Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Colonel Ketchup's Last Stand

Oopsie, it's been 3 weeks since I posted anything. Well, I have a perfectly good explanation. I've been summering. And if you're reading this in Australia, sorry 'bout it. But just remember that when we're sawing trees after an ice storm, you're bronzing your perfect little bodies on the beach. So, I think that's fair. Anyway, summer has hit KY full force which means every single meal is barbequed, the water bill is sky-high after days of Slip-n-Slide tournaments and there is a kind of humdity-induced malaise that falls over everyone. And I've been in Florida. Jacksonville to be exact. Unfortunately, having just returned from the war and all, Neal was not able to make the drive with me (which is even more unfortunate because I was coerced into driving my 1996 coolant-sucking, hose-detiorating Mustang convertible 12 hours south. My nieces...they know what they want and apparently what they wanted more than anything was to ride in a car "topless". Way to train 'em up, sis!).

So, the journey began...albeit about an hour and a half late which is actually early for me. I had packed turkey sandwiches and chips and cookies and soft drinks and was only going to stop the car for petro and pee stops. Or, as it turns out, if the coolant needle continues to edge toward "high" as I race down I-whatever (this is why I have GPS. No geographical knowledge needed). Needles moving on my car are never a sign of happy times to come. It generally means a 4-hour wait in a Sears lobby while my credit card sighs heavily. So, I stopped at a gas station just inside the Georgia line. I popped the hood and had been checking fluids for no more than 20 seconds when a truck full of boys (and yes, I mean boys) pulled up to see if they could help. Yeah, mister...I watch Dateline and 24 Hours...I think I'll be fine, thank you very much. I do not need you to help me with my coolant levels OR my panties. And this is all probaby complicated by the fact that I am talking to Dad on my bluetooth which is in the other ear. So to the boys it looks like I am easy Crazy-Bait, just waiting to be kidnapped and rode hard all the way to the Mexican border. Anyway, they finally drove away after I showed them what she says (she says "NO" by the way for all of you who still haven't taken your RAD course. Shame on you). I dumped about 20 gallons of coolant in the tank, per Dad and got on my way. And then realized that the AC was no longer coming out of the vent. Awesome. Did I mention I was in Georgia??

So, all of this to ensure that my beautiful little nieces would get one last ride in Colonel Ketchup before we restricted him to in-town driving only. And then they refused. Well, the oldest refused, let me put it that way. Her younger sister, the more daring of the 2, strapped on her Jacksonville Jaguars hat, grabbed Pluto and climbed up in her booster seat, ready for launch. Her older sister stayed in the house. So sweet you just can't kill them, right? Images of the trip down were flashing through my head. But as you must do sometimes, I just let it go. We had a lovely day of craft store shopping and feeling the wind in our hair. On my last day there, we decided to head to the beach since the pools in the neighborhood were closed. Either the oldest sister had been schooled by the younger or she realized the fun she was missing because the 4 of us took off in Colonel Ketchup and headed for sandy beaches and ocean waves with my sister at the helm. Somewhere along the way, my sister turned to me and said "this really is fun to drive!" Why yes, yes it is. And then it was all worth it.

The drive home was uneventful until I hit Knoxville, which greeted me with hurricane winds and tornadoes. But I was able to maintain AC for the entire drive, which is helpful when rain is pelting you from all 4 directions. The Col. has been retired to only local driving, which is best for him. He's old, pretty crotchety and doesn't really like new places. But he doesn't mind the gym, the library, and the grocery store.

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