Liberty LOVES to stash things. She usually walks around the house with her "Libby" backpack on, filled to the brim with various items. Books, a battery-free flashlight, flip-flops, Matt's pay stub, a spoon... you know, the things you may need, just in case. Every night, after she's gone to sleep, I straighten her bed, which is stuffed full of books. I always check the little boxes in her room to see what she's hiding. A favorite library book, one of my bracelets. But Monday hit a new level of stash.
We were in Home Depot as a family. Libby was riding in the over-sized car cart, when she took off her baseball hat and pulled out a slice of cheese! "Here, Mom. Can you unwrap this for me?" Matt and I burst into laughter as he said, "Did she just pull that out of her hat?!?!"
Levi was playing in the garage with his new Cars car, Ramone. We had just bought it that morning. I was taking groceries in when I heard him say quietly, "Can't reach it." "What can't you reach?" "Ramone." "Where is he?" And Levi poked his little pointer finger up my minivan exhaust pipe! I immediately laid on the ground and looked, and at the very top of the tailpipe, before it bends into the muffler, I could see Ramone's tail lights. I began to fume, spouting of a mini-lecture to Levi about not stuffing cars in the tails pipe as I went in to find something that I might be able to gently hook over the top and pull it out. I broke off a curly straw, but only managed to tip the car over the bend into the pipe. It was now out of sight, and all I was seeing was the $$$ that it might cost to fix my car. You know the math, $3 car costs $300 in a new exhaust system. I went in a googled "matchbox car in muffler", thinking that surely another little boy in the universe had had the same idea as Levi. No matches. Called the mechanic and explained the situation, while he began laughing aloud, "In all my years as a mechanic I've never heard of that!" He assured me it would do no harm, but may rattle around, maybe we could get it with a long magnet and flashlight... Now I'm really hot. I called Liz, one of my most resourceful and dear friends. She also has a great sense of humor, so she began to laugh. Within a few minutes she was at my house with a handful of long magnets, none of which worked. She said, "What if you backed the van down the driveway and slammed on your brakes?" Worth a try! So I attempted a few jolting stops, which produced nothing. But Liz wasn't out of ideas. "Okay, go forward and then really gun it down your driveway, hit that bump at the end as fast as you can and SLAM ON THE BRAKES!" Oh, my exhaust and my suspension system. But I obeyed, and as I slammed the brakes I heard the fantastic sound of a small metal dye-cast car shooting into the street. Liz began laughing and doing the happy dance. Successful extraction! I called the mechanic back, who laughed and laughed and thanked me for a" real bright spot in a dark week."
So folks, if you're at my house and you can't find what you're looking for, be sure to check the boxes, hats, and backpacks, and occasionally... the muffler.