|This week's column is written by Jinny's daughter, Adele.
It has long been my belief that when one finds oneself in circumstances, which are inherently wretched and frustrating, it is the moment when one should recognize, to the greatest degree, the humor in the situation. In other words, (and to put it far less pompously), laugh in the face of adversity.
This philosophy is especially helpful when the day begins badly and gets worse as it progresses. I recently had such a day. It began when my refrigerator door fell off.
On that particular morning, my 9-year-old son, the indomitable Chuckie, was in the process of making himself breakfast before school. This process involved fetching the milk, which was, per usual, in the refrigerator. I was making a much needed cup of tea when I suddenly heard a loud "thump" followed by a largely unintelligible series of grunts from Chuck which, by virtue of my maternal instinctive interpretive abilities, I was able to translate as, "Help me, Mom. I'm in serious trouble here and I require your assistance immediately."
And indeed, he was. I turned to discover him struggling manfully to hold onto the door of the refrigerator, which was no longer attached to the actual appliance in question. It took me only a moment to get to his side but during that time I heard the distinctive sound of eggs falling on the kitchen floor.
While I was extracting the refrigerator door from Chuck's frantic grasp, he kept up a running dialog in which he expressed both horror at the predicament and heartfelt protestations of innocence accompanied by the background sound of more eggs splattering on the tile.
I took control of the heavy door and spent a moment assuring him that, although I had nothing but admiration for his physical strength, I doubted seriously whether it was prodigious enough to rip the refrigerator door from its hinges.
I held the door while Chuck attempted to clean up the gooey egg residue from the floor. I had visions of slipping on the stuff in my high heels and ending up on my back, lying in broken eggs with a refrigerator door on top of me. After the eggs had been more or less cleaned up, which required an entire roll of paper towels, I instructed Chuck to remove the items from the shelves in the door and put them into the refrigerator. This process took a bit of time during which I observed two interesting facts. (1) A refrigerator door tends to get heavier the longer you hold it up, and (2) If the door shelves were to be taken as an indication of my housekeeping skills, I was a slob.
Chuck and I managed to get the door back onto the bolts which are supposed to hold it in place so that the items in the refrigerator would not spoil, but in the process we found two screws on the floor which, through a bit of clever deduction, we surmised played a pivotal roll in holding the whole business together. Needless to say, they were not where they were supposed to be and opening the door was impossibility until they were.
"Where do you think these go?" asked Chuck.
It's nice to think that our children believe that we have the intellectual ability and knowledge to answer all their questions but rather disconcerting when they discover that we are not all that much smarter than they are. I opted for what I hoped would appear to be a well thought out bit of deductive reasoning.
"I imagine," I said with deceptively casual confidence, "That they hold the door in place and prevent it from falling onto people who are innocently attempting to make themselves breakfast."
"Gee, Mom. Ya think?" he responded in a tone dangerously close to a sneer. Apparently, my son had evolved into non-gullibility while I wasn't looking.
"Hmmph!" I huffed. Sometimes "huffing" is my only recourse. "Instead of making smart remarks, why don't you get down on the floor and investigate the possibility that they go in the lower hinge?"
"Why me?" He asked.
"Because you are not wearing a skirt and pantyhose." I answered.
"It's not my fault that women wear stupid clothes," grumbled Chuck as he lay down on the floor and peered at the hinge. He peered at it for rather a long time. I sensed that he was stalling on purpose just to annoy me.
"Well?" I asked.
"Yep, looks like they go down here, but unless you have some kind of trick screwdriver there's no way you're getting them in there."
This was not good news. There was about an inch and a half of space between the hinge and the floor. I did not possess a trick screwdriver.
"We shall just have to improvise," I said jauntily. Go Mom. Intrepid survivor. Queen of the optimists.
"Okaaaaay." drawled my son. I got the impression that he lacked faith in my innovative skills.
"We will just have to MacGyver this thing back together." I stated.
"Good," said Chuck, getting to his feet. "I'll go get the Duct Tape."
I began to regret having introduced him to reruns on Saturday afternoons.
"Duct Tape, although a remarkable invention with many useful applications, will not help in this instance." I told him. "We need a tool."
We set about finding something tool-like for the job. This involved digging in my toolbox and various junk drawers until we came up with my handy Swiss Army Knife. Chuck, (clever boy that he is), discovered that there was a bottle opener in the knife which suited our purposes quite well. We put a towel down on the still egg-sticky floor, lay prone next to the refrigerator, and managed to insert and tighten the screws in place.
Afterwards, we sat on the floor with our backs against the pot and pan cabinet, basking in the afterglow of our remarkable cleverness and sharing a cup of tea. We agreed that we would not attempt to actually open the door until a neighbor took a look at it and checked its stability. In truth, we didn't want to open it only to have it fall off again and ruin the high opinion of ourselves that we were currently enjoying.
Chuck raised his mug to mine. "To MacGyver" he said.
"To MacGyver," I agreed. We clinked our mugs.