Posts Tagged With: traffic cones

Construction Zone Ahead, Please Merge, and Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

It’s Gratituesday! Like the person with a leaky roof, I’ve got gratitude options pouring in on me. I haven’t got enough buckets and pans to set out to contain it all. To zero in on any one of them feels somehow unfair to the rest of my gratitude.

Weird, I know.

One thing that I’ve thought about for a few years now might seem dumb. But it keeps coming to mind even amid the more obvious, showy, big or happy things I’m thankful for.

Up near Flagstaff, actually.

Up near Flagstaff, actually.

I’m thankful today, and have been for a long while, for our amazing freeway system here in the Phoenix area.

When we first moved here nearly two decades ago there existed a north/south freeway of two lanes each direction and an east/west freeway of two and occasionally three lanes. Oh, and one that kind of veered off to the south and east. At least that’s how I remember it. Traffic always backed up all day long, all night long. At certain areas traffic bottle-necked into a tangle that made side streets seem the faster route.

Then the roads started getting widened. It’s tough to see the good when an already too small road becomes a construction zone. But, I remember seeing those workers out late at night with work lights blazing, or during the day in ungodly summer conditions and thinking how grateful I was to them for being willing to work such a difficult and demanding job. When the construction finished I remember thinking how amazing it felt to zip through town so quickly.

Every year for a while, more roads grew out of the desert, then existing ones widened, tweaked, and modified. Every change makes life easier to navigate in a car and simplifies my day.

Phoenix and surrounding ‘burbs now boast a loop that services nearly every community with quick, easy access to a freeway and few areas that truly jam up too much. And more roads continue under construction. To me, it’s an engineering marvel that such things exist.

Uh oh, traffic cones, better slow down a bit.

Uh oh, traffic cones, better slow down a bit.

My Dad worked for the Department of Transportation as an engineer while I grew up. I remember looking at the blueprints, the fancy drawings, the meticulous hand lettering,  the pages and pages of notes, and wondering what that had to do with roads. Back then the math was done with slide rules and on paper, and then calculators; the drawings done without the aid of computers. Amazing stuff now that I think back on it. To this day when Dad drives along a road he helped engineer in one way or another he comments, remembering details and stories about specific curves, hills, turns, side rails and even striping. Is that something? I think so. It says he put himself into his work. He took pride in it. He cared about what he did.

To men and women like him back then when the freeway system was in its infancy and toddlerhood, to the many people now, with the roads somewhere between teenager years and midlife crisis, I feel a great desire to say “Thank You.” And to those who took paper and drawings and transformed them into asphalt and bridges, concrete and smoothness, I also want to say “Thank You.”

Rarely a day goes by that I’m not a recipient of the blessings of their imagination, brilliance, hard work, and sweat.

If you know someone who works on roads somehow from beginning ideas to end product or somewhere in between, could you pass along my thanks? I’m not sure of any other way to do so.

And by all means, in construction zones, slow down!

Cute car I spotted on the North loop 101 headed west. Don't worry, my passenger snapped the pic.

Cute car I spotted on the North loop 101 headed west. Don’t worry, my passenger snapped the pic.

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Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Traffic, Transportation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Good, The Bad, The Not So Pretty of Parenting Moments

The statute of limitations has expired on this one, so I think I can safely share this story with you.  Why I am sharing a moment of weakness is beyond me.  I must be tired this morning.

At the time this story occurred, time, repetition and lack of forward motion worked against me.  Keep those three points in mind. Also, please note that I am normally a calm, well behaved citizen.

Also, it had probably been a more stressful morning than usual.  What could have caused additional stress at our house at that point in time could have been one of hundreds of things. It was probably several dozen of a hundred that put me in a dither that morning.

Why do I feel like I’m presenting testimony in a court hearing? Enough!  On with the story.

My daughter  who shall remain nameless, was needing a ride to school.  Fine.  We’d done that countless times.  This particular day she or I, let’s just say we to simplify things, were running a bit late.  But, if we didn’t have to stop for too many long red lights she’d still make it to class on time.

Arriving on the school property I slowed to the requisite 8 mph.  A sigh of exasperation crossed my lips as I saw them.  The dreaded orange cones.

It was encouraging         0603100930

I hated the stupid orange cones.  We called them the orange cones of death.  Why?  The cones were school security’s way of directing traffic the way THEY thought it should flow.  I’m sure if you have hundreds, nay, thousands, of parents driving whichever direction they wanted whilst dropping off their beloved offspring for a day of molding and shaping their ever eager minds, it could become a traffic jam of epic proportions.  I understand that.  I really do.  So I would dutifully follow the path of least resistance that occurred by following the orange cones.

The flow of traffic, however, made little sense to the sleep deprived parental mind when there remained only 2 minutes until the tardy bell rang.  Looping all the way around the parking lot, over countless speed bumps designed to destroy what little alignment remained in the car was a waste of precious time and sanity. What made the traffic flow even more ridiculous was that the drop off point was a mere twenty feet away  from where the orange cones of death began their path.  A simple, quick left turn would allow a nearly immediate drop off with minutes to spare.  That would free up time for the child to amble off to class, helping little old ladies across the hallway, shaking hands respectfully with the principal and offering to carry a heavy box for a teacher, if she so desired.

A quick left hand turn would ease the stress of certain parents, would improve the morning race to get everyone out the door, and would, in fact, lend itself to beginnings of world peace.  A quick left hand turn would be logical and there was little logic in this traffic pattern which required a circuitous route.

I might add here that there were very few cars driving this gauntlet of ridiculousness with only a couple of minutes until classes started.  The parking lot was nearly void of moving cars, there were virtually no students in the area, and the security golf cart guys were off having their morning laugh together.

Normally I would simply resign myself to the fate of another bumpy slog over the river and through the woods of the parking lot to drop of said child at the doors to the halls of learning.

That would be a normal reaction.

This particular day was not normal.  (Reference the above one hundred or more reasons for stress.)

This one morning of many something in me snapped.

“Stupid! Orange! Cones!” I yelled.  “Not today!”

I raced my engine up to 12 mph and turned the wheels sharply to the left and simply drove over the stupid orange cones.

Yes, this was in full sight of the front office.

I didn’t care.

I felt triumphant.

I felt victorious.

I had stuck it to the man.

I felt a little embarrassed.

“There ya’ go, my love,” I said as we pulled neatly up to the curb.

My daughter was laughing hysterically.

I stifled my own laugh.

“Have a nice day!” I chirped.

“I love you mom!” she said through her laughter. “Get a nap today, I think you need it!”

I watched her amble in through the doors of the school and drove off into the sunrise.

*****     *****     *****     *****      *****

For the most hilarious read you’ll have in months, I can assure you laughter with tears if you follow this link, written by a brilliant blogger from South Africa. Parenting for Dummies by 23 thorns.  Enjoy!!

Categories: Humor, Traffic | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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