There was no blending in for the 40-foot-long gray-hued camouflage school bus parked outside of NYCB Nassau Coliseum on Sunday afternoon prior to the Islanders matinee game against Arizona.
MSG analyst AJ Mleczko-Griswold, her husband Jason, daughter Finley (15), Jaime (13), and sons Sam (11) and Oliver (7) have lived up to their surname "Griswold" with their customized 'Mandatory Family Joy' or 'MFJ' school bus-turned-into-RV.
"I mean we are the Griswolds," Mleczko-Griswold said. "So, we live right up to our name with a giant, camo-colored bus in our driveway...The big joke is that it's camo, but we don't blend."
After spending numerous summers road tripping throughout New England, Mleczko-Griswold and her husband discussed the possibility of owning a bus of their own. One Craigslist purchase and three years later, the bus has become a staple for the family of six and is gets its fair share of attention on the road .
After gutting the inside of the bus, the Griswolds assembled a front and back corridor with cushioned bench seating. The front has red and navy cushions suited for Sam and Oliver, while the back is decaled in gray and turquoise prints for Finley and Jamie.
The 'MFJ' is decked out and strategically renovated to include ample storage capacity. The inside of the former school bus is fully equipped with indoor and outdoor speakers, an AC unit, a hinged-back door and even a practical backup camera. Even after all of the renovations, the 'MFJ' is of course a 40-foot-long by 11-feet-wide vehicle.
"The girls hang all the way back there," Sam said while pointing to the back of the bus. "They do their thing there. Up front is for the guys."
With a household of multi-sport athletes, the bus has served in handy for transporting the Griswold kids and their teammates to soccer, lacrosse and, of course, hockey.
On Sunday, the bus made the haul down from Massachusetts to Long Island, without any - Vacation style Griswold issues. Mleczko-Griswold and her family hosted Isles fans that wanted to tailgate before the game, spreading a little of that mandatory family joy.
"I have to say that we lucked out that everyone is in the parking lot," Mleczko-Griswold. "[MSG Producer] Glenn [Petraitis] got the Blue and Orange army out there early. We pulled the bus in at 11 [am] and a ton of people were already here. It's fun!"