I made an unforgivable mistake that has affected my family for weeks now. They suffer and are in agony, discomfort and dismay of Biblical proportion. There is great wailing and gnashing of teeth. I promise that I will never make this mistake again. I fling myself at their feet, begging for mercy. Surely one erroneous step won’t damage and scar my beloveds for their entire lives. They curse me and turn away. I am sickened and shamed. I squirm with self -loathing and also because my butt hurts. After all, I suffer as well. We all suffer because (gasp) I bought single ply.
It was an honest mistake. I was in the Costco zone, where once one reaches the back of the store and has sampled seven types of cake, dip, cheese, barbecue and laundry detergent (oh I wasn’t supposed to eat that?) one becomes impervious to outside stimuli. Otherwise one would find the source of that infernal beep and put it out of its misery. And one would give the screaming child in the buggy WHATEVER THE HELL IT WANTS JUST TO SHUT IT UP. I am grateful for the calm focus that overcomes me shortly after I leave the frigid roller derby of the vegetable cooler. Fine, you can have those raspberries, but get out of my way while I grab the English cucumbers and before I smack you with my bag of seven Romaine Lettuce hearts.
The last time I weathered Costco, having survived the vegetable cooler, I dusted off my shoulders, Purelled my hands and removed the blood stains from the front of my cart. I burped up the lobster spread and washed it down with a juice sample. It was time for the home stretch and I was in the zone. The Costco Zone. I zeroed in on the list, no longer a victim of circumstance and outside stimuli. With laser like focus, I set my trajectory on the skyscrapers of toilet paper and paper towels. We needed both. I am hunter-gatherer. I put both in my cart. I continued to frozen foods.
Forty-five minutes later, I limped into the security of our home and muttered to Spousal Unit with what I was sure was my last gasp. “It’s all in the car,” I whispered as the vultures flew overhead, sizing me up. I would be lunch AND dinner. My dying act would have been to provide for my family. Maybe somebody should write that down and use it for my eulogy.
We heard a blood-curdling scream from the garage. I came back to life. Had Boy Child finally severed a limb with his angle grinder? Did his ’49 Packard return to life in Stephen King fashion and have him cornered in the driveway? He opened the mudroom door and stood, silhouetted in the frame with an object in his hand. It was a roll of toilet paper, individually wrapped, in what looked like butcher paper. I had thought that was kinda cool. And, well, sanitary.
He looked at his father and me with fear in his eyes. “Mom. Dad. Are we having money problems?” Well, honey, the college thing is kind of expensive, as well as the horse thing your sister is into. And we did kind of hemorrhage cash during the holidays. It is so sweet of you to ask. Why DO you ask? Are you going to get a job?
He looked at the beautifully individually wrapped roll of tp in his hand and then looked at me, huge blue eyes glistening with tears. “Well, I wondered. If you know, money was hard. Because. Well.” Then he turned menacing, squinting his eyes and thrusting his hand forward. “This (expletive) toilet paper is (expletive) single ply.”
It’s been a rough few weeks. A real pain in the patooty, one could say. Spousal Unit remains game. He is a man of few needs. Girl Child just rolls her eyes and stomps up to her room, where she probably has a stash hidden.
Boy Child will not forgive. This is a personal offense to him. I offered to take it to a homeless shelter. He was aghast. How could I do that to those poor people for whom life’s smallest comforts were always outside their reach? I offered to buy a different brand and have this in deep six storage for, you know, Armageddon. “That is wasteful,” he pronounced. It’s encouraging to know he doesn’t believe the end of times is near.
We could roll the yard of a nemesis or friend, which is often the same thing. No. It would disintegrate mid-air. He scratched his sore hind end. Well, just double up on the amount you use, I advised. A death stare rewarded my effort. He shot down each idea faster than I could release it from my mouth. It was verbal skeet. Dare I say crap shoot?
Left alone with my thoughts and 48 rolls of single ply, I pondered. Maybe we could use it for Daisy’s insulation. After all, that’s a project that is turning to crap. I keep making these weird choices that have my family members Googling “how to commit mom.” I don’t have the heart to tell them that they’re stuck with me. Me, a 1959 canned ham camper, a smelly, hairy dog with bad manners and a lifetime supply of toilet paper that doesn’t know how to get the job done. For my family, I am genuinely a pain in the butt.