Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rescue Heroes Save Humanity

After watching a week's worth of disaster in the City Formerly Known as New Orleans, I want to focus on a rescue of a happier nature. One in which none of the victims die, the rescuers are all heroes, and everything returns to normal at the end of the day. These rescues took place at our house. Hubby got to play God, setting in motion a number of Faux Disasters that the 4- and 6-year-old were commissioned to deal with.

They love the Rescue Heroes action figures, with names like ROCKY CANYON, MOE ZAMBIQUE, WENDY WATERS, GIL GRIPPER and KENNY RIDE. They want to be just like them, rescuing people from various dangers that pop up around our house. (However not from REAL dangers, such as we lost the car keys, forgot to turn the toaster oven off and it's smoking, a spider the size a frisbee is in the house, Girl Scouts are insisting we bought 12 boxes of cookies all the same variety, or no one can find the remote again and it's the TV whose manual button is broke so it won't shut off EVER, etc.)

So anyway, God, er, I mean Hubby, is forced to come up with a variety of exciting "rescues" that can be staged inside the house without a) endangering our children, b) hurting the resale value of the house, or c) causing a social service agency to investigate us. It is quite a task, but Hubby has a side of him that is firmly stuck in childhood, so I think he just channeled that personality!

The first rescue was called "Avalanche!" Upstairs he created a disaster involving comforters, couch cushions, and every pillow in our house. We probably own 30-40 pillows for no good reason. We were probably both pillow deprived as children. I only recall ever owning one, and it was VERY flat. We've obviously overcompensated. So our boys, the Rescue Heroes, were charged with the mission of getting to the upstairs "disaster area" and finding all 15 or so victims. They had to bring these victims to the rescue area.

"No one gets LEFT BEHIND!" Hubby shouted as them as they bolted upstairs, scrambling on the stairs over strategically placed comforters and pillows. "We're ON it!" they assured him. (They like using official Rescue Hero Lingo, which includes a bevy of "rogers," "overs," and "can-you-read-me's?") Like extremely cute mountain goats they made it past the obstruction, and squealed with delight as they were able to rescue some of their victims, stuck in drawers, hanging from chandeliers, trapped behind couch cushions. I had to pretend to be Network News Lady, following them with the video camera to get great footage of the rescue.

It was not easy. Hubby imagined that as they scaled the stairs they would throw the pillows behind them. Wrong! They dexterously clambered OVER them, leaving Hubby and me to fight our way awkwardly through what looked like a White Sale Gone Very Wrong. They had rescued half the victims by the time I made it to the second floor. Winnie the Pooh! Mickey Mouse! Minnie! Stuffed Animals of Every Description! Bob the Builder (who kept running his saw and spouting dialogue any time anyone touched him.)

The kids were outfitted with walkie talkies. Each time one of the boys uncovered a victim, he would seize the person/animal/creature by one limb (or worse, the head) and fling he/she/it into the pile of already rescued victims. Sometimes at great speed! With no regards to the status of anyone's back. Let's just say if these victims weren't hurt by the avalanche itself, the rough rescue probably did them in. The boys were just counting rescued bodies. Injuries sustained during the rescue were completely incidental. "STAY SAFE!" They would shout at each other periodically. Their faces were flushed with triumph by the time they rescued the last victim.

This was better than playing Hide and Seek in Mom & Dad's room with the neighborhood kids and a bag of chips! Greater fun than re-doing the kitchen in a Play-Doh motif! More fascinating than dousing the entire master bath in a dense fog of white baby powder! But the fun did not stop there. No! Next was "Lanai Forest Fire." Hubby taped red paper flames to the plastic patio chairs scattered around our screened-in patio and pool area. The boys proceeded to douse the flames with water balloons. Little bits of water balloon littered the lanai. The tile looked like it had contracted Psychedelic Measles.

Then we went on the "Mine Explosion and Poisonous Gas Adventure." The boys donned surgical masks, safety goggles and rubber gloves as they rescued their stuffed victims from the poisonous gases seeping throughout the upstairs after the mine explosion. It was harder to see through the safety goggles, but eventually they found all the fuzzy victims and hurled them to safety!

Hubby was getting very creative with the next adventure. It was a "Rock Slide Into Our Bedroom." He carefully blocked the entrance to the master bedroom top to bottom with a variety of soft objects such as pillows, cushions and backrests. He wedged it all in there tightly. He had scattered the poor victims (which by now had to be getting tired of being rescued from so many disasters) all over our room. Then he told the boys they needed to get through the rockslide which had "trapped" the victims in our room, and get them out ASAP so we could attend to their injuries. Well the boys took a running start and burst through the pillow blockage jamming the doorway such that they both went tumbling into the room in a giggling heap with pillows flying every which way. Then of course they raced to trample the victims and sling them out of the room. More success!

The final adventure was breathtaking. We had to wait until after dinner, when night fell, for the "Electrical Wind And Rain Storm." (However we had already decided beforehand we did NOT want anything resembling a flood in the house.) Once it got dark, Hubby scattered the bruised and tattered victims on the boys' side of the house, strewn between two bedrooms and a hall. We turned off every light in the house, and sent them searching with flashlights and glow sticks. Then I blew the battery-operated fan at them (wind!) and Hubby squirted them with his spray bottle of water (rain!) as they scrambled around looking for victims. A huge success!

The boys were so weary and thrilled by the end of all this they couldn't wait until we did MORE rescues the next day. Perhaps something involving boats, they suggested. Or a tornado! And could we get some dangerous animals into the house to participate? (NO.) As the 4-year-old said to us, "This is FAMILY FUN!" I give Hubby all the credit for coming up with such a bizarre and successful childhood memory for them. Especially because we will probably have to come up with new adventures each week, or somehow get the entire neighborhood involved. The best part of all is that there is no danger. It is all just Make Believe.

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