Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Driveway

I think my house was initially built with horse and buggy in mind. At least, that's the only way I can explain the driveway. It's exceedingly narrow, and I don't really know why because there is definitely room on one side to expand a few feet and cut into the front yard.

The driveway is lined on either side with a cement wall that juts up from the ground about two feet. It serves as a retaining wall for the yard area that sits on the other side of it. The driveway is also very long, extending back beyond the house and to the garage that's in the backyard. 

Every single time I have to pull into or out of this driveway I feel like I'm flying that spaceship on Star Wars when they have to shoot perfectly into that one hole on the Death Star while flying down the ship's narrow canyon.

On a side note, I know that that last paragraph made me sound knowledgeable concerning Star Wars. I assure you that this is not true. Please do not contact me for a date simply because you like to dress up as Princess Leia. (Unless you also have lots of money and/or personally know Paul Simon, in which case, obviously do contact me for a date ASAP.) I'm still trying to stop the text messages from last April Fools' Day when Jolyn posted that ad on my behalf.

In any event, I'm considering keeping a bottle of Xanax in the center console of my car so I can pop one in right before every single time I have to drive across this driveway.

Oh! I just thought of another analogy! It's like playing Operation, except instead of a buzzing sound, one wrong move will total my vehicle. And perhaps bulldoze my house. 

Last week I started getting pretty cocky about it though because I had pulled into and out of that driveway dozens of times without so much as a scratch. I could do it with my eyes closed. I could do it while shaving. I could do it in a Snuggie. Heck, I even let Tami take over once. I only let her have the wheel for a second though because I'm not that flexible and she's a power hungry monster and I didn't want it to go to her head.

Unfortunately, amid all of my new-found confidence, I had not anticipated what might happen if weather changed at all.

We've had a remarkably warm December. It's been October weather. The birds are chirping. The kids are playing in the streets in shorts. People are happy. If Global Warming was a person, I would high five it and ask it out to dinner. I would even put out on the first date. 

NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, CATHIE!

(Psssst. Global Warming--if you are a person, don't worry. I TOTALLY know what that means. Wink wink.)

Because it's been so warm, I haven't had the opportunity to see what it is like to do all of my new homeowner activities in a cold house, covered in ice and snow. This included playing Operation Death Star with my vehicle on an icy driveway. 

You guys. It's like I graduated from the beginner level of the game so they advanced me to the intermediate challenge. They did this by covering my entire driveway in 27 feet of ice. 

I could have opened my driveway up to the neighborhood kids and charged them a dollar a piece to use it as an ice-skating rink. Then I would yell at them to get off my property because I don't know whether my street has a cranky old man yet and I kind of want to take on that role if it hasn't been claimed. Because I think I would be really good at it since my vocabulary is already full of phrases like "what in the sam hill is going on here!?" from listening to my Great Grandpa Hinckle when I was a child yell at us on topics we didn't understand until we were much older. Or, rather, the Alzheimer's yelled at us. I'm not totally sure what he was doing because he never really seemed all that present. 

On another side note, most everything I know about prostitution comes from the stories he told us about driving a taxi in Omaha in the 1920s. AND I WAS FIVE.

Parenting fail, Bob and Cathie.

I didn't really realize how treacherous my driveway had become when I climbed into my car one fateful morning. I started the vehicle, turned up my Miley "Party in the USA," jolted the car into reverse, and by about the time I was on "with my dreams and my cardigan" and getting ready to put my hands up and move my hips like yeah, I suddenly realized that I was no longer in control of what was happening.

I was sliding. I was sliding fast into the sketchy streets of Salt Lake City. I pressed my foot on the brake, causing me to start moving side to side. And that's when the screaming began.

I screamed and screamed and screamed. My scream is one of the sounds being projected through space for the aliens to discover. They're going to avoid our planet just because of how frightening my scream sounds.

YOU'RE WELCOME, AMERICA.

I didn't know what to do. I was panicking and panicking fast. Spiraling literally and figuratively out of control. It seemed to go on for days. The sliding. The moving from side to side. I had to refill my lungs with air 14 times to be able to keep up all of the screaming that I was doing.

Finally, I slid into a stopped position, my front passenger window now even with the sidewalk that borders the front of my property.

I looked to my left, and there, two feet from my window, a snow shovel in hand, stood my next door neighbor, who stared at me like he wasn't quite sure what to make of this new person who had invaded that part of town.

I rolled down my window.

Eli: Oh hi! I'm your new neighbor!

Man: Is everything ok?

Eli: Huh? Oh dear. Did you hear me screaming just now? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  

When I get nervous I over-laugh.

Eli: I'm so embarrassed that you saw me! At least I wasn't letting Tami drive this time. Tami is my toe. I lost my toenail this summer so now it's a toenail-less toe and I named her Tami and sometimes I Photoshop hair onto her. Unfortunately she seems to be growing some kind of fungus lately.

When I get nervous I also over-share. 

Man: Ok . . . So, you might want to invest in some salt. 

Eli: Oh? For cooking?

Man: For your driveway.

Eli: . . . Oh! To melt the ice! So smart! Let's exchange lawn tips in the spring, k?!

You guys. I've been so preoccupied wondering who the weird family is in the neighborhood that I forgot to consider the fact that it might be me.

No. Wait. I just remembered that Rebecca lives in my hood. We all good.

~It Just Gets Stranger

17 comments:

  1. This was the best story ever in the history of ever!

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  2. I was talking to a man who lived in one of those houses with an insanely narrow driveway once. As I was talking to him, I noticed those pool noodles all attached to the concrete wall running up and down the driveway. I thought it was weird so I asked him why he had placed them there. He said that even though he and his wife had been living there for over 30 years that his wife could not drive up and down the driveway without hitting the walls with her car. He put the pool noodles along the driveway to create a “bumper” for her and they haven’t had any problems since. Your story reminded me of this. :-)

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    1. Nifty idea!

      Eli, you should be able to purchase pool noodles @ a deep discount this time of year...

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  3. Now I want to hear about the 1920s prostitutes! Did they talk really fast and finish all sentences with "see"?

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    1. Oh my gosh. I think this is my new favorite comment OF ALL TIME.

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    2. Life goal: Become Eli's favorite comment of all time

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  4. OMG! Laughing so hard it hurts!

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  5. So... my name happens to be Global Warming... when can I pick you up?

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  6. This is amazing. And I'm so proud of you for your dedication to Miley.

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  7. My sister has the same type of driveway! The trick is keeping your focus on one retaining wall and not going back and forth. You'll actually master it after a while. Good luck!

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  8. Today I decided to play meow that tune in the car with my brother and his fiancé. He didn't think it was very fun, but I had a great time!

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    1. If EVERYONE is having fun, you're doing it wrong.

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  9. Typo alert: "Then I would yell at them to get off my property because I don't know whether my street as a cranky old man yet and I kind of want to take on that role if it hasn't been claimed."

    I think you mean "has" instead of "as".

    Sorry I'm late in noting it - we went to Disney World for Christmas and I got sucked into a Luddite time warp that didn't end until I returned to work this morning. I know - I'm slacking - can you ever forgive me? BTW - I can't believe your new neighbor didn't comment on your great hair!

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    1. Also you put your foot on the "brake," not the "break" (presumably). When talking about what cars do, "braking" is good, but "breaking" is bad.

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  10. I don't *know* know Paul Simon, but I do live only 150 miles from this: https://rockhall.com/exhibits/paul-simon-words-and-music-exhibit-rock-hall/gallery/paul-simon--words-and-music/

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  11. Your grandpa Hinkle comment brought back fond memories. One of my favorite "curse" words he used was "Crazy Ethiopian." Which for some reason just bought back to my mind the story of when he pulled poor Cathie into his office room (the one with all the ships he had made on display and the purple cow) and accused her off being a spy

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