I am obsessed. With a Facebook page. Two actually.
So complete is my obsession that MacGyver is waking every morning to his coffee, served in his red Ferrari mug, and my crash report.
“I need to unfriend them,” I tell him almost every day. “It’s freaking me out.”
It’s, like, an addiction that I feed it several times a day. There have been so many storms this winter and consequently many horrific crashes. Before Facebook I knew there were big truck crashes, I saw evidence of crashes, but there was no play-by-play.
Is this year worse? Are people driving when they shouldn’t or driving faster than they should because the available hours to drive and ultimately the hours to make money have been reduced? Because the 30 minute break is a more difficult calculation in bad weather where piles of snow and sheets of ice eliminate dozens of truck parking spots? Because while regulators limit drivers’ flexibility in the name of safety, the retail powerhouses continue to push and consumers demand two-day delivery?
We drive to the conditions. If we don’t like them we stop, like we did in December in Bloomington, IL when an ice storm that left Oklahoma City looking like a Dale Chihuly glass blown sculpture was heading towards us. There’s nothing we do that is so important that we or anyone else should risk getting hurt. On the road, other people’s speed and miscalculations boomerang. And that worries me.
My Monday, March 3 report was I-75 through Knoxville, closed, multi-semi crash. Ice, I told MacGyver. The following day, Arkansas, a nightmare, thousands stranded. Ice, snow, I told MacGyver.
“Do you really want to go?” he asked this morning. I have been pushing him to hurry with his chores.
“I want to get moving, “ I tell him. “We need money. Taxes to pay, real holidays to fund. It’s time.”
We’ve been off the road almost a month. On a staycation. We spent all our money last year, including our Medi-Spa fund, buying a StepDeck trailer and turning it into a Conestoga, a trailer with a tarp on a frame that rolls forward and backward to facilitate easy loading. It eliminates the need to throw heavy tarps to cover a load. It sucked up the holiday money. We do no traveling on credit, cash only! Here we sit.
It’s been productive for MacGyver. He:
- replaced the wiring and lights that run along the tractor
- installed new batteries and lined the frame to prevent rubbing
- replaced all the fuses with ones that glow when they blow
- reorganized the tractor garage
- added new foot pegs to the Vespa to make my ride more comfortable
- installed a Screaming Banshee air horn on the Vespa
- made brackets to hang the speakers in the tractor bunk
He spent about $1,000 on top-of-the-line components. He showed me the cheap, barely-insulated wire that Volvo used — cutting corners, he says, adds up to new a CEO jet — and the wire that he selected.
He replaced our drained truck batteries with glass matte batteries. We had them four years ago, but because they are rounded, they rubbed against the tractor until they, basically, bled to death. The batteries were excellent. Turns out we probably ran the entire truck for several months on one operating battery. He lined the battery compartment with heavy rubber to prevent them from rubbing raw on a bare metal beam.
While MacGyver was being manly, I donned my Suzie Homemaker apron. Cooking three meals-a-day, breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks. I make wonderful egg dishes, scrambled with anything and everything left over in the fridge, tomatoes, fresh basil, red onion, bacon, chicken, cheddar, provolone, sweet red peppers, roasted Brussels Sprouts. They are fantastic. Ask him.
I did mountains of laundry because it was so easy. And the taxes. What a job! In addition to this year’s taxes, I sorted and scanned back taxes, receipts and documents and then shredded them, filling 17 garbage bags.
There was some fun too. We tore through the second season of House of Cards in three days. We’re now onto Breaking Bad. No one ever mentions the central theme of this dark, compelling and strangely comedic epic is a regular guy, a schoolteacher and father with a typically not-so-perfect life, including an unexpectedly pregnant wife. He is diagnosed with lung cancer and turns to “cooking meth” to pay for his medical care because he doesn’t want to leave his family mired in debt. His sidekick is a street smart, young guy with potential, but no eduation and, therefore, no real, legal, future. This combination, a modern-day American tale, makes it more transfixing.
Our other amusement is babysitting a friend’s African Grey parrots. One, Teelee is besotted with MacGyver. Lovesick. He trembles whenever MacGyver leaves the room. Teelee stands on MacGyver’s fingers and bows his head, offering it to MacGyver to stroke.
The other one, Tecu, or Cucu, is a wild and crazy guy. We’ve been trying to teach them to say Hell Ya! and Hey Now. So far, they don’t like curse words. Instead they say: How are you? Hello? in both MacGyver’s voice and my voice and their Mistress’s voice. They pock, pock, pock like a chicken, bark like a dog, hiccup, say Ewwwww, What? Repeat every electronic sound they hear including the tone that alerts me to texts. And Teelee, who can whistle the Andy Griffith theme song knocks on his cage three times and says “hello.” That sent me to the front door several times until I figured out it was the parrot.
We picked up the bike in Fort Lauderdale and drove a half hour to Le Tub, a burger joint on the Intracoastal Waterway in Hollywood, Florida, across the street from our former apartment. The giant $11 burgers, fresh off the grill, are Oprah famous.
Since we went to the Horizons Unlimited motorcycle travelers meeting in Nakusp, British Columbia last year, I have known that it was only a matter of time before a bigger bike rolls into our garage. MacGyver built the storage box and the ramp to go big.
“What are your first impressions,” he asked once we were settled at a waterview table sharing space with the feral lizards.
“I’m ready to write the check now,” I told him.
“What? Now? No.”
Of course, the bike is bigger, sturdier and more comfortable than the Vespa. I sit higher, in the “pillion” position and I can see more. The passenger foot pegs are in a better position for me than the Vespa, which has a notoriously bad placement. But it’s $20,000 new, $15,000 after we sell the Vespa. I don’t need to tell you that MacGyver is a man who opts for quality and value — in a wife, too — in everything he does. “I’m just doing it to make you more comfortable sweetheart,” he always says. Ha!
Three days of driving and discussing and MacGyver thinks the BMW is great. But the Vespa, he says, taking charge, has a lot to offer. “We’re not ready, yet,” he tells me.
We were saved by four inches. We bought extra insurance on the bike rental so we could test load it into the storage box on the back of the tractor. It’s four inches too long for the current configuration with the ramp.
You and I know, if it had a fit, we’d be having a different conversation.
While MacGyver works out how to accommodate the BMW, I have a couple of years to save up the money, to make it a cash purchase.
So we are ready for the road, looking for loads, and hoping for dry roads.