Premature celebration

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.


  1. Barb Cooper

    I did that once. Only it was in the program that tells me how much is in my checking account. HALF AS MUCH as I thought. My husband was really oh-so-happy, you betcha.

    The woman who wouldn’t let it die? Probably just trying to make a point to her husband that this sort of thing happens to everybody.

  2. toni

    Never, ever, EVER, underestimate the power of a new shower curtain. I don’t know why those things are PARTY MAGIC, but they are.

    [written from the Land of Delusion, Southern Hemisphere, and because I really need to believe in SOMETHING for an upcoming party we are having and MAGICAL SHOWER CURTAINS are waaaay waaaay easier than, oh, say, cleaning the house.]

    You are my math twin.

    (I am very very sorry about that.)

  3. Heather

    Haha! Oh, Mir. That’s too funny.

  4. Astrogirl

    Know what would really make your party a blazing success?

    Holding it in the shower.

    Just sayin.

  5. Megan.

    YAY SHOWER CURTAIN!! I actually don’t currently own one. But I distinctly remember the one I bought that was not only totally cute but had the BEST Target cheapo shower curtain hangy thingies… wait… that wasn’t the whole dang point of this post was it… but I’m in the throes of designing a truly massive database whatchadoosy so I can’t do any Excel commiseration (because Access? And Share Point? And other stuff? Totally kicks Excel woes in the pants dude) so all I have right now is… well.. YAY! SHOWER CURTAIN!!

  6. suburbancorrespondent

    Never underestimate the power of a shower curtain to brighten your day.

    And it may be that your office was originally used as a maid’s or nanny’s room (complete with full bath).

  7. Suebob

    We actually have a rule in my department at work: WE DON’T DO MATH. Not even simple calculations. Because? WRITERS!

  8. Maki

    I think many Moms would hav made the same mistakes. It’s ok as long as you don’t do it again, right? Hey, we love wrtings, doing crafts and all the artsy stuff. My worst enemy is numbers. So cheer up and let’s dance with the new shower curtain :D

  9. Brigitte

    I have no clue if it takes 6 months, a year, 5 years . . but if that shower remains used for just storage for TOO long, the little bit of water in the trap underneath dries up, giving you a direct pipeline to POO smells. You can thank me for the warning later. :-D

  10. Michelle

    Haha, no worries. It happens. I doubt you crushed the children of the school or anything; they care more about the Wii than how much the total was, I’m sure.

  11. del

    Hooray, there is someone else who uses a shower as a storage area. I am astounded at the amount of precious items (total crap) that can be housed in a shower! My shower has a screen and not a pretty shower curtain so no parties in the ensuite for us.

  12. Flea

    I do that kind of thing all the time. It’s why I don’t bother balancing my checkbook. You know – just keep the numbers in my head so there are no buttons to punch twice. Sometimes the numbers fall out, but that’s okay.

    And here’s hoping your children don’t win and come away with anything that sounds like my name?

  13. jwgmom

    The one bit of housekeeping that will convince everyone you are a domestic godess and make the party a big hit is a shiny toaster, not a shower curtain.

  14. ML

    Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous fun post!!! So much like me!!! I mean…great writing. Some of my greatest moments of victory have only taken place in my head. But I still cling to them and remember them fondly. And just for fun, my surefire party success tip: new dish towels. (I have a house linens fetish)

  15. Cheryl

    Wow Mir – the new shower curtain sounds awesome! But to really jazz up your party, what about new coordinating hand towels, and a soap dish, and toothbrush holder and lotion dispenser, and a couple of pretty candles?? Maybe a mat for the floor? And some nice pictures for the wall? Just sayin ……. HeeHee

  16. Lisa


  17. cele

    So now I want to know why we keep using Excel when it is truly a Weapon of Mass Demoralization for the user.

  18. The Other Leanne

    Spreadsheets, wonderful, horrible spreadsheets. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in front of a budget spreadsheet on deadline with a calculator in my hand trying to figure out why there is a jillion-dollar error in the total.
    Congrats on the new shower curtain–every bathroom needs a new dress once in a while, especially a PARTY DRESS!

  19. Mom on the Run

    What is it about shower curtains? I am generally a white only, plastic shower curtain person, no paisley prints for me. In year’s past I have replaced shower curtains due to mildew or buildup from our problematic water system. Well, last week I decided to actually clean our encrusted curtain. I scrubbed, sprayed, scrubbed, and rinsed for about 30 minutes. Do you know what it fair sparkles…it is so clean. So, no new shower curtain for me, at least until I let this one get mucky.

    PTA positions are the pits. Last year and the year before I was the Reflections person. I loved doing the program for the kids, but the parents were a major pain. Lots of calls with forgotten items or annoyance at missing a deadline. I passed the program on to someone else this year.

  20. Catherine P

    I got asked last month if I would participate in the PTSO here in Arizona. After going to one meeting, there was no way in GODS green earth I was volunteering for anything!
    they were rude and whiney and Lord I could do without. So finally I gave it up… I work full time, I go to school and I am five months pregnant.

  21. Tatiana

    Well, wait… what does the shower curtain look like? We just bought a new one that is covered with friendly, colourful fish (also it is see-through so I can ogle the manmeat when he’s in there, so I appreciate that) — although I was really fond of our old one, that was bright blue with happy yellow rubber duckies printed on it!

  22. nik

    I want to know what this shower curtain looks like, too. Is it a PARTY curtain?

  23. Tammy

    Congrats on the shower curtain! I’m entertaining next weekend also & I used that as my impetus to remove the carpet in the living room this weekend. It looks great, btw. So, YAY! for your shower curtain! I think it lends a certain je ne sais quoi, no?

  24. Stephanie Chance

    My daughter? for some strange reason? wipes her mouth on the shower curtain after brushing her teeth. Even if there is a hand towel! right there! on the counter! Drives me crazy. So there is a three foot high line all the way across the shower curtain of toothpaste of varying shades and flavors. So I’d be pretty excited with a new one, too. But it wouldn’t last very long.

  25. tori

    I once entered my husband’s paycheck in twice. Then we planned to buy something sort of expensive that we didn’t think we would be able to afford for a while. And then my husband asked if he got paid twice that month, and I said no, why? And our dreams were crushed. So what I am saying is that these kind of things are my every day life so you don’t need to feel bad about your mistake.

    Should I be crossing my fingers that your kids DON’T win? At least your ethical delimna is easier if you sort of don’t want them to win, right?

  26. Miriam

    I FEEL your pain. Last week as I began to hang my (faux, of course) wood blinds that I custom ordered, and was beginning to feel smug at my great deal and my fabulous measuring and hanging abilities, I nearly puked when I lowered the one in the dining room and it was, oh, about SIX INCHES TOO SHORT. So after calling the company, crying, and getting a fabulous deal again I discovered I did the same thing to several other windows. Sigh. Why do people trust English majors with a tape measure or numbers of any kind? Insanity, I say.

  27. The Other Lori

    Wait, didn’t you major in drama or some such thing? Well of course you shouldn’t have been in charge of the money then. Clearly this whole snaffu is their fault. You should have been in charge of snacks. Or entertainment. Heck, anything but the money. They were making good use of your vast and limitless talents.

    Maybe you could put the Wii logo on the shower curtain. That might fool the kids for a minute. OR, put a sticker that says OMG on it!

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