The Fokkers clambered into our van (which my husband called a MILF Wagon until Lilo asked what a MILF was) and went to see Sweet Babou’s Dad (Bob) and that side of the family on Saturday. The visit was both good, in that the grown-ups were chatty and pleasant and all the little cousins played together with joyful joy, and bad, in that we found out Sweet Babou’s step mother (Agnes) has breast cancer. They didn’t want to tell us before Christmas because they didn’t want to dampen anyone’s holiday. Agnes is the biological mother of Sweet Babou’s paternal half siblings (Agnes left Bob for another guy, Bob then married Babou’s mom and they had Babou, then they got divorced and when Babou was in high school Bob and Agnes remarried. The family tree looks like a Celtic knot, y’all.) and Sweet Babou’s father loves her dearly, so we are worried both for her and for the mutual loved ones who are suffering from fear and sadness.
Happily her prognosis is excellent. They caught it early, and the doctors are very confident it will be okay. Agnes has had breast cancer before, and she has been in remission for 27 years. Here’s hoping for another 27 years of remission.
After the visit we went (as had been previously scheduled) to meet friends at Ikea where we planned to get the girls bunk beds. It was great to see our friends, who are fabulous and make all the correct noises about how cute our Fokkerlings are. They helped us find the right beds, retrieve the beds and the mattresses for them from the huge Ikea shelves, and then the guy friends helped Sweet Babou strap the flat-packed beds on top of the MILF Wagon while the gal friends (who can field strip engines and rebuild a house with toothpicks if needs be, BTW) sat inside the warm store watching the girls play like the delicate flowers we are. Once there had been much hugging and promises of future get togethers, Sweet Babou and I strapped the kids into their rocket-seats and headed off down the highway for the 2.5 hour trip back to Bloomington.
Shortly after we got onto the highway we discovered the unpleasant fact that the straps holding the beds on our van roof made a LOUD buzzing noise from the wind vibration. It sounded like we were inside a bee that was having rough sex with a group of fellow bees while in the middle of a hive, that’s how buzzy it was. We resigned ourselves to a couple of hours of BBBBBZZZZZZZZZ and continued to poke on down the slow lane at exactly the speed limit as to pose no hazards to other people sharing the interstate that night. Thus we were conveniently positioned to exit the highway at the next off-ramp when the BBBBBZZZZ of the straps suddenly changed to TWANG and then made only SILENCE.
There is nothing like having 122 lbs of flat-packed lumber unsecured on the roof of your van while you are going 70 miles an hour down the interstate at 10:00 PM at night with cars behind you full of people who probably wouldn’t survive the impact of the beds hitting their vehicle to give you a cozy little shot of adrenaline.
Sweet Babou pulled posthaste onto the shoulder of the next off-ramp so we could get out and assess what had happened. Now, I hate pulling onto a shoulder like that. All it takes is some idiot to not be paying attention and clip you to kill you deader than a doornail. However, needs must.
Fortunately only one of the straps had broken, so the situation wasn’t dire. We used the extra straps we had to secure the box better and eased up the off-ramp and into the lighted parking lot of a quick-stop gas station. There we took the time to cogitate about the situation. It soon became obvious that the only real solution was to unload the van, scoot the middle seats forward, fold down the back half of the rear seating beside Lilo’s booster, and use physics and perhaps a wormhole to put the box inside the van. It was 20 degrees outside. It was going to be hella fun.
We left the van on so the kids had a DVD to watch and the heater at least running, covered the girls with our coats for extra warmth (since the doors were wide open) and started hauling packages outta the van. Honestly, we didn’t even feel cold because we were working up a sweat. It felt very hardy and pioneering. Working together we got the box down from the roof (Sweet Babou is lucky he married a strapping big girl like me and not wispy fey-creature) and then I used the bumper as a fulcrum to lift part of the beds while Babou pulled from inside the van.
Voila! It worked!
We then put all the other stuff back in the van around and on the flat-packed beds, double checked that the kids car seats were in prime locations of ultimate security, and then set off back home. We finally made it at 1:00 AM, where we left almost everything but the kids in the van while we staggered inside and got everyone 9including us) into jammies and bed. The Land of Nod has never received happier visitors.
Yesterday, Sweet Babou put the bunk beds together and the girls had much rejoicing, especially when blankets were used to create a “fort” out of the lower bunk. Good times. So all’s well that ends well.
I’m sure my eye will stop twitching soon, too.