“Having spilled my coffee all over my desk today, sprayed myself with my coke yesterday and stumbled over my own feet so that I dropped and broke my favorite coffee mug…. I have declared myself stressed and klutzy. It’s time to go home and gather up my pieces.” That was a statement I posted on Facebook in July.
This after a lot of traveling and company. I blamed it on overload. I went home and escaped into a corner to read and calm down.
But who could I blame earlier this week when I had the house to myself? I did not just have the house to myself, I had an entirely clean, neat, clutter-free house to myself. A calm usually descends over me as I walk through the house when it looks like a freshly cleaned hotel room. It is a such an “aah! moment” when everything is under control. I can play the lady of leisure and simply enjoy reading a book or watching a TV show of my own choosing.
That is how I felt as I nobly went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast early in my week of solitude. I would prepare a bowl of Cream of Wheat plus oatmeal. The Cream of Wheat because it contains 50 percent of one’s daily needs for iron. The oatmeal because it helps lower cholesterol. I would eat a very healthy breakfast.
I poured the grains and flakes into a large cereal bowl, added water and salt, placed it in the microwave and punched “start.” A minute later, I reached into the microwave to to see if my mixed cereal was done. My large hand easily spans over the width of the bowl so I often do that to lift the bowl.
My fingers gripped and lifted.
It was a bad decision.
A very bad decision.
The steam from the heated water rose up and scorched the palm of my hand. My brain registered “Hot!” and told my hand to “put it down.”
Startled, I abruptly dropped the bowl on the counter, spilling half of the steaming water, on my hand and down my slacks, shirt and foot. I dashed over to the sink, yanked on the cold water and doused my hand in the welcoming coolness.
Once my hand cooled, I stepped away from the sink to assess the damage. Hot water on my clothes. OK. Not a problem. It would dry. I grabbed a sponge and began to clean up the splash of grainy water on the floor and stove.
The cereal did not look done. I pushed the bowl aside, grabbed an apple and left for work.
Of course, that day the skies blessed us with a downpour the minute I drove into the parking lot.
And, of course, if I have an umbrella, it obviously is lost in the closet at home.
I did not dash across the parking lot to the office to escape the rain. I sat in my car for a bit, waited until it died down to a slow rain and then I walked into the office. No falls in the parking for me that day. I learned that lesson a long time ago on another wet and slippery day.
Carefully, I gathered up the day’s papers and settled into the tasks of the day.
An hour or so into the morning, I noticed something on my slacks on the right leg. Bumps. Lots of bumps. I looked. Dried grains of cereal bumps. Oh dear. It wasn’t just hot water. It had been hot water with cereal. I brushed off as much as I could.
Break time came. I prepared a cup of coffee for myself and took it back to my desk to sip as I worked.
I sipped. I typed. I made a list of things that I needed to do that day and in the near future.
I reached for something and hit the cup of coffee. With a splosh the entire, large cup of coffee tipped over in front of me, pouring hot coffee down my leg and onto my sandals.
I grabbed a fistful of scratch paper to spread across the puddle so it would stop from spreading while I went to find paper towels.
I returned, wiped the wet paper puddle into the trash can and dried the desk. The coffee triggered a dusting job., so I used more paper towels and a bit of water to extend the enforced clean-up to a non-soaked area.
My desk was clean and dry, but my slacks were not. I debated going home and changing.
The black coffee had washed away the rest of the cereal. Black slacks do not show coffee stains.
No one would notice anything except the damp spot on the floor. I stayed and returned to my typing without any coffee to sip.
I still don’t know what triggered the morning of the klutz, but it sure made a good excuse that week for reading books and becoming a couch potato in my hotel of a home.
No cooking, no sewing, no major cleaning. I obviously needed some time to calm down. That’s a good enough reason for me escape into a good book or two or three for a few days.
(Joan Hershberger is a staff writer at the News-Times and author of “Twenty Gallons of Milk and Other Columns from the El Dorado News-Times.” Email her at email@example.com)