Parents are funny beings. And by parents I mean MY parents. Not me as a parent. I’m the cool mom. I’m the cool mom who is strict, but fair; funny, but not lame.
Yup. I know, whatever.
Back to my point: MY parents are funny beings, specifically my dad.
I grew up in a house where sports wasn’t watched on TV (this was in the days before auto racing was televised). Saturdays were spent playing in the front yard while my dad worked on the race car with racing buddies. We were a desert-racing family: Baja 1000, Mint 400, and — many moons ago — Barstow to Vegas.
My dad started racing motorcycles when he was a teenager and transitioned to cars sometime in the 70s.
Cars cars cars. We lived cars and trucks and dirt bikes. I never had a Barbie Dream House, my Barbies lived in a corner of the race car trailer and walked across the tow-hitch to visit friends in the truck (or van, if this was back in the 80s).
When dad needed help with the race car, if my younger brother or I were tall enough for the job at hand, we got to help. We sat in the driver’s seat and hit the brakes over and over and over and over again while dad bled the lines. We held on to the steering wheel for support and muscled the clutch all the way down so he could adjust gears. I loved it when we got to help test the radios. One of us would put on dad’s helmet and the other would get to talk into the hand-held radio. And by talk, I mean yell at the top of my lungs to see my brother jump. Poor kid, he fell for it every time.
We weren’t allowed to ride a dirt bike that we couldn’t lift off of us, we knew how to fill a gas tank in the first grade, and we knew we’d be in big, BIG trouble if we got caught without our heads (helmets) on.
So it didn’t come as surprise that when I was 15 years old and learning to drive, my dad called me into the garage one day to have “The Talk” with me. It wasn’t so much a talk as it was a lesson.
Yup … a lesson on how to change a tire, a fan belt, check the oil, the brake pads, etc, etc … .
I remember sarcastically saying, “But all that stuff is your job!”
His dead-serious reply? “Yeah, well I’m not gonna be around forever, so you have to learn it, too.”
So I learned. I can change a tire, change my oil, check my brake pads, and all that other stuff. Have I ever DONE any of it? Maybe once or twice. When I moved out to go to college the first thing I bought was an Auto Club Membership. Money. Well. Spent.
Today, at age 36, I take very good care of my 7-year-old Honda. Oil is changed regularly and tires are rotated routinely. Appointments are made and kept for regular maintenance, and I had money in the bank when the suspension system needed repairs (that was freakin’ expensive.)
Yet, somehow, when I go visit my parents, my car is always in desperate need of something.
At Thanksgiving, I needed new tires.
“No I don’t, those are just about a year old and when I had that flat last month they checked them and said they all looked good.”
“Well they don’t know what they’re talking about you need better tires grumblemumblegrumblemumble … . Gimme your keys.”
In January, it was an oil and transmission fluid change, and new filters.
“When is the last time you changed the transmission fluid in that thing? Ever!?”
Sigh. “Late August after we got back from Colorado.”
“Yeah right grumblemumblegrumblemumble … . Gimme your keys.”
Last week I had been at the house not more than 15 minutes when he came looking for my keys. It was a quick overnight trip for dinner for my son’s birthday. We’d come straight from baseball and my car was a disaster and I didn’t want him to be out there cleaning it. Ug! I wish he’d just leave my car alone! I feel guilty that he’s out there doing this stuff!
“I gotta go get your tires rotated.”
“Seriously?” I said exasperated.
“Yeah, gimme your keys so I can get it there (Big John’s) before they close.”
“Fine, I give up. Tell Josh I said hi.”
He’s just getting the tires rotated, I tell myself. But when he got back, I got the third degree about when was the last time I changed the brake pads blah blah blah … .
“It’s just been a year, I don’t need new brakes.”
“Yes you do. I’m going to the parts store.”
“I’ll go get them.”
I can pay for my own brakes, old man! Thankyouverymuch.
“No, I gotta see what they have there grumblemumblegrumblemumble … . Gimme your keys.”
“Just let him do it, he needs something to do.”
“But it doesn’t need to be done! I check all that stuff!”
“Just let it go, Jamie.”
So now I have new brakes.
I love my dad. Even though he makes me feel like such a loser.
*Rolling my eyes*
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