Saturday, January 25, 2014

Murphy’s Law or Elderly Parents Helping Their Children Move – Episode One

    I am not sure where the volunteering started.  But I can certainly recall that when one of our kids finally found a home that would comfortably house their expanded family someone volunteered my wife and I as helpers.  There was no coercion, no misunderstanding.  Just ignorance, stupidity, and lack of judgement.  That’s not fair.  What was lacking can easily be stated: the stamina of middle age.  The brawn of earlier athletic days.  The reflexes of youth.  And just a tad of the luck we all rely on to get by day to day.
    Let me relate some of the details in the story, and you, kind reader, be the judge. 

    Step one was driving to New Jersey.  Luckily we were going on Martin Luther King Day.  And what luck, the beautiful new Maryland House Rest Stop on I 95 just opened that weekend.  Check the pictures out.  Lots of glass.  See those doors? Step inside and there is about a ten foot vestibule and another set of doors.  Even on cold days cold air doesn’t come in.  And once you’re in, and done, it’s time to go out.  Unfortunately my wife didn’t notice that half of those interior set of doors weren’t doors or openings.  They were brand new big very clear glass frames.  After I said “I’ll meet you in the car,” she walked into one of those stationary tempered panes.  Embarrassed she went to the car and nursed her bleeding lip, and her banged up eyebrow (soon to become a full shiner). 

    She sat in the car and wondered, “How am I going to tell Joe that I walked into the (glass) wall?  It’s so embarrassing.”  In the meantime, I had bought my coffee, put in milk and sugar, stirred and covered it, and began walking toward the car.  I too saw the outside doors, but no inside glass pane.  I too marched into the rigid wall of glass.  Red blood mixed with hot coffee on the floor and the brand new, clean as a hospital syringe, piece of glass.  I had a bloody nose, cut on the bridge, bleeding from the interior.  I was down for the count.  Professional first aiders appeared from no where, eager to practice their ministrations in their new rest stop, so as to insure they were ready for the big time catastrophe.  I stood up.  I struggled to be free of their grip.  I failed.

    “Sit down here.”  I did.

    “I have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”

    “Should we call an ambulance?”

    “I have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”  I stood up.

    “Don’t get up, please.”

    “Get him some cold compresses, bandages”

    “I have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”

    “Are you OK?”

    “Of course, I just have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”

    “We’ll let her know you are in here.  What kind of car is she in?”  I tell them.  Mortified that I did something so idiotic as to walk into a building wall.  What will my new status be in the family?  Family clown.  I tell them the car.

    Finally, with an armful of medical supplies, I am freed, and walk out (still with a tiny bit of coffee in that crushed cup) to the car.  To my surprise, there is my lovely wife, being told not to stand up, that they will get medical attention to her in just a minute or two.  She looks at me.  I look at her.  I go into the car, speechless.  Up goes her window.  On goes the engine and if anyone left rubber peeling out of the Maryland House parking lot, it was my wife.  We laughed for a while, and then realized we had done some seriously visible damage to our faces. 

    Were we prepared to help our kids in their move 3 hours to the north?  More to come in the next episode of Murphy’s Law.


  1. While there is much virtue in couples doing things together, there are limits! I'm glad neither of you was seriously hurt physically, although your pride went with your fall.

  2. Thanks for sharing this remarkable story. It illustrates the combination of cruelty and comedy that characterizes the best slapstick routines. Only the German word Schadenfreude comes close to capturing it, but I don't think even that is quite right. (Which one of you was Laurel and which was Hardy?) I hope everyone is well along the road to recovery by now.

    But are you sure you were not unwitting dupes of someone surreptitiously filming a Windex commercial?


  3. Unbelievable ! That really is some story - if you were litigious you have some case against whoever runs the rest stop . Helping kids is hard.

  4. Reading your well- written blog about missing walls is quite different from see your sweet, beaten-up wife, Bonnie.
    On Friday afternoon I was full of compassion for each of you but... only I gave more thought to the "story" did my doubts begin to take over.

    How can one smart, with-it, energetic, careful , aware person walk into a wall??? But, how can we ,your loving public, possibly believe that one of the couple had a dangerous
    run-in with a glass wall and just minutes later, with warm coffee in hand -- second person- Professor Joe --takes on the very same invisible ( but hard ) glass wall??

    I now patiently await version #2 explaining what REALLY happened. As reported by Bonnie, Robbie, too, has his imaginings.

    Your Friend,

  5. Great picture of you . Love it all. Your comment on memories is as good as I have ever read . Works for me.

  6. FUNNY SENSE OF HUMOR, JOE, HOPEFULLY, THERE IS AN HAPPY END TO THE STORY THE STORY AND your nose and Bonnie's lip are in good shape. We won't laugh, we promise when we see you.

  7. Great news you have been sending lately, congratulations on all counts. sounds like you are on fire with this that and the other. excellent.

  8. It looks like you and Bonnie might not have been the only casualties that day. Burt oh, my, what we do for our kids!