I Can’t Make Up This Stuff

I was asked this week, by a lady who laughs at this blog, if I make up the things I write or if I find them somewhere.

To answer that question, let me set the stage to tell you about my morning.

My daughter, Casey, came home after a couple of years in Thailand to find that her car had died a loud and painfully expensive death and had been laid to rest in a junkyard where he selflessly donates his used parts so other Mitsubishi Mirages can live.

Casey was forced to either buy a cheap car or drive the 1990 Buick Century that had previously belonged to her 92 year-old great-grandmother. Her bank account persuaded her to choose free over cheap and for the last year she has been driving an “old lady” car that she named Miss Daisy.

A few weeks ago, Miss Daisy also kicked the oil bucket.

My husband, Greg, was taught by his father, who was taught by his father before him, the Northcutt automotive philosophy, “Why spend money to buy a new car when you can hold an old one together with toothpicks and duct tape?” Greg found Casey a new used-car. It will be delivered to our house as soon as the back half of its body has been replaced.

(It recently survived a wreck, which according to its insurance company, totalled it. But, Greg feels that once a little superglue and a rubber band or two are applied, it will be just the car for his I’m-25-but-I-look-like-I’m-12-and-easy-to-kidnap-if-stranded-on-the-side-of-the-road daughter to drive.)

Until the car is ready, Casey has been forced to borrow a car from me or her brother, Peter.

Not long after Miss Daisy’s passing, my son, Ben, who has been taught from birth the Northcutt ”One for All; All for Cheap” automotive philosophy, lost one of his family’s minivans to ADHD . . . need-Attention . . . owner-has-money-Deficit . . . just-Hyperactivate-me-right-on-over-a-cliff-please . . . Disorder.

So, Ben, who had to spend this week in Louisville, borrowed Peter’s car, leaving Casey, Peter and I to share my van.

Last night my van broke.

Casey, Peter and I are now sharing our only working vehicle other than Greg’s car, . . . a souped-up, diesel, farm truck . . . that smells like a horse . . . makes enough noise to drown out KISS in concert . . . blows black smoke up the engine cover of every car following within a half-mile distance . . . and is currently loaded with dead limbs that have hung from our trees since the ice storm of ’09 . . . which we cut down this week so our yard would look reeaall nice for the fried catfish wedding reception of our other son, Micah, in a few weeks.

The truck has a stick shift. Casey and Peter can’t drive a stick shift. So, in actuality, Casey, Peter and I are sharing a vehicle that only I can drive.

This morning, Casey, who is working as a freelance writer had to cover a breakfast meeting of governmental representatives in Paducah.

I got up at six o’clock to drive Casey to the meeting in the farm truck. We rode to Paducah with the windows down because the chewing gum that held in the air conditioner coolant fell off years ago.

Casey was dabbing at her make-up . . . which she applied to her freckles this morning in hopes that her interviewees would take her seriously and the breakfast hostess wouldn’t offer her the children’s menu. I was mentally writing this blog.

My philosophy is: If I have to live it, I sooooo should get to write about it.

I dropped off Casey a block from the building that hosts her meeting. She didn’t want the guys in ties and the ladies in heels to see her repelling from the cab of a jacked-up truck that her mother was driving . . . something about professional behaviour and embarrassment.

Evidently, Northcuttness runs recessive in her genetic makeup.

As I put this story in writing, the truck and I are parked in an abandoned lot overlooking the Ohio River with an eight foot concrete wall blocking us from the view of the men in ties and women in heels. We are waiting for the meeting to end and for Casey to covertly find her way back to us.

It’s actually not a bad place to spend a couple of hours. (However, I could be spending the time more usefully if the stupid truck had enough gas to get me to Wal-Mart and back. But that is another story . . . )

So . . .

To answer the original question, I don’t invent the stuff I blog. And, I certainly don’t hear about it happening to any other family.

I’ll admit that my stories and blogs may have been stretched just a bit and perhaps dusted with a little extra humor. But the canvas on which they are painted is the truth of my life . . . absurd and aggravating and occasionally awesome as it is.

First published August 13, 2012