Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Adventures with Christine, Part 6

I was telling my work wife about some of these adventures and mentioned in conversation the car's name. She looked at me and asked, "Didn't Christine kill her owner?"

Ummm...I didn't know what to say to that. I mean, she had a point, but I'm not Christine's owner, Deejo is. I love my brother and all, but she is his car, so if she chooses to live up to her name sake, well, I'll miss him. (Jokes, y'all, jokes, just chill out.)

At this point in our adventures, I'd learned to laugh at the absurdity of it all. I was beginning to feel like Christine and I had sorted each other out and that we were getting along fine. There was the occasional, "really, Christine?" moment, but our adventures were petering out. At least, I thought they were.

A day or so before Deejo and I traded cars back, Christine and I drove to work without any problems. It was just a plain ole commute, and kind of boring. Like I said, I was beginning to feel like we'd reached an understanding and we were going to live in harmony until she went back home.

I thanked her for nice ride to work when I parked. I got out of the car and went about three steps before she beeped at me. Not the normal "doors are locked" beep, but more of a "hey, pay attention!" beep. I walked back and opened the door, but didn't see anything amiss, so I closed her door and walked away. Again, she beeped at me.

I still didn't know what the beep meant, but everything looked okay, so I reached into my coat pocket for the keys to manually lock her doors.

The problem was that there were no keys in my coat pocket.

So I checked my other coat pocket.

Nope. Nothing.

I frantically patted all of my pockets: coat, pants, shirt. There were no Christine keys anywhere.

At this point, I was beginning to panic, but tried to calm myself down by reasoning that if the keys weren't in my pocket, they had to be in Christine. I opened the door and looked everywhere, but there were no keys.

The thought struck me that she had allowed me to start her and drive off with the keys still hanging in the kitchen. It's about ten feet from the key hanger to where I park and there's a window. Now, I don't know if those things work on line-of-sight or what, but I know that I've never had a push button start car and, frankly, how the shit works is magic in my eyes.

By this time, I'm in full-blown Oh Shit mode and attempt to call Deejo. If she did, in fact, allow me to start and drive away from the house with the keys still hanging on the hanger, I was now stuck at work. I took some comfort in the fact that if I couldn't start her to drive home, no one else could start her to steal her.

I left Deejo a terse, "call me" voice mail, then shot off a quick text to Jay asking him to bring me the keys when he got off work. I frantically and obsessively checked all of my pockets again, just in case I missed them the first time.

There was nothing to do but laugh at the situation. I was laughing so hard at the absurdity of it all that I had tears. I shared with my co-workers what I believed to have happened, and they were laughing along side me (or maybe at me).

I thought, "Bill is going to love this story," so I called up to the lodge and, in between laughing fits, told him what happened. By this time, I was convinced Christine had allowed this. She had already shown me her wicked sense of humor and I wouldn't put it past her. Bill calmly explained that there was no way I could have driven out of range of the keys, that the push button start cars all have a kill switch so things like this didn't happen.

I told him that Christine had her own mind and she did what she damn well pleased. She might have a kill switch, but she also loved messing with me. Under Bill's advisement, I went back out to her and looked for the keys again. I'd already been through her interior looking for the keys the first time (and the second and third), but to humor him, I went back out.

I climbed down into the driver's seat, and started searching all over again. They were nowhere. Seriously, there were no ... wait, what was that little glint of metal? I shifted position and looked where I thought I saw the glint of metal between the console and the seat. At first I didn't see it, but when I shifted position, I saw it again. Barely a quarter of an inch of the key ring was visible, but it was lodged between the console and the seat adjustment bars. I couldn't reach them.

There was nothing to do but laugh again, though this time there were swear words involved with my laughter. Back into the building I went to find something to fish out the keys. With the help of two work study students and a wire coat hanger, we were able to finally retrieve the keys.

As I walked away from Christine with the recently recovered keys, I'm certain I heard her laugh when she gave her "doors are locked" beep.

Now, there are some people who would say the keys just slipped out of my pocket and fell between the seat and console. Those people have not spent enough time with Deejo's curvy girl, Christine.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Adventures with Christine, Part 5

Not only does Christine consider herself an agent of Karma, she has also appointed herself Chief of Food Consumption.

The day after I rushed her through her meal, I offered to run and pick up lunch for my co-workers. Deejo had warned me that ordering through a drive-thru could be ... challenging. I assumed the challenge was because Christine is so low-slung. I mean, at five-foot tall, I have to climb down into her. In Salome, I'm pretty level with the drive-thru windows, so I mentally prepared myself to have to reach UP to the drive-thru windows.

I placed my order and drove to the first window to pay. Yep, had to extend my arm almost all the way up to hand my card to the cashier. No problem, I'd planned for that and pulled as close to the building as possible so that I could reach up to the window. I was mentally patting myself on the back for navigating the "challenge" of going through the drive-thru.

At the next window, they passed my sodas down to me and I got them settled into the cup holders. I reached up for the bag of food, grabbed it, and tried to bring it in through the window.

Christine said, "nope".

Like with the laundry, I thought I'd angle the bag and give it another go.

Christine said, "nope".

I panicked slightly, and went to open the door, so I could reach around the door and bring the food in through the door. Except that I'd pulled in so close to the building that I couldn't open the door without dinging up Christine.

Remembering that we solved our laundry lesson by removing some of the clothes, I took part of the order out of the bag and set it on the passenger seat, then tried again.

Christine said, "nice try, fatso. Nope."

Christine showed me I hadn't fully learned my lesson and refused to allow me to pass the bag of food in through the window again. So I took more of the order out of the bag and set it on the passenger seat. We repeated this over and over until just one item remained in the bag, at which time, she graciously allowed me to bring the bag into the car.

I'm certain the people in the car behind me were laughing their asses off watching me struggle. I mean, if the roles were reversed, I would have been laughing right along with them.

I quickly put all of the removed food back into the bag and drove back to work, alternatively cussing at Christine for being a pain in my ass and trying to explain to her that all of that food wasn't just for me.

She didn't care.

Lesson learned, you Chief of Food Consumption bitch.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Adventures with Christine, Part 4

The time finally rolled around to feed Christine. She gets excellent gas mileage for a sports car, which meant I had to fill up after two and a half trips to work.

I pulled into the gas station and swiped my rewards card. I knew we had accumulated enough points for $0.10 off per gallon, but was pleasantly surprised when the computer asked if I wanted to use our $0.30 off per gallon. Being only partially selfish, I opted to use $0.20 off and leave the remainder for Jay to use next time he filled his tank.

Smiling with happiness at my good fortune, I began feeding Christine. But, good lord, she was taking forever. Even with the gas pump handle open all the way, she was taking her own sweet time filling up.

I watched the counter on the pump ever so slowly tick upward. My happiness quickly turned to frustration.

"Oh, for fuck's sake, Christine, hurry up! I've got to get to work at some point this morning," I grumbled at her.

Seconds later, the pump clicked off.

"Thank you," I said and removed the nozzle. I glanced at the pump and was slightly puzzled that she only required seven and a half gallons to fill up, but the pump had clearly clicked off and I wasn't going to risk overfilling a car that wasn't mine.

I slipped down into the driver's seat, waited while Christine kindly moved my seat to my programmed settings (she sometimes goes on strike and I have *gasp* manually move my seat into position), and started the engine.

When I noticed the gas gauge only move to half a tank, I just shook my head. Christine obviously considers herself an agent of Karma; rushing her meal was definitely an offense in her eyes.

Well played, Christine, well played.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Adventures with Christine, Part 3

I feel so guilty driving Christine on our dirt roads, as she's definitely a city car, not a country car. I know I've said the same about Salome, but Salome has a little higher clearance than poor Christine does. Christine is one sexy beast, with a nice, throaty purr and curves forever, but she's a little low-slung.

Even on our dirt road, being low-slung shouldn't have been a problem.

A few times a year, the county "resurfaces" our road; they run blades along the road to smooth it out, put down gravel, and spray it with something (magnesium chloride, maybe?) to seal it and control the dust and mud. Of course it would be the week I have Christine that the county chose to work on the road. I didn't think much about it until I reached the end of the driveway and realized that blading the road resulted in a dirt mound bigger than her front bumper.

It doesn't look that big, but the mound is 10-12" tall.
The first day the worked on the road, the dirt mound ran down the middle of the road, so I was able to turn right down the road, pick up a cross-street, and get to work while only going 2.5 miles out of my way.

The next day, I was greeted with a dirt mound running across the base of the driveway without any way across. On my way home the night before, the dirt pile was missing, so I assumed that they were finished with their project. I was wrong, as I am about many things.

Christine and I idled at the end of the driveway for a moment while I tried to figure out how I was going to get to work. I wasn't sure I could get away with taking a personal day because I was unwilling to drive my brother's car across a pile of dirt. As we sat there, looking at the mountain of dirt, I remembered that the farm access road could get me over to the cross-street I used the day before.

We back up, turned around, and headed down the farm road. We had to have been a sight, creeping along between the recently cut corn fields. I felt very much like we were in an episode of Knight Rider (Silent Knight, 1983), when KITT and Michael were chasing bad guys through corn fields. Except all I was trying to do was get to work, instead of chasing bad guys.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Adventures with Christine, Part 2

On December 1st, Deejo blew out his right biceps tendon while at work, which made driving a stick-shift ... difficult. He managed to drive Christine for almost two weeks, until his surgery to repair said blown out biceps tendon. All of us sibs offered to trade cars with him, but I "won" (if that's what you can call it, given Christine's warped sense of humor).

I'd been driving Christine for just a couple of days when laundry day rolled around. She's got a two-body, maybe two-and-a-half body, trunk. It's huge! However, in order to put the bodies in the trunk, they would have to be dismembered, as the opening to the trunk is barely small enough for a five year old to crawl through.

We knew getting the laundry basket into the trunk would be tricky, but there was no way we could put it in the back seat. We figured that if we just tipped the laundry basket up, we could wedge it through the opening into the cavernous trunk.

Jay took a deep breath, tilted the laundry basket at a 45* angle and tried to shoe-horn it in. Christine rejected the basket, so he tilted the basket and shoved harder. She was having none of it. Realizing that the laundry heaped up over the top of the basket was not helping, we scraped the excess laundry off the top and into the trunk.

With the laundry level with the top of the basket, Jay was *almost* able to get it into the trunk, but Christine still wasn't happy, so we dug more of our dirty clothes out of the basket. She finally approved, and allowed us to slide the laundry basket in once half of the clothes were removed.

Christine is pretty good at training humans, and we managed to load the basket properly for the return trip home, though there is still one sock floating around in her two-body trunk that neither of us can reach.

I think Christine might be my spirit car, what with our shared hatred of laundry.

(And yes, I see all of the obvious dirty jokes about Jay shoving stuff into Christine's trunk and her not having it, I'm just choosing to ignore those jokes.)

Adventures with Christine, Part 1

(It has been six months to the day since I last posted. Oops. I've got a short series of adventures with my brother's car that should keep me going for a week or so :) )

Not Deejo's car; pic shamelessly stolen from Google images

My brother, Deejo, bought a beautiful 2018 Camaro this summer. A few days after he bought her, he allowed me to take her for a spin. She and I had a good time - it's been a while since I've driven a sports car. Like, a long, long while. When we were finished with our little drive, I pulled her into Deejo's steep driveway and parked her.

Well, I tried to park her. I put her in first, engaged the parking brake, turned her off, and opened the door. Bad things began to happen at that moment. As soon as I opened the door, she began her "eject" sequence - she moved the seat back and down to give me enough room to get out. Sounded pretty cool when Deejo was telling me about it. Might have been cool if we hadn't been rolling backwards down the driveway.

It would have been nice to know that in order to engage the parking brake I had to *lift* up on the push button parking brake. But even that shouldn't have been a problem, because I always park manual transmission cars in gear, never in neutral.

However, even in gear (and I checked multiple times that she was in gear), she would roll backward 6-8" at a time. She'd roll, stop, roll, stop, lather, rinse, repeat. All while I was being ejected from the seat.

As she was rolling backward, in gear, with the parking brake "on", the seat was moving away from the steering wheel and I was quickly losing contact with the brake pedal. I grabbed the steering wheel in a death grip and butt-walked my way to the very edge of the seat in order to keep my foot firmly on the brake.

That's the position Deejo found me in when he pulled up a minute or so later - death grip on the steering wheel, teetering on the edge of the seat, foot glued to the brake, and swear words coming out of my mouth.

He tried to get me out of the car, but that shit wasn't happening. Every time I took my foot off the brake, she would roll backward and *I* was not going to be the person to put a dent in his 3-day-old car.

Eventually, Deejo coaxed me out of the car and replaced my foot on the brake with his. He pulled her back up into the driveway and parked her. The bitch stayed where he left her, too!

...And that's when I named her Christine.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Good Ride, Cowboy

I haven't posted here since December! Don't even know if I have any readers left.

Last month, we lost a dear friend of ours who you might know from my book, Tales from the Trail. Bucky was featured in many of the stories and had a profound influence on me as a wrangler and a rider.

He lived a life that no one would believe, and many would envy. Not because he was money-rich (not by a long shot), but because he lived his life as an adventure. He truly loved his life: his wife, sons, and his horses. Within mere moments, people fell under the charm of this "old cowboy".

My heart is broken for his family, his friends, and the people who missed out on meeting him. The world lost one of a dying breed.

There is a more thorough post about Bucky on my other blog, Wilsons' Wild Ones if you'd like to read more about this larger-than-life human.