So Derrick and I are driving home on Sunday afternoon from a blissfully child-free weekend in Portland I was enjoying the lazy Sunday drive, chatting with hubby about this and that, when he suddenly turned to me and said, “What is that crap all over your sunglasses?” I drew in a sharp breath–such language from hubby!–and flipped down the passenger mirror. A white, shiny goo was smeared across the entire crown of my gorgeous Nine Wests (yeah, that’s all I can afford.) I took off the glasses, murmured and clucked in confusion, then checked my purse for a clue. I found it.

“Oh, it was just a stray Junior Mint,” I informed him lightly. I’d opened a box at the theater, then slipped it into my purse, half-eaten. (I believe I was distracted when Hugh Jackman appeared shirtless on his horse.) The unsecured JM had apparently rolled out and smashed into my shades, which then rolled around in my purse, thus producing the frosted brow effect. My husband looked at the glasses, then at me, shook his head, and sputtered (sputtered, I tell you) loudly.

“Just a stray Junior Mint? Just a stray Junior Mint?? Jen, your whole life is a stray Junior Mint!” Although we were both laughing at this point, you may suspect my dear hubby of a bit of nastiness. Before you rush to judgment, however, there are things that you should know. Things that I have kept carefully hoarded and hidden. Until now.

October 2001. Queen Creek, AZ. Our little purple car reeks for a week. We cannot figure out what is causing the smell. While giving it a good interior cleaning one day, Derrick discovers, in a tiny pocket where the trunk meets the backseat, a large wrapped slab of salmon, purchased by yours truly, that has been bathing in its own juices (and the Arizona heat) for seven days and seven nights. Oops! (I added a charmingly girlish smile to this “oops.”)

March 2002. Queen Creek, AZ: Our little purple car reeks for a week. We cannot figure out what is causing the smell. One day, upon retrieving his golf bag from the trunk, Derrick is surprised when the shredded remains of a full gallon of milk fall out of the bag. Apparently, I had forgotten to bring the milk in from the store, and it had rolled deep into his golf bag in the trunk, which, of course, explains why it was so darn hard for us to track down that odor. After a week in the 120-degree trunk, it had finally exploded inside of his bag (I mean, a for-real explosion.) Derrick was really happy during the several hours he spent peeling apart and cleaning out the bag. It was an easy, convenient, fun job for him. Oops. (didn’t attempt the smile this time.)

August 2004. Kennewick, WA: We are at the famed Benton County Fair on a balmy summer evening when Derrick opens the hatch in the back of the minivan to retrieve Megan’s stroller, only to have ten pounds of thawed, rotting ground beef fall onto his feet. (I thought there may have been something I’d forgotten to unload from my Costco run.) Oops.

And my husband does not normally swear. Really.

March 2005. Kennewick, WA: I am filling the basin sink by the washing machine with cold water to soak some onesies that have been violatedby my new baby boy. Said boy cries to be nursed just after I turn on the water and, like any good mother, I leave it running to go and oblige. I really meant to go back and turn the water off when the sink was filled. Twenty minutes later, my three-year old walks down the hall and into the living room, where I’m still nursing on the couch, and asks innocently, “Mommy, why are there suds all over the floor?” I look down the hall–the hall covered with brand-new, gorgeous, glossy, dark cherry hardwood–and see a tidal wave of soapy water. It leaked not only into every crack of the hardwood, but into the carpeted hallway and bedrooms beyond. Derrick was extrasuperhappy when the smell of soaked wood and wet carpet greeted him at the front door. Uh…sorry, hon.

December 2008. Kennewick, WA: I generously agree to cook and transport two gigantic foil pans of Cranberry Chicken to the ward Christmas Party. After cooking the chicken, I cover it tightly with foil, making sure to seal each pan. Since there’s a good inch and a half of space between the dark red sauce and the top of the pan, I figure that as long as they’re tightly sealed, they should be just fine on the floor of the car for the short ride to the church. Derrick is on a business call up until we leave, so I’m rushing to get the kids and the two gigantic foil pans full of dark red sauce out the door. Derrick is still on his cell phone as we pull out of the (inclined) driveway, and is thus still oblivious to the vicious vermin that awaits him. We are all in a good mood, laughing and making merry on our way to the party. I have completely forgotten about the chicken. We park and as Derrick opens the side door to unbuckle Ethan, what meets his eyes and nostrils but an onslaught of the dark red sauce, covering nearly every inch, nook and cranny of our van’s lovely gray carpeting. Oozing across the floor, underneath the mud mats, down where the removable seats latch into the floor, out of the opened side door. To his credit, Derrick merely expletes, “JEN!!!”, then firmly clenches his jaw. He helps me, the kids, and the dark red sauce into the church, turns back around, and promptly drives off to clean up the mess. He is gone for over an hour, missing all of dinner and most of the program, because: he has to go to the car wash that has a shampoo station, then realizes that he has to go to the ATM to get cash, the store to get change, then back to the car wash/shampoo station. With each stop he makes, he gets extrasuperhappier. To his credit, by the time he returns and I apologize for the ninth time (I’m a whiz with apologies), he seems reasonably at peace with the world. To our credit as a couple, neither of us has mentioned this disaster since. Some wounds are too fresh.

Which brings me to our Sunday drive. The JM episode happened a mere twenty-four hours after the DRS debaucle. And yes, upon further investigation, I found that the single Stray Junior Mint actually represented at least one dozen misplaced mints, all of them melted across my wallet, hand lotion, lipgloss, loose change, receipts, gum, kleenex. An especially naughty mint had even spread itself across Meg’s pink plastic Hello Kitty wallet, heavy with $24 dollars of saved-up allowance I’d sworn to preserve and protect. I have spent the better part of this evening scrubbing each item down with soap and an abrasive sponge. My purse is now agitating on gentle cycle; I am now confessing to the world at large.

This has been an emotional but ultimately liberating post. You may think these tales should embarrass me, but little do you know that the real embarrassment is that these kinds of adventures visit our home on a monthly, weekly, sometimes daily basis. Not always as dramatic as those listed above, but always just as anno

ying. Especially to a certain, highly resilient spouse.

And as usual, dear Derrick was right: My life is akin to a stray Junior Mint. Fairly sweet and seemingly harmless, with a looming disaster just around the next mental lapse. Thank goodness I found a guy who focuses on the Sweet and tolerates the Mental Lapse.

18 thoughts on “Exposed

  1. Actually Jen, I would be your biggest ally. This sounds like me, but even worse. Sorry, I didnt know the world was menaced by any one but me. If our traits (your forgetfulness and my clutziness) were combined we could ultimately destroy the world. Woahaahaaa…

  2. Jen,
    I am crying from laughing sooooo hard. I miss the “Jen” stories. I’m surprised that Randy has’nt commented on this post yet. I’m waiting to hear something about Derrick’s CPR class that he took at work. I think that is worthy of a blog post from you. I can’t wait to see you in February.
    Love ya!

  3. Alisa–I just realized you meant you, not Jared, are the dingbat. Could I be more blonde while accusing Jared of such?? How perfect that I did that w/this post!

  4. Alisa and Stacey–glad to hear I’m not alone (though surely alone in my extremism)

    Sar–better check for rotting meat in the pantry. Believe me, I didn’t think there could possibly be any in my trunk, either. I don’t believe you’re late that often!

    Rache–update me on the mouse mess! Yikes! And Derrick does deserve a great gift…any ideas? And I still need your salmon recipe (this may warrant a much needed catch-up Christmas phone call…:)

    Emily–Thanks for your support during this troubling post. Good to have kind words of encouragement! You are a middle child who seems to have all of the good qualities of the oldest and middle, w/none of the bad. How do you manage? And yes, Rachel and I have been very good friends for almost twenty (!) years. I love that your Mom is a fan of Jon–just fits, somehow (she always appreciated the finer things!:) Did you see his cute Gap ad on Rachel’s blog? Rache, is that coming out on TV?

  5. Okay so I finally came back and read this….SO DANG FUNNY!!! I love it! You’re awesome….awesome that you somehow contracted this bug that allows these things to happen to you time and time again, awesome to disclose these events and awesome for how you write about them all….so very funny! Your blog is always entertaining! It makes for a perfect blog title!!!

  6. gosh! i don’t know why i’ve had a hard time tracking you down….i’m trying to update my blog list and add your new blog once and for all so you don’t get lost!! i went private and want to invite you to mine so i need your email address….email me at

  7. I love this post, Jen (Jennifer? I’m so torn up inside about what to call you) and it is more than endearing that you redid your blog header and everything. Way to embrace your grocery-forgetting weakness and defy the world to dare call you out on a little rotten salmon juice in the car.

    More importantly, does my mom know that you are friends with Jon Heder’s sister? She may be his number one fan, and will want to talk to you about this connection. I’m kidding (but I’m really not).

  8. Okay Jen, my "free-spirited" friend, is there anyone who doesn't love Junior Mints and resilient spouses? Excellent retelling of wonderful food-related highlights and really, who doesn't love ward Christmas parties as well –cranberry chicken sounds quite festively tasty…

  9. Oh my goodness – I needed a good laugh today! I love your blog. P.S. My brother is no saint – Jen has a lot of great stories on him as well so I am glad to hear he is patient!! Love you Jen!

  10. OMG! I am laughing so hard…I love it when you have a new post. Thanks for the compliment on me being a supermom and all but the reality is that I just haven’t been as brave as you about sharing all of the dorky things I do or forget to do.
    If it makes you feel any better at all, while you’ve been battling over the dark red sauce, we’ve been battling a mouse infestation in our house…no joke. I’m so grossed out right now, I’m ready to move into a hotel.
    Regardless of how forgetful you might be, it sounds like Derrick is in need of a really great Christmas present. What a good man!
    I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Australia. I haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds like I’m missing out.

  11. Jen,
    I have never heard a single whisper of these stories. You have really been tight-lipped. I laughed, I cried. The fish, the milk, the beef – I can only imagine the stench. Did anyone vomit?

    And just so you know, for the past 5 days, a very suspicious rotting smell is lingering in my pantry. I cannot for the life of me figure out its origin. The potatoes are good. No other fresh food is even in there. As far as I’m aware.

    And one more thing: I am on time maybe 25% of the time. It’s 75% too little for Mark.

    Derrick is a SAINT!

  12. and you’d be better off to not ask Tyson about this topic in our home! maybe our men should start a manclub for forgetful wives who cause serious damage! It could be a great support group!

  13. Ooh, is Jared a blonde like me? And thank you for reading this ridiculously long post. I went back and re-read it and realized how ridiculous it was.

    So fun to hear from you! How are you guys?

Comments are now closed.