In Which We Disassemble A Washing Machine

“It’s what mechanics have! At one end, it’s like a wrench and then on the other end is the octagon thing…” If there’s any conversational precept I wish I could remember before the moment of crisis, it’s this one:

When once your foot has been firmly wedged into your mouth, continued discourse will in no wise un-lodge it.

Have you ever shared a house with resourceful women? I have–various groups of them, for many years of my life. Therefore, when our washing machine broke one Thursday morning and my housemates commenced to form an emergency action plan, my history of watching resourceful women resolve their own mechanical problems created inside my heart a confidence that the combined brains and thrifty-like natures of these four damsels would heal the wounds of our washing machine post-haste.

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Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

First Damsel: “I’m off to work, but the washing machine threw a code just now, and my laundry is locked inside the chamber, half-washed. Does anyone know what the code means?”

Second Damsel: “I’ll check the owners manual.”

Myself (in my head) “I did not know washing machines could have codes. I thought that was only computers. Ah, this is what becomes of dabbling too deeply in technology.”

I considered suggesting the exceptional remedy I learned as a child: “If something isn’t working, give it a quick smack upside the head and maybe that will knock some sense into it.” This advice was and is never intended to be applied to living creatures, but it has served me pretty well while fitting wood siding pieces together.

It seems my car has also accepted this quick-fix. Every time I hit a pothole the left speaker kicks in.

Still, I did not suggest a smack upside the head for the washing machine. Washing Machine is not a language I speak. I am more familiar with creeks, rivers and streams. These never seem to break.

While Adrielle sifted the far corners of the house for an owner’s manual, I googled. The culprit of malfunction was a drain pipe clog.

“What is a clog for a resourceful washing machine owned by resourceful women? Just cough it out and move on with life, my precious.” I unplugged the washing machine and restarted the cycle. The motivational speech inspired the chamber to function for a mere 7 minutes.

Vanquished, I retreated to the coffee-maker.

“Kara, could you help me?” There was a hint of distress in Adrielle’s voice. I found her crouched gracefully among a plethora of dust bunnies, wielding a screw driver with reckless abandon. The washing machine had been drug several feet away from the wall.

“We need to lay this on its side so I can take the front off.” she announced. Noting my dubious expression, she added, “I watched a tutorial.”

I’d emptied the contents of my car onto our blacktop 12 hours ago, and there a heap of laundry remained, now rain-soaked and strewn with grass clippings. From this mountain I tugged a florescent orange sleeping bag, spreading it out between puddles of motor oil, as a cushion for the young washing machine. Adrielle owned this washing machine, I learned, which helped me understand her compassion for its needs.

My father had given me a magnetic screwdriver bit set for Christmas, along with a Leatherman multi-tool the year before. Adrielle had an auto-loading screwdriver, an adjustable wrench and a vice-grip. With these magnificent tools, we strode forth into battle.

Having no qualms about the influence of grease or dust bunnies on her white tank top, Adrielle’s brown curls flew as she wielded one tool after another in perfectly manicured hands, displaying great dexterity and vigor.

I stood beside her and held a trail mix container for the screws.

By the time our washing machine lay on the garage floor in no less than 17 pieces, we understood that our tutorial had not been for this model.

We needed to take the back panel off of the machine. This required a tool we did not have.

Preparing to visit the shop next door, Adrielle asked, “What is the name of the tool we need?” I googled. A long line of beautiful yellow tools instantly marched across the screen. These were all power tools, not the pretty little wrenches in a long shallow box like I was picturing.

“Torin 14-in Folding Lug Wrench. DEWALT DCF899HB 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque 1/2″ Impact Wrench with Hog Ring…” I read out the descriptions of all tools that had the word ‘wrench’ in them, hoping one would shine above the rest.

“I’m pretty sure the neighbors will know what we need.” Adrielle was inching towards the door.

“But wait! I know this one! It’s what mechanics have! At one end, it’s like a wrench and then on the other end is the octagon thing. And it comes in that box, or a roll-out drawer and then you fit it over, like this, to choose the size you need…”

Adrielle is grace-filled, and did not laugh. “I will just trust the neighbors to know what we need.”

She returned with the tool.

9 minutes later, laughter bubbled from one certain garage.

There was no clump of hair, bobby pins and twigs intermingled with slime to greet Adrielle’s French manicure as she unfastened the final hardware. Just a cute and innocent round of foam, rolled like a perfect Takis chip and perched sweetly in the drain pipe like a mother hen over her chick.

And what was her chick? Our lost house key. 

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Today our washing machine threw a code again. It was the clogged drain pipe code.

If you ever need to get into our house, try ransacking the washing machine drain pipe for a key. It’s as likely a place as any.

Bring your own tools.

 

 

Ellen’s Home

My church has a calendar of events, and I looked at it today. Tomorrow is Ellen’s Home.

Ellen’s Home is shady.

It is shaded by wide-spread elm trees, but it is also shady in the curious way. I met the proprietor when I was 7–old and wise enough to decide I could never trust him.  The owner of Ellen’s Home looked exactly like The Donut Man and I could not possibly comprehend, in my childish mind, why The Donut Man would be operating such a rustic facility, and why it was filled with the elderly instead of children. The Donut Man is supposed to be surrounded by donuts and children, both capable of song, but I saw neither at Ellen’s Home.

Consequently, no songs either.

Maybe that’s why it became my church’s job to bring them, and for the last 20 years we have faithfully sang at Ellen’s Home every second Sunday of the month. During this span of time I’ve learned that the owner isn’t the actual Donut Man. I’ve forgiven him for that fault.

On this particular Sunday, promptly at 1:03 pm, my church shuffled into formation in a corner of the Ellen’s Home entertainment room with typical lost-yak style. “Are there songbooks today?” someone asked. “No, we forgot to bring them.” Our choral director’s skin blanched subtly. Today was his first go-round at leading us. “Let’s begin with ‘How Firm a Foundation’.” We faltered through the first verse with very little success.

A new resident was cemented into a chair near the TV, and my money lies on the hunch that he was a former choir director. Strong bass notes resounded out of a mouth scantily clad with teeth, and he didn’t need a book. He knew the songs by heart…. mostly.  Our next attempt, ‘I’m Pressing On The Upward Way’, tugged our faltering memories back on track, but mostly because Mr. Choir cheerfully substituted any word that rhymed with ‘stay’ if he forgot the correct one, so if any of us forgot the words we just let him fill in.

Talk about teamwork!

By now the heat was getting to little Zach, so he pulled his dress shirt up to his chin, letting his belly catch the breeze from the air conditioner. Sochi and Anita stared at their shoes, lips twitching.

We were moving forward in tempo, and Mr. Choir was not subtle about his appreciation. As the energy in the room rose, so did his arms and legs. At the peak moments of feeling in ‘Standing on the Promises’ he appeared not only to be ready to stand on the promises, but to be ready to rocket to the moon on the promises, having three limbs raised perpendicular to the floor, as if a huge vacuum cleaner behind our group was trying to suck him in.

This was just his way of saying, “Amen!” but the youngsters gazed in wonder.

A slow stench took over the crowded corner near the window. I glanced at the woman beside me to see if her face would give a clue about who to blame as the culprit, but at the same moment another slow stench joined the first one, and I didn’t have to ask about the origin of this one. And then it just became a game, back and forth for a few dozen seconds, our own little kazoo band blending in with the song.

At that moment I knew our service would never recover.

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Our final song was ‘Bringing in the Sheaves” and by Mr. Choir’s ninth prophesy of bringing in sheep instead of sheaves, I had dissolved in unpardonable laughter. I would much rather bring in sheep instead of sheaves myself, and my laughter merely congratulated Mr. Choir for holding the same preference, and for being bold enough to say so.

Our smiles were wide as we bade our friends goodbye after the service. Travis and Jonathan kissed all the wrinkly cheeks that were hopefully directed at them, and out the door we marched.

Ellen’s Home is as much a part of my church as the church building itself, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

Mad Hatter, Esq.

“I do so love your serving spoon for the rice!” the elder child chirped, “Could it be… a cheese slicer? Very clever. I’ve used that to slice cheese before, so I recognize it.”

We were having an oriental tea-less party, and voluptuous consumption of perfectly tender sweet and sour chicken, made solely by the hand of the 9-year-old, had catapulted us into the best of moods. Spurred on by her culinary success, said gentlewoman arose.

“Let ME serve dessert!” she announced, and bore the empty chicken platter away.

In her absence, we guzzled fizzy age-appropriate drinks with very little flair, but mine missed my mouth and threw a wave of vanilla-y stickiness across my face and plate.

“I feel like I just went down a waterslide,” I gurgled through the trickles, and elder niece laughed and coughed.

The younger gentlewomen returned with a 5-pound masterpiece she’d baked from start to finish, and precariously unloaded it onto the center of the table with a thunk.

“You know,” said maiden chirped as she casually hacked the tiered mocha cake into eight wobbling sectors, “Medieval people used only a dagger at meal times. They had a whole pig.”

The daggar-esq knife in her hand, still mired in frosting, provided a non-too-subtle illustration for how those times may have been. She flopped the final slab of cake onto her plate, where it lay encircled in a pool of sweet-and-sour sauce.

Not the least concerned by the sauce’s spicy influence on the cake’s mocha flavor, she dug in. “Mmmmmm.” with a sigh. “This is the BEST cake I’ve ever had.”

To be sure, both additional companions agreed, and one of the best parties as well.

And so, my friends, the moral of this story (quite a true one, you may be interested to know), is that fringed napkins—tea itself, for that matter—do not a tea party make, but instead the quantity of laugher.

 

The Terror That Flieth By Night….

It was three a.m. and I awoke to purring in the rafters above my bed.

If I would have woken up hungry for a snack, it would have been ok, and I would pilfered some cookies and gone back to bed. If it had been a housemate sleep-talking, no big deal. If it had been coyotes howling at the harvest moon, I would have enjoyed it a bit, and soon dozed off.

But no. This was purring.

Loud, unceasing, un-cat-produced purring that had disturbed my sleep the entire month.

THIS was war.

Slinging my slug-like body over the wrong side of bed, I punched that ceiling as hard as I could. My fist slammed through the drywall and out again in a shower of crumbles.

Before my sleep-numbed mind could fully comprehend the significance of that fact….

small creatures began pouring out of the now-gaping, fist sized hole.

Bees.

I careened out of the room as fast as my fogged brain would allow, and cautiously peeped through the crack of the door.

Yes. Bees were filling my room, pouring out of the hole in the ceiling in a slow but steady stream. I closed the door, and stared weakly at myself in the bathroom mirror for a good while.

A plan began to formulate in my mind.

10 minutes later, I climbed the stairs in full-on combat gear. Orange down winter jacket, water-proof hunting boots, gloves, insulated dungarees…. I had it all. Think, obese pumpkin merged with Si Robertson, and you’ll have a general picture. All I needed yet was a patch for the hole in the ceiling, and I would be ready to save the day.

Ri-i-i-iiip. RIP. Rippppp.

No matter how you tear it, silently creating a duct-tape patch in the still of night was impossible to do. My sister’s door opened and she blinked at me with groggy amazement.

“Don’t be alarmed! It’s just me.” I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be to a gloved, dungaree-wearing form in the semi-darkness. “It’s bees.” I said, and explained.

She, dear lamb, believed my dubious declaration that the situation was under control, and retreated.

Patch made, I shrouded my head inside a thin pillowcase, pulled my hood up, laid the patch across my open palm, and crept inside the infested room as quietly as heavy hunting boots would allow. The pillowcase was light blue and limited my vision quite considerably.

By the dim light of a small lamp, I could see that bees were continuing to swarm out of the hole in the ceiling. Their inquisitive buzzing throughout the room alarmed me. I shifted the pillowcase, but that did nothing to improve my vision.

Were bees…. landing on me?

Were they slowly crawling towards my NECK?

Would I be stung until my face looked like an Osage orange, and I was forced to spend my entire (tiny) savings on steroid shots?

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My face was turning bright red within the stifling layers of my protective gear.

Fight or flight?” I asked myself, and being as it was 3:30 a.m., and I had made it only half way across the room, and was even more overheated, and Osage-orange-looking-people are rather obtrusively unattractive (although I’ve never seen one, and was just going by intuition), and I really hate doctor bills… flight seemed much more logical.

So, 4:00 found a non-triumphant, non-osage-orange, non-obese-pumpkin girl curled up on the couch, asleep.

Victory could wait until daylight, and it did.

 

Another 8 a.m. lesson

My friends and I went camping on Assateague Island for my friend’s 21st birthday.

We camped in the State Park area, which was blooming with dune goldenrod (which is unusual), and teeming with people (as it is all season).

We strolled the beach as the setting sun tainted the cloud-filled sky with a hundred hues, roasted hotdogs over a smoky fire,

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wrapped up in blankets and laid on the beach to star gaze and watch the moon rise orangely over the water, snored all night in the tent like a pile of cats, and woke up with the first bird calls to watch the sunrise on the beach.

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And then….

the ponies came.

It was cute and kind of funny, really, to see 4 little docile frames trotting through a half-asleep campground, nosing at shrubs and tendrils of grass as if they had just been let out to pasture for the day–as if they never even noticed the entourage of 9-year-olds on bikes behind them, or the sleep-disheveled lady on her way to the bathhouse who stopped and ran back to take their picture.

It was funny to see them nose into the doorway of a neighboring camper’s tent and rummage through the contents of a Styrofoam cooler which was too weak to withstand their practiced ransacking.

My friends laughed, and as a joke we took pictures of them in the  background as we settled down to our long-awaited breakfast, prepared to watch the saga continue to unfold.

And then they turned our way.

Noses down, steadily they came towards us, but we knew what was up. My friends and I gazed longingly at our half-eaten breakfasts on the table, knowing we had to follow park rules and give the ponies a 10-foot wake.

“Don’t worry, guys. I got this.” I boldly stated, and walked towards them commandingly, waving and clapping my hands.

Noses down, they steadily advanced past me, eyes zeroed in on our breakfast.

“Never mind. HIDE THE FOOD!” I screeched, desperately swooping up what I could reach. And then I leaned against the car and laughed.

It was chaos.

One of my friends was grabbing the last cinnamon buns out of reach of the hungry jaws, one was taking pictures and one was literally wrestling a hot dog skewer out of a pony’s mouth.

With the innocence of a dove, Assateague’s native ponies had effortlessly taken over our picnic table, where a very pleasant breakfast HAD been taking place not 4 minutes prior.

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What goes around, comes around.” They say.

“Do to others what you would prefer them to do to you.” Those are Jesus’ words.

Both a good thing to remember at 8 a.m.

That is, if you value your breakfast.

 

 

Don’t eat in the shower, kids.

If you had an awkward week, let me tell you about mine.

Maybe it will make you feel better.

I had to practice my swimming this week, and this is how it went.

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I didn’t make my week’s goal.

I had to call someone I’d never called before, and I didn’t know his voicemail only lasts 15 seconds. It’s awkward to have your info chopped off in the middle.

“Hi, this is Kara and I’m calling to register for–BEEP.”—*Confused pause. Switches to Brian Regan accent.*—“For that class! You know, the one that most people named Kara like to register for! Just send me a smoke signal and we can communicate that way.”

Unfortunately the phone just stared at me blankly, unimpressed.

Shucks.

I went to work, and 30 minutes after I arrived the chef walked out. For good. One of the waitresses didn’t show up because she didn’t realize it was her night to work. So I and the other waitress each needed to do two people’s tasks.

When I got home in the dark of night, exhausted and FILTHY, I ran upstairs eating a snack. You know those Ritz cracker things that have chocolate and caramel in between? They are awesome, by the way, so if you’ve never tried them you should. Well, I jumped into the shower, still trying to chew the caramel and somehow I choked.

In. The shower.

Like, a much-worse-than-gagging-on-a-wayfaring-grape feeling. More like somebody-save-me-my-windpipe-is-98%-blocked.

Which is much better than if it had been 100% blocked.

Grabbing a towel and making LOUD gasping sounds like I imagine the ostrich doing when it swallowed Curious George’s bugle, I stumbled to my sister’s room.

She, her near-asleep stupor quickly switched to first-aid-instinct, stared in horror, and asked “Kara! Are you choking?? Are you choking?” while preparing to crush my ribs in a mighty Heimlich hug. Thankfully, by that time I had the presence of mind to bend over, and the wad of caramel-y cracker partially dislodged itself.

The frightful wheezes turned to coughing.

My mother appeared, and stared in horror. “WHAT is going on?” But what she really meant was, “Why is my daughter dripping wet, clothed like a roman statue, and gasping at the head of the stairs at this unrighteous hour of the night??!”

By this time I was laughing sheepishly between the coughs.

I could imagine trying to explain this one to an EMT. “Well yes, it actually is my common practice to eat crackers in highly humid environments, but I’ve never CHOKED before….”

“I think I’ll resume my shower now,” I said, and so I did, leaving my personal first responders to stand there shaking their heads.

Did you think life with adult children was gonna be calm and easy?

Ohhh, no.

It’s nothing like calm around here.

But at least the dog has finally stopped howling at the moon.

Pick Up Lines, Church Style

Pick up lines crack me up. Anyone who knows me well has probably been the awkward recipient of one…… because hey, let’s just face it, everyone’s day gets brighter when someone they love compares them to a pomegranate.

So, if you need a little help at Youth Group tonight, here you go. My top five no-fail pick up lines.

  1. Did it hurt? When you fell from Heaven? ‘Cause with a face like that, you gotta be an angel….

  2. Is your name Grace? Because you are AMAZING!

  3. If I marched around you 7 times, would you fall for me?

  4. Is your name Faith? Because you’re definitely the substance of things I’m hoping for.

  5. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.

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Yeah. You’re welcome!

Now go spread some awkward love.

My Yellow Dress & What Sounded Like A Helicopter

I was 18, and my first car was a Mercury Sable station wagon.

Eggy

Eggshell-tan, except for where the paint was peeling to reveal a lighter color underneath. Inside, the upholstery was ripped and if you plopped into your seat too hard dust would fall from the exposed and brittle insulation in the ceiling. The license plate was ‘EGY-4849’, so we called my heroic steed ‘Eggy’.

Oh, and I forgot to mention… this car was one of those stylish station wagons where you could pull the floor of the trunk up into a rear-facing seat. Needless to say, all of my friends BEGGED to go riding with me.

One warm day in spring, my bestie and I decided to go to the mall. In Eggy, which was an instant ticket to high class.

In the true spirit of the season, we donned our girly best, and I distinctly remember wearing a new yellow dress. It was a short, fluffy dress, and I remember it because I didn’t have a lot of yellow clothing at the time and because I didn’t wear many short dresses and because girls just do remember stuff like that.

Laughing and listening to the radio and joking about –well–things girls joke about, my friend and I were long-gone on our merry way when we heard a strange sound.

Wup-wup-wup.

Kinda like a helicopter.

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It got louder.

Peering dubiously out the windows while speeding–well, less polite people might term Eggy’s locomotion as ‘careening’–down the highway, we tried to figure out where this foul aircraft could be, and why it was hovering so low.

Turns out, there was no helicopter.

There was only one dysfunctional Eggy station wagon, one wheel decidedly flat, just past the off-ramp 4o minutes from home.

We called my dad. He was away from home, but tried to tell me what to do. At that point in my life, my only idea of a jack, other than my cousin Jack, was the large kind that are used in a mechanic’s shop.

I saw nothing of either sort in the trunk of my car.

So there I was, sitting in the trunk of a horrifically ugly station wagon, my little yellow skirt blowing in the breeze, trying to decipher what in the hoot my Dad was trying to describe to me above the racket of passing traffic as my friend did her best to aide me. We were the perfect picture of two damsels in distress.

What do you know, but a car pulled over behind us.

We, being young, dumb and trusting in the entire factuality of unhealthy local news stories circulating at the time, were petrified with terror.

“Here, hold the keys!” I hissed to my friend, convinced that these newcomers sole purpose for stopping was to hijack our disfuncionable steed. Two men walked up to us, both rednecks, the older man sporting a full beard and weathered face, the younger one handsome and shy-looking. “Hi, I’m —-, and this is my son, David. Can we help you?”

I tried to tell him no, while my dad, still on the phone, tried to tell him yes and my friend sat in the car grasping the keys with white-knuckled force. Finally, David’s dad, seeing he was getting nowhere, just knelt down and started loosening the lug nuts.

He tried to make comforting conversation.

“Do you know what you hit?”

“N… nooo.”—“we thought we heard a helicopter…” my brain wanted to finish, but I didn’t say that part out loud. Somehow, I got the faint impression that David and his father didn’t have the highest opinion of our common sense.

Another rackety vehicle pulled over. This was becoming quite the scene. My friend would never want to go shopping with me again!

These people were strangers as well.

“Are you a (local family) girl?”

“No…..”

“Oh, ok. Well, we just saw you by the side of the road with two men, and wanted to make sure you were ok.”

“Oh. I’m fine.” I said, and they eventually went on their way, still not convinced that I wasn’t the girl they thought I was.

David’s father had the spare on within minutes, and instructed us about the speeds with which we could drive on it. I was so flustered, I never even tipped him. But I did say “Thank you” with strongest feeling, and shook his honest hand while vowing never to judge a person by their appearance again.

Then my friend and I darted into Eggy’s safe recesses, shivered a little, laughed a little, and continued on our way to the mall, the indomitable high spirits of our youth restored by the pleasant outcome of our unfortunate situation.

But I still felt guilty for not tipping David’s dad, so I prayed blessings upon him for a week.

————————————————————————————————————————-

This morning, I blew a tire.

Impressively enough, I didn’t sweat it. I just pulled into Hess, shoveled to the bottom of my overstuffed trunk, pulled out my spare, and had that puppy changed in 15 minutes flat. Sitting here now, I laugh about the difference between today and the first time I had car trouble. It’s amazing how time changes things.

And it’s amazing how real friends remain your friend for years and still want to go shopping with you….

even if you break down in an ugly station wagon named Eggy, are scared of strangers, and get grease on your new yellow dress.

I’m mature……RACOON!!!!!

One day not so long ago, I received a call from one of my best buddies, who happens to live in the valley right below me. She called to tell me about a creepy raccoon that was parading about on their property at all unrighteous hours of the day.

I mean, it LOOKED innocent enough.

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But raccoons are nocturnal. And they don’t just parade around in front of people and dogs without a second thought…

At least not in my area. It was rabid, I was certain. When I heard that my friend’s neighbor had found the raccoon dead inside her chicken coop (umm, how’s that for weird?) my suspicions were cemented in my mind as truth. A plague of rabies was sweeping our town.

Immediately, every furry creature I saw was a slobbering, blood-thirsty crazy thing.

Despite this fact, my friend and I decided to take an evening stroll down a backroad one gorgeous spring night. We chilled in the pool for a little, and somehow got on the subject of maturity. A person we had both heard recently had said that “A young person does not reach full personal maturity until they reach 25 years of age, sometimes even later.” We both violently disagreed. What right did this person have to toss all teens and young adults in the ‘Pampered American Brat’ boat? Some kids successfully navigate harder issues at 14 and 15 years of age than most adults have to face in their lives! The statement was very unfair, we both agreed, and highly resented it.

We, of all people, had definitely reached full maturity long before we reached this projected age! That agreed upon, we jumped out of the pool, took to the open road and turned our minds toward other things.

We hadn’t gotten very far on our quest of solving the world’s problems when my friend yelped, “Look! A raccoon!”

I turned just in time to see a furry body hop freakishly towards us for a few paces, and then dart into the weeds beside the road.

Time.

Stood.

Still.

For just a second.

And then we both burst into action. There is no time to lose when a 11-inch furry creature threatens your walking safety. “Maybe we should just keep going.” my friend said calmly. “NO! Grab a stick!” I commanded as I dove into the plethora of poison ivy along the side of the road. I emerged instantaneously with two moldy logs, and thrust one towards my friend.

Unfortunately, it fell into about 6 pieces before she could even fully grab it.

My log, however, was hefty enough to hold threateningly in front of me like a proverbial jousting lance. I staunchly dared that unseen raccoon to come closer as my friend and I inched away.

Unfortunately, while inching away, we were also inching away from home. And it was getting dark.

“Maybe we should just have someone from my house come pick us up.”, my friend suggested.

“No way! –Well… ok.”

And so, two mature adults waited nervously by the side of the road while the sun dropped lower and lower below the horizon, and scanned the forest leaves for those blood-shot, crazy eyes that were undoubtedly waiting for us to let down our guard.

Finally, a well-known blue van pulled up and we tossed our protective moldy log into the forest and dove into the van’s safe recesses. And immediately began to howl with laughter. It was all just SO bloomin’ ironic.

I shook my head at myself in pity.

Was this Kara–the same Kara who had just scoffed at the implication that maturity does not blossom until 25–now guilty of calling her friend’s mother to save her from a furry animal? Was this the same Kara who slept under the stars, hiked in the dark, and spent two seasons leading wilderness trips so unsure of her stick-wielding skills that she had to flee the scene even though the supposed enemy was nowhere in sight? It was so plumb ridiculous. We all just sat in that van and laughed. When we got back to my friend’s house, we told the neighbor (who was also present during our previous maturity debate) the story and she laughed too.

We still laugh about it now. And yes, you’ve guessed the brutal truth.

I still have a fear of possibly-rabid creatures. Aaaagh! Does that mean my maturity is forever at stake?

What is your definition of ‘mature’? Do you pin an age on it? When was the last time your foot took an unwanted trip into your mouth? Let me know in the comments below!!

April Fools ALLREADY??!?

Since I’m one of those lame people who forgets about April Fool’s Day until the day is almost over…. here’s my to-do list for NEXT year.

Or,

um,

anytime, really……

< Make Someone The Unchewable Sandwich

Put Juicy Fruit gum in between slices of white cheese on a cheese and meat sandwich. Paste on an innocent face.

< Slurp Copious Amounts of Mayo in Public

Fill a mayonnaise jar with pudding, and slowly eat the entire jar while sitting in a highly travelled public area. Note people’s reactions.

mayo

< Create an Indoor Water Park

Tape the top of a 1/3-full-of-water plastic cup above a door on the side where it swings outward in such a way that the opening door makes the water dump out…. and, well, sorta onto the person’s…. head.

Use a clear hair band to fasten the sink sprayer in the ‘on’ position.

< Become a Phony Salesperson

Dress up in a disguise, then ring the doorbell of a close relative’s house and advertise a product. Use specific information about them, and see how long it takes them to realize that it’s you.

< Create  Odd and Random Havoc

Talk in at least 5 different voice tones during every conversation, change all the ringtones on someone’s cellphone from “Meditation” to “Teenage Road Trip”, TP a truck, squish a brownie into an unfortunate shape and float it in a pool full of adults, walk a mouse down the street on a leash, inflate balloons and place them in all the toilet bowls of a building, fill a bathtub with Jell-O.

So….. how was your April Fools?

Did anybody prank ya? What is your all-time favorite practical joke?