In Which I Channel Stuart Smalley

Oh, please don’t tell me that you’re so young that you don’t remember Stuart Smalley from back before Al was the US Senator from Minnesota. Seriously. I don’t need to hear that.

I said recently that I wasn’t coming up with any resolutions, but I’ve actually got one. I’ve decided that I’m going to try to have only positive thoughts about myself. For example, instead of thinking “I’m a dork,” I’ll try to think “I’m full of awesome” instead.

This has turned out to be more challenging than I anticipated. For a girl with kick-ass SAT scores and an advanced degree from an Ivy League school, you wouldn’t expect that I’d think, “Wow, I’m unbelievably stupid” too often. Alas, you’d be wrong. I’ve realized how critically I view myself. Like, all the time.  Once I became aware of this alarming tendency, I decided that this bullshit simply. must. stop.

And shortly after making this resolution, I did something like, oh, I don’t know. . . drive my car directly into my garage door.

No, I’m not kidding. I wish.

We’d put one of those cargo carriers on the roof of our car for our holiday trip, and we hadn’t taken it off the car. I generally forgot that it was even there, but my driveway’s so long that by the time I’d traveled from street to garage, the garage door was fully open and I was in the clear. Except last week, when I planned to park in the driveway. Except it was snowing. So to avoid clearing snow later, I changed my mind, hit the garage door opener, and drove right in. Until there was a loud and alarming crunch.

Okay, so it doesn’t look so bad. But the door was broken enough and sort of bowed in just enough that it couldn’t go entirely up or entirely down. With the cargo carrier on top, the car couldn’t even fit into the garage. Luckily only the door itself was damaged: the car was fine.

Anyway, Cute W was out of town when this happened, and I switched to parking on his side of the driveway. Then, the night he was due home, I thought, “Gosh, he’ll be home so late, and he’ll be tired, I don’t want to disorient him by parking in his usual space.” I’d forgotten entirely why I’d parked on his side to begin with. So the next time I came home, I pressed the garage door opener, waited an extra-long time to ensure that the door was finished going up, and I drove into the garage door again. (If you’re confused here, see the phrase in italics in the previous paragraph.)

I couldn’t write about this while it was still fresh, but it’s resolved now. The door was semi-functional, but semi-functional just doesn’t cut it where Cute W is concerned, so he’s replaced it. The job took him all weekend, and although I tried to help, it was a bit like when your 3-year-old tries to help unload the dishwasher.

Actually, I was tempted to take a picture of Cute W, because he was wearing these grease-stained jeans with a super-masculine tool belt over it and a bunch of tools hanging off of that except that one pocket held a pencil with pictures of fluffy puppies and pink roses on it. It was hilarious. But at the time he was cursing and muttering, and I was overcome with remorse. And feeling like an idiot dumbhead a$$h63 intelligent person who had made an two unfortunate errors.

So again, it’s more challenging than I anticipated. But that’s what makes me feel that it’s a worthy endeavor. If you generally don’t do resolutions, or if you just haven’t settled on one yet, what about this one? Try listening to yourself and your internal monologue. And if it’s mean, unhelpful, or depressing, just shut it off. Replace it with something a little more joy-affirming instead. And if you’re having a bad day when you’re feeling like you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, just think: “Hey, at least I didn’t just drive my car into my garage door twice.”


  1. Danielle

    I tried to take a pan out of the oven without a potholder today. 5 minutes later, I reached over to move it and, you guessed it, forgot to use a potholder. I’d like to think that our minds are functioning at such a high level that they are too busy for mundane stuff like garage doors and potholders.

  2. Michelle

    This reminds me of the time that I took all the cabinet doors off the cabinets in the kitchen and put them on the floor of the garage to sand and refinish. This was a project worked on over an entire weekend. On Monday, I got in the car (in the driveway), and brought A to school. Coming home, I forgot about the cabinet doors, pulled right into my usual spot in the garage … and ran several of them over. Having to back the car off of them to assess the damage was icing on the cake.

    Less than a week after that, I backed my car out of the garage without looking and directly into my husband’s truck (which is not usually in the driveway by the time I left to bring A to school). His truck was fine, my car has a rather large dent in the trunk….for the THIRD time.

    So, as you can see, I can totally relate 😉

  3. So how long before it drives you guys nuts that you have 2 different garage doors?

    If I tried to count the number of dumb things I do on a daily basis, we’d be here forever. My latest: taking a spin class after not exercising in, oh, I don’t know how long. I totally overdid it and am still sore 5 days later. Just picture me going up and down the stairs in my 100 year old house with the rickety banister sideways the way you do just after having a baby and you still feel like your insides are going to drop out of your vagina. While carrying an 18 month old.

  4. Kristin G

    Did I ever tell you the story about how I smacked my passenger side mirror on a curbside garbage can on Palmer, TWO mornings in a row? Now that is an intelligent lady.

  5. Big Sister

    This is a great story. But most of all, I am happy to hear that this is your resolution. It is an excellent one for everybody but especially for you. (Just don’t bash yourself for not keeping your resolution.) And I am with Michelle on your girl power and awesomeness.

  6. Judy K

    Stop being so hard on yourself! You have an advanced degree from an ivy-league college so you’re not stupid. We’re just human (we is moms or women in general), and from time to time we’re distracted by so much that in our brains, we’re thinking about how long it will take to make dinner and does my son have a pair of pants for school tomorrow and where are the library books, and we forget that there’s a large object on the roof of the car. Maybe a bright colored sticky note on your dashboard with “no garage” will help. I agree, too, that we are too critical of ourselves. It’s a great resolution to be more positive. Oh, if you want your garage doors to match you’ll have to drive into the other door and then put the sticky note in your car.

  7. Thanks, everybody! Although I feel like I prompted a rash of here’s-what-I-did-that’s-stupid-too, when we all need to focus on our girl power and awesomeness, etc.

    And I don’t know how much I care about the garage doors matching, but that’s because I expect it will drive Cute W nutty. Plus, it took him a while to figure out how to do the last one, so I know that he wants to replace it before he forgets how it’s done!

    I truly do appreciate your kind words and support! xxoo

  8. Stephanie

    All of these little things have nothing to do with our awesomeness (says the girl who did the same thing as Michelle – my husband is NEVER there when I leave in the morning!) They make us real people. This is such a good resolution! I’m full of awesome…I’m full of awesome…I’m full of awesome…

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