I know I don’t stray from sewing or DIY posts very often, but I thought it would be fun to completely embarrass myself today by sharing a recent experience. Perhaps I’m looking for a little reassurance that I’m not the only one who feels like a large part of their brain has, um, been MIA since having kids.
Surely you’ve heard of “pregnancy brain”, right? The problem with pregnancy brain is that the name implies that it’s just that – pregnancy brain. When I was pregnant with Wyatt, no one told me that pregnancy brain never really goes away. In fact, in my case, it has seemed to compound and get progressively worse with each child.
Do you ever do absent minded things that you know you would have never done before having kids? Read on to feel super smart :).
You see, I recently finally took the plunge back to the gym. I’m always a little nervous taking a baby to childcare at a gym, but now that Lola is getting a bit older, I finally felt comfortable going. And I’ve really enjoyed having an hour or two to myself several times a week.
I had been to the gym several times, and after a great workout one day, returned to the locker room to get my stuff. We had a busy day planned, and I was in a hurry to get the kids out of childcare and move on to our next activity.
I put the combination into my purple master lock, and when I tried to open the lock, it wouldn’t budge. No biggie, I thought, and tried again. No luck. I tried about ten more times, and still no luck. Great, I thought, my lock is broken. Not what I needed when I was in a hurry, and knew that Lola would be getting hungry soon. My keys, my phone, and my wallet were of course all in my locker, so I couldn’t do anything, including leaving the gym, without my bag that was in the locker.
The lockers are only for day-use, so I figured the gym would have a pair of bolt cutters on hand, and luckily I was right. One of the staff members came back with me and gave the combination a try a few times before agreeing that we should cut the lock off.
Fortunately for me, mid morning is the busiest time at the gym, and we had a rotating slew of onlookers offering their own two cents (they were all actually incredibly nice about it). More than several of them asked me, “Are you sure that lock is yours? Are you sure your lock is purple?” Of course I replied that I was sure, as I had used the lock several times in the past week, and remembered putting my things in that exact locker that day.
So out came the bolt cutters, which was quite the spectacle in itself. The staff member (which turned into two staff members) tried and tried, and the lock would not cut. After a good 10 minutes of trying different techniques, angles, and positive thinking, we realized the bolt cutters were in fact bent, which explained why they were making dents in the lock but wouldn’t cut through. They went off to look for another pair, and in Their absence I was determine to get that lock off on my own.
After some strategic twisting, turning, and prying, the lock finally snapped! I let out a huge sigh of relief, congratulated myself for a job well done, and opened the locker to grab my stuff. My jaw dropped as I looked in the locker and saw an unfamiliar makeup bag and other personal items. It wasn’t my stuff! I gasped in disbelief and confusion, as I’m sure my audience did as well. Two problems. 1: I just broke into someones locker, and 2: I still didn’t have my things. At that moment one staff member came back in and I had to tell her what had happened. After apologizing profusely for breaking someone else’s lock open, and assuring her that I’d replace the lock for that person, I checked around the entire locker room for purple locks.
Although I was sure that I had put my things in the lockers closest to the exit, you can imagine that my self-doubt was rising at that point since I had already been wrong once. There were only a couple of other purple locks, and my combination wasn’t working on them. Although I was sure that my lock was purple, I even started trying any lock that even closely resembled mine, in any color. I really didn’t know what else to do. I also looked in every empty locker, thinking maybe I had forgotten to actually put my lock on.
It had been about 45 minutes since the ordeal started, and during this time, the staff members kept mentioning the possibility of theft. While I didn’t want to believe it, I was starting to get worried. They were talking about calling the police, but I was just waiting to that moment of clarity where I could say, “Duh!” and remember where my things were. My truck was still in the parking lot, so I figured that was a good sign :).
I ran into the childcare and let them know what was going on, apologized that I was late getting my kids, and told them I’d be back as soon as I could. As I was on my third round of checking lockers and locks of every color, the staff member returned with the idea to call my cell phone to see if we could hear it ringing. Well an hour had gone by by this time, and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought of it until that time.
She called my number, and two other staff members plus me split up in the locker room to listen for it. Nothing. She tried again and we listened again. Nothing. So there we were near the original locker that I so kindly broke into, and I asked her to try calling my cell one more time. I thought I heard a faint ring, and it sounded like it came from the locker just diagonally down from the locker I had opened. We pried that door open what was probably only a couple of millimetres, and listened as she called again.
I definitely heard my ring tone, and heard it coming from that locker. I was SO happy! It even had a purple lock on it, so I was so relieved that the mystery was finally solved. I thought I had already tried opening that lock multiple times already, but I was so flustered by that point that I didn’t trust anything that I thought. More than anything, I was just happy that I found my things and would soon be on my way.
I used my combination on the lock, and guess what? It didn’t open. Hmm. I tried a few more times with the same result. The anxiety was starting to rise again. How ironic, I thought. I had just broken into a locker that wasn’t mine, thinking my lock was broken, and now after finally finding my real lock, it was broken.
I was 100% sure that I heard my phone ringing in that locker, so after convincing the staff of my certainty, out came the bolt cutters again. Unfortunately, I think I did such a number on them the first time, they were working even worse than before. A staff member and I spent about 10 minutes trying to get the lock cut, to no avail. She went off to look for a hammer to try to bust the lock off (the mental image of how that would have looked still makes me giggle), and once again I decided that that lock WAS coming off, and after several minutes of trying different techniques, BAM!
The lock snapped and I literally raised the bolt cutters high in the air and let out a “Yes!” I took a breath of relief and laughed as I said to one of my audience members, “I guess I should look inside and make sure it’s my stuff this time!”
Ready for the awkward meter to be turned up another notch? I removed the cut lock and as I opened the locker, my jaw dropped to what felt like my knees, my hand met my mouth, and I froze with wide eyes.
It. Was. Not. My. Stuff.
Yep, make that not just one, but two lockers that I broke into. I remember saying to the lady that I had just high fived with the bolt cutters, “I’m gonna freak out. I’m gonna freak out. I’m gonna freak out.” It’s really quite funny to think back on now, but not so much at that moment. I made the walk of shame out of the locker room and found the staff member that was searching for the hammer. I don’t really remember what I told her, but I’m pretty sure that I repeated the words, “I’m gonna freak out,” again. And apologized profusely once again for my lack of brain cells. I think I also mentioned something like, “Put it on my tab,” which I’m sure she didn’t see the humor in.
By now all hope was lost for my sanity. I was in shock about what was happening, embarrassed, and confused all at the same time. I knew had heard my phone ringing (or did I?), and what were the chances that Exhibit B’s phone had my same ring tone and happened to ring at the same moment that the staff member called my phone.
I called Joel to let him know what was going on. I told him to make sure he answered my calls for the next bit, thinking I may need him to bring me our extra key. At the end of our conversation, I mentioned, “The lock was purple, right?”
“No, it’s green.”
Well, if I was wrong about not one but two lockers already, why should I have known what color my lock was? Even if it was green, I thought, I had already tried every lock that was similar to mine, in every color.
I hung up with Joel, and headed back to the locker room for one more try. I figured it was useless, but was at least smart enough to realize what a huge idiot I was (huh?) and that I better have another look.
The first thing I noticed? A green lock. It was right below the first vandalized locker and right next to the second vandalized locker. But it had a white dial on the front, and I was sure it wasn’t mine. In fact, it had been one of the very few locks I didn’t try my combination on because I was sure that I had never seen it before. Certainly it wasn’t mine, but I dialed my combination into it, expecting the same result I had with the 97 other attempts on other locks.
Click. It opened so effortlessly. Half of me was so happy that I could finally get my kids and go home (almost an hour and 45 minutes had now passed), and the other half – probably closer to 3/4 – of me was embarrassed beyond belief. I also finally understood why I had heard my phone ringing.
I walked out of the locker room, this time with my bag in hand, and talked to a couple of the staff members who had been helping me. They wouldn’t let me pay for the locks I cut, even though I begged them to let me, and were nice enough to share some of their own absent minded mom moments with me. As I left, I told them they might not be seeing me for awhile :).
I picked up my kids from childcare (who despite being in there for three hours were actually still having the time of their lives), and after getting everyone in their car seats, I sat in the truck for a few minutes, trying to process what just happened. Ironically, I had remembered the combination to my lock, I just had no idea what my lock looked like :).
I still cringe inside when I think about this experience, but I am starting to find the humor in it. Starting.
Also, I’m happy to report that I didn’t take a leave of absence from the gym. I tell myself that no one will remember who I was, even though rationally I know the opposite is most likely true.
So, why share this story today? First, because even though I’m still mortified, I know that others think it’s hilarious, and I wouldn’t want to deprive anyone of the laughter. Second, perhaps you’ve never broken into one, let alone two, lockers at a gym, but we all have those moments, where we have 53 things on our minds at once, and our brain just has to let go of a detail or two every once in awhile as part of survival. And we can’t be too hard on ourselves when that happens, which is easier said than done. We’ll never be perfect, we’ll do dumb things sometimes, and that’s okay.
What I do know is that the little creatures that turn our lives upside down and suck the brain cells out of us are worth every bit of embarrassment and absent mindedness, and we gain so much more from them than we could ever imagine.
The other day as we were driving Wyatt asked me, “Mom, is it true that I teach you way more than you teach me?”
“Yep,” I said, “Definitely true.” :)