Jennifer Hart, author of the hilarious mystery series The Misadventures of the Laundry Hag, joins us today with some, um, adventures of her own. Adventures that all of us have had because, well, while Murphy isn't truly our friend, he's often an unwelcome visitor.
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Thanks so much to the ladies of Four Strong Women for having me! I've brought my usual baggage that even the airlines can't lose, including the dark cloud that hovers over my head known as Murphy's Law.
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I don't know whether or not you're familiar with this adage but I'll bet the concept rings a bell. Usually Murphy's Law tends to strike at the most inopportune moments. Example. This morning, I'm scurrying my boys out the door to school. We're running late. Again. What can I say, I was inspired by my work in progress, a sexy noir type mystery and had a hard time dragging my mind back to the reality of Pop Tarts, end of the year teacher gifts, lunch boxes and missing socks.
Plus I had laundry going. Not that that's breaking news or anything, there's always laundry to be done in this house. If I want to see the bottom of the hamper I'd need a diving mask and snorkel. But I digress.
So everyone's dressed, including me. One child's brushing his teeth, the other putting on his sneakers. The beach towels from last weekend are piled in a heap on the dining room table so I toss them into the washer, add the soap and turn that sucker on.
"Mom, I need to bring a beach towel."
I'm leaning against the counter with a handful of blue sunscreen because the kids aren't allowed to put in on at school. "For what?" I ask.
"Field day," the nine year old says. And then he sneezes into my handful of goop.
"Go blow your nose." Scurrying over to the sink, I wash the germy gunk down the drain. "Why do you need a beach towel for field day? Yesterday was beach day and you didn't need a beach towel." I've gotten past the point where I wonder why I'm hearing about this now when we are T-minus two minutes to the last bell and no one is in the frigging car yet.
"I don't know, my teacher said we need a beach towel."
Squeezing more sunscreen onto my hand I apply it all over his face, probably more forcefully than necessary. I can be a brute when I'm stressed. Or awake. Why can't they apply sunscreen at school? Did none of those weenie officials ever read the directions on a bottle of sunscreen? It says to reapply every two hours. The school day is six hours and forty five minutes, minus however many minutes late we are that day. I'd put them on the bus, but they'd just miss it and I'd have to drive them anyway. This is the easier way. Really.
But I digress again.
"I don't have any beach towels, buddy. I just put them in the wash."
"That's okay. I'll use a dog towel."
I make a face. For those of you who don't have a nine year old boy, this was a legitimate option in his mind, to take the stanky hole-filled towels covered in beagle funk and fir. He brings that to school for field day, for whatever lame ass reason they need it, and I'll have CPS up my ass and to the left.
"Get a towel out of the bathroom." I tell him as I grease up his brother.
"I can't. Dad's in there. I think he's pooping."
We have one linen closet in our house. Three bathrooms and one linen closet. Whose brilliant idea was that? Not mine, that's for damn sure.
A groan escapes. I don't ask why he thinks his dad is pooping. The stench is exhibit A. Some mysteries are not worth solving. The kids are gooked and good to go though we are still sans a towel.
The nine year old looks at me, those big blue eyes. "Mom, I really need a towel."
"Fine. Get in the car and I'll get it."
Darting up the stairs, as fast as a mother of two who spends the majority of her life sitting on her ass in front of a computer screen can dart, I enter the master suite.
"I'm in here!" my husband yells. Of course the dog has followed me in and is first to investigate the smell. Stupid creature.
I suck in a quick lungful of air and push onwards. "Sorry, the kids needed a towel."
"Get away from me, dog!"
Not sure which one of us he's talking to, I usher the beagle out and we scurry down the stairs.
I get in the car. "Here's your towel."
"Mom, I need a hat."
I turn the engine over and the radio up. "Sorry, I couldn't hear you."
Take that, Murphy, you sick bastard.
They say write what you know, so it shouldn't be a surprise that Murphy's Law shows up in my zany mystery series, The Misadventures of the Laundry Hag. In fact, I brought him into the first book in the series. To set the stage. My heroine, Maggie, has been burning the candle at both ends and overslept the day before Thanksgiving. She's got a million things to do and no time to do them. And it's her first Thanksgiving with the in-laws.
Damn it all to the black depths of Hades! I'd never been able to master two things at once.
I pushed myself up from the carpet and continued my mad dash for the kitchen. There was a note on the counter from Marty, informing me he'd taken the boys to the park and that my mother-in-law had called. I faced the inventible and looked at the clock on the microwave. 3:46 p.m., the day before Thanksgiving, and I still hadn't done my shopping.
No time to lose. I grabbed my purse and my keys, jotted a quick note on the back of Marty's, and was out the door. A brisk wind slapped me in the face and tossed my unruly hair in my eyes, but I didn't slow. I climbed behind the wheel of the White Cloud of Death and shoved the key into the ignition. I turned and waited for the engine to catch.
Okay, self, don't panic. I turned it again, and still nothing. A third try came up nada. No revving of an ancient engine to indicate the beast was even trying. "She's dead, Jim," I muttered in my best Bones McCoy imitation. Murphy and his confounded law had struck again.
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He's a sneaky little turd, isn't he? Would love to hear survival stories from when Murphy's Law derailed your best laid plans.