Category Archives: Stuff that I should be embarrassed to like but I’m not

Watch out for those bird nests…

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One of the things that I spend most of my time with celebrated a big event in her life this week:

Freda Fusion hit 100,000 miles.

It seems like only yesterday when we first braved the MN winters together.

Never mind that when we first met she had a mere 52 miles on her transmission and seemed so young and innocent. Freda and I have been through a lot together — 40-mile-one-way commutes, trips to MI, hairy dogs, camping trips.

In honor of Freda’s big day, I decided that it’s about time that I share my most memorable car story:

The day I learned how quick the fire department can respond to a call.

The year was 2002. I was a junior in high school, looking forward to summer vacation and sleeping until noon.

I hate to admit this most of the time, but I was a cheerleader back then. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but I wasn’t the ditzy, giggly cheerleader-type. I joined because my friend wanted me to. And to get into all the football and basketball games for free. And to ride on the bus with my uber-crush. And to maybe get run over by him and then he would finally notice me and confess his undying love for me and then we would live happily ever after the end.

**Sidenote: I was never run over by said uber-crush. He never confessed his undying love for me. But I must say that I am definitely living happily ever after.

Awww…gross, I know.

Anyway, back to the car story.

My parents let me drive their Ford Taurus around and I loved having that freedom. Aside from the fact that I had to share it with my younger brother, I could pretty much go where I wanted when I wanted.

A car in high school = instant awesomeness.

On that fateful night back in 2002, I had cheerleading meeting at school and as luck would have it, my uber-crush was tutoring some kid in the commons area. I decided to stick around a bit longer to gaze longingly at the genius that  was my uber-crush hang around with my friends.

It was getting late and I decided I should probably head home after a less than successful attempt at the love confession. I walked to where my car was parked outside and I was passed by a senior boy carrying a camcorder and running toward the door.

Rae: “What’s going on out there?”

Senior guy: “Dude! Somebody’s car is on fire!!!”

Rae: “Sweet!”

I took off behind the guy, only to come around the corner and see the Taurus in flames.

One thing that is important to know about me in high school is that I wasn’t really a bad kid. I was sometimes painfully shy, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t get knocked up, and didn’t really swear all that often.

But when you see your parents’ car burning in front of your high school, there is only one thing to say:

“Sh*t!”

I threw my keys to the ground, ran up to the car, shook my hands in dismay and screamed. I was screwed. The dean of students flew past me with a fire extinguisher and a dormitory tutor was trying to beat out the flames with a pizza box.

I ran up four flights of stairs to borrow a friend’s cell phone to call my parents. I was so winded that it took a while for my friends to understand what the heck was going on. When I called home, my mom answered:

Rae: “Um, hi. Can I talk to Dad?”

Mom: “What’s going on?”

Rae: “Oh nothing. Can I talk to Dad?”

Mom: “No seriously, what’s going on?”

Rae:   sigh   “Okay, fine. Um, I’m at school and the car’s on fire.”

Mom: “We’ll be right there. Dad, get in the car!”

I was done for. No more car privileges for me. I might as well cut up my license.

By this point, I was sitting on the curb next to the smoldering car, trying to figure out if I should run away or rub soot on my face to look like I had been through hell trying to save the car. Not screaming and running away like my initial reaction had been.

The fire department showed up and all of the neighbors were out on their porches since it was almost 10:00 PM. The firefighters walked up slowly to survey the scene, looking around to determine why the roof of the car caught on fire and nothing else.

Then they started laughing. That’s when I noticed what I was parked under.

And that’s also when I noticed the twigs on the top of my car.

My parents came tearing around the corner and raced up to the firefighters. They were still laughing when they started to explain what happened to my frantic mom and dad.

It seems that there was some sort of kindling in the streetlight.

The culprit.

And shortly after the light switched on, it looked like this:

I like to think that it was empty before it burst into a giant inferno.

Which then fell directly into the center of the Taurus, causing the plastic from the light, nest, and paint of the car to catch fire. The car, after a run through the car wash to remove fire extinguisher dust, looked a little something like this:

Also known as The Flaming Chariot of Death.

And so began the short life of The Cow Car, before it was promptly totaled a few months later by my brother.

Here’s hoping that Freda Fusion doesn’t have quite that eventful of  a life. But if she does, I’m praying that she doesn’t go out in flames trying to top the Taurus.

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Touchy Subject

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Sunday was a one of the days that I don’t look forward to in our house:

the Minnesota Vikings vs. the Detroit Lions

Since they are in the same division, they always battle twice a year and those days are filled with suspense and jumping, mixed in with anger and frustration and excessive cursing.

You see, I’m a wee bit competitive.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement. Anyone who has seen me in any sort of competitive atmosphere knows that I can get ugly. Really ugly. It’s one of the genetic traits that I have inherited from my father, along with his love of Storage Wars and sense of direction.

You may wonder, then, why in the world would I be a Detroit Lions fan.

1. I grew up in Michigan.

2. I would be promptly excommunicated from my family if I wasn’t.

3. I’ve always had a thing for the underdog.

4. There is no way that I would EVER root for the Vikings. Unless they’re playing the Packers, I suppose. But in that situation I would just hope that somehow both teams could lose. And I’m not talking about a tie. I’m talking about both teams completely losing. There must be some way.

5. Jason Hanson’s my man. I’ve ranted and raved about him so much that Steve even put him on his fantasy team.  He started in the NFL when I was 6. And I’ve always liked #4 (Joe Dumars, especially).

Being a Lions fan, I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak and ridicule. But through it all, I’ve stuck by my team.

Now that the team is getting a little recognition nationally, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to watch a majority of their games. And every week it’s the same old stuff about how they’re a dirty team and the players need to be reigned in.

Blah.

Blah.

Blah.

Luckily Steve has been focusing more on his fancy fantasy team that the Vikings and he’s actually got a few Lions on his team, too, so he can’t help but root for team a little bit. I hate to be called a sore winner/loser, so whenever a snide comment is made to me about my team by the one who said all that for-better-or-worse stuff, I just keep my mouth shut.

But yesterday I just could not help myself.

The game was intense.

First this happened:

And these things happened:

Sidenote: the broadcaster for the game kept saying “Gerald Allen” instead of “Jared Allen”. And this was at least the second week I’ve heard him do this. Does no one on the Fox team notice? Are they too afraid to say something? Get his name right, announcer-guy. I can’t stand Allen, but even I know what his name is.

But then this started happening, just like it always does to the Lions:

And again:

I felt like I was going to toss my tacos all over the living room floor.  My teams always like to keep it exciting.

I will be grey before 30.

And, for those who were too busy not watching the game, this happened on the last play of the game:

Note: ball is already out of his hand thank-you-very-much.

The Lions have a way of getting called for penalties. It’s an art they have perfected, especially in game-winning/losing situations, so I was just as shocked as everyone else when this wasn’t called.

It’s just what the Lions do: screw up at the last possible moment to lose the game.

At the conclusion of this mess of a game, words were said in our house. Rooms were upsetly exited and phone calls were made to Lion country. I won’t get into the gritty details, but things like “the only reason the Lions won was because of that facemask” and “you’re right. It wasn’t the all the points they got on Minnesota turnovers” may have been uttered.

But I won’t get into too many details.

And I’m not going to hold anything against Steve. I’m pretty sure he was just upset that he sat the Lions defense this week.

Photos are from here.

And while finding these pictures, I came across this jem. Like I needed another reason to loathe Jared Allen other than his poor grooming choices and red-necked-ness.