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About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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Count Me Out



I was pretty sure it was Tuesday, but I wouldn’t have sworn to it.

As for the date? Fahgedahboutit. No clue.

It was easier to just stop counting. Counting the days of no school. Counting the meals I’d cooked. Counting the shocking number of gloves we own.

But counting out the shoveling money and dividing, it was epic. This chore was bigger than the mountain of snow on my street corner. It was the Everest of math and that giant mound of money was staring at me in 3-D from the kitchen counter.

Why not add it up and divide it by three, you ask? Because not all three boys worked on every house. Because there were subcontractors to take care of and clients who paid with checks or PayPal transfers.

Nothing says,“when the hell did we become a corporation?” like your first PayPal invoice.

There was a good chance this task was going to be my final undoing. On my tombstone it would say: “Making it all add up finally took her down.”

Math: The silent killer of the creative mind.

I was cruising with the iPhone calculator. On fire, I tell you. Adding up all those jobs and payouts with aplomb. The grand total was over $1,000.

If only I could have stopped there, flush with victory. Thank God Mac arrived like a division angel to help me calculate how much each kid earned.

He grabbed the spiral notebook that serves as our fancy, official Stiles Shoveling, Inc. ledger. He then consulted the excel spreadsheet with the addresses and went to work.

I was in awe of him. He made it look so easy as he jotted down numbers and did all the math in his head. I beamed with pride! So thankful that at least one of my kids had gotten a math gene from their dad.

Until it all came to screeching halt. Our homemade ledger totals did not match the pile of money and checks. In fact it was $40 off. Or in shoveling terms, we were short by one cleared sidewalk.

It was confirmed, I had cursed all of my children forever.

Nah, just kidding.

He was a pro, moving numbers around, finding his error and fixing it. And finally– ding, ding, ding– we had a match.

Each boy’s eyes lit up when they saw their final pile of $20’s. The younger two fanned out their cut to be preserved in Instagram history. I mean, everyone knows it didn’t happen until it is up on social media. Snap Chat stories and Vines followed, I’m sure.

Hope they soaked it in while they could because most of that cash is going in the bank. No one needs that much Chipotle.

We celebrated by taking my son’s car out for dinner. After freeing it from its igloo on the street, the kids were itching to take it somewhere.

I was so happy to be out of the house without a shovel in my hand. Out of the kitchen, without an oven mitt in my hand. Out of captivity, without climbing over mounds of snow.

I knew then that I would remember this date, January 26th, forever.The day we finally escaped the Blizzard of 2016.

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Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.


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