Sunday, May 13, 2012

jake's 18th birthday + a tractor pull

It seems like every National Scrapbooking Day I make these big plans to sit and scrap all day, and then something comes along to change those plans for me. One year it was a taekwondo demo. Another year I think I was actually working in Boston that weekend (yes, on a Saturday!!).

But this year? This year I didn't mind having my plans changed at all, because it meant that I got to go to a surprise party for my cousin's 18th birthday/graduation!!

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You see, my uncle Mike (my Dad's brother) builds chassis for pulling tractors. Actually, he designs and builds them, and has this amazing shop filled with every metal working tool you could ever wish for. He's incredibly talented, and was actually asked not once but twice to be on Monster Garage, but had to decline both times. Once he was in the middle of a build and didn't have time to fly out to California for a week to tape, and the second time he was in the hospital after a very, very bad motorcycle accident.

Mike's been doing this for a very long time, and his son Jake has grown up working in the shop and going to tractor pulls for more than ten years. He's had many of the same people from the events around for most of his life, and they all decided to get together at a pull last weekend and throw a surprise birthday part for him.

With ribs. Lots of ribs!

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This is how laid-back my cousin is. I showed up in my little car (the pull was actually only about 40 minutes from our house), then Darren showed up in the 4Runner a few minutes later. Jake was working on someone's truck at the time and was oblivious. Then his mom and sister showed up, which I think started to clue him in, because they never go to pulls. And then out came the ribs and potato salad and cake and balloons, and his only response? "I didn't know ya'll were planning this."

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Yes, Jake, it's called a surprise! :)

He has that dry wit thing going on...which explains why his favorite TV shows are House and Big Bang Theory.

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I was quite happy to get to see Michelle (Jake's sister and my car twin), too!

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And of course there was homemade ice cream!

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Now that Little Ace (my uncle's business is called Ace Chassis) is graduating, he's headed off to college in the fall to study Industrial Systems Engineering. He's so sharp when it comes to anything even remotely mechanical or structural, so I think he's going to do really well.

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After the party, we spent a little time hanging out and taking a tour of everything before the pull started later that evening. I found myself falling absolutely in love with this trailer/workshop. Just look at that gorgeous hardwood floor! It's hard to believe they park a tractor on it.

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And speaking of the tractors, here's one of them. If you've heard of Kentucky Whoopie Pies, then this is the tractor from the same farm where they're baked. And if you haven't heard of them, don't feel bad because before last weekend I hadn't either!!

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And, just in case you're ever at a tractor pull, keep an eye out for either the Ace Chassis logo or an Ace of Spades cut into the tractor chassis. That's one that my uncle built!

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Darren and I popped back home for a few hours, but drove back out later that evening to see some of the tractors in action (and also to eat snow cones and whoopie pies).

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I confess to knowing exactly nothing about the sport, but it's always fun to take pictures of something new!

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And next Saturday? Next Saturday I'm going to be at Little Ace's high school graduation!