Thursday, February 19, 2009

Me vs. Robot

So we headed off yesterday for the big state spelling bee that Patrick was in. It was in some suburb I had never heard of, but I looked the directions up online and they looked pretty straightforward. We have a navigation system in the car that we call "the robot" but it has become more and more unreliable to the point where sometimes it just never kicks in to give the directions, so lately I've had to bring back-up directions.

So I looked at one of those map sites--MapQuest? ("Google Maps is the best! True dat. Double true!") and jotted down the directions (my printer is still living in the car as part of the decluttering). I also programmed the address into the robot in case it decided to stop being a lazy worthless robot and actually tell me where to go.

Are you starting to guess that I hate the robot? You guessed right! I have a very rocky relationship with the robot--complicated by the fact that Don always defends the robot no matter what crazy shenanigans it causes and he always trusts the robot even when I know the robot is giving bogus directions. I would say that eight out of ten fights Don and I get in are over the robot.

Anyway, the robot decided to kick in and give me directions to the bee and I (stupidly) decided to go along with it. Now, the directions from MapQuest seemed simple--expressway to exit, go straight, turn right--something like that. The robot immediately threw me off by telling me to take an altogether different expressway. At this point, there was no turning back and I was completely at its mercy.

Unlike the straightforward MapQuest instructions, the robot's were like "take this expressway, then exit in the middle of nowhere, then drive on surface streets for way too long, then get on another expressway..."

Are you getting the picture? And did I mention that it was dark out and I was driving in an icy rain? So on the second expressway that had me driving through the airport (at least the kids were temporarily distracted from my rant against the robot as the planes took off and landed in what seemed like inches from our car) the robot made a major blunder and told me to exit where there was no exit. Long story short--I had to drive over five miles out of the way just to get to any exit.

Once I got off the expressway. the robot went completely haywire--beeping and stuttering--and the route that was mapped out in red on the screen looked something like this (I have illustrated it myself):
Then we were like driving in alleys and deserted dark streets, but the piece de resistance came when I reached a dead end and it told me to turn left down a one way street going the wrong way! As soon as I realized what was happening and saw the three lanes of traffic coming toward me, I started honking non-stop and did a crazy-time U-turn. I think I permanently traumatized Patrick's friend who was going to the bee with us. I think at one point I was driving on the sidewalk--I say this because Patrick said "Mommy! You're driving on the sidewalk!"

Somehow, somehow we made it to the bee.

On an upbeat note, the coordinators of the bee had done a really nice job setting things up. There were these adorable bee cookies:
And bee balloons:
Here's the spellerboy himself with a bee cookie!
Unfortunately, Patrick didn't win. He did REALLY well and spelled all sorts of tough words: foggara, Holi, schneke, graffiti--really hard words. But the word he got out on was freaking McCoy. As soon as I heard that I knew he was in trouble--I knew he wouldn't be familiar with that word and that the double "c" would screw him up. I hate that word now! Is it even a word? It's a name! But he was a great sport and said he was happy with the guy that won because he liked him.

Here's Patrick receiving his medal:

He also got an Amazon gift certificate and was on the news last night!!

So, of course, on the way back I was once again at the robot's mercy because it had brought me on such a circuitous route I had absolutely NO CLUE where we were. And, of course, the robot decided to pull one of its stunts and not kick in at all. The screen just said "locating satellites."

So I started driving in what I thought was the right direction as I waited for it to locate its freaking satellites. By now, the icy rain was an icy snow--and I mean icy! The roads were so slippery and the car was sliding around.
Curse you robot!!

I was instructing Andy to try and find some kind of map thing on our cell phones, but he wasn't having any luck. Not to mention I didn't even know what suburb we were in at that point. I also told Andy to text Don (who was home with the little ones) and say that A.) He needed to have my limoncello ready and waiting for me and B.) He better not dare defend the robot!

Finally, I pulled into the parking lot of some kind of community center, just as my car started making this weird unexplained beeping noise. I rolled down the window and flagged down a man and asked him "What suburb are we in?" He looked scared to death and when I told him where we were trying to go he looked really scared. "Wow, you're way off course," he said.

He directed me to the nearest expressway and as I drove away--the window wouldn't go back up!! I think it had instantly iced over from the freak storm.

So, with no help whatsoever no help from the robot, we made it home. And you know what I've named the robot now? McCoy!!

Please stop over and visit my phriend Candid Carrie for the phabulous Phriday Foto Phiesta!!


Jenni said...

Eeek! Down with McCoy!

WTG, Andy! I love the picture of him with the bee cookie!

Jane In The Jungle said...

I am sorry but I am absolutly LMAO!!
Yea for Andy!!

Susie said...

I am sorry his spelling bee run is done. Kill the robot:-) Hee, hee, hee:-)

Allison said...

Great job, Patrick! You went so far and have so much to be proud of!

Sorry about your trip there and back, but glad you got home safe!

SouthernDogwoods said...

I am absolutley trying my hardest not to laugh - I would have been crying because of being so frustrated!

And McCoy is a stupid name! Why is that even in the spelling bee! UGH! Congratulations Andy on going so far!!!

cat said...

Well, congratulations to the big boy that did so well even though McCoy let you down. Gosh,. I don't even think I will be able to drive under those conditions

Jennifer said...

Wow Jen, that drive sounds super frustrating. I think I'd have been a mess.

LOL @ driving on the sidewalk. You daredevil, you! ;P

Have a great weekend Jen!

Rebecca Jo said...

McCoy? Seriously? stupid word! He can knocked out seriously unknown words & then they give an old western name? BLAH...

Patrick did so good - how proud ofyou are him!!! How cute they decorated with all the bees too.. I heart thoes cookies!

And your map cracked me up!!!

Erin said...

What a wacky night!!

Rebecca said...

That's insane! Kudos on actually making it back home to write that post!!!

Jen said...

your little driving story is cracking me up.

And way to go, Andy!!!!

debi9kids said...

Those cookies and balloons are too cute!
Well done spelling. Darn McCoy!

Have a happy Friday!

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! I KNOW I would have thrown McCoy out the window and purposely driven over it several times before making my way back home.

I'm glad you all are safe.

Congrats to Patrick!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG what a night you had. I would have been a nervous wreck. Congrats Patrick for making it so far. And those cookies? Adorable!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny!
ROTFL....You hate your robot, but when we used one of those once, we think that the robot hated US. It had a British accent, and every time we took a wrong turn by mistake, it would have this really annoyed tone, and say, "recalculating...(you idiot)."
Good for Patrick!!
PS I wish I had one of those bee cookies....

Jennifer said...

Anne--I think we have the same robot! Ours says "recalculating" in the British accent too! (And she hates me).

Candid Carrie said...

This little roller coaster ride we call life, huh? If it isn't robots trying to send you on a wild Goose(r) chase it is the anxiety that goes with spelling bees! That place was decorated so cool!

When it comes to great kids, your son is the real McCoy!


Happy Fx4


CaraBee said...

What on earth is a McCoy? Our Tomtom does the same thing. It finds the craziest directions. I always print out mapquest first, just in case. Glad you made it to and fro in one piece and congrats to Patrick on his accomplishment!

Anonymous said...

I have the opposite with our "robot" (which we call System). I never believe what it's telling me so I do something completely different, only to have it patiently and persistently redirect me to its original route which, 10 times out of 10, is correct. Maybe if we traded McCoy and System, both of us would get where we're supposed to go!

Jen said...

McCoy sounds like the perfect name for the robot!