As a result of my crack organizational skills (or that of others in my household… I’m not pointing any fingers, but you know who you are), my daughter’s birth certificate disappeared. Into thin air, as it were. She needed it for today in order to get her driver’s permit. I only had to work dinner yesterday, so my plan was to gather all of the documentation that she needed to obtain said permit (birth certificate, social security card, paperwork from school certifying that she had passed the written portion of the exam, check for the driving school guy, etc.) and put all of it together, so as to avoid the usual running around, screaming and yelling, etc. that is our standard modus operandi.
Nothing is ever that easy around this joint. The best laid plans and all that. Once I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to get another copy of the birth certificate, I went to get her social security card. Of course it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Before ripping my house apart and, at this point, my hair out, I asked the daughter if she had her social security card. She shrugged and told me that she thought her father had it. Now I had to call him at work to confirm that he was, indeed, in possession of her card, because if I’ve learned anything about teenagers it’s that they cannot be trusted. It’s not their fault. They have a lot on their little minds. Tumblr, Twitter, dresses, high-waisted shorts, healthy snacks, etc. (this is just my teenager’s list, feel free to personalize it, substitute items more appropriate to your own child).
Anyone familiar with husbands can probably guess how the conversation went. Yes, he had it (I did not even ask him why he took it out of my wallet, where it has been for years). Great. I should have hung up the phone while I was ahead, but he had further questions, like, why had I waited so long to look for these things? Why couldn’t I be more organized? Why do we only have one jar of peanut butter left? When will I ever learn? After 23 years of marriage I would like to think that I have, in fact, learned a thing or two. I patiently explained that I had not begun to “look for these things” this morning; that I was not planning on “looking” for anything, that I was, instead, just gathering them from where they had been the last time I had needed them (and where, I swear to God, I put them back), so as to avoid the lunacy that accompanies almost everything that we do. I also explained that I could be more organized. I could also be “America’s Next Top Model”. Damn those genetics.
The last two questions really say more about him than they say about me. This is how he fights. He always uses whatever issue is at hand as a springboard for whatever else is bothering him (I’m surprised he didn’t bring up what I like to refer to as the “great missing Mets t-shirt controversy of ’99”; he still trots that gem out from time to time). I thanked him for alerting me to the peanut butter shortage and politely pointed out that there are shelves filled with it at the local grocery store. As to the learning thing? Well, I like to believe that I learn something every day. And, while I didn’t say it, I have definitely learned that arguing with him about shit that I can’t change will get me exactly nowhere. And, the reality was that I was happy to know the whereabouts of the social security card. Because the stress of not being able to find the birth certificate had given me a throbbing headache.
Luckily my daughter was born in the next town, so all I had to do was go over to the Health Department (have they stopped calling it Vital Statistics because no one knows what that means?), fill out a form, fork over $15 and be on my merry way. As I get out of the car I realize that I still have, clinging to my jeggings (yes, I left the house in jeggings. And flip-flops. And an old t-shirt. But the t-shirt covered the camel toe. And the flip-flops matched the t-shirt. I made some kind of effort.) the remnants of the dust bunnies that were on the floor of the closet (where I was crawling around looking for the birth certificate, you know, in case somehow it had jumped out of the folder in the fireproof “important documents” box just for a change of scenery). I looked and felt ridiculously stressed out. Oh, and it was raining. Pouring, in fact. And I had no umbrella. At this point I figured things really could not get any worse, so I made a run for the door. I just wanted to get home, take a Tylenol, and do the New York Times crossword before working the night shift. And then, because of my $2.50 Old Navy stupid flip-flops, I wiped out in the parking lot. Just feet from my destination. Into a puddle filled with gravel. While people watched, including my own husband. I’m sure if it hadn’t been pouring rain they would have helped me.
Later I told him that what I learned today was this: Don’t wear flip-flops in the rain.