Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Ride(s)

Halloween was an amazingly nice day. The sun was out, not a cloud in the sky, no wind, just warmth. I wondered why we couldn't have had a Halloween like that when my kids were young enough to go trick or treating. Instead, we had year after year of shivering our way from door to door in thin costumes, and eventually resorting to covering the costumes with big, bulky jackets.

It was such a nice day that I couldn't resist getting in one last ride just before sunset. I never know what kind of problems Lostine is going to give me until she gives them to me, and then all I can do I try to prevent her from pulling that trick again. It's too bad we can't always bribe our horses into not tricking us by giving them treats.

She pulled a few crow hops, refused to stop, and tried to turn to the center of the round pen to order me off her back. Fortunately, I was able to correct every stunt fairly quickly. It's encouraging to know that it no longer takes a miracle to get this mare in line.

In other news, my son failed his second driver's test. He had his own car with replacement registration papers this time, and though a snowstorm did come through in the morning, he didn't have many excuses this time around. The word on the street is that every high school student who attempts to take their driving test in the city gets failed. Every high school student who takes his driving test in a certain distant rural community passes. Unfortunately, we've been taking the test in the city, because it is closer.

After looking at the things he was marked down for in both tests, we figured that if he can successfully parallel park, he can get a passing score. On his first test, he failed because he hit the curb while backing up. On his second test, he failed because he parked too far away from the curb. All he has to do is get it somewhere in between. All the other items he was marked down on were just a matter of taste for each DMV employee. One wanted him to make tighter turns, though his turns are really just fine. It's not like he turns into the oncoming lane. There's nothing we can do to prevent him from getting marked down for those types of nit-picky things, but we can help him with his parallel parking.

So, I took him out driving Halloween day. First we practiced parallel parking in a parking lot, pretending like the trees were cars and the cement blocks were the curb. Then we found a neighborhood that actually had curbs, and we drove around practicing parking behind and between vehicles. People must have thought we were really weird. We'd take all this time backing into parking spaces that we could have easily drove forward right into, and then we'd turn around and drive off after all that effort.

Quite truthfully, we have no use for the parallel parking skill, because everywhere we go is rural and you just park in the dirt on the shoulder of the road. There aren't enough cars for us to have to worry about backing into small spaces against curbs. Maybe my son will go to a college in a city where he'll need to use the skill, but I haven't parallel parked in twenty years.

While we were driving around we saw people putting up haunted houses and other Halloween decorations. I suspect the only way we could get anyone to come to our house is to set up some major attraction that they could clearly see from the street while driving by. We are just too far off the beaten path to get any ghouls knocking on our door.

My son has his third driver's test in a couple of weeks. Please send him some positive vibes, because if he doesn't pass this time around, we have pay a lot of money and waste a lot more of our time to put him through a hands-on driving school in the city. That means driving him to and from his classes, an hour in each direction. Argh! My schedule is already full and I already have enough stress in my life.

He's already taken a driving class online and been driving under our instruction for nine months. He's a very good driver -- he's just not a very good test taker. He's a chip off the old block in that he lets his nerves get the best him. The good news is that he is definitely motivated to get his driver's license. He has a new girlfriend, and they enjoy each others company very much, but right now they both have to rely on their parents to drive them on their dates. That's a drag.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Here's wishing him the best of luckon his test. Remember, the third time is the charm, right? ;)
You just never know when parallel parking is needed. I had to do it for my driving test and I thought I'd never need it again. Whenever I go downtown in any city I have to parallel park and this last year I've been parallel parking every week so that I could park on the street in front of my classes. It really is a good skill to have.

Leah Fry said...

Poor kid. Hope he's not letting it get him down. Sure hope he can pass it the next time so you don't have to run him back & forth.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm glad you're Halloween weather was so pleasant, too. Our snow melted and the winds died down and by late Saturday morning we had calm, warm weather in the upper 60's. It felt summer-like after all the snow and freezing temps. lol!
Good for you pegging Lostine and not letting her get away with her tricks. Baby Doll always pulled those crow-hops and walking to the barn to 'ask me' to dismount at the beginning of every ride. I'm sure she'd be even worse now if I tried to ride her. I'm just not ready for her 'tude'. bah.

All your talk of driving and licenses is interesting...and scary for me. With two boys of the same age who will be ready for driving at the same time I'm sure that will be a stressful time for me. My parents were so nervous driving with me that they ended up hiring a company to drive with me instead and give me instruction.
Ironically, the company was very honest and after the second drive, told my parents they were wasting money and should just take me in for the driving test. I think I thrive on taking tests and passing challenges, though.
I passed first try. I hope my sons are as skilled and focused.
I hope Colt makes it this next time. You're a great Mom for helping him hone his skills.


fernvalley01 said...

Better luck to your son next time ,3 is the charm.
Glad you got out for a ride

Breathe said...

Yikes - sounds like it would be worth the drive to the other spot with the easier DMV folks.

I don't even remember my driving test - but I remember the wonderful freedom of driving everywhere!

Hopefully third time will be a charm!

Anonymous said...

I was lucky. My family moved away from the really rural area before I took my test, but when I did get around to it the instructor was an older gentleman and was very nice. I was such a bundle of nerves lol, nearly stalled the stick shift car I was driving - but still passed! :)

That rural driving test might be the way to go, the extra driving to get there is surely better then the chauffeuring to the driving school?

Best of luck! :)

manker said...

that's so great you stayed in the full and upright position :) Way 2 go...

lotsa horsey adventures here too.. .amazing animals huh?

Katharine Swan said...

Wow, your city is picky about driver's tests! I didn't have to parallel park at all -- they just had me drive around for about ten minutes, and that was it.

In any case, I will be sending your son lots of positive vibes. I'd coach him to take several deep, calming breaths before he starts, just so that his nerves don't get the best of him.

Promise said...

I practiced parallel parking for about 4 hours the week of my driving test, because I knew if I had to do it, I would have failed. Good thing I did practice, because they made me parallel park, back in a straight line and 3-point turn. I must have gotten the grumpy guy, because not a single one of my friends had to do anything other than 3-point turn. I can honestly say I have not parallel parked since then, lol.

Good luck on the 3rd test...3rd time's a charm!