Tag Archives: Driving

Books and Bumps

Books and Bumps

Hubby’s car is still not ready to pick up, so I loaded up boxes of books into the car and headed up North. Got to Bloomfield right during lunchtime, so I got to not only deliver books to the school, but also chat with a bunch of the teachers. It was delightful to catch up with them.

Headed over to Ellen and Mike’s house to drop off some other things, and got there just as they were deciding where to go for lunch. We all went out to Michi together, spent lots of time chatting and catching up, then I headed to Montclair to see if I could get some store credit at Montclair Book Center.

With my back being what it is, I was looking for a spot close to the store so I wouldn’t have to carry the box of books too far. I lucked out and found one close and on the same side. I wanted to parallel park in the spot the right way, but in typical North Jersey fashion, some dude in a luxury car pulls right up on my tail. Hello, duh? See my turn signal? See the empty parking place on the side I’m signalling on? Back off. But no. I knew if I pulled past the space to back in, he’d be right on my bumper so I couldn’t, so I cut the wheel to the right to pull in forward, planning to straighten out after he was out of my way. Bad news, cut the wheel too soon, scraped the car behind my chosen spot.

The damage to both cars was pretty superficial, but I still felt awful. I left the owner a note with an apology and my phone numbers.

The bookstore took only a couple of books, and I didn’t get even enough credit to cover the full price of the books I bought. Oh, well. It was fun to wander around looking at books no matter what.

Got onto Bloomfield Ave. to head home. Did pretty well at remembering which lanes worked at which lights, where to stay left because of double parked cars, where to stay right because of people turning left, until I got into Bloomfield. I was coming up on a truck that was sticking out into the right lane. I saw that I had space, put on my left blinker, and started to go around the truck. Guy driving a black pickup speeds up to cut me off. Really speeds up. He was a good 3-4 car lengths back when I started to move, and I had to slam on the brakes to avoid being hit by him. As he drove by, I called out “thank you”. Well, his buddy in the passenger seat, looking like the NJ version of a good ol’ boy, down to the camo painter’s cap, starts yelling at me, sticking his upper body out the window so he can turn around and shout obscenities to my face. This is definitely one of the things I don’t miss from Bloomfield.

And, of course, my timing put me on the Parkway right at rush hour. An overturned car south of exit 98 caused a backup that completely eliminated the need to put my foot on the gas pedal all the way up to 109. It was during this that the owner of the car I scraped called. She was very sweet, we’re going to work things out with the repair costs, and I’m grateful for that.

So it’s a little after 9PM. I’m tired. I’m in my pajamas already. Tomorrow. . .off to get pond winterizing supplies, then beach and seafood festival with the family. Oh, and the 5AM alarm is getting turned off, too. Betcha I’ll sleep til 7 and think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Weight Loss and Heart Monitor and Spanish Meetup!!

Weight Loss and Heart Monitor and Spanish Meetup!!

This morning I went in to Weight Watchers, down another 2.2 pounds. Total of 9.8, so I’ll have to wait until next week to make a big deal about losing 10 pounds at the meeting.

I went straight to the cardiologist for the sticking-on of my 24 hour Holter Monitor (I thought it was Halter, but I was wrong!) My clothing keeps sticking to the little electrodes, and two of them are right under the underwire of my bra. Ouchies. Well, it’s only until tomorrow morning. Now, the thing is, the cardiologist is sure I’m fine. The psychologist is sure that my heart palpitations are more mental than physical. The fact of the matter is, though, that they’re happening, and they’re keeping me awake when I’d really rather be asleep. So I wanted to give the monitor something to record (and I was tired anyway) so after I’d put away groceries and had lunch, I laid down for a nap. Well, in the two hours I was in bed, I woke up all startled with a racing, pounding heart three times. Take that, Holter Monitor! If nothing else, it’ll show a sudden speed up in my heart rate. Yeah, maybe nothing’s wrong, but at least it’ll show I’m not a hypochondriac or imagining things.

After I woke up, I continued my project, which I’d gotten bored with earlier, on looking up vocabulary in Spanish on cars and driving. I blogged before about my dream, in which I was teaching a Spanish class about the parts of a car, realized suddenly I didn’t know any of the words myself, then went into the oral proficiency exam and was asked to role-play a situation involving a car accident. Well, I probably should have worked on that right after, but I still work best under pressure, even decades after college. Heh. I found a really good site where a guy who works in the VW factory in Mexico described the entire design/assembly/quality control process from start to finish, and also found the driver’s manual in Spanish for the state of Arizona. I have three pages of really helpful words and phrases, and I’m taking copies with me to my first Spanish Language Meetup at the library tonight. Woohoo! I’m hoping that it’s going to be a fun evening!

More New Jersey Driver Stuff.

More New Jersey Driver Stuff.

When we were living up North, one of the things that drove us nuts was drivers jumping the light to turn left. This is patently dangerous, especially when done by older drivers in large cars who take the entire light change to cut you off. They jump the light. . .very. . .slow. . .ly. . .Still, as nerve-wracking as this was, at least you could anticipate the idjits. Here in South Jersey, we face a far more dangerous threat – the curve cutter. Below, I have a little tidbit from the NJ driver’s manual:

Ideally, this is the way it should be done. The guy in the blue car has nothing to fear. However, note the other, cruder arrow that I’ve drawn in for your edification. This is the Toms River Trajectory. The guy in the blue car is gonna get creamed if he approaches the intersection like a normal driver, because the Toms River guy in the red car isn’t going to waste his time driving all the way around that turn on the right hand side of the road. Oh, nosirreebob! Normally, NJ law also asks that you stop approximately three feet before the stop sign, so you can check for pedestrians (not that anyone anywhere does that, mind you), then you move foward into the intersection to look for oncoming traffic. Down here, better make that three car lengths, especially if the guy in the house to your right has mature landscaping. Up north, you see the guy. . .you see the wild look in his eyes dammiti’mnotwaitingforyoua**holei’mturningthesecondthelightchanges. . .you can anticipate it. In fact, it’s almost a time-honored tradition to yield the right of way rather than have to deal with the cops and the insurance. This curve cutting can’t be predicted, because you can’t see the guy who’s about to do it. I have no idea how many accidents are caused by this halfwit maneuver, but I’ll betcha it’s a lot.

NJ Drivers. . .Driving Us Mad

NJ Drivers. . .Driving Us Mad

So hubby got hit by a driver making a left without checking to see if there was anyone in his path.  The car will be in the shop for who knows how long, so I took him out to pick up a rental this morning.  Traffic on the Parkway was slow, but apparently some guy in a Cadillac didn’t know that, and plowed into the car in front of him, which hit the car in front of >him<, which hit hubby’s rental car.

Then drove away.

One of the other drivers thinks he got the guy’s plates, though.  Idiot.

The Week that Was

The Week that Was

Tuesday, the electrician and the plumber showed up. Once they were settled in (hubby was working from home that day) I took the kids to popcorn park zoo. It was a nice trip, the animals seemed well cared for, and the kids had a great time feeding them, especially the bears, who were crazy about peanuts. Their trick of popping the whole peanut into their mouths and spitting out only the shells would be a neat thing to do in a bar, you know.

Wednesday, after music lessons, we headed up north. We hit Fairfield Garden Center for pond stuff, then Gencarelli’s in Bloomfield for most excellent desserts, and had a nice visit and dinner with the Davises.

Thursday, we were back in Bloomfield again – time to visit the orthodontist. Paying in advance seemed like such a good idea before we moved. Drove up to Palisades Center in Nyack, only to find that the Japanese tableware store that sold my favorite dishes is no more. So we scarfed down lunch and headed to Ridgefield Park to Han Ah Reum for lovely kim chi and oshinko and seaweed salad and laver and fruits and veggies you don’t find in the supermarket. But then. . .we were on the Turnpike and the Parkway at rush hour. Just not a good thing, ever. One thing I’ve noticed is that when there’s an accident up north, you get rubberneckers who slow down to scope out accidents. Down South, they come almost to a complete stop, so they can do a thorough visual search for blood and guts.

Today, after running errands, it was cooking and cleaning time. . .visitors coming from modthesims2 tomorrow, sister’s family on Sunday! Woohoo! Went to a place on the corner of Fischer Blvd. and 37 called Joppa Road Interiors – got a good bargain on a Chinese four panel screen, and some stone nature god faces that I hung on the fence amidst the ivy. Now there’s a focal point at the top of the back steps. They had a lot of really nice decorative items – I’m going to have to drag hubby out there when we’re feeling flush.

Ugh.

Ugh.

So tired. . .so much still to do.

Drove up to north NJ on Saturday, a friend was in visiting from out of state and dropped in on Gayle and Barry, so it was a nice opportunity to see all of them at once, and pop in a couple of favorite shopping haunts at the same time. We had a delightful time, but long drives at night are not as comfortable for me as they used to be. Partly from eyesight changes, partly from lack of practice, I suppose. When I got back, I was really beat.

Next day, it’s northwest NJ for a baby shower! It took two and a half hours to get there, partly for coffee and potty stops, partly because google maps can really suck sometimes. It put me onto the highway west of where I needed to be and then told me to go. . .west. Thank goodness for cell phones. Only two hours drive to get home. Again, a lovely time, but two of these trips in two days wiped me out. I don’t know how hubby handles the commute three days a week. He didn’t say so, but I betcha he thinks I was really a wuss about the travel this weekend. . .

So, driving stories. On the way up on Saturday, some chick (and this suprises me, because it’s something older drivers tend to do, not younger ones) pulls onto the Parkway and goes straight from the onramp into the center lane. Well, she didn’t check to see if there was anyone in the center lane, like, say, me. I’m tooling along at about 70 and she pops right in front of me without looking or signalling, going 40. I slam on the brakes, but I can’t pass her, because traffic going both to the left and to the right is zipping along about 30-40 miles faster than she’s going. So I’m on her tail because she didn’t give me any room before cutting me off, other drivers are piled up on my tail because she’s going so slow, and it takes a while to put a safe distance between you and someone who cuts you off like that. . .so as I’m trying to look for an opportunity to get around her (she still hasn’t quite hit 55 yet, even) She’s gesticulating wildly, and, ignorant of the fact that she’s the problem here, is probably thinking I’m some sort of rude and aggressive driver. She’s still spitting and cussing as I pass, and as I see her retreating in the rear view mirror, she’s still at it. I’m not sure if I’m still the target of her ire, or if she’s redirected it to one of the other half dozen or so drivers still on her tail unable to pass because traffic’s so much faster than she is on both sides.

On Sunday, I stopped at a rest area to get a coffee. I let it sit in the cupholder for awhile, because it’s always too hot. Apparently, I didn’t wait long enough. I picked up the cup, and the pressure of my grip, or the position, or something, caused the top to pop off, and coffee flew everywhere. Owowowow. Good thing I have ADD. . .you tend to focus against things, and the hot coffee made me concentrate even harder on staying in my lane and keeping a good distance. Unfortunately, it made it harder to find the cupholder, because I was trying to do it without looking, so more spilled on my hand. Gonna have to remember to get shorter cups at Starbucks next time, I think.

On the way home, I got a couple of laughs. A guy in an SUV passed me, and I saw that in the filth on the back windshield, he’d written with his finger “I wish my girlfriend was this dirty”. Had to tell hubby this one. Waiting in front of me at a light close to home, there was a car that had a giant graphic in the rear window of a giant sperm with sunglasses, and in all caps, it said “Screamin’ Semen”. If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, the car was an old Ford Escort wagon. It looked like the kid’s mother’s car. I bet she wasn’t happy that he put that big sticker on her car. And from the looks of the driver, I’d say that the sticker wasn’t going to help him get chicks too much, either. “Yeah, I’m poorly dressed and groomed and I’m driving my mom’s escort station wagon, but check out my giant sperm!”

Back home, in another case of laughing at the expense of others, hubby told me that he had refrained, somehow, from commenting on the blog of someone we used to be friends with. She was complaining that she had helped a friend with her computer, and now that friend owed her big-time, and she was going to insist that she help clean her apartment. This same person used to show up on our doorstep for what was purportedly a social visit, laptop and printouts in hand, monopolizing hubby’s time with computer questions. She made him potato chips a couple of times. Hubby is such a lovely, patient person. Maybe he’ll comment today or tomorrow. Heh.

Miscellaneous Stupidity

Miscellaneous Stupidity

I didn’t write about these earlier, because I wanted an entry that showed a range. It has more impact that way, I think.

Went to the FoodTown. There were two cashiers. The lady in front of me had a giganto-humongo food order. She stands there watching the cashier ring up a few items, then pause to bag them so she has room to ring more. And then again. The line behind me is starting to pile up. The lady watches some more, then listlessly comments, “Oh, there are no baggers?” as if she only now noticed. She bags approximately three items after that. Finally, the cashier has managed to bag enough items so she can ring again, the conveyor belt moves forward about a foot. Lady behind me gives me a poke and says “Aren’t you going to move up?” I’m surrounded. . .stupid lady who doesn’t notice the need to bag and stupid lady who thinks things will move faster if I move up a foot three seconds earlier.

Off on the road a couple of days later. . .I’m stopped at a stop sign. Across from me is another driver stopped at his stop sign. Third driver comes to the intersection. He has no stop sign. He has the right of way. He stops. He looks at both me and the other stopped driver and begins making WTF gestures at both of us as if we’re doing something wrong, or holding him up, whatever. Finally he turns, I follow because we’re both going to the same place, and at the next stop sign, he breezes through without even slowing down or looking.

Last night we went to a meeting for the 5th graders and parents about drug and alcohol awareness. Sadly necessary, although there wasn’t much we needed to know. However, the police officer who spoke had to warn parents not to drop kids off in the wrong area of the school, and especially not to drop them off if they were drunk, high, driving a stolen car, driving with a suspended license. . .and he had to tell the parents this because these things had, indeed, been done by parents in the past.

Checked my email – I’m waiting for some information about an upcoming test, and lo and behold, a chunk of emails from the same place notifying me of my new “friends”. Yes, once again some yahoo out there has decided that alison@alison.com is some kind of generic email she can use. Yes, hon, I changed your password and your homepage. No, I’m not canceling the account so you can do it again.

And here’s a bonus. . .I get on here to bitch, and there’s a comment saying my site sucks. Oh, yeah. . .someone I don’t know, someone who can neither spell nor punctuate, someone who will have absolutely no impact whatever on anything important to me, thinks my site sucks. Excuse me while I go put a sawed-off shotgun in my mouth. The emotional devastation!!! I am wracked with feelings of inadequacy!11oneoneone

On a happy note, though, the tree service is here to get rid of my dead trees, finally. And the skylight guy will be here this afternoon to see if he can fix the broken skylight for me.

Traffic safety laws

Traffic safety laws

This morning in the Star-Ledger, one of the editorial columnists was complaining about a couple of new “traffic safety laws” our estimable governor has approved.

One is a ban on cell phone use while driving, and the other lowers the blood alcohol limit for DWI to .08.

I pretty much agree with Paul Mulshine most of the time, although he considers himself a conservative and I don’t think I am, but I have to say that I can see a bright side to these new laws.

Right now, all of our police are stationed at specific points on the road, just hangin’ out with the radar gun.

This leaves our drivers free to pursue truly dangerous driving activities like tailgating and changing lanes wildly without even a hint of a turn signal or a glance to see if there’s already a car in the space they’re aiming for.

With all the cops tied up at speed traps, the best they can do is show up after there’s already been an accident.

At least if they have to get out on the road to collar someone chatting (because someone with .08 BAC will probably not be driving erratically enough to cause suspicion) they might see and stop some of the real troublemakers.

Not that I suspect they will, of course, but every little bit helps.

When people see a police car on the road, they suddenly become exemplary law-abiding drivers.

Really slow drivers, but at least a little less aggressive.