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.