We’re kind of in a quandary. The carpet in our lower level is over 24 years old and we’d like to replace it. But the rooms with the worn carpet serve as a soccer field, LEGOLAND, dolly nursery and stuffed animal pet shop for our five grandchildren, who range in age from 4 to 11.

On top of the dated carpet sits a dark pine table purchased at Otto and Company when we were first married. Its soft wood was gouged out by one, or all three of our daughters, leaving a nasty, deep crevice. In the light you also can see impressions in the wood of stick figures with big heads and crooked, printed signatures from the girls pre-cursive years.

“How did those holes get in there, Mee Mee,” our youngest granddaughter Parker asked last week, while she was coloring at the table. When I told her that her mommy and aunts had done that, she was horrified and couldn’t wait to tell her cousin Phoebe, age 5, who was equally shocked, a deep frown furrowing her blond brows.

Family stories — we all have them and pass them along. Our grandsons are getting old enough to appreciate ours. I had a doozy to tell Miles and Reed when they came out to spend Friday night. It involved a new car we recently purchased.

It’s a Toyota hybrid. The boys think it’s cool that the Camry is both electric and gas and love to watch the symbols near the speedometer change as the car switches from one energy source to another. The Camry is so quiet that on occasion Spark and I have left it running when we thought it was off. We’d lock it up, walk away and it would start beeping to beat the band. At first we couldn’t figure out what we’d done wrong. It’s taking us some time to adjust to the keyless entry.

Last weekend, I drove the Camry into St. Louis with a friend, and she remarked how quiet it is. After lunch and a bit of shopping, I dropped Mary off and dashed over to Marshalls to have a look around. It was night by then, and I didn’t think I’d be in the store for long so I didn’t lock the car.

Marshalls sucked me in — an hour later I headed back outside, purchases in hand. “Oh, no,” I thought, seeing the car. “I left the lights on; I bet I’ve got a dead battery.”

Slim chance of that if the car’s running. Which it was. The lights were on, the motor was purring, and the doors weren’t locked. “Only in Washington,” I thought, laughing and talking to myself but determined that I wasn’t going to spill the beans to Spark. But I did, and he didn’t lambast me, instead we counted our blessings and recalled a funny experience we had in California.

We visited San Diego a few years ago, and drove north to ride bikes in a city on a busy thoroughfare. The bike shop had a parking lot in the back, where we parked our rental car while we loaded up our gear, transferring water bottles, suntan lotion, phones, everything we’d need for a long afternoon on a scenic trail.

About four hours later we got back to the parking lot. Our hearts stopped. The front doors of our rental car were standing wide open. We were sure we’d been robbed, not remembering that in our hurry we’d forgotten to lock up, or even close the doors.

Fortunately, everything was where we left it — my purse was on the front seat, iPad too, as well as a Nikon camera that’s my pride and joy. Nothing had been taken. Wow, were we relieved.

They say three times is a charm, but I’d say we’re living a charmed life. I’m not going to press my luck, though. From now on, I’m going to lock the car, and close the doors too.