Wednesday, July 11, 2012
After leaving the house two hours later than we’d originally planned, we managed to get to my folks’ place at a decent hour. Typical for us, though. I say we’ll be hitting the road around six in the morning, and we can count on pulling out of the driveway at LEAST two hours later.
The trailer where we stay had been winterized by my mother, who is creative with ropes, a tarp, and heavy objects. Just when we thought we’d managed to free the tarp, we’d give it a yank only to discover another length of rope attached to something strange, like part of an old bed frame, an empty (but it wasn’t empty when she tied it there) water jug, some heavy unidentifiable farm equipment parts, and spare wheel from an old pickup truck.
Putting up the tent trailer in 90 degree weather is so much fun; it usually takes me two or three days to recover from the awesomeness that is involved.
But I found a percolator coffee pot in the basement, as well as the propane stove left behind by my cousin when he moved out. I collected my treasures and proceeded to delight my darling with non-instant coffee. Personally, I think it tastes like shit, but that’s because I have no idea how to make coffee on a propane stove. It’s very different.
We went to Ashland to have lunch at our favorite restaurant, then stop in at our favorite metaphysical store to ring the chakra bowls. Because parking is such a premium, they’re very sincere when they say “two-hour parking.” They will ticket your ass if you don’t move it in time, so I set the alarm on my new phone.
Two hours later, I am becoming increasingly annoyed by an irritating sound; a high-pitched ringing that just won’t stop. I can’t figure out where it is, but I keep wishing it would stop. We headed into our final shop and my mother asked how much time we had left. Imagine my horror to discover the noise was my phone alarm and I had no idea how to shut it the hell off. Most Minor Minion tried it, I tried it, and the guy behind the counter might have tried it if he hadn’t been laughing so hard he was almost in tears.
I don’t really know how it happened, but after ten minutes of constant ringing, the noise was stopped. To say I felt like a total derp would be an understatement.
My father is a passenger-seat driver. No matter what I’m doing, he’s going to make a comment, point out something obvious, or otherwise make it known that my abilities are falling far short of his expectations. He does the same thing to my mother and she tends to start shrieking at him, then the big argument will commence and things tend to get uncomfortable.
I, however, sass him. I threaten to break his pointer finger if he starts waving the damn thing around. Then he muttered something about the speed limit and that I was going a little too fast (I was coasting to charge the battery in my hybrid, so I was slowing down, thank you), and I threatened to get a squirt bottle and use it every time he got out of line. Then he started playing with the controls for the window. Mind you, they are a little confusing: if you press down too hard, the window goes all the way down, and if you pull up too hard, it goes all the way up. There is a way to get it exactly where you want it, but it takes a gentle touch, which is not something of which my father can boast.
Down window, up window, down window. “What the hell?” my father wondered.
“Don’t play with the window controls, Pop. That’s what you always told me when I was young.”
Up window, down window… “What are you doing?”
“I don’t know.” Up window.
I hit the window lock button, which flummoxed him even more. We rode in air-conditioned silence the last few blocks to the restaurant. When we got to the parking lot, the finger waving and advice giving commenced and I had to threaten to stop at the store and pick up a water bottle again.
“Pop, I actually know how to find good parking, and since I can use your card, we’re pretty much guaranteed a good spot.” I got the best one in the lot despite the great amount of pointing going on toward another spot one aisle over that wasn’t nearly as close.
As we helped him toward the restaurant, my mother said I was going too fast. Pop looked up at me and said, “My nickname is Creepy.”
“Yeah, Pop, but it has nothing to do with how slow you are.”
My mother thought that was hilarious.
Back at their place, we sat outside in the 90 degree weather while a warm wind coiled itself around us. The Earth is warm on our feet and the birds punctuate our conversation with their calls and songs. We stay out as long as possible, before being driven inside by the mosquitoes.