Sunday, March 09, 2008

Two Down, Two to GO!

He DID it! Z passed the written driver's test and is now the proud owner of a MN learner's permit! Now, he just needs to complete 6 hrs of behind-the-wheel training and practice driving for 6 months before he can take the driving test to get his license.

It's been a busy week, here in the snowbound north. Driver's tests are only given on Tuesdays here, so Z and I spent Tuesday afternoon taking his written test, then going to the License Bureau to file the paperwork for his permit.

Wednesday, we went to town for groceries. After we put the groceries away, I decided it was a good day for Z to learn some driving skills. At +30F, it was the first above zero, sunny day we have had for awhile. We ventured over to the empty parking lot of the neighborhood bar to learn a few moves. He did quite well for his first time behind the wheel! He practiced left and right circles and learned how to pick a spot and back up into it.

It's totally foreign to me having a 15-yr-old son who has NEVER driven before. Being an old farm girl, I have been driving since I was 8-yrs-old. My first driving experience was pulling the plow behind our old Cub tractor. Our family often camped in remote areas, so my Dad always made sure that I knew how to safely drive every vehicle we owned. You never know when tragedy would strike and I would need to drive back to civilization on my own. Nowadays, there isn't an uninhabited place where a young child can learn to drive.

After learning how to steer in the parking lot, we took the plunge and crossed the highway to take the back road to my parents' house. Z was a nervous wreck, but performed admirably! The only glitch was when Z activated the windshield washers the first time he used the turn signal.

I was impressed with Z's maturity when he got out of the truck: "Are people serious when they tell me that a year from now, kids my age will actually attempt to drink and drive? There's WAY too much stuff to keep track of while driving. WHY would someone muddle their senses by drinking before driving?" I pray that he remembers this statement in the future!


At 3/09/2008 12:16 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Congrats to Z! Good job, you guys!

15 seems young, though. We have be 16 here in BC and we have a graduated licensing system, as does Ontario.

At 3/09/2008 12:31 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks WC!

It sounds like Canada has as many variations as we do between states. In Alberta, you can get your permit at 14.

I totally agree with graduated licenses. We're starting that, a bit, here.

At 3/09/2008 1:42 PM, Blogger Hammer said...

Sometimes 30 is too young to drive.

Glad Z is taking it seriously, I'm sure he will do fine.

At 3/09/2008 1:48 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

YAY and congrats Z!!!!!

At 3/09/2008 3:08 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Hammer, agreed!
Z has seen what can happen to irresponsible people. Hopefully he'll keep remembering those lessons.

Thanks Bridg!

At 3/09/2008 4:42 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

Way to go, Z! We all know that the driving thing gets easier with practice. I think Michigan expects more hours of practice now before a 16 yo can get a full license.

At 3/09/2008 5:33 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Squirl!

Here in MN, you have to wait 6 months after you get your permit, before you can get a driver's license. A parent has to sign a statement saying that the student has driven at least 30 hrs, at least 10 of those hours at night. Getting those 10 hrs of night driving will be a bit tricky during the summer. :(

At 3/09/2008 5:49 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Great news! Yeah, it's funny. A lot of my cousins already knew how to drive. But me being "from the city" of course didn't drive until I was 16.

Soon, you'll be sending Z on errands. Heh, with driving comes responsibility.

At 3/09/2008 9:39 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Illinois has all kinds of new laws regarding teen drivers - from the number of teen passengers you can have at one time to a curfew. Lemme tell you though, I'd trade places any day. Driving out in the stix is a lot easier IMHO than driving in the city. There's much less distraction, I think. I personally HATE driving. I won't do it unless I absolutely have to.

Practice practice practice is the key. That was my problem - since I rarely drive, I suck at it. Though, thankfully I live in a place where I can get around without a car...

At 3/10/2008 8:05 AM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Way to go Z!

Here, we have always had to be 16 to drive (although back in my day, there was no such age-limit on flying - don't know about now).

And also back then, country people did drive earlier too - because you could get away with it there.

At 3/10/2008 10:51 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Way to go Z.. Great job handling your self. We are proud of you my boy. Well Not MY Boy.. LOL... but you get the idea. Great job and well done. glad to hear you are doing well. Is this the bar out by your place that M and M used to clean? Just wondering. Unless your parents have moved that is the only bar I can imagine out by your folks place.

At 3/10/2008 4:49 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

So, what you're saying is that MN is not the place to be on the road for the next six months? I kid, I kid! I'm sure Z will be a great driver, even if he does have to learn in a Ford. Sorry, couldn't resist that one, ether. ;)

At 3/10/2008 7:14 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

Yippee! Good job Z and you too,Tshs. I know what we moms go through to get our kids to this point.

You can tell Z that Cassie is studying for her driver's license written test. We have to be 16 here, just like WC in BC. Cassie drives like a pro and Z will too, in no time.

Smart son you have there. ;)

At 3/10/2008 7:14 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, I forgot about errands! I used to love running errands for my folks after I got my license. ANY excuse to drive by myself was a treat!

Laura, I agree! I'd hate to have to teach a kid how to drive in city traffic! Cities have 100X more idiots on the roads than we do, and we have plenty. :(

Jeannie, Z has to be 16 to get his license here too.

I think it's still legal in MN for farm kids to drive a tractor, from field to field, on public roads.

Tweets, that bar hasn't been there for years. It's an antique shop now. I'm talking about the big bar between our house and Carol's.

Courtney, it should be safe for the next 6 months, as we'll be driving with Z. After that WATCH OUT! I'm really worried about Z's best friend driving. I don't think he can shut up long enough to pay attention to the road.
And don't be badmouthin' my truck! ;)

At 3/10/2008 7:35 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Cherie!

In MN, we have to take the written driver's test to get a learner's permit. At least he has that part behind him now.

Z hasn't been driving much yet as the roads are still pretty slippery. By next month we should be able to take him out every day.

I'm certain that Cassie will pass the test with no problem. After all, we both have smart kids with loads of common sense.

At 3/11/2008 10:03 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Ok I know which bar you are talking about now. It took me a minute since I have been gone to long to remember everything. LOL...

At 3/11/2008 11:30 AM, Blogger VV said...

Yeah! Congrats Z!!

At 3/11/2008 2:11 PM, Blogger zydeco fish said...

Good news. You know, I think my mother, who was raised on a farm, could drive very young, but she also stared smoking when she was 9... I hope the two go together any more.

At 3/13/2008 10:33 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Yay for Z! As far as having a space to drive in the country, it does still exist. K is driving and he doesn't have his permit. I don't mind though, because it's up on country roads and he can't do much harm. It's nice for him to have a little "head start".

At 3/14/2008 7:20 AM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Hey, gal - its that time already?

Sounds like Z is doing really, really well. I still get my signals mixed up with my wipers and I've been driving a gazillion years.

Having the first lesson in the winter time is something too!

Congrats Z!!!!

At 3/15/2008 1:07 AM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

You liked doing them?

Heh, come to think of it, yeah, getting out was fun no matter what it was.

At 3/15/2008 9:09 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Tweets, yeah, the other bar doesn't have a very big parking lot.

Thanks VV! Your turn is coming up fast.

ZF, I had too much parental supervision to do that.

Notta, I think that head start is a HUGE advantage for K!
We do have quite a few remote roads, but they're 30 miles away and not always navigable. :(

Gardenia, I showed Z how to operate all the different gizmos in the truck. I showed him how to operate the wipers, and turn on the high beam headlights on the turn-signal level. I forgot to tell him not to push the button on the end of the lever...unless the windshield is dirty...oops.
We haven't had a lot of days with suitable conditions for a new driver to learn the ropes. The ice, slush, and snow will be gone in the next few weeks, so we can hit the road.

ZS, EXACTLY! At the time, running errands seemed like such an independent thing to do. Now it's just another frustrating chore. :(


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