Thursday Throwback

Jane (The View From the Foothills) gave me a lift by asking,

Is there any chance you could re-publish your story on defrosting the hamburger in the washing machine.  A very good friend of mine is about to have her 4th child and I would like her to have a  fabulous laugh.  That story, which I passed along a lot when your old blog was up, has kept many friends laughing over their life with a newborn mistakes, “Well, it wasn’t quite hamburger in the washing machine but I ……”.

Well, I am happy to oblige, and even happier to post something I don’t have to write!  So here it is:

The Hamburger In the Washing Machine One

The baby, with her Svengali eyes,

hypnotized me into believing that she was sleeping through the night.

We would solemnly put her into her bed promptly at 9:30, and she would sleep until 6 AM.

After several nights of this, I would actually be in tears by morning, unable to believe that it was already morning again, and sleeping time was all over, and why was I so tired, when the baby was sleeping through the night?

Sure, she would get up for a little snack when we came into bed and disturbed her; and occasionally, when she has a cold, or was fighting off a cold, or recovering from a cold, she would need to get hydrated; and all of us, including babies who can’t tell time, were a little confused by daylight savings time; and as long as the sun is almost up, or almost up, that counts as breakfast time. And of course she’s often teething. But basically, she was sleeping through the night, I would say.

For as much as two hours at a stretch, all through the night.

I couldn’t make toast without consulting the recipe. I would try and start the car when it was already running. I would use “thing” to substitute not only for nouns, but for any part of speech, as in: “Could you please thing this thing in the other thing over there? Yes, you. Thing with the red thing on.”

And of course I lost things — school books, hot cups of coffee, children . . . you know, things. I spent a good half hour hunting for a misplaced bag of parsley, which couldn’t have roamed very far from the soup pot of origin, could it? By sheer chance, while searching for my keys, I discovered the parsley tucked safely inside the dishwasher, where, oh yeah, I put it because, um, because of some reason, surely.

In light of this mental disintegration, my husband suggested that the baby might sleep better across the room, where she can’t easily see, hear, or smell me. She can still be nice and close in case an eagle breaks into the house and I need to be there for her, but a little distance will encourage her to quit sucking the life force out of me night after night.

Well, it worked. She now sleeps from 9:30 to 7:30 — for real, as in remaining quietly in her crib, and waking up happy and hungry. She’s been doing this for almost two weeks. I’ve been getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep, day after day . . . and I’m still stumbling through my life like a amnesiac with autism and a death wish.

Yesterday I lost three-and-a-half pounds of ground beef. Where could that meat be, where could it be? The previous day, I had forgotten to take it out in time to have hamburgers, but left it out so that, if I forgot again the next day, it would at least be partially defrosted. But then I forgot to put it away. So where was it now?

So I asked my husband, who knows me, What the hell did I do with that meat? and he had an inspiration: maybe it’s in the washing machine! In fact, it must be in the washing machine. That’s where I put it to defrost, because — I dunno, to make room in the refrigerator for some laundry?

Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I know you were looking forward to reading about how I didn’t notice that the meat was in the washing machine until the horrible, gristly disaster was complete — how I let all the cycles run, including “agitate,” which is very hard on chop meat — how I didn’t even notice how oleaginous the wet clothes were, even though all the hundreds of tiny drainage holes were each stuffed with a wad of raw, soapy hamburger — and chunked the whole meaty mess into the dryer, and of course set it to “high heat,” and how now my husband will be getting sock jerky for lunch and hamburger khaki casserole for supper for the next few days, which is not covered under the warranty.

Nope. All that happened was that I located the meat while the washer was only half-full of water and soap. The situation was saved before any kind of whirring, churning, or centripetal force came into play.

The worst part was that the blood leaked all over the clothes; but if you think about it, that’s really pretty good timing in a bad situation. It’s like breaking your leg in the lobby of the hospital, or punching your brother while in the confession line.

Well, at least that hamburger got defrosted. And clean! (Yes yes, I threw it away. It sat out for 36 hours, was sopping wet, and smelled like a combination of a mountain breeze and warm, wet meat. We’re just going to have to eat socks or something tonight.)

So that’s one mystery solved: I did find the meat. But where did I put my brain? Now let me see, I was using it to correct some math the other night, and then I put it down somewhere . . .


  1. wonderful! 🙂 My husband and I… ok, my husband has a running joke… if I can’t find something, check the refrigerator. All KINDS of things have been found in there. including phones and other non-kitchen items. many a milk has soured in the cupboard of our kitchens. ANd I can’t blame the kiddos even!!

  2. Hello Simcha! I found you via Conversion Diary. I love your posts!

    “Could you please thing this thing in the other thing over there? Yes, you. Thing with the red thing on.”

    Laughed out loud. almost knocked my computer off my lap. That is SO ME. I don’t know how often I stop and stare into space mid-sentence because the word I needed WAS JUST THERE! Thanks for a hilarious story.

  3. My 14-month-old daughter hypnotized me into thinking she was only nursing to sleep at naptime and bedtime. Then I realized she was sidling up to me at 2 or 3 other points during the day and managing to get herself a pick-me-up. Now that my eyes have been opened to little girls’ abilities to do such things, I am finding ways to distract her without having to nurse her.

  4. Oh, OW! My stomach hurts from laughing so hard! How well I remember those days. Thought they would never end. Oh how funny! Thank you for sharing. I’m at the other end of life now, with no infant to blame for my memory lapses. I often use “thingy” for ALL parts of speech. And…and…WHERE are the thingys I wear over my…whatevers… so that I can…SEE!

    🙂 Rosemary in Missouri (soon to be in Ohio)

  5. Even better when you have a little person “helping” you by taking something out the one time you actually have it put away in the right place and moving it someplace they might like it better. Like the toilet, the trash, you name it. Mine is named Joseph. And he currently has an apprentice in training named William. Joseph likes the trash. William the toilet. Someday I may locate my brain in one of those places.

  6. I was just telling my husband about this post last night….I am SO happy you re-posted it!!!!!!!

    Yesterday I lost our phone. I kept hitting the page button, but wherever the phone was, it was too far away or something, for the paging sound to be heard. I had to email my husband and work and he had to call our phone over and over while I searched like a maniac (all while hoping desperately that the sound of the base ringing wouldn’t awaken my sleeping 6 month old….which was stressful in itself b/c my 3 year old is deaf and when she is sleeping can’t hear a dang thing and I’m still not quite used to the fact that this latest kid can actually hear stuff)

    Finally found the phone in the bottom drawer of the change table?! I dunno. I don’t think I can blame my 3 yr old, she was at school all morning. So I guess it was me. I just don’t remember…..

  7. I haven’t had a nursing baby for almost seven years, but this made me laugh till I cried. I showed it to my 15yo daughter, and she did too–and so did I, again, even though I’d read the whole thing only five minutes before!

  8. I realize this comment is only about a year late, but I am up and down with pregnancy hormones at the moment, and this post had me laugh harder than I’ve laughed in a long time. I was a lot like this when my daughter was born – I found out very quickly that my body just does not function on little sleep. This time around (when this baby is born) I hope to remember this and try to keep a little more humor in my day! Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s