Friday, September 11, 2009

Bumbling and humbling

So here I sit. With my snickers and diet pepsi digesting, giving me courage to undertake the task of writing this, the utmost of humiliating tales.

First of all, you may ask, snickers and diet pepsi? Yes, since I have been a child I have felt they cancelled eachother out, and the combo of caffeine and chocolate is as relaxing and nerve soothing to me as I imagine wine before bed is for others.

Second of all. Why would I share this, the tale of my lowest point of feeling stupid?

Simply because I really don't want to give the impression that anything about my blog, life, etc, ESPECIALLY me, is perfect, or that I am trying to pretend to be perfect or give the impression of perfection. If you know me well, well then, my imperfection comes as no surprise. But I can guarantee you may have a new level of disdane for me after this. Ready? Here goes.

Let me start by saying that I am, what I consider to be, an honest person. I walk back into a store if I see that something was forgotten in my cart. I try very hard to make sure I am honest in my dealings with others, that I never intentionally act dishonestly or do anything to cast a pall over the values that guide my life.

That said, I occasionally, unintentionally, can be a complete ignoramous.

In years past, I won't say exactly when, so that you can't pinpoint the exact timing of my utter failure to use common sense, I found myself on the lookout for a double jogging stroller for my sister. She did not have one and wanted to be able to exercise with her two boys.

So I began my perusal of Craigslist and Freecycle hoping to find one free or very cheap.

Low and behold, the day arrived that one appeared on the Freecycle radar. The ad said something to the affect of this:

Free double jogging stroller. 12 years old, needs a little work, don't use it anymore cuz my kids are all grown.
Come get it before noon on such and such a day because the pile it's in behind the house will be taken to the dump.

Now I'm not sure that it actually said dump, but for some reason that is how my mind remembers it.

So I contacted the giver-awayer, and asked if the stroller was still available. The person responded like this:

Yes it is. Here is the address, come get it before noon before it's all gone.

Me: Great! Thanks, I'll be there at 10.

So the following morning, I pack up my children not in school and head off to the address.

We arrive at this beautiful neighborhood overlooking the water, amazing houses on every side. Gates barring the unwanted from entering.

I park on the busy road in front of the house, and try to figure out whether the front is really the front, or if the front is actually the part that looks like the back overlooking the water. What?

It really didn't matter because when I looked in the window, the whole house was empty.

That confused me since I was meeting the owner there. I began to feel that I had been, had. So I pulled my car in to do one more look around before leaving.

As I circled the house, I saw a pile of stuff under a big blue tarp. And poking one portion of a wheel out, was the stroller.

I parked and headed to the pile.

The stroller was indeed a little worse for the wear, but seemed fixable, but the owner still hadn't arrived even though it was around 10:20 at this point. But I figured it was free so I began the process of figuring out how to get it into my mini-van.

As I lifted the tarp, I noticed a ton of other one man's trash another man's treasure type of stuff. Things that seemed unwanted under the blue tarp as the rain came down.

So my little brain began to work. "I wonder if any of this other stuff is listed on freecycle, why would they take decent stuff to the dump?"

Then looking around at the neighborhood I was in, I assumed I could see why.

So I began to feel that everything under the blue tarp was headed for the dump, and therefore fair game. I even called Maile, had her look at the ad again for me, and check for some of the other items under the tarp to see if they were on Freecycle.

None of them were, the ad said they were going to be gone.

So I thought, I'll do a little shopping. Save them the trouble of taking everything to the dump. See what a nice person I am? Ha! Still no owner, by the way.

At this point, a quiet little thought entered my head, one I have learned since never to ignore.

The quiet little thought said "Only take the stroller, that is what you agreed to."

Well, I punched that quiet little thought right smack in the face, beat it down, told it to be quiet and not bother me, and began cramming stuff into my van.

At this happy little moment, when I was ignoring my better senses, a Mercedes SUV pulls up.

Yup, the owner.

Please, everyone, cringe with me.

She hops out of the car, looking at me like the thief I suddenly felt like, and asked me in a not so friendly voice, what the h#ll I thought I was doing?

I tried to explain that I was the one who emailed about the stroller, tried to explain my reasoning, only to sound more like the kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar. More and more like the greedy little dumpster diver I appeared to be.

As she let her anger be known to me, I began to cry and to apologize profusely.

Yes, I couldn't even hold it together and act like an adult. I felt like the little punk who thinks their so smart and then falls apart when called out.

It felt like those dreams where you try to find a bathroom, and no matter where you go everyone can see you. Yes, I felt exposed and stupid and definitely in need of a bathroom so that I could throw up from the instant anxiety my lapse in judgement was causing me.

I half expected her to punch me, and I'm pretty sure I would have taken it and thanked her for it at this point.

Did I mention I was pregnant as well when this all took place?

So here I am, pregnant, my small children in the car, and this woman is rightfully giving me the riot act.

But as soon as the water works started, and I apologized instead of being defensive, she softened up like butter left out all night.

She told me that she had kids too, that she wasn't really as witchy (with a B) as she seemed and that she understood and thanked me for apologizing.

Then she kindly asked me to put back all her stuff.

She let me keep the stroller, despite my shenanigans, I loaded it in, drove away, and immediately began sobbing to the point of hyperventilating. I don't handle conflict and/or confrontation that well. Ever. Never have. Probably never will. How am I grown up enough to have six kids? That is a subject entirely worthy of it's own post.


I told my sister, my husband, and two dear friends who I went walking with on a daily basis, since I showed up all red faced and teary eyed and had to tell someone my humiliating tale.

No one else, until now, ever knew that I was capable of abandoning all good sense and making a total arse out of myself.

And what, you may ask, became of the stroller that cost me so dearly in pride and self respect?

Maile deemed it a piece of crap and sold it at a yard sale.

Which is a perfect ending to my tale of how I am soooo not perfect.

But you all already knew that, didn't you?

And thanks for liking me anyway, for looking past my imperfections, and laughing at me silliness and general flustery-can't think fast enough-way I occasionally have about me.

You, my dear friends, are the best.


  1. hahhaahha! That's hilarious! And it's why I miss trash night in Westchester County, NY. Folks purposely put stuff out on trash night, knowing that others will come and get it. and it's quite a game. our former bishop actually furnished his home (well, his wife did) with that stuff...often it was reupholstered, but still - good stuff. Her kids went along in their big old van until they were old enough to realize they were getting stuff from their friends' homes...then it wasn't fun anymore.

    You are brave and fun for sharing this!!!

  2. I wish she could read this post and see what a horses rear end she was. Good grief! I would have done the same as you and thought it fair game. This is a great story though, right down to the crying. You're wonderful. And thanks for the nice note today, I needed it. Me and Wilber.

  3. I love your stories, Amy! I look forward to your blog every day at work! Try all you want, you're still perfect to me! :-)

  4. Such a great laugh for a Friday morning! So sorry you had to be completely mortified but it makes fora great read...!

  5. We are so related Amy!!! I have done the same thing. What in the world was she going to do with all of the rest of the stuff. Obviously, she was not a very charitable person, a kind person OR a good person! However...if this is the ONLY thing that you have done that you deem really bad...then bring over your snickers and diet pepsi..I will have my glass or two of wine and I will share some stories with you that you make you smile, cry, laugh lots and feel glad that you are YOU and not me!!! I love you!!

  6. The only "arse" in this adventure was the woman (lady just doesn't quite fit) who showed her true colors. She may have been upset because her Goodwill donation credit was going to be much less if you took more things from her throw away pile. You have nothing to worry about. We can see through all this and still find you to be magnificent and pretty perfect!

  7. I love your blogs Aunt Amy! When I come home from school, I check 4 things on the computer. And yours always happens to be the first I check.


  8. I am sorry you had to go through that and all for an act of service to your sister! I agree with your mom the lady shouldn't have put that it was all going to the junk! It was a simple mistake that anyone would have made. Good thing mistakes help us in life:)

  9. oh friend, i feel for you...i cry when confronted as well, pregnant or not. i was driving just yesterday, lost in our small city looking for the dance gear shop (which i've been to several times but i'm very directionally challenged) when i must have cut someone off. i hear horn-honking coming from somewhere so i slow down and look in every direction, only to see nothing (blind spot, maybe?) suddenly i see someone pull up right behind me and the anger was palpable, even safely enclosed in my vehicle. i stop and try to gesture and mouth: "i'm so sorry!" only to be met with a volley of double hand gestures (you know the ones) and some choice words i could lip-read (seriously, some very foul language). wow, i just kept trying to apologize and even stupidly rollled down my be met with looks of disgust, more filthy outburst, and this time, a double hand gesture that what kind of shaken at me several more times. i think i cried, and so did you, b/c even if you are doing something "wrong" it was unintentional and all you can do is apologize, right? there is no need for such rudeness and anger. i had all of my kids in the backseat, and i'm just glad they haven't been introduced to the bird or that the woman didn't roll down her window. what was most apalling was that as she drove away i saw the car seats in the back of her vehicle. classy lassy, eh? so, instead of laughing at your story, i really was cringing and blushing right along with you.

  10. The stroller really wasn't worth all that. Still, I appreciated that you went through it all for little ol' me :) By the way....can't believe that's your worst story. You are more awesome than you think. Love you!

  11. Great story! I don't think you did a thing wrong.


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