Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Covert Operations

You might remember that once upon a time (35 days ago) I bought a play set which then sat in the parking lot at Lowe's while the store and the rest of the universe couldn't figure out how to help me get it home. Lamenting the cruel separation of my money and my play set, tempered with the anguished cries of my children, last Sunday dinner yielded one very capable volunteer: my cousin Clark.

He called me Tuesday night and asked if I'd meet him in the parking lot at 11:45. No, not a.m., p.m. "Of course," I said.

(Look, it's a family thing, we're always out in the middle of the night or up doing crazy things. In fact, why wouldn't we be running errands in the wee small hours? There are no lines and the traffic is light. Besides, sleep is for babies.)

Clark had already gone to Lowe's earlier in the day, disassembled the play set, and loaded it onto a trailer, which he had left in the lot. He mentioned that no one asked him what he was doing, demanded a receipt, or bothered him in any way. That's so bizarre, I thought, because if I'd been the manager of that store (and I have been a retail store manager) I would have been out there asking questions, especially when someone left a loaded trailer in front of the store in broad daylight. But nope.

Clark asked if I could please drive behind him in case anything fell out and to prevent the over-size load from causing any problems. ANYTHING AT ALL TO GET THAT THING HOME HERE TAKE MY BLOOD. So, yes, I agreed to meet him at quarter to midnight and be the rear guard.

Tiffany came over in the meantime and we sat on the couch to dish. She was texting, I was tweeting, just a couple Gen Xers living the life of Millennials. I told her about Clark's plan and she was game. We might have done a drive by past a house of a guy that she kind of likes on our way to Lowe's. (More Millennial stuff.) (Or is that high school stuff?) (And what did we think would happen if our high school crushes had actually came out of the house? Would we just drive even faster, only screaming? Not a lot of thought went into drive-bys, did they?)

Clark pulled into the lot with his pick up truck and jumped out of the cab with a headlamp on his head and a busted up tee. He moved frenetically hitching the trailer and digging around for a bungee cord while telling us all about the movie he's shooting in the morning. Clark is a wizard. (Not that kind, the special effects kind.) The movie is about orcs. Do women find orcs as attractive as vampires, I wondered? Clark demanded that we explain the current feminine obsession with vampires. I do not have an answer, Tiffany stammered one out. I pretended not to be obsessed with True Blood.

As long as we were in a deserted parking lot in the black night, Clark suggested, and no one was asking any questions, maybe we should just throw the other display play set next to mine onto the flat bed and create some sort of ginormous mutant play set that appeared to be self-replicating. I was sorely tempted. Yes, outlandish ideas and scheming plans, we are related.

He dug a military grade flashing flare out of his truck (of course he did) and tied it on the play set boom extending from the trailer. "Excellent!" Clark proclaimed, and fired up the pickup. Tiff and I jumped into her luxury car to follow the flat bed. Clark blasted over the speed bumps at top speed with every slat screaming to abandon the trailer. I begged Tiffany to stay further behind the careening truck. Sure enough, boards tumbled out onto the road in front of Five Guys and Fries. I jumped out of the car, golf cart style, and grabbed the boards. Up the road we watched the flare detach and bounce-flash along the asphalt and land in the dark. Tiffany and I scan the road and spy the bungee. Another car is racing towards us as I scoop up the bungee in the middle of the road and let out a scream as I vaulted back into the car.

I wonder what the neighbors think of us moving this thing at 12:20 a.m. I hope they think we're mysterious. Not so mysterious that we're selling meth, but just mysterious enough to be moving large, bulky items under the cover of darkness.

Am I sad that Lowe's took my contact info after my last post and then didn't call me back? No. Why? Because when Clark was taking apart the set no one batted an eye. He left a trailer in the Lowe's lot and not a word. We came back in the dead of night and not so much as a rookie security guard moseyed on over to see what the Hey For we were doing.

When Clark is done with the orcs he'll be back to put the play set together, which prompted me to come up with a cracking idea for next week's posts, just you wait.

So now we have our play set; it's just in pieces in the backyard, but at least it's not still in the parking lot of the hardware store.


rookie cookie said...

This part is brilliant:

"She was texting, I was tweeting, just a couple Gen Xers living the life of Millennials."

Millennials. Love it.

Marge Bjork said...

I think the military grade flashing light is probably also a family thing

Marianne & Clayton said...

I was just going to ask you what had happened to the set. And the whole thing reminded me of the movie "The Burbs".

The Bakers said...

Good Gosh.

wendysue said...

I want to know what kind of heels you were wearing during all of those shenanigans. I can just see it, hopping out of the car grabbing 2x4's and bungee cords, all in your 4 inchers.

AzĂșcar said...

Practical--2" wedge espadrille two-tone Vera Wangs.

Annette Lyon said...

So. Bizarre.

On Lowe-related topic, I won a $100 gift card from them, but it hasn't shown up in the mail. Too bad they don't have those set up in front of the store so I can take one at midnight.

Anonymous said...

awesome. We need pics of this infamous play set.

Marie said...

You should now go in to Lowe's and demand to know what happened to the play set. Demand your money back. You deserve your money back, after all they put you through.

AzĂșcar said...

Marie, that would be so hilarious!

jeri said...

It would be funny if they call you in a week telling you that your playset has disappeared. But we both know that won't happen because

a. they won't notice its absence
b. they wont' be able to figure out which department handles this situation
c. they've lost your contact information already anyway

wendysue said...

Ah, the wedge. A very practical choice. . .you need that extra support.

Shawn said...

Glad to know that you were up doing stuff during my time of the night---thats when the magic happens!!

Natalie said...

love it love it love it

I think you should go to Lowes and ask them what happened to the playset.