Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chinese Water Torture, Waterboarding, and Fabric Stores

Every once in a while I am inspired to write about certain things.  It doesn't happen too often now, since I am more concerned with work and hanging out with my girls after I get home from work.  But today I saw a post on Facebook that reminded me of one of the darkest memories of my childhood:

The fabric store.

If you were the child of a seamstress, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about.  If you weren't, and think I am at all exaggerating about what I write in this post, then you obviously had a very easy going childhood, and a trip out with your Mom was filled with wonderful treats from the grocery store, new clothes from the mall, and maybe even a Happy Meal from McDonald's.

Before I start though, I must write a disclaimer.  While I had to suffer through going to the pit despair (a.k.a. Hancock's Fabrics.) it did in the end net me some great handmade clothes.  I had pairs of shorts that other kids could only dream of having, and while the shirts I had weren't "store bought", they were still pretty cool.  BUT...with that said, I remember a lot more torture trips out with my Mother than I do of kids asking about where I got my clothes.

It would usually start out with one simple question from my Mom, asking if I would like to go out shopping with her.  If she didn't ask, I would usually ask if I could go.  Keep in mind that before a lot of these trips the words "fabric", "patterns", and "buttons" were never really specifically mentioned, as they would have automatically been reason to stay at home and clean toilets.

The trip out with my Mom always had the potential to be fun.  Being the oldest of 5 kids, it was a great time to have some alone time with her.  A lot of the times we would get some lunch, and if I was lucky she would spring for a drink to go along with my burger.  It was a great time to get out of the house and explore my world.

That is, unless the words "fabric store" would escape my Mother's lips at some point.

It would always start out innocent enough.  We would be inside of Sears getting some shrink to fit Levi's for my younger brothers when my Mom would comment, "You know, I just remembered.  Hancock's has buttons on sale today.  After we are done here I need to make a quick stop in and pick some up for the dress I am making for Courtney."  I knew right then and there that my Saturday afternoon was about to get dark, and fast.

"Mom, how about you take me home first?  You will be in Hancock's for at least an hour if not two." I would plead.  "Anyways, you bought buttons last week.  Why do you need more?"  This would be followed with an answer that I believe was pre programmed into my Mom's head.  One of those things you wish were going to change, but you knew deep down it never would.  "Donald, it won't take that long!  And you KNEW I was going to the fabric store before we left the house.  You should have stayed home if you didn't really want to come."

She was right about one thing.  Yes, I knew deep down that just about every trip out would some way or another end up at a fabric store.  I was smart enough to know that  even if she didn't exactly say it, it was going to be inevitable.  But when she wouldn't mention it when I would ask what she was going out to do, I would secretly wish that this one time it wouldn't be the case.

And that would be that.  I was locked into a trip to Hancock's.  There would be no diverting her away from her mecca.

When we would pull into the shopping center that housed the fabric store, my Mom would start glowing.  The call of patterns, fabric, and good scissors (Ones that hadn't been used to cut paper like hers had been used for by us kids.) was too much for her to handle.  She would turn off the van, look in my direction, and say in a light awestruck voice, "OK, I will be about 10 minutes.  Sit out here and listen to the radio okay?"  I had no other choice than to say yes.

The first 45 minutes of my wait wasn't all that bad.  I would get out of the van and sit in the drivers seat.  At 12 years old, sitting in the drivers seat of a minivan WITH the keys in the ignition was a very powerful position to be in.  My favorite thing to do would be to turn the van on and off.  I would usually wait until someone was getting in or out of their own car to turn it on, so I could look like I was about to drive off into the distance.  All 4'8" and 72 lbs. of me.  Looking back I don't think I was fooling anyone.

This was also my time to pick what station I was going to listen to.  My favorite station in the Tri-Cites back then was 102.7 Hawk FM.  OK95 played a little more hard rock, and that wasn't really my thing yet so I would usually steer clear of it.  Then there was 98.3 the Key.  Back in the day the Key was a slightly more hardcore version of KONA 105.3.  They would only play Kenny G or Michael Bolton once or twice an hour.  In other words, my options for radio listening were quite limited.

It was around that time when I would go into the fabric store to see what part of the process my Mom was at.  Now for those of you who aren't familiar with the fabric store procedure it goes something like this:

1 - Walk into store, pick out some pattern books, and sit down to peruse them.

2 - After going through the pattern books you picked out, go back to the display and pick out two more books to look over.

3 - Having decided what patterns you intend to buy, find what cabinet they are filed in.  At this time it is acceptable to talk to the other ladies grabbing their patterns, and discuss what you intend to make, and for what child it will be for. 

4 - Decide what type of fabric you plan on buying.  If more than one pattern had been selected, it is a good idea to have a shopping cart.  Those bolts of fabric are heavy.

5 - With fabric and patterns in the cart, head over to the cutting table.  Chances are you will have to take a number, as there are a lot of other women who also have fabric that needs to be measured and cut.  This is also an ideal time to have conversations concerning all things sewing related. 

6 - With cut fabric in hand, you head to the checkout counter.  But before you get there, you get sidetracked by the buttons, elastics, and other miscellaneous sewing supplies that will (At some point.) be needed.

7 - With every square inch of the fabric store explored, pay for everything at checkout.

After 45 minutes, my Mom would be between steps 1 and 2.  I would walk in to the store, and locate her at the pattern cabinets.  "Mom, are you about done?  I am getting bored outside.  I just heard "Love Shack" for the second time since you have been in here."  This would naturally be followed by her saying, "Sheesh, I just got here.  Don't worry, I am almost done.  I just need another 10-20 minutes.  If you are bored in the car, you can hang out in here with me."

Needing a break from the van, I do two quick laps through the fabric store.  Mainly I do this to prove to the women inside that it is indeed possible to see the whole store in less than 5 minutes.  Apparently no one is paying attention to the 12 year old kid who is trying to prove a point.  So back out to the car I go.

Another 45 minutes pass.  The radio stations are all at commercial, so I move onto my next favorite thing to do in the car.  I search for new radio stations.  After browsing every inch of the FM dial I confirm what I already know...that there are no new stations in the Tri-Cities.  Since it is now 90 minutes since my Mom entered the store, I need to go check on her.

She is at step 5.  Thank goodness she is at step 5!!!  I check the ticket in her hand against the number now being served.  She is only two away!  All of a sudden my spirits have been lifted.  I could be out of here in the next 20 minutes if I a lucky.

I am not lucky.

I try another tactic.  This time I stay in the store with my Mom.  I wait for her turn to get her fabric cut.  As soon as her number is announced and she heads over I start it up:  The world famous 12 year old boy whine.

"Mommm...pleeeease hurry!!!  You have been in here for hoooours!!! (Insert high pitched, cracking El Donaldo voice here.)  Can we please go HOME???"

This lasts about 30-45 seconds before she has heard enough.  It is her turn to turn the heat up on me.

"DONALD!  You wanted to come with me, so now you have to put up with me being here!  If you are going to cry, go BACK OUT TO THE CAR!!"

With head hung low, I start the walk out to the minivan.  The thought of more radio listening is no longer appealing.  But driving the van is.

I get into the drivers seat, adjust the mirrors, and get ready to do some driving.  Yes...DRIVING!  I start the van up, and look behind me and back up.  I then pull it into the parking spot next to the one that we had occupied for the last 2 hours.  That will show her!  I might be 12, but I can move the car!!  But after 5 minutes I start to panic.  If my Mom knew I moved the minivan, I might never get to go out on the town with her again.  So I turn the car back on and move to back it out. 

And then it happens.

I accidentally go forward instead of back, and bump into the shopping cart holder in front of me.  I immediately put the van into park, and go assess the damage.  My worst fear has been confirmed.  I have cracked the front turn signal of the van, and there are pieces of plastic laying on the cement.  Obviously this is all my Mom's fault.  If she wasn't in the fabric store for so long I wouldn't have had to move the van to begin with!! 

Knowing that even though I am right and she will be wrong, it will never fly that this is all her fault.  So instead I pick up the broken pieces, put them in a baggy I find in the car, and decide to save them for a later time when I can drop them on the ground and claim someone hit our car.

It has been just about 2 1/2 hours since my dear ol' Mom headed into the fabric store.  I am thirsty, hungry, and am convinced that I am about to die inside of the van.  I look to my right and see The Burger King I would one day work at.  How can I be so close to food, yet so far away?  Just when I have given up all hope of seeing my friends again, the sliding door on the van opens up.  It is my Mom with her fabric and patterns.  She seems to have forgotten the buttons, but I will not point this out.  If I did, I surely would die right there in the parking lot.

With the situation finally behind me, I breathe easy.  The horror is over for now.  My Mom turns to me and says without a hint of sarcasm in her voice, "Now, that didn't take very long at all this time did it?"

I don't know how, but time stands still once you cross into a fabric store.  And now that I am in my 30's, I still find myself cringing any time my Mom or Lisa mentions having to pick something up at one.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Choffy is Brewed Chocolate! Buy Yours Today!: You want to buy Choffy but don't know how? Then c...

Choffy is Brewed Chocolate! Buy Yours Today!: You want to buy Choffy but don't know how? Then c...: Buy Choffy Brewed Chocolate

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking to buy some Choffy? Then check out this video

Many of you know by now that Choffy was featured on the Dr. Oz show as a product that can "Burn Fat Faster".  Since that episode aired last Monday, Choffy has been swamped with orders.  Not orders in the in hundreds, but by the thousands!  Now it is your turn to discover what the rest of America is starting to discover; a healthy way to enjoy chocolate...guilt free...with no sugar, fat, chemicals, or dairy.  It is brewed bliss in a cup.

I made this video a couple days ago to walk new customers through the buying process.  So why am I posting it here?  Simple.  To get the word out.  Even though I haven't written a blog post in over a year, I still get random people visiting this blog.  Maybe...just maybe, I can pick up a couple new customers.

Easy breezy huh?  Also, if anyone is interested in becoming a Choffy distributor, feel free to ask me about it.  For a small yearly fee you can not only save a bunch of money on buying Choffy for yourself, you can also make a few bucks on the side.  Email me for more info!

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Choffy was on Dr. Oz!

In case you didn't know, I sell and amazing product called Choffy.  What is Choffy you ask?  Choffy is 100 percent organic Cacao beans that have been roasted and ground like coffee, but it is chocolate!  Not only is it chocolate, but it naturally has no sugar, no fat, no dairy, and has more antioxidants than two servings of blueberries!  It really is an amazing drink.  And just to show how amazing it is, Dr. Oz had it on his show yesterday!  Here is a clip from the September 19th, 20011 Dr. Oz show:

Burn Fat Faster

How cool was that?  Now I know you would LOVE to try some for yourself wouldn't you?  All you have to do is visit, and within minutes you can order yourself a bag of Ivory Coast or La Espanola Choffy, and be one of us cool kids who are enjoying chocolate guilt free!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Updates From Lee...Whether I Want Them Or Not

As many of you know, my work email account is my contact with the outside world.  Several times during the day I will check my email, and if the content in my inbox is deemed worthy, (By me of course.) it is forwarded out across the nation so that my email contacts can enjoy a good laugh.  In the last week however, the email forwarding tables have been turned on me.  Because of this, I now receive something called “Lee’s Updates.”

Keep in mind that the only Lee I personally knew died about 6 years ago.  So this new Lee is a complete mystery to me.  The forwards started last week with “Lee” emailing me talking about how he would know how to fix the oil leak in the gulf, but no one had asked him to help.  I don’t quite know what background Lee has that would qualify him to fix the biggest oil spill of all time, but according to him he is the man.  I bet Lee is sitting in his house right now, cape and mask at the ready, waiting for the BP executives call so he can leap into action and plug the hole that is causing so much heartache right now.

Today Lee informs me that he is currently running over 9000 projects, and because of that he is a very diverse person.  9000?? Really Lee?  It was after this email I decided to take some action.  I noticed that there was a section at the bottom of the email that said I could opt out of Lee’s updates at any time.  Since I don’t really care that much about Lee and his updates, I clicked on the unsubscribe.  Of course all that did was take me to a server page where I had to enter a name and password to cancel the emails.  After trying every password and name in the book, and being denied every time, I gave up trying to rid my inbox of Lee.  The situation called for a more drastic measure.

You see, about the same time I started receiving Lee’s updates, our cyber security department added a suspicious email button to our email program.  Any spam email you receive is supposed to go to this new place.  After thinking about it, I was going to send Lee their way.  I mean, I did not sign up for Lee’s updates.  They had been forced upon me by this character, and having no way to rid myself of his emails, I was left with no choice but to use my brand new spam eliminator.

I sent Lee’s email on its way, feeling satisfied that I had rid myself of his updates.  No longer would Lee be able to force himself on me ever again.  But my joy was short lived.  I found out this afternoon the Lee is actually Lee McIntire, CEO of CH2MHill.  That’s right, I reported the CEO of the company I work for to the email police.  Hopefully ol’ Lee has a sense of humor about these kind of things, and everything will turn out OK.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rednecks...They Aren't Just In The South Anymore

So yesterday at work I was showing one of my co-workers how to send YouTube clips via email.  You see, I am kind of the unofficial computer support technician for my fellow co-workers.  In fact, it has been said (Not only by the women at work, but by my lovely wife too.) that I cannot die any time soon, because if I did too many people would be inconvenienced by my passing.  Of course all they would have to do is go on over and visit my Uncle Mike and he would be able to answer any computer related questions, but I prefer staying alive to help personally.

OK, so there I was, showing her how to copy and paste the YouTube links into her email when I saw it: A video called "Completion of the new redneck roller coaster".  I must admit I was intrigued.  Rednecks and roller coasters sound like they could go good together.  Upon finishing my tutorial on the art of emailing links, my curiosity got the best of me and I checked out the link.

It was about what I was expecting.  Redneck had put a platform on top of his car, and through good ol' fashioned redneck ingenuity, rigged up a steering wheel, gas pedal, and shifter so they were able to drive the car....outside of the car.  After one redneck took his turn, he passed it off to his friend so he could take his turn to drive.  Redneck #2, who was sporting the gnarliest mullet I have ever seen (Imagine a man in his mid 40's who is going bald and has no hair on the front part of his head.  Now imagine that same man with hair down to his belly button.  You get the picture) hops right aboard and takes the "roller coaster" for a spin.

Now up to this point everything sounds pretty run of the mill redneck tomfoolery.  That is what I thought too...until I started to pay closer attention to the accent of these rednecks.  It wasn't a southern accent.  It was....Canadian?  I started the video over and turned the volume up.  Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed.  These were Canadian rednecks!!!

I was blown away.  I did not know that such a creature existed.  Instead of every sentence followed by an "ohm" it was followed by "eh".  Instead of drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer they were downing Labatt's beer. And instead of the Navy Jack flag being flown all over the place, they proudly flew a Union Jack flag.  (I don't quite get that one...are they trying to show the frenchies of Canada they prefer the England flag?  I might need to research that one.)  It was as if some rednecks from the south got lost many years back while riding their lawnmowers to the beer store and ended up north of the border, ran out of gas, and cross bred with some local Canadian folk.

I watched a few more videos, but after a while the fun wore off.  If I am going to spend my time watching videos on YouTube of rednecks, I am going to go with the red blooded American type.  The type that can turn a rake into a deluxe hot dog cooker.  The type that can flash fry a whole turkey in 20 seconds, pull it out, smother it with more butter batter, and fry it again.  You might have come a long way Mr. Canadian redneck, but you still pale in comparison to our homegrown model.

If you are as intrigued as I was, check out this hybrid species of redneck here.  And as a little enticement to get you to check out the rest of the Canadian redneck videos, here is a little sample:

Monday, May 17, 2010

And The Finalists Are...

Here we are, almost to the end of yet another season of American Idol. Of course that means it is time for 2 hour episodes of A.I., with only about 10 minutes of that time actually pertaining to the outcome. As everyone knows this was the first year without the habitual drunk Paula Abdul as a judge. While that has cut down on the vanilla flavored criticisms of the contestants, (Which I must admit has been nice, but I do miss the ramblings from the washed up pop star who thinks she still has it.) it has given birth to Cara Dioguardi, who is always referring to Randy Jackson and Ellen Degeneres as “The Guys”. But the big hit will come next year, when A.I. will be without the man America loves to hate, Simon Cowell.

Even with the absence of Paula and the edition of Ellen, American Idol hasn’t been as painful to watch as I first envisioned. Ellen has been downright hilarious at times, and she has brought more to the show than I thought she would. But no matter how many times Ellen cracks jokes about the contestants, or Randy finding new ways to say, “It sounded pitchy dog”, American Idol will be in the toilet without Simon Cowell

With the quest to find Simon’s replacement for next year still ongoing, I feel the time is right to name my top finalists to take over his position, and the odds of them taking the job.

FINALIST #1 Donald Trump (20-1)

Ahh, the Donald.  First off, lets take the chair he would be sitting in.  It would be a leather high back chair, and knowing the Donald he would not be happy sitting on the very end of the table.  The first day of auditions he would tell Cara to switch him spots and if she refused, he would buy her house, tear it down, and build a few more Trump Towers.  Once his rightful spot behind the table was established, the judging would start.  I have a feeling it would go something like this:

The Donald: (To the person auditioning)  "May we please have your name, age, and gross income for 2007-2010 please?"

Contestant:  "Uh, I am not sure, let me think...."

Randy:  "Hey Dawg, why you askin' about her cash flow?  This is a singing contest, not the Apprentice dude!"

The Donald:  "Randy, I am disappointed in you for cutting off the contestant while she was trying to answer.  For that move...Randy, you're fired."

Randy:  "What?  You can't fire me dawg, I am Randy Jackson.  I wrote some of the biggest hits of the 80's!"

The Donald:  "Of course I can Randy, don't know know who I am?  Next contestant please."

Ellen: "Now Mr. Trump, that is just darn silly.  Randy is part of our team of judges."

The Donald:  "I know, but he was the weakest link.  He is not the type of person I want for a project manager."

Contestant: (Who probably is horrible, but has been told her whole life she is the next Beyonce or Celine Dion.)  "Uh, so am I like, not getting to sing?  Or maybe I need to sing a different song?"

The Donald:  "Why are you still here contestant?  Leave me boardroom, you were fired too.  And take Randy with you.  Next contestant please."

Randy:  "Dang dawg, I can't believe I just got fired."

OK, maybe Donald Trump wouldn't quite work out for American Idol.  That brings us to the next finalist.

FINALIST #2 Jim Rome (40-1)

Jim Rome, one of the most influential voices in sports today would bring one thing to the table that Simon is taking with him.  Attitude.  For those of you who listen to, or have listened to Jim Rome in the past know that he is a master at coming up with nicknames.  So much so, his radio show has its own language called "smack."  And smack is just what ol' Jim would lay down on the contestants.  It would go something like this:

(Contestant has finished singing.  Randy, having been rehired after the whole Trump incident, liked what he heard.  Ellen follows up with how the contestant sounded OK, and Cara exclaimed that the contestant didn't make the song his own.)

Ryan Seacrest: "OK, now we are to Jim.  What did you think of the contestant Jim?"

Jim Rome:  "That.  Was.  Horrible!  (Long pause while he shuffles some papers.)  What did you do before you sang tonight man?  Did you get beat up by those two tennis playing William's brothers backstage?  Not even one of those fancy wrist things that bowlers wear could have made that performance any better.  Heck, Neems song, "Jordan's Dad" sounded better than that!  You are an embarrassment to all the REAL singers out there....

(Insults, sound clips, and 10 minutes later he is still ranting.)

...Sorry, but you have no game.  And you have wasted 5 minutes of my life I would like back."

Ryan Seacreast:  "Uh, thanks Jim.  Now for the next contestant."

Of course the next day Jim Rome would have the contestant on his radio show, and after interviewing him would decide that maybe he was wrong about him, and from that point on pimp him out to everyone who will listen.  He will also have no memory of ever disliking the contestant.

Maybe these first two finalists aren't quite Idol material.  Which is good for the last finalist, because in my view he would be the best out of the three.

FINALIST #3  Don King (9-5)

If you thought Paula heaped on the praise heavy, you have no idea what Don King could do:

Randy:  "I wasn't feeling it dawg.  Sorry, but its a no from me dude."

Ellen: "Well, at least you have your health, right?  I like your style, but there is no substance to your singing.  Kind of like my ex-girlfriend."

Cara:  "You know what, I think I am going to have to agree with the guys.  I just don't think you are right for this competition."

Ellen whispering to Randy:  "Did she just call me a guy again?  I know I switched teams a while back, but to call me a guy?  Who does she think I am, that Bono girl?  Uh, I mean..guy?"


Yesiree, Don King would be great on American Idol.  And I bet he would do it if asked.  I don't think he has any major fighters right now he is promoting, so why not jump on Idol?

Well, that is my top 3.  Of course the problem American Idol is going to run into next year is that it is going to be a shell of its former self.  The two most controversial judges will be gone, leaving not much else to get excited about.  I am sorry to say that much like The Office, American Idol is past its prime.  And also like The Office, it has no idea it has turned from being a national sensation to something that is DVR'd but never watched.

So enjoy the rest of American Idol this year.  Root for your favorite contestant, and just be thankful that Taylor Hicks isn't eligible to come back again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

About Ready to Start Again, But Until Then, a Word From Our Sponsors...

OK, It is Friday night, and I just finished packing up my clothes for my looong flight back to the good ol' Tri-Cities. I wowed the fine citizens of Anchorage with my mad karaoke skills, and have met several nice people, but alas it is time to head back home. After being in Anchorage for the past week, I have felt the urge to start writing for this little ol' blog again. No really, I mean it.

Now I know what El Donaldo fans worldwide are saying right now. (Don't forget, I was voted the #1 blog in Liechtenstein for the third quarter of 2007!) You have all heard this line from me before. In fact it was about 3 months ago. But this time I mean it. Even though I hate doing it via email, I have some great things I want to write about. And if I have to do it in between handling Plutonium, then so be it.

So look forward to this Monday for the return of El Donaldo. But until then, go back into my blog vault and chew on some of the morsels I have left behind. I will even make it easy on you. Below you will find some of my favorite posts. Read them. Re-read them. Share them on facebook. Start an internet phenomenon by forwarding them to your friends.

First off, if you have never read my Workin' For the MAN! series I wrote a couple years back, check them out here:

Workin' for the MAN!  Part One

Workin' for the MAN! Part Two (The Fast Food Years!)

Workin' for the MAN! Part Three (The Mall Rat Years!)

Workin' for the MAN! Part Three Continued... (Best Eddie Bauer Story Ever.)

Workin' for the MAN! Part Three B  (Still a Mall Rat)

Workin' for the MAN! Part Four (The Bindery  Boy Years)

After WftM, check out these favorites:

Ugh...Not Earth Day Again

Stories from Wal-Mart

The Triumphant Return of Alpha-Bits

Lies, Mistruths, and the Mindless Internet Users Who Forward Them.

Travel John

My Lesbian Dogs

Please, read my old work.  And if you like it, I have many more good posts in store.  Until then, have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A.D. is for Annoying Drivers

I know I have brought this up time and time again on this blog, but I have a commute that many others in the area I live in also have to endure day after day.  From my garage to my parking spot it is approximately 38.7 miles.  Well, unless I decide to stop by Sonic and get a breakfast burrito…then it is about 39.1 miles, but I digress.  In the last ten years I have been making this drive, I have discovered that my fellow drivers fall into one of four categories.  So today, El Donaldo brings you the, “What Kind of Driver Am I?” test.  There are no right or wrong answers, but if you fall into categories 1 or 2, don’t be surprised if I (category 3) pass you out on my way to work.

 Driver type #1

“The Grandma Driver”

I figured I would start with the driver that is the most annoying of all.  The Grandma Driver has one main rule:  Drive at least 5-10 miles UNDER the speed limit at ALL times.  Whether they are on the way to the grocery store to pick up some of those nasty hard candies that no one wants to eat, or rushing a blue in the face Uncle Dirk to the hospital, the rule of driving painfully under the speed limit must always be followed.  Out on the highway the grandma driver is known to hold up traffic to the point where people 40 cars behind are of the mindset that traffic has been slowed due to some grisly accident.  This of course then causes normally sane people to swerve back and forth in their lane while trying to get a glimpse of the horrors ahead.

The Grandma driver is also known to slow down to a near stop when coming within ½ a mile of a traffic light, because if their words, “You never know when that darn gummed light is going to flip to red on you.”  This action then raises the chance of being rear ended by 37 percent.  Roundabouts are also a point of contention with this type of driver, as they are known to stop in the middle of a roundabout to let another car go by.  Unfortunately, this only causes confusion among the other drivers waiting in line to enter the roundabout.  That is unless the next in line is a fellow grandma driver; then they know exactly what the other driver is doing.  On rare occasions, both grandma drivers won’t want to cut the other off, and you will have what is known as a “Grandma Roundabout Standoff”, or GRS for short.

For some reason many illegal immigrants to this country also drive in the Grandma fashion.  Maybe their reasoning is that they want to blend in, but most times it makes them stick out like a sore thumb.  Southern California, and farming communities up and down the west coast are where the illegal alien grandma driver are most times seen.

The Grandma Driver should be avoided at all costs, and if you happen to get stuck behind one, pass them as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

(Also known as the “Slow Mo’ Joe”, the “Illegal Immigrant”, and the “Too Blind To See The Speedometer” driver.)

 Driver type #2

The Molly Driver”

As the name implies, this driver does everything by the book.  The Molly Driver will never be caught going a mile over the speed limit.  They know the drivers guide book from cover to cover, and can quote from it whenever they see fit.  At yellow lights the Molly proceeds with caution, and will slow down and stop at the first sign of a yellow light.  The thought of breaking even one traffic law, moving or non-moving, is enough to keep them awake at night.  When the Molly is on the road, it doesn’t matter if a semi has lost its brakes and is barreling towards the back of them, they will never speed up to get out of the way.  It is a well known fact that in the state of Utah, the Molly Driver is an extinct species.  Efforts have been made to introduce Molly back into the Beehive state, but have been squashed by Utah drivers from Logan to St. George.

(The male version is known as the Peter Perfect driver, and can be identified by the nicely pressed cardigan sweater, and pleated Khaki pants with cuffs at the bottom.  Most times this male is older, and will soon be part of the Grandma driver ranks.)

 Driver type #3

“The Jitterbug Driver”

This category is where the majority of drivers fall.  The Jitterbug is a firm believer in the “at least 5 miles over the speed limit at all times” rule.  If driving on a 4 lane road the Jitterbug will try to take the lane with the least amount of people.  Due to this fact, every once in a while they will choose a lane filled with Molly and Grandma drivers, and end up being stuck in the lane until they can find an opening in the other lane. 

Most jitterbugs do not invest money in a radar detector, because as most Jitterbugs will claim, “If the cops can go 5 mph over the speed limit at all times, so can I!”  Jitterbugs can be easily annoyed when they are stuck behind a Grandma or Molly on the highway, and will pass at the first available moment.  Some have even been known to stick their hand out the window and flash a 5-5 at drivers not driving up to snuff.  This usually will be followed by the passed driver flashing the middle finger salute.  (Please note:  The middle finger salute is not confined to any one type of driver, but is most times identified with the Jitterbug or the Crack Head Driver.)

Jitterbugs are found all over, and cannot be defined by age or gender.

(Also known as the “Experienced Teenage Driver” and the “I Can’t Afford Another Speeding Ticket So I Only Go 5 Over” driver.)

 Driver type #4

“The Crack Head Driver”

The Crack Head driver can come in many different shapes and sizes, but the main shape in that of a teenage male.  Whether the next stop light is 2 blocks or 2 miles away, the Crack Head driver will slam on the gas, and attempt to melt his tires to the pavement.  Red lights are usually stopped at, but most times the front end of the car (which usually has duct tape holding it together due to the fact some Grandma started slowing down at a yellow light instead of punching the gas.) will be across the line.  Yellow lights are nothing more than an invitation to see how high their tachometer can go.  Turn signals are seen as a nuisance, and are only used if a policeman is in the near vicinity.  And cop or no cop, the Crack Head will NEVER allow someone to get in his or her lane.  If somehow another driver does happen to merge into the Crack Head lane, they feel as much shame as the Molly driver does when a traffic law is broken.  Since drinking alcohol and driving is outlawed, a pile of Mountain Dew or Rockstar energy drink cans can be found in the back seat.

Crack Head drivers treat the freeway like their own personal speedway.  Anybody not going at least 10-15 miles over the speed limit are personally trying to piss off the Crack Head, and will be dealt with by flipping the bird out the window.  Radar detectors are the Crack Head’s best friend, and they are always on the search for the newest and best detector.  Charging across 3 lanes of traffic to make an exit is the rule for this driver, not the exception.  Just about every time this type of driver passes somebody on the road, they end up at the same stop light.

Various studies have shown the reason why Utah has failed to reintroduce Molly drivers back into the driving environment is because the Crack Head driver will not allow it to happen.  Because of the Molly reintroduction failure, the term Crack Head driver is synonymous with the term Utah Driver.

(Also known as the “Utah Driver”, “California Driver”, “Prison Escapee”, and the “Beginning Teenage Male Driver”.)

Every day during my commute I share the road with each kind of these drivers.  They reason why I have to go 40 mph on the bypass instead of the posted 55.  Others are why I can get away with doing 75 in the 65 mph zone on HWY 240.  And it will be that way for the rest of time.  Some things just never change.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Living off the grid...kind of

Picture if you will:  You are out with that special someone on a nice drive through the countryside.  You have a wonderful picnic lunch packed, and in the next hour or so you will arrive at your destination, and enjoy what in your mind will be the perfect afternoon.  You arrive at the park with the luscious green grass, and the wind is blowing softly through the trees.  You are about to take a bite of your sandwich, and RIIIING!!! RIIIING!!!  You cell phone goes off.  It is your boss, he has forgotten how to get to his email, and he needs you to come back right this minute to show him how to do it.  This situation sounds like it would really suck huh?  Well, unless you are me.  I don't have this problem.  You see, El Donaldo doesn't have a cell phone.

I can just imagine the look on your face as you read that last sentence.  There are most likely several questions running through your mind right now, and they all have to do with wondering, "How does he LIVE without one?"  To answer that question...I live quite well, thank you.

I know this might come as a shock.  After all, I do just about everything else electronically.  I have this blog, I have both a Myspace and a Facebook page.  I have 4 different email accounts. I have my iPod touch that plays not just music, but games as well.  I am connected to the internet at home, work, and when I can find a signal, on my iPod touch via WiFi. I am constantly searching for updated news stories by way of all the outlets mentioned above.  But for some reason, by not having a cell phone, I am somehow living in the stone age.  And believe it or not, I am happy that way.

Not having a cell phone has so many advantages, I don't even know if I can list them all here.  My favorite is the look I get to see on people's faces when I tell them if they want to call, they need to call my home phone number. Seriously, some people don't know how to react when you tell them you don't have a cell they can contact you at. The thought of not having instant access to someone 24/7 is enough to make some people hyperventilate.

Once they pull themselves together and process what I just said about being cell-less, the questions start.  "How do you get by without one???"  "What if your car breaks down, and you don't have a way to call somebody?"  Or my personal favorite, "How is somebody supposed to get a hold of you when something important happens?"  

What you in the cell phone carrying public don't understand is the FREEDOM that comes from NOT having a cell phone.  Lisa and I can go out for a fun time and not have to be bothered by somebody calling wanting to know what we thought of American Idol the night before.  We can go out to eat, and enjoy a meal without having to be checking our phone for the next text message to come through asking some random question that has no real purpose.  

And if for some reason we step out of the restaurant and realize we locked our keys in the car, all we have to do is go back in and ask if somebody has a phone we can use.  Chances are very good that in this situation two things will happen:

1- The place will go dead silent.  Everyone there will think they misheard us when we said we needed to borrow a phone.  I will look around the room to see if anyone has just gone into cardiac arrest when the news was broken they were sitting with two oafs who were not packing a phone with them

2- As soon as people get over the initial shock of the fact we are null cell, just about everyone's hand will go up, and the bright glow of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and Nextel phones will fill the room.  

Of course part of me feels sorry for when Alexandra asks me for a cell phone.  I figure around age 10 she will start hitting us up for her own phone.  It is going to be one of those moments where as a parent I am going to crush my child's dream.  Kind of like when I was little and my parents took us to see Grand Coulee Dam, and all Heidi and I wanted were some twinkies.  We begged.  We pleaded.  And in the end...we left sans twinkies.  Unfortunately for Alexandra, that cell phone she will want in a few years is never going to materialize.  In fact, I know exactly what I will say to my oldest daughter..."Sure Lex, you can have a cell soon as your old man gets one."  I was really hoping that she wouldn't start hating me until she was a teenager.  Hopefully buying her a car will make up for it.

Call me crazy for not wanting to pay upwards of 100 bucks a month just so I can talk on the phone in a place other than my house or work.  Just be sure to do it while I am at one of those places, or you might have to leave a message.