The Writer’s Woeful Wednesday

9 a.m.–10:45 a.m. Good conference call with a client for whom I’m writing a website. The rest of the morning will be follow-up, and in the afternoon I’ll go to Stubbs and continue copyediting a nonfiction ms. for a different client.

10:45 a.m. Phone rings as I’m composing a follow-up email to the conference call. It’s The Roofer, who has the estimate for either repairing or replacing the rubber roof on top of the screened porch. There’s a tear near the threshold, and a tear in a rubber roof that’s 25 years old at a minimum is a Bad Thing.

10:50 a.m. Leave a voice mail message about the estimates for The Husband.

10:55 a.m. The Husband calls back with a question about exactly when The Roofer could start, because it’s already October 20 and winter is a-comin’.  I leave a voice mail message for The Roofer and go move a pile of towels from the washer to the dryer, and a pile of dark clothes from the laundry basket to the washer.

11:15 a.m. A couple of phone calls later, and we have agreed to have the porch roof replaced instead of just repaired, because it’s only twice as much and we have half the money for it just sitting around in the designated New Mattress budget.  Who needs a new mattress when you can buy yourself a rubber roof instead?

11:20 a.m.–12:15 p.m. I transfer the mattress money {sob!} from the savings account reserve [meaning hidden from the actual balance] fund into the actual account, perform some other arcane household bookkeeping functions, and trudge up to the bank to make an in-bank transfer from the savings account to checking because I have to go there to deposit a couple of client checks anyway.  When I return, I remove towels from dryer, transfer darks from washer to dryer, put in another load of darks, etc.

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m. Do the breakfast dishes, eat lunch, juggle more laundry, get ready to go to the grocery.

1:15 p.m. I can’t find my purse.

It is nowhere in the house. Or the car.

1:30 p.m.–3 p.m. I call the grocery store, which is the last place I took it, on Monday, when I made a milk run. It is not there. I didn’t think it was; I had a distinct memory of bringing the purse into the house after I came home, along with the first of three gallons of milk. The purse has to be in the house.

But did I take The Husband’s car to the grocery Monday? I’m pretty sure I didn’t, because I have a collapsible crate in my trunk that’s exceptionally handy for corralling jugs of milk. Nevertheless, I drive (very, very carefully because, you know, my driver’s license is missing…) to the parking lot outside his office, and check his car. My purse is not in his car.

Also, I notice that the Check Engine light has come on in my car.

This is turning out to be an exceptionally annoying day.

3 p.m.–3:10 p.m. I return home. I go online to check our credit card account. No unusual activity. I’m even more convinced the purse is somewhere in the house. I check everywhere, again. It is a small house with few hiding places. I even check the laundry chute, in case it fell in when I tossed it in the hall closet.

The purse is not in the laundry chute, or in any of the baskets of laundry I have transported upstairs today. By now I am certain of this, having checked them three times.

I check the downstairs bathroom, which I have checked before, but only on each side of the toilet. I did not look up to check the basket of rolled-up hand towels that sits on top of the toilet, because THAT’S WHERE THE *&%$#@! PURSE IS.

3:10 p.m.–4 p.m. The purse, securely belted around my waist, accompanies me to the grocery store. In addition to the items on the list, I manage to snag the last half-gallon of Caramel Collision ice cream for Younger Son. I bring groceries home and put them away. I do not go near the Caramel Collision ice cream.

4 p.m.–4:25 p.m. I drive to the hardware store to buy a replacement bulb for the light in the refrigerator, which burned out yesterday. The store is out of 40-watt frosted appliance bulbs.

Why am I not surprised?

I drive to another hardware store. They have plenty of 40-watt frosted appliance bulbs bulbs, all nicely packaged in blister-packs. I buy two bulbs (because if one burned out, the other is ready to go, too). I drive home, engine light still glowing. I get out of the car. One of the bulbs drops from my hand (because I was being green and said I didn’t need a bag) and lands with a clunk on the driveway, blister side of the card down.

At the same time I notice that I have snagged a fingernail on something and it is now broken. Down to the quick.

The day does not seem to be improving.

However, the bulb I dropped does not rattle, and when I screw it into the socket in the refrigerator, it works.

And I did find the purse.

All through this chaotic day, I kept remembering this quotation from Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies:

…[Tibetan Buddhists] believe when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born–and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.

I certainly hope so. And I hope the Something Lovely is more fun than a new catalytic converter (please, please let the Check Engine light be indicating something along the lines of “leaves blocking the exhaust” and not Something Major!!!)

© 2010 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

This entry was posted in The Examined Life, The Writing Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Writer’s Woeful Wednesday

  1. Deb says:

    What a day! We’ve all had them, but never so well documented! I found two poetic, beautiful words in all of that … “client checks”!

    Yes! Music to the ears, and likely to the purse (now where IS the purse?)

    Blessings to you!


  2. Anne M Leone says:

    What a day! Glad it all worked out (somewhat, other than all the lost time and roof expenses!) in the end. What a lovely quote from Anne Lamott. And such a beautiful way to think about bad days. Must remember that one.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Yeah, things work out. And in the larger scheme of things, this is just batting at gnats. Some people have real problems: no jobs, shells whistling overhead, horrid diseases. On the one hand, I felt whiney about posting that. On the other hand, I had a chance to share that nifty quote!


  3. Bless Anne Lamott, I think she’s wonderful. I was pulling my hair out just reading this. Glad this day is behind you. Good thoughts beaming your way about the engine light…


  4. Terri says:

    So glad your 9:00 a.m. conference call was not listed among the frustrations of the day! Thanks for your continuing help.


  5. Joelle says:

    Did you get gas before the engine light came on? I’ve heard that it can be triggered by not putting your gas cap on fully and the only way to get it off is to have someone at a garage turn it off. We had ours on for more than a year and ignored it. Then got it turned off when we got our tune up and two weeks later it was on again…three years later, we’re still fine. Knock on wood!


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Hi, Joelle! Thanks for stopping by. {blushes that it was for my whiny post and not the autumn photos I posted earlier in the month} That’s a useful tip about the gas cap. Alas, nothing so simple. In our case, the Check Engine warning was due to a faulty emissions sensor. We’re getting it fixed sometime next week.


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