a.k.a The Karma Project Week 3
a.k.a. Murder, Sarcasm, and Itty Bitty White Lies
Let’s start with the cobwebs and the murder. I regret to inform you that I’m not doing all that well in the Be Kind to Bugs department. One day this week, just as I walked outside, I noticed an ant. I stepped on it, and I smushed it. Just like that.
It was not an accident, but it was not exactly premeditated, either. Let’s just call it involuntary manslaughter. One second the poor ant was alive. The next, it was not and I was muttering, “Crap, I just murdered another bug. This isn’t good.”
That dead ant seemed to set off some sort of murderous tendencies in me, too. Within the next 5 or so minutes, I stepped on many more ants.
And when I finally gained control over myself? I sat down, and I encouraged my daughter to kill the rest of the ants by smashing them with her water bottle.
I don’t know what got into me. I just don’t. It was an ugly, ugly day as far as Bug Compassion goes. Just the thought of it makes me feel dirty inside.
Then, over the weekend, one of my daughter’s toys rolled under my dresser. She refused to stick her little hand under there and get it because the toy had become encased in cobwebs, dust bunnies and other gross things that tend to collect underneath your common every day dresser.
It happened to be a very sunny morning, too. The sun was shining brightly through my bedroom window. It was one of those sunny mornings that makes you realize just how bad of a housekeeper you really are. I thought, “I can’t believe how many cobwebs are in the floor corners.”
Out came the vacuum. I mean, a toy was at stake here, not to mention my daughter’s emotional well-being. The vacuum was justified. Don’t you agree?
And, cobwebs couldn’t possibly be the same thing as spider webs. I thought they might be the product of my old dead skin cells and something sticky. I didn’t think any live insect actually needed them for its well-being. At least that was the story I decided to go with as I took the vacuum hose to every corner in the room. I shoved it under every dresser, and even under the bed.
That’s when I learned something important.
It was this. My grandmother always told me that if you really want to find something, you ought to stop looking for it. I always thought that advice made a lot of sense. Then I vacuumed under my bed. I found nearly ever sock I’d ever lost, along with a sippy cup, a stuffed animal, some spare change, a restaurant gift card, and a first place ribbon. If my grandmother were still alive, I would tell her this: if you really want to find something, you ought to look under your bed.
Since my sock collection instantly multiplied by about 5 pairs and I grew richer by 85 cents, I decided that sucking up all the cobwebs under my bed could not possibly be bad for my Karma. But I checked Wikipedia, the ultimate authority for all of my most pressing life questions, just to be sure.
It told me that little spiders do in fact weave cobwebs. But unlike orb shaped webs, cob webs are accidents—just webby crap that haphazardly shoots out of a spider’s butt during birth and during travel. Cob webs are not spider houses. They are spider garbage dumps. It was confirmed. No Karma harm done by cleaning my bedroom.
Now for the Sheets and the Sarcasm
Later that same day, my husband arrived home from shopping. He asked, “Kaarina’s bed is a twin, right?” I reflexively said, “Yes.” Therefore he took the new Bakugan bed sheets out of their packaging and he washed them.
That night, I heard my husband yell, “Moooommmma!” The sound was coming from our daughter’s bedroom. I high tailed it in there, thinking that she was choking to death and he’d forgotten how to do the Heimlich. I found him and our daughter standing by her bed, with her new sheets half on, half off.
“Do you SEE anything WRONG here?” he sneered.
“The sheet is too small,” I said.
“Did I not ask you if her bed was a twin?” he sneered again.
“Oh, you know, that twin thing always throws me off. To me, the word twin means two. And she has a double bed, so it seemed to make sense that twin sheets would fit her bed. I always forget that twin means one when it comes to bed sheets.”
He rolled his eyes and sighed loudly. That seems to be where I kind of lost my compassion, silently anyway.
In my mind, two thoughts argued back and forth. One kept reminding me that I was trying to be patient and compassionate. The other kept telling me to take every big word I could think of and string them together into one incredibly insulting sentence, just to teach him who was smarter than whom.
But I managed to remain silent—assuming you don’t consider the hairy eyeball a form of communication. I mostly managed to do this because my daughter was now crying about the fact that her new sheets didn’t fit her bed. I could muster some compassion about that.
As I held her, my husband kept right on going with his loud sighing and eye rolling. It all just got to be too much, so I finally said, “Your Daddy was right there with me when we bought your bed. He came to the store with me and he helped me pick it out. He should have known that you slept in a full size bed, just as I should have known it. I don’t know why he relies on me to always know what kind of bed sheets to buy. I’m obviously not perfect when it comes to buying bed sheets. He can sue me if he wants to.”
And even though I was talking about him behind his back while he was STILL IN THE ROOM WITH US, what I said seemed to warm him up a bit. He smiled and said, “I rely on your mother to know what kind of bed sheets to buy because she has an incredible memory, and we all know that I have no memory at all.”
I thought that was a sweet thing for him to say, so I forgave him for rolling his eyes and blaming me for allowing him to wash the sheets that now did not fit any bed in the house. Would you like a set of free Bakugan bed sheets? Leave a comment on today’s post that makes me laugh and forget all of my life’s problems and they are yours.
Which Brings Me to Butter
When I started the Karma Project, I expected to tell a lie or two. But I’d expected the lies to be innocent ones—of the variety you tell your children to increase their sense of wonder in the world. You know, like the one about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That sort of stuff.
I never expected to start lying about butter, of all things. To understand why I started lying, you need a little background. You see, we are an olive oil family. I don’t really understand why some families are butter families and others are olive oil families. All I know is that olive oil families don’t eat butter and butter families don’t eat olive oil. It’s the same as how some people are dog people and others are cat people. It just is.
We’re an olive oil family to such a degree that my husband even uses olive oil on pasta. Strange but true.
I think the butter thing started when I picked the book Julie & Julia for book club. The word “butter” must appear in that book about 978 times, if not more. And seeing the word “butter” over and over and over again got me thinking about it.
And then potatoes came into season. And then I got this idea in my head that I could create a really tasty dish that combined two of my favorite foods: potatoes and cheese. I tried it the first time about a week ago. I blanched the potatoes, sliced them all in half, basted them in melted butter (oops!), sprinkled them with sea salt and shredded Romano cheese and baked them. That first batch didn’t turn out so well. The cheese cooked too fast and started to burn before the potatoes cooked completely through. The cheese also didn’t melt that well. I was the only member of my family who was willing to eat the end result that week. About that, I will just say this: al dente potatoes aren’t half bad, especially after they’ve been basted in butter. I’m glad I had them all to myself.
The following week? I nearly perfected Cheesy Potatoes. I boiled them longer, baked them longer, and used shredded Farmer’s Cheese instead of Romano. I also used quite a bit more melted butter.
And about that butter. I was quite evasive about it. I waited and waited and waited for my husband to finally leave the kitchen before I whipped that butter out of the fridge, melted it, poured it all over the potatoes, and cleaned up the evidence.
When he came back into the kitchen? All evidence that the butter had ever left the confines of the fridge? It was gone.
But, I figured, not telling him about the butter wasn’t exactly an outright lie. It was just an omission. It was just a way of making my life easier, so he didn’t try to back seat cook and say something really annoying like, “Why are you melting half a stick of butter?” and “Why are you pouring a quarter cup of melted butter onto all of those potatoes?”
As we ate the potatoes, I said, “These are almost perfect. The only thing I would do differently is bake them longer, so they get crispier.”
He said, “You could probably baste them in olive oil. That would probably crisp them up.”
I said, “I, um, sort of, um, did that.”
Now THAT was a lie.
And the really odd thing is this. I doubt my husband gives a rat’s ass. I mean, really. The potatoes were smothered in cheese. What’s a little butter? Between the high glycemic carbs, salt and the cheese, they are a blood clot waiting to happen. Using olive oil instead of butter isn’t going to change that unhealthy formula all that much, now, is it?
Ah well. It was a bad week, wasn’t it? Hopefully next week, I’ll find it in me to be a better person.
Estimated Good Karma Points: 100 (one of my blog readers gave me these points for answering her email. I’m going to take every single one of them, even if I probably only deserved 1).
Estimated Bad Karma Points: 1 (for accidentally leaving my poor dog out in the rain) + 1 (for lying about the butter) + 1 (for being sarcastic about the sheets) + 5 (for killing at least that many bugs) + 1 (for stiffing a cabby on his tip because my credit card wouldn’t work in his card reader and I had a lot less cash on me than I’d thought) + 1 (for neglecting to tip the lady at the ice cream store, for reasons I don’t quite understand)
A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.