If you are even a casual reader of this blog I’m sure you’ve pegged me as a Type-A personality, and it’s true, I love a good checklist, I stockpile necessities so there’s never a mad dash to the store, and I’m half done Christmas shopping now, in July.
I seem to have it together. I’m successful in my chosen field. I’ve finished a marathon, a duathlon, and three triathlons. My house is neat, I own a sewing machine, and I make my own cleaning supplies because they smell good and my matching bottles and labels are cuter.
A friend just told me — the kind of friend who can say this, so you know it’s true — that I’d be a little much to take if I didn’t, well, struggle. Which I do, kind of a lot.
Here’s the latest entry in Type S for Struggler, or “Why Jen Can’t Have Nice Things”:
I pack up my unfinished Friday work in my splurgey gorgeous citron Kate Spade bag (the first designer bag I’ve ever owned and bought off Zulily, because it is last season or maybe a knock-off but still, so pretty). I put in my van. I drive home, frantically pack for weekend at the lake, throw more stuff in van, pick up boys at grandma’s, drive to lake, unpack what I need, welcome three nieces and one nephew to lake for weekend, swim, administer time outs, put six children to bed, drink a beer, go to bed.
On Saturday while administering another time out, I decide to find that packet of honoree candidate bios I need to read for Monday meeting and go to van. No gorgeous yellow bag.
Head smack. I left it at home, I conclude. Of course I did, and now I have to read that stuff Sunday night instead of blogging. So I continue to swim, cook, administer bandaids, wash dishes, craft, administer more time outs, cook, clean, put six kids to bed, drink beer, go to bed.
I drive home today and discover no bag here either. Drive to office. (Because it is not out of realm of possibility that I packed it all up and then left it there. Not even remotely out of the realm.) No bag. Call husband (still at lake). No bag.
My bag was stolen. Out of my unlocked van, sitting outside my little cabin in a private lake association property. And I didn’t realize it until at least a day later.
It gets better, though. Also in my bag is my work laptop, so now I get to call the IT director and the property manager and tell them what I did. And then I get to talk to the sheriff and insurance people and not get any work done for a few days because I don’t have the right computer and basically just be mortified that everyone knows my work laptop in my what-business-do-I-have-with-a-designer-bag-but-it-is-so-pretty yellow bag was stolen out of my unlocked van and I didn’t realize it for at least a day.
Forget Type A, call me Type S for Struggler. Because this is not an isolated incident. Consider:
- Jen pays for dentist teeth whitening; chips front tooth on plate (yes, a plate) while microwaving nachos (yes, chips with cheese in microwave) two days before having to be photographed and filmed for an event. Klassy.
- Jen goes to fancy famous Manhattan restaurant and dumps her soup in her lap. Not a drip or a spoonful, no way — tips entire cup over on floor, on table, on white lace dress. Fabulous wait staff brings new bowl of soup and dessert and makes big fuss over her. She walks two miles on 5th Avenue back to hotel with “roasted pork broth” on her dress.
- Jen promises to pick up nervous traveling colleague plenty early; sets alarm for 4:30 p.m. not a.m. and wakes up precisely 10 minutes after promised arrival time. Breaks all kinds of traffic laws but they make it.
- Jen trades in old van for new van because having dents fixed is too big of a pain and she can’t be bothered with that and cars cost money anyway so might as well have a new one; dents new van in four places, three of them on her own retaining wall.
Three of these happened in the last month alone.
I don’t really know why I’m telling you all this except that I really can laugh at myself and that does help me feel better. (I called aforementioned friend and related the whole sorry yellow bag story and it was truly funny.)
And because the real truth is nothing is ever as it seems. Everyone struggles, with things that are ridiculous and self-inflicted and things that are serious and come out of nowhere — nowhere fair, nowhere just, but they come just the same. I have learned through the real crises in my life and through each of these silly scrapes that everyone is fighting some kind of battle.
No one has it all together. If they did, they’d be a little hard to take.
* but you can laugh at me for spilling my soup and chipping my tooth on a plate of microwave nachos.