Monday, September 18, 2017

Milestones

Due to her hypercompetitive nature, Marie beat both her brothers to be the first with a driver's license.

Since my wife and I need our cars for work, we decided to get one for the kids. We picked-out the closest street-legal thing there is to a tank: an ancient Toyota 4Runner with 290,000 miles on it.


"Marie, are you sure this is the way to school?"


Up until recently Mrs. Grumpy or I have always ridden with her, but now school has started. It was up to Marie to drive herself and the boys to school.

In other words, she was flying solo.

She made both boys sit in the back so they wouldn't distract her.

Of course, Mrs. Grumpy and I were still worried. We decided I'd follow behind them for a few minutes, to make sure everything went fine. Marie (and especially her brothers) were okay with this.

Off we went. Fortunately, Wingnut High School is only 3 miles away. Traffic was light. What could possibly go wrong?

About 2/3 of the way there, one of the boys texted me that the 4Runner was making a funny noise.

At the same time, I noticed smoke had begun pouring out from under its hood.


"Hey, do you mind if I smoke?"


Marie soldiered on. Not stopping, continuing to school. There was no way she couldn't have noticed there was something horribly wrong. Her brothers' texts to me became increasing frantic that she wouldn't stop the car, wasn't going to pull over, AND HOLY FUCK DAD WE'RE GOING TO DIE!

Eventually, smoking away, she pulled into the school parking lot and found a space. Even with all this going on she carefully pulled in & out of it twice and stuck her head out to make sure she was right between the lines. She didn't seem to notice that everyone in the lot was either running away or taking pictures with their phone.

Except for her brothers, who'd bailed out at a stop sign 2 blocks earlier and were walking.

Then, leaving the engine running, she got out and calmly walked over to my car, signaling me to roll down the window. With remarkable aplomb she said "Dad, what do you do when the car is on fire? They didn't cover that in driving school."

I ran over and turned off the car (fortunately, nothing too horrible turned out to be wrong with it).

A security guard appeared out of nowhere with a fire extinguisher and began randomly spraying stuff.

The boys may need therapy.

Marie, upon being reassured that all would be fine, got her backpack, rolled her eyes at her brothers trudging down the road, and headed off to class.

31 comments:

jimbo26 said...

What CAN one say ? lol .

Andy Syms said...

ROTFL!

Thank Dr Grumpy for starting my week with a huge grin on my face.

mostly cajun said...

I remember the days of driving cars where it was a crapshoot when I left the house, as to whether I'd actually reach my destination.

I remember them. I didn't enjoy thim.

Anonymous said...

My son will be getting his license in December, and thinks that we will be giving him a Camaro. HAHAHAHAHA! More likely he will be getting something like what Marie has. I think I will forward this to him. :)

Va_ghost said...

Cold as Ice under pressure.

She's going to be a surgeon....

Don't tell me about x, y, z cosmetic problems, must complete procedure A, then we can worry about that.

OMDG said...

Dr. Grumpy -- Something like 40 of your blog posts just appeared in my feed. I haven't been able to access your blog for ages! What happened?? I am so glad you're back!

Packer said...

Even Toyotas eventually make it to the rainbow scrap heap.

Ygolonac said...

FIDO

Fsomething It, Drive On

Jackie said...

Just wanted to add a shameless plug for the Street Survival program if they have one in your area. (http://streetsurvival.org/). It's a one-day advanced driving skills course for newly licensed teens where they learn a lot (emergency braking and lane changes, skid pad, plus lots more), and usually have fun doing it. Many insurers also offer a discount for having completed the course. I have been volunteering with this program with the SCCA for the last couple years and it really is amazing to see how much the kids learn from the beginning of the day to the end.

tbunni said...

Tough under pressure? Of course! Vehicle on fire? No big deal when you've had two brothers to deal with your whole life. I see great things in Marie's future.

kathleen said...

And that is how a boss big sister deals

Anonymous said...

Congrats to steely-eyed Marie. I thought this was going to end up as one her snarky brothers having left a smoke bomb on the manifold or the ol' banana in the tailpipe gag to rattle her (or was her determination drawn from her assumption that her brothers had done just that?) So exactly what had caused all that smoke- do tell?

Moose said...

I don't know whether I'd cheer her or smack her upside the head.

Maybe both.

But, yes, as someone else pointed out: A class (or a short course) on the basic mechanics of a car is in order. Driver's Ed tends to be shit about such stuff.

Elle Lambert said...

You should be proud, Dad. Nice one.

The Evil Receptionist said...

My word, what a cool head she has! I have a teen working on his hours with his temps right now, so I can relate. Thanks to Jackie for the shameless Street Survivor plug!

WarmSocks said...

Wow. Marie now gets to learn auto mechanics.

Jackie - thank you! My youngest just finished driver's ed and doesn't want to drive. Twice now he's been a passenger in a car that was hit, and told me that he wants to learn to be a safe driver so he's never in another accident. To make matters worse, after that conversation, we took brother to college and got rear ended while sitting at a red light. Now he wont' get behind the wheel at all. I'm willing to drive a couple hours to get him to a class that will give the kid confidence that he can handle what other drivers do out there on the roads.

Anonymous said...

ROTFLMAO! Marie has a cool head and it will serve her well in her future.

Anonymous said...

I was a little more sensible (I pulled over), but then I did get a little stuck... What do I do when smoke is pouring out of the engine bay, but it isn't actually on fire (yet)? Was probably bamboozled for a good ten seconds before deciding on a course of action.

Jono said...

Marie is on cool-headed human. When the Big One hits I want her on my side.

bobbie said...

Way to go, Marie!! Such level-headed-ness will serve her well in the future!

Mage said...

Just lovely stuff. Yell at them to put on their seat belts, will you.

migraineur said...

I'm reading this to hubby.
"This is a neurosurgeon's daughter?"
"Neurologist's, yes"
"Did her mom the gardener?"

Anonymous said...

I second the plug for Street Survival! Well worth the time. My husband is a teacher of the class in our area and he loves to see the kids faces light up when they get the hang of their car. They start out so timid and have such wonderful confidence by the end of the day.

evodevo said...

My Subaru wagon (1999 - 153,000 mi) that I use to deliver mail has an ongoing small oil leak wherein the oil drips onto the muffler (or whatever) and smokes. This has been going on for 6-8 years. Hasn't caught fire yet, but I am well-known at our local gas station - it's gotten to the point that when someone gassing up says something about my car, the gas station attendant tells them it's no biggie - just routine lol ...
it's been to several auto mechanics, they attempt to fix the leaks, and others appear. I no longer pay any attention ....

gloriap said...

If the Toyota is toast, think Volvo. The woman we sold our 1974 Volvo 164 to in 1988 called two years ago to ask if we wanted to buy it back for our son. It was still going strong but Son had bought a car.

Oldest grandson just turned 16, will graduate this year (yes, college tuition ahead.) He did not want to learn to drive but his parents pushed him asking what kind of car he'd like to drive. They were hoping he'd settle for Mom's old Civic. His reply: "I don't suppose you'd consider a Tesla?" (NWIH) Southern California kid, can you tell?

clairesmum said...

Marie has the backbone and the determination..and it's time for some basic auto mechanics stuff.

I have to admit, all I would know to do in that circumstance would be to pull over, grab my work bags, and run like heck!
and pray that a grownup who had a fire extinguisher came upon the scene....

(of course, the gray hair on my head suggests that I AM a grownup!)

Shash said...

Good job not being distracted Marie! You're my hero. Now, for some basic "when something goes wrong" do's and don'ts. Don't get offended, this is really a compliment that you kept your head when you didn't know what the issue was.

Candi Gomez said...

I've heard many good things about the durability of most versions of the Honda Civic. Grain of salt: I can not drive myself, though. Sensory overload issues; when they overload, they randomly shut down. You kind of need your sight to drive.

My first thought was about Marie's Scout adventure, when she had to go along to the Boy Scouts with the boys and Doctor Grumpy because Nurse Grumpy was busy. Of course she was cool under (near literal) fire.

Adventure Story: Back in the archives from several years ago, there's a tale when Marie was with the boys at the camp and was given privacy to take a shower. Well, one little perv tried to take pics with a digital camera. She kicked his butt, took the camera, and flushed it. Brat's dad had a fit, buuuuuuuuut he was up against the good doctor, soooo you can imagine how that went. :p

Tehachap said...

Ah me... have GOT to learn how to laugh quietly when the hubster is asleep! LOL I signed up to receive notices when Dr. Grumpy posts, but haven't received a thing. Thanks for being here.

jen said...

Ohhh myyy...

Anonymous said...

And that's how sisters do it!

(actually, not, I always chicken out when my big, chevalier brothers are around...)

 
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