ONE MAN'S JUNK

@redcowhill on YouTube, dances until her water breaks!
The following is a re-post and super appropriate for a TBT, especially since the 16 year-old mentioned is now graduating.

Man, I'm so old. 

In the wake of my oldest daughter's 16th birthday, I find myself reminiscing about old times and remembering when. The story I'm about to share has only been told to a few privileged souls, and it is pee-in-your-pants-embarrassing. Of course, that doesn't mean we can't glean some practical lessons from the experience. Shouldn't I pass on life lessons and nuggets of truth to the masses? 

Here are some questions for us all to consider before reading today's post:

Should we think twice before participating in a youth fundraiser? Dare we ever question the seriousness of postpartum stupidity? Yeah, well, I would have preferred to learn this stuff by reading a book, but that ain't what had happened. Yes—I blame myself for this particularly humiliating experience, but I'm in good company. Because I also blame my husband.

It was the magical year of 1999. Imagine a sweet pastor’s wife recovering from the throes of child birth. Do you see it? Wonderful! Now, please imagine such a woman with her hair perfectly styled and wearing a size 6 in jeans. That little wifey was me, right after my oldest daughter was born. 

Before I get into the details of today's horrifying narrative, I'd like to state, for the record, that the gift of thrift should be considered a virtue. It's an admirable quality even if it doesn't actually appear in the Bible.

Where was I? 

Oh yes, the strenuous days following the birth of my second child. Being the fabulous staff wife that I was, I'd known that my due date conflicted with our annual church yard sale, a huge endeavor to raise funds for ongoing student ministry. So I prepared my donations weeks ahead, rifling through closets and bending over attic boxes despite being great with child. I typically kept a running accumulation of yard sale fodder, tossing junk into bags or boxes the moment it was no longer useful. My hubby frequently teased about getting tossed in there himself should he sit still for too long.

It was also my habit to sort through the collection before dropping it off at various charities, but this time there was a slight interruption, like squeezing a 7-pound human through a very, very… well, you understand. I lost track of my days, and couldn't remember which bags had been screened. Before I knew it, the day of the big sale arrived. I was out of time. 

“I feel like I should make an appearance today," my husband said to me early on that Saturday morning. "Is it okay if I slip away for a couple hours to  help? Will you be alright?” 

He is the sweetest, I know, but this entire fiasco is still his fault. Partly. I was busy with a brand new, precious baby girl  and mumbled something in reply. “Sure, yeah, I’m fine. You go ahead. Oh, and don’t forget to grab that stuff I set aside.” 

He did, and then he left.

I was too distracted to make certain he’d loaded everything into the car (probably breast feeding at the time) and frankly, when he returned three hours later wearing an impish grin, I'd almost forgotten where he’d gone.

“Hey, how was it? Did they make loads of money?” I asked, hoping the students had hit the thousand-dollar mark. It seemed something great had happened by the expression of mirth on my husband's face.

“Um, yeah. It was very… eventful,” he smirked.

Okay, something was up. I might have suffered from placenta-brain for the past nine months and currently be suffering from postpartum-whatever, but I he was definitely acting weird.

“Eventful? What’s that supposed to mean?”

Sidling closer to me (within slapping range), he purred, “Hey, honey, did you go through the bags before you put them in the attic?”

“Yes," I said with way more confidence than I felt. "You got it all, right?” The thought of those bags and boxes hanging around for another year rubbed my compulsive personality all wrong.

“Oh, I got it all," he said, looking at me sidelong. "But I decided to keep one thing for myself. I hope you don’t mind. I just couldn’t part with it.”

As he said this, smile widening, he pulled a bit of fabric from his pocket. He then dangled a pink and black piece of lingerie in front of my nose. 

Now, be honest. Would you be shocked if your husband went to a student garage sale and came home with a pair of used, naughty-looking panties? You might be shocked, but you probably wouldn’t vomit or jump off a bridge, right? 

Well, what if the panties in question belonged to YOU? Yep, that’s right. They were mine. 

Neither of us could speak for several minutes as my panties fluttered around in his grasp. I couldn't speak because I felt like I'd swallowed my tongue and every ounce of oxygen had been sucked out of the room. He couldn't speak because of uncontrollable laughter.

You know those moments when time supernaturally expands and what may be only a second or two in reality feels more like centuries? I had one of those before my mind made several painful connections. 

There was this one bag I meant to throw in the trash. But it survived and miraculously reappeared in the church parking lot. Even worse, I suddenly remembered the bag had much more in it than a single thong.

I think every woman goes through certain phases during pregnancy, including the period when she believes that her body will never again be the same. Looking for a scarf in my third trimester, I opened a little-used drawer and found a treasure trove of lingerie. The long-forgotten, sheer garments had practically dry rotted from lack of... use. I stared at all the pink, cream and black, wearing a disgusted frown, as I considered what this said about my marriage. My “sexy stuff” had had time to decompose. 

By merit of the fact that I’d recently given birth to a second child, it was clear that we were--how do I put this in church terms-- an active couple. The problem was, we were also an impatient couple. What was the point anyway? Those frilly things never stayed on for long. Plus, they were itchy.

So, in a pregnant rage, I had stuffed all of Victoria’s secrets into a trash bag and tossed it into the attic. Enormous mistake. I should have burned them in the back yard along with my Jane Fonda aerobics VHS tapes.

After I was able to swallow and breathe again, I asked, “Was there… more?” I kind of knew the answer already, even as I prayed to God in Heaven to please reverse time. Like Superman did.

“Oh, enough that the middle-school boys wanted to set up a special table for it all,” he snickered. 

I felt all the blood drain from my face, and I must have looked pitiful because he wiped away his annoying smile and said, “Don’t worry, sweetie. The Youth Pastor and I discovered it before too many of the kids saw.”

teamjimmyjoe & an example of placenta brain damage
Even one kid was too many. How would I ever go back to church? The Youth Pastor had seen my unmentionables! 

At the beginning of today's blog, I mentioned some practical lessons. Here are my favorites:

  -Never donate a piece of clothing you wouldn’t be caught dead in yourself.

  -Use clearly marked containers for items you want to donate to charity as opposed to those you wish to burn for all eternity.

  -Understand that ministers have seen it all and nothing surprises them anymore.

  -Remember that husbands cannot read minds, so when you ask them to get the stuff for a yard sale you must stipulate that it needs sorting.

  -Don’t buy a house with an attic.

  -Try not to go into labor the same week as a large, church-wide event.

  -Keep your lingerie trousseau for when you STOP having babies.

Comments

Richard Elkins said…
I have heard you tell this story before, but it was still as enjoyable as the first time!

Cuz you liked 'em so much...