September 12, 2009


Being a lower-middle class member of society we have enough money to just squeak by each month, and extra money for things like eating out or entertainment are pretty much nonexistent. Adam and I never had a honeymoon, we've gone to the movies together 3 times over a 7 year period, and only go out to eat once in a great while for occasions like our anniversary or if we have a gift card. Our three youngest children don’t even know movie theatres exist, and we tell all our kids that McDonalds is for rich people.

Please don’t think our family never has any fun. We are just forced to be a little more creative. (Of course, not being able to go out does have a lot to do with having so many children!)

Sometimes,I dread the days Adam has off, purely for the fact that he seems to make a bigger mess than the kids. He has a great imagination, but it can get out of control. When he’s home the boys will get out books, pieces of Hot Wheel tracks, and a roll of duct tape. The end result is a living room full of race track that they use to race their cars for hours. We’ve had tracks taped to the ceiling!

We also take advantage of free things like public parks. My boys are all big Star Wars fans (I’m including Adam here), so one day we went to a hiking trail located at a nearby park. We packed up the kids and their lightsabers, and walked in the “jungle” for hours killing Wookies. (My sweet little boys all want to be on the Dark Side. It’s a tad troubling, but what are you going to do?)

Now I would like to take a minute to tell you about one of my husband’s most creative ideas that has brought us not only hours, but years of fun. It all started when my parents decided to move.

My mother and step-father owned a motorcycle shop back in the day. You’re probably thinking, “She was raised by bikers?!” I know that may seem trashy, but my parents are not your typical bikers. Do they live to ride? Yes. Would you see them in the street and say to yourself, “Biker.”? No.

My mom is currently a motorcycle safety instructor for the military. She is very feminine, and she never wears leather. (Unless it’s a riding jacket.) My dad is a motorcycle theory teacher at MMI. (Motorcycle Mechanics Institute) He sports a horseshoe hairdo, and didn’t get his first tattoo until Adam gave him one for his 50th birthday this past August.

Anyway, when they sold the shop 5 years ago, the buyer only wanted the building, not the inventory. My parents had no where to put the goods and it was way too expensive to ship it from Pennsylvania to Arizona. So, they asked if they could store it in our basement and garage. We brought the inventory here and tried to sell as much as we could on ebay.

We sold a lot of items, but some things like tires and spark plugs proved to be almost impossible to sell on-line. Adam did manage to sell some tires to local riders, but the others sat in our garage, and began to dry rot.

One beautiful fall day, three years ago, Adam futilely tried to clean our over stuffed garage. Pulling stuff out into the yard in an effort to reorganize, our lawn was covered in tires and large boxes. The kids spent hours crawling in and out of the tires, pretending to be in some other world.

Hours went by, and Adam was still at it after the kids had gone to bed. Adam’s brother Alex was our basement dweller at the time, who was summoned to help, and soon after he knew the kids would be asleep, my own brother (who lived at the bottom of our hill), his wife, and our cousin Brett came up to our house for our weekly barbeque. When everyone lived nearby, we’d pull our money together to get beer and enough food to feast for hours.

The guys went through each box, labeling, and placing them in the garage in some man order I still don’t understand. Towards the end Adam began opening box after box of tire tubes. Realizing we would never be able to sell all the tubes before they rotted, Adam borrowed a neighbor boy’s tire pump and inflated a few of the tubes. The guys had a good time throwing them at each other and putting them on and running into one another.

The night went on, but the tubes never got old. Then, out of no where Adam invented a game. We have one clothesline pole in our yard. It’s cemented into the ground, but has always been useless without its mate. Adam stood in a dirt ring, across the yard from the pole, where the kids swimming pole had destroyed the grass that summer.

“Hey, let’s try and ring one of these tubes around that pole.” Adam stated.

The guys threw tubes for two hours. Tubes flew everywhere. They went over the fence, into the garage, and straight up in the air, before someone finally got one to shimmy down the pole. When it did, they cheered with enthusiasm, and Tubes was born. It has become a game we play for hours and hours. Everyone has their own technique on how to get a ringer, but even the most seasoned of Tubes player can lose control in an instant and lob a tube over the fence.

I can’t even tell you how many people have participated in a game of Tubes, far more than I ever would have imagined. We now have a set list of rules, including extra points if you ring a player from the other team when they aren’t paying attention. (I’ve been rung a lot!) We’ve even had different versions. Once we set the poles (we put up a piece of pvc pipe on the other side of the yard when we have large groups of players) on fire, called Flaming Tubes. Then, Adam got a great idea called Sacks, where you throw a sack (dirt in a plastic grocery bag completely duct taped in a ball, with a duct tape handle for throwing) in an already tossed tube that didn’t make the pole, for extra points.

Lesson 10: motorcycle tire tubes + clothes line pole = white trash horseshoes

So, if you are ever in the area, stop on by and toss a tube, but be prepared, it’s addicting!

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