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Hammer meets Nail

October 5, 2010

Now that the Vitesse family is reunited, Hammer has even less time to himself. He gets up early in the morning just so he can do his homework in peace. 

Of course, he even his early morning studying is not enough; Hammer frequently misses the bus while finishing up the last few homework questions. As a result, he often has to ride his bike to school and ends up arriving late.

Thankfully, after school he can usually bum a ride off a classmate – so long as he doesn’t dawdle.

Not having a car sucks big time for Hammer. When he wants to hang out at the pool hall, he has to wait until his neighbour, Mr Tocante can give him a ride. Of course, the only time that Mr Tocante is willing to drive into town is at 6am, so none of Hammer school friends are there to hang out. And playing foosball with Mr Tocante just isn’t that cool.

Hammer was sure his social life would be heading down the tubes, but then his parents surprised him on his 16th birthday. They’d scraped together enough money to buy an old truck, and then spent hours fixing it up so that any high schooler would love to have it. “Happy Birthday, Hammer!” they cheered.

Hammer couldn’t beleive it. What an awesome birthday present! A little freedom would make a huge difference in Hammer’s school performance AND his social life. Now, what to name his truck? The answer is obvious: Nail.

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Reunited and it feels… like a nice pickup?

October 1, 2010

Things just get harder and harder for the Vitesse Family.

One evening, just as Randi and Shark get Hammer settled in bed, the home alarm goes off. Thankfully, Hammer is a sound sleeper, but his parents are startled and stumble out the door and down the front steps.

To their horror, they find a bugular about to hotwire the cars. The CARS!

Shark is about to call the cops, when Randi jumps the bugular yelling, “Get your hands off my hot rod!”

Thankfully Officer Jeb arrives before Randi can do much damage. After Jeb loads the burgular into the cruiser, he stops and turns towards Randi, “Hey, aren’t you Randi Vitesse?” Randi slowly nods. He continues, “Didn’t you use to ride with Curt Windham’s SIMCAR team?”

Again, Randi nods. Jeb continues, “What happened? I haven’t seen you on the circuit in years. You coulda been something!” Randi explains that she gave up her career in SIMCAR racing in order to raise her family. It wrenched her heart to give up racing, but her family just meant too much to her. Jeb understands. “Yeah, I’d be detective now too, if I didn’t have a family. But balancing family life and a career is not easy.” He walks back to the cruiser, and then turns back, “Real shame. You woulda gone all the way.”

In the days that followed, Randi couldn’t shake her gloom. Just when Shark thought it couldn’t get any worse, relief came. Their daughters Goldi and Guppi came to visit to cheer up their mother. And they brought good news.

Guppi explained to her mother that she and Goldi were old enough to be released from foster car, and that they had both decided to move back in with the Vitesse family!

Goldi shared the news with Shark and was greeted with a hearty hug. “We’re do glad!” Their parents exclaimed. That’s when Guppi noticed the worried look on Hammer’s face. “Don’t worry, little brother. We’ll build our own apartment – you won’t have to share a room with your sisters.” Hammer looked relieved, and thus the construction began. Money was still tight for Vitesse family, but Goldi and Guppi both got jobs, and there was enough cash to build a modest apartment next to the garage-house.

“This place is starting to get crowded,” said Hammer. Everyone just smiled. Crowded? Maybe, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Can we make a U-Turn?

September 22, 2010

Life in the fast lane seemed to be heading in the right direction for Randi and Shark. Although parenthood had certainly taken its toll on their career efforts, now that the twins, Guppi and Goldi, were school age, Randi and Shark felt their plans could get back on course. Sure, there was the new baby to think of, but after handling twins, they were confident that one infant would be easy to handle.

When the time came for Randi to deliver, they left the twins at home. The girls were used to being on their own, and spent most of their time independent from their parents due to Randi and Shark’s busy work schedules.

Once again, Randi insisted that she drive tot he hospital. “After all,” she said, “I’m a pro at this. I am an expert driver, and I’ve already given birth to twins.” Shark knew better than to argue with her.

The delivery went well, and Randi gave birth to a little boy that they named Hammer. They piled back in to Bait and headed home. As soon as they parked in the driveway, Shark sense something was wrong. Why were there no lights on in the house? The twins should be home from school and doing their homework.

That’s when they noticed a strange man coming down the steps of their house. He introduced himself as the county social worker. Goldi and Guppi’s school teacher had informed the county that the girls were frequently left home alone, and that they received minimal support and interaction from their parents. As a result, the girls were being placed in the state’s custody. Shark and Randi were horrified and pleaded with the social worker to reconsider, to no avail.

The days that followed were very difficult from the Vitesse family. Although Randi and Shark were excited about their newborn son, they were heartbroken that the twins were not at home. They made a pledge to improve their relationships with the girls during the state-approved visitations.

The girls missed home too, but their parents promised to improve thier committment to their family and cut back on their work hours in order to eventually regain custody of the girls.

It was during that time that Randi made the hardest decision of her life: she woudl abandon her SIMCAR ambition until after all three of her children were grown adults.

In the days that followed, Randi and Shark were devoted parents.

In addition to ensuring that he always did his homework, they made sure that he got plenty of exercise.

They also made sure that the girls came to visit frequently and even had them celebrate their birthdays at home.

Before long, they had developed into lovely young ladies.

In fact, everyone commented on how much the girls, although not identical, both resembled their mother.

However, unbeknownst to Randi, it was her son, Hammer, who was most like her.

In secret, Shark had been teaching Hammer everything he knew about cars – which wasn’t much. But Shark knew that Randi had sacrificed her love of cars for her children, and Shark hoped that one day Hammer would be able to repay his mother for all that she had done for the family.

One Saturday, under the guise of attending a music event, Shark took Hammer to the local speedway for a SIMCAR race. Hammer loved it, and as they left the stadium, he turned to his father and asked, “Dad, do you think that someday I could become a SIMCAR racer?”

Putting a Dream on Hold

September 21, 2010

In the days after bringing home the twins, Randi and Shark seemed to have a handle on things. She tended the girls at home while Shark continued to work at the theatre.

Randi even found time to keep an eye on SIMCAR events using her telescope. Was Team Llama preparing for a comeback with the recruitment of Baldo LaVite? Randi ached to get back into the action.

As the babies grew into toddlers, Randi still suffered from a lack of time. Between work and family responsibilities, she rarely had time to work on her car, Bait. Even after Shark built a play center in the car port for the girls to watch “Mommy” work, Randi was usually too exhausted to get much done.

As the days wore on, things seemed to get worse. The twins were demanding, sahrk was busy with the band, and Randi was at her wits’ end.

 To make matters worse, the couple missed a couple credit card payments, and the repo man showed up to repossess the stove.

That’s when they decided that things had to change. Shark cut back his hours at the theatre, they hired a babysitter to help out around the house, and they decided to put SIMCAR plans on hold until the girls were in school. For now, they would get their finances in order, and spend time with their daughters.

And sure enough, their efforts were rewarded. By making their family a priority, the girls were growing up to be remarkable young ladies who took care of chores so that randi could get back under the hood of Bait. In fact, Guppi and Goldi appeared to have inhertited Randi and Shark’s strong work ethic; they worked hard and slept soundly.

And just when it seemed possible for Randi to finally get serious about finding a SIMCAR team of her own, she woke up early one morning to a familiar discovery…here we go again!

Look at our baby! (Oh, and the newborn twins are cute too.)

September 19, 2010

Randi comes home from work one day feeling exhausted and a little sick to her stomach. Shark expresses concern when she says that she doesn’t feeling like eating her dinner of macaroni, cheese, and hotdogs (her favourite), but she shrugs it off claiming that it must be the new motor oil she’s been using at work that must be making her queasy.

Two minutes later, however, she bent over the toilet and Shark knows something is up. He saw the same symptoms at work last week when Violet, the drummer, found out she was pregnant. And sure enough, Randi stops by the hospital on the way to work the next day and is informed that she should be expecting a new arrival any day.

Shark is elated, but worried that the mandatory maternity leave will upset Randi. How wrong! Randi takes advantage of the enforced vacation to work on Shark’s car. The shiny black surface gets a red and blue repaint, and Randi officially adopts the car as her own, leaving Junebug as Shark’s commuter vehicle. Randi appropriately names Shark’s suped-up car, Bait. She treats it like a baby.  Well, the kind of baby that you take fast around sharp curves.

In the days leading up to delivery, the couple spend a lot of time in the car port. Shark brushes up on his guitar skills while Randi tinkers away on the cars. Then, one evening while the two are burning the midnight oil, Randi rolls out from under Bait with excruciating pains. Shark recognizes the signs once more, and ushers Randi into the passenger seat. She won’t have any of it, and insists that she will drive them to the hospital, so Shark has no choice but to strap on his seatbelt and trust Randi’s road skills.

They arrive in record time, and before morning, the family doubles in size with two sweet little girls: Guppi and Goldi. Shark takes the whole family home (Randi relents and allows him to drive), when they all take a sleep soundly. Shark is overwhelmed with the responsibility of fatherhood, but all Randi can think is, “Finally – two new members for my pit crew!”

A Garage (aka the place we sleep when we’re not working on our cars)

September 18, 2010

Randi’s recent wedding to Shark brought her some fortuitous surprises. When they pulled into the driveway after the wedding, Randi noticed a second vehicle in the car port. “Where did *that* come from?” she asked.

“Oh that?” shrugged Shark. “It was my high school graduation present. Why?”

Randi can hardly believe her luck. A car like this could pay for some serious upgrades to their tiny home. At the same time, could she really bear to part with such a sweet ride? Just last season, Bobby Donovan, a SIMCAR contender, drove a suped-up version of Shark’s car and finished in the top 10. Aggh! Such a dilemma!

In the end, Randi and Shark decide to keep the car – for now. And after a few weeks of hard work (Randi at the police station and Shark at the theatre), they manage to make some needed renovations to the garage/house including expanding the car ports so that Shark’s car will be protected from the elements.

Their house before:

And after the renovations:

Things are looking good for the Vitesse Family. Could a local race be in Randi’s near future?

Randi finds a hot rod

September 15, 2010

After settling into her large ( but mostly empty) lot in the back hills of Twinbrook, Randi realizes that she’ll never achieve her dream of SIMCAR stardom without some cash. So, she gets a job at the local police station maintaining the vehicle fleet. Not only does it help her to hone her mechanical skills, but as a police officer she occasionally gets to flash the lights, turn up the siren, and drive full throttle in her own cruiser.

As much as Randi loves the car aspect of her job, she needs a break now and then, and find it through fitness. She spends plenty of her off-hours hanging out at the local pool or health club. That’s where she first spots Shark Racket. She gets to know him when he’s only a teenager, so she never takes it further than a good friendship. But then, after weeks without seeing him at all, they have a chance encounter at the local library.

Randi doesn’t recognize Shark at first. He still has his wild long hair, but he seems more subdued and at peace with himself. It turns out that Shark spent a semester abroad in Egypt and his experience helped calm his conflicted soul. Shark was no longer caught up in the shady plans of his family (the rich but notorious Racket Gang). Withhis newfound freedom of spirit, it doesn’t take long for Randi and Shark to resume their friendship and develop romantic intentions.

 In a matter of days, they are engaged and decide to throw a wedding party in the old amphitheatre close to Randi’s house. The invite Randi’s coworkers and a few of their mutual friends, but Shark’s family ignore the event, disproving of Shark’s choice and considering Randi to be below their social class.

However, even without Shark’s family (or perhaps because of their absence), the wedding party is a success, and the local rock star even attends and plays a tune for the newlyweds. Randi is happy to have found love, and even happier to have a parter who will support her in her SIMCAR dreams.

What will the future bring? Can Randi move from poor orphan to SIMCAR champ in a single generation, or will be have to lay the foundation for a future Vitesse family member to reach glory?