28 August 2009

Bikes & Bugs; both start with "b" and end with "splat"

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope your week started off much better than mine; granted mine wasn't as bad as the guy on the bike, but it shook me up just the same.

If you ride a bike, follow the rules of the road. I drive a big ol' honkin' SUV and when it comes down to it, my car will squish you like a bug. Flat. Pancake. Smooshed. Squished. Splat. You get the picture, and it ain't pretty is it?

isn't pretty, is it?

Now I'm not saying I have anything against bike riders. I don't. The folks in cars that don't follow the rules annoy me as much as the folks on bikes that don't follow the rules. Only difference is, the odds of someone on a bike surviving a run in with my car, are considerably slimmer than someone in a car. However, I am saying this, if you follow the rules of the road then we have no quarrel. You ride downhill at an uncontrollable speed and run a stop sign like the yahoo this morning did *and* make me test out my anti lock braking system (it works quite nicely, thank you) then we have issues.

The look on that kid's face when he saw this big, black machine with a shiny chrome grill that resembles sharp pointy teeth screeching to a stop inches away from his head-phoned clad face was one I hope to never see again. Although, I will take that look over blood and guts any day. I'm not sure if he ever heard the horn, since he had his headphones superglued to his ears. I'm guessing not.

I can only hope he will pay attention to speed limits, traffic signs & signals, and other road rules. The cynic in me says he won't. Then again, after seeing his short life playing across the shiny grill, maybe he'll be a little more cognizant of his driving/riding habits. I hope he realizes how fortunate he is that *I* pay attention!

So, here's hoping we all have a safe week ahead!

27 August 2009

texting OR driving - not both

Heather got her first mobile phone this past summer and in the course of the past couple of months has become a "power" texter. I'm just now figuring out how to get a space between two words, so that just goes to show exactly how much texting *I* do. Not a whole lot.

My mobile company has this nifty feature where I can send a text from my computer. That makes it a lot easier, and faster, for me to respond to Heather by text. Still I prefer to call, but I guess for whatever reason actually talking to someone isn't as effective or something. Must be an oldies thing.

Heather also got her driver's license not too long ago. Heather's a good driver, very conscientious and alert. While I'm in the car. I can only hope that those are her usual driving habits even when I'm not with her.

Personally I don't think mobile phones and cars are a good mix. If you want to use your phone, do me a favor and pull off the road; don't think for a minute you are capable of driving AND dialing or texting or whatever. I would prefer that my family or I do not become one of your victims, thank you very much.

When I was growing up we didn't have mobile phones, computers, iPods, or any of the other "must have" technology that is available today. Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. While driving the only thing I had within reach to dink around with was the handle to roll the window up or down, the heater, or the radio. Since I lived in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, NM we didn't even get radio reception most of the time so no use in dinking.

I think the video put out in Wales as a Public Service Announcement should be mandatory viewing for all drivers – not just teens – on the danger of texting while driving. It's beyond my comprehension how anyone could text while driving and think it's not affecting their driving skills. Sorry folks, it's impossible for a human to look in two different places at the same time. It just ain't gonna happen. It's a chameleon thing, not a human thing. Never mind that both hands aren't on the steering wheel.

If you're a parent, a teen, know a teen, or are yourself a driver, I suggest you watch the video. Warning it is very graphic, but hopefully it will get the message across to some people.

I will now step down from my soapbox.


25 August 2009

roller coaster ride

So, I took Heather off to college last Thursday. We get her moved in and go through the day with sporadic anxiety attacks, but nothing alarming. In fact I was relieved when at the end of the day, she sends me a text message and says we probably won't be able to meet up before I head back home because she's found one of her friends and they are doing their thing. Being me, I'm not going to just leave her there without giving her a hug and kiss goodbye. After giving me the perfunctory hug she takes off with her friend, and I head to my car - in tears. I'm glad she seems so OK with this, but I'm not sure I'm OK with this.

Friday, I get up, come home, and consciously not call, text, e-mail or otherwise try to contact Heather. I don't want to be one of those horrible "helicopter" parents that refuses to let their child become a responsible adult.

Sadly, the past few days have been very hard on my baby and she's very, very homesick. Periodically she has what she calls "breakdowns" and gets anxious and cries and feels like she's the only one feeling that way. No matter what I do to try and make her feel better, it's not working. In the span of 10 minutes I receive 4 text messages. "I don't think I can do this." "I want to be home." "I don't want to be here." and "I miss you."

Oh, what's a mom to do? There's nothing I wouldn't do to keep my baby from hurting, but I *know* Heather is capable of "doing this," and will succeed if she could just stop being homesick. There are so many tips, suggestions, ideas of what to do to help your child adjust to college, but all of them require time. I want her to be OK RIGHT NOW! not a day, a week, a month, or a semester from now.

One of our academic advisors told me a story about one of her students who had been in her office to work on some schedule snafu. The advisor notices the girl looks upset about something so the advisor asks the student if there is anything else on her mind. The girl's eyes well up with tears, and she responds, "I'm homesick." The advisor tells her this is very normal and she'll be OK and then asks her where the student is from. The student answers, "Niwot." Niwot?! Niwot is maybe a 20 minute drive from campus. This poor girl is homesick and home is only 8 miles away. Just goes to show that home is at the other end of the earth when you are on a strange campus, living with strange people in a strange room, and out of your comfort zone.

I just want my baby to be happy, safe, and comfortable. And I know she will be. Hopefully soon. Very, very soon. If not, mom's going to have her own "breakdown" and will be roaring up to Laramie to hug her baby.