Of Cobwebs, Bedsheets and Butter

a.k.a The Karma Project Week 3

a.k.a. Murder, Sarcasm, and Itty Bitty White Lies

The Butter Made Me Do It.

The Butter Made Me Do It.

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)

23 comments… add one

  • Atl. mom September 17, 2009, 11:08 am

    You need to factor good Karma points for offering up the Twin-size Bakugan sheets to your readers!

    Reply
  • TriciaSB September 17, 2009, 12:39 pm

    Many years ago, I had an acquaintance who was working on his karma. Part of his process was to apologize out loud for each transgression, such as “I’m sorry I stepped on you, bug. I hope you have a wonderful next life.” I tried to work on my own karma by not snickering out loud.

    My absolute favorite though, was the time he had to baste a Thanksgiving turkey as a favor to his wife (he was a strict vegan). Every time he ladled a spoonful of juices over the bird, he said “I’m sorry you’re dead. I’m sorry you’re dead. I’m sorry you’re dead.”

    I’ve forgotten his name, but the memory of him basting that bird while repeatedly apologizing to it has stayed with me for years.

    Reply
  • Beth September 17, 2009, 1:03 pm

    I will give you 50 karma points for making me laugh outloud for the first time today! Thanks. Great post!

    Reply
  • Almost Slowfood September 17, 2009, 1:08 pm

    Love your writing voice and blog! My husband depends on me as the keeper of all family knowledge such as bed size. It can drive me nuts sometimes! But, I guess he’s the keeper of other things I couldn’t care less about so perhaps we are even:)

    Reply
  • Eric M September 17, 2009, 3:17 pm

    You found a first-place ribbon under your bed? Do you have a sex story that you haven’t shared yet?

    Reply
  • JANET September 17, 2009, 3:19 pm

    HI ALISA!!,
    I LOVE THE FIRST PART ABOUT THE BED SHEETS. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THEM IF YOU STILL HAVE THEM
    SEE THE THING IS MY HUSBAND DOESN’T RELY ON ME TO REMEMBER THE SIZE OF OUR BED BECUASE WE HAVE A TWIN BED!
    THATS RIGHT I SAID IT TWO GROWN PERSONS SLEEPING IN A LITTLE TINY BED.
    DON’T ASK ME WHY WE HAVE A TINY BED,
    WE JUST DO
    MAYBE ITS BECAUSE WE JUST NEVER REALLY WENT OUT AND LOOKED FOR A NEW ONE.
    YOU MAKE THINK THAT WE ARE CRAZY BUT TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH I THINK THAT I HAS HELPED US ALOT!
    WHY YOU ASK,WELL BECAUSE THAT WAY WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO ONE ANOTHER AND I ALWAYS FALL ASLEEP ON HIS ARMS. AND WHEN I GET COLD I HUG HIM
    I LOVE HAVING A SMALL LITTLE BED.AND WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO OTHER STUFF WE NEVER FORGET WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE OUR FLOOR FOR THAT.

    Reply
  • Alisa September 17, 2009, 3:25 pm

    You are ALL making my day. It’s going to be really hard to pick a winner.

    Reply
  • JANET September 17, 2009, 3:41 pm

    PICK ME ALISA PICK ME!!

    Reply
  • MarthaandMe September 17, 2009, 3:46 pm

    I can’t use twin sheets (all doubles or kings in this house), but I enjoyed your post. We actually use both butter and olive oil in this house.

    Reply
  • Alisa September 17, 2009, 3:49 pm

    So, on Facebook, I initially told Eric that the reason I had a first place ribbon under my bed was a private, deep dark secret–one not to ever be revealed. He called my bluff. Ah well, it was fun being private and mysterious while it lasted.

    So the story behind the ribbon is this. First, I must tell you: you will be very disappointed if you were waiting for something interesting. Interesting this story is not.

    Not at all.

    So the ribbon is our daughter’s. She earned it by doing a very short triathlon (one lap in the pool, a short distance on a tricycle, a lap around the parking lot) where she takes swim lessons. All of the kids won a first place ribbon, which was nice. I guess the race organizers knew some of us had kids who would cry if they didn’t get one.

    Why the ribbon was under the bed, I cannot say.

    I’d like to say it was a long lost ribbon and that our daughter jumped for joy when I retrieved it from under the bed. That would be a lie. She was very happy to get her toy back, though, especially after I cleaned the cob webs off of it. And I think she filched the 85 cents that I found.

    Reply
  • JANET September 17, 2009, 4:03 pm

    OH SO THATS WHAT THE RIBBON WAS FOR?
    I TOO WAS WONDERING WHAT IT WAS FOR
    THANKS FOR CLEARING THINGS UP FOR US ALISA.

    Reply
  • Linda September 17, 2009, 8:08 pm

    Alisa,
    I have learned that Avon original scent Skin So Soft drizzled in front of your door or around a pet’s dish will keep ants away. No kidding! Whenever I find ants, I haul out the SSS. Sometimes those little critters are so curious, they come out in groups to investigate the woodsy fragrance.
    We also use both olive oil and the occassional butter (mostly on popcorn), so I have no help for you there.
    As for the sheets, I have no idea about the name you gave. Is it a brand name or a character of a children’s program? At any rate, the only twin size bed I have is buried under clutter because I cleaned out my craft room to paint it and make it into a guest room! We bought a full size for that! Please present them to someone who is more interested.
    This again was a great blog! I thought I was the only one who made mountains out of molehills!

    Reply
  • Gerald Weber September 17, 2009, 8:59 pm

    I also like olive oil on pasta or pesto on pasta even. I guess I missed the earlier explanation of the karma project but after reading this I’m definitely hungry for some potatoes. :-)

    Reply
  • Kathy September 17, 2009, 10:37 pm

    I’m dying laughing. Bug manslaughter. That’s just too dang funny.

    Solution for the twin sheets. 1. use them on your couch when you have more company than beds. 2. donate them to a charity (there’s a gal that collects new sheets for donations). 3. donate them directly to a homeless shelter. There are all sorts of solutions for the sheets. I just gave my unwanted sheets to one girlfriend and my daughter. My girlfriend has full-sized beds and my daughter has my old king-sized bed. Saved my daughter about $100 not having to buy new sheets. She was very pleased. And I cleaned out some closet space.

    I must be bipolar (not in the mental way) – I use both butter and olive oil sometimes at the same time. (Must cook pasta in olive oil, then add butter before eating pasta.) And I have one dog and two cats. Besides, it’s not good to heat olive oil over a certain temp. So you were probably better off using butter on the potatoes.

    Reply
  • Sarah Liz September 18, 2009, 3:27 am

    Alisa,

    I’m not commenting today to win the sheets, but I wanted to say–THANK YOU, again! The part about the “stringing along every big word I could find,” to make up a comment “just to teach him who was smarter than whom,” was both truthful & hilarious. See, I have this bad habit of ALWAYS having to have the last word–especially in an arguement/disagreement, and especially with my husband. But lately, (after a LONG chat last night) we have come up with some new strategies and tools–a lot of which I printed out for reading your blog here, but you know that already–when I said I’m going to print it out and hang it on my wall(s), I really mean it and I really do! :) Anyway, so my husband & I are working very hard on communicating better (your 11 Communication Tips came JUST in time the other day–thank you for that, too!), and TODAY, I too had to ZIP IT, and SILENTLY complain in my head–as to NOT have the last word. Anyway, that’s why that part made me laugh so hard! That and the cleaning under the bed part, I totally know what you mean, and I think we all do! Congrats on the cleaning! I’m doing a lot of that too lately! I love your Karma Project and I think it’s a great way to (at the very least) be concious of what we’re doing, how we’re acting and how we’re treating one another–and not just our spouses. So, thanks for sharing your project and your journey. Life is chaotic lately, but I still ready every entry, every day and right now, I’m in the phase of USING what you’ve written and the advice that you’ve shared! Thanks! Can’t wait to hear about next week’s Karma Project Progress–best of luck!

    Many Blessings,
    -Sarah Liz :)

    P.S. I got the book from Nava Atlas, THANK YOU, I just finished reading it and am going to review it on Amazon tomorrow–it’s a great book and very comical! Thank you for picking me for the winning recipe contest! My husband, my mom and my friends are all very proud–and also, it’s given you more blog traffic because I’ve sent my friends here to check it out! I think that’s just good karma for us all, don’t you? Take care!

    Reply
  • Alisa September 18, 2009, 5:57 am

    Linda: Thanks for the SSS tip. I forgot about that stuff. It does keep all sorts of bugs away. I once used it as a natural mosquito repellent. I’m going to try it. We really do have a persistent ant issue.

    Kathy and MarthaandMe: Thanks for teaching me that the world isn’t so black and white. We really do live in an age where cats and dogs can live together in the same house and where olive oil and butter can coexist on the same plate! This is a happy revelation.

    Janet: Are you sure you really want the sheets? Do you know what Bakugan is? It’s a Japanese cartoon for kids, similar to Pokemon. It has lots of things from an outer world that fight battles and people with that squiggly looking hair that the Japanese only seem to draw that way. They are yours if you want them.

    Thanks to all who enjoyed this piece. When I wrote it, I didn’t think anyone would read it because it was so long. I’m glad you all proved me wrong.

    Reply
  • judy September 18, 2009, 8:10 am

    Alisa,

    You have my official papal dispensation to have a mixed butter/olive oil houshold. We all need to take a more ecumenical view these days. Besides it’s good Karm to follow the middle path, no extremes, not even with olive oil and butter. And besides, Julia would be so proud.

    Reply
  • groovygranny September 18, 2009, 8:17 am

    I want those sheets–I can use them on Alisa’s “childhood bed” which is still in her bedroom but now is used when grandkids sleep over–including Kaari, who I know will love them on that bed.

    Thanks for reminding me of my mother’s saying: stop looking for it and you will find it. So so true! Still happens to me almost everyday.

    REPEAT: those sheets are mine. I will pay for them. Or perhaps we should have a bidding war and Alisa can donate the winner’s bid to her favorite charity–perhaps something to do with “Saving Bugs.”

    Reply
  • JANET September 18, 2009, 8:35 am

    OH YEA I HAVE HEARD OF THEM BEFORE. ANYTHING THAT IS FREE SOUNDS NICE TO ME.

    Reply
  • Ben September 18, 2009, 9:26 am

    Alisa, I thought you were more advanced than that! You should have already memorized page seventeen from the Universal Marriage Manual which states:

    The husband is to be relied on for memorizing and choosing tools, yard implements, and other “outside stuff.” However, anything inside the house is the wife’s responsibility. Not because she needs more to remember, but because the man simply can’t handle the pressure of picking sheets, paint, pots/pans, or carpet. If you end up with undersize sheets, dreadful paint, or pans that stick, let that be a lesson to you.

    Maybe next time you’ll remember. :-)
    —–
    BTW, I’ve been reading the blog for a few weeks now, and I always enjoy seeing it in my reader! Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  • Kathy September 18, 2009, 9:32 am

    Ben, you have that manual down. Yes, when I ask my hubby what he thinks of a paint color, his response is: “I don’t do colors”. So, I figure if he doesn’t like a color of a room that I paint, too bad for him. And he’s smart enough to stay out of my kitchen. He calls it the “torture room”, since he doesn’t know where anything is and can’t load a dishwasher to save his life. LOL!!! And he’s an engineer. You’d think he’d understand the proper loading of a dishwasher.

    Reply
  • Ben September 18, 2009, 9:33 am

    @Kathy Hey, the dishwasher is more complex than most people think. Am I the only one who has a “system” for where each type of dish needs to go? :-)

    Reply
  • Kathy September 18, 2009, 11:28 am

    No, I have the same system. Coffee mugs go over here, glasses go over there, the big plates go in this place. Heck even my silverware is arranged by type and size, since I have a dishwasher that has the segregated silverware holder.

    Now I’m sounding anal. LOL!!! But truly, I hate to think while unloading the dishwasher, so my system allows me to unload it without having to “think” about the unloading process.

    Reply

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