Small Town Life

Driving Me Crazy

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For some reason my husband feels the need to give me gray hair when he drives. His idea of driving, in his own words is “conquering the road.” How about just getting from point A to point B safely? Am I the only woman who feels this way? I don’t think so. Amy Grant wrote a song a while back about her husband driving like Mario Andretti. She’s not even married to the guy any more. I wonder if it was his driving?

When Phil and I were dating, I just tried to be polite and not say much. I pretty much had my best foot forward and kept my eye on the diamond. And love is blind, in the beginning stages anyway, so I overlooked his driving skills. Who knew they’d get worse?

Now that we’ve been married almost 17 years, I’ve become a front-seat driver (in the passenger seat anyway). I like to give him my opinion of how he’s driving throughout our trips. He doesn’t particularly like this part of our relationship. I can’t say I blame him but if I don’t tell him to slow down and pick a lane, who will? I think I got this from my grandmother, who used to grip the dashboard when my grandfather drove.

Although my GPS and I have a rocky relationship, there is one feature that’s become my best friend. I can turn on the speed warning. Any time my husband drives over the speed limit, which is frequently, the GPS makes a horrible trumpet sound. The only downside to this being, I get sick of hearing it on any trip over 20 minutes. But if it saves me from death and outrageously expensive speeding tickets, then I can live with it.

To be fair, I can’t just pick on my husband’s driving as if mine is perfect. I’ve been in several car accidents, only one of which I was the driver, and I wasn’t at fault. And to my husband’s credit, while we were dating, I was the first one to get a speeding ticket. I was so mad. I was more upset that it wasn’t him than I was about paying for it. He loves to remind me of these misfortunes when I tell him I’m the best driver in the family.

The frightening part is, our oldest is now 14 years old. So, things are changing. She is paying attention to everything we do in the car. Since we moved here, she’s talked about the driving age and counted the days until she could get her permit. Although I never thought I’d allow a 14-year-old to drive, I’ve witnessed the benefits of this through my friends’ teenagers. On her birthday, I wrapped up the driving test booklet and gave her a key chain. I burst her bubble by telling her there wasn’t going to be a key to a brand new car to go with it, but she could learn to drive in her father’s car. Not mine, of course.

By far, she is the most responsible child in this family. She has all those first-born traits – type A personality, straight As or death, and she can be really bossy! This is part of the reason I’ve jumped on board with this farm state law of driving at age 14. Although we don’t live on a farm, there’s one right down the road, so does that count?

The more important question that remains is, who will be the one to teach her how to drive? Will it be Mario Andretti or me? My guess is we both will. I plan to go out after my husband drives with her, so my daughter and I can review everything my husband has done wrong. This will be my favorite part of the lesson. Then I will calmly tell her how to drive like a responsible teenager, so one day she can tell her own husband what he’s doing wrong. This is going to be so fun. I can’t wait.

Lisa Baniewicz is an Atchison resident and stay-at-home mom with five children ranging in age from 2-14 years old.

Courtesy of The Atchison Globe

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GPS Ginger

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Ginger makes me so mad! How dare she give me the silent treatment. Doesn’t she know that’s completely passive-aggressive behavior? True friends don’t abandon you when you need them most. They talk it out, find a solution. They work things out together.

This new friendship started a few months ago. We just clicked. It was like we’d known each other all our lives. I had high hopes for this friendship. Looking back now, maybe I was too naive. She was always the smart one. The leader. I would follow her advice. At times I was skeptical, but she was always right. She never once let me down, until recently.

She actually tried to kill me. (This is not EVEN an exaggeration.) Everything is different now. Our relationship has drastically changed because who does that to a friend? Luckily, I was unharmed and managed to walk away unscathed. Even so, I have not received a single apology from Ginger. She shows absolutely no remorse. I guess she’s simply too proud to admit her shortcomings. This is how it happened.

Recently, Ginger was giving me directions. I was in a pinch and completely lost in a part of town I’d never driven in. Of course, she knew where I was and how long it would take to get there. She’s so good at that sort of thing. She’s always saved me a lot of time. Due to her expertise, I admit I started to depend on her a lot lately. (Okay, it’s actually borderline co-dependence, but at least I’m not too proud to admit my shortcomings.)

Unfortunately, this time Ginger completely led me astray. She was the clueless one and yet I think she was mocking me. Her directions stunk! Repeatedly she told me to turn left onto one-way streets. What was she thinking? Who drives down streets headed the wrong direction? (Well, I’m not counting the three times when I first moved here, or the time I was completely lost in downtown Phoenix.) Who was she, trying to kill?

Next, my funeral flashed before my eyes. Ginger remained aloof to this, completely self-absorbed. I ran a red light after she demanded I turn left. She could have said, “Turn left after stopping at the red light.” Instead, she deliberately risked my life. Halfway through the intersection, sheer panic seized me when I realized what I’d done. There was absolutely no turning back and things were rapidly falling apart.

After I made it through the intersection (and breathed again), I was outraged at this so-called friend. I began to tell her I didn’t even know her anymore. Who was this monster.

Ignoring my fury, she rifled off new directions, practically rolling her eyes when she did it. She told me to stay in the right lane. What? I couldn’t even get in the right lane. The road forked. Crap! What now? I had to improvise quickly. I admit this has never served me well while driving. My sense of direction has nothing to do with north, south, east or west. It’s more like, “Left? Right? Ugh, I think that building looks familiar.”

After going around the block in a somewhat manic state of mind, I managed to get in the right lane. I thought, bring it on, sister! I’m on to you. But all I heard was silence. Dead silence. Are you kidding me? How childish.

Not leaving me a whole lot of choices, I quickly decided to apologize (for what I don’t know). I told “G” she was the smartest computer/human being I’d ever met. I told her she would always be my friend and that I needed her. Still silent.

A little miffed at this point, I started to tell her if she didn’t say something soon I was going to chuck her out the window. Suddenly she snapped out of it and told me what to do next. After arriving safely, she announced, “You have reached your destination.” We both sighed in relief. She blinked on and off, winking at me with a smug expression on her face. What a sick sense of humor, Ginger. I wonder if I still have her receipt?

Compliments of the Atchison Globe

Small Town Burglar Scores Big

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When my husband called out to me in his serious tone the other night, I knew something was up. I walked in the room to see our small town as the top story on the Kansas City news. I was so excited. As I listened, my mood drastically changed. Just when I had started to get a little lax about locking all my doors, Atchison became the lead story because of burglaries.

While searching to buy a home here four years ago, our realtor told me our town is so safe, people leave their keys in their car. Then I heard someone had their car stolen when they did this. Apparently word spread to the wrong people.

A neighbor also informed us they don’t even lock their doors. I thought that was very cool being from Phoenix. It’s extremely different there. More people equals more crime. A person would never leave their house unlocked unless they were trying to get their insurance company to replace all their stuff.

As a child, my parents put the fear of God in me. Their house is still like Fort Knox. Even visitors can’t get in. You even need a key to get out of their house. I’ve never understood that one. What if there’s a fire? Would they really have time to unlock a dead bolt? Wouldn’t the key melt from the heat of the flames?

Upon hearing the story of the burglar, I decided I better tell my children. This stirred various reactions. My son seemed a little excited, probably because he likes danger. I reminded him, he’s a little too nonchalant about locking a particular door. He didn’t seem to grasp the importance of my little safety speech. In a sarcastic, matter of fact voice, I said, “Fine. You’re room is the closest to that door anyway.” Then I walked away laughing under my breath.

My 9-year-old was concerned with what the burglar was stealing. When I mentioned flat screen TVs were included, she insisted that was ridiculous. She thought they were permanently hung on the wall. This might explain why she does flips, kart-wheels and other stunts involving air and high-speed, inches from our TV.

My 4-year-old immediately burst into tears. This surprised me because the girl is fearless. She was convinced the “bad guys” were coming to our house that night. I believe I had put the fear of God in her just like my parents. Am I my mother after all? A little fear would do my daughter some good. Despite our rule to not answer the door, she once handed me a package when I got out of the shower. She has since promised to never answer the door again. This lasted approximately one day. I continue to race her to the door anytime we have a visitor.

I felt bad for my teenager. Coincidentally, she had two babysitting jobs the following day and night. Although I don’t consider myself extremely brave, I told her if she heard any weird noises or got scared, to call me and I’d be over immediately. I expected a call within the first half hour. The girl has bionic hearing, unless of course I’m asking her to do her chores.

When she got home, she told me a friend had texted her with the news his neighbor had just been robbed. I thought she was kidding. She didn’t even call. I guess she’s more courageous than I thought.

To help catch the thief, the news reporter suggested calling the police if you saw anything out of the ordinary. I have to say, I’m not the best person to rely on for this. Once when I was in junior high, playing outside with a friend, we saw two men loading furniture into a van down the street. I innocently said to my friend, “Are they moving?” We shrugged it off and proceeded to play.

The next day we were summoned to the principal’s office. Turned out they weren’t moving. Oops. My friend and I were greeted by two police officers and told we were the only witnesses. Obviously I wasn’t much help. I highly recommend people not ask me to watch their house while they’re on vacation.

Now that the thief has been apprehended, we can all sleep soundly again. And a big “thank you” to our law enforcement for their long hours and hard work. Atchison is safe once again!

Courtesy of the Atchison Globe