Monday, January 14, 2008

My most embarrassing moment

When we moved to Boston in September of 2001, my boys were very young. McKay was two-and-a-half, and Chase had just turned one. With the husband already there working, I needed some extra help with the cross-country flight and solicited the ever-willing and long-suffering Marta for the job.

Other than a karma-destroying incident on the airplane (which I won't speak of here), the flight was pretty uneventful. When we arrived in Boston, we found out that our moving truck would be several days late. We had nothing to do. And two active boys that had already watched "The Fishy Show" [A.K.A. The Little Mermaid] about 9,654 times. So we decided to go sightseeing.

I had always wanted to go to Salem and see the sights, especially Nathanial Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables. It was about a 20-minute tour, and seemed doable with two adults to handle the boys.

Oh. If ONLY I had known.

Our tour began in the small, cramped living room of the House. While the tour guide was giving a background on the illustrious Nathanial Hawthorne, I noticed a peculiar stench. No, it was not the musky, moldy scent of a 400 year old house. That would have been pleasant in comparison.

The smell was coming from Chase's diaper.

I panicked, but knew that if I took him out to change it, we would lose our spot on the tour and not be able to get back. I figured it was only 20 minutes. He'd be okay, right? Sure, it's embarrassing, but what are you going to do?

Colossal mistake of huge proportions.

Right about that time, the tour guide was letting us know that all the artifacts in the home are original and so delicate that flash photography was not allowed, in order to preserve the authenticity of the historic house. I glanced down and noticed McKay pulling the curtains over his head.

Oh, this probably isn't good. I ought to pick him up and just carry him, I thought.

As I reached down to scoop him up into my arms, he gave those curtains a mighty tug, and snapped the built-in curtain rod RIGHT OFF THE WALL. You know, the one Nathanial probably BUILT HIMSELF.

So I'm trying to hold this wiggly child, and at the same time, I've got Nathanial Hawthorne's curtains on top of my head. I'm pulling the curtains off and I hear the tour guide yell, "STOP EVERYTHING! NOBODY MOVE. STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!"

I lift the curtains up sheepishly to face the angry and annoyed looks from the other people on our tour. By now, Chase's stench is stifling any and all remaining life out of the room.

The tour guide returns with the head of the museum and they begin to study the broken curtain rod to determine any restitution I would have to make. Poor Marta is holding the toxic-smelling Chase. McKay is wiggling and squirming to try and get out of my arms. My cheeks are hot and flushed, and the tears are threatening to spill over at any moment. Every eye in the room is glaring at me.

They finally decide that they will not make me pay for the damages and suggest in a less-than-friendly tone that we leave the tour.

Which we did.

Running and crying as fast as we could.

So the House of Seven Gables now has blinds where curtains once stood. My son has the lifelong honor of knowing he defaced a National Historic Landmark. I was shamed beyond anything I have ever known - before or since.

And I will fully understand if Marta never, ever wants to have children.

Top that, if you can.

39 comments:

Amanda said...

Oh, I could feel the embarrassment that you must have been feeling! I'm sorry that happened, but I don't think I can top it.

I can't remember any embarrassing moments, and I think that is because I have blocked them all from my memory...

Lauren said...

I am so sorry. I truly, truly am. At least you can blog about it masterfully. And, masterfully you did! Your use of imagery is fantastic! I could almost see your "tears threatening to spill over". Not that I am laughing at you but, I honestly burst into laughter when I read how you had "Nathaniel Hawthorne's curtians on top of my head".

Don't worry...I am sure your sweet little boy will make other marks in the world, besides defacing a National Historic Landmark.

Rosie said...

I'm proud of you for not sitting there crying. I think I would have been reduced to tears on the spot.

Ashlee said...

I'm impressed you actually tried to take them out. Brave lady you are...seriously.
And, it could have always been worse. ALWAYS. Think exploding diaper. Now, don't you feel better that it was only the curtains? :0)

John Holly Levi & Faith said...

This is a horrific story. Truly. The image of you with not only a green cloud over your head, but the Hawthorne curtains too is terrible. I don't blame you for jetting out of there as fast as you could.

But I have to ask, have you been back to finish your tour?

Just wondering.

Kimberly and Devon said...

Oh my gosh! What a horrible and traumatic experience! Luckily Chase's diaper didn't leak and permanently stain a historical artifact! I'm surprised you were able to hold back the tears until after you left...I would have start bawling the second the tour guide starting speaking to me.

Annie said...

Oh, how I love this story...I have told it to many a folk. I'm so glad you decided to post about it (in spite of the fact that now the House of Seven Gables can track you down!) so that I can have a written record :).

Let's see...my most embarrassing moments include setting off the burglar alarm at my multi-millionaire uncle's home and five police showing up and I had to say "oh, that button? I pushed it because I was wondering what it did." Also the time I forgot to put on bloomers underneath the dress when I was a dancer in a kickline in a musical. But none involving historical treasures. Now there's the topic for National Treasure 3!

dcrmom said...

Oh my merciful heavens. That is so funny. But only b/c it didn't happen to ME.

Family Adventure said...

Oh dear...I would be mortified, too. Poor, poor you. And I'm sorry, I'm not giggling at you...but I'm thinking that maybe Chase's diaper stench is partly to thank for them just asking you to "leave"?!

Heidi

Diane said...

What a dreadful experience! I think any one of us would have wanted to escape and cry our eyes out. However, I'll bet you money that tour guide did not have any children of her own. If she had, she would have just cried with you and not used her mean eyes.

Family Adventure said...

Hey Stie...I LOVE æbleskiver, and yes, I call crepes pandekager when I'm not blogging, too :) Too funny! I think it's great that your husband has kept some of his Danish traditions in your household. That's exactly what I try to do when we are in Canada. Makes for a richer life. Fatter, too, but hey...at least it's yummy!

Heidi

Kristin said...

Oh suck a good story and such a good invitation, I've got to narrow my moments down to find the best one.

RobynandJoe said...

Oh my gosh...that's a horrible story...it made me laugh pretty hard, though! I can picture exactly how you looked AND felt, only I would have started bawling a lot sooner!

Bridget said...

Oh Stie, I never tire of hearing this story. I am so glad to see that you can now blog about it. Much cheaper than therapy.

I think you should have demanded a refund since you didn't get to finish your tour. :)

You win. Can't top that.

gab said...

Classic. This story is family legend. Glad it's now documented out in cyberspace somewhere!

Jessica said...

Three things that make me want to abandon my children:

1. shopping at Walmart
2. stake conference
3. taking the them touring or househunting through someone else's house.

You very much validated why reason 3 stands.

DanandCindy said...

Just one more example of why you are an un-fit mother...

marta said...

stie, i loved this! i am laughing aloud. you totally made my day with our favorite memory.

that was a horribly no good and hilarious day. i loved every minute of it. i remember laughing and crying and you making me promise i wouldn't tell anyone. luckily your kids are so darn cute that of course i hope to have kids just like yours... that is, someday.

oh, that story will always make me laugh. ps. his house was a little overrated anyway.

Rochelleht said...

I'm speechless.

crystal said...

This reads like a 'Calvin & Hobbes' comic strip. I do believe this is the most unlucky incident I've ever heard of.

My sympathies.

Marty said...

Someday maybe your house will be on the Historic Registry as the house where the kid who wrecked Nate's house grew up! This is a total Stie story. If I had never heard it, I think, "I bet this happened to Stie."

Marty said...

Someday maybe your house will be on the Historic Registry as the house where the kid who wrecked Nate's house grew up! This is a total Stie story. If I had never heard it, I think, "I bet this happened to Stie."

The UnMighty said...

I got kicked out of Disney Land on my 13th birthday.
Happiest place on Earth, my eye.

Denae said...

I could never top that. That is the most embarrassing ever. I felt so nervous just reading it. And the poopy diaper smell? yuck. I feel bad saying it but I would not have liked you on my tour.... but I would have been nice to you when you broke the curtain.

Paige said...

That is good. So good. I can just smell it now. The only thing I have is when my little girl told another girl at the park- I don't play with black girls! right in earshot of her mother. Her mother came over and told me, and I crawled into my rock.

Holly said...

Oh my. The horror of poo and historic curtains coming down all in one afternoon is just too much! While I'm sorry it happened, you certainly told it well.

Mom2My6Kids said...

You have a great way of writing. This is a grea story. At least you have been able to retell it. I'm so sorry that they asked you to leave. I think you're a good mom for trying anyways!

Melain said...

I don't think "embarassing moment" really covers this one. The title should be elevated to "MORTIFYING moment" or "SOMEBODY PLEASE KILL ME" moment or something at least as strong as the smell coming from Chase.

andrea said...

i'm trying to brush up on my blogapalooza peeps. so i checked you out. but not like the guy at the grocery store did. congrats on that by the way.
we have some things in common. i'm from boston and i lived in MO for a few years. st. louis is a pretty area. and boston is the best. except for the STUPID nathanial hawthorn house.

2happy+2 said...

You are my cheap therapy!! At your expense of course!! You are still as funny as ever!! Gotta love ya!!

Mique said...

Yah that's a doozey (however you spell that). My embarassing moments come pretty close- it'd be a toss up. Notice I wrote MOMENTS. Yes ladies and gents, this classy lady is full of embarassing moments. Not always so classy. I could fill up a whole page of posts on them. Maybe I will just for kicks. Be on the lookout. For now I will just giggle at your one moment.
And um...go check out my latest post. Hope you are as jealous as I am unhappy. ;( Trade you places....
oh, one last thing- will you at be Women's Conference? Just checking. I know your MIL is speaking. I'm planning on being there....wanna get some ice cream or something (k, joking- something far more flashy than the Creamery. How about the Brick Oven? Ha! :)? Email me.....

Bill said...

Isn't Salem the Wiccan capital of the universe? What are the chances that YOUR tour guide was also a practicing witch or warlock? Do you think the green cloud was really a spell that was cast on you? Could this explain other strange things in your life?

Just wondering -- Pa

Becky said...

I thought I left a comment about this already...this is just too good, Christy. I can't believe you didn't share this with me. I mean, you shared about the statue of the saint and all, why not this one? It sure does make a good blog entry!

Dumb curtains...why weren't they better bolted on, anyway? Landon got a kick out of that story. Thanks.

Darilyn said...

I was just at that house this past October. Too bad I hadn't heard this story before then, I could have checked out the goods. I would have been so embarrased too. The funniest part is that they yelled NOBODY MOVE. That alone would have sent me running instead.

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness! I'm sorry that happened to you. I will say though that you have a great talent for writing. Although it was a most emparassing moment for you, your writing made it funny. I just love how not only did he pull down the curtains but he is also getting rid of any breathable air. That is talent.

Emily said...

I know you posted this a couple days ago, already have 35 comments and probably won't see mine BUT, as soon as I read the title and saw the picture I knew what this was and I completely lost it laughing. It's a great story, I've heard it many times and am looking forward to many more. HILARIOUS! Thanks for the chuckle.

April said...

These are the things that make having children fun. Maybe not at the time, but looking back. :o)

Jojo said...

If I was on your place, I would blame the museum administrators for not anticipating that event. They should have known that children would be visiting their museum and some precautionary measures should have been put in place.

Top it? Well, I retrieved my cellphone which fell into the toilet bowl in a public CR with my bare hands.

Soul-Fusion said...

Followed Travelin' Oma's link to this story and wow! how horrifying! You wrote it very well. Although I'm with the last commenter - if everything is so fragile why are they allowing young children on the tour? Many of the historic homes I have visited rope off the rooms with all the original stuff for this reason. I say you can blame them :)
Again, great writing.