Odyssey 2006: Gorilla Tactics

Odyssey 2006: Gorilla Tactics

There’s nothing the Outlaw sisters can’t fix with a roll of duct tape, a pair of scissors, 30 minutes and Joshua, the English Shepherd, barking incessantly to be petted instead of watching our Gorilla tactics.

You’re thinking, “She misspelled that word. It should be guerilla tactics.” Actually, both spellings are appropriate. We used Gorilla brand duct tape, and our method of coercing the Honda Odyssey automatic sliding door to close required outsmarting a van door with a smidgen of stealth…guerilla warfare, if you will.


What prompted us to engage in these subversive adhesive tactics?

Following an outing, we helped my nephew Joseph out of the van, carted in the rest of the our leftover more-than-generous lunches from a local restaurant and then Calamity Jane went back outside to close the automatic sliding passenger door. The door kept stopping and emitting an annoying beep when it reached the halfway point on the rubber track.  Was the seat belt in the way? Did something fall in the track? Was the door lock accidentally engaged? No! After careful inspection, the Outlaw sisters realized that the rubber edging on the floorboard had a tear in it. The door’s automatic sensor refused to continue along the torn part.  Our comments of frustration must have upset Joshua, who barked at even greater volume. Perhaps he was attempting to alert us or he was voicing his innocence, since he had been accused of and proven guilty of chewing the siding on the house, his sofa/bed, two plush throws, about four cardboard boxes and two bags of charcoal briquettes. Ah, but I digress.


Calamity Jane, recalling the genius of Red Green, star of the PBS Red Green Show, decided that duct tape might just do the trick. Armed with a pair of scissors and a roll of Gorilla tape, she carefully applied some pieces along the rubber track. She pulled the door handle and the door started to slide. Success? No! The door stopped at the same torn area. She kept adjusting and reapplying the tape, but to no avail. The stubborn door would not move beyond the now-duct-taped tear. She was due to take the van to our mechanic for an oil change. But drive on an interstate with the passenger door open? Leave the van overnight at the mechanic’s parking lot so some car thief could just hop in the back seat, hot wire the van and take off?  We were getting desperate. Finally, I said, “Why don’t you put a piece of the tape vertically over the tear and secure the long end of it onto the floorboard above the door track?”  She tried it and we crossed our fingers, hoping we would not have to resort to having the van towed or trying to squeeze it in the garage overnight so no one would see the gaping/open door passenger side. She pulled the handle and the door began to slide. It crossed the duct tape and continued along the track to close securely! Success! We high-fived each other and promised to write to the Gorilla corporation to let them know we found a new use for their excellent product.

Joshua stopped barking and plunked his 85-pound derriere on the doorstep so we’d have to pet him to get back in the house. Happy ending for all.

duct tape



Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley—we are the Outlaw sisters!

Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley—we are the Outlaw sisters!

Our dear pastor and spiritual director gave us the monikers.  My sister, a senior citizen who cares full-time for an adult son with multiple disabilities, lives on a less-than-modest budget and no working income. For years, she did not even have to file taxes.  However, a few years ago the IRS made an error (really? IRS? error?) and mis-categorized her as having a job and an income—unbeknownst to her. She had no idea this had happened until she was served with a warrant! Yikes! Thankfully, my wonderful CPA/tax preparer investigated the problem and made a personal appearance on her behalf at the IRS. They rescinded the classification and corrected their error.

Sometimes, “things” just happen to the Outlaw sisters. For example, on a drive back home from Mother of the Redeemer retreat center in Bloomington, we heard a part fly off my sister’s older Safari van and ricochet on the 465 lane we were driving in. It was dark, and the engine was still running, so we did not stop but headed for the house, praying the rosary on the way. Next morning, Calamity drove the van straight to our trusty mechanic. He called her within an hour and told her that a rather important part of the steering mechanism had detached (and was lying somewhere on the shoulder of 465). He asked how we got home; we said “We were afraid to stop on 465 at night so we just kept going and went home.” He said, “Are you crazy? I wouldn’t have driven this van out of my driveway!”  Obviously, he did not realize that Our Savior, His mother and our  guardian angels swooped down and lassoed the misfortune about to befall us.

They’ve also protected us over 20 years driving to and from the Mother of the Retreat Center (and now the Franciscan friary and chapel) in Bloomington:  when the headliner on my sister’s old station wagon detached from the ceiling and fell on our heads (we were covered in bits of black fabric); when the muffler came off my Pontiac Sunbird; when the alternator in the Safari van croaked after we pulled into the chapel parking lot, and when an impatient driver rear-ended my Saturn VUE at the stoplight on 37 exiting from 465. For some reason Our Lord and the saints and angels rescue us when we go to pray, to attend Mass and devotions, attend retreats and continue our formation in the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Mediatrix.

I guess God loves even the “outlaws!”