Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blame the Balloon

File this one under, "You know you're a moron when..."

Unfortunately, I have one sick child at home today and anticipate a phone call any moment from the school nurse about the other one. So this morning, in my pre-coffee haze, this germ-o-phobic mom grabbed one of those handy disinfecting wipes from my bathroom cabinet and proceeded to scrub down surfaces: door knobs, keyboards, remote controls, the fridge handles, phones, sinks and so forth.

Only after I had disinfected every surface in the house did I notice my disinfecting wipe had a softer, plusher texture than I remembered and smelled strangely of green tea and chamomile. At that moment, I realized that I had not, in fact, used a Lysol wipe to clean. Instead, I had swabbed everything down with a makeup remover towelette.

I'm not sure I sanitized anything, but by gosh, the remote controls and keyboards have never looked so fresh and dewy, and I suspect they won't have clogged pores anytime soon.

I'd love to say such epic brain failures are few and far between, but I'd be lying.

I have sprayed my hair with furniture polish instead of hairspray (my coif smelled of oranges and had a lovely sheen) and even rubbed my face's oily zone with nail polish remover instead of astringent (easy mistake: both liquids were blue).

I often put dinner in the oven but never turn on the appliance, resulting in delicious Chinese take-out. I also have made numerous pots of hot water in the morning because I didn't put coffee in the coffee maker (I need coffee to make coffee). Sadly, I have put the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the pantry so many times that the children and husband don’t even bother to mention it anymore. They simply sigh and pour me another cup of joe.

But even heavily caffeinated, I often make poor decisions that come back to bite me in the butt.

Last night, for instance, I decided it would be absolutely hi-larious to play recorded bird calls on the computer to drive my cat bonkers. Turns out, it's not particularly amusing when the cat goes friggin' insane, jumps on the desk, rears up on her hind legs and punches me in the face repeatedly.

Ah, yes, this brunette could easily be the target of blonde jokes, if it weren't for the fact that I'm, um, brunette.

Case in point:

During a recent hotel stay, I decided to forego the elevator and jog down all eight flights of stairs to the lobby. When I reached the first floor landing and pushed open the door, however, I found myself in the hotel laundry and maids' station (apparently, hotels do not actually believe guests will choose exercise over elevators). Embarrassed to have burst into the maids' quarters, I promptly shut the door.

Sharp cookie that I am, it occurred to me that I would have to grab the elevator, after all. I begrudgingly trudged back up the stairs -- all eight flights of stairs! Only when I reached my floor, jogged down the long corridor to the elevator and stood gasping for breath, did I realize I could have caught the elevator on the second floor.


I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm no Einstein, but I'm not the dullest knife in the drawer, either. So why do I do such seemingly dumb things?

Maybe I need more sleep and/or coffee. Maybe I sucked in too much of that sweet, smoky air at numerous rock concerts as a teen (I was just breathing, Mom and Dad! I tried not to inhale!). Maybe my mom dropped me on my head as a baby and never mentioned it.

Or maybe I should blame The Helium Tape Incident.

You see, long before helium balloons were used to launch six-year-olds into space in elaborate television hoaxes, they were utilized for more innocent purposes, like raising one's voice to high, cartoon-like levels.

So one boring spring afternoon when I was a teen-ager, I decided it would be hysterical to suck the helium from a birthday balloon and record my munchkin voice on a cassette tape (yes, cassette. I'm prehistoric. I also played Zork on a Commodore 64, but I digress…)

Oh, how amusing The Helium Tape would be when played for my friends and family later. So after I pressed the "Play" and "Record" buttons simultaneously on my awesome, super rad boom box, I punctured the big Mylar balloon, pressed my lips to it and inhaled [ssssssssssssssss], repeatedly. When my family listened to the tape later, here's what they heard:


Oh, hello, everyone! Listen to me! I sound like a munchkin!


Hee. Hee. We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz! Because, because, because, because, BE-CAUSE…


Because of the wonderful things he does!


Hahahahahahahahha. What's that? You want me to do more? Well, okay!


I sound funny. I feel funny.


Oooooo. I don’t feel so goo-----


[30 seconds of absolute silence]

[odd scratching and stirring sounds]

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugh. Uuuugh.


[tape clicks off]

That's right. After a particularly long huff of helium, I had passed out cold and crashed to my bedroom's hardwood floor. The best part? It was all caught on the cassette. Comedy gold! That tape turned out WAY better than I ever intended! Wish I still had it, but I dubbed over The Helium Incident to make a Peter Cetera and George Michael mix tape for a boyfriend -- further proof that helium burns significant brain cells.

*Important Disclaimer: In all seriousness, please, please, please kids, do NOT try to repeat The Helium Incident at home. Deliberately concentrating and inhaling helium or any substance can be extremely dangerous, even fatal. I'm lucky I recovered with only minimal damage. Besides, you don't want to do things like wear your shirt inside-out and backwards all day, like I often do. People laugh and point.

I shared this story because The Helium Tape explains a lot about me, don't you think?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go remove my makeup with a Lysol disinfecting wipe.


  1. >>to make a Peter Cetera and George Michael mix tape for a boyfriend

    and yet whoever that was for was probably the same pinhead who called MY music "gay". unbelievable.

    >>I'm lucky I recovered with only minimal damage

    i wouldn't bet on it.

  2. @The Chaueffeur: My, someone sounds awfully defensive. No reason to be ashamed, dear. Times have changed since high school. You know what you need? A man, who will fight for your honor, who will be the hero you've been dreaming of. And you can live forever, knowing together, you did it all for the glory of love.

  3. oh, daniel-san...where were you when i needed you? (oh, right - down in the tool shed with mr. miyagi.)

  4. Can I sit on your porch all day? hahaha thanks for the laughs..

  5. @meretrisha: You are always welcome on the Porch! Happy to have you here!

  6. Hahahahaha, wow!! Maybe you should wear a protective helmet wherever you go before you seriously hurt yourself!

  7. @Organic Meatbag: You're assuming I don't wear a protective helmet. SAFETY FIRST!
    Glad you dropped by the Porch! I checked out your blog, read the Gary Coleman post (I have a wee bit of a Gary Coleman obsession -- as if an obsession w/ Gary Coleman could be anything more than a "wee bit") and knew we were destined to become blogger friends.