Monthly Archives: October 2011

Oh the shame…

When I was in kindergarten (before the homeschool years), Thursdays were music days for us and the preschoolers.  We had a music teacher (or just some woman who could play the piano well enough to impress a bunch of 3- to 5-year-olds) come in and play the piano and lead us in song.  One of those songs was something about peanut butter and we had to snap our fingers when we got to the bit about “crunchy peanut butter”.

Friends, I could not snap my fingers.  Oh the secret shame of a 5-year-old!  That song is actually burned in my brain because I remember trying desperately to mimic my classmates while praying that they could not tell that my fingers made no sound at all.  My older sister and brother tried to teach me at home, in preparation for music day every week (we sang that song a lot), but it felt like a lost cause.  I was doomed to be the girl who couldn’t snap her fingers for the rest of her life.  It was my cross to bear.

I’m happy to report that, years later (no joke, I was probably around 11) I did finally learn to snap my fingers.  But tonight I’m going to share with you a couple other things that nearly everyone else I know picked up real easily and I could simply never do.

Yup.  Can’t swim.  My parents enrolled us in swim lessons at a local university (the only place with a semi-public pool)… it was one of those set-ups where your level was the name of a fish: polliwog, guppy, minnow, etc… I never graduated from polliwog.  😦  My brothers surpassed me easily, leaping off the diving board and swimming out in the deep end, while my teachers were getting more and more frustrated with my lack of buoyancy.  That was what held me back – an inability to float.  I’d lay on my back, with the instructor holding me up… I’d be totally relaxed, totally zen.  And then she’d take her hands away and…. glub glub glub.  I’d sink like a stone and have to be hauled, flailing, out of the water.  After being held back 3 times in a row, I begged off swim lessons and my parents agreed.  I can doggie paddle enough that I’m certain if I get knocked into the river or something one day, I’ll be able to make it to something solid to hold onto.

I actually spent a while dating a guy who had been a really serious swimmer most of his life, breaking national records and whatnot.  He always offered to teach me, and I always found a reason to put it off.  I felt like seeing me panic and thrash about once my head went under the water would not be good for our relationship.

No joke, I can’t whistle.  When I attempt it, some sound comes out, but calling it a whistle would be mighty generous delusional.  And it’s weird, but I make no noise at all when exhaling, but am able to make more whistle-like sounds when inhaling.   (Incidentally, there was song that involved whistling in kindergarten too.  It was terrible).  Is there a way that someone can learn how to whistle?  Or is that something that comes naturally to people?  How do I learn this elusive skill?

I feel like sharing 2 of my inadequacies with you is probably enough for one night.  If you want to share anything that you don’t know how to do, I promise you’ll hear no judgment from me 🙂



My smoke detector is extremely sensitive.  If even the teeniest bit of something drips in my oven, it sets it off.  I suppose this is good, since it decreases the odds that I will someday burn up in my sleep from an apartment fire, but it gets really annoying when I cook.  Especially since I do have a tendency to wander away from the kitchen to do other things while my dinner is burning cooking.

So one day, shortly after I moved in (okay, that’s a lie… it was almost a year.  I’m trying to make myself look better here), my smoke detector battery got low and the thing started beeping.  You know that beep.  It’s SO annoying.  And since I knew that the sound carried (my neighbor’s needed its battery changed a couple months prior.  I heard every beep for 2 days), I wanted to change the battery right away before I went to work, so it wouldn’t annoy people.  Because that’s what kind of neighbor I am.  I didn’t have time to go buy a new battery, so I grabbed one out of the kitchen drawer that I knew still had some juice in it.  I stuck it in and went on my merry way.

When I got home, I heard the tell-tale beep as I was about to unlock my door.  Apparently that battery had less juice in it than I thought.  I turned right around and ran to the grocery store near my house, where I picked up the cheapest 9V battery they had.  At a grocery store, that’s about $24.

I returned home, determined to be a responsible renter and not let the building burn down with no warning, and replaced the battery.  Hooray!  Responsible Adult Mairin is here to stay!

Two minutes went by…

WHAT?!?  I knew that battery was good!  Maybe I didn’t put it in right.  So I climbed back up on the chair, removed the battery, waited a second, then put it back in.

SHIT!  Now I was really getting annoyed.  My smoke detector is one of the old-school ones, where the part that beeps is the part screwed the wall.  I got a screwdriver, removed it from the wall and sat down on my kitchen floor to “fix” it.

I unscrewed as much as I could unscrew to see if something was loose and not touching the battery.  And then it happened.

Now I knew (knew!) that there was NO WAY that the sound I was hearing could possibly be coming from the spot where the smoke detector had previously been screwed to the wall.  And yet, that’s what I was hearing.


I just froze.  I had no idea how to handle this.  My brain couldn’t make sense of what was happening and therefore decided it wouldn’t even try.  I stood there like a fool for a couple more minutes.

Wait.  IS it coming from that spot on the wall?  Is there anything else that could be beeping?


Apparently I have TWO smoke detectors!  In my defense, this second one is in the shadows, blends in with the wall, and is above my not-very-high line of sight.  However, it’s also right in front of the door when you walk in.

I should probably be more embarrassed about not seeing it, but I’m so glad I wasn’t hallucinating, I don’t even care.