Me, Myself and MacGyver

Over the past several weeks, I have learned several things about myself:

  1. I have MacGyver-like skills.
  2. I have no shame.

Let’s begin with Christmas Day. Warning: The following story contains references that are not for the squeamish or those uncomfortable with the female reproductive system. If the mere mention of the word “menstruation” makes you dry heave, I suggest you skip to the next story. Consider yourself warned.

After opening gifts at our house, we packed the van and headed to my in-laws’ house to celebrate with Husband’s family. My back had been hurting since I woke up, but I attributed this to the Ghost Adventures incident several hours earlier. So imagine my surprise when I went to the bathroom mid-afternoon and discovered that, although my back may have hurt because I injured it in my Christmas Eve wipeout, it may also hurt because Aunt Flo had decided to pay me a holiday visit.

Now, you’d think that since I’d been having periods regularly for 26 years, it wouldn’t catch me off guard each month when it starts. You’d think that, wouldn’t you? But no, I had traveled completely unprepared for a menstrual disaster of any kind. No pads. No tampons.

This is when us girls go rifling through our host’s drawers and closets, in the hopes of finding some supplies that can be “borrowed” for such an emergency. I’m pretty sure there’s an unwritten rule among all women that this is perfectly acceptable behavior. At least I hope so… But since I was staying with my mother-in-law, I wasn’t optimistic about finding anything, and so when a cursory sweep of the bathroom turned up nothing, I went to Plan B: toilet paper. Lots and lots of toilet paper.

It wasn’t until later in the evening, after the gift opening and soup supper (and a glass or two of wine), that I found it an appropriate time to mention my predicament to my mother-in-law, who immediately walked into the bathroom, opened the cupboard, and plucked a box with a couple tampons left from waaaay in the back. I was never so happy to see a feminine hygiene product. Unfortunately, though, we were spending the night at my mom’s house (in the same town), I was down to one tampon, and no stores were open on Christmas night.

So the next morning after rifling through my mom’s cupboards and finding nothing, not even a panty liner (Darn you, menopause!), my mom held up something she did have that she thought I could somehow make work: one of my nephew’s diapers. Since my pride had long since vanished, I went into the bathroom armed with a diaper and pair of scissors, and came out a woman pretty darn impressed with her survival skills (and a little bit bulkier “down there”).


Fast-forward to last week. I had the kids loaded up in the van to head to Husband’s wrestling meet. (For the record, he coaches high school wrestling, he’s not a WWE wrestler, although that thought makes me giggle.) I opted for the healthy choice for supper and drove through McDonald’s so we could stuff our faces on the hour’s drive. I need to back up here and tell you that the automatic switch on my driver’s side window has not worked for probably three years. I’d totally gotten used to opening my door at the drive-throughs (although Husband was still mortified) and just decided I wasn’t going to spend the money to get it fixed. But in what we refer to as “the Christmas miracle,” as we were going through the drive-through at McDonald’s (yes, again) the week before Christmas so we could drive around looking at Christmas lights, husband tried the switch and IT WORKED. The window went down and up like it was supposed to, and it continued to work like that…until last week.

So as I was in the turning lane to get onto the interstate and we were trying to divvy out all the fries and drinks, I heard a sound like someone had just hit my door with a sledgehammer. I screamed (a profanity, as Boy #2 reminds me) and looked around for a car that must’ve hit us. But seeing as there was no one beside us, I was still wondering what that loud noise could’ve been when Boy #1 said, “Uh, Mom, the window is going down.”

I looked to my left and saw that yes, the window, which I had put back up, was now about 6 inches down, and continuing to go down. I tried the switch. Nothing. I tried to push the window up with my hand, and it worked for a second, and then came back down again. This was all happening, conveniently, as I was merging onto the interstate.

So trying to hold the window up with one hand as best I could so the boys didn’t get blown or frozen out of the van, I steered with my other hand, got off the next exit, and headed home to assess the situation. And after pulling into the driveway, I opened the door to get out — and the window fell all the way into the door. Gone.

“Well, I guess we’re not going anywhere,” I said as we drug ourselves and our McDonald’s sacks into the house.

Knowing I needed to get to work in the morning (and remembering that oh, yeah, I had no shame), I grabbed a couple contractor-grade garbage bags and some silver duct tape and set out to tape up my window. Once done, I was pretty proud of myself, too, until I talked to my father-in-law and told him what I’d done and he said, “Too bad you won’t be able to see out of it.”

Hmm… didn’t think about that. The garbage bags were black. I couldn’t see out the window or my side mirror. That could prove to be a problem.

So armed with scissors, I set out to fix the problem. After cutting out a hole so I could see when I drove, I tried to first cover that hole with clear Ziploc bags. But the duct tape didn’t want to stick. Then I tried clear Contact Paper. Yeah, that didn’t work either. So I just left the open hole and drove it that way to work with the heater on full blast to make up for the temperature in the teens outside.

I just kept my eyes ahead and tried not to make eye contact with anyone who drove up beside me. And I tried to assure myself that all the people who stared as I drove by were just jealous of my MacGyver skills.

Oh, yeah, this is my van in my parking lot at work. Classy, huh?
This is the view from inside the van.
MacGyver photo: By Themightyquill (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or“>GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


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