This is wordy, and there are no photos, but stick it out because I had a highly comical day of Christmas shopping in Chico in The Bomber today. First and foremost comical because let's face it, a redheaded girl all dressed up and driving a big ugly Caltrans orange diesel truck is just funny. Probably rather standard for the folks that read this blog, since many of them are horse folks and wouldn't think twice about going through life in their diesel trucks, but by the looks on so many people's faces and my own internal glee, I'm thinking it's comical. Also comical because the truck has a small, single cab with one bench seat in it and no room for, well, anything. And by the end of the day said single cab was stuffed to overflowing with me, Georgia my travel dog, Christmas presents, and groceries. Oh and if you're thinking "what about the bed of the truck?" Well that was full too, with my awesome score present for my husband which I can't reveal here since he might, heaven for fend, read this blog before Christmas.
Chico was absolutely PACKED today, no surprise I suppose since its a weekend--oh, crap, THE weekend--before Christmas, but I was still surprised at the sheer numbers and cluserfuck-ery of it all. Maybe I just never left my shopping this late before, but I've never seen the mall and shopping areas in such a state. I had my concerns about parking big ole Bomber in the laughably small parking spots at the mall (seriously, who do they think fits into those? Normal sized cars I guess, haven't driven one of those in a while) but I succeeded without incident all day. The key is to drive to the farthest end of the lot away from the store entrance and viola, manageable parking! I'm a lackluster shopper at best, perfectly content with my bi-annual shopping extravaganza trips when my mom comes to visit, so my patience with the Christmas rush was short lived as expected. Still I got what I needed, scored my dress to wear to family Christmas/dinner for $19 (originally $60, yes!), and was on my way back towards home in no time. It's an hour drive to Chico from our house and The Bomber's radio doesn't work so I entertained myself as best I could singing to Georgia, who became resigned to her fate long ago. Definitely going to have to fix the radio situation, all I really need is a basic radio with the right iPod plug (which I think is a standard plug these days), so I can listen to my NPR shows and music. In the meantime, enjoy my broadcast, Georgia!
I finished up my Christmas shopping for my sister's kids at Tractor Supply, so we know they are getting awesome stuff, right! I love Tractor Supply. So much goodness. Actually it has become rather lacking in the horse tack area but that was never their strength (unless you ride straight western) and has just enough basic stuff in a huge range of farm catergories that it remains my favorite store in town. Plus they have a whole section of cool farm/ranch themed gifts and toys at Christmas. I saw a whole action figure duck hunter set complete with tiny four wheeler and thought it was totally awesome. If only my husband were younger..well, he'd probably still play with it, actually ;) I had the most incredible 5 million piece (I exaggerate, but it had lots of pieces) farm set as a kid, complete with a multi-cow milking stand which at the time my brothers convinced me was for something else entirely. "Yeah see, that's where the cows stick their heads through and then WHAM they chop their heads off!" You can just imagine older brothers gleefully convincing their younger sister of this. I'm not sure I believed them for very long but I'll never forget their authoritative enthusiasm when delivering that news.
I had to stop at AT&T to see if I could bully my way into some plan changes for my husband and I and was informed that I could accomplish everything I wanted, WITH NO FEES, by calling customer service--but it would be a $40 fee in the store to do the same things. We'll see if I can truly achieve my AT&T goals fee-less, I went in there with a head of steam ready to be outraged at their usual nonsense and may have just scared the sales girl into telling me that.
Oh, were you wondering about the title? We've finally arrived at the explanation. I wore my slate gray skinny jeans and knee high brown dress boots today, did my make-up, even wore some dangly earrings which never happens (a friend made the earrings and they have tiny gears on them, they rock!). So, I was all dressed up and out on the town, in my mind. My last stop before home was at the market for a couple of groceries. This is the market of the horse-fascinated Indian owner, who now greets me merrily with "Hello, Horse Lady!" He came to chat with me while I was being rung up and asked what I was getting the horses for Christmas, then looked at what I was wearing and asked if I had been riding today. I was stymied for a minute, as in my mind I was all dolled up and clearly couldn't have been riding. Then I thought about it from his point of view and managed to recover and politely say no. After all, what is my standard riding gear? Gray riding britches and brown, nearly knee high, half chaps. What were my dress up clothes today? Gray tight pants and brown boots. It was another comical moment. My perspective is SO immersed in horses and farm life that sometimes I forget how to look at the world in any other way. I'm like "Whatcha mean, these are my dress up boots, can't you tell?!" No, a non-horse person couldn't tell, and that's fair enough!
I wish I could say that was my last humorous moment of the day but perhaps the most comical happening was yet to come. For some reason I decided to take the dirt road cut-off to our house (that I ride to get to the Wildlife Area, it comes out right below our property) rather than the paved way around. I believe my thinking was "I bomb this way pretty quick on a horse, surely it's faster to get home here than driving around the paved way??" Well faster or not, I regretted my decision and won't do it again. Things went fine the first mile and half and then I came down a little hill and around a sharp corner and around that corner found a nice selection of DEEP potholes. I'm still not used to the way the Bomber sort of free spools quickly down hills like its in neutral so I was going faster than I should have been, certainly. I did my best to avoid the potholes but slammed into one pretty well which sent one of the precariously balanced gallons of milk flying to the floor where it struck my gingerbread barn set I'm going to build tonight--and burst! I mean BURST. Like milk splattered everywhere, on me, the seat, the floor, the bags of presents..and it wasn't stopping. There was a brief hilarious moment as I snatched up the gushing jug, flung open the door, and continued to drive while dangling the quickly-emptying jug out the door, then I realized what a losing battle it was and dumped the last milk out and flung the empty carton over the tool box and into the back of the truck. All this took mere seconds but boy was it dramatic. There was milk fricking everywhere. Luckily I had bought two gallons. And luckily I bought Armor All and planned to shop vac and clean The Bomber when I got home anyway. It took the vac, half a bottle of Armor All, and a couple of old towel rags to clean up the milk debacle and get the truck into acceptable shape. I found milk under the seats, splattered across the driver's door, just about everywhere. Somehow, wonderfully, all my shopping was well wrapped in plastic bags and I managed to remove it all safely with no milk damage. Phew. I'm realy glad all this fun didn't happen in summer as I did the best cleaning job I could do but I imagine there are milky remnants still lurking the truck..and I'll probably get away with it thanks to the 40-50 degree temps, whereas spilled milk cooking in the truck in 100 degree summer would be most unfortunate.
That's it for my excitement. Home safely and glad of it. I like The Bomber more every time I drive it and part of me thinks maybe I *should* just leave it Caltrans orange, as its kind of part of it's charm. And I have a theory that people might leave it alone more thinking its actually a Caltrans truck. There are still random numbers etc visible on it that make it look like a legit service truck, though the logo itself is of course painted over. We'll see.
I almost forgot the best part! When I was cleaning the milk mess I found that the truck has freakin flare holsters! On the floor next to the driver's seat there are are three little flare holsters and there were two ancient looking flares still stuck in there. +500 cool points for Bomber!