Skirts are stupid. OK, maybe that’s a little harsh. Skirts are okay. I like cute skirts. They’re a good option on hot summer days, and switching from shorts or pants to a skirt takes you from casual to dressy in two minutes (I’m all about efficiency).
Skirts without pockets are stupid. In fact, pants or shorts without pockets are stupid too.
I have had a rough couple of days. My ill will toward pocketless apparel is the culmination of a lot of stress and exhaustion and a horrible hour and a half long ordeal which I will blame on the dumb pocketless skirt I am currently wearing.
Why am I wearing a pocketless skirt if I hate them so much? It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’m sorely behind on laundry. There was my trip to Disneyland with Brooklyn and Gavin and hurrying home to a chaotic house and a husband in the hospital. I was able to get partially caught up on laundry just before heading to Provo to pick up Emily from school, but apparently, I took care of everybody else’s laundry and neglected my own because this morning I found myself stuck wearing the hateful construction of flowy material whose only utility is to cover me.
And, I guess I look cute–don’t get me wrong. But I’m more concerned with getting things done and that’s challenging when you’re always wondering where you put your phone or keys because you don’t have handy pockets to slip them into.
Bringing Emily home from school was not stressful. I was happy to do it and we had an enjoyable (though long) drive together. There are some blackmail-worthy videos of our silliness, but videos take forever to upload, so here’s a picture of cows crossing the road near Monument Valley.
Fun, huh? Taking care of a house full of kids is not easy and I salute Rick for all he got done, but even SuperDad can’t do the work of two people. I had planned to spend the day yesterday catching up, but then I saw the list of items Emily needs to obtain by next week to start obtaining visas for her mission. This is in addition to what she has already done to get her mission papers in (ecclesiastical interviews, medical and dental check-ups, etc)
Lest you think I’m being dramatic about the requirements, here is a copy of her “to-do” list.
It’s a lot! And much of it is difficult to get. We live 35 minutes from downtown Tucson where the police station and government offices are, and many of these documents require official government certification and authentication.
You might now understand why I feel a little scatterbrained and overwhelmed.
So, I found myself in a pocketless skirt and guess what happened? True to character (because skirts can have character, right?) the skirt let me down. No, it did not fall down–it disappointed me when I needed it.
I got up early, got myself ready for the day, fed kids and got them ready, made five lunches for school, took the elementary school kids to the bus stop, dropped Ricky at seminary and took Makayla and Gavin to the orthodontist.
Gavin has a little group of friends he has home preschool with and it so happened that it was a preschool day. What a blessing! After dropping him off late (because of the orthodontist appointment) and taking Makayla to school I had one kid-free hour to get groceries (because according to the kids we had “no food”) and clean and vacuum the van.
I decided to hit the car wash first. I have a favorite–Surf Thru Car Wash on Pantano and Broadway. After years in Iowa without a good full-service car wash, this place is a dream come true. It’s inexpensive–like $3-4 per wash and they actually ask you to go through again for free if your exterior isn’t sparkling. Before you drive through, they shower you free dash wipes and cute little garbage bags and after you go through (more than once if necessary, but it’s rarely necessary except when I drive the big van), you can pull into their parking lot full of vacuums and suck all the garbage and dirt out of your car. It’s wonderful!
Today, they gave me a bunch of extra dash wipes and I happily wiped everything down while the car glided through the wash. I pulled up to a vacuum spot to suck up the nastiness that was scattered throughout the car.
This is the moment when the skirt let me down. It didn’t have pockets for my keys or phone, so I put the car keys and my phone on the driver’s seat while I vacuumed.
I have a system to make sure I don’t forget any part of the car. I start with the driver’s seat and move around clockwise. As I approached the end of the circle, I tossed my backpack onto the driver’s seat. I usually keep my backpack on the floor just behind the driver’s seat, so I moved it so I could get that last section of family detritus sucked up. I closed the passenger door, hung up the vacuum, and reached out for the driver’s side door to be one my way. I was so proud of my efficiency. As I inwardly praised my quick and thorough work and considered my grocery list, I noticed the passenger side door was locked. What? That’s weird. I walked around to the other side. Locked. I tried the sliding doors. Locked. The trunk? Locked.
What happened? I looked in the driver’s window? Where were my keys? Under the backpack. Oh, no! Did my backpack lock the door when it landed on the keys?!! Or did I bump the lock button when wiping down the doors with my extra complimentary wipes?
Well, this was very inconvenient, but not a catastrophe. I would just call Rick for a rescue. I reached into my pocket for my phone. No pocket. Cursed skirt! I peeked in the driver’s side window again. My phone laying forlornly on the floor of the van, having been knocked there by the bully backpack. Great!
So, I went around to the entrance of the car wash and they let me use their phone. I called Rick. No answer. Left a message telling my situation and asking for a rescue. I called Emily. No answer. I left a similar message with her. What now? I only know a few phone numbers by memory. There wasn’t anybody else to call.
Can I just pause at this point to tell you how friendly, patient, and kind the staff at Surf Thru was?? The girl working at the main entrance was so nice! She told me to have a seat in their air-conditioned break room, offered me some water, and let me keep their phone by me in case somebody called back.
After a few minutes, another worker asked if I would like him to try to jimmy the lock with the company break-in kit. At first, I laughed because they had a kit, but maybe locking your keys in your car at the car wash isn’t so rare. They even had a release form for me to fill out! I was desperate–I had to be back to pick up Gavin from preschool in 30 minutes and even after multiple calls to Rick and Emily, I hadn’t gotten through. I let him try, but my van was just too secure.
Dejected, I went back to the break room and tried calling Rick and Emily again. This time, I instructed them to please just pick up Gavin from preschool first and then maybe rescue me?
I’m not going to lie–I felt like crying. If the staff had been even the slightest bit grumpy to me, I would probably have lost it. It’s a little thing to be locked out of your car with no cell phone, but I was already so overwhelmed and behind with things at home that I didn’t feel like I could handle this inconvenience. But what was there to do? Nothing. And crying would only make me look pathetic and give me a bigger headache. So I read through the magazines that were on the table in the break room and prayed that my friend who had Gavin would be patient with me and that Rick or Emily would finally respond to my desperate pleas.
An hour later, I was back in my car and on my way home. When I got home, I put a running belt/fanny pack thing on over my dumb skirt so that I could have a pocket. I look like an idiot, but I will NOT lose my phone or keys again today!!
I wrote this post a few weeks ago and forgot about it until yesterday.
Things have settled down. Emily’s mountain of paperwork is in and now we’re working on mission clothes and necessities, travel to MTC plans, and other things.
I was so frustrated and upset when I wrote the post, but looking back I can see it was truly a small thing. Now I am thinking about how many little things happen to me every day that I overreact to. I am a fairly mellow person, but everybody gets grumpy and lets that feed into how we treat others and how we see ourselves and our potential for success. Little setbacks can leave us feeling hopeless, burdened, and inadequate. Those feelings are expected and OK. I know very few people who are completely happy and positive all of the time. Sometimes circumstances aren’t ideal and things just don’t go as we expect them to. I am so grateful for how sweet and kind the staff at the car wash was to me. I hope that I can recognize when others are struggling and respond with just as much kindness and patience. I want to see other people’s struggles as opportunities to give them extra love rather than as inconveniences to me.
In conclusion, I will share a few nuggets of wisdom from the Great and Wonderful Bonni Mergenthaler
- Don’t wear clothes that don’t have pockets.
- Be patient with others when they’re not at their best. Your response to them can either help or hurt.
- A clean car is a happy car, but a locked clean car is useless.
Have an excellent week!