As the celebratory dinner at my husband’s firm wound down, the IT team lingered. You might think those who remained as the party dwindled were enjoying each other’s company and you’d be right of course. As there is nothing like alcohol and a completed project milestone to raise camaraderie amongst a group. And as these fellows – who had gathered from the offices from across the country to finish the Vancouver project – moved into later night, words began to slur, the laughter a bit more raucous. The movements a little less sure, the declarations of a job well done and a good team more emphatic.
And the sloshing of red wine.
As I studied Emile’s white and blue (and now red) shirt the next morning (which I was cleaning not because I am the woman, but because I am unemployed and also not hung over), I recalled the last time I had to deal with a red wine stain. It involved another party that lead to facial scrapes, torn clothing, badly scuffed shoes and worse – vivid red regurgitated wine stains on our light green ultra-suede couch. A couch that eventually looked like nothing untoward had happened to it, and ended up selling for a fair price when we left Ontario.
So, I was over-qualified to tackle the non vomitous minor red cuff stain. Piece of pie!
I searched the internet, recalled everything I knew, and determined the best course of action would probably be to use the same cleaner I used so many years before. A gift from my brother “Wine Away” – it smells like oranges and is apparently going to save the earth. Well, it saved a couch. A shirt now probably too. I followed the instructions and the stain faded from my view quickly. However, when I left it to dry, the outline was still visible, so I proceeded with Plan B – salt and WHITE wine. I wet the cuff with white wine, and then completely covered it in salt – using the back of a spoon to rub the salt into the shirt. After rinsing and washing, the cuff was restored to its previous form.
As I tossed the spoon into the dishwasher, the grainy utensil pulled up such a memory of my childhood that I stopped abruptly and laughed. This will probably be one of those stories that my mom will say “I have no recollection of that, Susan”. How can our parents not remember our most vivid, life changing memories?
Nonetheless, I know it happened. My Dad had always taught me while baking that you always gathered the ingredients first, and then put them away as you used them. Mom wasn’t as strict about it, but nonetheless, would generally pull items out when she was baking or cooking.
One day, my mom pulled out some items, say the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, etc and as I wondered into the kitchen, I recognized some of them. I was too young to be able to read – but I did know sugar! And I liked sugar! When my mom’s back was turned, I took a spoon, scooped a spoonful of sugar and stuck it in my mouth. Mom turned around just in time to see me run from the kitchen.
Mom was unaware that I was running from the scene of a crime, but attuned that I was acting strangely, she followed me into our bathroom. Standing by the back wall near the toilet, I looked confused and upset, and therefore Mom thought I needed help going to the washroom. She promptly yanked down my pants and underwear to assist with this endeavor.
I stood with my pants around my ankles, and cried out, wondering why my mom thought now – the horrifying moment when I realized that sugar and salt look very much the same – that I would need to go to the bathroom.
April 15 Extra-Ordinary: Clean shirt. Warm Heart.