Moms Getaway Part 2: Three Women And A Mission

After arriving at our destination, the rest of the weekend went as smooth as clockwork. We lounged on the beach and by the pool. We shopped and ate amazing food. We watched TV in bed, and most importantly of all we laughed. We laughed a lot.

Nice culottes, Granny.
 Caliza at Alys Beach
George’s at Alys Beach

When Sunday rolled around we packed our things and prepared for our journey home. Loren Leigh and I were in the bathroom packing our toiletries when Mary Marshall walked in and informed us that there was a leak downstairs. We all rushed down there to find water coming through the ceiling. A pipe somewhere had burst and the water was finding its way out by pouring from a speaker.

Mary Marshall’s first responder skills were right on point because before she even alerted us,  she had scoured the cabinets for a bowl large enough to contain the leak, thereby sparing quite a bit of furniture from damage. I’m pretty sure she was a paramedic in her former life.  I made a quick call to my uncle for some guidance.

My mind flashed back to the Luke Wescott flood of 2011, and I knew that we needed to get the water out of the ceiling as quickly as possible to keep it from spreading. I could hear my uncle’s confidence in me wavering a bit, but I like to think that he reflected back to the Billie Jean King in me that just one week before had put together a fire pit all by herself. He said, “If you can’t get the speaker to pop out, then at least poke a hole in the ceiling with a screwdriver.”

A larger garbage can had replaced the bowl because the water began steadily dripping down from all around the speaker frame. Mary Marshall held the ladder steady while Loren Leigh handed me tools like a surgical assistant. Every time I pried the edge of the speaker down,  more water poured out.

“Why don’t you get down and let me try,” Loren Leigh offered. I was happy to oblige. Then, with her bear hands, (That’s not a typo. I’m fairly certain she was channeling a grizzly bear) she took hold of the speaker and slowly pulled it down with arms shaking like a weak armed Olympian doing a pull up. With that, the leak slowed to a drip and our crisis was over. I like to think of that whole experience as our team building exercise for the weekend.

Piece of cake!

Afterward, we did the only thing that seemed appropriate. So back to the outlet malls we went. A little retail therapy always slows my heart rate back to normal, much like a prescription- a really expensive prescription.

Eventually, it came time for Mary Marshall to say her goodbyes and head to the airport. However, about thirty minutes later she called to say that Loren Leigh had left her J. Crew shopping bag in her rental car. “No problem,” said Loren Leigh. “Just leave the bag at the rental car place and we will come and get it.” We were then reminded by the rental car agent that under no circumstances could an unattended package be left at the airport, AND if she checked the bag she would be charged extra. To make matters worse, there was absolutely no fitting it in her already full suitcase.

That’s when the rental car agent made a suggestion. It was half insane, half brilliant. So Mary Marshall boarded her plane wearing four additional sweaters, a pair of socks, and a bracelet purchased earlier by Loren Leigh. She really took one for the team that day, dressed as what could only have looked like a homeless person layered up for a good night’s rest in a city park.

The ride home for Loren Leigh and me was much less eventful considering that we had a car charger for our phones. Had the navigation system not instructed us to make four consecutive U-turns, and then circle through a trailer park scary enough to give Honey Boo Boo nightmares, we would have made it home in under five hours. Hey, there’s always next time.

Route that navigation system took us on.
We thought it was a driveway, too.
And, you gotta love the curtains.
Can I get a “Row Tide?”

Christmas Fantasy Land (with photos)

Picture if you will, a magical holiday world full of excitement and wonder, of beautiful twinkling lights and amazing Christmas spirit. Now, stop imagining that because that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
In the deep, dark woods of a rural Alabama trailer park lies a place known as Christmas Fantasy Land. The trailer park is aptly named “Shady Acres,”and therein lies a home occupied by a family named Blackmon.
Every year this family hosts a redneck feast for the eyes in the way of Christmas decorations. There you can find Santa’s sleigh atop the Nativity, and a ferris wheel next to an homage to Bonnie and Clyde.  My girlfriends and I have a tradition of going to this place every year, and 2011 was no exception. It’s hard to put this experience into words, but I will briefly try before showing the photos.
This year they had Snoopy and the Grinch alongside an oddly placed patriotic setup. There was an ice skating rink next to a multi-cultural display. There was a native American display near a country-line dancing scenario. (I never realized how much that group like to mingle.) To top it all off there was a stray cat that followed us around, that of all things, my son named, “Shame.” Ironic considering that’s what all of the adults felt for being there.
Enjoy the photos, but don’t try to make sense of them. You’ll get a migraine. There is also a poem at the end inspired by Twas the Night Before Christmas. It’s a must read.

In all sincerity, our kids thought this place was amazing. 

Sign that displayed, “Only OR days ’till Christmas.”

Not sure what this is. Possible moon landing. Possible 9-11 tribute. All I know is that they’re wearing rain coats and football helmets.

Santa’s Ho-Down

Because nothing says, “thank you,” to the troops like free-hand acrylic paint on plywood.

My friend Mary Beth with a semi-inflated Grinch

No idea what’s going on here. Pretty sure that’s an igloo in the background.  Possible Middle Eastern theme going on…

My son with Shame admiring the wonderment of CFL. (You can interpret that a couple different ways.)

My friend Loren Leigh (LL) posing with the CFL newly upgraded sign. It used to be written in Sharpie on a piece of cardboard.

This was on the front porch. There are no words for this, but we were ALL photographed with it.

All aboard the Christmas Fantasy Land Express. Traveling non-stop to the WIC line. 

There was some Disney action happening here. Walt would be proud.

We also did a little Tebowing. Little did she know, MB was kneeling in dog poo. 
Ode to Christmas Fantasy Land
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Shady Acres trailer park
Some creatures were stirring out there in the dark.
Colored lights were hung from the clothesline with care
In hopes that spectators soon would be there. 
The Blackmons were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of meth-labs danced in their heads.
And Lori in her sweater, and LL in glitter shoes
laughed in the van while Mary Beth “tebowed” in poo.
Then out of the van there arose such a clatter
So they sprang to the window to see what was the matter.
Like a flash from the van to the front porch they flew,
and posed with our sign, “In memory of Ma-Ma. We love you.”
From the steps of the porch they had quite a ball,
Then dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all.
They spoke not a word when a sign did display
In tensil and Sharpie, “God Bless the USA.”
And placing their hands across their laughing mouths
They emitted chuckles heard all over the south.
They sprang back to the van and sped off in the dark
And threw up gravel all through the trailer park.
And I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sight,
“Lock the doors so we all don’t get murdered tonight.”