Tales of the Pumpkin

Okay, I originally started this post way back on 5/29 when one of my coworkers came into work a wee bit late because her car had a flat. This made me think back to the time I had a flat tire. It was when I was in high school. But then I realized I did not have the right photos to go with the post. I called up my brother who is 26 years and still speaks in sarcasm (hmm, does that run in the family?!) I asked my brother to email me the appropriate pictures, but of course he didn’t have any, couldn’t take any, and their scanner was broken anyway… so I got my own photos while I was visiting at the end of June and have saved this post until now.

But before getting into my original intent of this post, I thought I would also give you that update on the end of my trip that I’d been mentioning for so long. I sure am glad I have something else to post about at the same time because now that I look back on what I’ve already written about my vacation, I realize what I have left is not all that exciting.

So, my last day in North Dakota mom, dad, and I all get up at the insane hour of 3 AM since my flight departs at 4:40. My brother works a job from 4 PM until midnight and he still wasn’t home when we left the house. I saw barely a glimpse of him the whole week I was there! So I went through security at the airport, boarded my flight to Minneapolis and dozed. Got into Minneapolis just fine, but then the flight I had to my next stop before ultimately arriving home could not land because of thunderstorms. When we finally touched down I had about 2 minutes to get on my last flight. Naturally, the gate I landed at was no where near the one I was departing from… so I began my hurried trek through the airport to get on that last flight and get home. I paid attention to no one and nothing save the signs directing me to the gate I needed. Then, suddenly I felt my Crocs stick to the floor, my upper body starting projecting forward and downward at the same time and I found myself taking a skid, head first, into the airport floor. No, I did not trip on something on the floor and therefore cannot sue the airport for negligence in having dirty floors that tripped me up. I tripped over my own feet – the darn right one to be exact!

I ended up skinning up my forehead, messing up my right knee, and bending my glasses out of whack. I didn’t even have time to look around to see how many people witnessed my intimate tryst with the airport floor, I just picked myself up and trudged on. When finally arriving at my gate I saw the door was closed. The screen still showed my flight leaving at it’s regular time, so I was sure I had missed it. I stood anxiously behind a group trying to get rerouted to New Orleans to find out how I was going to get home. This gave me enough time to think about my plunge and how horrendous I must look – red from rushing through the airport, up since 3 AM, head skinned up, glasses all cockeyed… Finally the airport lady asked me where I was headed. When I told her my destination, she said that my flight had been delayed. Whew! Wish I would have known that before spilling myself in the middle of a big city airport! I did eventually make it home a couple hours late and spent the rest of the weekend resting up for a fun and exciting work week!

Now back to the original intent of my post… Like I said, a coworker had come in late because of a flat tire and that made me think back to the time I had a flat tire.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but when I was in high school and my first year of college I drove a 1980 Ford Pinto. And it was orange. It was ‘The Pumpkin-Mobile.’

My dad bought this car brand new for my mom and it was the car she learned to drive on. It was also the car I learned to drive on since my mom had moved on to better vehicles since then. This car is almost as old as I am and my dad still drove the thing up until a year or two ago! It is now housed in my dad’s large storage building.

My sister and I were heading home one day after school and the car was driving a little funny. I didn’t know what was going on, and being a teenager wanting to get home after school, it didn’t even cross my mind to stop and take a look at the car – I didn’t know anything about cars anyway, so how was I going to fix whatever was wrong? I was focused on getting the thing home to dad; he would know how to fix it. So I continued to drive it very slowly towards home.

I know I have mentioned that I grew up in North Dakota and graduated in a class of about 45 students. The high school I attended was in an itty bitty little town in the middle of no where. This town was so small that the only things in the town were a bar and the high school and the surrounding area was all farmland. The school was about a 45 minute drive from my home.

Because I was driving so slowly, several of my fellow students, also intent on getting home, or where ever they were going, passed me. Some made some weird gestures as they did. I had no idea what they were doing until one got me to pull over and told me I had a flat tire. I had probably drove on the flat for about 5-10 miles at that point. Because I was a teenager and was still about 30 minutes from my home and my dad who could repair the flat, and because I knew nothing about flat tires other than they were a bummer, and because cell phones were not all the rage at the time I was in high school, I was still going to attempt to drive that thing home!

Fortunately for me a county sheriff was driving along and pulled over behind me. While my sister and I stood there in the brisk North Dakotan wind he changed the flat tire for us so I could drive home. I am pretty sure my little stint on the flat tire ruined the previous tire – luckily the wheel was not damaged. Dad was not impressed.

He wasn’t too impressed the time I backed the Pinto into a deep ditch and over a culvert outcropping tearing a hole in the gas tank either!

I’ve had lots of interesting, not-so-fun forays in the orange Pinto. It kind of makes me sad to think it is now gathering dust in a storage building. M. even got a dose of the Pinto when he came to visit me in North Dakota after we had gotten together online. M. rode the Amtrak by himself (and got robbed of a couple Mountain Dews in the process) to come see me for Valentine’s Day. I don’t remember why, but I took the Pinto out that morning – probably to either pick something up or just to make sure I knew where the train station was so I could pick M. up later that evening. That darn Pinto blew a belt or something and left me stranded right in the middle of a busy street during the winter. I put on my emergency lights and panicked about what I was going to do.

Being the nice people they are in that North Dakota college town, no one stopped to help me. After several minutes of wondering what I was going to do, I walked up the street to a gas station and called my dad collect and asked him if I should get the car towed? He said I would have to since he was 5 hours away and there wasn’t much he could do. So I had the car towed and spent all of Valentine’s Day at a service station waiting for my car to be fixed. When I finally got back to my dorm room to top things off there was a message from my ex-boyfriend whom I had broken up with several months before (but he’d only recently gotten the hint). I deleted the message and then went off to pick up M. And I sure did have an interesting Valentine’s Day story for him when he got off the train!

For those of you who followed my blog during my trip to North Dakota, you know my grandpa’s van went up in flames. Here’s a few pictures of it after it was moved to its final resting spot!

And who knew I’ve had the secret to great skin in my household practically my entire life?!


1 Comment

  1. "Brother" said,

    July 18, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Mom most certainly did not learn to drive in the Pinto. She learned in the Mustang. What about the time you drove it without coolant, though the light came on saying HEY, I’M OVERHEATING and ultimately warped the head on it?
    I’ll leave the rest of the false statements in this blog alone for now.
    The reason i didnt get you a pic is cause our scanner IS broken and I really dont have time for such menial tasks, you have access to the internet. The internet has many pinto pictures. Enough said.
    You didnt see me cause I actually do things. I dont just hang out at home all day. I work nights and I help on that house during the day. Plus I have to find time to maintain my own vehicles.
    Oh and take the picture of me down. I told you not to take it in the first place. Unless you want pics of you all over the web. *shrug*

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