Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What a Wicked Day! (a flashback)

Last night Eric picked up the part he needed to finally fix the windshield wiper on the back of our van. Being the handy man that he is, he completed it in record time and it now not only works, but looks like the back of a van should. It is great even though I was getting used to the whole white trash duct tape look. Not many mini-van owners can pull off the "duct tape where your windshield wiper should be" look.

If you are not up to date on the daily happenings in the Elison household you may wonder how we could end up with duct tape on our extremely attractive black (with pearl flecks) Chrysler Town and Country minivan. It all started on a summer day in August of this year.....

Eric and I decided to surprise Savannah and Sage for their birthdays this year (their birthdays fall only about 1 month apart) and take them to Los Angeles to see the musical "Wicked." They love the music and were dying to see it. (FYI: Wicked the Musical=Great; Wicked the Book = Trash.) Even though only Sage, Savannah and I were going to the show, we all went as a family and planned to go to the beach the next day. Another exciting aspect was that we were meeting Maren and Diona for the show as well. We told the girls about it a couple of days before and they were thrilled. (We kept the part about Maren and Diona a secret so that there would be a surprise for them when we pulled in to Hollywood.)

The day finally arrives! I drop Eric off at work that morning so that when we leave our house at noon we can just pick him up and hit the road. The time comes to load up. I partially back the van into the garage in order to fill it with our luggage (do you see where this is going?). At last we have everything in the car: luggage, snacks, dvds, cds, books, water, tickets, and kiddies. We are running just a few minutes behind and I am feeling a little stressed--you know that frenzied "I've got to hurry but I don't want to forget anything oh well I'll just get in the car take off and hope for the best" feeling? Anyway, there I am. In the driver's seat. The car is on and I begin the ritual of closing all those terribly convenient automatic doors. The side doors close first and what happens next I don't think I could duplicate for a million dollars. I semi-simultaneously close the back hatch of the van, put the van in drive, and begin to pull out of the driveway. The next thing I know is that there is an (until then) indescribable noise followed by a brief moment of silence followed by screeches of horror from Savannah and Sage in the back row of the van. I turn to see that the back window is shattered into billions of pieces and that the garage is now, somehow, connected to the windshield wiper blade. The screams are horrifying and Haven and Ryder soon join in. I am paralyzed momentarily until I also begin sobbing.

Sage runs for the house screaming something like "we're not going to see Wicked!" as I finally force myself out of the car to assess the damage. I am stunned! I'm no auto body mechanic but I can tell that this is not good. I cry as I finally separate the car from the garage and take a step back to look at our glass covered luggage. Moments later Sage is handing me the phone telling me that it is Eric. I continue the crying (it seems the thing to do--everyone else is) as I hear Eric tell me to come and pick him up at work (I have the undamaged Volvo at my disposal although I am a tad bit afraid of driving at the moment). Eric stops me as I repeatedly apologize by telling me that he is just glad that no one is dead--which is what he thought once a hysterical Sage got him on the phone ("mom...sob, sob, ran into...sob, sob, with the car..sob sob sob").

When I pick up Eric from work I am still blubbering profusely. It has actually gotten worse during the drive as I cruelly berated myself, "Of all the stupid! How could you? How did you get to be so dumb?" (I will leave out anything else I might have said in order to maintain the PG rating of this blog.) Eric is immediately a calming voice in a sea of hysteria. I stop crying right away as Eric forms our game plan: "When we get home you call and arrange for a rental car; call a garage door company (it is hopelessly crumpled); and call Natalie and ask her if she can come over until the garage guy comes." Okay. That is easy enough. I do just that as soon as we get home while Eric begins the tedious task of ridding our car and luggage of glass (he is very successful although we still find small shards periodically).

Everything mostly works out. Natalie is at our house when I return with the rental car (another van) within the hour. We hit the road a mere two hours or so later than originally planned, but we are on our way. We continue to endure several more hardships on our way including a rental car with some brake issues, killer traffic, and slight trouble navigating the LA freeways (Eric, after dropping us off at the theatre, had a terrible time finding our hotel). But we made it! We missed dinner with Maren and Diona, but pulled into a parking lot near the theatre with 1/2 hour to spare. I quickly nursed Ryder and then we booked it to the theatre as fast as we could. It was an amazing show and the girls loved it. It was the perfect thing for their birthday. I'll save the remainder of the saga for another day. Suffice it to say that a rental car switcheroo; losing our trip cd/dvd collection in the first rental van; failing to find a parking place at two different beaches; Haven peeing on a chair on the patio of a restaurant; a complete garage door replacement; and a van back window replacement were only some of the highlights of the remaining trip and the few days following. "Wicked" was definitely the theme for the weekend.

I ponder this experience on the eve of our trip to Utah for Thanksgiving. Any number of things can go wrong and don't I know it! But I also know positively that whatever it is, it will not be related to our garage door, the back window of our van, or automatic doors. We can all thank my new-found paranoia bordering on neurosis anytime the doors of the van or the garage open or close for that. I now have a 16-point double triple check in place. It only takes 1/2 hour for me to get in or out of our drive-way, but it is worth it!

Well, if I can impart any wisdom here it would be that a little collision with the garage is not the end of the world (I recently attended a Girls' Night Out where something similar to this had happened to five out of the seven people there) even though it may seem so at the time. Happy Thanksgiving and travel safely!


Becky said...

Wow. Why have I never heard this story? Maybe because we never see each other. When are we getting together for dinner/

Jessica said...

I would like to agree with my mom- WOW. I'm so glad that Eric is calm and that he can comfort you when you are stressed. Isn't that the best? I like you a lot and think you should indeed write a book.

Sarah Goodsell said...

Hey Jen I found your blog beacuse I'm a huge blog hopper. I'm glad I found you on here so I can keep up on your family! Tell the girls I said hi!

Chris and Karen said...

I love your blog. Thanks for finding mine so I can read what a good one is like. Love the stories.