Dear Lady In The Next Car

Dear Lady In The Next Car,
You don’t know me, but I saw you, from my seat in the truck, next to my husband. I saw you yelling at your kids, I know what you said, you see, I can read lips. I saw you curse my husband for pulling the air horn when kids in the car on his side asked him to, but you were too busy yelling to realize your own kids giggled, because they were making the same request.
I saw you with your white knuckled grip on the steering wheel when we were next to you, I saw your words directed at us, “Damn trucks are dangerous and need to stay off the road when decent people are traveling.”
I understand a big truck can be intimidating at times, driving beside one can be scary. But the drivers are human, just like you, and they are trying to earn a living to support their families. How do you think everything you own got to the store?
But, trucks are not to be feared. Maybe if you knew the safety measures in a truck you wouldn’t be so nervous. Did you know that this truck has a lane assist system that buzzes in the cab if the driver crosses a line without his blinker on? Or that the truck will disengage the cruise control and apply the break if the truck gets too close to the vehicle in front of him? The driver could run the truck at full speed at a brick wall and not apply the break but never hit it with the safety features!
My husband, the truck driver beside you, was at more of a risk from YOU swerving into HIM than you ever are from him swerving into you.
Don’t fear trucks, respect them. Teach your kids to respect trucks and their drivers.
You never know, your child might take your disdain for trucks and truckers and actually become one some day.
Sincerely,
The Passenger In The Big Rig.

Adventures From The Passenger Seat

I know I have not written all summer, even after that speech about turning this into what I intended, lol, but I have been having so much fun!
The Mini has been visiting my family in NY for the summer, so I had the opportunity to spend the summer on the road with The Man. I have done this once before, but now we are both a bit older and he is a bit more experienced.
The Man and I are one of those annoying couples who tell each other everything, and talk about everything. We really are each other’s best friend. That being said, the summer together (well, the last month) has been amazing! We are even closer now!
Last time I went out with him, he got Penny, the 2012 truck. This summer, he got Lady Luck, a brand new 2015 truck! So the joke has become that I need to come out every year so he gets a new truck every year, lol.
Lady Luck is awesome! And The Man is so lucky to work for a company who puts their money where their mouth is! With the new push for driver health, wellness and nutrition, Maverick has done their part by putting a fridge in the new company trucks! This makes things so much easier to eat healthy on the road.
Now, for the adventures! This year we went to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee, and a few other places. We saw beautiful vistas in West Virginia and Virginia in the Appalachia’s, passed several amusement parks, and even passed a few Major League Baseball games!
I got some amazing pictures of the different sights, a few shots of the different stadiums and amusement parks, and even some sad shots of tornado damaged areas.
We have had the opportunity to have a date night at least once a week at the place at whichever truck stop we were at, something we don’t normally get to do.
I met some great Maverick drivers, too. At one place we stopped, it was dark and I walked to the building to use the rest room, a Maverick was pulling out of his spot and followed me back to the truck with his lights on so I could see, then flashed his brights to say goodbye when he saw I was safely back to the truck!
Another saw us looking for a spot so he waited and gave us his spot since he was pulling out and the lot was full.
When we stopped in Birmingham to swap a trailer with another driver, I saw a girl enter the cab of a truck of a company, then leave a few minutes later to knock on the doors of other trucks. I guess that driver proved why he works for a company whose name means quickly! And, yes, the girl was a lot lizard.
At a delivery, we were talking to two different Maverick drivers, first one then the other. A woman driver from another company came in and, after trying to back into a dock for about an hour or so, flustered she gave up and backed into another door.
Later that day, we got to play Good Samaritan. We witnessed an accident and The Man and I stayed until everything was over, making sure everyone was ok and the larger debris was out of the road after taking pictures of where everything was. The elderly woman was so thankful she asked for our contact information and The Man’s boss’s contact information so her husband could call to personally thank us.
I will figure out how to post pictures here and post as many as I can. When The Mini comes home I will post about his summer. Tonight is my last night in the truck, so we are going to do a final summer Date Night and just enjoy each other’s company for one last night alone together.
I hope everyone has had as much fun and as great a summer as I have had! Thank you Maverick for allowing me to have the opportunity with your rider policies and for such a great family atmosphere!

Summer Days

Well, with the last day of school 2 weeks in the rear view mirror, it is time, once again, to plan for the summer.
My family up North, the Yankee part of this Country Yankee, has so wonderfully volunteered to take Mini Man for 6 weeks! So he will get to play with his cousins, see aunts and uncles, and Grandma Weeze, and all the greats and grands. He has a blast up there for the summers, so I am happy he gets to go.
His plane tickets are booked, his bag is in the process of being packed (one carry on no more than 50 pounds), and he is excited.
So, where does that leave me? Glad you asked. As long as the situation with the dog works out, I will be able to go on the road with The Man all summer! I did this once before and had an absolute blast. Besides the whole traveling while being paid thing, I get to spend some real quality time with him. Lately, with the way the company has been with home time, it feels like things are always rushed with us when he is home. Trying to fit an entire month of stuff into three days.
So, now we will get some good, quality, one on one time together to just hang out, talk, and just be together.
I don’t know who is more excited, me or Mini Man for our respective vacations, lol.

A Mini Big Foot?

The Man and I play a few iPhone games together. They are a way that we bond and spend time together while he is working. One of our friends in one of our games has taken to calling him Sasquatch because he is huge and she is tiny. That name had me laughing yesterday.
My BFF warned me, she said it would come soon, but I didn’t believe her. I didn’t want to believe her. But, in the last month, Mini Man has become more like his father than I realized!
Both The Man and Brother Man are tall, over 6 feet. The Man’s Sister is also tall. So it stands to reason that Mini Man will be tall, too.
He has been cranky lately and he has been eating non-stop. Two sure signs of a growth spurt. His pre-teen hormones have exploded, too. He has the first few acne blemishes of puberty (do boys even call them blemishes?), and has been needing deodorant for about a year now.
I pulled out his summer clothes and they are too small, so he needs all new clothes! Even the stuff I got him last year and put away is too small!
He is now wearing 20×28 pants! What happened to the little boy who wore a simple size 12?
His shirts are all adult small now, which is sad because half the printed tshirts in the adult section are just that, too adult in theme.
But, what gets me, is his shoes. He got a brand new pair about 6 weeks ago and, already, they were torn up. Upon closer inspection, there were holes in the top where his big toe was popping through! The soles were falling off, actually not attached! He goes through shoes faster than Chumlee from Pawn Stars collects them! I need a shoe budget for him bigger than my own!
So, I had him put on his nasty falling apart sneakers and off to Walmart we went. Thankfully, they had shoes on sale. But, I could not find 6.5’s. so, I got him 7’s, in men’s!!! The Man wears 12-13’s! I wear a 6.5 in men’s (cleats from the soccer days).
I can’t believe how quickly he is growing up! My little boy is a Little Man now!
Sunrise, Sunset.

Current projects

I know, it’s been a while since my last project update. I am currently in the middle of three different projects and planning three more.
The first “in progress” project is the one I have been working on since my sister told me she was expecting a baby girl. My niece, Ella, is now 2 years old and I am still working on a soft pink blanket for her. So, I have decided to make it a twin size blanket, made in a traditional granny square pattern, but with mini stitches (so a 4 stitch by 4 stitch square is 1 square inch). It will be soft baby pink and pearl white. That one will be finished by September.
The second “in progress” project is a jelly roll style quilt for my other niece’s high school graduation. I need to finish the quilting part of it and the binding tonight so I can give it to my in-laws tomorrow to bring it to her for me. I will post pictures of it tomorrow after it is complete.
The third “in progress” project is a crochet afghan for my in-laws. Their birthdays are within 2 weeks of each other, so I would like to give them this as a birthday present. It is an afghan done in rounds, a square pattern, in maroon and cream. I need to finish this one by the time The Man comes home next weekend so I can give it to them both when they visit. I will post a picture a bit later.

Projects in planning phase are going to be fun!
First, there is the aprons for charity. One of my BFFs, M, knows a family who was struck with a personal medical situation and is doing a yard sale of hand made goods to help raise money to help the family. Between end-of-bolt out of season fabric deals and eBay, I have a bunch of different holiday themed fabrics, so I am going to make some different holiday themed aprons to send her to add to the yard sale.
I also am going to make The Man a quilted tablet case. I’m thinking either something in his two favorite colors, sky blue and smoke gray, or somehow working his family crest into the design somehow. The whole thing will be double quilted to provide extra padding.
The third project I’m planning will be a surprise to everyone, including me, since I’m not fully sure what it will be yet.
Stay tuned for pictures and updates to the projects as they become available!

If The World Had a Front Porch

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Can you imagine how great things would be, how peaceful and friendly if every home had a front porch? If we all had that single reminder to take things slower, to sit for a few moments and enjoy their surroundings.
Not all front porches would need to be large, just enough space for a chair or two, so people can relax in comfort.
The presence of a front porch provides a place for a person to have so many moments, so many coming of age activities, so many treasured memories that will never fade from the picture of your youth.
It’s a place for many evenings star gazing with cold sweet tea. It is a place to enjoy cook outs with friends and neighbors, or lazy afternoon chess games. A place to sit with loved ones while watching children chase fireflies or to enjoy a fireworks display.
A front porch is the perfect place for a romantic, soft kiss goodnight after a first date, or to talk out the resolutions to school-yard fights. It’s the place to discuss football or dream of college and freedom. It’s where teenage boys fret over asking their girlfriend to the prom, or where teenage girls fret that their crush won’t ever notice them.
All in all, the song is right, if the world had a front porch, things would be better. We would have a lot more Mayberry and a lot less everything else.

Raising an Unplugged Millenial

The Man and I have taken a lot more flack for this than I care to admit. When people find out that Mini Man doesn’t have an iPhone or an iPad or an iAnything or a TV in his room we get the looks, the questions, even acusations of neglect! How is it neglect to not have a tv in his room?

We made the choices for him we have for our own reasons. There are times i think Mini Man is the only 10 year old without an iPhone, or iPad or iAnything. Is he really the only kid in his class without his own computer?

He has to go outside to play and talk to friends, he has to ask before using my computer for the internet. We monitor his web browsing and it is limited to educational needs only . A computer will not raise my child, that is my honor.

He doesn’t just turn on the tv and fall asleep at night. If he isn’t tired at bed time he may read a book. And he does. At 10 he has read the Sword of Truth series, he loves fantasy books, just like his parents. He is so far above his grade level in reading it amazes me. He also writes. As the son of a blogger and with a father who writes like The Man, you bet Mini Man writes well.

Yes, we do have a wii, but its in the living room and its use is monitored, but, I honestly can not remember the last time it was even turned on! I don’t have a problem with that. He has a Ds but its use is also controlled and monitored.

Unlike many of his classmates, Mini Man is not overweight, he knows how to act around people, he can compose proper letters, he is well read, and can use his imagination!

If a child like that is abuse or neglect, then, I guess he is both. But, tell me that again in 7 years when the acceptance letters from Ivy Leagues are coming in daily or the scholarship awards are coming in. Tell me then that we did the wrong thing because my respectful well rounded child did not have a tv in his room, tell me that all the monitoring was wrong when he is defending those who were not given boundries as kids, or when he is preaching, or getting a PhD in Theology.

He has set his own goals in life, and we are simply ensuring that he has the tools within himself to make it where he wants to go.

Until then, check your kid’s browser history and tell me my choices are wrong.

Most Asked….

I am what Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, calls an accidental country girl. Growing up I never thought I would marry a southern guy, I figured I would live in the city somewhere and, if marriage happened, great, if not, that would have been ok too.
But, as fate would have it, I did meet and marry a wonderful man. People who knew me growing up would never have guessed I could be happy as a country girl. 20 years ago I would have agreed. The world outside of the area I grew up in didn’t exist to us.
One of the questions I am asked the most is “What is the biggest difference between up north and where you live now?”
When I think about this question I can’t pin point one single difference that is the biggest. I can only speak on where I grew up in NYC compared to where I live now, in Razorback Country. But, this has been my experience.
When the Man and I moved to his home state, we had been married a few years and I had spent some time with his family during vacations and things. I thought I was ready to live in this part of the world. Hey, I lived in Alaska with him for three years, I could survive Arkansas, right?
Right?
Well, I wasn’t as ready as I thought, but I am a quick learner. I grew up with the notion that Arkansas was completely backwoods, that the residents have no teeth, and that everyone married their cousin. I was wrong, of course. But the differences?
One of the biggest has been the pace.
Things in NYC go quickly, everyone is in a rush, everything is scheduled. You don’t take the time to know your neighbors. Even the speech patterns are rushed in NY. People only say half of most words.
Down here, though, things move slower. The only schedule to keep is dictated by the rice and cotton crops for some people. There is nothing quite like sitting on the front porch in the evening with a glass of sweet tea and taking the time to know and care about your neighbors. They speak slower down here. They finish words and, I have to admit, there is nothing more heartwarming than a southern drawl coming from the Man.
Another major difference? Community.
In NYC, it takes major disasters to bring communities together. You can live your whole life there without knowing who plays for the college football team.
Down here? Well, if you don’t have what you need by game time Friday night before the high school team kicks off, it’s hard to find an open store until after church on Sunday. Everyone roots on the local high school team on Friday nights, unless you went to another school and they are playing each other. And there is never any traffic on Saturday during college football season, and Thanksgiving is a big day because it is the day before the Boot Bowl. A major tragedy strikes, such as the recent tornados, and there are boots on the ground in effected areas before the twister even lifts off the ground, and the local news stations hold a joint telethon for relief efforts.
The food.
In NYC, its not hard to find good pizza, or Chinese, at 2am, even delivered, or you can walk into a place and get a single slice of pizza, no problem. The bagels are out of this world. And two words: Street Food.
Down here, Papa Johns is considered good pizza, but they don’t deliver after 10pm, and forget about Chinese takeout, it’s all buffets that don’t deliver. Bagels are frozen hockey pucks, and the only hotdog carts are at baseball games. But, I know a few good places for catfish.
All in all, though, they both have their advantages. And I can’t really say one is better than the other. One is my past, it made me who I am and shaped the person I am, the other is my present and is shaping who I am becoming and who Mini Man is becoming.
I love being a proud member of The Accidental Country Girl Club and wouldn’t change it for anything!

Suddenly, I am snapped Back

There are times in my life when I am snapped back there, to that tiled hallway that leads to the girl’s locker room, on the way to gym. To that pivotal, critical turning point moment in my life, the moment that could have changed it all, that could have changed the lives of every single person in that brick building, every teacher, aide, and student who entered the safety of those “Big red doors.” For some reason, that is my mental “safe spot.” In the days before my high school became almost unrecognizable with metal detectors and cop cars and who knows what else. The day when the landscape of Susan E. Wagner High School could have changed forever.
I didn’t talk about it at the time. I don’t even think I told my then boyfriend or my friends. I really couldn’t, I was asked not to by one of the deans. I can still see the FUBU jeans hanging off the guy’s backside, the blue and white striped oversized boxers, the black metal pistol tucked into the waist band of the pants, the white shirt as he lifted it to show his buddy. I don’t know why I reacted the way I did, or what was guiding me to do what I did. I continued on my way as if I had not seen anything. I don’t know if the kid even saw that I saw him, but I went through the locker room and right up to the gym without stopping at my gym locker. I think the girls in my class thought I was trying to get out of gym that day. I pulled the gym teacher aside, she was someone I trusted, and told her what I saw.
I went to the deans’ office and found a dean I knew and trusted, we went into his office and closed the door. This was before a male teacher wasn’t allowed alone in an office with a closed door with a female student. This was before every person was afraid of what might be said about opposite genders alone in an office like that. I told him everything I saw, gave a description of the kid, and stayed in the office for the rest of the period.
The kid was intent on shattering the still pristine innocence of an seemingly endless youth that day. I remember after they caught him, I remember the exact words the dean said to me, just as I remember which dean it was. I will always remember that day and that dean, I will always remember that kid. I doubt if you ask him, that the dean remembers it, but I do. The fact that he believed the words of a bright eyed innocent child and they activated the plan the school had in place that no student knows about, without having to enter “lock down mode,” without ever letting another student onto whatever might have happened that day, or whatever this student had planned.
I guess that is why that is my “safe spot” mentally when something tragic happens, why I went back there when my base was on lock down on 9/11, why I went there while waiting on word from a friend stationed at Ft Hood this week, It is how I deal with the worry like that. Because that day had a happy outcome, the peace and tranquility of life was maintained, The innocence people trusted in finding through those Big Red Doors was preserved.