"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I Cleaned My Bathroom with Cheese (And Other Recent Mistakes)


Since the posting of this piece earlier this afternoon, more mistakes have been made. Skip to the bottom for the new developments.

This is one of those “kids, don’t try this at home” types of posts.

I’m fairly clumsy and fairly easily distracted.  It’s not a great combination.  I could write a daily post about the things I’ve bumped into and the things I’ve accidentally thrown in the trash can and the things I’ve mistyped in a text message.  (See below for examples of recent texts to my husband.)  But that would not be news.  Lately, though, my errors in judgment and/or attention have risen to an entirely new level. 

Cheese is the New Vinegar

For instance, yesterday I was cleaning my house.  I usually clean my house on Mondays.  It gives me a concrete purpose for the beginning of my week and provides a mostly-sanitary, temporarily-pet-hair-free(ish) space in which to work.  During a break from cleaning, I sat down at the table to have a snack.  Rather than using a plate, I put my cheese cubes and crackers on a paper towel.  (Once you’ve cleaned your kitchen it is blasphemy to place a dirty dish in the sink without a damn good reason and cheese does not qualify as a damn good reason.  In extreme cases, it is also acceptable to drink straight from the faucet so as to not use a glass.)  When I was finished with my hearty snack, it was time to clean the bathroom.  Now, I know that I threw a paper towel in the trash can and tore a new one off the roll to wipe down the bathroom counter.  What I am unclear about is the order in which I did those things.  All I know for sure is that a couple of minutes later, I was smearing my bathroom counter with a mixture of Clorox and cheddar.   Combining bleach and cheese does not produce any dangerous chemical reactions, but it does create a memorable aroma and leaves a waxy finish on surfaces.  I don’t recommend it.

Café au Lait with 100 Volts on the Side, Please

You know how as kids we’re always told not to cross our eyes or walk barefoot across parking lots or stick our fingers in power outlets?  Well, it turns out that last one is sound advice.  I waited until I was thirty-six years old to prove it though. 

Last week I was at my favorite coffee shop chatting about writing with a friend of mine. (I shall not mention the name of the favorite coffee shop here in case this story deters people from going there.  It shouldn’t.  I fully believe that I am the one to blame for what happened, not anything in the favorite coffee shop.)  I had my laptop plugged into one of their power strips.  When it was time to go, I tried to unplug it, but it wouldn’t come loose.  I kept pulling on it, but was not giving it my entire attention because I was also deeply engaged in conversation with my friend at the time.  Finally, thinking only of dislodging the stuck device and not what exactly the stuck device was, I slid my left index finger between the plug and the power strip to separate them.  And, predictably for anyone paying attention, I got a shock. 

It only lasted a second, but in that second my index finger felt very hot and a pulse of pain ran up my left arm to my elbow.  Then everything in that vicinity tingled and buzzed for a few minutes while my heart pounded from both the electrical jolt and the panic that I might be about to die.  My friend was kind enough not to laugh at me or scold me for my stupidity and we sat a while longer, as I calmed down and we waited to see if I had contracted any new super powers.  (Unfortunately, no.)

I survived the incident.  And now I can say from experience that our parents were right about this one.  Keep your fingers out of outlets.

In Life, We Have to Make Choices

My right shoulder is slightly damaged.  About three years ago, I slipped in the shower and injured it, and ever since, certain movements make it hurt.  My yoga teacher knows about it and helps me modify exercises in class.  One day she asked me if I had ever tried “Golden Milk”.  My response-- Um, no.  That sounds sort of gross.

Well, it’s not gross.  It’s a simple yogi recipe to help treat joint pain.  Water, milk, cardamom, turmeric, almond oil—easy to make and (in my opinion) yummy to drink.  She gave me the recipe and suggested I drink a cup each night before bed to see if it helped my shoulder.

So I did.

For a week straight, I drank my Golden Milk every night, like a good girl.  The following Monday, I made it all the way through my yoga class without any pain in my shoulder.  !  And then, to my surprise, I realized I couldn’t button my jeans.  ?  As if that were not strange enough, the bathroom scale seemed to be in on the joke too, confirming what my jeans were telling me.  In short, I was fat.

How can this be? I sobbed to myself.  What have I done?  I took a mental journey through recent dietary transgressions.  An ice cream here, a piece of chocolate there, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Why, then, had my body betrayed me like this?

I racked my brain for any recent changes in my life and came up with… the Golden Milk.  So I took a closer look at the recipe.  The water, the 1% milk, and the spices couldn’t be to blame, but what about that almond oil?  I took a look at the nutrition info.  A serving size is one tablespoon.  Calories = 130.  Calories from fat = 130.  OH.  The recipe called for two tablespoons.  And (to make matters worse and once again my fault) I had incorrectly copied the recipe onto my notecard as THREE tablespoons. 

Yep.  For seven days straight, I willingly drank 390 calories of fat right before bed.  Awesome. 

I could have reduced the amount of almond oil back to  two tablespoons.  I could have reduced the doses of Golden Milk to every few days, but I didn’t.  I just gave up the whole thing altogether.  In life, we have to make choices, and between skinny and pain-free, I choose skinny.  Maybe that makes me a shallow person, but… my jeans fit me again, so at least I am a happy, jeans-wearing shallow person.  Who cleans her bathroom with cheese.



More mistakes have been made.  Cause seems to be genetics.

I posted this piece to my blog at 2:ooPM.  By 2:15PM, I was being pulled over by a policeman.  It seems that I have been driving around with an expired inspection sticker for two months.  The cop gave me a ticket.  By 2:45PM, I was dutifully pulling into a service shop to get my car inspected.  By 3:00PM, I was learning that my car could not pass inspection because I have my husband's insurance in my glove compartment and he (apparently) has mine in his.  I am very very grateful to Officer S. for not noticing that fact when he looked at my insurance.  Whew!

While I was wasting time waiting for an inspection that wasn't happening, I received an email from my dad, who had read my blog post.  He first expressed his deep concern at my having been shocked.  Then he proceeded to describe to me in detail all the times he has electrocuted himself.  Then he went on to tell me about the time he accidentally mopped the floor of a cafe with parmesan cheese because he mistook the green can for Comet.  I'm not sure if I felt more relief or embarrassment to learn that I am not the first member of my family to try to clean something with cheese.  ?

Looking forward to a better tomorrow.

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