A few years ago, a really good friend of ours told me that all of these wacky things happen to me because I am a good story teller and God must want me to always have a story to tell. I don’t know if I am a good story teller or not, but I do love to tell of these wild things that always seem to be happening to me. Who knows, maybe he was right, because, seriously, I am not normal!
So, it started out like any other Saturday. The night before, I had purchased a very gently used outdoor playhouse from a young family on the other side of town. I got the kids loaded into the truck, and we picked up the playhouse and got it home without incident. I was very grateful for that because the whole way home I had visions of it becoming airborne and flying out into the 4 lane road down which I was traveling, causing multi-car pile-ups and bookoos of dollars in damage. When I pulled into our neighborhood, I remembered we were having a community yard sale. I took my first left and saw that one of my neighbors had a much larger playhouse—for free. While I was slightly bummed that I had just dropped $85 on the playhouse in the back of the truck, the one I paid for was definitely worth it’s price…as was the free one. But, a bargain is a bargain, and it would be cool for each of the kids to have a playhouse to call their own. So, I raced home to unload the playhouse before someone else could claim the free pile of junk I had my eyes on. I unloaded the playhouse and drug it into the backyard then set out to claim my free playhouse. When I got back, it was still there." Wonderful," I thought. “Sucker!” God must have said.
So, I am trying my best to dismantle this beast of a playhouse when a girl around 12 years old emerges from the house and offers to help. I climbed inside and saw the roof was screwed on. She found a screwdriver, and, within a few minutes, we were back in business. “I’m pretty handy,” I thought smugly to myself. I got all of the pieces loaded into the truck, but the tailgate wouldn’t close. “We are only a few blocks from home,” I thought. “What could possibly happen?” At this point I am pretty sure God called all the angels together and they all settled in with their buckets of Heavenly popcorn to look down at His silly girl and watch as the tragic comedy unfolded before them.
I made it to within half a block of our house when I heard a “whoosh.” Yup, two walls of the playhouse that were fused together with years of grit that I had been unable to pry apart flew out of the bed of the truck. Now, a normal person would have seen what happened, reversed back to the playhouse walls, and loaded them back into the truck. I, however, make no claims to be normal. So, idiot that I am, I put the truck in park and run back to retrieve the walls. In an effort to “clean it up a bit” the folks giving away the playhouse had hosed it down, and apparently all of the water had seeped in the drainage holes, adding a good 15 pounds of weight to the already monstrous wall. So, here I am, holding up traffic, running as fast as one can when carrying 2 playhouse walls that are roughly 3 foot by 4 foot each. The platinum blonde in the shiny SUV behind me looked on my chaos, drumming her perfectly manicured nails on her steering wheel, and I am sure she was thinking, “you’re an idiot, bless your heart.” So, she screeches around me as I am hoisting this stupid free playhouse into the back of the truck.
I try again, this time driving roughly 3 miles per hour. I am seriously within 100 feet of the turn off to my street and it flies out again. This time I have a line of cars behind me, all of whom I am sure are convinced I should be committed. I'm not so sure they are wrong! At this point, I am so frustrated I want nothing more than to leave the darn thing in the middle of the road and crawl in a hole somewhere. I haven’t even had breakfast yet, and I already need a nap. But, thoughts of my beautiful little girl playing happily in her very own playhouse fill my mind, and I, once again, load the “free” playhouse into the truck. It may have not cost any money, but I definitely paid for it with my dignity. I hop in the truck and my daughter says, “Mommy, should we pray now?” I told her that would probably be a very, very good idea. Her prayer goes something like this, “Dear Jesus, please, oh please, let us get home without the playhouse flying out AGAIN! And keep Daddy safe. Amen.” God must listen to little girls because, miraculously, we made it home.
So then I am left to unload this beast and haul it to the backyard where I realize just how filthy it is. I scrub it down as thoroughly as possible and haul it to the far corner of the yard. I heave the incredibly heavy octagon shaped roof onto the little cottage and start screwing everything back together. It looks great, but I am not sure I like where I have positioned it. So, not wanting to take the blasted thing apart again, I haul it, completely intact and weighing twice as much as me it seems, to the complete other side of the yard, where I deem it totally stupid in that location and haul it back to it's original spot. I position the “free” playhouse of doom next to the small playhouse I had purchased earlier and look on as my son and daughter laugh and play and delight in being neighbors. Then, as I am standing there, covered in what I hope more than anything is only mud, lots of sweat, and countless bruises I don’t even remember getting, I both laugh and cry at the havoc I create for myself in my effort to be the best wife, mommy, and now daddy, too, that I can possibly be. And then it hits me: maybe, just maybe, God is just giving me material for that book I want so badly to write…