Feeling Antsy

If you don’t have Cupcakes and Mr. In-Laws in your life, you need to go find some right now, because they are wonderful!

Thursday night as the sun was going down, I opened up my truck bed to start loading it with things I wanted to move. After spraying the ants on the cover with the Meguiar’s Quick Detailer that Mr. In-Law kindly gave me to keep in my truck, I realized that a whole colony had decided to build their new home inside my truck bed.

Ants

Eww…

I kind of freaked out.

My friend and I ran through a sketchy drive-through car wash to clean out the worst of the nasty ant colony. (It’s always great when she says “This is exactly how The Purge starts!” as the whirly cleaner things start coming towards your car…) So, my truck was clean enough to drive home, but I still stomped on plenty of ants as I packed up the truck bed with my least-fragile belongings.

Approximately 38 hours after I discovered the ants, I parked in the shade of Cupcake and the In-Laws’ driveway. We then discovered that the ants had gotten into the grooves of the truck bed cover, so Cupcake spent a solid 15 minutes pressure washing every inch where the ants might be hiding. After the pressure washer, Cupcake and Mr. In-Law washed my whole truck so it was no longer covered in the green pollen and bug guts that I had neglected to clean in several months (whoops…)

We let the car dry, and then Cupcake and I headed to Home Depot. Per Mr. In-Law’s instructions, we found ant traps and insecticide to make sure my truck bed was fully debugged. I eagerly watched as the ants ran through the little white bait houses and disappeared several hours later. By the time it was dark out, Mr. In-Law sprayed the worst edges with insecticide. We figured I should be good to go.

Now not only is my car bug-resistant, but it’s shiny and clean as well! Like I said earlier, you need a Cupcake and Mr. In-Law if you don’t have one!

Thank you, Cupcake and Mr. In-Law, for spending the majority of your Saturday making sure my car was clean and comfortable to drive!

Clean Truck

You know a car is clean when the reflection is that clear!

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New York International Auto Show

The New York International Auto Show ended last week. One car many people were excited about was the Rimac Concept One.

Rimac_Concept_One

Photo from Wikipedia

Road and Track discussed the rare car that they found visiting the New York Auto Show. The electric hypercar goes insanely fast; Road and Track says the car can get to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and that the top speed is 220 mph. Not only standing out in looks, the technology used to build the car makes my head spin. You should definitely check out the Road and Track article to learn more about the shocking new car.

Cars & Coffee & Family

I went to my first Cars and Coffee (er, Coffee and Cars at the time,) when I was fifteen years old. Cupcake started going at approximately the same time (although I doubt I ran into him unknowingly that one Porsche weekend. American Muscle is much more his thing.) Now that Cars and Coffee has grown dramatically in the years since Cupcake and I first went with our dads, three year olds run across the parking lot holding the hands of young fathers and run up to cars, hands outstretched, until they hear “Don’t touch it!” and clasp their small hands tightly behind their back. They push their faces as close to a window as they can without leaving tiny nose prints on the glass. Wide-eyed, they look at the cars like they are magic. They are future car people in the making.

Since Cars and Coffee is very family-friendly, costumed cars are not unheard of. Ghostbusters stopped by several weeks ago and posed for pictures in front of their dressed-up Hyundai and Kia. Faux-tina cars gain lots of attention and always have people standing around discussing the engines and faux-tina technique. Since the costumed cars don’t require a deep understanding of the inner workings of the cars themselves to be appreciated, they tend to attract even the people who only attend the event for someone else.

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This is not to say that the expensive sports cars and tricked out muscle cars go unappreciated. No, they’re the whole reason the event exists! So cars like the Shelby Cobra also stay constantly in the spotlight. Car people particularly like to talk about them, especially when they are related to the designer (ie. Mr. In-Law and Cupcake).

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First, they tell the naive passerby (aka me) that any time you hear a shouted cuss word at a car show, it is probably someone forgetting to step far enough away from the car to avoid burning his or her leg on the exhaust under the door. Then they point out how the seat was angled sideways to give the driver more room. Finally, they mention that the two unusual stripes (yellow in this case) allowed the pit workers to tell which car was theirs during a race. (Mr. In-Law knows a laundry list of other nifty details about the car, but rather than overwhelm me, he and Cupcake left me with these three new tidbits of information to add to my automotive knowledge.)

So whether the attendees of Cars and Coffee are related to famous automotive designers or just want to instill an appreciation of cars in their young children, even small weekends provide something to look at. In the end, it’s all about family.

Good Guys, Part 3

Cupcake, Mr. In-Law, and I headed to the side of the autocross track where we had a good view of every rumbling machine that pulled into line at the gate’s entrance. The pungent aroma of racing fuel and burnt rubber was slightly overwhelming, but it was nothing compared to the occasional cigarette held by one of those carefree individuals who happily filled his and his neighbor’s lungs with wispy white smoke. (Thankfully these individuals were few at the Goodguys show. After all, fire and gasoline don’t exactly mix.)

Our vantage point happened to be next to a black tent housing a table covered in clipboards, helmets, and wind-swept propaganda. The trim wrinkled woman working the booth simultaneously passed out waivers to let young hopefuls ride with a ‘professional’ for a lap around the autocross track, took money to raise funds for a children’s charity, and chased down matte black helmets to attach to the passengers’ heads. A grandmother stepped out from under the tent and stood next to us so she could watch the excitement on her grandson’s face when he rattled in the passenger seat of a stranger’s car around the track. She turned to us and her vivid spring-colored sweater reflected the sun back towards our eyes. She told Mr. In-Law how she and her grandson had gone to the Goodguys car show together every year for the majority of his life. It was now his 16th birthday, so she was happy to pay the $20 fee for him to ride autocross. Grandmother knew the mother wouldn’t be happy when she found out her son had been hastily strapped into a passenger seat and then flown around curves, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. The grandson had a truck he and his daddy had been working on for years, which Grandmother was pleased to say kept him out of trouble. Mr. In-Law responded with a reference to the pieces of an ’81 Trans Am neatly dispersed around their garage. (It was intended to be Cupcake’s 16th birthday present, and they started work on it when he was 13. Four years later, the unused tires were rotted with copper wires poking out, the pristinely painted hood was wrapped in a towel and sitting on a shelf, and the interior consisted of a shiny anti-inflammatory lining and a massive roll-bar system. Car parts don’t come cheap.)

The grandson nervously smiled as his driver rolled to the starting line and revved the engine to make sure it was warm. The worker waved his arm, the timer started, and the car took off. It seemed to slowly turn around the corners and barely make progress on the straight-aways. I then looked at the average speeds for cars going around the track and realized that if I tried to make that sharp of a turn at 60 miles per hour in my truck, I would be skipping sideways through all the cones and rolling like a log so that the pretty black paint job would be completely scratched off. I had a little more respect for the low, heavy rumblers then.

By the time the grandson stepped out of the car and made it to his grandmother, his grin was much more relaxed. He did the usual 16-year-old-boy side-hug-grandma thing, but they both were obviously pleased. I don’t think the boy really cared what his mother had to say this time.

Good Guys 3

Photo courtesy of Cupcake

Riding in a Jeep

For the majority of my life, my favorite car ride ever was probably sitting on the metal backseat of a half-restored Jeep in fifth grade. The red paint was faded, the interior was stripped to the basics, and the car was completely open except for the roll bar. My friend and I bounced and squealed with wind whipping our faces the whole five miles to the restaurant. However, I generally avoided telling the men in my life that this trip was my favorite as they would probably all be horribly offended.

Though I still fondly remember this trip across town as a middle schooler, memories of the In-Law’s red Jeep have overwhelmed the original memory. I particularly remember the first time Cupcake lowered the cloth roof and we hopped in the car to explore the back roads around my house, rather than take up space in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner. The day was sunny and warm, and as Cupcake found how all the roads connected, I embraced the wind and let my hair fly all over my head. (I did decide that I should probably wear a baseball hat in future. I have not yet tested this theory adequately.) We laughed and analyzed all the houses we could see. I squealed way too much at the cows watching us drive by. It was a nice break from the hectic holidays.

Jeep 1

Photo Courtesy of Cupcake

MG or Mustache?

Which came first: the MG, or the mustache?

MGs

MGs are British, and the car designers clearly had their British heritage in mind when picking chrome bumpers and round headlights. The faces embody every stereotype of British gentlemen.

The chrome bumpers look like perfectly combed mustaches on gentlemen holding a steaming cup of tea. The chrome edging on the headlights makes the cars look like they are wearing wiry little glasses. Even the grilles look like proper British noses.

The red MG seems to be headed straight for the London Eye after slowing down by Big Ben. The green MG, in contrast, drives winding roads until pulling up at the great circular drive of an English manor house. Regardless, these MGs embody all the spirit and dignity of England.

Kars for Kids and Coppertone

“You’re gonna burn. You’re gonna burn. Hey, you’re gonna burn!”

I had no clue who the woman sitting under the pop-up tent was yelling at, nor did I know if she was referring to the sun or the state of someone’s eternal soul. But the back of my mind had a couple of things to say about her comments. Your skin is burning, it told me. Whether she’s talking to you or not, you need sunscreen! The front of my mind had a couple of good rebuttals. Well, we’re walking away from the car, it replied. We probably won’t be here too much longer. We’re staying in the shade. I’m sure it will be fine.

Then Cupcake spotted a Daytona Coupe pulling into the open field on the other side of the event. So, further into the sunshine we ventured! At noon. When the sun is brightest.

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My neck now looks as red as my dress. Please, learn from my mistake and put on sunscreen. Even though the spray stinks and it makes your skin sticky and you feel dirty the rest of the day, at least you won’t be Sebastian from The Little Mermaid for the next month.

Sun aside, Kars for Kids was really cool! Though Cupcake and Mr. In-Law told me how the fundraiser used to take up the whole field in front of the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, the rows of cars that did come last Saturday impressed me. American cars took up the majority of the spaces (thank you, Corvettes and Camaros,) but there were a few really nice foreign cars there, too.

For Daddy’s sake, I’ll mention the Porsches first. Cupcake might have been right that I didn’t know the 1600 Speedster was a Porsche until I saw the symbol, but the gorgeous paint and interior definitely caught my eye. And those styling details are exactly why Daddy and Bro say everyone wants one.

Most of the cars we saw deserve posts all to themselves. I learned the difference between the looks of Corvette generations and their Z06 or Stingray options, where the term “trunk” came from, how certain older cars used metal springs hanging off the bumper to protect whitewall tires, and that you can take a severely rusted 1956 Buick Roadmaster and turn it into a gorgeous car straight out of the movies. All of this, and the money helped provide for the kids living there.

Truly, car people are some of the most charitable people I know.

Dodge Demon

Dodge has released their new edition for the Challenger: the Demon.

Dodge Demon–RoadAndTrack

Picture from roadandtrack.com

Even Bro, who far prefers exotic foreign cars and the Porsche 918, talked about this Dodge Demon all weekend. Of course, Cupcake was already aware of this Challenger’s new features. It’s a muscle car that any car guy can get excited about.

Most excitingly, the Demon can do a wheelie. A wheelie. The car is designed for drag racing, and they included all sorts of random features to make that quarter-mile unbelievable. In addition to its wheelie capabilities, the car’s 0-60 time beat records for exotic cars that are far more expensive. The car potentially beats the Tesla Model S, which Motortrend  had already labeled the fastest accelerating car.

All in all, car people are very impressed. As Bro says, it’s a toy. It brings out the kid in all of us.

Good Guys, Part 2

There are three types of women at car shows as I see it: those who are there with their man, those who are there to gain the attention of a man, and those who actually care about twin turbo engines. Growing up, I always fit in the first category. Daddy took me to my first car show at the Nashville Convention Center when I was six. We got our picture taken in front of a shiny sports car with matching introverted smiles and bright copper hair. When we walked through the rows of shiny cars, I held Daddy’s hand and continuously readjusted the winter coat I had tied around my waist. (Those polyester shells are always rather slippery.)

When I was in middle school, Daddy packed up our whole family and drove us down to Birmingham, AL for the Grand Am Rolex Races at Barber Motorsports Park. I burned so badly on the first afternoon that we had to buy me a giant blue jersey scarf to wear over my sundresses for the rest of the weekend. As we walked through pit row the next morning, we got to meet Max “The Axe” Angelelli, driver of the SunTrust car. When Mr. Angelelli saw my swingy orange dress and bright blue scarf, he asked me with his Italian air if I was dressed up for him. I blushed and ducked my head and stood next to him for a picture, even though I was half a head taller. I cheered for the American-Ford-engine-d and Italian-Dallara-chassis-ed SunTrust car the rest of the weekend, even though Mr. Angelelli didn’t drive a Porsche (Daddy’s favorite) and Patrick Dempsey (Mama’s favorite) was two trailers down on the Pit.

In high school, I went with Daddy to “Coffee and Cars,” bracing the windy Panera parking lot to admire the small collection gathered there. We spent most of our time with Daddy’s fellow Porsche Club members whose cars still had a little sparkle in spite of the grey sky. I snuggled into the corduroy shirt I had swiped from Mama’s closet to protect myself from the weather and paid more attention to Daddy’s sniff-sip-sniff routine as he drank his coffee than I did to the modifications other men had made to their cars. We only stayed outside for about an hour, but breakfast and getting to ride in the Boxster made it an official Daddy-Daughter date.

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Picture courtesy of Cupcake

Four years later, Daddy took me to meet Cupcake and Mr. In-Law at “Cars and Coffee,” the same event but moved to the Carmike Cinemas parking lot because so many people attended. With Cupcake, the old Porsche 911s and shiny new Carreras were not the center of attention. No, for shame! It was the old American cars that he wanted to look at. As Daddy and I followed Cupcake and Mr. In-Law up and down the rows, I asked Daddy to explain the names of cars and listened to him critique the engines and interiors. I didn’t understand a word he was saying, but we were connecting and that was all that mattered. When I later discussed “Coffee and Cars” with Cupcake, I learned that it was most definitely “Cars and Coffee.” (He pulled up the Facebook group page to prove it. I had to admit, Daddy seemed to be wrong in this case.) Also, while Cupcake would pass the Porsche Club tent and even admire one or two masterpieces of German engineering, he much preferred the Corvette Z06 and the Saleen Mustang. (Note: The Saleen Mustang is not named after Celine Dion like the Shelby Cobra is named after Cupcake’s cousin Carroll Shelby. When Mr. In-Law said the latter, I checked the name lining the windshield and said I didn’t believe they were. It was an easy way to pretend I had more knowledge about cars than I actually did, and it works quite often. Car guys don’t seem to bother overly much with spelling.)

All this to say, despite growing up around cars and car shows, I never could make much sense of the cars themselves. When I attended one of these events, I went so I could trip along behind my Daddy or my Cupcake and just relish being in their presence. My Mama similarly went to support my Daddy, though she had driven enough quarter miles in high school to understand the ‘antiques’ lining the shows. Mrs. In-Law willingly participated in drag races and car shows and had no problem understanding exactly how much that vague car part her son was requesting would actually cost them. The mamas melded categories one and three: there for her men, but she knew what a twin turbo engine was, too.