A real prick

We’re in the midst of an economic crisis, and two wars, and there are droughts and disease and famine happening around the globe … and yet, I still am able to get disproportionately annoyed by the little things that go wrong during the course of the day. Here, let me tell you about one such thing—and let me take my damn sweet time getting to the thing itself, because it’s all about the journey, not the destination, am I right?

Wonder Woman had a work commitment this afternoon and evening, so I was home with the kids, who were delightful. Seriously. No, I’m not being sarcastic. It’s actually easier to manage them when I have them to myself, because then my rulings go uncontested, and they know this. When Mommy’s here, she is their go-to person, and any rulings I make in a two-parent situation are fast-tracked through the appellate process, with appeals heard by the Honorable Judge Wonder Woman of the First Parental Circuit, who may or may not know that she’s being played against me, and who, either way, might overturn the lower court’s decision.

But anyway …

After I successfully bathed my two cherubs, my mother came over to spend some time with them, so I decided to do some prep work in hopes of speeding along the bedtime ritual: close the shades, turn down the beds, turn on the electric heaters and fire up the white-noise machines. (Oh, you don’t even know what a production we have going on over here.)

So, first up: Jayna’s room. No problems. I’m in, I’m out, ta-dah.

Next up, Zan’s room, which was dark when I entered it—and, as we all know by now, nary a good thing can come of me being in Zan’s darkened room; I have the scar to prove it.

There is only one light in Zan’s room, and it sits atop the very dresser that ambushed and battered me several weeks back. Under normal conditions, that light must be turned on by activating the switch on the lamp itself. However, occasionally—like this evening, for example—I turn the switch and, “click” … nothing. When it happened tonight, my gaze immediately moved to the spot occupied by the digital clock-radio-CD-player thing that sits adjacent to the lamp, which I couldn’t actually see, because it, too, was not illuminated—which meant that someone had turned off the wall switch. (The wall switch in Zan’s room is wired not to a light, but to the outlet into which the lamp and clock are both plugged, thus necessitating the re-setting of the digital clock whenever the wall switch is clicked off, and I really should just tape the damn wall switch in the “On” position, but that might make my life a little easier, and I am deathly allergic to doing things that might make my life a little easier.)

Which reminds me (if I may go off on a tangent for a moment … shocking though that may be, given the laser-sharp focus I’ve maintained on the original topic thus far):

Yesterday, someone else shut off the wall switch, so, at bedtime last night, I reset Zan’s clock … and because of that, the clock knew exactly when midnight arrived … which is relevant here because, as it turns out, after losing power and then having its power restored, the clock sometimes defaults into the “Alarm: On” position, and the default time at which the alarm is set to demonstrate just how “On” it can be is midnight. I discovered this at 12:23 this morning, when I finally regained consciousness after spending 23 minutes in a semi-dreamlike state wondering why I was hearing the Jonas Brothers … and surely you can understand my confusion, because if I was to dream a soundtrack to the images in my head, I can assure you with great certainty that such a soundtrack would include exactly zero songs by the Jonas Brothers.

But anyway …

So, tonight, the light was out, and the clock was out, which meant I had to turn on the wall switch. This required me to move my hand from the lamp to the wall, and wouldn’t you know it? The path that my hand traveled from the lamp to the wall, which normally is clear, this evening contained an unexpected and, at the time, unknown obstacle that my hand hit and sent tumbling off the back of the dresser… and when it fell, it sounded like I had knocked over a bucket full of BBs.

“Fuck,” I said.

And as I was saying “Fuck,” my mind took a mental inventory of things on the dresser that could have made such a sound, and it settled upon a plant—the plant Zan had asked Wonder Woman to purchase and place in his room, atop his dresser. And the plant in question lived in a miniature terra cotta pot, rooted in soil on top of which had been placed a couple handfuls of tiny pebbles … which would account for the BBs-spilling sound.

Now, cleaning up a toppled plant is enough of a good time as it is, but it becomes a downright joy when the plant in question is this one:


Amazingly, the picture shown above was taken after the recovery operation, and let me just say that picking up a plant like that with one’s bare hand and placing that plant back in its terra cotta pot is an act that requires tremendous concentration, because those long, white, intimidating-looking needles? Those are just for show. The real problem is those little red dots to which those long, white, intimidating-looking needles are anchored. Those red dots are actually little clusters of short, thin, fibrous needles whose greatest joy apparently comes from embedding themselves in a person’s fingers and causing that person a surprising amount of discomfort. I mostly avoided them when returning the cactus to its pot, but subsequently discovered that they are capable of going renegade, and had done just that in large numbers when the cactus fell behind the dresser and came to rest amidst the pebbles. It was while gathering up those pebbles that I experienced the wrath of the untethered little red needles and the challenge of plucking them from my flesh.

Most of the pebbles made it home, but there are still quite a few on the carpet behind the dresser, and woe be unto them for getting mixed up with a bunch of hostile cactus needles, for that union has sealed their fate, and it is a fate that involves getting sucked into a vacuum tomorrow morning. Sorry, pebbles.

(Can you even believe that I just used 1,133 words to say “I knocked over a plant and then cleaned it up”? Like I said, people: It’s about the journey, not the destination.)

In another life, I might have just picked that bitch up with some salad tongs and thrown it in the trash … but it belongs to my 5-year-old son, for whom I would move the moon and stars—which probably would be a lot more difficult than enduring a few cactus-needle piercings … so I suppose I got off easy.

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