I should have known

I never purchase white clothing for my two youngest girls. We have passed over many nice clearance or garage sale finds just because they are mostly white or light-colored. Those two girls are mud-magnets.  That is also one of the many reasons I rarely buy new clothing for them. Another is that they crawl around a lot and make holes in the knees of their pants. (don’t ask~ I have children who pretend they are dogs, okay?) 

I’ve always known that there are just some children who should never wear white.

Well, I am one of those children.

I never did outgrow the lack of gracefulness I possessed as a child. I was the one on the playground tripping over the ball, or my own shoelace. I was the teen who got hurt on the trampoline and couldn’t keep up with the instructor during physical education. And I was the young woman who met her husband as the waitress who spilled coffee on him.

I have ruined so many shirts with coffee stains or bleach spots that I should actually wear a bib or apron all day.

So why did I think I could get away with an off-white tote bag?

When ArtsCow had a special price on personalized tote bags in November, I couldn’t resist getting this one for myself, along with the Christmas gifts I ordered.  I love this “Chuck E. Cheese” photo of David and I so much I even used it in the newspaper for our anniversary announcement this year. I added “Grow Old Along With Me, The Best is Yet to Be,” because our marriage has never been better than since his cancer in 2006.

Yesterday I was eager to go out to write for the first time this year, using the gift certificate for a local restaurant that David gave me for Christmas.  I was excited to pack all my writing materials in my new tote bag; the legal pad of paper, some rough drafts, a brand new pen.  I packed it all snugly inside this tote bag and left for the restaurant directly after walking with Pat. My breakfast of two poached eggs and whole wheat toast was delicious, along with the cup of coffee I drank as I wrote.  I gathered things up a little early, wanting to stop and visit with my sisters who were meeting for coffee next door at The Coffee Den. The waitress saw my nearly full cup of coffee, and knowing I always finish my cup, asked if I wanted a styrofoam cup to carry the rest with me.  That sounded like a great idea!  She brought the styrofoam cup to my table and left.

Now, it doesn’t take much coordination to pour hot coffee from one cup to another.  But somehow, and this part gets a little fuzzy as I am not sure how it happened, my thumb went THROUGH the styrofoam and coffee started splattering all over the table, all over me, and yes, on my tote bag. I was glad my back was to the waitress and she couldn’t see the mess I was making.  I was even more glad the owner wasn’t watching. My very first visit to this particular restaurant was marked by another spill.  Not used to the little metal pitcher of cream brought to me, I overpoured it and it went all over the table. (I told you I am less than graceful, perhaps even clumsy) There was no waitress nearby to call out to for a rag, so I’d hurriedly caught the cream from going off the table with a generous amount of napkins. The owner caught sight of me sopping up the wet mess and asked what happened.  When I told her she just stared at me and asked, “Where did you get the napkins?”   I informed her I got them out of the holder on the table and she sighed a huge inflated sigh, then left to get more napkins, and began roughly shoving them into the holder.

I never forgot that sigh, nor the rough way she replaced those napkins right in front of me, the customer. It was a long time before I frequented that  restaurant again, but when I did, I realized I like the other waitresses enough to return regularly, always hoping the owner doesn’t wait on me.

Then yesterday I had a bigger mess to deal with; coffee running off the table, underneath the plate, and onto my papers and the new tote bag.  My back to the kitchen, I grabbed a huge stack of napkins and sopped up the mess quickly, stuffing the wet napkins into my purse.  Then I took the destroyed styrofoam cup with me so I wouldn’t leave any telltale evidence of what had happened at my table. 

I was laughing by the time I got to the Coffee Den where my sisters sat. Pat helped me dispose of the wet napkins out of my purse.

Do these kinds of things even happen to any other woman?  It seems like everywhere I go I see mothers who seem so “put together” and confident, whom I can’t even imagine ever spilling anything or tripping over their own feet.

I am old enough now to appreciate the things I can do well and be able to laugh at my own foibles. But, one hour? I had used that bag for all of one hour before I ruined it!  

Next time I’ll know to buy in black.

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