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01 Jun 2011
A weekend with my sister, pt. 2
One of the Hamlin Lions|sophie-world.com

Continued from last Friday...

So, loyal readers, when we last left our bedraggled heroines, they were pulled over on a very narrow shoulder beside the road, desperately trying to secure a giant piece of foam core without having Freda’s car door taken off by fast-moving San Bruno Mountain traffic.

The wind was brutal, and although we were able to go slowly now that we were on surface streets, that didn’t diminish the tornado-like conditions I was viewing through my window. I’m talking “Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore”-type winds. And of course my sister seemed to hit every yellow light as we drove, making me hit every red. It made for a start-stop leap-frogging forward toward our destination, with Freda pulling over every time I got stopped. Now, neither my sister nor myself are very good at directions, so I needed to stay directly behind her not only to keep an eye on the ever-shifting star topper strapped to her roof, but also to tell her where to go via our headsets. There was a particularly hair-raising moment when a huge gust of wind lifted the piece about twelve inches off the top of her car. I was in a panic, and just as I started to say, “Pull over right now!”... My cell phone dropped the call. Gotta love AT&T.

And that’s when it happened. My sister’s beloved antenna ball, which was shaped like an alien and purchased from the Roswell Museum in New Mexico during her cross-country trip to start working for me, blew off. Unfortunately I was too close to her backside and too slow to react, and I drove right over him. It was like that moment in the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away where his beloved volleyball companion Wilson is swept to sea. The both of us screamed out, “Noooo!”

But that’s not the capper. That came at the next light.

Once again, my sister blew through a yellow light, leaving me screeching to a halt at the crosswalk. I could only watch the mayhem that ensued as she pulled over to wait for me, and was quickly engulfed in a crowd of about fifteen Mexican worker hopefuls. All I could see was a swarm of people surrounding her little car and hear her screaming frantically, “Lo siento, no trabajo, lo siento, no necessito, no gracias, no gracias!”

Finally we made it to Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, where we simply had to navigate an obstacle course of buses, stopped UPS trucks, and erratic pedestrians. That was the easy part.

We arrived at Hamlin only five minutes late, which was a miracle, and we hopped right into the fray. What followed was a series of mini-incidents: none of which were earth-shatteringly devastating, but just funny in the way they mounted up, one after another after another.

The first of these was when I went to park! I got so excited to see a spot open up right in front of the house two doors down from the school. I leapt into my truck and backed into the spot like a pro -- only to discover that it was a construction zone and that I wasn’t allowed to park there (not for the next month, anyway, unless my name was Sal and I had a contractor’s license). Sigh.

Next came the moment when Freda started decorating the stone lions out in front of the school. Freda is known for creating really cute costumes for them that match whatever theme is being presented. She was going to town on Leo and Leona when the very sweet secretary popped her head out to check Freda’s progress. Just then a worker walked by. The secretary asked, “Don’t the lions look cute?” He replied, “Actually, no. But then, I’m an honest guy.” And he walked away. Freda and the secretary were left dumbfounded and open-mouthed. The lions are one of our favorite things to decorate, and most people find them adorable. Mr. Toad’s tour car has even slowed down so its passengers could point and take photos...

Eachevent means a different look for the lions|sophie-world.com

To add insult to injury, Freda hopped down from her lion decorating perch and split her pants... right up the mid-thigh seam...

The rest of the day progressed pretty much like that. I got busted for slipping the theme of the event to the girls (seriously, I got snagged by the chairperson’s daughter!), I had to rewire the giant star when I plugged it in and realized that half the lights were burned out, the school was having their science fair that day and of course everyone started showing up at the same moment we decided to tape down the red carpet on the front steps, the curtain rods we were using to hang the valances bent in half, and finally the second red carpet leading into the dining room whipped up and nearly took out the entire after-school program...

We were racing against the clock to get to our “Royal Wedding” party, so it’s expected that we would have more last-minute mishaps, but we managed to get out the door on time -- another miracle! And I should let it be known that the event itself was a huge success, as was the “Royal Wedding” party... but more on those adventures another time!