The Screams Heard ‘Round the Parking Garage

Aside from my amazingly uneventful trip to NYC in June with my bestie, weird things happen to us when we travel.

Actually, who am I kidding? Weird things happen to us all the time, it is just infinitely funnier in another city.

Like the Airport Bathroom Incident on my way to Utah a few weeks ago when – instead of waiting for me, my carry-on, and my purse to exit first – a lady brought her carry-on, her purse, and her entire self into the bathroom stall WITH me. We stood eye to eye for several beats, our bodies flush against each other, as she huffed impatiently at my complete incompetence. “Uh…excuse me? I guess?” I mumbled as I squeezed past her along the wall, the metal toilet paper box cutting into the backs of my thighs. Suffice it to say, it was a very special moment for us both.

Or like the Baby Goat Incident on our trip to Kansas where – thanks to a wheezy bout of croup and a prescription from the urgent care we seem to visit every trip – the toddler was raged out on steroids. When the goat he was about to bottle feed at the children’s farm got a little too close for comfort, my sweet, precious baby reared back and PUNCHED IT IN THE FACE. It was savagely amazing.

And then there was the Parking Garage Incident, also in Kansas.

Adios, Elevator

On the 4th of July, my parents and I took the boys to a children’s science museum.

Half of us had visited the museum before, back in January. The other half hadn’t made it past the doors at the entrance last time before turning around heading to the emergency room for the Broken Finger Incident.

This was our redo; a chance for the two halves to experience it together.

And we did. We had so much fun.

My favorite part was probably at the “Air Pressure Rocket” station, where dads of varying ages and sweatiness were pumping pressure valves furiously to maximize the pressure in a plastic bottle rocket. The whole process took a few minutes, each pump building the anticipation of pushing the giant, red launch button and seeing how high their rocket would shoot.

You know who else noticed the giant red launch button? My children.

Not once, but TWICE, one of my boys snuck under some unsuspecting dad’s elbow and pushed the button prematurely.

The dads tried to assure me it was fine, but I saw how much sweat they wiped off their brow from all the hard work. They were disappointed, to say the least.

After ruining a few other museum-goers experiences and making a few memories of our own, it was time to leave.

We headed back to the parking garage and rode the elevator to the floor our car was on.

As we stepped off, Mom, Dad, and I were all conversing about how fast the elevator doors are.

“Seriously – I’ve never seen a door close so fast.”

“And especially in a parking garage. Usually these things are ancient and slow.”

“You basically have to sprint to get in and out of this thing.”

Our conversation was interrupted by the sound of muffled, blood-curdling screams echoing throughout the elevator shaft behind us.

Turns out while we were all busy discussing door engineering, my 3 year old was busy not getting off the elevator.

5 of us safely on the second floor, 1 of us riding the magic fun box to who knows where.

Without missing a beat, my mom started running down the stairs to the first floor.

My dad started running after her.

“Dad! What are you doing?” I yelled. “One of you needs to go up! DIVERSIFY, PEOPLE!!!”

If we would have stopped and thought for 2 seconds we could have checked which direction the elevator was headed, but none of us thought that fast. Just fast enough to know that 2 people going the same place was inefficient.

He changed course and ran to the third floor.

When my mom reached the first floor, she found the elevator waiting – doors wide open – with a small, terrified Hutton still screaming at the top of his lungs inside.

Now knowing how fast the doors close (hah..ha..h..), she threw her body inside before it had a chance to leave.

A grandmother sacrificing her body for her grandson. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Anyway, that’s how we ended up at the emergency room for the second time.

Just kidding.

She got inside, delivered Hutton to the correct floor, and the whole ordeal was over in less than a minute.

We debriefed the situation at lunch.

Hutton debriefed by saying, “remember dat time I was SO yost??” about 12 times. (Yes, I do. It was 10 minutes ago. And it was less than 60 seconds.)

My dad debriefed by sharing his reasoning for running the same direction as mom, a train of thought that continues to make me laugh: “I knew I was faster than her and that she’d probably fall, so I was going to get to him first.” (So much hilarity packed in there.)

My mom debriefed by throwing some side eye and saying, “Ever since I fell and broke my wrist last year, everyone treats me like a fall risk.” (We should totally get her a FALL RISK bracelet for Christmas.)

I debriefed by saying, “The only way Hutton is allowed to go back to that museum is if they remove all doors from the building first.”

Traveling, man. Not for the faint of heart around these parts, but sure makes for some good laughs.

And laughing is the best way to spend time, anyway.

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