Burns and Blunders

Valentine’s day snuck up on us this year, and to be honest, Mike and I really don’t care much for the “holiday”.

“Sooo, I just heard on the radio that tomorrow is Valentine’s day…?” Mike ventured as he came inside at 9:00 pm on the 13th. He shed his Carhart bibs and looked over at me. I was playing Breath of the Wild and pretty engrossed.

“Yeah…?” I responded, only glancing at him. “And?”

“I just didn’t even realize it,” he said as he trudged across the house.

“Who cares,” I scoffed before cursing at a Moblin in the game.

“Well we can just spend some time together tomorrow.”

“Like we do normally,” I verified, rolling my eyes.

It hit me some time later that this very well could be our last Valentine’s day as an empty nest couple. We’ve really been getting our adulting shit together lately, and I’m not sure why this seemed like such a profound epiphany, but I woke up on the 14th ready to make the biggest breakfast spread ever for my man.

We’re talking pancakes. Toast. Eggs. Bacon. Sausage. Coffee.  All the things. I had all the gas burners running and the bacon was in the oven.

Let me just preface by saying I really hate my gas range. From a cooking perspective, I totally understand why so many people prefer gas. But from a safety perspective, I am uncomfortable with the idea of an open flame, and I hate that I could bump the knobs, causing a gas leak. When I impulse purchased new appliances back in November, I was sure to order a new, fancy electric range that would not only look sharp (oh my lord I sound like my father) but make me feel safer, especially for when we have kids one day.

Unfortunately, the new appliances have yet to arrive.

“Smells amazing,” Mike said through a yawn when he emerged from bed. “What’s the occasion?”

“I didn’t get you anything for Valentine’s, so I wanted to make you a nice breakfast!” I explained brightly.

“That’s nice…but I don’t have anything I can do for you.”

“I can think of a few things,” I murmured out of the side of my mouth with a wink.

Mike laughed and shook his head before taking a seat at the table.

“Shit, my bacon.” I could smell it starting to burn, so I hurriedly grabbed the nearest kitchen towel and removed the pan from the oven, not realizing my stovetop was completely full of pans of eggs, pancakes, and sausage. I had nowhere to set the pan that was now burning through my kitchen towel and beginning to sizzle my hand.

“Ow!” I hollered, deciding to unload the pan from my grasp by shoving the eggs toward the top corner of the stove. As I leaned over to release the pan, I suddenly realized the bacon grease-soaked towel I held was swinging in the open flame of the burner. I gasped, dropped the bacon pan where it was, and tore the towel away. As I did so, simmering bacon grease splashed upward and decorated my chest.

“FUCK!” I cursed, throwing down the towel and backing away from the range. “SHIT!”  In my determination to romantically supply my husband with the world’s biggest, hottest Valentine’s Day breakfast, I reverted to my roots of being a complete and utter spaz, giving myself a rather unsightly burn just below my clavicles that now vaguely resembles the Hawaiian Islands.


Within seconds, Mike was pouring Aloe down my shirt as I fought back tears of mostly surprise and embarrassment.

I wasn’t off to a great start for the day. We ate breakfast, then cleaned my mess. Attempting to move on from the fiasco and unfairly blaming the gas range for the incident,  I opened my phone and selected the Home Depot App.

“I should check on the status of the new appliances,” I said. “They’re supposed to arrive on Tuesday!”

Order Status: Delayed.


The appliances were a Black Friday purchase, and it is now Valentine’s day. They’ve been delayed at least twice now and given my already grumpy mood from the bacon grease burn, I was NOT having this.

“I’m calling them to see what’s up, because if we’re just waiting on something stupid like the Microwave, they need to send me what they have.”

As I searched for the customer service number on the app, I found a “Text a Representative” option. Oh boy! Something perfect for my social anxiety! Customer Service confrontation via text. Perfect. I can adult and handle this order, but I don’t have to do so on the phone (because lord knows us Millennials hate the phone). Excellent.

What could possibly go wrong?

The conversation spanned over an hour, as the responses were sparse and far between. I didn’t mind too much, as I continued about my day while I waited.

Texting a rep is great!

The representative explained to me the entire order was available, minus the range. It was on backorder.

Bummer, because I’m pissed at the range I have right now and would feel very satisfied if I could throw it outside to make room for the replacement.

“Can you send me the other appliances that are available?” I asked.

“I’m sorry, we cannot execute the order until all appliances are received.”

I composed several drafts as I tried to work out the best way to respond. (How great is this texting thing?! I sound much more prepared, articulate, and determined!)

“Is there perhaps a similar range that is available? I would be willing to upgrade if it means receiving my order sooner.”

“I’m sorry, we cannot swap out appliances in an online order.”

What the fuck?

Now I was getting a little irritated. I took a moment to gather my thoughts, then decided to text a friend to share the frustration before responding. Telling someone else the situation always seems to release some steam, so it seemed like a great idea, given I had the luxury of time while texting. Man, I’d never be able to do this on the phone! I’m going to text representatives for customer service from now on!

“It’s just the range they are holding on, and cannot process the order until all items are in, so they can’t ship me what they have. I am trying to convince them to let me upgrade to a range that is actually in stock, but they are giving me a hard time. I might just have to rage-cancel this order and go elsewhere if they won’t work with me.”


I will be damned if I didn’t accidentally send that frustrated text TO THE REPRESENTATIVE instead of the intended recipient.

Kill me.

My mouth dropped as I slowly realized what I just did. My stomach sank down to my knees and my fingers began to tremble.

“Oh shit.”

“Whoooops, that message was definitely meant for someone else… my bad. But we do really need to figure something out, because I’ve been waiting since Black Friday for these appliances and I really need my fridge before my current one dies,” I hurriedly texted the representative, feeling like the world’s biggest dick. I sent the message and rested my head on the counter, cursing repeatedly and wishing I could just start the day all over again.

“Ok so we can probably just cancel the range in your order, and you can order a different one separately,” the rep responded, seeming to mostly ignore my blunder.

 “Will that impact the remaining items on my order?” I asked.

“Was it an appliance bundle?”

Yo, I bought these like, 3 months ago. How should I know?

“Possibly,” I replied. “They were a Black Friday purchase.”

“Oh, if they were a Black Friday deal, I can just go ahead and cancel the range for you.”


“Yes please, that would be exceptionally helpful.”

The nightmare was ending.

I was SO jazzed up about being able to text a representative to better manage my social anxiety, and I fucked it all up and nearly had a panic attack from sending the wrong message to the poor representative.

I am such an asshole.

I will never do the text thing for customer service inquiries again. I ruined such a good thing. I will have to suck it up pick up the phone in the future.

Like an adult.

Happy Valentine’s day?


This is Why I’m Not Allowed Outside

I’m listening to the way my heels click confidently against the tile as I walk, and I wave casually at the receptionist before pushing through the double doors leading to the café at work.

Oh, God, someone I don’t really know is walking my way.

I keep walking, a little slower now, shifting my eyes from the floor to the space in front of me to the face of the man approaching me and back again.

Do I smile?

He’s getting closer.

Do I say hi?

Shit, he’s right here.

Maybe I don’t even look at him.

“Hi,” he says as our paths cross.
I sputter. “Good, you?”


That’s going to haunt me at 3 AM for the next 5 years.

We all go through an awkward stage growing up. Maybe it’s a bad hairdo. and you have  family photos showcasing that time you tried to cut your own bangs. It could be a poor fashion choice, and you’re looking back at those red pleather pants you just had to have in the 90’s. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two, and your high school yearbook forever has you in a powder-blue suit with a big-ass afro. (cough…Dad…cough…)

Thankfully, we all seem to grow out of that obligatory awkward stage and eventually burn all photographic evidence. But there are some forms of awkwardness we never really expel, even as we pretend to be semi-functioning adults. It stays with us, like an annoying extension of ourselves that just won’t take a hint and leave. We might move on from the chubby stage and our bangs might grow back, but we can never change the fact that when the movie ticket girl at the cinema told us to enjoy the show, we said, “You, too!”

We have to interact with way too many adults on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I wish I could call in sick simply because it’s too peopley out there. Names and faces can be so difficult to keep straight, especially when you work for a company that has many traveling employees. I am constantly seeing new faces that aren’t actually new, and it’s the source of so many awkward moments.
I enter the meeting with a laptop tucked under my arm and I close the door behind me. A man with a purple tie already sits at the table with a notepad and pencil.
“Hi, I’m Kaitlin,” I introduce, reaching to shake his hand.
“Yes, we’ve met, a few times,” he says, chuckling.


Lock me up. I shouldn’t be allowed outside.

Speaking of shaking hands, this is a pretty common social phenomenon. But I can’t be the only person who panics about this when meeting someone new. How am I supposed to know if you’re a handshaker, a fist bumper, or, God forbid, a hugger? Too many times have I gone in for the normal white girl handclasp only to be met with a closed fist, or to suddenly be engaged in some awkward grip-changing secret handshake that I feel like I’m supposed to know, but don’t. Should I shake again when I say goodbye? And damned if we don’t awkwardly walk in the same direction after saying bye, and I must stop and tie my shoe to put some reasonable distance between us.

Only to realize I’m not wearing laces today.

Work is not the only place we frequently experience awkward moments. A few years back, they changed the words to Catholic mass. Suddenly it wasn’t “And also with you,” but rather “And with your spirit.”
Last week:
Priest: The Lord be with you.
Everyone else: And with your spirit.
And now people think I haven’t stepped foot in mass for ten years.


Let’s just skip over the fact that I thought the phrase “peace be with you” was “pleased to be with you” until I was eight.

In today’s world, it’s damn near impossible to get lost. In the age of Google Maps and even GPS, there really isn’t an excuse. In fact, it’s impressive if you manage to get lost. But what are the flippin’ odds the driveway I decide to use as a turn-around belongs to the car right behind me?! Here I am, awkwardly waving at you as I back out of your driveway. Wonderful. And people don’t really talk to each other anymore, so we don’t ask for directions…but if for some reason I have to, and you start using crazy words like “north” and “east…”

I’m fucked.

In psychology, they call the phenomenon in which people think they’re noticed way more than they actually are the “spotlight effect.” OF COURSE  we find ourselves infinitely more awkward than anyone else ever notices. That guy I awkwardly greeted at work is not up late thinking about how awkward I am.

He’s up late thinking about how awkward he is!