Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Monster Minivan Rally

You all know I love Joann from Laundry Hurts My Feelings right?. And if you didn't you do. And if you haven't read her blog,'re missing something in your life. Something magical. Joann is on the brink of becoming world famous. Any day now she will be publishing a book, and I'll be able to say I knew her when. The process of becoming world famous is a crazy one and Joann barely has time to live...and yet she took the time to post on my blog. Thank you Joann. Gracias mucho. And to all of you, happy reading!

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Today, I have the honor of posting for my Noelle. And even though, she's technically not my Noelle, (I do believe that honor goes to her handsome husband who may or may not be a spy), I feel like a little tiny piece of her belongs to me, maybe like a hair strand or something.

You see, I think she is the most darling girl on the planet, as all of you already know since you're here. She writes with such a quiet, beautiful grace and her lovely spirit just shines through her words. And so I call her my Noelle, because I just adore her, plain and simple.

Thank you Noelle, for your invitation to guest blog.

I tried to find a commonality to write about over here, today. I thought about this wonderful opportunity she's been given to become a spiritual guide for those young girls at camp. The closest I've come to something like that is the Girl Scouts. And I don't really have any stories about those days.

I was an ordinary Girl Scout, nothing really exciting to tell.

I recited my pledge with the 3-fingered salute.

I made my little mat called a Situpon. A Situpon entailed 2 pieces of vinyl in a bright floral pattern woven together and strung up with some extra long yarn. We then tied the Situpons to our waists, which was super awkward, walking around with a bulky vinyl rectangle flapping around back there like some humongonoid tail. But, those cheapo mats were our Girl Scout emergency backup plan. In case we found ourselves wandering through the wilderness, we could just plop right down any-old-where when we grew exhausted from all the wandering and that way, our Girl Scout Uniforms wouldn't ever get dirty.

And that got me to thinking: If a troop of Girl Scouts were aimlessly wandering through the wilderness, I don't think their biggest problem would be some dirt on the back of their shorts. If I were those Girl Scouts I'd be more concerned with trying to find a way OUT of the wilderness than tying a vinyl mat to my rear.

But maybe that's just me.

Along with situpons, I sold thin mints. I earned patches. I sang Kumbaya. The end. Nothing exciting there.

So, then I thought about camping stories, but the problem with that is I don't have any. This is probably something I shouldn't admit on this blog of all blogs, but I don't care for camping too much. In fact, I don't even like thinking about it. There are bears. And no blow dryers. And sleeping bags on the ground.

So that was out.

Then I thought about Noelle's week away and vacation and that is when the story hit me.

My vacation story happened several years ago. I have 3 daughters who range in age from 12 to 19. At the time, the oldest was in first grade. So, I had a first grader, a preschooler and an infant. And in those days, it was a miracle if I remembered my last name on any given day.

We arrived home, late one night after a vacation up to the north part of our state of Florida. My first grader had school early the next morning. My hubby was exhausted from the 8-hour drive and I was exhausted from entertaining 3 little girls. (It was the dark ages, before the days of DVD players in cars.)

We tucked the girls in and collapsed without unpacking.

I drove my daughter to school the next morning in a filthy minivan, littered with smashed goldfish crackers and stale sippy cups.

The 2 little ones and I made our way home, me still in a bit of a bleary daze.

And as I pulled into my garage, ready to face a day of unpacking and dirty laundry, I heard the most horrifying, sickening crunch of my life.

Now, freeze the story right there.

My hubby is Mr. Johnny On the Spot. I have never had to make a Honey Do List for him, not once in the 23 years we've been married. If there is something that needs to be done, BAM, he is on it.

But the night before, he was exhausted. And so our car top carrier, so essential to parents of small children, was still perched high on its throne on top of the minivan.


I recognized the sound immediately. I slammed on my brakes and dropped my head onto the steering wheel, squeezing my eyes shut as my middle girl said from her car seat, "Mamma, what is the Crunchy, Crunch?"

"Mamma made a big boo-boo, Honey," I responded weakly.

And in that minute I realized I could fix this. Of course I could.

I just needed . . . to back up.

I don't know if any men read Noelle's blog, but if so, Stop. Laughing. Right. Now.

Ahem, Cheeseboy.

Yes, the Crunchy Crunch turned into a Smashy Smash as I watched parts of the house topple down upon my Goldfish minivan.

I immediately threw the minivan in park and tumbled out of the van to inspect the damage.

And it was bad. Very bad.

It was worse than anything you see at those Monster Truck rally thingamajigs. And I only know what I've seen on commercials and that stuff is baaaaad. That's what my garage and van looked like, one big, banged-up monster truck rally.

As I contemplated the sight with horror, I heard something akin to weeping.

I glanced around and directly behind me stood one of my neighbors, her little yappy dog on its leash, she doubled over, the tears streaming down her cheeks as she laughed and laughed and laughed.

In between gasps, she said, "I'm sorry, Joann. I know you probably hate it that I'm laughing."

You think? And it wasn't laughing, it was cackling of the most obnoxious kind.

She continued through her crack-up, "But someday you'll find this as hilarious as I do."

Well, not today, I thought as I turned back to inspect the devastation I'd caused from pulling in to my garage with an enormous car top carrier on the top of my minivan and then of course, monster trucking it well and good, by backing up and smashing up the garage all over again.

I had no idea what to do and I certainly didn't want to call my Hubby on this one.

So, I did what every girl in a bind would do.

I called my daddy.

And as soon as he answered, I whined, "Dad, I kind of did a dumb thing."

And he said, "Oh, you locked your keys in the car, again?"

So, maybe I HAD called my dad more than a few times to be my knight in shining armor.

I said, "Well, no. It's kind of worse than that."

And my dear father, God rest his soul, my father who could fix anything, (I was praying he could fix broken houses), rushed to my aid . . . again.

He took one look at it, scratched his head and mumbled something about it being a tough one.

My poor dad had to clamber up onto the roof of my minivan and unscrew the car top carrier from its smashed up perch. He then had to slide it forward very gingerly as more pieces of my ceiling and garage and garage door and house came tumbling down. And then he and I managed to carry it down, complete with a massive meteor-sized dent in the top of the carrier.

And the carrier was the victor in the garage beatdown.

The worst part of it besides the horror of that awful crunch was calling my hubby at work to tell him the bad news.

Here's how I did it: I said, "Honey, I've got bad news and good news. The good news is I took the car top carrier off for you. The bad news is . . . I did it with the garage door."

He wasn't too mad.

At least until he got the estimate for the garage door repair.

The car top carrier was never the same after that. We still used it, but it just never lined up again correctly which leads to another story about the day the car top carrier flew open on the interstate.

But, I'm too traumatized right now to talk about that. We'll save that mayhem for another day.

On my blog, I always suggest a daily song to download. Since this is Noelle's blog, I had Noelle choose the song and even her song choices are nice!

"Pocketful of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield. Doesn't that just sum up Noelle? Our little pocketful of sunshine and twinkly stars on a bed of velvet sky.

For Noelle, thank you for giving me the honor of guest posting on your blog. And yes, nice really does matter.

I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine
I got a love and I know that it's all mine, oh, oh, oh oh
Do what you want but you're never gonna break me
Sticks and stones are never gonna shake me, oh, oh, oh, oh

Take me away, a secret place
A sweet escape, take me away
Take me away to better days
Take me away to a hiding place...

The sun is on my side and takes me for a ride
I smile up to the sky, I know I'll be alright
The sun is on my side and takes me for a ride
I smile up to the sky, I know I'll be alright


Mrs. Ohtobe said...

If only there were pictures - or video!! LOL

jayayceeblog said...

Joann, you are an extraordinarily helpful wife ... do your methods really matter? Loved your guest column -- hilarious as usual!

Tiffany said...

Thank you Joann for the big smile on my face. I'm getting ready to head out of town tomorrow and I'll be thinking of you, and still smiling while I load up and again when we unpack.

The first day or two that we had our minivan, my husband pulled into the garage with the tailgate up. Smash! He'd been doing something with it in the driveway and then pulled into the garage without thinking. I'm still glad it was him and not me.

Happy vacations everyone!

LisaPie said...

Holy Kamoly! I can see me doing this same thing. And I can further picture me calling my Papa to come bail me out of this pickle.

The one difference is that my husband thinks the rooftop things will fly off the top so he insists we carry everything we own, everything we might ever need in the car with us! So my disaster would come in a different form. : )

Good job, guest posting, Joann!

Heather said...

Hey. What a nice surprise to see you here!!!!!!

Scraps said...

I vaguely remember stories of the Situpon's existence, but as I never passed the rank of Brownie I don't believe I ever made one.

cheri said...

hopping over from joanne's, and i would be saying this same thing on her place...

i'm sorry, dear, but you know why i'm laughing so hard...

lori said...

Oh man, that's funny...but, not. You'll hate me, but I love camping. Except when live bait gets forgotten about under the back seat until the smell a week later after we've gotten home prompts me to search for the source. Then it's not so fun.

L.C. said...

OMG I can't stop laughing and I'm at work! HILARIOUS! especially the part of "I took the car topper off" haha I am so sorry! But it makes for one great story!

Baby Sister said...


I feel so bad for you! But that is soooo funny!!!! Thank you for sharing! :D

Anonymous said...

Joann, I am thanking you for guest posting, considering how addicted I am to Noelle's blog!

I think this is the first time I have seen such a long post here! So 'Joann'ish!

That girl scout story made me laugh so loud! I am like you in that- I don't even think about camping.

Ow, I am not laughing at that traumatic crash into the garage door. I am so proud you called your Daddy! Don't we love it when everything gets sorted just like that?!!

Love how hooked to the story, I was!

JoAnn said...

Joann, I'm noticing there are more similarities between us than just names. I would totally do that. Did I mention that I drove into the side of my house today? Not hard, I just tapped it a little. I was driving into my garage, and I wanted to be sure to get in all the way so I wouldn't crunch my car when I closed the garage door (I've done that twice). oops.
This story of yours is the funniest story EVAH! Could you work it into your book somehow? The heroine vs. the car top? I can see it working!

Anonymous said...

What's that crunchy,crunch? Hee hee.

My husband took the side mirror off the car backing out of what had to be a 1/2 car garage.

Deidra said...

You always make me smile! I read the first paragraph aloud to a non-blogger friend. I don't usually subject those poor people to my blogging shenanigans because they'll get sick of it after a while, but your humor should be shared with everyone! :)

purplume said...

LMAO which I so often am doing when I read your posts Joann.

Have fun camping Noelle. I like to camp in a luxury hotel and I remember situpons. XD

Nikki said...

Oh goodness! I think my favorite part is that you called your dad. That is exactly what I would've done.

Maureen @ Cottage 960 said...

I had forgotten all about those situpon thingys. And you are right, they were horribly awkward to have hanging on your person. What was that all about anyway? Any G.S. Leaders out there? Do the still make girls make those things?? Funny as always Joanne

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Absolutely hilarious!!!! Totally something I would do, but I think I wouldmhave pretended it wasn't my fault!

Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha ha! You called me out and I still can't stop laughing! This is superb!

Gigi said...

heeheeheehee. I love that you called daddy. :) you're my girl!

and excellent song choice..I just put that on Little CEO's birthday CD!

Judie said...

OMG! I did the very same thing, Joann! Fortunately I stopped before I took the house down, but that cartop carrier was toast!

I was also a girl scout and made a situpon as well. I still have my badge sash. It lives in my underwear drawer. I take it out every now and then and look at what I accomplished way back then. Then I go buy new underwear.

Please don't set the tent on fire, or roll over it with the car.


McVal said...

Got some good news... got some bad news... LOL!!! I'm sorry! If I was standing at your neighbors side, I'd be in shock and try to help out... But now, since it's all in the past, all I can do is laugh!
That's so great your dad came to your rescue right away.

Bossy Betty said...

Hate that crunching sound. I too will think of you while loading up for our trip tomorrow. I have to share this story with HOB!

Katie's Dailies said...

HA! Love this!! I was hoping you'd write about this after dropping hints earlier to me! I think I would've just sat down in the driveway and cried.

And I wasn't crazy about Girl Scouts. I hated going door-to-door selling those darned cookies.

And the camping---SO not happening now that I'm a grown up and can decide how I want to spend my summer. Growing up, we did a lot of camping and we always seemed to: pitch our tents in a patch of poison ivy, get flooded out or I'd wind up in the E.R. with an asthma attack, and sometimes all three. Yeah, camping is NEVER going to happen in my family!

Thanks for making me giggle!

Ash said...

Oh my word, I'm totally crying. Crying!

You can tell a story girl.

And there is nothing, absolutely nothing worse than having to make "the call" to the hubs. I hate that my boys are now old enough to narc on me, but teaching them to lie would be wrong, right?


Anonymous said...

Oh Joann-I can see it now. I cringed right along with you. I would have called my Dad, too. Unless I had done it to my
dad's car, in which case I called my boyfriend. allegedly.

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Making s'mores on the charcoal grill is my idea of camping. In the backyard.

I think I would have smacked that snarky neighbor of yours!

Pat said...

"There's good news and bad news." Nice approach. Plus it was HIS fault for not taking the carrier off from the night before!

Great story!

Aren't Dads wonderful?

Anonymous said...

Stopping by from Joann's blog and glad I did!
I was a HORRIBLE Girl Scout-our situpons were made from denim and I got in trouble for bleaching mine to make it different. I also always ended up crying and having my dad pick me up from GS camp-it smelled and there were bugs in the bathroom. It was too much.

Terra said...

You are a lucky girl; a world-class Dad and husband.It doesn't get much better than that!

litanyofbritt said...

I would have been the cackling neighbor. I would have felt wicked bad for you, but I till would have laughed.