For the most part, I like to think I am a capable, intelligent, functional adult. And then, every once in a while, I do something so colossally stupid that I can’t shake it off. Does that ever happen to you?
I can’t tell if it’s a mom thing or a menopausal thing or just a getting older thing. Whatever the reason, I am still embarrassed, and because it involves my older daughter, I won’t be able to live it down for a while.
Let’s start at the beginning: Instagram. I have been entranced for a while by some of those ads that I scroll past, and for some bizarre reason for which I can’t forgive myself, I click on them to learn more. Sometimes it’s for one of those straightening brushes, which I still can’t believe can work on hair as curly as mine. Sometimes, it’s for a new version of Spanx-like control garment, making every lump and bump magically smooth out. And sometimes, it’s for a pet product that I can’t live without.
So that’s where I landed, on some grooming glove thing. It fits on your hand, and on the palm side, it has what is essentially plastic or rubber spiky teeth that can help remove your pet’s undercoat or loose fur. In the ads, the pets look like they’re enjoying it, this surprisingly effective grooming disguised as run-of-the-mill petting. It looked so promising, so convincing, so necessary.
Not that I needed convincing. Every spring, my two cats shed. A lot. While it’s easy enough to pick up the little black clumps of hair the tumbleweed around the baseboards, it’s the hairball puking that I am currently over. The two of them takes turns throwing up every few weeks so that I am on a constant routine of cleaning up hairballs.
Moshe, the short-haired one with the thicker coat, is partial to throwing up on my bedroom carpet. A few weeks ago, he started gagging on the hardwood floor of the upstairs hallway, but he ran as well and fast as he could to make it onto the carpet of my bedroom before he tossed his kibble. Oh, and it was four in the morning.
And it’s never just one and done. He has to heave a few more times before his digestive tract calms down. Which means I have multiple spot treatments to attempt, at least once a month. I try to give him that cat hairball remedy, but he hates it, and he will eat pretty much anything.
The other cat, Yoko, is also a puker. Her fur is longer than Moshe’s, and she doesn’t shed as much as he does. If you touch him, he loses fur like porcupine quills, but Yoko’s fur is more likely to tangle and clump in her kitty armpits or around her neck. Watching her groom herself is also disturbing because the hair gets stuck on her little tongue barbs. It makes me want to cough up a hairball, just watching her.
She is sneakier and more retaliatory with her hairball projecting. If I go out of town, she makes sure to upchuck her displeasure. Recently, she threw up on the all but abandoned treadmill in the downstairs guest room. Do you know how hard it is to clean dried cat puke off a treadmill belt? I do.
Which brings me back to the grooming glove. It seemed like a real solution to my hairball drama and possibly even worth the money I was going to spend on it. The next time I saw the ad on Instagram, I clicked on the “Shop now” link and placed my order.
I didn’t give it another thought, and a few days later, I received a confirmation email letting me know that my glove was in the mail. Five days later, I got another email from the company: the package was delivered! I rushed out the mailbox, but it was empty. I looked on the side porch, and nothing. Nothing on the front step either.
I reread the email, and that’s where I discovered my mistake, the thing I did that never should have happened. It turns out that I didn’t use the same shipping address as my billing address, as I thought I had. Instead, for some unknown reason, the address that auto-filled the online form was my daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s.
At some point in the beginning of their freshman year, when they were still together, I had sent him a package, one of those kind gestures that girlfriends’ moms sometimes do. They broke up around Thanksgiving, and I ordered the glove in late April. It wasn’t like his was the last mailing address I had used on my phone. Why it decided that his was the address to select during my glove ordering, I will never understand.
So, I did what any normal, rational, slightly frugal person would do: I texted the ex-boyfriend to ask him to bring it to me when he finished with finals and got home. I didn’t want to throw away the money, and I really wanted that glove. I needed that glove. I had to have that glove.
I started out with a little small talk, just to soften the absurdity of my request. He does live close to us, but he attends college in another state, so it wasn’t a small ask. He claimed he was happy to do it, so I said my goodbyes and let it go for another week or two until he got home.
During the course of this glove situation, my older daughter also finished her semester and came home. I must have mentioned in passing that I had texted her ex, which would be where I made my second mistake. She is never one to miss an opportunity to make a mountain out of a molehill, which only made me feel even more like an idiot for contacting him and for the first mistake of the incorrect address.
The two of them texted about my idiocy and had a few laughs at my expense, but whatever, because I knew that grooming glove was soon to be mine.
When he brought it over, he actually came to the door and hand delivered it to me instead of leaving it in my mailbox. That was a very adult move on his part; I doubt I would have had the confidence to make small talk with my ex-girlfriend’s mother while handing over a stupid package she had shipped to me, the mail-order equivalent to an unsolicited Anthony Weiner dick pic, something you wish you didn’t receive and had to deal with.
After he left (and my daughter came out of hiding), I quickly opened the mailing envelope and removed me grooming glove. There it was, with its Velcro wrist strap and textured surface, ready to put on my right hand and start the petting.
On the other hand, I am left-handed.
Petting, like writing or masturbating, is a dominant-hand activity. I tried using it with my right hand, but my old, stupid brain didn’t have the capacity to coordinate my petting skills with my right palm. It, much like me, is useless.
Looking back on the whole debacle, I realize that the grooming glove ad didn’t offer a choice of hands, and also that I need to delete all the cookies on my phone. And also, that I probably shouldn’t fall for Instagram ads, because the reality never lives up to the expectations.