Son of a BITCH.
Surely, surely in this age of iPads, in this age of space travel and unmanned drones, in this age of everything once considered impossible, surely someone could fix the one problem that has plagued parents for decades.
Surely someone can make iron-on Girl Scout patches that...gasp! Actually stick when ironed on!
(I know, I know, it’s crazy, but we’ve all got to dream.)
Because OH. MY. GOD. They don’t stick. They don’t stick even with a superhot iron. They don’t stick if you iron with a dishcloth between the iron and the patches and they don’t stick if you flip the damn vest over and iron them from the back. They don’t f***ing stick.
So, if you’re kind of like me, you wait until the day of the first meeting. You pull out the naked vest and the baggie with all the patches. You print out the diagram of where things belong. You heat your iron. And you optimistically begin to iron. (If you’re like me, this is also the first time you’ve touched the iron since last fall.)
And you iron. And you iron. And the steam is coming up and your hand hurts from pushing down so hard and you know you’re been ironing just the troop number for a good five minutes. So you put the iron down and you pick up the vest. And all the numbers fall off.
And you want to find the person that labeled them “iron-on” and poke them in the eye with a stick.
So, if you’re like me, you limit that particular form of hell to an hour and a half. After that, you give up and dig through drawers until you find a needle and thread. (I can cook and I’m not so bad with cleaning but I really suck at ironing and sewing.)
And, because you don’t want your daughter to be the only one who shows up at the meeting with a naked vest, you start sewing. You sew your heart out for an hour. You poke the needle into your finger so many times you get the bottle of Oxy-Clean to spray the vest every time you leave a little bloodstain. You figure every other mother can get the patches on the vest, and you know you’re not a complete idiot and that you can do it, too.
And then you hold the vest up and see that everything is totally crooked and, really, just looks like shit.
So you bite back tears of frustration and grab all the patches and run to the cleaners up the street. You burst into the quiet little shop and throw down the vest with the needle still attached and then you throw all the stupid patches on top of it.
And the sweet, quiet Asian women take one look at what you’ve dumped in front of them and they start yammering away in their language. They’re gesturing at the vest and ripping out all your stitches and talking over each other and you just know they’re saying, “Stupid freaking girl thinks she can sew and she’s massacred this whole freaking vest and her daughter is going to think her mother’s an idiot and it looks like a rat chewed where she sewed.”
But that’s not what they say.
What they do say is:
They shake their perfectly coiffed heads, raise their perfectly plucked eyebrows, mentally award you the stupid-mother award of the day and murmur to each other.
“Please?” You bite back tears again. “Please? I’ve wasted my whole morning and I know I waited until the last minute but I really think there’s a conspiracy against mothers trying to iron these patches on and I really want to surprise my daughter since she thinks there’s no way in hell her vest will be ready today.”
They sigh and smile and say,
You will want to hug them, trust me, but you won’t. You’ll say,
And, no lie, they’ll say,
“Very, very expensive. Very expensive.”
And you’ll say the f-word (in your head because there’s no way you’ll insult them now) and you’ll leave the vest with them and go home and pound out all your frustrations on your computer and secretly hope that no one reads your blog today because really, it’s completely pathetic that you’ve wasted this much time and energy and angst on something that is so stupid.
Until your daughter comes home, and you present her with the Cadillac of all vests, with patches that are never going to come off, and you hide the bill from your husband, and then all will be right in the world.