Dining Room table inventory for the night of 5/26:

  • Signed but not sent RSVP card for wedding we can’t attend. To add insult to injury, it will arrive a week late. We’re good friends that way.
  • Plastic “numbers” placemat belonging to MJ. She has scratched at it with her fork so often, so hard, and for so long, that much of it has been totally erased. The only digits that remain legible are 1,2,3 and 6. She will suck at math forever because I am too cheap to buy her a new one.
  • Toy red guitar. Does not fit on any shelf. Won’t stand upright. Is “delicate.” Is always, therefore, somewhere in the way. It has only four strings. It is made in China. It is what white people buy their toddlers. Owning it makes me ashamed. Freebird!
  • Vast sheaf of documents needing to be signed so MJ can enter part-time preschool in the fall. Half are completed. Where did I stop? At the “earthquake preparedness” form. Right where it asks for a description of my daughter’s “distinguishing marks.” I’ll get back to it right after I stop screaming hysterically in my head. Probably a day before it is due.
  • One ballpoint pen. One sharpie. One and a half brown crayons. The latter peeled. MJ’s preferred art form.
  • A pair of cheap plastic sunglasses with heart-shaped frames. They are MJ’s, from a goodie bag. They scream “ocular damage!” They scream “cloying and saccharin!” They scream “landfills are made for me!” I cannot bring myself to throw them away.
  • Quart-sized zip-loc bag. Used, but empty. It is unclear what went in it, or why it is now here, on this particular surface. Dare I re-use it? Of course not. I will move it to the counter.
  • Straw from a juice box, still in wrapper. I don’t buy juice boxes. Where is this from? Why do I have it? Where is the box? How was it consumed? Through that tiny hole? These are my worries.
  • Two hair ties — mine. They are ubiquitous. I can never find one when I need one.
  • Round tin of Smith’s Rosebud Salve. Doesn’t work. Smells stupid. I persist in carrying it around anyway, until I tire of it and leave it home in disgust. Until I get sick of looking at it there, and toss it back in the diaper bag. Stir. Repeat.
  • Primary Election Handbook. A multitude of pages devoted to two propositions. Here’s brevity for you: screw the smokers. Throw the bastards out. Done. Did I need thirty pages?
  • Sun hat I bought at Target two weeks ago. Super cute. I washed it and it shrank. Super small.
  • Trivet. Mainly there to scratch the table. Also to mock me for all of the hot, mouth-watering, home-cooked meals I do not make. Fuck you, trivet. You don’t know me.
  • Thank you card MJ is on the process of “making” for someone who just knit her a sweater. By “making” I mean: I clip card stock to the easel, put a crayon in her hand, and say “draw. Now.” When she refuses I extort her. The spirit of gratitude waits patiently down the street.
  • One binder clip. Came with the school paperwork. I hate binder clips. They are my pet peeve. I want to punish them. I throw them away, although they are perfectly reasonable objects. Ingenious, even. I don’t care. But first I leave them lying around for so long that they make me despondent.

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