When you live in a family whose antics often accidentally involve innocent bystanders, the thought of pranking someone on purpose just never crosses your mind. The possibility of being pranked doesn't either.
So last December when I received a phone call from, you guessed it, Lissa, who simply asked if we had a lot of snow at our house, never for one moment did I consider the thought that a 5ft snow sculptor of the male anatomy would appear facing the road in our front yard, built against the very tree our girls stand beside when waiting for the school bus, which is rooted next to the driveway where my massage clients enter everyday. And I'm quite certain the thought didn't cross Lissa's mind that the tree kept the sculptor hidden from view from within the house and that I'd have no reason to leave the house for 2 days, so the fact that giant snow genitalia stood erected...ahem...in my front yard, unbeknownst to me alone, was just an added bonus that brings her joy.
Side note; what kind of person do people think I am that everyone who saw it thought this was normal for our yard and no one bothered to mention it to me?
It was on the 2nd day of it's existence that I came home from the salon, pulled into the driveway and stopped by the tree while my eyes adjusted to what they were seeing. Of course Zac took my blame first and Ron ran a close 2nd. Not once did I consider Lissa & Mandi, until they texted me pictures of themselves posed with the monstrosity.
Life was good, pranks are funny and everyone laughed and laughed.
Clearly the ringleader, Lissa later excitedly said to me, "Now we've gotta prank Mandi!" This mindset baffles me, but when Lissa has a plan, there's no talking her down.
An idea was hatched. We'd sneak to Mandi's place while they weren't home and completely decorate the outside of their house for Christmas. In February. That left us the month of January to gather Christmas decorations and Andy & Lissa went so far as to scour their neighborhood after dark and swipe discarded Christmas trees people had put out by the road. Thirteen, to be exact, because if you don't have a baker's dozen, you've got nothin. They were stored in the back of a trailer beside their garage for all of their neighbors to question their sanity.
On a Friday night in February, while we distracted Mandi & George at Zumba, Ron and Andy decorated the outside of their house, we followed Mandi & George home afterward...because pranking and stalking go hand in hand...enjoyed their confused reaction, confessed what we'd done and then we had snacks.
Life was good, pranks are funny and everyone laughed and laughed.
Then my eyes popped open in the dead of night.
Uh oh. Lissa's gonna want pranked.
Still can't wrap my mind around that, but it is what it is.
Months passed, life went on, everyone got busy with events and Andy & Lissa put their house up for sale. And then one fateful evening, Andy made a decision that altered the course. He watched the movie, 'God's Not Dead.' (Dramatic music here...duh duh duh!!!!)
At the end of the movie, they challenge you to text everyone you know and say, "God's not dead!" Seemed like a good idea to Andy. But it didn't seem practical to send out that many individual texts. So in the interest of convenience, he grouped his contact list alphabetically into chunks of 10, consisting of family, friends and co-workers, many of whom don't know each other. What he didn't account for were the responses that would be seen by everyone in the group. Here's how it played out in one particular group text:
Andy: "God's not dead!"
Recipient #1: Umm...I know.
Recipient #2: Me too...why are you telling me this?!
Andy: Watch the movie and you'll understand. It was really good.
Recipient #3: Who is this?
Recipient #2: Ok.
Recipient #4: What movie?
Andy: God's not dead.
Recipient #5: Yo momma!
Recipient #2: MY MOM DIED IN 2004 YOU LITTLE F***ER! HOW DARE YOU BRING HER INTO THIS!!
Andy: Group message over.
(Flash to Andy in a corner rocking back and forth in the fetal position sucking his thumb.)
And with that, a prank was born.
Obviously, Ron and I needed to cover their lawn with God's not dead signs late one night so that Andy would find them when he arrived home from work the following morning. Because life is good, and pranks are funny and everyone will laugh and laugh.
It needs to be disclosed that I sought permission from Lissa for this entire plan, lest you think we're complete a-holes. Their house is on the market, after all. I even went so far as to ask if it was too soon for Andy, heaven forbid we send him back into the corner. "Do it!!", she says. "It'll be hilarious!!", she says.
We spent all week preparing. We stapled various sizes of cardboard to wooden stakes, printed off 25 pieces of paper that we taped to plastic forks and even went so far as to write on the 100ft isle runner from Aubrey's wedding...all of which said in huge block letters, "God's not dead!"
(Except the isle runner. I didn't know how to make a block G that big, so it said, "Cod's not dead." Fishermen rejoice.)
Last Friday night we took Kearstin, Caymen and Barbara after the football game, because why wouldn't we involve innocent children and our 8 months pregnant daughter-in-law on our little trespassing adventure? We lined their yard along the road with the staked signs. We pushed the forked signs into the grass. We duct taped the isle runner across their covered porch. Then we topped the scene with one sign taped in full view of the driveway that simply read, "Yo Momma!" I mean, we really had no choice.
I finally caved at 4:30 and called Lissa. A huge knot formed in my gut when she said, "Wellllll, it might've been too soon." Then she described what happened when Andy arrived home that morning.
He approached his house to discover tire tracks and a bunch of staked signs laying flat in his grass because someone had driven through his yard to knock them down in the middle of the night. And speaking of things in his grass, the dew soaked the paper signs, tearing them loose from the forks and littered them all over his lawn, leaving what appeared to be trash, and, well, forks.
Coming face to face with 'Yo Momma' at that point was just the icing on the cake...or maybe that was when he pulled down the isle runner, thus ripping the porch paint off with it.
Six of one, really.
As for potential buyers driving by, nothing screams "You want to live here" like a vandalized yard.
When Lissa awoke, she found a distraught Andy drenched with sweat.
"What kind of disgruntled sickos would do this to our house we're trying to sell?!?"
Lissa nervously stammered, "I can't be sure...but I think it was Ron and Shari..."
No need to thank us, it's the least we could do.