Call it Karma, or Luck, or Cosmic Energy, or Fate.
Every now and again, it looks over at me and says “Oh, there she is! Wow, she is feeling great. Looking good too! She is just a little ball of perfection and efficiency isn’t she? Well, this just won’t do….”
And so it has happened again. Following a number of very productive weeks, which had led me down various paths of success, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. Invincible really. Highly intelligent, and lets just say it – drop dead gorgeous too. A little too ‘high and mighty’ some would say.
Oh, but don’t worry. This feeling doesn’t last long. My highly efficient, organized persona started to crack a little, when my 19-year-old son met me at the door with an announcement. His announcement went like this:
“I did the dishes Mom”
“Well, that’s great honey – thank you.”
“Really mom, I came home and when I walked into the kitchen it was a total sh*thole.”
It was strange, hearing this from my son. Strange because his room is always a total sh*thole, and he doesn’t even live here anymore! He just comes home to make a mess, then leaves. There are various layers of clutter in his room, dating back to the pre-junior high era. I haven’t done a full excavation, so it may go past the pre-junior high era right into the pre-pubescent period!
However, having my 19-year-old, college dorm residing son tell me that he had come home and found it necessary to pick up the slack and improve the living conditions that his father and siblings were being exposed to ….well it gave me a twisted sense of pride. Something inside my head said “Wow Terra, you have really arrived. You are so busy with meetings and workshops that you have stopped obsessing over clean countertops – good for you!”
So, I obviously couldn’t let this moment pass without saying:
“The floor is a total sh*thole too, why didn’t you vacuum?”
To which he answered in a high-pitched shrieky voice:
“Honestly Mom, I can’t do this all by myself!”
It was fantastic! That twisted sense of pride grew even bigger. I laughed, and turned around to go meet my friends at wine…I mean … book club.
My sense of accomplishment intact, I spent a bit of time improving our living conditions over the next few days. After finishing up some laundry and vacuuming, I stood back and realized I am so very amazing that I can work these long hours, AND maintain a clean, organized, and loving home. So I made a fantastic meal. The ego grew. And Fate noticed.
My husband saw me in the laundry room; he approached me in this very secluded area of our home, and seductively asked me…
“Would you be able to throw my work coat in some time today?”
It may have been the passive aggressive nature that our youngest son refers to, which made me leave that work jacket until the very last thing I did at 11:30 at night. In any case, I checked the pockets thoroughly… sort of … and threw the jacket into the wash. Heavy duty cycle. Lots of hot water and lots of soap were used in an effort to remove the grease and cow dung stains.
The next morning, I wearily approached the washing machine, trying to get my eyes to focus. The first thing that I saw when I opened the door was this weird battery lying in the washing machine. The sleepy voice in my head said “why would he be carrying such a weird battery thing in his jacket…and why didn’t I feel it when I checked his pockets…uh oh…uh oh…this is his cell phone battery. Where do you think his cell phone is?” There it was, lying under his jacket in the washing machine. It was nice and clean though. Not a contact or a message left on it. Clean as a whistle. I knew that his phone wasn’t in his pocket when I checked last night. Nice job Karma. Way to fool me into thinking I had checked the pockets when I hadn’t. Well played.
I decided to lay low with my discovery until the children had left the house for school. I felt there was no need to alarm them by letting them know that I had made a mistake. My mistakes are so rare that they would no doubt be traumatized at the notion that Mom did something less than perfect.
When I broke the news to the owner of the cell phone, he went all quiet for a minute. Followed by a few gently muttered curse words and wonderfully interesting stories about how important it is for him to have a cell phone while hauling straw bales.
I thought this was a good time to tell him that he could feel free to check his own pockets or wash his own jacket. That went over like a lead balloon. My timing may have been a little off. I just can’t understand why fate allowed me to remove the rusty nail and the balled up Kleenex from his pocket, but did not allow me to feel a phone!
Checking into his options, my husband realized something. He realized that because I had set up our cellular account, effectively forcing a cell phone upon him 12 years ago, he had no authority on the account, and could not make any changes. That’s right – he cannot buy himself a new cell phone unless I am there to say it’s OK. Insert maniacal laughter here. This did nothing to improve his mood. The news was bad enough, but the fact that I thought something so clearly serious was funny … well that was worse.
Our trip to the cellular phone store was interesting. It is usually kind of fun when we take time to go to town together. We visit, we make plans, and we buy a treat. This trip wasn’t quite like that….at the start. After driving in silence for a while, I commented to my husband that his coat sure looked nice. He tried to be grumpy, but after a while my charm and wit won him over and he let out a little smile. So I told him that it smelled nice too. We both bought new phones, and the day improved exponentially. That’s right ~ I got a new phone too. I always like to get a treat when we go to town. My husband likes to point out that I chose an expensive phone and his was free. I tell him that the cost of that phone is my fee for doing his laundry.
Karma hadn’t beaten me yet. So she tried again….
I was sitting with our daughter at the computer, doing some societal research on our favorite networking site. That’s right, we were creeping on Facebook. My daughter commented on my recent (hilarious) status update;
“Wow, mom lots of people have commented on your status”
I giggled and replied “Ya, I know hey?”
“And look at how many people liked your status!” she continued.
“mmhmm” was my distracted reply.
“And it’s really not even very funny,” she said.
My darling daughter innocently blinks back at my astounded face. “You don’t think I’m funny?!?” I exclaimed.
“Well not really”
Strike two. The cell phone incident put a little dent into my ‘supermom/super wife’ persona and now my fantastic sense of humor was also in question. It had been a grounding couple of days, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down.
Enter phase three. I decided to invite our teenaged niece* and nephews over for supper. While grocery shopping, I was perusing the infinite possibilities regarding pasta choices. I was looking for whole grain lasagna noodles. Looking through the approximately 538 different pasta choices, I finally located a tiny little box of whole wheat lasagna noodles. The voice in my head said “this box is too small, it will never make enough lasagna for everyone – But look! Here’s a big box right beside it. Let’s get two of those.” It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I had just bought two big boxes of whole wheat spaghetti. No big deal, I would grab lasagna noodles tomorrow.
Tomorrow came, and I remembered to go and get the lasagna noodles for our meal that evening. Searching through the approximately 538 different pasta choices, I finally located a tiny little box of whole wheat lasagna noodles. The voice in my head said “this box is too small; it will never make enough lasagna for everyone – But look! Here’s a big box right beside it. Let’s get two of those.” It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I had just bought two more big boxes of whole wheat spaghetti! Now we had four. We were prepared to feed a troop of hungry Italians who may come foraging through our pantry, but I still did not have any lasagna noodles. And I may have dementia.
After confessing to our youngest son what I had done – for the second time – I went back to town in search of lasagna noodles. This time I decided to trick the forces working against me and I went to a different store. There would be no more pasta box display trickery!
Looking through the approximately 538 different pasta choices, I was swiftly brought to attention by my fancy new cell phone. It was blaring some kind of emergency signal and announcing to the entire store that I should get lasagna noodles, and that we had more than enough spaghetti. Thanks to the advances of modern technology, my children can now embarrass me without even being in the same town as I am. Our precious son had programmed my phone to blare this announcement to the entire store at precisely the same time as I would be searching the pasta section. This was made even more impressive by the fact that I had no idea of how to turn it off. Thankfully it blared a few times, and upon feeling that it had accomplished its mission, it mercifully shut down and returned to its previous non-embarrassing state.
Thank you son. Thank you for the help. I will remember to return the favor. Just as soon as I can figure out how to program your phone. I know that you’ll love hearing my voice reminding you pick up some hemorrhoid cream the next time you are out on a date with that pretty girl I have seen you driving around with. Two can play at this game. I will need some technical assistance, but I can still play.
And so here we are. My previous state of accomplished, inspiring, ‘got it all together’, ‘just look at me go’ has been tempered a bit.
Leave it to Karma, or Luck, or Cosmic Energy or Fate to remind me that I am not superwoman. I am someone who washes cellular devices. I am someone who isn’t always funny. I am someone who lacks the focus required to buy groceries like a normal person.
I am also someone who is thankful for these little reminders. None of us are perfect. The next time I run into one of those perfect, ‘got it all together’ people I will know her secret. She probably has washed a cell phone or two in her lifetime also and has lived to tell the story. If she’s lucky like me, she got a laugh out of it too!
“Even the best needles are not sharp at both ends” – Chinese proverb
* I know, I know. You are no longer a teenager. I couldn’t figure out how else to word that.*