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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Peace (03/15/04)

TITLE: Beware The Groove
By Dori Knight


I don’t ask for much, but that my morning routine flow undisturbed: thirty minutes of peace, a cup of good coffee, and a hot shower. My children allow me this time out of the abounding love they have for me in their hearts, and the respect due me as their mother.

Yeah right. The deal is that I get my thirty minutes every morning, and the kids get five bonus dollars in their allowance.

And yes, I know it’s bribery, but it’s all I’ve got.

However, I am a shrewd consumer, and believe in receiving services paid for. If I have to pay for my morning groove, then by golly, I expect to have it. Should even one of these three key ingredients be missing and my peace be disrupted, then the deal is off.

This means that if the phone rings, or the dog sighs heavily, or a sunbeam falls too loudly upon the floor and disturbs my peace and disrupts my routine, there will be no bonus dollars forthcoming at the end of the week.

Should I find that there is no coffee to be had in the house, not only is our business deal null and void, but I am likely to pierce every living thing from the oldest child to the smallest fern in the window, with a very sharp look, and return to my bed for the rest of my life or until such time as a coffee bean is produced, ground, and properly brewed.

As important as silence and a supply of good coffee are, a shower is possibly even more so: the hot water, you see, opens the pores on my scalp allowing my brain to breathe, and life to continue. Without it, my head is likely to implode from the negative pressure. I am completely convinced of this.

It takes the water in our bathroom a few minutes to warm up, so I turn it on and let it run while I brush my teeth. This is also part of my morning routine, and it usually goes without a hitch. However there was a time that I pulled the curtain back to find the that the drain was clogged and the tub was filling up with water.

This is not part of the groove. I do not like slopping around in ankle deep water. That is not showering. That is wading.

The plunger was completely ineffective against the clog, as was the wire hanger I sent down to do a little reconnaissance work. It was time to move on to chemical warfare. Two and a half bottles of drain cleaner later, the drain was no closer to allowing the water to pass through, and had, in fact, backed up into the tub.

When in doubt, google it. The internet told me to try baking soda and vinegar, and flush it with hot water. All this accomplished was to make the chemicals in the tub bubble and smell bad enough to make the wallpaper begin to peel off the walls.

Like nearly every problem encountered in life, I found that the more solutions I poured into it, the bigger the mess became. It was becoming increasingly clear that I couldn’t fix this problem on my own, and I needed to call in a higher authority.

But who to call. There was no way I was going to call my husband. Smart wives never call their husbands in plumbing situations. The husband almost invariably insists that he can fix it, whatever it is, as soon as he gets home from work, and under no circumstances are you to call a plumber.

Better to call the plumber and then tell the husband what happened.

I knew that the man who showed up must be a really good plumber, because he wore the official plumber uniform: gray work shirt with a name patch that read “Bob,” and pants that would not stay on his waist. Plus, he had tools. Tools always instill confidence. Wrenches, and screw drivers, and all kinds of things, including about a million miles of wire cable.

He sat on the edge of the tub, gave it a disbelieving look, and then looked at me sideways, just as disbelievingly. “Well then,” he started, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a problem like this before. No siree, there’s no way that water is going down. Nope, not without a miracle of God.”

“There isn’t?” I replied, dismayed. All hope of recovering my groove dissipated. A miracle of God, he had said. Should I have taken my clogged drain and my subsequent lack of peace to an even higher authority than Bob the Plumber?

“Of course,” he continued, “unless you do this.” And with that, the plumber reached over. And flipped the drain switch. And all the water went down.

I offered him a hundred dollars to keep his mouth shut and never tell anyone what an idiot I was, but he shook it off and said that it was way too good a laugh to sell. In fact, he wouldn’t even let me pay him for the service call.

It has not gone down in history as one of my better moments, but I did learn from it. Besides it could have been worse: it could have been my husband who found my mistake, and I wouldn’t ever have lived it down. If I could just keep the kids quiet, he would never even have to know.

And they have kept it quiet, but their silence has come with a price tag that borders on highway robbery.

The deal is ten bonus dollars a week in their allowance, but I get to keep my groove.

copyright 2004 dori knight

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 03/22/04
You are a great humorous writer! I loved this piece, reminds me of another writer on this site, James Snyder 9you might want to check him out!)

I should just press the "Vote for this Entry" button right now, but I will press on!
Kathy Pollock03/22/04
Oh, this is awesome! You tell my life a lot better than i can!!
Lynne Cox03/22/04
You must have an innate sense of humor - this piece made me laugh. Humor is much sought-after in the world of writing. You should do well!
Jacqueline Odom-Bullock03/22/04
Very humerous Dori. I enjoyed reading your article right to the very end. Don't feel bad, it happens to the best of us!
Christine Rhee03/23/04
What a funny lady!! More! More! More!!!!

What a great piece. Your humor brought a belly laugh from someone who doesn't have a funny bone in her body.

You'll be able to afford to continue to pay the bribery money but it won't make much sense once your husband reads this. Great work.
Linda Germain 03/23/04
Dori, I'm there with you, girl!! Last week the heater stopped working . I called my brother who, after letting me vent about the high cost of a new one and why did this happen with just a few more weeks of cold, very calmly said, "Have you checked the fuse box?" Of course! That was it. You are right about a hot shower opening up a pathway to your brain! Keep laughing...and writing.
Helen Wiebe03/23/04
You did what most comedy writers can't do. I don't laugh easilly, but you got to me. In fact, I find most comedy boring and childish, but I could just put myself in your position here and it brought out a good laugh. Thanks.
Naomi Deutekom03/23/04
I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Its so "a mom thing" to do!Well written.
Donna Anderson03/25/04
HILARIOUS ! I loved these; "...a sunbeam falling too loudly on the floor...", the entire seventh paragraph, "...smell bad enough to make the wallpaper begin to peel off the walls." The plumber - HA! Your 'groove' is worthy of the bonuses and your story of happy praises! :)
Beth Steury03/26/04
SUPERB storytelling!
Mary C Legg03/27/04
next year write for the erma bombeck prize...good job. I feel like an idiot when I walk into lamp posts, but this is just a tad better than that.
Katie Hart03/29/04
I didn't read the entries until late Sunday night, which is why this is late. I loved it! I laughed as I read it, then printed it up for my mom to read. Through her giggles she passed it on to Dad. This morning she read it aloud to her students, my seven homeschooled siblings. When my brother's secretary came up for lunch, she was treated to a reading as well, and my sister's sending a copy to her friend in Texas! It definitely deserved first place. I love the title - just makes me think of the little old guy on The Emperor's New Groove shaking with his cane - "Beware the groove."
Donna J. Shepherd08/12/04
I had to come check out your award winning article. Very good! So funny, and humbling, too, I'm sure! Thanks for sharing. - Donna