Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Shoveling and Drivers Tests.

The winter that won't end was just capped off with the snow storm that won't end.

Snowstorm number four met meteorologist's expectations as far as snow totals for our area and it lasted longer than originally anticipated.  The low pressure that formed off the coast was stiff armed by a high pressure area north of Maine. In fact it stiff armed it so bad that it headed inland instead of heading out to sea.

Thanks Maine.

I am tired of shoveling. Really tired. I bought a new shovel this year and I hate it. It is the '65 Bonneville of snow shovels. It's wide than a mile and heavier than a defensive tackle and gets 6 MPG.

You don't really chose the Bonneville - you get stuck with it because you couldn't get your boots on fast enough or couldn't find your gloves and all the good shovels got chosen first.

I often find myself starting to shovel with my old faithful blue poly scoop when I find myself eyeballing that wide plow on the front of the Bonneville. I get tempted into thinking how much snow I can push around with all that Detroit Muscle.

And then I remember how it scrapes along the ground and most of your effort goes into the friction of metal against concrete.

And you wouldn't dare pick up 24 widetrack inches of slush with that thing without tweaking your back but that baby is American Made.

Hate it.

In other news, Youngest son got his license this week after mastering that hardest of man skills - parallel parking. Some African cultures test manhood by asking a young man to bring down a lion or a wild boar and in Avatar that 17 foot purple kid had to jump on the back of the flying pterodactyl. Here in New Jersey we demand than a boy park a 13 and 1/2 foot Honda Civic in a 25 foot space between orange cones after signaling to become a man. When you can brush the curb without hitting it Kunta Kinte, then you are a man.

We had a year to master this skill and so we started on the Sunday before the big test.

No Pressure.

The first lesson with me did not go well. I had a difficult time translating a skill I practically do in my sleep into words. I kept blurting out things like "you are too steep" and "cut the wheel now" like he was a carrier pilot on final approach. I might as well have said "turn into the blemus" or "your line is all wrong"  - we were not communicating.

After an hour and half of that we gave it a break, ran some errands and did much better when he came back to it later that afternoon. I figured a few more practices on Monday or Tuesday and he might actually be ready for the test on Wednesday at 8 am.

He didn't get any practice in on Monday due weather and so we decided that he would practice in front of the house with the Chancellor on the Tuesday before the test.

Now the Chancellor is very good at a number of tasks like commanding the slaves building the pyramids or being POTUS. Apparently teaching the Sons to parallel parking isn't one of these type skills.

So wasn't I proud when I came home Tuesday to a shouting match out in the street and the car practically in a snow bank, perpendicular to the street. We decided to cool it and let him practice one last time in the  the next day before the test.

In the morning, I took a new approach. I gave him the keys and I ate breakfast while watching with the web cam on the laptop. I love the Internet. He did fine.


At the road test he was assigned the toughest looking drill instructor/tester I've ever seen. The first words out of his mouth were "if you mess anything up - you fail". I am not making this up. He was one bitter driving tester. He checked all the paper work and did a quick safety check of the aluminum falcon and asked me to get out and wait over with the other nervous parents.

After a short wait, Youngest son drove slowly off and as he was leaving, Sgt. Carter there in the front seat jammed on the emergency brake causing the rear tires of the AF to lock up. This scared the crap out both myself and Youngest son. I was a little miffed that this guy jammed the brake on like that but considering the condition of the AF and the situation, I let it go.

He passed. I was happy.

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