20 Hours and a Bag of Rice

The children and I, plus Jane’s boyfriend, were away from home visiting family. It was the last day and a full busy one. We had met my father-in-law for breakfast and then made a quick visit out to his house before heading back to my mother’s house for the big extended family gathering.

My grandmother on my stepdad’s side plus her daughter and son-in-law had pulled into the driveway just ahead of us. We greeted them and made introductions before I darted inside. See, I was supposed to be helping with the food but really needed to use the bathroom first.

It was much colder than I had expected it to be. When we had left home several days earlier, it was 84 degrees outside. This particular morning, it had literally been freezing when we woke up. I had foolishly failed to check the weather and as a result had not packed any long pants. I had spent the previous day wearing a pair of my mother’s jeans. She and I have about the same girth but my legs are noticeably longer. I walked around looking like a dork in high waters.

All this to say that I had stopped at Wal-Mart and purchased some sweatpants that I needed anyway. But sweatpants have front pockets, not back pockets. And I was in a hurry when I entered the bathroom. I took care of my business, turned to flush, and then quickly pulled up my pants. I was tying the string when my cellphone, nestled in that front pocket and forgotten about, leaped into the toilet headfirst.

I shrieked as the water swirled around it, made a mental observation that it was a good thing it was too big to fit down the drain, and snatched it out quickly. I then added to my growing list of boneheaded moves and rinsed it off under the sink before drying it off. Isn’t that what you always do when you pull something out of the toilet?

Anyway, I then rushed out of the bathroom and told my mother that I desperately needed some rice. She could tell it was an emergency but couldn’t quite figure out how someone could have an urgent need for rice. Especially as they emerge from the bathroom. But rice she fetched as I powered off my phone.

I would later remove it from the rice to use the vacuum to suck any moisture out of the openings, but otherwise, it stayed in a bag of rice from noon that day until 8 am the next. And for that 20 hour window, I was struck by how lost I was without my phone.

I wasn’t able to make the dish I planned because my recipe was on my phone. I didn’t want to Google and find something close – I wanted my recipe.

I couldn’t take pictures as the family gathered. I had to use my mom’s phone and now I’ll have to wait for her to forward the pictures to me.

I couldn’t check my work email as I had promised to do while away from the office.

I couldn’t check personal email either, which turned out to be very critical the next morning when I discovered at 8:20, as the family was slowly waking up, that the bell choir director wanted us at church at 8:50 for rehearsal.

I couldn’t receive text messages from the friend taking care of our dog.

I couldn’t check on my Words With Friends games or play Two Dots. I actually kind of liked that part. Hmmm…

That afternoon, when I prepared to go run – it having been too cold that morning, I realized that without my phone, I couldn’t track my run or my heart rate and — horror of horrors! — I couldn’t play music to keep me motivated.

For that one, I downloaded the two apps on my mother’s phone and survived well enough. The run won’t be in my Polar Beat history. But that’s OK because mom’s older Samsung still has the location bug and wouldn’t track where I was anyway.

I couldn’t access Google Maps but fortunately knew my way home.

That night, I couldn’t set my alarm clock for the next morning but was luckily back with my husband. Who had not dropped his phone in the toilet. So I had him set his.

I felt so lost. I was only antsy for the first couple of hours. After that, I managed to accept the situation and wait. But I couldn’t help being reminded how critical that expensive little device has become.

Flat Tea

This was my Facebook status this morning:

It’s maybe a sign of a rough start to my day when I pour tea into the iron instead of water.

You see, I have a bad habit of assuming that any random cup of liquid I come across is 1) full of water and 2) available for my use. The first time this assumption bit me, we were visiting my mom. The kids were in bed (thankfully) and the adults were sitting in the living room. I was in the kitchen, in sight of the other adults, when I saw a cup of water on the counter and decided to drink it.

They all looked up to see me spitting rapidly and frantically into the sink, then desperately washing my mouth out.

“Did you just drink that?!” asked my husband, sounding shocked.

“Yes! I didn’t know it was bleach!”

“Really?!” he laughed. “I could smell it from here!”

This second and most recent event, I played to a smaller audience. As Daryl sat quietly eating his breakfast, I prepared to iron a shirt for Jane. Since it was cotton, I decided to add water to the steamer. There was a cup with a small amount of water on the table.

But as I poured the water into the iron, I noticed it was a very light brown. Oh, no I thought. So I sipped it. Yep. Jane drank tea for dinner last night, not water.

I quickly unplugged the iron, poured the tea into the sink, and rinsed it out a few times. When I plugged it back in, it let off a bit of smoke.

“Keep an eye on that thing and holler at me if it does anything dangerous,” I told Daryl, who looked up at the iron, stared for a minute, and then nodded. I wondered what he thought of the request.

I left the room to verify with Jane that this shirt still fit her. She insisted it did. But when she came in a few minutes later to see me clearly fulfilling her request to iron it, she said, “Oh! I don’t need you to iron that. I decided to wear a different shirt.” Really. And my question about the shirt didn’t clue you in? No.

As the rest of the family left for school, Hal settled in to eat his breakfast while I prepared to take my shower. I was feeling a bit hyper. I had run on the treadmill while watching a hilarious episode of Firefly, and then had the great tea-in-the-iron drama. I was up for a bit of silliness.

So as I locked the door, I looked at him and said dramatically, “Ok, look. I’m going to take a shower. Don’t touch that,” I pointed to the iron. “Don’t unlock the door. Don’t go outside. Don’t do anything that will get you hurt, maimed, or killed. Got it?”

I had spread my arms out wide in a grand expression as I finished my little monologue. He slowly swallowed the cereal in his mouth and said, “Ok. How about I just play with my train table?” That’s what I love about that kid. Sometimes he can be so dry.