• Claudia Myers

Disasters I have known

Updated: May 2, 2020

I've always felt that I do lead a pretty great life. Most of the good things that have happened to me have come about because I was in the right place at the right time. I met my husband because I was working in the flower shop when he came in to buy flowers for his date that night. So, that was a good thing---right??

However, if for no other reason than to prove the exception to the rule, there have been a few pretty spectacular disasters along the way, too. Most of which can be chalked up to--"Stupid!! That was Stupid!!" Three of the disasters in my life that involved significant injury and broken parts all had to do with #1-Stairs. #2 carrying armloads of things that made it impossible to see where I was going, and #3--Moving backwards.. Yessss- I know--stupid.

The fourth injury-related disaster had to do with being at the top of an 8 foot stepladder with a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner, trying to clean the sawdust from the new shelving in our renovated kitchen....and falling, splat! on my back with said vacuum cleaner coming two seconds later. My husband, being a physician, said the same thing he always says--"you're okey. I'm sure it's just a sprain". This usually results in a few hours or a few days spent with a bag of frozen peas on the part that hurts, until my wails send us to the emergency room, where the first question they ask--right after "who is your insurance company?" is "how long ago did this happen?" Me--"Um--last Tuesday?" They are usually not impressed with my bravery--just my stupidity.


Dealing with disasters goes like this--OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG,--------DEEP BREATH, SIT DOWN---and THINK! How can I fix this?

Now, disasters come in all sizes. There's your bad hair, zit on your nose, having your Senior picture taken type of disaster, which, at the time, seems monumental--but in the grand scheme of things probably isn't. There's the "new neighbors across the street coming for dinner, when you've accidentally set the kitchen on fire" type of disaster--takes you a little creative thinking, but you can deal with it. There's a can of Spam and some cooking sherry in the pantry. There's the one I already told you about in my fishing blog-burning up your husband's hiking boots trying to dry them by the campfire---when the canoe trip is only half over and you are 10 portages away from the outfitter boot store. That's a real relationship-tester.

Then, there are the "forgotten type" of disasters. You drove all the way home to your house 10 miles out in the country and forgot to load up your groceries at the outside rack of the supermarket, 'way back in town--three times, now. Here's one--you make a big to-do about your son-in-law's birthday--delivering a nicely wrapped present, a hardware store gift card and a sappy birthday card, only to have your daughter text you with this message--"MOM!, his birthday is NEXT month." OOOps

There are bigger "forgotten disasters", such as forgetting to put your children in the car when you pick them up at pre-school--similar to your groceries--leaving them waiting on the sidewalk, until you get home and wonder where they are. AND--here's a really good one----leaving your cross-country skis strapped to the top of your car when you go to the drive-through car wash. Even bigger when you jump out, half-way through the wash cycle to try and rescue your skis from the soapy octopus that's trying to eat them. And then, arriving home, dripping suds, carrying 1 and 1/2 skis, to find your spouse waiting--"the car wash called, they're out of order until further notice. They'd like you to stop in and have a chat with the manager." Not good.

If you happen to be a quilter, there are some pretty common disasters that happen to everyone--

#1--almost finished with the quilt you're working on and you just ran out of the fabric that you bought at Ben Franklin in 1986,--- is one of the ones that comes to mind.

#2--Machine sewing your entire binding on, including mitering all four corners and doing the "invisible join" perfectly--with no bobbin thread, is another common one.

#3--of course--the "I just picked up my quilt from the machine quilter, isn't it absolutely gorgeous-here, you hang onto that corner so we can see----OMG!! The red and navy blue block, the one smack in the middle of the quilt?-- is turned the wrong waaaaayyyyy!!!" Disaster.

Then, there is the--"I forgot to ship my quilt to the show and it opens today" disaster--this is related directly to the "why is there a big blank space where my quilt was supposed to hang?"

And the OMG!!! I wet my quilt too much when I blocked it and now the dye is running all over the place on the back and through to the white parts on the front. Do you think the Judges will notice??

That same unfortunate quilt also suffered from the "hey Claudia, do you know your quilt is hanging upside down and sideways, in the show, disaster?" Me--"Well!!! Really!!! It is not! Certainly it is not!! What are you trying to pull? Is this a joke??? Can't be hanging upside down, let me just get there and take a look-----------OMG!! My quilt is hanging upside down!!! And sideways!!!

This type of disaster comes from being distracted and sewing the sleeve on the side, rather than the top of the quilt. Sort of like when I very carefully gathered, pinned, inserted and stitched the puffed sleeve into the neck opening in the Home Ec, 7th grade sewing demonstration assignment. Disaster! I can make a lovely cream sauce, but, it didn't help. I did flunk that class, based on my sewing skills.

I think "distracted" is right up there, maybe number 2, after "stupid", as the leading cause of disasters.

Then, there is just plain old FATE. I was driving down to my friend, Margie's, house one lovely Summer afternoon. I had just come down the very steep hill that is Mesaba Avenue. If you know Duluth, you are aware that there are a lot of those steep hills, here. Anyway, I came across the Ariel Bridge and onto Park Point, when, in an instant! I was driving down the sidewalk, taking out some person's hedge and headed for a very large telephone pole. What happened? I still don't know. I just kept steering, as if I was on ice, manuvered around the pole and came to a stop after hitting the front of a vehicle coming out of their driveway. Looking at the car afterwards, the Universal joint was broken and completely severed. Now, THAT qualifies as a real disaster!! I was so shocked, I couldn't even say "OMG!!"

Then, there are "Disasters of the Spoken Word". They are rampant in my repetoire. I am famous for saying the wrong thing at the very wrong time. Once Upon a Time, a dear friend once said, about me--- "you think she's Doris Day, until she opens her mouth". When I was relatively young and on a bowling team, still renting a ball and shoes. I went to the alley manager, showed him my blackened hand, and told him in a very firm voice that his balls were dirty. You know that "fish thing" that people do when they are gasping, but no words come out? First time I'd ever really seen somebody do it.

It's a little better, as I get older. There are people who have grown up, now and keep me in line with a sharply delivered "MOTHERRRRR!"

But---lest you think it's all my fault, or all your fault, I have to tell you that I do believe there are mischief-makers out there, that cause a whole 'nother category of disasters. Why else would my hair spray bottle suddenly open up and dump all over the clothes in my suitcase, when it started out in Duluth in a closed plastic bag? I spent the entire IQA quilt show trying to sneak silently into rooms, so people wouldn't know who that was they could smell coming. The coughing and gagging was very off-putting.

And, I think these "Mischief-makers" are sort of like the "boy cooties" and "girl-cooties" we worried about getting on us when we were little, silly kids--these invisible beings jump onto those closest to you and manufacture disasters for them, also.

Here's proof--My husband, the physician, is very organized and super-responsible--he'd have to be--right?? He's very serious about having everything packed just right for a road-trip, leaving within 4 minutes of our specified leaving-time, arriving when we said---all that grown-up stuff. So, we're all in the car, driving south on 35, kids in the back, fighting over the window seats, very hot Summer day. We're all in shorts and minimal clothing. We're going to Tom's sister's wedding, We're both attendants. It's pretty formal, Country Club reception, all that.

We got a late start because the dog couldn't be found to take to the kennel, BUT we're making good time, now and we get there with minutes to spare before we have to change clothes and head to the church. Clothes?? What clothes? I think we took the clothes out of the car to take the dog to the kennel. I have the long dress I'm wearing for the ceremony, plastic-wrapped, no shoes. The kids are okey--they're young enough to be Summer-scruffy. Tom is in gym shorts and sneakers--no long pants, no shirt, no tie. His sister's wedding. Church. Country Club. DISASTER!!!! My husband is a smallish guy--no one else's clothes are going to fit him. Besides, they're already all at the church.

OMG,OMG,OMG,OMG, DEEP BREATH, SIT DOWN, THINK!!! Where's the closest men'swear shop? I'll drive, keep the motor running, you run in, grab the first pair,of grey slacks. Try to not make it the $300 pair--maybe a shirt, too? Forget the tie! Let's go!

To this day, by our back door, there's a hand-written sign that says "don't forget your pants". It also mentions a few other things that you shouldn't leave home without--your phone, your glasses, your hearing aids.

At the 2017 Minnesota Quilters Show, held in Duluth, Special Exhibits hung a retrospective of my quilt work. Every morning that the show was open I hung around the exhibit and talked to people, answered questions, tried to be pleasant. On Saturday morning, visitors may have wondered if something horrible had happened overnight. Why was I scowling and not talking to people? Why was I not smiling? I'm usually pretty smiley. What was the matter with me? Welllllll--I wear a partial plate carrying one front tooth. Without it, I look like Daisy Mae--or, worse yet, Granny. In my rush to get to the exhibit on time, I'd forgotten to put it in--I COULDN'T smile. Not until Tom came riding in to the rescue with my missing tooth!

So, we have added to the sign by the back door. TOOTH! Some disasters you just don't forget.


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