That was the last time anything went according to plan.
On Monday Maria went to the service department to pick it up and a few minutes later a Lowe's employee wheeled out a HUGE, fully assembled workbench on a trolley. Now before you ask if Maria had looked at the measurements before ordering, please know that, yes, she had looked at the measurements beforehand. But you know Maria and math; numbers don't translate into the real world for her which is precisely why she married an engineer. She leaves all the math stuff up to Joe.
"Gosh, will that even fit in my van?" Maria asked the Lowe's employee.
He was willing to try so they walked outside, opened the back of the van, and contemplated the space. It was obvious that ALL the seats would have to be folded down. No problem! Maria knew how to do this! She folded one, two, three seats, but couldn't get the last one down even after she crawled in the back of the van to get better leverage. After a few minutes of huffing and puffing she crawled back out to let the Lowe's employee give it a try. He huffed and puffed and couldn't do it either.
They stood in the parking lot wondering what to do when suddenly a behemoth of a man walked out of the store. He was Popeye with a beard, Harley tattoo, and leather boots. His biceps were the size of Sequoia trees (and he didn't get that way from eating spinach). Maria and the Lowe's employee looked at each other and then he
Popeye-with-the-Harley-tattoo (who seemed even bigger up close) looked at the seat, looked at the strap, and with one finger ... JUST ONE! ... pulled up on the strap and the seat folded down. Just. Like. That.
Later that night when Timothy was in the shower, Joe and Maria went into the garage with the intention of taking the workbench out of the van and carrying it upstairs to the attic until Christmas morning.
Except, when they pulled it out of the van they realized (again) how big and cumbersome it was. And then they thought about having to carry it up the front porch steps, through the front door, up the steep steps to the second floor, and then up another flight of steps to the third floor attic. Joe couldn't do it alone and Maria ... well, by then she was kind of tired of that workbench.
Where was her Popeye-with-the-Harley-tattoo when she needed him?
In the end, here's what they did: Timothy finished his shower, came downstairs, and on a Tuesday night the last week in November and exactly five weeks ahead of schedule, Joe and Maria took him to the garage and yelled, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"