The whoosh that I had heard while driving was the tonneau cover taking flight off the truck bed. I had noticed the headwinds and crosswinds had increased significantly as we entered the essentially flat terrain and that extra wind speed coupled with our near 80 mile an hour speed was all it took to turn the cover into a hang glider.
I quickly slowed down as safely as I could and pulled over to the side of the road.
When I had at first glanced back in the rear-view mirror, I thought that the cover had simply folded over on itself and was still attached at the rear of the truck bed. What I found was not only had the cover been lost, but it had also ripped off the driver’s side bed trim strip along with it. We had just come down from a rise in the road and as we looked back, we saw no cover anywhere. We debated what to do and seeing that there was no close by exit ahead, I suggested I carefully and slowly back up along the breakdown lane with the emergency flashers on.
With so many pieces of truck tire along the road, it was hard to distinguish them from our quarry. Once I made it back up to the crest of the hill, I thought I could see it at the outside edge of the passing lane. Getting closer, I could tell that was it and I was thankful to see that all the trucks and cars zooming by at over 80 miles an hour were swerving around it to avoid running over it. I carefully raced across the road to grab it and when I picked it up to run back could feel the lift as if I was now holding onto that hang glider.
Next up was to locate the trim strip which turned out to be not too far from where I found the cover. Knowing that the cover at this speed with the addition of high winds would likely blow off again, I asked my sister if she had any bungy cords. Thankfully she did and so we were able to loop them between the steel support frame and the cover and then attach them to tie-down hooks in the truck bed.
Once all reattached with the added bungy cord security, we were ready to resume our journey after I cleaned off my hands. As we started off, we both found ourselves frequently glancing back to make sure the cover wasn’t taking flight again. But the bungy cords did the trick and we arrived at our final destination before 6:00 PM local time.
With prior family commitments keeping some family members away from home until early evening, it was not until the next morning that we had the doll house reveal. We talked about several different ways to do this and in the end, I suggested that family members go to the back of the house while we brought the doll house in so that it could be a great surprise.
When we uncovered the doll house and removed it from the truck, we were glad to see that beyond the porch railings that had broken loose, only a few minor scrapes had been incurred during its over 1,500-mile journey. My sister’s son helped me to carefully bring the doll house in and place it front and center on the dining room table.
When the kids came in, you could tell by the looks on their faces and their exclamations of “Whoa” and “Holy Cow”, that they were incredibly surprised. They quickly circled around the house from front to back looking in awe at the detail.
As I watched them take it all in, I told them that my sister and I had had a ton of fun building it but that witnessing their reactions to seeing it was the best enjoyment of all.
We then explained how the special flooring had been made and how my sister, using her artistic talent, had picked out all of the colors throughout the house. When we came to why the top floor was incomplete and that they would be able to finish it exactly how they wanted, the marvelous look of realization dawned on their faces that we were not just showing this off to them, we were actually giving it to them. They could not believe it.
Next, my sister began to unpack and unwrap all the furnishings that she had made as they marveled at how cute each of the pieces she made were. Taking turns, each of the four kids delighted in placing them throughout the house deciding where each piece should go. The youngest granddaughter came upon the creative idea of making little picture frames that she quickly began to hang (note picture above staircase).
With extra sets of hands, I then temporally assembled the top floor and roof so they could visualize the space they would be creating on their own. I then explained the additional steps they would need to do to finish the house. Quickly discussions began among them about what each of these two upper floor rooms should be.
To avoid, my temporary floor from coming loose and crashing down, I took the top floor back off and then we moved it to another table where it could reside until it was moved to its final location where the next phase of construction could begin.
Here, I was able to reglue the porch railings back in place.
Throughout the day and continuing through the days I was visiting, I enjoyed seeing some of the grandchildren walking by the doll house and pausing to play with it for a while. The most humorous play was when someone brought in G.I. Joe action figures and began to have hand to hand combat pretending to ransack the house in the process. Since these figures were smaller than the 1/12 scale of the doll house, the grandkids explained that they were not adults but rathers kids having free reign of the house while the parents were away.
All the joy of play I witnessed during my stay served as just reward for the effort my sister and I had had building it and then transporting it across the country. Not only had we discovered a shared love for modeling during its construction process, but it also brought us closer together than we had ever been in our lives. And it laid the foundation for more fun modeling projects ahead now that my sister had retired, and we could spend more time in this fun endeavor! With this new found common interest, we could also enjoy in the future seeing how this first doll house that brought us so close together would be finished by her grandchildren.