In pre-Squidoo days, there once was a time when everything had its place. Scissors hung on a row of hooks on a padded board. Pens and pencils filled a can near the kitchen telephone. Needles and thread could be located within seconds whenever a button popped off. And important keys stayed in my purse, which usually sat somewhere in the vicinity of my nightstand.
One day, back when I still had kids at home, I suddenly noticed that my mind had slipped into a lower gear. Picture me poised at the car door in a torrential downpour. It’s 10:45 A.M. and I have fifteen minutes to beat a path across town to an appointment at the veterinarian’s with my dog, Ginger. Ginger loves riding in the car, and she’s boinging up and down in the driveway to prove it. I have one little problem, though. I forgot to bring my purse.
Uh-oh. The house is locked, and I don’t have a spare key.
I circle the house with my confused canine, trying to convince her that we’re just getting our daily exercise. Tying her to a nearby tree, I formulate a quick plan of attack. Should I break a window out back? Nope. Too expensive. Borrow a neighbor’s phone and call for help? Nope. Too embarrassing.
While inspecting the dining room window, I discover that someone has left it open a couple of inches. Thank you, God, for a careless family! My faux leather loafers suck at the mud in our newly planted flower bed beneath the window. This’ll be easy, I figure. I’ll be on my way in no time. I prop a folding lawn chair against the house, and like a Spiderman understudy, attempt to hoist myself up to a point where I can slide the glass open and gracefully step inside.
Funny how reality doesn’t always match the mind’s eye. “Hoisting” wasn’t exactly a one-step procedure, but to my delight, the window slides open easily! (True to my motherly calling, I make a mental note to remind my kids later that burglars don’t need that kind of assistance.) In a quick burst of energy, I belly-crawl up the wall to the wide windowsill, where I flop across the window frame face-down, halfway in and halfway out. I dangle there for several minutes like a Mama spider on a web, ankles still hanging out in the downpour.
Meanwhile, my poor rain-soaked dog decides I must be in big trouble, and ups her impatient yelps a notch or two, until she sounds like a homesick banshee. Now I’m more concerned about the two families whose backyards border ours. They’ll start selling tickets if I don’t make this quick.
With that incentive in mind, I spin around and pull my rain-soaked carcass up into a sitting position. Whew. My muddy shoes fly off, landing in the soggy flower bed below. Good thing I bought the cheap pair instead of the ones I really wanted. I stretch my right leg as far as I can into the dining room, hooking my toes under the top rail of a chair. It takes but a moment to dance the chair gently over to the window.
It’s July in the Deep South, and let me tell you, by this time I’m sweating bullets. I’ve already missed Ginger’s vet appointment, and if I don’t shut that dog up, I’ll be hearing from the local animal control people. Within moments, I’m standing on that dining room chair. I ease myself down onto the floor, where I feel like an astronaut celebrating a long-awaited return to Earth. I seriously consider kissing the carpet.
The front door slams. Footsteps are heading my way.
“Babe?” calls the man who vowed to love me for better or for worse. His expression reminds me of Dorothy’s on The Wizard of Oz, in the scene where she steps out of a black-and-white world into the bright light of technicolor. My hair is dripping wet, my clothes stuck to me, but I thought it would be fun to just let him wonder.
Without a single shred of explanation, I toss him a smile and head for the fridge, leaving puddles with each step.
“Oh, hi, Hon,” I say casually. “Home for lunch?”
*Image by Grim Reaper With A Lawnmower via Flickr