Pride Comes Before the Fall

It’s spring break, and instead of lounging on the beach, umbrella drink in hand, I’ve opted to spend it at home, toilet brush in hand. (And when I say “I’ve opted to,” you know what I really mean is, “My checking account has decided for me.”)

And just to add insult to injury, Mother Nature decided that she’d give Iowa the near-80 temperatures at the end of February and instead deliver a snowstorm a few weeks later, during “spring” break. Yes, Mother Nature, we get it. You’re sooooo ironic.

So since I’m not going anywhere fun and it’s too crappy to be outside, I figured I might as well make good use of my time and try to get organized. (And when I say “Get organized,” you know what I really mean is, “Put some of that laundry away that’s been stacking up in the basement since Christmas and is now taller than me.”)

And speaking of laundry, you know when you look in your closet and don’t think you have any pants to wear, so you go to Goodwill (because you’re cheap that way) and sort of black out and when you come to you’ve purchased 13 pairs of pants? And when you get home you start bringing up laundry from the basement that’s been clean and in a basket down there for several months, and you start putting clothes away, and you keep finding more pants, and more pants, and suddenly you have enough pants hanging in your closet to clothe the entire cast of “The Walking Dead,” (including all the zombies)? No? Yeah, me neither…

I try so hard to get organized, but sometimes I just feel like the universe is against me. Need an example? No problem. I just happen to have one right here.

Take today, for instance. I “ran in” to Target (translation: “spent two hours there”) for a few essentials and got kind of sucked in to the organizing aisles. All of the products seemed to be calling my name, promising that if I just took them home, I’d miraculously undergo some sort of transformation into one of those women whose houses have absolutely no clutter. You know these houses. The ones where the owners apparently never get bills in the mail that they have to stack up on the kitchen table, or whose kids don’t wear shoes. The ones that always look like the owners are keeping it obsessively and freakishly clean just in case some Realtor wants to come show it on a moment’s notice. Even though they aren’t even for sale…

So I just knew if I bought some more things, as in, brought more clutter into the house, it would somehow magically reduce my clutter. (It made much more sense when I was actually staring at the under-the-bed storage tubs at Target.) I settled on one of those put-it-together-yourself two-tier shoe shelves that I could put in my closet. I knew it would just make all the difference. And at $12.99 — what a bargain!

After bringing it home, I encountered my first challenge: actually getting the pieces out of the box, which was glued together with what had to be the most industrial-strength glue ever manufactured. Ripping off the end of the box in little-bitty teensy-weensy pieces, I finally managed to slide out the particle boards. Laying everything on the floor, I convinced myself to at least peruse the directions, even though I was pretty sure I could figure it out myself. (There were literally only four pieces.) I screwed the pieces together and popped on the little plastic thingies that “hide” the screws, and I stood back to admire my handiwork.

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

You see, my track record with things like this isn’t terribly impressive. Usually what happens is, I eyeball it, think, “This looks pretty easy,” put it together, stand back to admire it . . . and realize that I’ve just put all of the pieces on backwards.

But this time, I couldn’t find one thing I’d done wrong. I even double- and triple-checked, just to be sure. And I have to admit, I kind of puffed out my chest a bit when I picked it up to carry it into my bedroom.

And that’s when I made my fatal mistake.

I got cocky.

I got cocky, and I let my guard down. I was unstoppable, I was invincible! I was Rose with my arms stretched out, flying on the front of the Titanic!

And we all know what happened to the Titanic.

I set down the shelf so I could clear out room for it in my closet. Oh, and before I do that, I thought, why don’t I change into some comfy pants? I couldn’t possibly get organized wearing jeans.

And that’s when it happened.

Thinking back, I’m not even sure what happened. It’s kind of a blur. But as I was taking off my jeans, I got a little wobbly, because if you didn’t know, I’m not the most coordinated of individuals. I got a little wobbly, and in what I’m sure was slow motion, I started going down. It’s like I was hovering over my body, looking down and thinking, “What the heck is she doing? Is she really going to fall backwards just trying to put her pants on?”

Yes, yes I was.

I kind of caught myself falling and tried to gracefully transition into a sit, but in reality I just fell back hard and sat right down. On my shelf.

And in case you were wondering, no, a particle-board shelf does not bear the weight of a hundred-some pound woman. No, it most certainly does not.

Next thing I knew, I was sitting down, with half of the shelf to my left and half to my right, and a burning sensation in the back of my thigh. The thing done broke right in half.

Well, not exactly in half, because if you didn’t know, particle board does not break evenly. It breaks in a horrible, sharp, jaggedy way, just to ensure that there is no possible way you could ever dream of repairing it.

I sat there, stunned, thinking, “Did I really just do that?” And then the pain set in. Not only had I gotten a road rash-type bloody burn on the back of my right leg, but somehow I had pulled a muscle right below my left hip.

I remembered then how moments earlier, I was thinking just how cool I was for successfully constructing a $13 shelf. Well, I definitely was not feeling cool any longer. Humility — along with a heaping dollop of humiliation — had promptly taken over.

And as I was throwing the broken pieces into the trash bin outside, before searching the house for a bandage large enough to cover my seepy wound, an old adage popped into my head: Pride comes before the fall.

Well played, universe. Well played.


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