Monday, January 28, 2008

Armchairs, Kidnapper Vans, and Other Misadventures…

It’s a good thing to love your car. In a day and age where our society focuses a lot on the material, it’s great to be not only satisfied with one of the cheifest of our material positions, but to love it all encompassingly; this is how I feel about my car. My 2005 Honda Accord has never failed me and I do not get car envy. However, two weeks ago, I learned that an all encompassing love for ones car can lead to an overestimation of its capabilities, and, in turn, certain…misadventures.

Two weeks ago Jane (see photo of greatest friend ever) and I went to Ikea in Woodbridge, Virginia (a 22 miles trek) so I could purchase a big comfy armchair and ottoman. In classic Ikea style, both the chair and ottoman were advertised as requiring some home assembly and being packaged in 2 boxes each. I assumed that because the boxes would contain only PARTS of the chair/ottoman, the size would be manageable, and the whole purchase would fit nicely into my unconquerable little car. We picked up the required slips for the furniture and headed to pick up the boxes at the designated spot in the warehouse. When the employee brought out the dolly with my furniture, I instantly realized that we had a serious problem. Unlike most Ikea furniture, the chair was fully assembled; the “box” was the entire chair with big fatty cushions wrapped in plastic. The second “box” contained only the white canvas slipcover for the chair. I took one look at the chair, and knew we were in trouble. (See photo of troublemaker chair)
Being the optimist (read delusioned, depth perception challenged hard head) that I am I decided we might as well give it a shot, so I bought a length of rope, and figured if nothing else we could stuff the chair in the trunk, tie down the roof as far as it would go and drive home in the slow lane. We tried it frontways, we tried it sideways, we tried it diagonalways, upsidedownways, and every other way we could think of. It was clear that there was no way we were going to get that chair in the trunk of that car in a way that could possibly survive the 22 mile trip home. I realized that I had severly overestimated the capabilities of my little car…It was a sad moment.

That moment, however, lasted about 5 seconds because the bottom line was I had to get the chair, Jane, and myself home, somehow. Luckily, Ikea maintains its own Enterprise Rental Car desk for just such occasions. So, we headed back upstairs to the desk and I arranged to rent…wait for it…a 17 foot long white cargo van (see van).

Now, anyone who has watched CSI, Without a Trace, Law & Order, or any other TV series involving kidnappings or death will be familiar with just such a van (usually maintained by the perpatrator); 17 feet long, white, no windows. The lady at the desk hooked me up and promised this was the “latest” model. Awesome. It was tricked out with multiple cigarette lighters, nondescript white paint job, manual windows and door locks, and dual sliding doors for easy on/off loading of cargo/victims. So, Jane and I loaded the chair into the back and took off for home.

With wheels like these, who wouldn't consider a life of crime?

We spent the half hour ride making repeated jokes and references to how we were preparing for future events that would make it necessary for us to begin a life of crime (See photo of me as criminal). We played all kinds of games, like “Count the Kidnapper Vans” and sang much beloved road songs like “100 Duct-Taped Jr. High Kids.” Anyway, you get the picture. We made it home without any major incident, except being checked out by two forty year old men in their very own kidnapper van. I dropped off Jane and the chair, and headed back to Woodbridge.

Turns out, I learned a few things from this experience. First, Jane is great. Not many friends would find as much humor in having to drive home in a kidnapper van because her best friend thought her car had magic powers equivalent to Mary Poppins’ bottomless bag of tricks. Second, a kidnapper van WILL do 70 mph if you treat it right. It may or may not stop. Third and final, while those kidnappers do have dibs on sweet wheels, I think I will keep my cushy government job, and appropriately modest 4-door sedan.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It Was Bound to Happen...

Well, after some deep introspection and a little prodding from a few friends and relatives, I am dipping a trepidatious toe into the pool that is the blogosphere.

To provide a bit of context for my decision to enter the wide world of blogging, you have to know that I have a special place in my heart for the art of prose, and hope to be able to share a little of my own style with anyone who might care to read. Also, I figure if I'm ever going to publish that book my dad's been after me to write for the last...oh say... 15 years I should probably start practicing and collecting those stories that make life worthwhile.

I make no promises that this blog will be comprehensive, deep, authoritative, or even interesting. There is also a very good chance it will occasionally be sarcastic, overly pragmatic, and, on the off occasion, a little ridiculous. I will promise, however, that it will be an attempt to stay in better touch with those who are dear to me, and hopefully provide an insight into the little things that make every day laughable, agonizing, and/or fabulous (in no particular order of importance or frequency).

With that, I will say that you have been forewarned, but I hope that you will find a few things in this small niche of cyberspace that are amusing, inspiring, or, at the very least, worth a good solid Jr. High-style eye roll. Happy Reading!