#1: It was the last day of our week of perfect days on the beach. Grace and Graham had just had a long scuffle over who got to sit in which chair (I have a video of this, it’s really entertaining, but Grace has forbidden me to post it on the internet).
Now, to understand the next (and completely inconsequential) part of this story, it is pertinent for you to know just how my family operates. As you certainly know, I have three younger siblings. And as so often happens in families, there is always something that everyone wants, but which can only be had by one or two. In life we call this the basics of economics. But as it happens in my family, the most sought-after commodity (and this can take the form of the most comfortable chair in the family room, the best blanket, the last ice cream cone…) is given to the child that either gets to it first or to the child that gives the child that does get to it first a big enough incentive (usually the freedom from some sort of physical pain or annoyance) to give it up. However, there are two sacred rites which no one will ever dare violate. Should one choose to leave their coveted seat, calling “seat check” protects it against any who hope to claim it in your absence. The second are the traditional rules of shotgun, of which I am sure you are all very well aware. Calling “seat check” and “shotgun, no blitz!” are as much of our daily routine as being given another child’s newly-washed clothes back from the laundry and eating food off each others’ plates (I know this makes us seem a little barbaric but, unfortunately, that is sometimes not too far from the truth).
So, on this particular day at the beach, Graham had stolen the beach chair Grace had been sitting in and refused to give it back to her because she hadn’t called “seat check”. After much throwing of sand, name-calling and yelling, Grace stormed off to go walk with our mom along the beach and Graham stormed off in the other direction, our dad running to catch up with him soon after. This leaves me and Bobby alone with the six chairs. Naturally, in my mom’s absence, I move to her chair (the superior of the whole group) which is right next to Bob’s. We chat, laugh about what has just happened and taste my mom’s margarita. Eventually my mom comes back and (because you don’t mess with the mom) I start to stand up to give her back her chair. But as the muscles in my legs begin to contract to bring me out of that lovely chair, a loud ripping sound erupts from the seat and I fall back into the chair. My mom no longer wants to take her seat back and Bobby is crying from laughing so hard. And I refuse to leave the chair in an attempt to maintain some tiny bit of dignity and keep them from having a chance to survey the damage and further fuel their laughter. About fifteen minutes later though, my mom found a critter in the sand and because I just couldn’t pass that up, I leave and Bob snaps this picture for whatever future evil plans she has against me:
#2: We have an automatic gate (and by automatic I mean it operates much like a garage door, in regards to the button device that people clip to their cars’ visors) that opens up to the alley behind our house. Because Grace has finally gotten her license, I have been driving the oh-so-large suburban, which we park behind the house. On this not-so-special day, I was taking Bob and Graham to get a haircut. We all climb into the car, I turn on the ignition and press the gate button. And I start to back out thinking, “I’m such a pro at this. I’ve been driving this thing for 4 weeks. I’ve got this down. I could probably do this with my eyes closed. Yeah, I’m sooo slick.” And then there’s a big crunch and Bobby screaming at me to stop. And then I’m out of the car and my mom is yelling at me, “Haley Marshall! How many times have I told you to look behind you while you’re backing up?!” (you know it’s really bad when she uses both of your names) and I feel more like an idiot than I ever felt slick.
So, I knocked the gate off its track and completely un-welded the chain that the motor uses to pull it back and forth and bent the gate’s frame just enough that it no longer opens and closes smoothly. And I now owe my mom $180.
Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be plenty more of these posts in the future.