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The queen of accidental disaster

Hillary IbarraI have prayed over major appliances, but only expensive ones or ones that belonged to somebody else.

Prayers such as Lord, please may this stereo experience a revitalization of its necessary components, so my brother-in-law won’t kill me, and please, I ask this dishwasher be given the strength to process that huge chunk of glass in its filter.

I need the intervention of a higher power, because I am Destroyer of major appliances, Public Enemy No. 1 of all things breakable, and Spoiler of white, immaculate things. I am, in fact, the Queen of Accidental Disaster. I have put permanent stains on my parents-in-law’s creamy white carpet during two separate visits. I have broken half the stoneware and three-fifths of all drinking glasses in every home in which I have lived. I have annihilated numerous irreplaceable objects, created stains on other people’s clothing from a respectable distance and lost the personal property of family members while on vacation.

I am on the fourth microwave in my married life and the fifth set of dinner plates.

And Matthew, that poor man, is married to me. When he breaks something, loses something or spills something like that coffee he left by the couch a year ago, what do you suppose I do? I rejoice! I keep the score. Sure, it’s my 3,984 accidents to his dozen or so, but every new tally on his page gives me leverage for compassion when the next accident strikes via Hillary. And it will, probably in the next five minutes.

Once I busted a whole case of beer after I shoved it beneath a shopping cart. “It’s wedged,” I said lightly, even as I heard the faint squeak of that inner warning voice, so weary and hoarse from years of clamoring for the attention I never give it. But it got its validation when that case crashed against the pavement as my husband traversed a speed bump.

“Yeah, it’s wedged.” he said acerbically as he bent over the damage, flicking beer from his fingertips.

I wasn’t about to face my husband’s disappointment over the loss of pricey beer, so I shamelessly asked the store for a new case. I’m an old pro at acknowledging my catastrophes, garnering sympathy, gaining forgiveness and compensation out of pity. A case of beer? That’s nothing. I’ve broken three cases of vintage soda in a novelty store/restaurant by swinging my child and the carseat into a carefully arranged display, and all that after forgetting my wallet at home and finding myself unable to pay for my breakfast.

The worst moment I’ve ever had in my prolific accident career happened when I realized our car keys were MIA three states from home. We turned out my purse and the diaper bag and all suitcases, searched every room in our friend’s Camille’s house, scanned the driveway, crawled through our vehicle, and dumped our dirty laundry out in the street.

And then…then I found them on my 10th or so desperate dig through the dirty clothes in the chill Oregon air. They were in the zipper pocket of a pair of pants, and those pants belonged to…Matthew.

I cackled and danced like Rumpelstiltskin in triumph. I shouted exuberantly that it was NOT MY FAULT! I skipped about and rattled the keys for my Man and everyone to see. This is not to say that I went out of my way to make my wonderful husband feel bad about it. No, no — my joy was not bridled by such petty feelings. I simply felt liberated from remorse and justified, innocent when assumed guilty, like a career criminal who didn’t actually commit the one crime for which he was standing trial.

Of course, my lovely guy did apologize, albeit with a look of shock on his face. I needed something to celebrate my rare good fortune, so I begged a piece of Camille’s birthday cake from her to take on the road.

She replied, “I already gave a piece to Matthew for you.” Aha! His gift to acknowledge his false accusation, I thought, but then she added, “And he asked for it before he knew he’d lost the keys.”

Well, well. He got me an enormous piece of chocolate cake, risking an upholstery apocalypse, even as he thought I’d lost the keys to our new minivan several hundred miles from home? What a wonderful, long-suffering man!

But it still went on his accident tally. It can’t quite even things out, but it is a BIG boon for me in future beer-busting situations. Hey, I love the guy, but I need all the leverage I can get.

— Hillary Ibarra

Hillary Ibarra has had several humor pieces published on Aiming Low and She has dreams of playing the banjo, living in Jane Austen’s childhood home and writing for more than spam artists and 50 loyal readers, but can’t seem to find them in the laundry. She is the mysterious blogger at No Pens, Pencils, Knives or Scissors. In her spare time she likes to threaten to sell her children to the zoo, and their little dog, too.

Reflections of Erma