OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo we’re leaving on another trip.

Tomorrow: Destin’s white sand beaches and clear emerald waters.

The last time we went out of town for a week there was an accident of rather unsettling proportions just four days before our departure. I’ve held my breath this time. So far, so good. With less than 24 hours to go, no unscheduled holes have appeared in my house. You have no idea what a relief that is.

The Sunday before we left for England over Spring Break, Jack was pulling my car out of the garage when disaster struck. Well, the car struck and disaster resulted. Now I have a better understanding, though, as to why this child with such a high IQ has such terrible grades. It seems that he has a reading disorder that had been undiagnosed all these years. As often as the kid has his nose in a book, I was completely fooled. I learned about the reading disorder at the scene of the accident.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My driveway has stone walls on either side. Backing out of the two-car garage can be something of a trick, especially as big as my car is. Jack calls my car “The Mother Ship,” a name that’s actually pretty accurately descriptive. A fleet of Mini-Coopers and Smart Cars escape every time the pod bay doors are opened.

On this particularly auspicious day, Jack was at the helm of The Mother Ship when he came out of the garage just a tiny bit crooked. That meant he was very close to the tall stone wall on the driver’s side of the car, and dangerously close to scraping paint.

He pulled forward in an effort to get away from the stone wall. Then he needed to back up again to get out of the driveway.

In addition to stone walls on either side, my driveway is also a steep slope down from the street to the garage. So, naturally, when he went to reverse and hit the gas, and the car rolled forward, he hit the brake.

“Jack, whoa,” I said. I was calm. I knew that yelling at him would only make him mad.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He ignored me and immediately gave The Mother Ship a tad more gas. Again, the car went forward.

“Jack, whoa,” I said, this time more forcefully.

He gave me a look of exasperation. “I know what I’m doing, Mom,” he snapped, hitting the gas again. The car rolled forward a few more inches before he stepped on the brake.

“Whoa, Jack!” I said, very strongly.

He hit the gas again. When the car rolled forward, he knew it had to be the steep slope behind him, so he gave the car a lot more juice. This time the car shot through the wall dividing the two doors of the double garage.



“WHOA!” I yelled.

The car came to a halt about four feet inside the garage. I reached down, shifted the car into reverse, then said, “Okay, NOW back up.”

My son looked at me. He gave The Mother Ship some gas. Magically, it backed up.

Once the hood of the car cleared the former wall of the garage, Jack shifted into park. He lowered his head to the steering wheel, banging it a few times for good measure.

“Oh, god,” he moaned.

“Um, Jack, when I kept saying ‘Whoa,’ that meant you should stop,” I offered hesitantly. It was probably my word choice that had confused him, right? My fault. All my fault.

He banged his head a few more times on the steering wheel, then hid his face deeply in the crook of his folded arms.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Mom, I broke the fucking HOUSE,” he informed me in a shaky voice.

I started to laugh. I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t even be upset at his word choice.

“Well, son, I now understand why your grades suck.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked, not raising his head.

“You can’t read. You don’t know your D’s from your R’s.”

His shoulders started to shake. I couldn’t tell if he was laughing or crying. I think maybe it was a little of both.

My insurance agent is my brother’s best friend. Within 24 hours, I had a new wall where one of my garage doors used to be, and within a couple of weeks of our return from England I had a brand new garage door that stretched across where both old doors and the wall between them used to be. Having one door rather than two makes it MUCH easier to negotiate The Mother Ship out of the garage.

I’ve included a few pictures of the scene. The picture at the top of the blog? That’s the sum total of the damage to The Mother Ship: two scratches. Oh, and the “bonnet leaper” was twisted.