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November 13, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Lucky Numbers – 11/11/77

Thirty one.  A terribly uneven number.

Yet, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I still remember the slumber party where several silly, ridiculous junior high girls (myself included) busted out the Ouija board.  I was taught never to play with Ouija boards, because they channel the devil, and you shouldn’t play with fire, et cetera.  But there I was at thirteen, playing with the Ouija board.  And that silly little triangle really did seem to move by itself. 

So one by one, we asked the Ouija board silly questions of the “does he like me” or “Is Mr. F going to have a sex change” and things like that.  Then one of the girls asked the board, “When am I going to die?”  So we all took turns asking the board when we were going to die.  I got two answers, it seemed that the Ouija board couldn’t make up its mind.  The first answer was 19.  The second answer was 30. 

I asked the board which one was it, 19 or 30…and it spelled back “universe.”  My thirteen year old self was ultra-creeped out.  I might only have six years to live!  On the other hand, I might have seventeen.  I knew that the board was probably full of crap, but would the universe punish me for asking the question? 

Somewhere deep in my subconscious, I’ve always had that nagging board’s numbers in my head.  Once I made it to my twentieth birthday, there was only my thirtieth to survive before I could finally get rid of my implanted thirteen year old worry.  It’s not so much that I am afraid to die, it’s the wondering how that drives me crazy.  There are so many options.  Car accident.  Accidental snowmobile decapitation.  Choking.  Carbon monoxide.  Falling into a huge vat of boiling marshmallow fluff while running from bad guys in the Kraft(TM) plant. 

On November 11, the morning of my 31st birthday, I woke up early to a gorgeous sunrise.  I planned to get to work as early as possible, because my work to-do list is quite lengthy this week.  If I accomplished enough at work, I wouldn’t have to stay late.  The perfect sunrise was a sign.  It was about to be a beautiful day, my birthday, a day where everything would go my way.
 
I didn’t bother to make coffee; I was planning on treating myself to a fancy schmancy Birthday Latte.  After all, the Starbucks in the bookstore opened at six A.M. so I could pick up my coffee and still be to work plenty early. 

I decided to help out with a few of the household chores before going to work.  Tuesday is also garbage day, and since Wasband would be doing the kid-wrangling that morning, I thought it would be a nice gesture to take care of trash duty.  I collected all of the trash in the house, bagged it up, and lugged the huge garbage bin to the street. 

I turned back to the house; that daggone pumpkin was still on the porch.  Except it wasn’t creepy or cannibalistic any longer; it was starting to rot and shrivel.  I decided that the old, gigantic pumpkin has scared his last.  So I got out two 30 gallon trash bags and I double bagged the pumpkin.  I tucked in a smaller bag of miscellaneous trash on top of the pumpkin so that way the garbage men would only have to grab one extra bag.  I then began to lug the bag-o-pumpkin to the street.

It was heavy. 

Right in the middle of the driveway, the bag exploded.  Two double hefty bags weren’t enough to contain the pumpkin.  It split into many squishy, yellow, moldy pieces.  Chicken bones from the previous night’s dinner, toilet paper wads, birthday wrapping paper and several junk catalogs were strewn across the driveway amongst the pumpkin wads.

The sunrise was still in its prime.  Was it laughing at me?  I stood up and shook it off.  I smiled.  How irritating!  Chuckle.  But it was my birthday, and such a little thing as a giant exploding pumpkin covered in chicken bones wasn’t about to get me down.  I went back in the garage for new bags and started to clean up the driveway. 

Note: squishy November porch pumpkin is VERY cold on the hands early in the morning. 

I tried my best, but even after I cleaned up the big parts, the driveway still looked gross.  But the stinky pumpkin juice would eventually wash away in the rain and snow.  I went back inside the house to wash up and head to work.  FINALLY.

I was close to work when my phone rang.  My husband was on the other end.  We were missing the car seat from his car and he needed to borrow mine.  I sighed.  I turned around and headed all the way back to the house.  I’d still manage to get to work earlier than usual, I hoped.  After dropping off the car seat, I really needed that coffee.  It would only be a few minutes out of my way.  I headed for the bookstore. 

I was pleased to see that the parking lot was empty, heck, there wouldn’t even be a line!  A special birthday coffee would really get the day back on track.  I could almost taste the bitter goodness, I could imagine the foamy top.  I hastily walked to the door and pulled.  It was locked.  That’s when I noticed the sign taped to the glass:

NOTICE TO OUR CUSTOMERS: 
As of November 11, 2008, we have new hours! 
We now open at 8 A.M., Monday – Friday.

My heart started to race.  Eight AM?  Eight AM?  What happened to SIX?  People who want to pay four dollars for a espresso-based beverage pay four dollars because they NEED it, because it’s EARLY.  EIGHT AM IS TOO LATE FOR A COFFEE SHOP TO OPEN. 

spilled_coffee1

I walked back to my car.  I started laughing.  I started laughing so hard that tears streamed down my face.  I called my husband to tell him the irony of the morning but he couldn’t understand a word I was saying because of my hysteria.  I hung up.  I arrived at work at my normal time.  SO much for getting up extra early.

Things got better throughout the day; my team got me a gift card and they took me out to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Cafe Zydeco.  I ordered my favorite thing on their menu, a bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo.  It’s so good, and so spicy, that you can only have it once in a while.  And I can never finish a whole bowl, so there would be lunch leftovers for the next day or so.  I was so excited to get such a treat.  It had been a while since I had a bowl.  Delicious!

I had to work late to try and catch up on everything.  My husband e-mailed me and warned me not to eat, for there would be “yumness” when I got home.  And that is the best gift…not having to cook after working late.  Finally I came to a stopping point and raced home (I can speed now, since I made it to 31) and walked in the door. 

A huge bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo from Cafe Zydeco was waiting for me on the kitchen table. 

I started to laugh.  And laugh, and laugh, and laugh.  The universe might not kill you for playing with a Ouija board…but it might torment you with its sense of humor.

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12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. dunnett / Aug 26 2009 3:30 am

    19+35=5

  2. smalltownsmalltimes / Nov 18 2008 2:03 pm

    Happy Belated…just read you comment on the post about my grandma…it seems very great women were born on November 11.

    I loved this post. Thank you for a geat laugh.

  3. Greg / Nov 16 2008 2:00 am

    Sorry I’m late but Happy Birthday. 31 is a great age. Hell, anything in the thirties is a great age.

  4. Christine / Nov 14 2008 9:53 pm

    HBD!! 😀

  5. kaylee2 / Nov 14 2008 9:41 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  6. bluesuit12 / Nov 14 2008 7:39 am

    Happy Birthday! Loved the post. I hate when stuff like this happens but always love it when I’m able to get a good laugh from it rather than just being angry and annoyed. Definitely a birthday to remember.

  7. curlywurlygurly / Nov 14 2008 6:24 am

    happpppy belated! glad you made it to 31. the chicken bones and exploding pumpkin would have been enough to send me to bed for the rest of the morning. 🙂

  8. pikespeakdenise / Nov 14 2008 5:20 am

    A very nice bloggift for US on your birthday! I hope you took a phone-photo of that sign. It belongs in your scrapbook. 😉 Happy year of living dangerously to you!

  9. morethananelectrician / Nov 13 2008 2:49 pm

    If only that damned board would have told you that the place you purchase your “espresso-based beverage” was going to be opening late…you coul dhave been prepared. If you only knew which questions to ask back then…

    Dying inevitable, but damn it! We need our coffee in the morning!

  10. Sharon / Nov 13 2008 2:30 pm

    That was the best birthday story ever! I will be in Missouri with my mom on my birthday in a few weeks and she has to go to chemo that day. I told her I would spend the day with her at the hospital. What would make it really perfect is if it was the same hospital I was born in. That would be nostalgic.

  11. crisitunity / Nov 13 2008 1:08 pm

    First off, happy birthday.

    Second, what a hilariously awful story. I think I would have been incapable of any reaction other than hysterical laughter myself, especially since the bookstore picked THAT DAY to start its new hours.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    It was either laugh, or sob. I was kind of doing both!

  12. danaofthebells / Nov 13 2008 1:08 pm

    Now, I don’t necessarily believe in the whole Ouija board nonsense… but the answer doesn’t seem as though it would give you an age.

    13 + 19 = 32
    13 + 30 = 43

    A little paranoia (or paranormal) can be healthy, I suppose?

    OH CRAP. I didn’t even think of that. Oh, crap!!!!

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