here to regale you, Internet, with my other car top carrier story.
And yes, it's just as bad.
After I broke the house and the car top carrier by driving the whole mess into the garage, the
car top carrier was never really the same. Things just didn't line up right.
It makes perfect sense, since it was rammed into a house at top speed.
But my hubby decided it was still perfectly functional. All it needed was a few bungie cords.
And that was the moment we became The Beverly Hillbillies.
One Christmas we loaded up the minivan.
Oh and let me just say, someone who knows me pretty well emailed me the other day
cackling over the fact I drove a minivan.
Yes, it's true. At one point in my life, I did drive a minivan.
Those were dark days, my friends.
And no offense to minivan drivers, because I was one of your minivan brethren for many
years, but the minivan and I never really fit. It might have had to do with The Ramones, "Hey
Ho Let's Go" and all the other punk rock tunes blasting from my speakers. I gave the school car
line a taste of some real music every time I popped that button and my automatic door slid open
to let my kids in our Blastmobile.
So anyway, we packed up the minivan and strapped on the bungie-rigged, car top carrier and
hit the road for the 8 hour drive to my in-laws.
We were a sweet sight with our minivan and bungie cords and jacked-up, smashed-in car top
carrier. There might have even been some duct tape involved.
I don't remember. In fact, I'm trying to forget.
Everything was going along splendidly as we sailed down the interstate at interstate speeds.
Which means very, very fast.
All of a sudden, I saw a blur of white, flash by my window and I said to my hubby, "Did you
see that? It was like a sheet or a big white bird just flew by my window."
Now, let me explain something to you, here.
My hubby is used to me bursting into tears at the sight of the world's largest redwood or just
about anything else that moves me— one time that meant a Burger King commercial.
He's also used to me saying things like, "Can you feel the essence of this day? Can you? I
mean, really feel it in your bones."
I'm what you call, dramatical.
Urban dictionary defines dramatical as: to be so dramatic that one seems to be theatrical.
And that would be me, to a dramatical T.
Most of the time, he has no idea what I'm talking about or why I'm crying, but he stopped
trying to figure me out a long time ago. He usually just walks away or gives me one of his
quiet looks that says, "I've got no freakin clue what you're babbling about, but if I pretend I
don't hear you, I know pretty soon you'll stop crying over trees and quit talking about feeling
the day's essence and start acting semi-normal again."
So, this was one of those times.
He just ignored my big white bird declaration and pretended, once again, that he hadn't married
a semi-insane woman.
And then the next thing we know, the cars behind us all began honking and flashing their lights
and honking some more and it was in that moment, the sick realization hit me and I screamed,
"THE CAR TOP CARRIER" in my dramatical way, just as a shoe went flying by.
My Hubby, as usual, had no problem with me performing a dangerous maneuver. He yelled,
asked me to roll down the window, stick my entire body out of the car and check on the car
I knew I would most likely get smacked in the face by the next flying object, but I braved the
high winds and the threat of flying shoes and leaned out the window. Sure enough, the bungie
cord had snapped free and was whipping around in the wind and there was the car top carrier,
its mouth yawning open.
I had packed our Christmas gifts on the very top so they wouldn't get smashed by everything
else because I'm smart like that. They were in an open basket and as I leaned out that window
of our still speeding car, I realized in horror the basket was now empty.
All our Christmas gifts—gone with the wind.
I eased myself back into the car and screamed all dramatical about open car top carriers and
missing presents and how I WAS RIGHT about the car top carrier/bungie cord contraption
not being safe, because wives always have to add the "I was right" part, no matter how dire the circumstance, (it's in our wife handbook) and then I screamed we had to PULL OVER NOW!
The man with the plan just kept on driving as I continued to shriek, about PULLING OVER
AND WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOOING?!!!!
My Hubby claimed he was not supposed to pull over on the side of the interstate, but I knew this
not to be true. In fact, just last week, I spotted a car full of frat boys, peeing on the side of the
interstate. We were in a full fledged freaking emergency. No one's going to fault you when your
car top carrier is flapping open and your stuff is flying out all over the interstate. Duh.
But no, the man just kept on driving. Kept. On. Driving.
He then burst into my dramatical shrieks and had the nerve, get this, to ask me to sit on the
window ledge and hold the car top carrier shut with my super human strength while he
careened down the interstate at 80 mph.
Now don't let this surprise you, Internet. He's always asking me to do crap like that.
Like the time he was on his way home from the Home Depot and phoned me with the
mysterious instructions to wait outside for him.
He pulled up with a massive steel grill, weighing a few thousand pounds and had the audacity
and stupidity to say, "Here's how wer're going to do this. I'm going to slide this down to you and
you're going to catch it. You can do it. You just have to use your legs. Use your legs to catch it."
I didn't say a word. I just walked back into the house.
It took a group of many big men to get that baby out of the truck.
But, no matter how ridiculous the stunt is, it doesn't stop him from trying to get me to do it every
And of course, being the dumbass I am, I figured I'd give it a try.
Just in case you ever need to know, it is impossible to hold a car top carrier shut while perched
on the edge of a car speeding down the interstate. I have the bugs in my teeth to prove it.
He finally pulled off the interstate at the next exit, a few miles and what seemed like a bug filled
eternity later. He quickly relatched the cord and turned our car around.
I was all, "Where are you going?"
And he said, "I'm going to reclaim our stuff."
And I was all, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" in very dramatical fashion.
But, if there's one thing about my Hubby, he is a man of great resolve and no one can change
his mind when he's set on something, even a shrieking wife.
I tried to convince him it was absolute madness to wander around the freeway with cars zooming
all around, just to grab our stupid Christmas presesnts. It wasn't worth it.
He thought different.
He barreled back onto that interstate and told me to keep an eye out for our Christmas gifts.
And suddenly, we saw objects strewn across the 6 lanes of road.
It was then my Hubby decided it was Ok to pull over on the Interstate.
I begged. I cried. I shrieked.
But, he was a man on a mission, a suicide mission.
It was horrible.
The girls cried, "Daddy! Daddy!" While I prayed my Hail Mary's fast and furious as I watched
him dart in and around speeding cars and semi trailer trucks, picking up our refuse strewn across
He got it all.
When he returned safely to the car, his arms overflowing with our stuff, we all screamed and
cheered and cried in relief.
He threw the bundle at me and we started up again. This time though, he found a hardware
store and bought about 1,000 more bungie cords.
You know, so we could look that much more Clampett-esque.
While he was in the store, I examined all the stuff he'd reclaimed.
It wasn't a pretty sight.
The massive, beautiful book I'd bought my father-in-law detailing the history and lore and
extraordinary beauty of Ireland had a smashed binding, some shredded pages, and tire marks
tattooed across the pages.
The Brooks Brothers dress shirts— so pristine with their elegant pinstripes and French Cuffs—
gifts for my brother-in-law, were now tattered with black grease and tire imprint stains, sure to
never come out.
There was a smashed vial of perfume, torn bits of clothing, a necklace we never found, damaged
shoes and worst of all, was my mother-in-law's gift.
My mother-in-law is an Italian gourmet cook. Her entire life revolves around keeping her family
filled up with sophisticated delicacies made from her able hands.
When you're a guest in her home and you wake up in the morning and stumble out to her kitchen,
still bleary-eyed, there you will find her, bustling about, always cooking, always creating and the
first words out of her mouth in greeting are always, "What would you like for dinner?"
We'd bought her Le Creuset cookware.
Now, for those of you not familiar with Le Creuset, it is high end French cookware, pots and
pans, and bakeware and just about anything else a gourmet cook could need, all made out of
Cast iron cookware.
Cast iron projectiles flying through the air towards speeding cars.
As I looked down at the chipped and broken pieces I could only shudder and say a prayer of
thanks, that our French cookware hadn't killed anybody.
Cause that would have been really bad. I would have hated to have that burden on my shoulders.
I could just see my flying Le Creuset saute pan causing a 10-car pileup with all kinds of fatalities.
It would really suck to be killed by cookware.
Thank God we hadn't bought anybody a big screen TV or an elliptical machine.
When my Hubby made it back to the car, I showed him the gifts and told him how futile his
death defying stunt had been. There was no way we could give these gifts to our loved ones.
My Hubby was insistent, saying, "It's not about the gifts. It's about the story. Besides, you
KNOW my mom will get some new free Le Creuset out of this."
And he was right, at least about his mom.
The woman is the gold medal champion when it comes to getting free crap.
She knows those customer satisfaction toll-free phone numbers by heart.
All she does is call those people up, tell them her trouble with their product in her sweet,
"I'm just a little senior citizen" Betty White voice and the companies just rain the free crap
down on her.
She gets free food all the time: a huge box of various Ghiardelli products when she called
complaining a bag of chocolate chips she'd bought were old; a case of every kind of Planters
nuts known to man, when she told them her cashews were stale. Free pants for my father-in-law,
when she told them their Haggars weren't as high quality as they used to be.
And even a brand spanking new fancy coffee system, (not a machine but a system), when she
called the company to say the coffee wasn't tasting right after a few months of use.
They even let her keep the old system.
I'm just waiting for her new car to have a problem. I'm going to be seriously impressed when
they deliver a brand new automobile to little Italian Betty White.
And so, we did wrap up the presents and laugh as our relatives unwrapped their broken crap
and looked at us quizzically. I don't think they appreciated the story as much as we did.
But my mother-in-law, true to form rose to the challenge. She loved her smashed up French
cookware, even more so because it was so damaged.
She said with a glint in her eye, "Oh yes, I'll see what goodies I can get out of this."
I questioned her ability on this one, telling her I didn't think cookware that was hurtled out of a car
at 80 mph would be covered under their warranty.
It was just like my Corelle dishes.
I was a newlywed and one of our wedding presents had been a set of Corelle dishes. We'd
finished up dinner one night, my Hubby, me, and as always, my Hubby's other brother/business
partner. As we lingered over our wine, I picked up a dish and remarked that these things were
supposed to be shatterproof.
Without hesitation, my Hubby grabbed the plate from me and said, "Well, let's see" and then
proceeded to hurl it across the room. We watched it fly through the air and hit the doorknob of the
front door, where it exploded in a splendiferous crash, the plate smashing into thousands of tiny
We all just sat there stunned, except for my Hubby who just said, "Huh. I guess not."
I figured the Le Creuset would be right around those same lines.
But no. That woman managed to get herself a whole line of their new winter colored cookware.
Thank God, UPS doesn't use bungee cords. The French Oven alone, would have definitely put a
hurtin' on the highway.
The car top carrier along with the minivan are no longer a part of our lives. Nor are the Corelle dishes. We just don't like to live on that side of danger anymore. I've got enough in my life to keep me on my dramatical toes.
Today's Definite Download: Death Cab for Cutie's "Passenger Seat". This is such a dreamy, lovely song and it plays just a little differently from the rest of this fine Irish band's repertoire. I love the words to this quiet song. They're incredibly powerful in such a simple, hushed way.
"Passenger Seat" for me and my bad ass, leaning out of that car like a mad woman. I can still feel the bugs in my teeth.
I roll the window down
And then begin to breathe in
The darkest country road
And the strong scent of evergreen
From the passenger seat as you are driving me home.
Then looking upwards
I strain my eyes and try
To tell the difference between shooting stars and satellites
From the passenger seat as you are driving me home.