Posts Tagged ‘van’

Am I Turning into Scrooge???

December 1, 2013

Sorry, but I am not excited about gift giving this year.  Yes, I love to bless those around me, but I’m starting to realize that maybe my spiritual gift is not gifts.  I would rather spend time doing some family/bonding/memory/making activity that will last in my children’s minds forever!  Seriously, what did we buy them last year that they are still using? The question is semi-unfair as we went to our homeland, Canada, last year for Christmas.  Being in the desert in the Southwest, we had to buy warm clothes, long pants and shoes for the kids and we kept telling them the vacation to another country WAS their gift.  :o)

christmas 2012 1

See?!  What a great memory!

Our then 9-year-old daughter was DYING to get this set/book where she could draw outfits for dolls.  She LOVED it to death… I think it took about 21 days.  I haven’t seen it in almost a year.  We also got her a fat, purple and pink sparkly piggy bank that she spied in Walmart.  She was DYING to have a place to put her money…. AND would accentuate her pretty bedroom. I’m fairly certain the pig has been vacationing with the naked dolls that still need dresses since late February.  If the Popsicle man ever comes by in July/August and my wallet is empty, I need to remember to look for that pig.

My then 16-year-old son was DYING to have this totally overpriced black with lime green stripe cooler-than-cool jacket.  It is a close fitting, non-waterproof, zip-up, and being in Arizona I’m giving him a bit more grace than his little sister for not using it A LOT.  I did see the lime green coolness trying to peek out from a pile of clothes on the floor in his room.  I’m not sure if he wore it or if it fell off the hanger?  Then Dec. 16th, we crossed over the Sierra Nevadas in a snow storm…  pulled into the first ROSS we found and bought him a more suitable winter jacket.  Jacket #2 has been in the winter clothing box in the garage since January 2nd.

My then 14-year-son, who was DYING for concert tickets or iTunes gift-cards, got a mountain bike.  My husband bought it hoping for father-son bonding times, which did happen a few times last January and February.  Now, said son HAS used the bike and he does take care of the bike, but he rides his longboard 9 out of 10 days of the week.  Recently I asked him what we got him for Christmas last year… long pause… “Concert tickets or something?”  Um, no, but we probably should have.

My then 19-year-old got the most useful, but not necessarily fun gift…. an orange suitcase of her very own.  She was leaving for college in January and it turned into a necessity as I realized if I didn’t buy her one, she would be taking one of mine.  All that said, she LOVES orange and LOVED it…. AND she took one of mine anyway.  She also opened a brand new shiny pair of Nike tennis shoes, as some sort of athletic course at school was in her near future.  I’m positive that the Nikes won the “Most Used” Christmas gift of 2012.

Rick and I got a nice shiny red van for Christmas… that I crashed three months later.  Boooo Hissssss.  At least I remember what we received!!!

Do you remember what you bought everyone last year?  Do you remember what you received?

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I love AAA

November 29, 2012

Yes, it’s true.  I appeared in public with foils on my head.  Yes, that is the AAA tow truck with lights flashing.  Yes, these two things would only happen simultaneously to ME!

Today started out like any other ordinary day…  we homeschooled; I dropped Keeve off for band; I finally went to the Social Security Administration to apply for Nora’s SS number (and they only printed it incorrectly once… that’s not bad); I picked up a refund check at the doctor’s office; I bought a few gifts at Target and then went to get my hair colored and cut.

Lo and behold, in between Target and the salon, I realized my front tire was flat.  Not just super low, FLAT.  Knowing that a color/cut takes an hour, I called AAA, knowing also that the tow truck driver NEVER arrives in less than an hour.  The timing was perfect in my little head.  As the picture shows…. it didn’t exactly turn out that way.  This was the fastest tow truck driver on the planet.  TWENTY minutes!  That’s it!  Just as the last foil went in, my cell phone rang, “I’m here!”  Oh brother…. and out into the warm afternoon I went, somewhat humiliated and embarrassed.

We are not putting one slim dime into this van with the flat tire.  My dear husband has tomorrow off work so we can go get a newer van and trade in this one.  It has over 220,000 miles and has served us well.  But right now it needs new shocks, new tires and the transmission changes gears randomly while driving, so that probably needs to be replaced as well.  I said all that to say, the tow truck driver got out the spare…. that has a bulge in it.  He put it on, but wouldn’t let me drive the van.  It wasn’t safe.  At all.  So he towed the van with the bulgy tire to our home 7 miles away…. and I stayed to get a shampoo, cut and style.

My husband was supposed to be passing by this area on the way home from work in about twenty minutes, so I called him and asked him to pick me up.  That sounds all well and good too, but there was a huge accident on the freeway and it took Rick 1 hr and 10 minutes to get to me.  “Frazzled” doesn’t quite do justice to my state of mind when he finally arrived.  I think he may have been going to ask me if I wanted to go to the movies…. but one look at me and he didn’t.  :o)  Wise man, my husband.

So, FYI: next time you schedule your hair appointment, don’t call AAA at the beginning of the procedure.

Treasure Junking

October 2, 2011

In Phoenix, the trash collection authorities are quite gracious by granting us permission FOUR TIMES A YEAR to leave large lumps of litter on the curb in front of our homes.  They come around with a huge truck and take it all away for us.  When we lived in our previous house with 32 full-grown trees, this plan was a godsend.  We would have had to make a trip to the dump four times a year without this blessed service.  Large Garbage Pickup even has a map with zones and dates so you never miss your turn to display your trash.

My kids figured out when this would all occur as interesting items started showing up along our street.  They asked if I would drive them around the neighborhood to see if there was other people’s junk that could be their treasure.  I’m not sure why I fell for this…. but I did, and hard.  We found a fish tank, a garden cart, a sand box, a Little Tikes Doll House, an ice cream freezer like in 7-11 (which we gave to the youth group), shutters and a bird-cage, etc. etc. etc..  I’m sure there are other quality items I’m forgetting too.  This practice got named “Treasure Junking“.  It’s sort of down-scaled garage sale-ing with no money needed.  Fit right into our budget.

Well, it is still alive and well in the Crosby house.  Last weekend my bug-spraying husband was spraying bugs over in the next city, and lo and behold, it was Large Garbage Pickup in that same neighborhood.  Destiny.  Rick watched as the man who lived across the street from the fully sprayed house went in and out of the garage three times and placed three bicycles on the curb.  This fascinated my husband, Mr. Wallet.  He strode over, as he’s been known to do in all parts of the world, and asked about the bikes.  Sure enough, the guy was DONE with bikes in his garage that no one used.  Rick asked if he could take them for our kids.  And now I have ELEVEN bikes parked in the garage where my van should be.  (It’s hopeless.)  Anyway, the bikes Rick brought home are OLD… old like dirt.  Two are black Huffy cruisers with white walls and springs under the seats… and the dream of my 17-year-old daughter’s heart.  Truly.  She is outside washing it right now.  She’s never washed a bike in her life, I’m pretty sure.  She went to Walmart and found large wicker baskets that you can put on the handlebars…. and foamy grips that look like wood.  She’s really into this.

The third bike, as far as we can determine, is a 1970 Schwinn with a small wheel in the front, large one in the back, a banana seat and long handle bars.  Something Beaver Cleaver rode.  To my astonishment again, our youngest son claimed it.  Yes, it shocked me.

Needless to say, our youngest daughter, who is eight, is thrilled because now there are all sorts of people wanting to go on bike rides with her.  And now, for the first time in about 10 years, I have a bike to ride.  These bikes even promote good posture!  Win win.

Can you say Haboob?

July 10, 2011

Our re-entry to Phoenix, after a cool and lovely trip to Northern California, was not only welcomed by the largest haboob (sand storm) in recent history… but HUMID heat.  Whatupwitdat?  It’s supposed to be a dry heat.  We’re famous for DRY heat.  We got into our van on the day after we arrived home and the thermometer was burning the number 118 into my sweaty eyeballs.  Nora, my 7-year-old, who is experiencing her first Phoenix summer, whined, “Why couldn’t we just stay in Tahoe?”  I wondered the same thing!  Dry 107 is NOT the same as humid 107.  Not even close.

Photo credit to Dan Z. http://www.flickr.com/photos/55358384@N04/5907025323/

My plan to have the garage cleared for my van’s shady shelter through the scorching months has not yet materialized.  It’s too hot to clean the garage.  Why didn’t I think of this in January???  I went out there quickly at 7:00 am and analyzed the situation.  Biggest obstacle: city-certified rolling trash AND recycle cans.  They are huge… and stinky on occasion.  All the other junk (hockey nets, weight bench, bicycles, hockey equipment, kayaks, huge alternative fuel gas tank, shop vac, etc.) can be put on the unseen side of the house in the backyard.  But the non-attractive rolling trash receptacles have to be accessed on different days and dragged to the road.  “Put them behind your side gate,” is the logical answer.  But we have Houdini, the escape dog, as a beloved pet.  Not only is our side gate double supported with plywood on the back (because of Houdini breaking the slats to escape) but there are cinderblocks on both sides of the gate, so Houdini won’t push through.  There is a 4×4 buried in the ground under the gate as well, to hinder dig-through escape attempts.  Houdini is only 11 pounds.  But she is a wily and surprising 11 pounds.

So, my plan is to keep the cans in the front yard on the side of the house that is least visible from the road.  AND, get this, put a huge pot with a prolific plant in front of them.  We have Nazis on our HOA board, but I think this might work.  Afterall, we haven’t received a letter from them in at least two months now.  The letters have come regularly… for six years…. every few months… for basketball hoops… wrecked cars in the driveway…. cars parked in the street… weeds…. garbage cans NOT behind the gate… and my personal favorite, 50 pink flamingos standing in our yard.  Hey, the pot-with-prolific-plant shield is worth a try so I can get the van in the garage.  I’ll keep you posted.

Women Don’t Sweat Part 2

July 19, 2009

Yes, it happened today…. you’d think I was telepathetic or something.  All five of us were comfortably riding home from church in the van with the air conditioning blowing freezingly in our faces when the “beep” warning sounded, signaling that we were low on gas.  So we pulled into Costco to fill up.  THAT’S when it happened.  The gas was poured, but when the key was again turned, the a/c silently laughed in our glistening faces.  I was secretly glad that my husband was in the van this time!  (Don’t tell him!)  He sort of chuckled when he heard that I had to drive for almost an hour last Thursday with no a/c.  

We flicked switches.  We turned knobs.  We turned off the car and restarted it… twice.  Nada.  As we were driving away from Costco, Rick resorted to slamming the dash board several times on the top as well as the side by my legs.  Slamming things with his fists has never fixed anything in the past, that I can recall, but who knows?  It could’ve worked this time, but no.

I began my tirade of all the things the mechanic had said… in mocking tones, of course.  “The fan is working just fine.”   “I didn’t do anything to it.”  “I turned on the van and it worked, even after I drove it around for a while.”  The thudding noise was my first clue that the fan wasn’t operating properly.  The lack of cold air blowing on my face was my second clue.  I’m no dumb bunny, even though the mechanic thinks otherwise.

As the perspiration beadlets were forming on my handsome husband’s face, I reached up and pushed the button to see the daily temperature.  Like I was prophetic or something in the last blog… it was 117 degrees!   We only had a 15 minute drive home, but my husband practically melted before our eyes.  (Think Wicked Witch of the West.)  I’ve only seen his top lip sweat after consuming blazing hot salsa, but today no blazing salsa was needed.  Sweat dripped down from his forehead past his cheeks and off his chin.  I rather enjoyed the show…. being that he took the mechanic’s word over mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m melting!”

 

So tomorrow morning we are taking the van back to the mechanic who said nothing was wrong with the a/c fan. I’m driving our other car with air conditioning this time.    It is at least 90 degrees already at 9:00 in the morning!  muuhhuuhuuuhaaahahahahahah.  (Super hot weather brings out my mean streak!)

ROAD TRIP!!!!

December 3, 2008

We leave tonight for California…. in the van… all five of us.  Believe it or not, there are strange families like ours who LOVE road trips!  We’ve discovered that driving through the night is even better than prolonged day trips, if you’re going somewhere fast.  The kids sleep almost the whole time and Rick and I both sleep half the time.  Well, if you ask Rick, he’ll tell you that I never drive more than 45 minutes when it is dark.  I can’t keep my eyes open.  This had been true and good for the past 20 years… until this past summer when we drove through the night to Lake Tahoe.  I took first shift which started at 10:30 p.m.  I still can’t believe it myself, but I drove for 5 1/2 hours before my eyelids started sliding.  Rick woke up and thought I changed the clock to trick him… like I could do that while driving!  I can’t even change the clock when the van is stopped.  So, I’m taking first shift tonight.  Here’s hopin’ I’ll make it past Glendale (that’s 20 minutes away.)

So in preparation for this midnight adventure, I went to the library today to find some books on tape that would fascinate my brain into staying awake.  Last summer I listened to Bill Cosby… I even laughed out loud while the rest of the passengers snored loudly.  Our library is unfortunately hooked onto the public high school, much to the dismay of this homeschooling mom.  So I’ve memorized the schedule so as not to fight pick-up traffic or have to drag my wide-eyed children through drones of long haired boys and barely clad girls.

Without my knowledge, today was a half-day of school.  Oh my.  So I pulled into the parking lot just as the aforementioned kids poured out of the front gate of the school.  This confirmed for me once more exactly why we homeschool.  I braved the crowd and the smoke with my 12 year old son.  We returned books, we found new books, movies and TWO BOOKS ON TAPE!  Wooo Hoooo! 

fire-alarm

As I was nearing the end of the rack of books-on-tape, the fire alarm went off.  What next???   Being in an evacuation situation was a great experience for my homeschooled son.  He told me it was actually his second fire alarm; seems one went off at the arena once upon a time.  Soooooo, I left my bag of un-checked-out books at the counter and filed out to the parking lot with 150 high school kids. 

It was a little obvious that I was not in the in-crowd.  They all wear black…. I had on a hot-pink t-shirt, not to mention I’m more than 20 years older than them.  Had I received the memo, I could’ve worn a black t-shirt and been more incognito.  “All clear” was sounded and I retrieved my precious midnight treats.

Happy Trails!

Note to self:  email the school district and get a yearly calendar that lists all half days.  Sheesh.

Summer Kids 4 Sale CHEAP!

June 15, 2008

Ever have those days???  Maybe it was because I taught Wacky Crafts and Missions for a whole week at VBS that I was shy on the patience side.  125 kids coming and going in groups of 20 … every 20 minutes…  enough to make any mother scoot over near the edge. 

Yesterday was the absolute last day I could be fingerprinted for kids camp.  It was 109 degrees… which somehow makes errands NOT fun.  At all. I was searching through my handy-dandy mini yellow pages that we keep in the van for such a time as this…. trying to find a closer fingerprinter to our current location.  Aha!  One was located.  So I called to see how late they were open, so as not to miss the 23 year-old that is sanctioned to take 42 year-old mother’s fingerprints for kids camp.  While I’m trying to hear the automated message I feel a set of wriggly toes coming between the back rest of my bucket seat and the actual seat part I’m sitting on.  They are on a mission to find my bum.  I’m trying to ignore them…. but there is sheer will to drive mother crazy sitting directly behind me…. I finally turn and yell, “Get your toes out of my bum!” and the children in the van break into hysterics so loud that it is impossible for me to hear the automated voice with the pertinent information I’m seeking. 

Why?  Oh why?  Why do they do this?????  I never dug my toes into my mom’s bum in the car seat in front of me.  And I spent many a LONG summer vacation drive in the station wagon seat behind her.  I don’t ever even remember the prank entering my mind.  It must be a gene from the Crosby side.