There’s a Surprise Piano in My Living Room

No joke.

That’s not some click-bait title where I want you to THINK there’s an unexpected piano in my living room, but then you click the link and realize I really meant this as a deeper metaphor for life or something. Oh no, my friends. Nay. There is a literal, honest-to-goodness, full-sized piano in my living room, and I had no idea it was going to be here.

This is one of those moments where I stand back and think, “Damn my life is weird sometimes.”

Here’s how this went down:

I mentioned to my husband a few months ago that I’d like to start taking piano lessons. Why did I say that? I don’t know! It’s just something I said! I haven’t taken piano lessons since I was nine years old, but I have a bunch of students who can totally jam on my classroom piano. I don’t know…it sounded fun, okay?

So two nights ago, I got home from my relaxing bike ride, and guess what was in my driveway? JUST GUESS.

If you guessed a piano, you’re half right. The other half is that my parents-in-law, brother-in-law, and his awful girlfriend were also in my driveway. And my mother-in-law was taking video of me because isn’t it the best surprise ever that I am now the proud owner of a piano?

I just about died. Or killed my husband. I couldn’t pick which. Instead, I smiled for the camera and tried to act excited about the piano in my driveway.

Here’s the thing: he was honestly trying to be nice. Early in the summer, we had talked about me using my classroom piano to practice if I took piano lessons (which was HIGHLY theoretical, let me remind you). But apparently he decided, “You know what’s more fun than practicing in your classroom? Practicing in your living room.” So he went out and GOT ME A PIANO.

Which is sweet and romantic in one sense, but a total disaster in another.

See, the thing is, we have no room in our house for a piano. Our place is tiny. My in-laws hauled the monstrosity into our house, and literally the only place it can go is in the living room. Our dining room only has enough room for the table, the kitchen is where I cook, and the living room is the only other room on our ground floor. We’re not one of those fancy-schmancy families that has a living room, a family room, a den, and a playroom. Oh no – this is it. One room.

Within that one room, the piano had to be on the only interior wall. It can’t go on an exterior wall because it will spontaneously combust or something. I don’t know. The whole family was like, “IT HAS TO BE ON AN INTERIOR WALL!” At this point I was mostly in a daze, so I think I said something really intelligent like, “Ummmmmm…okay.”

So they rearranged the furniture for me in the living room, and now the furniture is all higgeldy-piggeldy in random places in the middle of the room. Don’t forget that I already have the ugly chair from this post, and our couches are green, and the decor is black and gold…it honestly looks like a broke and blind college student decorated the place. We’re the “before” picture on one of those home makeover shows.

After his family finally left, I said I had to go work on my novel. Then I went to my local coffee shop, sat at the cafe bar, and made new friends by saying, “You GUYS. My husband just brought home a PIANO. What am I going to do?! He’s the best guy ever, and he was trying to be so nice, but I don’t want a piano!”

I tried to use that night to calm down, but in the morning my living room still looked ridiculous. Then my husband and I got in a fight, which is rare for us. But come on… A PIANO?! First the ugly chair, and now this? And he had his whole family over while the house was a total mess, which I’ve told him a million times makes me feel like scum. His brother already thinks I’m the worst wife ever because I’m so bad at “keeping house.” And his parents…

Okay, you know what? Enough about my in-laws. You get the point. I was embarrassed they were here when the house was a mess, I was embarrassed that I had to pretend to like the piano, and – if you’ve been following along closely – I DON’T WANT A PIANO IN MY LIVING ROOM.

The fight ended with Andy agreeing to get the piano out of the house. His parents agreed to take it (on an INTERIOR WALL I’m sure). I was still mad, but also I felt ridiculously guilty for not liking his surprise. I know he was coming at this from the purest motives, but the whole thing was so upsetting at a time when, for unrelated reasons, I am already so freaking stressed it’s ridiculous.

Sunday night at church I stole a hymnal (yes, I realize the irony in that). I’m going to give it back eventually. Calm down. Anyway, I figured that as long as I had this beautiful, flawless piano in my house, I might as well plunk around with it and see if I remember anything about how to play.

That was a mistake.

Here’s the problem: I really liked playing it. The wood is so gorgeous, the keys are shiny, and playing old hymns was so calming and fun. Andy sat next to me in the ugly chair and worked on things while I played, and he would request songs for me to try next. I remembered more about playing than I thought I would.

This morning I said, “Hey, before your parents take the piano…can I have another day or two to play on it?” He (understandably) looked at me like I was completely insane. That’s not an inaccurate assessment, really. Sure, I had just spent all of Sunday talking about how the piano needs to be out of this house immediately, and he called his parents and said that he needed to get it out ASAP. His literal word was “urgent.” He told his parents that it was “urgent” to get it out of here.

But today I went to school and printed out some sheet music…and I may or may not have contacted the lady who will hopefully be giving me piano lessons…and oh my gosh WHAT IF I KEEP THE PIANO?

I came home and played on it some more, and I enjoyed it more than I’d care to admit. I told my husband, “I really wish I could keep it…but our living room is in such an embarrassing state that I feel like I have to choose between the piano and ever having company over ever again.”

I mean, I can’t keep this piano. I CANNOT. My living room is a complete mess, and there is literally no other way to cram the furniture into this tiny room. Believe me, I’ve tried.

But the piano is so pretty.

I can’t keep the piano when I threw a veritable tantrum about how it needed to be gone and how I was so mad at him for buying and transporting a piano without talking to me first. Is it possible to humble myself and say, “I was being crazy. The piano is beautiful, and now I want it?” Would he even accept that? At this point, I don’t deserve the piano.

Which I’m not even sure I want.

BLOG PEOPLE: What do I do?! Do I keep the piano and let my living room look like a garage sale exploded? Or do I ditch the piano and have a quasi-normal living room but no fun or relaxation of playing my favorite hymns?

HELP!

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Why I Would Make a Bad Scientist

Based on my current life circumstances, I have concluded that I would be a bad scientist. This would be me:

Real scientist: Hmmm…I believe the gas bubbles in this beaker are because I just mixed baking soda with vinegar.

Hazel: Are you sure?

RS: Excuse me?

H: I’m just saying…it could be that, but it could be any number of things. I think I saw some dust falling from the ceiling when you put that baking soda in. Maybe it was asbestos. Does asbestos cause a reaction with vinegar?

RS: I don’t think so…

H: Ah HA! You don’t think so. So there’s a chance.

RS: No, I’m pretty sure it was because I put baking soda in with the vinegar.

H: Do you know if that beaker was clean? Maybe there was residue in there from the last guy. Was Frank working in the lab earlier? Everyone knows Frank is a slob. He probably left something in there, and it had a delayed reaction with the vinegar. Aw, Frank. At it again. Someone’s really got to talk to him.

RS: I cleaned this beaker myself.

H: Have you been hanging out with Frank? Maybe his slobby ways have rubbed off on you. You have to be careful who you hang out with – you are who your friends are, you know. And here you are, saying that the bubbles are from adding baking soda to vinegar, when really the facts that you’ve been hanging out with Frank and that this building might have asbestos could be causing the whole thing. Then you’re going to have faulty results. Such a shame.

RS: But it’s been proven-

H: *shakes head* Such a shame…

Today I’m having one of those days – an “I probably don’t have bipolar” day. I’m stable right now, you see, and probably all of my past symptoms could be explained by other things. The decisions I made while manic were because really I’m just very stupid sometimes. I could function with no sleep for days on end because, well, who doesn’t do that once in a while? Talk to college students in finals week.

Sometimes I get depressed because, umm…because life sucks sometimes.  I just handle it a little worse than other people. That doesn’t make me bipolar, it makes me…I don’t know. Something else. Bad at handling life.

As for the delusional panic attacks…uhhhh…I’m simply very creative. I think impossible things are happening because my creative mind is not constrained by the dimensions of reality. See? Now, that doesn’t sound so bad. I’m not bipolar, I’m very creative.

Or maybe it’s really the baking soda in vinegar that caused those bubbles.

No matter how much evidence I see pointing to the fact that I prooooobably have bipolar, I still have days where I think maybe I don’t. My husband, in the kindest way possible, will say, “Hazel. I’m 100% sure you have bipolar. You need to come to terms with that.”

And then I’m inevitably all, “Well, that’s awful certain. 100% seems a bit presumptuous. I don’t think we can ever be 100% certain of anything. Are you even 100% sure we exist? Maybe we’re holograms projected by an alien race to test certain sociological and cultural patterns.”

Then he’ll raise his eyebrows and say, “Uh…now I’m 101% certain.”

Haha…that part didn’t actually happen. He does say he’s 100% certain, though. I’ll accuse him of having no evidence, and he’ll give me the following:

  1. I’ve been diagnosed with it by a psychiatrist who’s been practicing for thirty years.
  2. I have experienced every symptom of it.
  3. The medications to target the symptoms have effectively eliminated the majority of the symptoms.
  4. He (my husband) has a doctorate and has taken multiple classes in neuroscience and abnormal psych. My diagnosis matches what he’s learned in school.

To which I inevitably come back with, “Okay yes but what if…” and then come up with some alternate reasoning about as logical as Frank and asbestos.

Does anyone else do this? I think I so badly want to be rid of this disease (what a gross word) that the only choice is to not have it in the first place. If I have it, it’s a lifelong battle. I can’t be “cured.” My only choice is to live with it – forever – or find another explanation for my eight years of symptoms.

Isn’t Occam’s razor the one that says, “The simplest explanation is probably the correct one”? Occam’s probably right, since he’s all philosopher-y and whatever.

BUT IN THIS CASE HE MIGHT BE WRONG.

Maybe.

Possibly?

Oh boy. Help me out, blog friends. How do you get over days like this?

Quick Question…

To my bipolar amigos: does anyone have tips for going through time zones? I’m going to be zipping through quite a few myself in a couple days, and last time I ended up in a manic episode that…wasn’t so great. I mean, it was great, obviously, but then it gets all “wreck your life”ish (as those things tend to do). Trying to avoid it this time.

I tried to spend the last week getting on the time schedule of my destination’s time zone, but…well… #fail.

Any advice?

The Roadkill and Gender Differences

My husband and I were driving down the road, and there was a roadkill opossum off to the side. This conversation happened:

Me: Wow, a dead opossum. It really makes you think, doesn’t it?

Andy: Yes, definitely.

Me: It’s like, one day you’re just walking along, going about your business, and then suddenly – SPLAT! – it’s all over. It shows how fragile life really is, you know? We need to live each day to the fullest, make the most of every moment, because you never know when it could all be over. This really puts things into perspective. We need to stress less and live better. Have fun. Enjoy the day while we still have time left on earth.

Andy: *looks at me like I’m an alien*

Me: Uh…was that not what you were thinking?

Andy: No. When you said, “it makes you think,” it made me think, “Huh, there must be a lot of opossums that live around here.”

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect example of how my husband and I are different. I was going to write some further commentary, but I don’t even think it’s necessary. The conversation speaks for itself.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

The Mystery in the Bedroom

*SPOILER ALERT* There are no sexual encounters for the duration of the post. Not with me, not with a skanky mistress, none at all. You were going to be thinking that once I explained the setup, so it’s better to get it out of the way up front.

Let’s proceed.

As I was walking up the stairs to get ready for bed, I heard classical music coming from our bedroom. Now, you don’t know my husband, but he’s a bluegrass, country, there-should-be-a-dog-or-truck-in-every-song kind of guy. I’ve never heard him listen to classical.

I stopped midway up the stairs and furrowed my eyebrows. What was going on? It was a triumphant, battle sort of classical music, like the William Tell overture. Why was my husband listening to battle-type classical music? I didn’t have the handy spoiler alert that I just gave you, so I wondered if this was some kind of sexual thing. Like, was he going to be in there with a ripped shirt and acting all Braveheart-ish? Was he going to use a Scottish accent? Because I can’t do Braveheart. I just can’t.

Then I realized that my husband would simply never do a thing like that – ever – and so there had to be a more logical explanation. Also, my husband tried a Scottish accent once (in a completely nonsexual setting), and he sounded exactly like the Crocodile Hunter. He even said, “Crikey” if I remember correctly. So. That wasn’t it.

I took another few seconds to try to guess what was going on, and I came up totally empty. I decided to open the door and figure it out.

Turns out it’s a good thing that I didn’t waste any more time guessing, because I never would have guessed this. You won’t either. I bet you five dollars that you can’t guess what was going on in my bedroom.

……have your guess?……..

…….are you sure?…………

……..no changing your guess when you read the next line……

Okay. Here’s what was happening: the dog was on the bed, and my husband was next to her with a CD player that was playing triumphant battle music. I asked what he was doing, and he said, “I’m doing music therapy with Ruby because she needs it.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Honest to blog, my first thought in that situation was, “I cannot believe I’m the crazy one in this relationship.”

Apparently – I can’t believe I’m even typing this – our dog needs music therapy so that she will be comfortable around guns and shooting. She’s a hunting dog, so I kind of thought that came with the territory, but alas. This is something she needs in order to work at maximum effectiveness (says my husband).

Here’s how it works: there’s classical music for the first couple of tracks, and then when the dog is totally calmed, the music starts putting quiet gun pops in the background. As the tracks progress, the gunshots get louder and louder until the last track, where it’s just gunshots and no music.

THIS IS A REAL CD. Google it if you don’t believe me. We live in a weird world.

I was so shocked that this is even a product, let alone one that my husband paid for, that I didn’t know what to do. I think I laughed and awkwardly left to go brush my teeth. Or maybe I said, “Wow, cool jams” or something like that. I mean, what was I supposed to say?!

Bet you didn’t guess that’s what was in the bedroom, did you? I’ll keep my five dollars, thank you very much. I’m going to need it to pay for our dog’s therapy.

(!!!!!)

The Bathroom Fiasco

I was locked in a bathroom stall, popping pills, and I thought, “Oh great. My life is such a cliche: the teacher who can’t get through the day without hiding away and doing drugs. YAWNFEST.”

Granted, the pills were prescription, and also I was on a stressy field trip with a bunch of preteens running around in downtown Detroit…but it was a low moment. I was disappointed in myself for needing the anti-anxiety meds, as I hadn’t taken them in a long time. I was disappointed for needing a “bathroom break” from my kiddos even though I didn’t have to use the toilet I was sitting on.

But really: YOU try spending a whole day with twelve-year-olds squawking at you from every angle, and tell me you don’t need a break. I’m just saying.

This would be a short post if it ended here – a “junior high kids driving me to psych drugs” type of post, but OH. It does NOT end here.

Remember the part where I was sitting on the toilet fully clothed? Well, once I took my pills and spent a minute or two breathing without anyone screaming at me, I decided it was time to go face the yahoos once again. I stood up, straightened my teacher-chic cardigan, and prepared to leave.

That’s when I felt drops of water on my legs.

I paused a moment, thinking something like, “Hmmm…I should look down now, but I can’t imagine seeing anything pleasant that’s dripping on my legs in a bathroom stall. Perhaps I shall ignore it.” Obviously, I couldn’t ignore it.

In my haste to pull out the drugs when I first closed the stall door, I inadvertently let my skirt fall in the toilet. I’d been sitting there with my skirt hanging in the toilet THE ENTIRE TIME. The water had been creeping up the fabric, and now the whole back of my skirt was sopping wet.

You can tell I’m clearly one of those cool teachers. *facepalm*

I rolled my eyes at this point. What a day. At least I calmed myself with the reassurance that this is the year 2017, and nowadays everyone’s about being green and recycling. We were at a science center for the field trip, so surely they would have electric blow dryers instead of paper towels. I could use the dryer to dry my skirt.

Ha!

Of course not. That would be far too convenient at a moment like this.

So then the next logical question: what do I say to the kids?

“Yeah, um, I didn’t have to use the toilet. I just sat there and dipped my skirt in it for kicks.”

“I had to pee so badly that, um, I didn’t quite make it.”

“The toilets in there have a very aggressive flush. I didn’t stand back in time.”

“This is how I save money on laundry expenses.”

Clearly I went with the only logical answer: wring the skirt out the best I can, and then stand against a wall for the next half hour until it dries.

You’re probably over there on your computer/phone, thinking, “Ha ha, Hazel, obviously that didn’t work! What happened next?” But you underestimate my stealth skills, my friend. It worked like a charm. It was a very stressful time (good thing I took those drugs, lol), but it became like a game. You know the game  “The Floor is Lava,” where people have to jump from thing to thing and can’t let their feet touch the floor? Well it was kind of like that, except it was “The Wall is a Magnet.” My butt always had to face a wall. Some students looked at me a little weird when I would jump from wall to wall to help them, but my skirt fiasco went UNDISCOVERED!

WIN!

And noowww it’s time for summer break.

This is My Brain on Drugs (and Other Useless Things)

My mom is cleaning out her basement, so she’s giving me all kinds of crap I don’t want. Today she gave me the following “gifts:”

  • A reeeeeally ugly square lamp. It’s a clear square with a brass rod through the middle of it, and its shade might have been white in a former lifetime. Now that I think of it, it’s so ugly that it probably goes great with the ugly chair from this post. Then again, how much ugliness can one room handle? I think this would put us over the top from “quirky” to “tasteless”…if we haven’t already migrated into “tasteless.” Tough to tell sometimes.
  • A teddy bear that says “I ❤ Jesus” on the foot (there’s actually a heart, not the symbols for less than three, but I’m not technologically intelligent enough to put that in a post). I read the tag on the bear’s ear, and it was a prayer for salvation. I told my husband, “How many people have read this out loud and then been like, ‘Crap! Did I just accidentally get saved?!'” Ha ha. Sneaky bear.
  • A glass dog. Um…..whyyyy do I need a glass dog? It’s kind of big, too. Probably as big as my open hand. Is it a paperweight? While I’m working, it can stare at me with its creepy clear eyes. Is it a….doorstop? A talisman of some sort? It sounds like a curse…THE CURSE OF THE GLASS DOG. I’d read that. Sounds like a Nancy Drew.

And….

  • Old MRI scans from 2008

Now this one was kind of cool. 2008 is when my brain tumor was first discovered, and these were the scans that discovered it. The scans are big and bulky. I held them up to a window and said, “Hey Andy! Check this out! Look how creepy my eyeballs look!”

For the record, the glass dog’s eyeballs are still creepier.

After these scans were taken, I started on a long trail of drugs and doctors and medical nonsense. 2008 was the last time I was not on any medications. I was getting a little sad about this, but then Andy said, “We have your current scans, and now we have your first scans. You’re one of the very few people who can actually hold up pictures and say, ‘This is my brain, and this is my brain on drugs.” Ha! It’s like the old D.A.R.E. ads, except the pictures aren’t much different from each other and I have to be on drugs, not off them. Life gets weird sometimes.

Anyway, Jesus bear and the glass dog are still looking for placements in my house. I hope the ugly lamp isn’t getting too bonded with the ugly chair. I sense a garage sale in their future…don’t tell my mom.

George Washington and Baby Steps

If you’re reading this right now, you’re alive.

Well, unless literate ghosts are real. What if someone really famous is reading this over my shoulder right now, like George Washington or Tupac?! I hope it’s George. He knows a lot about revolutions. We need a revolution in the way society treats mental health. We’re headed there, we’re baby-stepping, but it’s time for that baby to learn how to run.

As I was saying, if you’re reading this then you’re (probably) alive. For some people, that’s the biggest accomplishment they’ll make today. Staying alive is a lot harder for some people than it is for others. For those of you staying alive today, I salute you (no offense, George).

I recently had a talk about mental illness with my sister (she’s a junior in college majoring in neuroscience). She mentioned that every time she gets to choose a research project, she tries to do something dealing with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, she said, cutting edge research in mental illness is overwhelmingly on anxiety and depression, and diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia get put on the back burner.

She’s thinking about going to grad school to do research on less common mental illnesses. She also wants to help break stigma when it comes to those. “Everyone wants to break stigma for anxiety and depression,” she said, “because it’s so common now. But you’re bipolar? Well, you’re not just crazy. You’re super crazy. People are still going to be freaked out about you.”

Ah, the things she says. Thanks a lot, baby sister.

Behind the somewhat offensive explanation, she has a point. It’s great that people want to break stigmas for mental illness so that more people will go get the help they need, but how often to we hear testimonies normalizing schizophrenia? Multiple personality disorder? Bipolar disorder? They feel few and far between compared to the ocean of people posting to social media about “This is what it’s like to live with my anxiety disorder.”

It’s true that our diseases are rarer (more rare? rarer?), but I want to be invited to the party! I want my illness to be seen as acceptable too! I want people to research wtf is going on in my brain so that they can fix it!

I’m not sure how to make that happen.

I don’t want people to make jokes about bipolar disorder. I don’t want people to be freaked out by me when they learn I have it. I want to feel like I’m okay as a person even though I have this illness (because if you’re under the delusion that all illnesses are socially acceptable, you’re wrong). We need a revolution (George! Are you reading?! Go haunt some people about this).

I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen in the normalization of certain mental health issues, but we still have a long way to go. You, reader, are in this blog community because you need support and/or because you’re supporting the rest of us. Thanks for that – it’s one step in the right direction.

Pet Names and Why I Fail at Them

I think I’m doing marriage wrong.

When people are in love, they frequently call each other by cutesy pet names: babe, baby, sweetheart, darling, or my husband’s least favorite: bae.

I kind of want a pet name, but we’re incapable of using them right. Look at this fight we had (seriously – we were actually mad, and this happened):

Andy: *says something stupid that I don’t remember now*

Me: Sweetie, you’re not understanding what I’m saying.

Andy: Don’t call me sweetie.

Me: Why not?

Andy: I know whenever you say “sweetie,” what you really mean is “fuckface.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! And then I started cracking up, shocked, because my husband drops f bombs about as often as our country drops atomic ones. Also, what the junk is “fuckface”? Not, like, “asshole” or “shithead” or some other normal profane insult? I’d never heard that one before.

Also, he was spot on. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but he was right: I only use pet names when I’m mad. He does too. That’s, umm…not how they’re supposed to work. So then we were laughing so hard that we forgot what we were fighting about.

Last night I said that I wanted a nice pet name so that we could, you know, pretend like we’re normal. He looked at me and said, “Well, you’ve got a great body. How about Boobs MaGoo?” Oh my word. Not exactly what I was going for. Can you imagine it? We’re out with a bunch of friends and he calls across the room, “Boobs MaGoo, you ready to go?” Not happening.

I don’t think pet names work for me. I’ve tried a few on like clothes that don’t fit right. “Babe” and “baby” annoy me, like, “I AM NOT A BABY! I AM AN EMPOWERED, INDEPENDENT WOMAN!” But that’s just me being overly-feministy. Excuse me while I go clean up the ashes from my bra bonfire.

I also don’t like getting called food names, because “honey” and “muffin” and “cupcake” straight up make me hungry. Like, “Mmm…cupcakes…” And if I want to have a Boobs MaGoo kind of body, I can’t stock up on cupcakes.

“Darling” makes us sound vaguely British. “Boo” is so very R&B. “Doll” makes me think of the movie Chuckie.

WHY CAN’T I HAVE A PET NAME? Someone please comment with a good pet name I can steal.

This is just great. We’re going to be “Boobs MaGoo and Fuckface: Best Friends Forever.”

How sweet.

The Cranberry Battle

The offending item was dried cranberries. They were expensive, disgusting, and I was NOT going to bring them home with us.

My husband Andy and I have a game we occasionally play at the grocery store (because maturity is overrated). If Andy puts something in the cart that I don’t want, I try to sneak it out without him noticing (and vice versa). You might think, “Wow, how lame. That would be easy.” If you’re thinking that, you’ve clearly never played this game with Andy.

He knew I didn’t want the cranberries (first mistake on my part). He put them in the cart anyway. Game on.

It wasn’t two aisles later that he stopped, looked in the cart, and immediately started a frantic search. He found them by the peanut butter. “Nice try,” he said, “but you’re going down this time.”

I waited about ten minutes, and then I asked him to go get a can of corn that I forgot to pick up. While he was gone, I disposed of the cranberry bag. When he got back – you won’t believe this – he was carrying another bag of cranberries! He said, “I got the corn. Oh, and I picked up another bag of cranberries since I bet you just hid mine.” He looked in the cart and then let out a triumphant, “HA! GOT YOU! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” People started looking at us weird.

A few minutes later, I successfully hid the new bag. We were on our way to check-out. I thought I might win…then he stopped us by a display of Jewish food for the Passover meal. “Wait a second,” he said suspiciously. “Let me check something.” Blast.

“Where are the cranberries?!” he asked.

I had hidden them long ago at that point, so they could have been anywhere. I threw my head back and let out a loud, “MUAHAHAHAHAHA!” Now people were really looking at us weird.

“Fine,” he said. He looked around. “Hey, we forgot to get matzo crackers for our Passover meal, didn’t we?” He grabbed a giant box of matzo crackers and added it to our groceries. It took up literally half of our cart. “And we should make sure we have enough,” he added. He put another box on top of that one.”

“What are you doing?!” I grabbed the box. “We’re not even Jewish.”

“We need more crackers!” he said. He put two more boxes on. The pile of cracker boxes was almost as tall as he could reach. “Tell me where the cranberries are, and I’ll stop adding crackers.” He grabbed another box.

“Okay, okay!” I surrendered. “The cranberries are in frozen foods. I forgot exactly where.” He immediately ran to frozen foods, like someone was going to see them and take his precious cranberries. I started putting matzo crackers back.

We finally got to the check out, and all of the items (including the cranberries) made it onto the belt. Andy got a text, and when he pulled out his phone I realized that this was it: my last chance. My buzzer shot. Now or never. I swiped the cranberries off the belt and put them by the magazine rack. The store was busy, and the people in line on both sides of the aisle must have thought I was nuts. He put his phone away. I smiled sweetly.

As Andy was bagging the groceries at the end of the aisle, he suddenly said, “Whoa…wait wait wait…where are the cranberries?!”

“I’m sure they’re in there,” I said. “Keep bagging. It’s busy in here.”

The Meijer employee spoke up. “Um…I don’t remember ringing up cranberries.”

Shoot. “I’m sure you did,” I said. “Seriously, you’re fine. Just keep ringing.”

“I’m not sure…” he said. “Well, maybe I did. I ring up a lot of stuff. I could have subconsciously rang them up and not noticed.”

“I’m sure that’s it.” I said.

“Hey! Who’s side are you on?!” screeched Andy to the teller. “Where are my cranberries!?” Andy was laughing, but the worker looked freaked out. He put his hands up in defense. “Hey, I’m totally biased here. Not on anyone’s side, I promise. I don’t know about the cranberries, I swear.”

(I ignored the fact that “biased” was not the correct word to use there). I felt bad for the guy, so finally I said, “Okay fine. I’ll get the cranberries.” But, astonishingly, in the two minutes of this exchange, someone grabbed the cranberries from where I left them by the magazines. I’m not kidding. There were a lot of people in there, so it could have been anyone. I started laughing. “They’re gone.” I said. “Seriously, I left them right there. I promise. They’re gone.” Swish! Buzzer shot was IN!

Andy laughed and threw his hands up in a “why me?” gesture. “FINE! I can’t believe you did that!” The awkward teller looked at us, thoroughly confused.

“So…should I keep ringing, or… um…are we still concerned about the cranberries?”

“Nah, you’re good man,” said Andy. “She won.” The confused teller finished ringing up our groceries.

SSUUCCCCCEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

A few days later, I bought the bag of cranberries and left it in the front seat of Andy’s car with a little heart taped to it. I bet they tasted pretty good, but there’s no way they tasted as good as my victory.