Once upon a time, in a land South of here, there was a little girl who got a hippity hoppity horse for Christmas.  It was her favorite toy for days and weeks – maybe even months! – to come.  The hippity hoppity horse was really not much more than a large rubber ball with a horse-shaped head and handles, but she rode that horse all over creation.

I still have such clear memories – maybe because we have video of that Christmas – of me riding that hippity hoppity horse on Christmas Eve.

And so, when that girl became a mother with her own sweet children, she was shopping at Target and happened across the new and improved version of the hippity hoppity horse.  These have no head – just handles and the ball – but they reminded the mother of that sweet Christmas so long ago and her much beloved toy.  And so, even though her children were too young to truly enjoy them at the time, she purchased 3.

As it turns out, these became some of my boys’ favorite toys, as well.  However, I never could have foreseen that rather than bouncing around like happy little children, the first use my boys found for these adorable toys was to THROW them down the stairs at each other and see if they could knock the person at the bottom of the stairs down.

They called it human bowling.  And just guess who was the favored pin.


So, the bouncy balls (as they were labeled by my kids) were banished to the out of doors where I thought they could do less damage to my home.

I was wrong.

Now, instead of riding them or bowling with them, they swing them around as hard and fast as they can and use them as a weapon on each other.  We have had many bloodied lips and knees thanks to those balls.

But nothing – nothing – could have prepared me for what happened tonight.

We were all in the car – me and the 3 boys – on our way to “Chick-Fil-A Spirit Night”, where one night a month, we can eat fast food in the name of raising money for our school.  I love CFA Spirit Night, and I especially love when the planets align and CFA Spirit Night falls on the same Thursday as the day the maids come to clean.  Because not only do I get my house cleaned, I also don’t have to cook and my kitchen is still clean the next morning!

Today was such a day.  I had been anticipating this moment for weeks.  The boys were in the car, the motor was running, and without looking, I pushed the button to open the gate the runs across our driveway.

This gate is very heavy – it would sheer off your toe if it ran over it.  I came with all sorts of pressure switches to keep from harming children who might happen into its path, but we still warn the boys to stay away from it and normally, if the kids are in the yard, I watch the gate carefully as I open it.

But not tonight.  I had all the kids safely in the car.  The only thing lurking by the gate was apparently one of the bouncy balls.

When I heard the piercing alarm and saw the gate had stopped moving, I immediately jumped out of the car and raced over to the gate, fearing the worst.  What I saw – heaven help me – was one of those balls UNDERNEATH our very heavy gate.  I switched off the power and released the gate with the lever, and that stopped the piercing alarm.  By now, all 3 boys were standing around asking me how they could help.  I actually told them to get at the end of the gate and try to lift it while I pulled out the ball.

Don’t ask me how – I think it was one of those moments of superhuman adrenaline strength – but together, we were able to free the ball from the gate.  It has lost some air but appears to be intact.

Or so the boys tell me.  I actually don’t care if I never see the evil ball again.  I was too busy examining the board that the gate partially ripped off the fence as it came off its track and embedded its wheel into the wet grass.

I called Brad – he was on his way home but had to pick up Matthew and head straight to Martial Arts class when he got there and didn’t have time to stop by CFA.  And so, it was with heavy hearts that we all trudged back into the house and I set about the task of heating up Spaghetti O’s cooking supper.

It’s later now – around 7pm – and Brad and Matthew are back but our work for the evening is not over.  Unfortunately, the gate came off the track in a partially open position, but not open enough for my van to fit through.  So we will be working – probably will have to use a car jack to lift it – to get it back on the track, at least so we can open it enough to get my van out tomorrow.

Then, I get to come back in and clean my kitchen.


Tune in tomorrow to hear how we got the gate back on the track, cleaned the kitchen, and called the gate repair man out to hear how much money THIS will cost us – assuming that all happens.  If you don’t hear from us, send help.