Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Don't Try This At Home (Part One)

Last month, Larry and I gathered all our daughters in New Orleans for five days of eating, drinking and parade watching. Bonnie is a grad student at Tulane and is involved with Krewe du Vieux, one of the earlier parades that make up the carnival season. I can’t go into great detail about exactly what the parade entails (this is a family blog, after all), but suffice it to say it’s all about satire and poking fun at the latest scandals in the city, in a no-holds-barred, nothing-is-sacred manner. It’s a riot.

Also joining us were Larry’s sister Leanne and her significant other Don. It’s rare that we're able to get all four of the kids together now, as three out of four are out of state (and number four is soon to be), busy with their lives and jobs and school. We made this trip their Christmas present, flying them down so we could all spend some family time together. A grand, grand time was had by all, and the trip was chock full of priceless memories,  one I’d like to share here today.

Being a party of eight people, sometimes getting around as a group was troublesome. Bonnie had her car, a Ford Focus, not really built for trucking the whole family around town. We traveled via a hodge podge of street cars, interesting cab rides and good old hoofing it. Larry had been adamant, when we left Bonnie’s to go to dinner that first night, that we could all fit in her car.

As is often the case, we all looked at Larry like he was crazy and proceeded to go split into two groups, one in Bonnie’s car and the other in a cab. It was a bit of a hassle, as our cab driver insisted Bonnie was taking the long and difficult way to get there. So after dinner, Larry insisted we could all fit in Bonnie’s car. At that point, a little weary from the day and not willing to debate further, we said okay.

If you aren’t familiar with the Ford Focus, stop reading this right now, open a new browser window and find a picture of one to look at. We fit eight people in one of those. Bonnie drove, Jessica sat up front, with Elsie quasi on her lap. Leanne, Sarah and Don sat in the back seat, and I laid across the three of them, like a pickle slice on a hero sandwich. Larry went in the trunk.

Yes, you read that right. Larry went in the trunk. He offered to go in the trunk. It was the only way it was going to work, and he knew it, and by God, he was going to make it work. So he folded up, we moved some stuff out of the way, and in he went.

We are laughing about this now because nothing bad happened. No cops, no rear-end collisions, the thought of which makes me shudder. Every once in a while Sarah would call out, "Larry?" to make sure we heard his muffled "Yep!" While we were laughing quite heartily, the Ford Focus was less than amused, as its seatbelt warning dings gained steam each passing moment because there was no way to buckle anyone in. Each pothole or facsimile thereof threatened the structural integrity of the car’s frame. She creaked as we went around corners. Her belly scraped the pavement a couple of times. We got a few strange looks at traffic lights as people caught a glimpse of the human jenga puzzle within.   A very large black man in a very large truck did a double-take at me, and then waved.

We finally reached Bonnie’s house and found we couldn’t open the doors on the curb site - we were sitting too low. So we opened the cars on the road side and proceeded to spill out into the street in clown-car style. Larry emerged from the trunk relatively unscathed, and said, "See? I TOLD you we could fit eight people in that car!"

We then proceeded to drink way, way, waaaaaaay too much, late into the evening.

On my next post, I’ll give you all the gory details of two crazy kids in love, a tattoo studio, and what one woman would endure, to prove she could.

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