The big steel cabinet was perfect for the man cave. Sturdy, trendy in an industrial way, and best of all, half price. One little dent in the diamond-plate steel side and the whole thing is half price. I’m a sucker for a good deal, so of course it’s coming home with me.
But how? Therein lies the rub. If I schedule delivery for a later date what fun would that be? I want instant gratification and I want it now. If I can cram a roll of carpet 10 feet wide into my mid-size SUV, certainly a 6’ tall Titan steel cabinet should fit.
The Scratch-n-Dent department manager was kind enough to have a couple of stockers haul my awesome new 154lb steel 72” x 36” x 24” Titan to the front register.
“What kinda car ya got, ma’am?”
“An SUV. It has plenty of clearance with the back seats folded down.”
“Ma’am? We got us a Titan here.” Oh really, as if I hadn’t noticed.
“Yes, thank you, I’m quite sure. I’ve hauled plenty of oversized items in my SUV and I am positive this will fit nicely in the back.”
“Yes, ma’am.” The three men ushered the cabinet through the checkout line and out the double sliding doors. I paid for the purchase and waggled my fingers at the men waiting under the roof overhang.
Hmmmm…I probably should have given this project more careful consideration. I eyed my SUV with moderate trepidation.
“Ma’am, we’d be glad to schedule this for delivery at a later-“ I held up my hand to stop him.
“No. Thank you, but no. I’ll be fine. I can figure this out. I can make this work.”
“Load it, please. The back of the SUV will hold a six foot long item, I know it will.”
“Ma’am-“ I narrowed my eyes at him and he sighed audibly. Shrugging, he motioned the three workers to surround the Titan.
“On the count of three, boys. One, two, three” and the Titan tilted slowly onto its back under the watchful eye of the department manager. Working as a well-oiled loading machine, the men gracefully slid my new Titan into the back of the SUV, almost. The cabinet stopped just short of allowing the back hatch to close.
“No worries, I’ll just scoot the front seats forward all the way and it’ll be fine.” I cranked the seats as far forward as they would go. The cabinet slid the rest of the way in, hatch locking in place. Thumbs-up to the crowd.
I kept my focus on the incredibly stuffed car, listening for their oh-so-helpful footsteps to recede. To their credit, they did seem concerned to be abandoning a customer to her own lunatic devices. I admired the charcoal-gray-steel-filled windows of the back of the SUV, until at long last the young men washed their hands of the crazy stubborn lady and retreated to the logic and order of the enormous home improvement center.
No chance in hell did I plan to allow them a close-up view of me stuffing my gangly self into the impossibly small area left for the driver after moving the seats all the way up to within inches of the steering wheel to allow just enough room for the oh-so-cool steel Titan cabinet I found for half-price in the Scratch-n-Dent section. No chance.
This wouldn’t be pretty.
I studied the situation, reviewing options for entering the SUV. Head first? That’s just plain stupid. Am I planning to drive with my head on the floor? God knows there’s no room to maneuver once I get myself in. Feet first? Good grief, this isn’t the Dukes of Hazzard. How did Bo and Luke not catch a kneecap on the steering wheel when they did that swift little hop through the window into the driver’s seat? Also stupid, but not quite as stupid as leading with the head.
One foot at a time? Yep, that’s the ticket. Opening the driver’s side door, I slithered my sneaker-clad right foot towards the brake pedal, lowering my body towards the seat. Wait a second. My leg does not bend that direction. Son of a biscuit. I hopped backwards on my left foot, pulling my right leg out inch by inch.
A distant click of metal tapping plate glass told me that my every move was being scrutinized by at least one bespectacled employee from inside the Manly Stanley Store. Extricated from the car, I peeked at the store window. Fabulous. Both stockers, the cashier and the department manager guy were watching the free show. I gave them a confident and cheery wave, ducking behind the car to re-tie the sneaker that didn’t need tying.
The mental deliberations continued. Well, that leaves the butt. When all else fails, lead with your butt. I think that should be my new mantra, my words of wisdom, my guiding principle from here on out, in all facets of life. Yep, that’s it, I’m leading with my butt.
Having made a decision, I approached the driver’s side door once more with my head held high.
If I were an enterprising woman, I would have sold tickets, lined up lawn chairs and had a popcorn machine cranking. I turned and presented them with a view of my approaching backside through the opposite car window.
Excellent, I felt a small rush of satisfaction. My butt is in the driver’s seat. That’s a good start. Now to get my legs around the steering wheel and my feet on the pedals. I think if I pull my right knee as close as I can towards my face, pivot to the right with my foot over the steering wheel, I should be able to slither my leg down to the gas pedal. Heave ho and away we go.
Contortion complete, mission accomplished, my right foot is on the gas pedal. I straightened my body a couple of inches, just enough to give my left leg room to join the rest of me in the car. My left foot rested solidly against the floorboard. Both of my knees were jammed into the dash below the steering wheel.
I stuck the key in the ignition and fired up my trusty ride. Immediate hitch in the program. My feet were in but I couldn’t move them. At all.
I hesitated, glancing toward the window of Manly Stanley. There were at least twelve faces fogging up the front window, watching in fascination as my debacle unfolded. Their interest only made me more determined to get this enormous steel booger home by myself.
“OK, you can do this. One thing at a time.” I wiggled my toes and to my delight, discovered I could just reach the gas with my right big toe and the brake with my left big toe. I smiled in satisfaction. Problem solved. The ingenuity of the determined shopper is a thing of beauty.