The Astronaut Button

So, This is What It Feels Like To Be An Astronaut…

I discovered a nifty button that turns my Hyundai into a zippy little rocket. My driving experience hasn’t been the same since.

I’ve been very happy since buying the Kona last September, don’t get me wrong. But it’s always lacked oomph. At least compared to my Mazda 3. There’s a tricky left turn I have to make on my way home from work every day that requires me to stomp my foot down on the gas pedal sometimes to make sure I can squeeze in front of oncoming traffic. The experience is always a bit nerve-wrecking.

One day a couple of weeks ago I was waiting at a red light and happened to notice the SPORT MODE button next to my gearshift. I’ve always known it was there but never paid it much attention before.

“I wonder what this does,” I said out loud, and gave it a push. When the light turned green, I tapped on the gas…and accelerated through the intersection so quickly, the centrifugal force literally pushed me back against the seat.

“Whoa,” I said, channeling Keanu Reeves in The Matrix.

According to the interwebs, Sport mode enhances driving dynamics with more immediate acceleration response, plus an increased steering effort that provides better road feel.

Boy, does it.

“Sport mode” my ass. This is everyday driving mode now, my friends. Why not? Pushing the button boosts the RPMs, and I’m sure it has some impact on gas mileage, but the Hyundai forums I visited said the difference is negligible. Why go 0 to 60 in 8.3 seconds when you can go 0 to 60 in, I don’t know, half the time?

Life is too short for ambling along like a grandma. (No offense to grandmas or those who prefer to stop and smell the roses, of course. Sniff away. I’ll wave to you when I’m zipping past.)

Because Weekends Have Two Days

We were originally going to go kayaking on Saturday, but Tara said, “We’ve been doing so much playing, we’re neglecting all this work around the house.”

Well, nobody ever said, All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy, but I suppose it does leave him with a pile of dishes in the sink and no clean underwear for the work week, so I conceded her that point.

And we got shit done.

She did say we could go today instead, an idea I initially shot down. Sundays are traditionally my day to unwind and mentally prepare for the week ahead. But then I had an epiphany: if Saturday’s the only day you can have fun, then every weekend only lasts one day. Seems like a huge waste of time, so we were out the door bright and early, kayaks strapped to the pickup.

The advantage to arriving early: there was only one other vehicle in the parking lot. The disadvantage to arriving early: it was a surprisingly chilly 55º. And of course, we were dressed for kayaking—shorts and t-shirts. Stepping into the water was cold, but once we started paddling we warmed up quickly. Especially once the sun got higher. By the time we left 2.5 hours later, it was 20 degrees warmer. Currently, it’s 93º. How I long for that early morning chill now.

The best part about today’s kayaking? We were paddling through a quiet little cove and I spotted a great blue heron perched on a rock. I approached very stealthily and got to within maybe ten yards before he took flight.

Isn’t he majestic? I’ve always had a fondness for herons. The greater and bluer, the better.

That’s the really nice thing about kayaking. You really feel a kinship with nature when you’re out there. You definitely won’t find that on a motorboat.

Right On Time, Wrong On Date

I was on the road for business again last week. This trip almost went completely off the rails.

I arrived at my first destination, an automotive repair shop in Hartford, five minutes before my scheduled 2:00 interview on Thursday. Walked inside, met the gal I was to speak with, and she informed me that our interview was actually scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday.

(It wasn’t.)

Furthermore, she was unable to meet with me right then, because she was in the middle of Something Big.

Now, I knew I had our interview time correct. But I couldn’t very well argue with her, so we made plans to meet the following morning before I left town.

My hotel was right across the street, and luckily, they were able to check me in early. They actually upgraded me to a suite, which was super cool. I pulled up my email exchange with her, and sure enough, it specified not only the date and time, but the day of the week. Thursday. July 15. 2:00 p.m. I later found out she had me confused with our videographer, who had scheduled a shoot for Friday afternoon. Apparently, she thought we were the same person.

No big deal. I had another interview at 3 p.m. at the brewery downtown, so I headed on over. We’d planned to sit at a table on the patio, since the place didn’t actually open for another couple of hours. It was just a convenient spot to meet. I got there, and of course, nobody was there. All of Main Street resembled a ghost town, actually. That’s when I remembered I’d had two missed calls during my drive down the interstate that morning. Once again, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach…

Yeah. I had voicemails from the guy I was meeting, apologizing that he wouldn’t be able to make it.

I’d been in Hartford all of two hours and was 0 for 2.

Fortunately, he was able to speak with me over the phone, so I dashed back to my hotel room, gave him a call, he conferenced his wife in, and we got the interview done. Not in person, as I’d hoped, but at least I was able to rally.

My third interview, Friday morning, went off without a hitch. As did my rescheduled one immediately after with the auto shop lady.

Things may not have gone quite as smoothly as last time, but it was another productive trip and in the end, I got what I came for.

Plus, I enjoyed my time in Hartford, brief as it was. I ended up going back to the brewery once they opened, and it’s quite the charming spot. They make a really good sour, too.

Tara and I are planning a weekend trip to Sioux Falls in two weeks and we ended up booking a room at the same hotel in Hartford. It’s only 11 miles from Sioux Falls and the hotel was way cheaper than anything we could find there.

That’ll be my third trip across the state in six weeks, but hey, at least we’ll zip along thanks to the astronaut button!



Categories: The Great Outdoors, Travel, work

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

33 replies

  1. I love a good sour.
    Awesome heron shot… those graceful tweeters are one of my favorites as well. Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’m off to check my car for an astronaut button.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you happen to see my blue heron video from last weekend? It was an incredible experience for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounds like a super cool button. Want.

    Very envious of your early and pretty kayaking.

    Like

  4. Sport mode hmmm…..My Subaru has a sport mode I can shift into. My car knowledge is centered on the essential need to know items so when the sales rep started explaining it to me I basically tuned him out assuming I wouldn’t be using it. Hold on… Google tells me it is used for driving uphill and also when “power is needed for rapid acceleration”! Kicking myself for not listening and for missing out on a lot of fun with this car. The heron is majestic btw, but now I’m really focused on this rapid acceleration option…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My New Beetle came with a Sport Mode and I was terrified to use it. Finally did when I went with a caravan of other NB owners on a trip across Mulholland Drive in L.A. We all communicated via hand held radio thingies and I remember stopped at a light when then leader said “Jinjer? Now would be a good time to go into Sport Mode.” Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

    I don’t know if this will help you guys or not, but I worked with a lady who liked to go away with her family on the weekends. EVERY weekend they did something like go to the lake or whatever. So, the entire family did the house cleaning on Thursdays after she got home from work. Then they had from Friday after work through Sunday night to play.

    That blue heron photo is the coolest!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The park beside the Marina has a little bay which is adjacent to the marina where all the boats park.

    There’s a heron in that bay.

    On the other side, across a path, there’s a pond which is usually occupied by a couple of swans and a bunch of ducks but the heron and sometimes goes there too. I wonder if it’s the same one or if there’s two…

    They are majestic aren’t they. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed voicemails from people canceling on me, while I sit there waiting, twiddling my thumbs. Annoying. But herons are pretty fantastic to watch, aren’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That drinks looks delish. What flavor is it? The place our friend works is celebrating 5 years this Saturday with different bands playing all day. I’m hoping we’ll make it over there with some friends.
    Cool about the speed button an the kayaking and getting shit done. #adulting

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s called Currantly Trending. They describe it as “a tart, kettle soured mash, heightened with intense black currant fruit that explodes flavor across your palate in our version of a tasty sour beer.”

      It was kind of explosive, actually.

      Like

  9. I just ordered plastic flamingos to put in my friend’s yard on her birthday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I need a new vehicle and I’m enthralled with the idea of having an astronaut button. It sounds cool, like I’d be Judy Jetson as I raced around the universe. I haven’t seem a heron in years. Don’t know what that means, other than I need to start traveling again.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Can’t quite get my head around going to a Brewery and ordering a sour….

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My dream schedule is 4 days on, 3 days off. (Actually, my dream schedule is 0 days on, 7 days off, aka retirement, but…) The weekend needs to be 3 days long, every single week: 1 day for chores around the house, 1 day for running errands, and 1 day to relax. I think that’s very reasonable, don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

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