Krista Vance/Voices | Oh, chute ... a seemingly bad idea turns out just fine

Krista Vance/Voices | Oh, chute ... a seemingly bad idea turns out just fine

All good stories begin and end the same ... "So, there I was ... it seemed like a good idea at the time."

Thomas and I recently attended a smashing birthday party for our friend, Pat.

Good times!

So, there I was ... watching laughing, little kids scramble through a black flapped door. It was like watching circus clowns climb into a tiny car.

"What are they doing?" I asked Thomas.

"No idea."

I stopped the next kid before he hightailed it through the door. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Playing in the doggie chute."

"Doggie chute?"

"Yeah, the dogs go through a tunnel, then climb a ladder to the outside."

"That's brilliant! I have to try it!"

The kid eyeballed me. "You're too big."

"Excuse me. I'm NOT too big."

"Um ... OK."

"Challenge accepted. Thomas, hold my drink, I got a doggie chute to climb through."

I will say this, the kids scrambling into the chute looked 8 years old or younger. Basically, a bunch of runts, but Pat has a good-sized dog, so I wasn't too concerned. What breed of dog, you ask. I don't know. It's brown.I slipped off my shoes and laid on my belly. I scooted through the black flap, and much to my surprise, there was another black flap. That Pat, so clever to think about insulation.

I army crawled through the second flap, twisting at the end to get my childbearing hips past.

I'm not claustrophobic — well, I wasn't before I crawled into the doggie chute, but when I lifted my head I may have panicked.

From the filtering light, I could see that the "chute" was a pipe about 24 inches by 8 feet. At the end, it took an 80-degree turn upward into another smaller opening. There were rungs leading to the "outhouse."

I tried to scoot back, but I was stuck. The humidity in the pipe must have swollen my hips. "Just breathe."

"I told ya." Hanging upside down from the rungs was The Kid. "Your legs look like the Wicked Witch of the East, and everyone's taking pictures. I came down to keep you company."

"Thanks," I mumbled. "What's your name?"

"Timothy Bradley Randall Marcus Taylor."

"Seriously?"

"Yep. What's yours?"

"Krista, but some people call me Mathilda with an 'h.'"

"I like the Matilda books."

"Me too, but she doesn't spell her name with an 'h,' so it's not as cool."

"I graduated first grade, and I like math. Do you like math?"

You're never supposed to say negative things about school stuff ... like math ... vomit. "I love it!"

"Probably cuz it's in your name.""Excuse me?"

"Mathilda has math in it. M-A-T-H-," he paused, "I-L-D-A."

He was right! Now I have to change my name! Maybe I can be Khrista with an "h." That's cool, right?

"Do you think you can let the adults know I'm going to need some help? I saw a hot guy wearing a fireman T-shirt, he's probably the one you want to talk to. I'm going to count how long it takes you."

"Sure! I'll be right back."

Khrista, focus on breathing, I thought.

T.B.R.M.T. was fast. "Are you going to have a baby?"

"What?"

"You sound like my mom when she practices having a baby."

I shook my head. "Whatcha carrying?"

"A glass of wine. Your husband said you'd probably need it."

T.B.R.M.T. set the glass in front of me and plopped in a straw. "I thought you might need that."

"Bless your heart." I took a long sip. "Did you happen to find the hot fireman?"

"Yep."

"Did you tell him I was stuck?"

"Yep."

"Is there a plan?"

"I don't know," he rested his elbows on the ground and placed his chin on his palms. "What's your favorite dinosaur? Mine's the T-Rex."

While the "plan" was being formulated, aka let's drink a lot and watch Khrista squirm, T.B.R.M.T. and I chatted about EVERYTHING.

"Don't worry Mathilda with an 'h,' if they can't get you out I brought something." He held up a pair of pliers, "I'll use these."

"I shall call you Timothy Bradley Randall Marcus 'The Tool Boy' Taylor."

Eventually, I was rescued by the hot-but-not-so-gentle fireman.

I rolled onto my back; a small hand offered me my glass. "Thanks." I hugged my favorite first-grade graduate.

"Well," Thomas poured me more vino. "That was interesting."

I shrugged. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

I overheard T.B.R.M.T. ask the hot-but-not-so-gentle fireman, "What's your favorite dinosaur?"

"Actually, Thomas," I smiled at The Tool Boy's retreating back, "it was a very good idea."

Krista Vance is a stay-at-home mom in Champaign.

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