck without an oil cap will tend to smell like burning oil?

The cap was not loose. It was not ajar. It was GONE. Nothing. Nada, ladies and gentlemen. Full-on “What the f@#$%%^!!!!” missing oil cap.

I stayed put while Carrie drove to get a new one and when she returned and we put 2 ½ quarts of new oil in, we were ready to roll. Except that now it was nearing lunch time so what the hell, let’s give Pancho Villas a last shot on our way out.

This restaurant was a staple for us during our stay. It was by far the best Mexican restaurant in the area and it worked out perfect that we could do one more lunch before we went. It was shaping up as a perfect goodbye to the few things we did enjoy from Fredericksburg: the good haircuts, the Pancho Villas,….. and that’s about it. I didn’t say the list would be long.

Later on we found out that Carrie left her checking Visa there so yeah, it got the last laugh after I gave the double-finger-whammie as we left the city limits but we got out. Yes, we were free.

We made it all the way to Kentucky, driving all day. It took awhile to get used to driving the rig and poor Carrie had to keep it down to between 60 and 70 the entire way. Buster didn’t seem to have an opinion either way. I was content to listen to my books on tape to while away the hours and we ended up eating at a McDonalds when we got to Kentucky. Actually, I got the idea that it would be neat to eat at KFC because Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky just seemed funny to me but we (Steph and me) got outvoted and McVomit it would be.

I’m trying to be more understanding. With this whole “new chapter” thing going, I’m really trying not to be judgmental but folks, it’s tough. I took statistics in college so I know that one stop at one McDonalds in Kentucky is not a valid representative sampling of the local wildlife.

But GOOD GOD!!!

Behind the counter, the thick-accented employee seemed to be stunned and confused at the concept of pushing the buttons as we ordered. This dumbed-down concept to accommodate the truly stupid was quantum levels above her capacity to mentally process. It was like watching a rock pushed up to an open calculus book. What’s sad is that they just have pictures so they don’t have to know prices, really any math skills at all, just matching what customers SAY to the pretty pictures on the register. Quantities would be nice to master also but I might be stretching the capability balloon a little on that one.

Obviously, the Kentucky Queen hosed our order and it took half the local population to get it straightened out. Meanwhile, as Carrie was dealing with this, I was trying NOT to just go postal on the other fine representatives of the great state of Kentucky.

The father had a baseball cap over a quite stunning mullet. Cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Wife-beater under flannel. Tight jeans.

The mother had matching cigarette and a female version of what Daddy was wearing.

If it was just this, OK. But then their litter of dirty Devil Spawns were swarming over the entire restaurant like wild locusts. There must have been 5 or 6 of them (none of them stayed still long enough for me to get a reliable count). They were running all around the restaurant, banging their toys, yelling in their near-retarded sounding accents, climbing on every level surface they could find, and all while the Cops-episode-poster-children of parents sat and seemed oblivious to the fact that their little horrors were running amuck.

Sometimes I consider God’s biggest mistake is that the only qualification people need to have children is the ability to have sex.

Even my kids were annoyed and about ¾ of the way through the meal, the father herded up the hellions and they exited the building and climbed into the truck.

I grew up poor. My mom had her hands full raising two boys so I’m not looking down from some kind of Ivory Tower, folks. There is poor and there is trash. Just because you are one doesn’t require you to be the other.

I vowed that for now on, we’re eating at places that cost a bit more. You eat at a Kentucky McDonalds, I guess you get what you get. There is no excuse for such behavior in public.

We made it to a hotel and it didn’t take long before the thunderstorms hit. We had pretty good luck all day but once we got in the hotel room, the TV started squawking about a severe thunderstorm warning. Not long after, the storms came and came with fury.

For the rest of the night, the rain came down hard. The lightning could be seen through the curtains and the thunderclaps shook the entire hotel. Alex was mesmorized and I thought it was pretty cool, other than the fact that the stuff in the back of the truck was likely getting ruined. We had a tarp on it but not a very good one and I told Carrie there was nothing we could do. It was mostly cleaning supplies and it would either be ruined or it wouldn’t be.

I laid back for a good night’s sleep knowing tomorrow was another day of driving when it hit me.

We’re out of Virginia.

And we’re not coming back.

Free Advice for Today: “Sorry, they packed the book.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

6 Comments - Join in the conversation below

  1. Funny about the storm, both times I escaped form Virginia it was to beat of thunder storms and pouring rain.

    Comment by Ray Young — June 15, 2006 @ 7:42 am

  2. I wonder if you’ll ever hear Rick’s comment from anyone in Seattle?

    Comment by Jim Burke — June 15, 2006 @ 10:51 am

  3. I am in complete agreement regarding undisciplined children. Mom used to pinch us under our upper arms, you know that fleshy part, and twist to shut us up in public. Yeah, that usually did it. Whenever I see parents completely ignoring their unruly kids I just think….you know, NO ONE else thinks they are cute but you.
    You watch, I say this all now, but I know I will end up with the hell-raising kids in the family. That’s my luck.

    Comment by Jennifer — June 15, 2006 @ 11:15 am

  4. Amen, brother! Re the poor vs trash. There’s no shame in being poor, working class. And being trash isn’t necessarily fixed by infusions of money – look at Tammy Faye Baker!

    JC used to complain, “but ALL the other kids get to…..(run around, shout, push into line….insert your choice of obnoxious behavior). They don’t have to ….. (say “sir” and “ma’m”, sit still in church, use a napkin….. insert your desired behavior here).

    It’s funny that now that he is an adult, he admits that he’s glad he was ‘brought up right’. It was HILARIOUS when he came home before his first MC Ball and exclaimed, “Mom, I had to give the guys in my squad a lesson on how to cope with the silverware at a formal dinner!!! They didn’t know what a salad fork is!”

    PS re the hair thing. I don’t know what I’ll do if JC grows out his hair someday. I won’t recognize him. I’ve never seen him in hair past his collar and for the last 5 years = high and tight.

    Comment by Karla — June 17, 2006 @ 11:49 am

  5. haha.. eatin KFC in kentucky is top choice!

    strong work

    Comment by HMT — June 22, 2006 @ 10:53 am

  6. 1. Ray, for me, it was to escape the pure horror of living in Virginia. Sorry Virginia friends, I hated the place.

    2. Whaaaat?

    3. Jennifer, I see some of our views are hereditary. I echo them exactly.

    4. Karla, I just hope I’ll still ahve mine when I’m allowed to let it grow!!!

    5. HMT: thanks. It was my kids’ epiphany.

    Comment by Jason — August 19, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

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