My mama used to tell me that life isn’t fair and life isn’t easy, and in all my years, I have yet to gather a scrap of evidence to disprove her.
But even her wise words couldn’t have prepared me for the extreme difficulty of the task I was faced with a couple weeks ago. We had overnight guests coming, and the duvet cover in the boy’s room needed to be changed.
That’s a chore I do not approach lightly, nor does anyone who’s ever attempted it and who doesn’t have supernatural abilities and/or at least four arms.
Now, don’t go thinking I’m a whiny, petty wimp just yet, because there’s more. Much to my horror, I realized that the cover on our own bed needed to be changed as well. And I was home by myself and would have to face this most feared and overwhelming task alone.
I took a moment to contemplate the implications of the grave reality that faced me. Not one, but TWO duvet-cover-changings in one day, by one lone person! It’s never been done before.
If I had the hubris to take on such a fool-hardy and perilous challenge on my own, I acknowledged the very real possibility that I might end up trapped deep within, wedged and suffocated somewhere in the dark, mysterious no-man’s-land between the comforter and the duvet cover, never again to be seen by my loved ones.
Thanks to my well-documented addiction to Modcloth and woodland creature-festooned items, I had enough extra duvet covers on hand to make this task possible even without doing any laundry, so my brain could formulate no valid excuses or avoidance strategies.
Dread and terror weren’t going to get this chore done, so I dove in, starting with the boy’s room. I know, in theory, how it’s supposed to work: you turn the duvet cover inside out, you find the most distant corners and tie or pin them to the comforter’s top corners. Then you flip over the duvet cover and unfurl it right-side-in all the way down the length of the comforter, and voilà, you’re done.
The flipping over and unfurling part, in general, is where things go from mildly irritating to Mission Impossible for me. I’m tall and I have long, flexible arms, strange double-jointed bent-back fingers, and hitchhiker’s thumbs. I can scratch every square millimeter of my own back and do any number of arm binds in yoga class with no problem.
None of that matters one single damn against the duvet cover.
What tends to happen is I manage to get the top corners secured, but then after the not-so-magic flip, I end up inside there shoulder deep, tugging at the dead weight of the blanket like it’s a calf I’m trying to work out of its mother’s womb. Invariably, by the time I get to the end and button up the duvet cover, I’m left with a lumpy, weird mess. Now, a 14-year-old boy may be oblivious about the neatness of his bed covers, but we had company coming, and lumpiness would not do.
So I flailed about. I cussed. I sweated. I stood up on the bed and held the bewitched, entangled mess up over my head by what—in my most educated estimation—were the top corners, and I shook it out in great undulating waves.
I used my frustration as fuel, shaking more and more violently, till the thing finally submitted to my will and looked passable.
Then, without taking a break or giving myself the chance to change my mind, I tackled the duvet cover on our bed. I was outnumbered and the odds were stacked high against me, but I conquered that mofo too.
Final score—duvet covers: 0, Maria: 2.
I know a day will come when I throw up my hands and admit defeat, when my time on this planet is up, and I am no more. But it is not this day. And it is not going to be at the hands of a couple of surly duvet covers.