Thursday, September 23, 2010

For some reason guys do that sort of stuff

Who saw Modern Family last night?

Do you remember the scene where the Phil jumps on the car to make it stop?

Guys do that. For real!

Let me tell you a little camping/RVing story.

JR's parents had this 38 foot motorhome (no, not a tenement on wheels) that we would take out 3 or 4 times a year. You know, one of those get back to nature, teach the kids how to roast marshmallows yet take the microwave with us kind of outing. It was great fun. The boys loved it. Our oldest even named the thing, the Fun Car. At 3 I really think he hit the nail on that head. This is not the story.
This is the lead up.
Here is the real story.....

One fall weekend we took the Fun Car to a county park a couple of hours south of Seattle to spend it with some friends of ours (Phil and Val) who were the park managers. (A free camp site, Yay!). We drove around to the perfect site by the lake picked out by Phil.

It was a great site, generous in size, right by the lake, and had no real close neighbors. JR pulled the Fun Car into the site and set the brake. We decided that we would level up the vehicle, since there was a bit of a slope, after we had a little get together. Leveling took a little time, a little yelling and possibly some placing of blocks of wood under the tires or the jacks. Let's just all agree it was a pain and we wanted to get to the fun part of the trip.

Lawn chairs, red checked tablecloths and cold beer came out of the Fun Car. Boys tumbled out. Our friend's little girl skipped her way into the site. Parents settled in for a chat and the view. It was all good.

Or so we thought.

Our boys, who had been playing in the Fun Car since the day it came home from the dealership, decided that they wanted to "drive". All three children hopped into the Fun Car and proceeded to bounce around. Generally, having a great time.

While all this Fun Car mayhem was happening, us parents were sitting in lawn chairs situated between the Fun Car and the lake. Right on the shore. Close enough for toe dipping (if it wasn't Western Washington and freezing, that is). Completely enjoying each others company, our beers, and the relative quiet.

All of a sudden the Fun Car lurches forward.
Then starts to roll towards the lake.
The parents scatter.
There is much yelling.
Waving of arms may have happened.

JR, manfully, throws himself in front of this slowly rolling motorhome. A motorhome weighing thousands of pounds. That has got gravity and motion on it's side. He puts his back against the grill and braces his feet at the waters edge. All 175 pounds of him against thousands of pounds of motorhome. Phil adds his weight. Yeah, this is going to work.

What were we women doing while our brave (some would say stupid) men were trying to stop a moving vehicle in a single bound?

Val was standing off to the side, out of the way of any stupid or smart rescue attempts. Not because she wasn't concerned but because she knew that there was already enough chaos. And I had told her to. Why would I leave her all out of the fun? Because I was opening the door and climbing into the motorhome. I didn't need the competition.

Pushing wildly screaming children out of my way I make it to the driver's seat just in time for the Fun Car to abruptly stop.

I hadn't applied the brakes?
JR and Phil's weight could not have stopped this thing?
Val's obvious concerned look wouldn't have worked?
What stopped the vehicle from plunging into the lake?
(okay, plunging might be too strong of a word.)
Rolling into the lake with our precious children inside.

The parking curb!
That's right. A 6 inch high, 4 foot long piece of concrete bolted to the ground stopped the motorhome. God bless good design and physics (it had to have something to do with it).

I reset the brake (that the kids had released) and herded everyone out of the vehicle. We moved the lawn chairs from in front of the motorhome, as a precaution. Gave the kids a snack. Made them play outside of the motorhome, which they were only too happy to do and sat down to release our parental tension.

Then I started laughing. Not because it was a stress release (or maybe it was) but because the sight of JR throwing himself in front of a moving vehicle was the funniest thing I'd ever seen.

What the hell was he thinking?

I asked him; "What the hell were you thinking?"
JR: "I wasn't. I just knew that I had to keep the motorhome from going into the lake".
Me: "Pfft! Like your skinny butt was going to stop it".

We still laugh about it some 22 years later.

So last night when Phil from Modern Family jumped onto the car as it was rolling down the hill JR and I looked at each other and started laughing. Because we've been there.



  1. Okay that is just hilarious! I saw that last night and wondered why on earth anyone would actually do that...and here you got to experience it live and in person!

  2. Classic story! Loved the show last night, John keeps repeating, "What? You can't see the line? That's because I sold it."

  3. hey!! you have a wonderful blog. thanks for sharing your life and experience here. keep it up and never give up. you can do it.

  4. Well, given the parking curb was so strategically placed, I'd guess your Fun Car was not the first to plunge toward the lake. But it was exciting, I'm sure!

  5. Aww, what a hero he is! Hahahah!

  6. Your post made me laugh even more than Phil on Modern Family (yes, I saw it - love the show). I could picture the whole scene.

  7. It was Noah.

    I think.

    Honestly I don't remember this at all.