Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘driving’

A Clean Car Is A Happy Car

Growing up with the parents I had was very interesting.  Especially when it came to riding in their vehicles.  My Mama’s car, no matter how new or old, ugly or pretty was always, always clean.  It didn’t matter that she had three kids, two of which were born five years apart.  Her car was never, ever dirty.  Even on the rare occasion that the outside had a little dirt or salt on it, the inside was as clean as any new car on a dealer’s lot.  Now, Daddy’s cars and trucks, not so much.

Daddy never worried about washing the outside of his vehicles, let alone ever cleaning up the inside.  Not only was there always a thick layer of dust and dirt on the dashboard, the console, the doors and any other plastic surface of the interior, there was always trash.  Everywhere.  Trash in the door pockets, in the cup holders, and in the floorboards.  Needless to say, Mama hated going anywhere in Daddy’s vehicles and she avoided it like the plague.

My sisters and I each have very different personalities and live very different lives, so naturally, our stance on vehicle cleanliness and detailing are just as different.  My baby sister washes her car pretty regularly and she wipes the inside down occasionally to keep the dust at bay.  However, she carries everything but the kitchen sink with her everywhere she goes.  I’m talking clothes, shoes, jackets, pictures, clothes baskets, purses, a book bag, school books and notebooks, tampons, pizza boxes, dishes, and the list goes on and on.  She used to have her retainer in one of the little compartments in one of her cars!  God love her, she’s always prepared and I don’t ever worry about her freezing too death or going hungry if she were to ever break down or be stranded in a storm.  And let me add that her car isn’t nasty, it’s just full… of everything.

My other sister, the middle child, now her vehicles remind me a lot of my Daddy’s.  At least they used to.  I haven’t seen the inside of her car in a really long time so I’m not entirely sure what her car looks like nowadays.  Anyway, her car contained all the things that my baby sister’s car did, with the exception of the retainer, but there was much more trash in hers.  There was always a various assortment of food containers, drive thru wrappers, and cups.  I can remember getting in the back of her car once to go somewhere with her and Mama and the trash in the back floorboards was level with the seats.  I really thought my poor Mama was gonna have a stroke when she saw it.  She used to swear that rats were gonna carry my sister’s car off in the night.

I guess now that I think about it, my sisters are pretty similar in the way they keep their cars.  They both have tendencies like Daddy.  Now me, on the other hand, I took after my Mama.  God help me.

I’ve always tried to keep my car clean.  Both outside and in.  I wore the paint on the hood off the first car I ever bought from washing and waxing it so much.  Who knew two or three times a week was too much?  After that heartbreaking lesson, I decided once a week was enough.

So, once a week for the next fifteen years, give or take a few months, I detailed whatever vehicle I happened to be driving, no matter how new or old, ugly or pretty.  Even with two boys, I always kept my car looking pretty decent.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I had no illusions of keeping my car immaculate like my Mama did.  We ate and drank in my cars.  We got in with muddy shoes and dirty clothes.  We hauled fishing poles and tackle boxes around, as well as stray turtles, iguanas, goldfish, the dog and anything else that just happened to need a ride.  Getting the car dirty never really bothered me because I knew it’d be cleaned back up again by that weekend.

Now, I’ve lived up here at the cabin for almost two years now.  On a steep, windy, gravel covered, always dusty, sometimes muddy, mountain road.  When I first moved up here, I still tried to keep my car washed and vacuumed out at least once a week.  I’d roll thru the car wash and hit the floorboards with the vacuum and I’d swipe the dash with a little Armor All.  It’d look real good till I got back to the house after driving up the mountain.  It didn’t take long for me to give up on keeping the outside looking shiny and new.  But, I still tried to keep the inside as clean as I could.

After being here a while, it didn’t take me long to veer from my once a week schedule.  It didn’t take me long at all to figure out that when you live out in the woods, you’re not gonna be able to keep leaves and dirt outta your car for very long.  So, I started shooting for once a month.  Once a month, I’d vacuum everything and I’d clean the windows and wipe down the dash and all the other plastic surfaces of the interior.  I’d hang a new air freshener and call it good enough.

Well, I’m ashamed to say, that today was the first time I’ve cleaned my car out in probably four or five months.  My Mama would die if she knew this!  There was enough dust on my dash for an artist to do a rendition of a Rembrandt painting.  There were cobwebs in the corners of my doors!  And I found where all the leaves of Fall went.  Right in my floorboard, that’s where!  It was awful.  This just might’ve been the dirtiest my car has ever been.

Unlike my sisters and my Daddy, this bothered me.  Bothered me to the point of making me hate to drive, or ride, in my own car.  I’m thinking this kind of bother can only be experienced by people like myself who absolutely cannot relax in a room with a crooked rug on the floor, or a picture that’s hanging cock-eyed on the wall, or blinds that are messed up.  I’ve told y’all before, there’s something seriously wrong with me.  I just could not stand my car anymore.

So, today, I cleaned the inside of my little bright yellow car.  Not perfectly, but good enough.  And I must say, when I was finished and I climbed inside to move it back to its space in the driveway, I felt a calmness and a peace that only a clean car can bring.

A clean car is a happy car.

I still didn’t wash it, though.  Perhaps next week.



The Mountain and The Rest Of The World

Not a lot of people like winter around here.  Most of them actually hate this time of year.  Even if they think the snow is pretty to look at, they hate having to navigate the winding mountain roads when the weather’s bad.  I am not one of these people.  I actually don’t mind driving in the snow.  And driving in a snow storm at night ranks right up there on my list of little things that I love so much.  I love Winter and everything about it.  However, that being said, living up here on the side of one of these mountains has given me a whole new appreciation for driving in the snow, or up here, driving anywhere from a few days to a week after the snow.

We can pretty much count on getting the fluffy, white stuff if there’s even the slightest indication of it in our local forecast.  It’ll snow up here when it’s not snowing anywhere else.  It’s really amazing.  At the bottom of the mountain, or civilization, as some like to refer to it, it’ll be dry as a bone and nothing going on.  About half way up the mountain, the flakes begin to fly and by the time I get to our house, it looks like someone’s shook up a snow globe!  For this snow lover, it’s really a wonderful life up here.

Looking at a mountain range far off in the distance after a snow storm and seeing that part of the mountain has melted and is back to its regular brown Winter color and the other part is still snowy white, blanketed in the glorious fluffy, white stuff has always been stunning and gorgeous to me.  Especially when the setting sun casts the last colors of daylight on one of these mountains.  Vivid, deep purples, bright magentas, and shades of auburn that appear to change with each curve of the mountain and the various shades of white and brown.  But after living up here, near the top of one of these majestic mountain ranges, I’ve found that I have a new appreciation for this phenomenon.

There are distinct lines between winter and fall after the warm, Winter sun has melted part of the mountain.  Driving along the windy road, one side of the forest floor will be snowy white, while the other side will be filled with all the rich brown, earthy colors of Fall.  And it changes with each twist and turn in the road.  At certain points, it’s Winter on the left and Fall on the right.  Then, as you wind your way higher, just beyond the next bend in the road, Fall’s on the left and Winter’s now on the right.  It’s really quite amazing.

The drawback to all this beauty is that parts of the mountain melt completely away, leaving no trace of the slick snow, ice, and slush, while other parts melt just enough to form what should be considered an Olympic sport arena where instead of wearing skates, people drive 4×4 vehicles, sometimes equipped with chains, to compete for gold medals.  I’m pretty sure Mountain Man would take the gold each and every year in this event.

I had never been afraid of driving on slick roads in my life until I started trying to drive on these roads up here.  Even on a good day, these roads aren’t for the faint of heart.  I’ve been told that there are grown men who won’t drive down our driveway in the snow!  But I have.  I’ve done it a few times.  It’s not that bad as long as you’ve got all the right equipment.  You know, a four-wheel drive vehicle, a really good set of tires, the ability to actually drive in the snow, and for me, the ability to pray and drive at the same time.  I get real close to God this time of year.   However, just because I’ve done it, does not mean I wanna do it again.

I’m supposed to go out this morning and I just really don’t know if I’m gonna try it or not.  I’m missing some of the necessary equipment required to get me safely to the bottom.  My tires are not the best in the world and the thoughts of going down the parts of the mountain that didn’t melt at all yesterday make me wanna go crawl back in bed and hide under the covers.

So here I sit, debating back and forth, the pros and cons of going out this morning.  The sun’s just coming up over the mountains to the East and the Carolina blue sky is dotted with a few high puffy clouds.  It’s another one of those beautiful NC mornings.  Snow or no snow, slick road or dry, I know just how lucky I am to live here in this little cabin, on the side of this mountain, with my Mountain Man.




A Tale of Two Boys and Two Girls

Mountain Man and I, along with my sister, her boyfriend, and another friend and her boyfriend, took all of our kids and a couple of strays on an outing to a water park over the weekend.  All in all there were six adults, 4 teenagers, and 3 little kids and we had a blast.  But the best part was watching these 2 teenage boys from my camp oogling after these 2 teenage girls from my friends crew and vice versa.

They all found out they were going together a few days before the actual event and the never-ending texting ensued.   This was wildly amusing to watch for all of us adults in the group.

Those boys, one of which is my son, had to make sure they smelled good and fixed every single hair on their heads before we left that morning.  Then, when we met up with the vehicle carrying the girls, I found out they’d been doing the same thing that morning before venturing out to be seen by these two young men.  Primping, fixing their hair, putting on make-up, making sure their clothes were just right.  And all of this just to go down a water slide and jump in a pool!

I found this to be so amusing and it brought back memories of myself doing the exact same thing when I was their age.  It didn’t matter that the water would wash away any trace of make-up or flatten the highest bangs and best “wings” I could tease and spray up.  I’m sure all you ladies remember this classic hairstyle from the 90’s.

No, it didn’t matter that well over an hour spent in the bathroom in front of the mirror would be gone with the very first dive into the pool.  This grooming was an absolute necessity at 13!  It had to be done!  My very existence depended upon it!

It’s fun getting to be a parent and watching your own kids do some of the same things you used to do.  Even though it’s a little different ’cause I have a 13 year old boy and he’s obviously not gonna to be coming to me for make-up tips or other feminine issues.  But, none-the-less, it’s in those little moments, devoid of crankiness, attitude, mouthiness, and all other run of the mill nasty teenage conflict and drama, that I actually enjoy being the Mother of a teenager.

He Was a Big ‘Un!!!

I’m convinced that the government is conducting some sort of strange experiment involving those pesky little winged spawns of which I’ve written about in the past.  I know that we’ve never had this many flying insects in these mountains before in all my years of living here.  At first, I thought I was just imagining all the extra activity going on outside that required either, a) hunkering down inside and hiding from all the little winged spawns, or, b) spraying a shiny, thick, stinky layer insect repellent on all exposed, and some not so exposed, areas.  But, after much deliberation and thought on the matter, I’m going with the government experiment theory.

My son and I were driving home last night just after dark and I personally think we both witnessed history.  Something neither one of us has ever before seen.  And I don’t think either of us will ever be the same again.

First of all, we had to drive around, and through, one of the worst thunderstorms I think I’ve ever encountered in my life.  We were a long way from the sanctuary of our little cabin here on the mountain and were in the somewhat flat lands of a nearby county, and let me tell ya, when they get a storm warning down there, it’s not to be taken lightly.  It was absolutely amazing!  We could see the lightning shooting out of the black thunderheads out of the side windows of my little car as we were driving along and we were racing to get ahead of the storm.  The sky started turning that eerie green color that only happens when the conditions are just right for a tornado and my son is sitting next to me, visibly shaken and telling me to drive faster.  I don’t think he’s ever actually seen weather like this in real life and he was more than a little freaked out by the whole thing.

I wasn’t tore up too awful bad ’cause I’ve seen some pretty nasty storms in my day.  Wow, “in my day”.  How old does that make me sound!!!  Nevertheless, I was starting to get a little worried when the trees lining the highway started swaying unnaturally and bowing way too close to the ground.  So, onward we traveled in the blinding rain, with the radio blaring my newly acquired 80’s playlist and my poor son in the passenger seat trying to act cool.  Bless his little heart.  I hate I didn’t have my camera with me to capture all of this, but I’m sure he’s glad I didn’t.

The storm had let up when we finally got closer to home and turned down a familiar country road that I’ve driven both in the daytime and at night quite a bit and that’s when we were completely blown away again.  Now everyone who’s ever driven a back country road after dark in the summer can attest to the sheer volume of bugs that lose their lives by splattering into the front of your vehicle and especially your windshield.  And I personally think the really big ones know exactly when you’re just about out of washer fluid and they aim right smack in the middle of your line of sight on the windshield.  But honest to goodness, last night was a sight to behold.

And keep in mind folks, I worked 3rd shift for 4 years and had to drive at night in all sorts of conditions, but this beat anything I’ve ever seen.  The bugs were so thick at certain points in our journey home that it looked like it was snowing!  My son commented that it looked like we were driving through space!  It’s a good thing he recently filled my washer fluid in the car, ’cause I couldn’t go more than a few hundred feet without having to clean off the windshield!  It was absolutely awful.  I swear I think I heard some of ’em go splat as they hit!  I almost felt as though my son and I should have a moment of silence when we finally made it home to acknowledge all the tiny corpses on the car.

Whatever the reason for all these winged demons out there this year, I certainly hope that this is a one time occurrence and that next year, things will go back to normal.  Perhaps I should just get out on that country road every night and tackle the problem head on.  Nah, gas is too high for that kind of approach.

*Just to show you one of the more intriguing winged specimens, I’m sharing this pic with you that I took late last night.  Mountain Man called me downstairs to show me this beauty and we were both just mystified by how stinkin’ big this thing is.  He didn’t have antennae of his head, he had freakin’ feathers!  Honest to goodness feather looking things were sticking out of this thing’s head just above his beady little eyes!  And not only was he big, he was kinda dumb, too.  Bless his heart.  We tapped the glass and Mountain Man even touched it with the door and the poor thing stayed right there.  He barely moved at all.  So, we decided that he was either in stealth camo mode and thought he was on a tree, or he was a mentally challenged bug and he’s resorted to licking the glass.  🙂

We used Mountain Man's wonderfully sexy manly hand as a reference to show just how big this thing is!

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