Category: Kids

Goodbye to the Camry I Drove like a Tundra

Saying goodbye is never easy. Especially when it is someone who has been with you through thick and thin, helped you raise your kids, been with you on every trip you have ever taken. This gal has carried around more empty food wrappers, cups, backpacks, animal feed, and whatever else we loaded up in her.

Wrecked Car

I loved my Toyota Camry. This was my second one. Her life in my custody ended at  216,000 miles.  My plan was to make it to 400,000… because I hear Toyotas will go that far.  I was actually hoping to drive it one more year and give it to my daughter who will be driving soon.

But, my plans were shattered! Literally.

A month ago, my daughter and I were headed to my son’s last basketball game. It was 5:00 p.m. and broad daylight. Suddenly, we had a large doe in front of us trying to get across the highway. She wasn’t getting good traction on the highway. Her legs were moving in slow motion. I was slowing down to miss her, all the while watching her legs slip and slide.

wrecked car 2

I’m the girl who knows there are always more than one deer. They never travel alone. I always look out for number 2! Always…except that day.

The one in front of me had my full attention because she had darted out so suddenly. Then, BAM! We were hit by number 2. We never saw him coming…we only heard the loud, shattering crash. My car never lost footing or budged off the road, but we knew instantly the damage was bad.

I slowly pulled over to try and figure out how bad the damage was. I tried to get out, but the driver’s side door would not open. I had to crawl over to the passengers side to get out.

We were close to the town where the basketball game was being played. We were trying to figure out if we should leave the car and catch a ride, drive it home, or press on and go to the game. After several phone calls and some time evaluating, we decided it would be okay to drive it on to the game. I actually continued to drive it for a few weeks after this happened.

Long story short, my car needed a lot of repairs. And, since it was 6 years old and had so many miles on it, my insurance company wanted to total it out, buy it back from me, etc. They paid me the value of the car, but it defeated my goal of making it to 400,000 miles. And, now I had to shop for a new vehicle…a process I never enjoy.

I’m not an easy customer when it comes to buying a new vehicle.  Here is a list of my must-haves:

  • must be bigger than a car
  • must have bigger tires than previous car (I had chronic flat tires.)
  • must sit off the ground
  • must have enough room in the back seat to fit my long-legged boy child
  • must hold up to dirt roads and high miles
  • must meet my middle-of-the-road budget
  • must hold its value even with high, rough miles

Those requirements are as hard to meet as you would expect. I’m so in love with Toyota that it gave me hives to think about driving anything else. I drive SO MUCH and live on such a rough road, I don’t trust anything else to hold up to my driving demands. I average 40-45,000 miles per year.

Normally, my car looks like this. This gives you some indication of why I might need something different this go around.

dirty car

The reason I’ve driven a car for so long and not a pickup is because fuel has been really expensive until recently. And, for someone who drives as much as I do, good gas mileage is important.

On occasion I did wash the beast…but, it never lasted long. Proof here.

clean car

So, goodbye wonderful Ms. Camry. I’m certain your manufacturer never intended for you to be in the places that I took you. But, you were always up for the challenge.

I drove you more like a Tundra, and you never gave me grief. You drove down any road I put you on, even through deep muddy ruts and NEVER once got stuck.

You always kept us safe. The deer (there were others!) were no match to your strong frame. You look innocent and prissy, but the truth is …you were a beast. And, you never cost me a cent in maintenance. For that, I’m forever grateful.

May someone purchase you at a salvage yard, fix you up and keep on pushing you to that 400,000 mark. Goodbye good and faithful one. You will be missed.


The Stock Show Life

Each year somewhere around January 15th we attend an event.

stock show 2

This event is made up of a slew of animals, kids, anxious parents (mainly dads) and controlled chaos.

Stock show dad

This event is full of crazy emotions like, “Did we do enough, pick the right animal, feed it properly, will it stress out or just act a fool? Will it pee or poop on one of the kids this year? Who will have the first melt down…the kids, the animals…the parents?”

For mom, it usually goes like this, “Do the kids have decent clothes to wear? Do they have boots or a belt?  Pants that are long enough because they grew a foot from last year? Oops, I forgot new clothes.”

Yep, it’s stock show season.

stock show pig

And it arrives each year with a bang! Even though we have had animals since summer time, this event seems to sneak up on us right after the holidays and I never feel prepared.

Why do we put ourselves through this craziness? It truly is an exhausting weekend full of roller coaster emotions for kids and parents.

I can’t give you an exact answer of why we do it. It’s just what we do. We live in rural Texas. We are 4-H people. It’s what we did as kids. We enjoy animals. We joined the club and drank the kool-aid! ha

stock show chickens

But, that is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about something rare that I saw this weekend at the show barn.

Friday there were about two dozen kids at the barn getting animals settled, weighed in, etc.  Many of the kids had not arrived, some had school and there were just a few there. That afternoon it had finally warmed up enough to be outside. The set-up crew (the dads) had brought in round bales of hay and placed them against the tarp on the open end of the barn to hold it down and keep the wind out. The hay bales were in a line down the side of the barn about 5  yards apart. Do you get the picture?

On one of my many trips to the car, I see a young man jumping from bale to bale. Sometimes he makes it with no problem, sometimes he doesn’t and slides down the side of the bale.  It was a picture perfect moment, but my camera wasn’t handy at the time. (I kept telling myself I would come back and snap a picture,  but I never did.) It truly was something you would see in a magazine depicting a country setting.

A little later, I saw the entire group of kids outside playing catch with some kind of a ball… I don’t even know what kind of ball it was because that is not what caught my attention.

This small group of kids was made up of all different ages, from different schools, boys and girls, playing catch…together. They were scattered all over the parking lot throwing the ball from end to end. In the background was a new kid jumping from bale to bale.

No one was on their phone.

No one was snapping a picture.

I didn’t even see anyone sitting on the side lines. They were all engaged in the game.

They were laughing, running, playing and acting like kids…even the teenagers! All different ages, playing in unison and having a blast while they were doing it.

All the hard work is really not about the animals. For me, it’s about that exact moment. Seeing your kids put down their device and interact with others and have old-fashion genuine fun and making awesome memories…that’s what it’s all about.

Everyone survived the weekend and came home fully exhausted. Some came home with ribbons and others with buckles.  But, we all came home with new stories, new friends and new family memories.

stock show life

That is the stock show life.




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