“This will change everything,” I thought, as I put the calendars on the register belt. “We’ll put one up where we see it every day, and I’ll update it regularly. Mike’ll use it, too–he loves organization!–and soon the whole house will be running like a well oiled machine. Not the clunky, repossessed rust-heap we are currently.”
This moment of ecstasy occurred in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. It was August, and my sisters and I were strolling around the sun-daubed streets, marveling at the blueness of the sky and looking for birthday presents for my mom. For fun, we stuck our heads into our favorite dollar store. Canadian discounts! The best! Anyway, it was there that I found, on sale for ninety-nine cents, the aforementioned dry-erase calendars. The month-at-a-glance kind. With magnets, for the fridge! Perfect! We’d been looking for something just like them.
I bought two. “Mike’ll be so excited,” I told my sisters. “He’s all about calendars.”
But when I got back to the states Mike wasn’t so thrilled after all. About the calendars, that is. He was, in fact, totally unresponsive. When I brought them out of the suitcase (“tah-dah!”) he just looked at me bemusedly.
I scrunched my forehead worriedly. “Is it the maple leafs? I know they’re a bit weird. ”
He cocked his head, saying nothing.
“But you’re Canadian! Or your mom is. Isn’t that nice?”
Mike nodded slowly. “It’s very sweet.”
“OK, but otherwise they’re perfect. I mean, you’ve been wanting a calendar we can both write on. And look! They come with their very own dry erase markers!” I held one out. “Isn’t it cute?”
“Yes,” Mike said, with no zeal at all.
“Whatever. It’s going to change our lives. I bought two. One for this month, one for next month.”
“Anyway. I’m excited,” I muttered.
And up on the fridge it went.
Of course it didn’t take me long to see the problem. The boxes were too small. You couldn’t fit more than one or two words in them. That might be fine for a single person with no kids–someone who just needs to write “work,” or “spa,” or “Hawaii.” But for me? For us? It wouldn’t get us through breakfast.
So after the first week I stopped filling it out. Then, when I went back the other day, resolved to make a greater effort–if for no other reason than to prove MIke wrong–the dry erase marker had dried up.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I muttered. I could almost hear Mike’s delighted croon: “That’s your deep discount talking!”
I looked for the other marker. You know, the one for the “backup month.” Behind the stove. Unreachable.
So now I can’t write on it even if I wanted to. Oh, I could buy a new marker, but what’s the point? I hate the stupid thing. Canadian maple leafs? What was I thinking?
The next time I buy a wall calendar it’s going to have squares six inches wide. It’ll come with twelve dry erase markers, in different colors for all of the categories of our lives. And nationally speaking it’ll be neutral. Like Switzerland. After all, this is not about declaring fealty to a country. It’s about remembering when book club meets.
In the meantime? This one goes in the trash. Because God knows it’s not recyclable. Damn those Canadians.