I put on some profile thing somewhere or another (probably under my “job skills” on LinkedIn)(no, I can’t believe that I bothered with a LinkedIn profile either – the only way I’ll land a job is if I change my name) that I “can use the microwave.”
Generally, that’s true.
Okay, if I’m being honest, sometimes the things I microwave turn into a hard lump of ash, but I figure nitrates are good for you (don’t you go disproving this one, Pranksters).
I’ve spent years trying to work coffee maker and while I haven’t quite mastered it, I feel confident that someday, SOMEDAY, my grown-ass self will be able to brew coffee, too. Until then, I will live with cold coffee or chunky coffee.
My history with kitchen appliances is not stellar. Actually, my history is not stellar. I once broke a toe making a sandwich. I also broke a door carrying a diet Coke, but that’s neither here nor there.
Tom Jones wrote “She’s a Lady” about me. He was being sarcastic.
The dishwasher, however, I like to think of as my BFF. Not because it’s particularly good at cleaning my dishes (it’s not), but because I’m holding onto a vain hope that I will one day be able to teach it to sing Christmas carols.
(again, don’t ruin this for me, Pranksters)
The dishes SOMETIMES come out clean, especially if I’ve washed them ahead of time, but I’m trying to gently talk my dishwasher into working a little bit more efficiently. The best part of the dishwasher – bar none – is I get to line up the dishes in a certain way, which satisfies my OCD in the same way owning 8475 things of handsoap does. If there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, I will TOTALLY have clean hands. And a well-organized dishwasher.
Saturday night found me not sunbathing with hot french models on a luxury yacht, but sitting at my computer writing a resource page about puberty, brainstorming other words for “erection,” for Band Back Together (we have nearly 500 resource pages)(Thanks for that nursing degree, Mom!) But if you tell anyone I write resource pages and NOT hang with hot French models, I will cut you.
There I was, happily ensconced in some research. I’d just loaded the dishwasher, finally done making an Oreo Cake for Mother’s Day, the kids snuggled up in their wee beds*, The Daver off playing some nerdy card game that involved copious amounts of scotch (I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t strip poker) while the Guy On My Couch ran to the store to get stuff to make us some fondue.
As I was sitting there, giggling about boners, I began to smell…something. Initially I wrote it off. My neighbors are always throwing wild parties that involve margarita balls, bonfires and cooking shit on their grill, so I’ve learned to tune out most of the weird smells that float through my window. Besides, my cats shit on a schedule, which ensures that most of what fills my nostrils is the scent of their bung.
I’m considering sewing up their bungholes, but that’s neither here nor there.
As I continued giggling about the term “woody,” I noted that the smell – sorta like burnt plastic – was getting stronger. I assumed that it was merely the margarita ball on fire or something similar. There are always teenagers milling about and while I, as an adult, would consider that to be alcohol abuse, teens are less protective of their margarita balls.
Still giggling about the word, “boner,” I got off my ample ass and wandered into the kitchen to find my iPad and make sure my Tiny Tower was well-stocked. When I turned the corner, I saw that the kitchen was, in fact, filling up with a thick acrid smoke.
The electrical wiring in my house made it clear that SOMEONE in the Daley administration was paid off. Pranksters, if you don’t hear from me awhile and learn that a St. Charles, IL family was burned to death while they slept, please tell the Fire Marshall that it was not, in fact arson, but was, in fact, a feature of my abject laziness and inability to fork out zillions of dollars in order to rewire a house. Also mention that I busted both ankles using a pickaxe, just to drive the point home that I should never, ever, be involved in anything to do with “electricity,” “power tools,” “kitchen appliances,” and once burned by bed with a heating pad.
My first thought was that I’d probably left a candle burning directly next to a pile of papers, something I’ve done before and will do again. When that didn’t seem to be the case, I looked at the light fixture in the kitchen, which is so fug that it may lead to blindness if stared at too long. I remembered that it had blown a fuse the week before when I’d had the audacity to turn it on.
The light was not smoking. Phew. That’d have been awkward to explain. “Yes, Mr. Fireman, my kitchen light picked up a nasty smoking habit – Marlboro Reds.”
I didn’t have either of the dudes home to help me, so I ran around a bit, yelling, “BITCH, GIT ME CHICKEN,” before I saw it.
The very same dishwasher that cannot sing “Silent Night” OR “Jingle Bells,” (but can do a passing version of “Good King Wenceslas”). The same dishwasher I’ve been lovingly crooning to. The same dishwasher I spend hours upon hours filling, then refilling, then refilling again until it’s perfect.
(Yes there IS a wrong way to load a dishwasher)
Not a Marlboro Red or even one of those hippie American Spirit cigarettes. But like real, acrid smoke.
Fuck me sideways.
I opened the thing, which was still cycling, and was nearly bowled over by the acrid stench of burning plastic and steam.
I pulled out the trays and saw it.
My ancient pizza cutter. The one that’s so rusty and decrepit that we’re probably all dying from lead paint poisoning or scurvy. Or dysentery. Or something exotic. The pizza cutter I should’ve replaced nine years ago.
It was there, nicely snuggled in beside the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher, the plastic handle melting every-fucking-where.
I pulled it out, not actually considering that if the plastic was melting, it was probably fucking hot. So I scorched the tips of my fingers with melted plastic that remains so firmly attached to the tips of my fingers I may actually coat my whole hands in plastic so I can FINALLY start on my long-held resolution of “become bionic woman.”
As I was trying (in vain) to remove melty plastic from the bottom of the dishwasher, The Guy On My Couch came home. When he saw me squatting on the floor, covered in bits of melty plastic, he couldn’t help himself – he laughed himself to tears. I growled at him.
The Guy On My Couch: “What…(gigglesnort) happened?”
Aunt Becky (through gritted teeth): “I. don’t. want. to. talk. about. it.”
The Guy On My Couch: “Bwahahahahahahaha!”
Aunt Becky (stands up, swiftly kicks him in the shins): “I hate you.”
Kitchen Appliances: 1
Aunt Becky: 0
I’m still hoping that the dishwasher will master “Silent Night” before December. That is, if it’s not broken. I don’t want to retrain ANOTHER dishwasher to sing Christmas carols, and the coffee maker simply sneers at me.
*throwing things around their bedroom laughing like maniacs
How was your weekend, Pranksters? Did you break any appliances?
This weekend, at Band Back Together, we’re hosting a carnival of posts about Mother’s Day. Before you run away gagging, hear me out: these are the kinds of Mother’s Day posts I wish I’d read years ago. Knowing that I was not alone in my struggles was a pivotal point in my life.
Today, we celebrate the tables forever missing one.
Today we celebrate the mothers we’ve lost and the mothers we’ve found.
We’re celebrating the mothers we wish we’d had while acknowledging the mothers we did have.
This year I’m proud to celebrate a carnival of Mother’s Day posts from perspectives that aren’t always storybook. Perspectives like mine. Perspectives like Jana’s. Perspectives like yours.
Today, no matter where you are in your life, whether you’re missing your own mom, happily celebrating with family, stuck at a table forever missing one, wishing desperately that you were a mother, or wishing desperately that you had a mother, know these two things: you are loved and, more importantly, we are none of us alone.
“What’s wrong, Mama?” he asks as he climbs onto my lap, a spindly bundle of arms and legs that always manage to sucker-punch an internal organ.
“Oh, I’m just sad,” I tell him, running my fingers through his long dark hair, knowing there are some things that cannot be explained to a five-year-old.
“Did someone hurt your feelings?” he asks, as he stares intently at my face, his wide brown eyes boring holes into the back of my skull.
“No, baby, no one hurt my feelings,” I reply, the truth.
“Did a bad guy come?” he asks, quite seriously as his eyes attempt to puzzle out my expressions.
“No, baby, there are no bad guys here,” I laugh a bit, the tears still pooling in my eyes.
His sister wanders in to notice us on the couch together, and, seeing an opportunity in which she should be occupying the space on my lap, climbs up with a grace I didn’t know could come from my genetics.
“You have a boo-boo, Mama?” she asks, her long lashes open and shut as she, too, studies my face with a stunning intensity.
“Sort of,” I tell her as I kiss her, then her brother, on the forehead. “Sort of.”
“Can I kiss it and make it better?” he asks, looking for any open wounds to put his mouth on.
Before I can respond, she climbs down and runs off. She returns holding a box of Hello Kitty Bandaids.
“Here, Mama,” she says, “I got you a Bandaid – a HELLO KITTY Bandaid – for your boo-boo,” proudly she hands me a single bandaid from her precious collection.
“Thanks, Mimi-Girl,” I say, the tears, once again, falling from my eyes, this time, however, from the incredible sweetness of my children. “A Hello Kitty Bandaid will fix it.”
I allow them both to cover me with Bandaids – every mole, every bump, every scrape now carefully protected from the outside world.
“‘Dere, Mama,” she says proudly. “You’re all better.” She scampers off to find her Lego guys to play with.
My son, however, stays sitting upon my lap, twirling a piece of my hair absentmindedly as he thinks.
“Some boo-boos,” he finally says, “they can’t be fixed with a Bandaid.” He speaks with a wisdom far beyond his years.
“You’re right, my boy,” I say, the tears dotting his hair. “Some boo-boos are in secret spots. Hidden spots.”
“Where you can’t see them, right, Mama?” he asks, without really expecting an answer.
“Yep,” I say. “Some boo-boos are on the heart.”
He looks at me thoughtfully before scampering off to a drawer, where I can hear him rummaging around, looking for something. I turn back to my game of Tiny Tower in the vain hope that my broken heart will soon feel whole again.
He whirls back into the room, a mess of elbows and knees, and clamors back onto my lap, where he elbows me in the sternum, leaving me momentarily breathless.
“Here,” he thrusts a piece of paper into my hands happily. “It’s for you.” He then hugs me so tightly I feel like I might burst and watch as he climbs down off the couch and off to find his sister.
I look down at the paper, curious as to what he would have given me.
Painstakingly, he’d sketched a heart in the center of the page and signed his name in a loopy, scrawling way that only a five-year old can. The tears begin again, but this time, they are happy tears.
He rushes back into the room, his sister and their Lego people in hand.
“See, Mimi? I fixed Mama’s heart.”
And I marvel at them, as they dogpile on top of me, at how I ever got to be so lucky.