Monday, February 13, 2012

Mommy's Moment: 12 Years Ago

Yes, we are the proud owners of the bright pink/purple Barbie jeep.

Poor Grant.

Thanks to my parents and their neighbors, we inherited these wheels.

I have to admit, I'm surprised my parents passed it along to my kids. Off road vehicles have a bad wrap in our family.

Thanks to me.

You see, before my parents gave Hannah and Kate these wheels; twelve years ago they graciously gave me my own set of wheels in the form of a Honda Passport, my dream car.

How Hannah and Kate (and Grant) feel about their new wheels, I felt about mine.

And 7 months later, my wonderful college roommate and I decided to break those wheels in.

Sit back, have a drink, and enjoy a story that, wasn't so enjoyable twelve years ago.

It was a rainy, cold day. It was finals week. Needing a break, Maureen and I hopped in Hank (my car) to pick up some milk at Walmart. Little did we know this would be the LONGEST milk errand ever run because

We got sidetracked.

Instead of turning into the Walmart parking lot, Hank found himself turning into a remote wooded area that promised for a good mud bath.

I'll admit, between myself and Maureen, I was the hesitant, anxious, "not so sure about this" one. I loved Maureen's spontaneity and figured just this once, I'd go with it.

And I did.

After a few good spins in the mud, I checked the clock. I had to be back at the dorms for a cross country Christmas party. And with the rain picking up and the sun setting we put our "city girl" hats back on and made our exit from the muddy forest.

Or so we thought.

There was a slight problem: A muddy puddle keeping us from the way in which we came. A few attempts to cross it proved futile. Hank's tires were stuck. Maureen and I, being the resourceful gals we were, gathered sticks to push under the tires. It made sense to us. But, making sense and actually working are two very different things.

Hank sat. stuck.

Like I said, the sun was setting, we had no contact with the world, except for the trees and mud (this was before everyone had a cell phone). I did have a cell phone. It was called a car phone. Only to be used in case of an emergency...while in the car. Well, right about now we figured this was an emergency.

I clicked it on. Roaming.

And, I can't remember the details, but I was able to make a call using a credit parents' credit card (I'm beginning to sound rather spoiled as I write parents were gracious to me).

Not thinking of the consequences, I dialed our dorm. Several times. Maureen and I dialed every room along our hall until someone picked up. Finally someone did.

By this point that cross country Christmas party had commenced and we had our hallmate find a friend of our's, Tanya, to get her to come find us. Our directions were vague. We just said we'd honk and then she'd honk when she heard our honk. It's the best we could do.

By this time, hours had passed and as Maureen and I sat in the dark, in the rain, in Hank while listening to Waterdeep and playing cards, my phone rang. This is when it got bad.

It was my dad.

"Are you charging calls to the cell phone?" he asked.

The credit card company called him since these were unusual charges.

"Yes," I timidly replied.

"Why?" he asked.

This was about when my heart sank...real deep.

"Maureen and I are stuck," I shared only minimal details as if that would be sufficient and the details wouldn't be necessary.

I was wrong.

"Why are you stuck?"

"Well, um, we, uh, went mudding and are stuck in the mud."

Obviously, my dad was more than NOT thrilled by this idea. He was, well, angry, as most parents would be who just bought their daughter a really nice gift only to see them wrecklessly misuse it.

I reassured him help was on the way, though when I said that I wasn't sure who exactly was coming nor when. I assured him, they would be there.

"Call me as soon as you get out of there."

My heart beating fast, I hung up the phone praying help would arrive quickly.

And, it did, finally, in the form of a huge white suburban a couple of guys and faithful Tanya.

They were here to rescue us and Hank.

Easier said than done.

One wise guy informed me to "floor it" and Hank would sail across the now, much deeper and muddier "puddle." Deep in my heart I knew it was a stupid idea.

I tried it, to no avail.

Then, thinking he could do it, wise guy took control and got in the driver's seat while I sat in the passenger's seat. His attempt proved much more disasterous than any attempt we had made before.

He did floor it, it did fact Hank took a nose dive into the deep, muddy, pit. The headlights went out and mud, thick, brown mud poured, POURED into the front of Hank soaking the floorboards, flooding the engine and ruining any attempt to salvage what was left of this nightmare.

I was speechless.

So, with no other option, Maureen and I got into the suburban. Hank sat in the dark, muddy beyond recognition. The drive home I didn't say a word. I dreaded calling my dad.

I made the dreaded call as soon as I entered the dorm room. As expected, both of my parents were furious. Dad advised me to call a tow truck first thing in the morning.

The rest of the night I buried my head beneath my pillows, the girls on the hall peeking in to check on me.

Did I mention this was finals week?

Thankfully, I had no finals the next day. God was gracious in that. I called a tow truck. As soon as I got off of the phone my dad called.

"Did you get a tow truck?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Good, you can come pick me up. I'm in the Walmart parking lot."

And just as I thought my heart had sunken as far as it could, it sunk deeper.

My other roommate Jennifer, was kind to ride with me though I advised her it may not be the most exciting ride. She came anyway.

It was a quiet ride out to the muddy forest, which just hours ago promised thrills and fun. Now it promised to me, devestation and humiliation.

We pulled up to that spot. Hank sat, ruined in mud. My dad, silent, only shook his head in disbelief and disappointment. The tow truck came and successfully pulled Hank out. He managed to get the engine to start, while chunks of mud flew from the tail pipe.

Needless to say, it was a quiet ride to the tow truck place...whatever you call it.

Dad and I took it to a local carwash to hose it down. And like any good parent, told me I would lose my priviledge in driving the car after I got home for Christmas break and for the first two months of the next semester (let me tell you, my adventures riding my bike those next two months is a post in and of itself). Then, like any good parent, he reminded me he loved me and sent me back to the dorm with a hug.

Hank's life thankfully didn't end there. After his two month suspension, I was able to get him back. And I drove Hank proudly (never again in the mud) until after John and I got married and more problems arose. We traded him in at Carmax and I'm hoping someone is taking good care of him. John swore he saw it driving around one day. I hope he's right. He deserves countless miles of road before him.

As for me and dad, well I figured after twelve years of letting those "hard feelings" pass, I could now write a blog about it and hopefully he and I can both laugh about it.

Perhaps him giving my kids this "jeep" is his way of preparing me for when they  make those mindless decisions that they will make one day.

Nonetheless, I love you dad and am thankful for you and mom sticking with me through the good and the bad!


Mary said...

I love that story! It takes me back to crazy stuff I did as a teenager. It's good to remember it's a tough job being a parent, and it's tough being a kid, too! Great story. Maybe Hannah will get all her muddin' out of her system before she gets a real car! ; )

travelingstacey said...

Oh, the Berry memories! : ) That was pretty crazy! A Honda Passport was my dream car, too! I bought one from some family members right after I got home from Thailand and loved that thing...until it died less than two years later. I was so disappointed! I'm glad you were able to have Hank for a while!

LB said...

I loved the story too. It makes me want more college (and high school?) Jessica stories. Oh my word. I felt literaly pain for you at the thought of having to call your dad. I have so many thing that I look back on and ask, "what was I thinking?!!!"