I have this bad habit of jumping to conclusions. It’s just that the HOPEFULNESS that lives within me—occupying not a very large area, even, like maybe only a pinky fingernail’s worth—is somewhat exuberant. It’s all “Dude! HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS?” And it doesn’t matter if the good news has actually, honest and for true, ARRIVED. This can occasionally be a problem.
Case in point: I went out to run a bajillion errands today. Ever since gas went up to whatever it is now (I’m driving on fumes and refusing to even look at gas station signs, and by the way HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS?), I no longer run an errand every other day or so, the way I used to. Now I save ’em all up whenever possible, because that’s more economical or something. Anyway, I had a whole list of things I HAD to do. Drop off library books, return some stuff to Kohls. Stuff like that.
Then there were some other things that I was just sort of WANTING to do. So I took Chickadee with me, because she is her mother’s daughter. And if you say to my girlchild, “So, do you think maybe we should go see if we need anything at Target?” she will answer most emphatically that YES INDEED, we need to go to Target. For stuff. And things.
I’ve been living in this house for well over a year, and I spent the summer renovating parts of it, and then I was content for a day or two. Probably. But we’re having a party next week and I’m a little bit freaking out about that. Because people are coming to my house and I’m a lousy housekeeper with no sense of style. And somehow I got it into my head that what I really need to make sure that the party is a success is a new shower curtain.
See, there should be a half-bathroom off of my office (which is off of the kitchen). But for some strange reason, it is, instead, a tiny, cramped full bathroom. I don’t know why. And a plain white shower curtain liner has hung on the shower there for over a year. And it has never bothered me. Possibly because we are storing boxes in the shower itself. (Don’t ask.) But today—heading to Target, next week’s shindig heavy on my brain—I determined that a new shower curtain was in order to set the world to rights.
We ran our errands, we found a new shower curtain (on clearance! at Target!), and I came home and hung it up and became completely convinced that the party will be a huge success. Because I bought a new shower curtain! OBVIOUSLY!
No, the party will not be held in the bathroom. Do not try to confuse me with details.
See? Premature celebration.
So last week, we were working on our school fundraiser thing, and the thing I may have forgotten to mention when I brought it up before is that I’m actually the… ummm… well… I’m the treasurer. Don’t even get me started on how I got suckered into THAT. So—setting aside for a moment the issue of the Big Prize and whether or not we combined the kids’ donations—this meant that I was on the hook to help with tallying the money involved.
Because this is the first year we’ve done this particular event, we of course made it as complicated as possible. Kids had to turn in their money if they’d collected flat-fee donations, but there was also the option to pledge per-lap, and that money obviously couldn’t be collected until after the event (when we had laps counted). So what this meant was that I spent the better part of two days at school with a bunch of other volunteers as a part of a giant human machine of money-tallying. Woo! Good times!
My job, the first day, was to log all of the checks we received into an Excel spreadsheet. As I was doing this, I went ahead and hit the “sum” function up top on the tool bar, and this meant that as I added in the checks, Excel would show me the running total for that amount column down in the bottom bar of the window. Periodically I would announce the total to the group, because we’d been unsure if this event would “work” in terms of getting a good monetary response, and we were completely cleaning up. The donations were plentiful and generous. We were raking in the cash faster than we could log it.
Before I headed out that day—having passed off the funds for deposit to another officer—we even had the principal make an announcement about how much money we’d brought in so far. To motivate the kids for the big event and all that.
Well, that turned out to be another premature celebration. See, I don’t know what happened, but I must have hit the “sum” button twice, or something. That running total I had? Was the total TIMES TWO. I figured it out shortly after I got home (which was shortly before I got the call from the bank to verify the amount…) and then I DIED.
To say I was mortified really doesn’t begin to cover it. And while my inclination is to tell anyone who gives me a hard time about it that YOU PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO LET ME DO THE MATH, I cannot believe I didn’t realize such a huge mistake. Anyone could hit the wrong button, sure. But to be sitting there, entering the checks, looking at that total, and not realize that it was off by so much? I actually had trouble sleeping that night. (Even after I called everyone who needed to know to let them know what was up.)
Don’t get me wrong—we still raised a ton of money, and no real harm was done. Mostly I just looked like an idiot. No small animals were harmed or anything.
Fortunately, I went back to help out the second day (this time, tallying laps and such) and everyone was very kind about it. Except for one person, who was in charge of the event. She managed to bring up my Excel snafu about five times, and I managed NOT to punch her in the face, so I guess it was all good. What’s a little crushing embarrassment between people who don’t know each other very well but are just trying to support their kids’ school?
This was, of course, the perfect backdrop to sit around and wonder if one of my kids was actually going to bag The Big Prize. Because you know that premature celebration thing? Well, a few months ago I may have bought my kids something for Christmas and spent an inordinate amount of time patting myself on the back about how I WIN CHRISTMAS because this was going to be the greatest present ever and they will be so surprised and stoked and it’s going to be awesome, and then maybe there was this thing at school where they could potentially win the one thing that would really jack up my Christmas plans.
And for about a day I was REALLY WORRIED that they were going to win, because I was looking at pledge sheets and wow, my kids were waaaaaay ahead of everything I saw. But then we started tallying the per-lap stuff after the event and it turns out that a lot of kids had a lot more per-lap donations, so I think we’re in the clear.
I mean, it’s a darn shame that my children most likely will not win. Terribly sad.
Hopefully I’ll be able to cheer them up with this awesome new shower curtain that I got. Failing that, I’ll just enter their allowances into Excel and tell them they’re rich.