Mix Ups

Dad has a fixation with WD40.  He could probably write a book about all the different uses for it.  We tease him that his solution for so many things is, “Try WD40.”  Apparently this was an inherited proclivity, because his dad bought WD40 by the gallon, and after visiting his parents one day, Dad returned home with a little plastic bottle filled up with extra WD40.  He set it down on the table and went about his business.  Mom saw the little bottle and thought Dad had brought her some new hair conditioner from her mother-in-law.  The mind of a silly mom works in mysterious ways.

Mom took the little bottle into the shower with her, and after an unusually long time, emerged and handed the bottle to Dad, who looked perplexed.  “Tell your mom thanks, but no thanks for the conditioner.  It was too oily for me,” she explained.  “I had to rinse and rinse and rinse, and I still couldn’t get it all out of my hair.”

Everyone gets mixed up sometimes, but Silly Mom seems to do it more often than most people, and sometimes her mix ups affect others, like me, for instance.

When I was young, we used to take motor home trips all over the country.  We spent weeks at a time on the road and were accustomed to the little inconveniences of portable living (especially in the 1970s and 80s before motor home living got so sophisticated).  We just learned to live with waste tanks that filled up too quickly, fresh water tanks that emptied too quickly, and having to watch the little refrigerator’s temperature to make sure it kept our perishables cold enough.

So one morning, at the start of a new vacation, it was no surprise to anyone when I announced that the milk was sour; the refrigerator must not have been cold enough.  After having watched me take a huge bite of cereal and then run to spit it out, no one questioned my declaration that the milk needed to be thrown out immediately.  In a family of cereal lovers (all except Mom), having no milk was a good enough reason to pull off the road and buy some more.

On the road again, brand new milk at the ready, I poured my cereal, liberally topped with sugar, added the milk and unhesitatingly took a big bite.  I was horrified to have a mouthful of the same rotten, sour taste.  “This milk is bad, too,” I proclaimed.

Dad couldn’t believe it, so he had to try my cereal for himself.  Yep, sure enough, sour milk.  So we threw away all the new milk and headed to another grocery store.  Once again, I prepared another bowl of cereal, and once again, was again shocked to have sour milk in my mouth.  Dad thought I was making it up, so he tasted my cereal and also declared it awful.  Mom just watched in amazement through this whole thing, wondering how we could have picked out three different sour milk cartons.

Dad was about to throw out the third carton of milk, but then looked at Mom with one of his, “What did you do this time, Marci?” looks.  Mom quickly denied any culpability.  But Dad wasn’t ready to let her off the hook so easily.  Opening the carton of milk, he took a sniff.  “This milk smells fine,” he announced.  But we all know Dad does not have a very good sense of smell.  He was convinced the milk was good, however, so to prove his point, he drank a big glass full.

Not sour.

Looking at Mom again, he picked up the sugar container, took a pinch and tasted.

“Marci,” he said accusingly, “taste this sugar.”

Mom did so, and sheepishly looked around, saying, “Oops, I guess I accidentally put salt in the sugar container.”  Silly Mom.

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