Saturday, June 7, 2008

What am I Doing in the Pits?

By Margy McCarthy

This morning I have tossed aside my ratty weekend writer clothes and donned a white lab coat in the name of science. I am filled with the incandescent glow of humanitarian zeal and several cups of dark roast coffee. I am strong; I am invincible; hear me roar. My mission? I dedicate myself today to improving the lives of mothers everywhere; to delve where no woman has gone before; to plumb the depths of the imponderable and to find at last, an irrefutable answer to a question that has plagued generations.

It has been several years since I formally taught science, so I needed a little refresher course. Here, as a reminder to myself and to my fellow researchers, are the steps of the scientific method:
1. Ask a Question
2. Do Background Research
3. Construct a Hypothesis
4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
5. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
6. Communicate Your Results

Step 1:

The question to be addressed today, is one I'm sure we have all asked at some point in time:

Where is my kitchen table?

Step 2:

I have conducted my research by posing two simple questions to resident experts and recording their responses.
Question 1: Where is the kitchen table?
Question 2: When did you last see it?
I have conflicting results already. See Data I below.

Data I:
Resident Expert #1 - Shriek, female, age 12.
Response to Scientific Question 1: “In the kitchen.”
Question 2: “I saw it a minute ago when I got a doughnut.”
When further pressed- (“Are you sure you saw it?”) this expert’s reply was, “Mom, you’re being weird.”

Resident Expert #2 - Sparky, male, age 47.
Response to Scientific Question 1: “I have no idea. I was wondering that too.”
Question 2: “It’s been a few days. Wednesday, maybe? Thursday? Do you think we should file a report?”

Resident Expert #3 - Snooze, male, age 19.
Response to Scientific Question 1: “Huh? What?"

Scientist repeats Scientific Question 1: "It’s in the kitchen.”
Question #2: “I saw it last night.”
(Notation- Snooze was awakened at 9:48 a.m. for the sole purpose of research questioning. Grogginess may be a variable to consider in analyzing the validity of this expert’s response.)

As I study these results, I suspect that this is the point at which my esteemed predecessors in this field began to falter. Not only is there a lack of consistency , but the responses fall into distinctly opposing camps seemingly indistinguishable by gender, but accordant to the age of the respondent. See Data II.

Data II:
Number of Experts under the age of 21 who claim to have seen the table: 2
Number of Experts over the age of 21 who claim to have seen the table: 0

Number of Experts over the age of 21 who see only hot Cheetos bags, two empty pizza boxes, 6 pop cans, a bunch of dirty dishes, a stack of unused paper napkins, two pieces of junk mail, and a partially deconstructed Entenmann’s doughnut box in the place where the table used to be: 2

Number of Experts under the age of 21 who see only hot Cheetos bags, two empty pizza boxes, 6 pop cans, a bunch of dirty dishes, a stack of unused paper napkins, two pieces of junk mail, and a partially deconstructed Entenmann’s doughnut box in the place where the table used to be: 0

Step 3:

A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work: "If [I do this], then [this] will happen." So- here is my hypothesis: “If I clear the debris from the surrounding area this morning I will rediscover my kitchen table and we will be able once again to sit together as a family and enjoy a home-cooked meal tonight.”

Sounds reasonable. I will take off my lab coat now and put on a pith helmet. I really probably need additional protective gear; I’ll have to be an archaeologist for a while. I don't know why I'm so nervous- this is, after all, only a 52” square of turn-of-the-century golden oak on four sturdy legs- not some mysterious black hole with super-magnetic properties…
Or is it? Any predictions on my hypothesis? Will my experiment prove true? Will I survive the test and break new scientific ground? Wish me luck- here I go…

* * *

One more thing-- and I swear to you I am not making this up. This is an actual picture taken just this morning of part of the area in question. Resident Expert Sparky refused to allow a picture of the whole “missing table” to be posted on the www, but the irony of this was too good to pass up: (Erma? Can you hear me? Do you SEE this?)

Cherry pits.

cherry pits


Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Hate to tell you but your hypothesis is wayyyyyyy wrong. Sure, go ahead, clean it. But mark my words: by dinnertime, it will have gotten covered with miscellaneous trash all over again....

LOVE the bowl of cherry pits. How perfect! Though in my house, they'd not even be in a bowl--I'd just find them (and the stems) on the table right where my son left them. Oh, or jammed in the disposal where I'll then have to wedge my hand into the dark slime to attempt to extract...

Thanks for the laugh!

MargyWrites said...

Sad but true. I figured as much, but was being optimistic, as usual.

The cherry pits cracked me up. Still not sure which resident expert added that to the mix, but I'm sort of glad they did!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

This is great--it's like Erma is signaling you from the great beyond.

MargyWrites said...

That's what I thought too. She likes us! She likes us!

Elizabeth said...

I cleaned off my Dining room table to have my husband's birthday dinner last is already accumulating "stuff". Unfortunately, as far as the Dining room is concerned, It is all MY stuff. UGH. Can't even blame the kids!
Blessings, EJT

Daisy said...

Love the bowl of cherry pits! In my house, they would give the excuse of "Mom, I couldn't throw them away, I knew you'd want them in the compost!"

MargyWrites said...

Elizabeth- thanks for stopping by! My dining room has the advantage of not having the traffic flow the kitchen gets- or I'm sure it would be just as bad. Plus, the table is much bigger. Like yours, anything that lands in the dining room is as likely to be mine as anyone else's.

Daisy! So good to see you here! So glad you compost!
Wouldn't cherry trees start to grow in your heap?

Betsy Bird said...

You mean that flat-surface-on-legs in the kitchen is where we're supposed to EAT????? You're kidding! I thought it was where we were supposed to keep the newspaper/laptop/empty bag of Sunchips/glass from Saturday/wristwatch/to-do list/calculator/textbook from school completed two weeks ago/catalogs -- not to mention providing a roof over a couple of pairs of shoes. Excuse me -- I must go to bed now so that I am well rested for what promises to be a very strenuous Tuesday devoted to moving stuff into the dining room.

Love this blog/clog. Count me as a subscriber.

MargyWrites said...

Oh Betsy- you really made me laugh! I'm so glad you love our clog and-- (wait a minute- are we the sink kind of clog, or the shoes? Hmm. I think I know what Erma would say.) I'm so looking forward to your return!

Thanks for subscribing!

devilish southern belle said...

Erma would be so proud!


irreverentmama said...

As I sit typing, my dining room table is behind me -- and it has NOTHING on it but a very pretty bowl of fruit and a decorative box of tissue.

There are two teen in residence, and another three who cycle in and out.

How have we achieved this amazing feat?

We had company for dinner last night. At the time of writing, the teens are in bed. I'm savouring it now, because I KNOW it won't survive their awakening by more than, oh, 40 minutes, tops.

GREAT post.

MargyWrites said...

dsb- Oh, I do hope she is looking down on us with a smile! Thanks!

Sometimes I go into my dining room just to enjoy the lack of "stuff." We have to grab those moments while we can.