Thursday, January 3, 2013

Life Lessons from a Pack of Rice (Who Knew, Right?)

For those of you who don't know, I own a pack of rice. 

Okay, that's already a lie. My dad actually owns it, but I've since claimed it for my own. Last Christmas I grabbed a large olive green t-shirt, white rice, and some thread and made one of those hot rice packs that you microwave and keep in your bed during winter. It wasn't fancy-- like something you'd probably find on Pinterest-- but it was very practical. After all, I assumed it would spend most of its life relaxing on the cab seat of a Dodge Ram; but that was before I stole it and began putting it to better use. This green pack was an improvement from the last, which was filled with yellow corn and never failed to evoke a response from my apartment roommates. "Do we own chickens?" was a common one, as well as, "Ugh... something's burning in the microwave. It must be Bailey's." I loved it, even if they didn't. Though these heating packs are generally intended to reside in your bed and ward off frostbite, they are also handy in a pinch anywhere else you might become cold. It's became sort of a fifth limb of mine this past year, or a self-inflicted tumor that molded to the shape of my belly (that's where it feels comfiest). I am forever dragging it all over the house, out to the car, up to bed, etc. like Linus and his beloved blanket. Six minutes and 30 seconds gets it just the right temperature, and there's a perpetual beep, beep, beep that comes from the kitchen at all hours of the day. This drives my dad nuts since every time he opens the microwave door to heat up dinner, there's a steaming empty piece of Fiesta ware inside (which means that there is a warm, contented daughter somewhere in the next room, hugging this bag of rice in the fetal position). 

Then it happened. I lost it and about needed therapy. I don't know how you can grow addicted to a shirt full of white rice, but it was legitimate: after tearing my room apart looking for it, I found myself craving that warmth on my core all throughout the day and especially at night. When the rain and snow and hail and wind did its thing outside the windows, I shivered extra shivers remembering the steamy rice that once was mine. I couldn't even resort to the corn-filled pack as an alternative because it had been lost for months already. It was the depths of despair. For two weeks I suffered, as my knees knocked and teeth chattered in the brutal winter air (believe me, 66 degrees inside is brutal when you're used to walking around with a personal heating device). Then, after one more encouragement from my mom, I checked the cracks around my bed again for at least the third time. My rice pack had not been there before... but it was now. YES! It was Christmas all over again, but not only did I find it but also found another surprise: my yellow corn one. They were both sleeping dormant in my bed, and I didn't even know it. Instantly, the microwave plate started to circle around, as if spinning for joy at my discovery. Six and a half minutes later, the rice was hot, and we were back in business. 

There's one more thing you should know about this pack. A few months back, it somehow got a small hole in the fabric. Normally, it would be too tiny to notice, were the olive green fabric still functioning as a shirt. However, it's not... and the hole is the exact size of two rice kernels. This means that every time I lift up the pack, it sheds a few. I now leave a trail wherever I go in the house. I find this extremely amusing, but the rest of the family (after picking up pieces of white flecks from the furniture) does not. It's like a miracle of Jesus: no matter how many kernels my rice pack loses, it's still as full as ever. :)

Now for the awful reality: this rice pack has revealed some startling truths about its owner.

1) I can be a procrastinator. This is evident in how I have yet to fix the hole in the fabric, despite the fact that it's been leaking rice for two months now. I would rather apologize for the white trail I'm leaving than fix a simple problem.

2) I don't dress weather-appropriate. (Certain family members might say this could also be classified as 'I don't listen to motherly wisdom', but we'll just let that lay low.) It's obvious, even to me, that if I actually wore warm clothing, I wouldn't have to drag around a hot pack of rice. But I'd rather wear one layer plus the rice's added warmth than wear three layers and be without it. I am going to have to take a vacuum to my car soon though...  

3) I lack thoroughness. This could also be classified as 'I don't listen to motherly wisdom,' except that I did indeed search my bed high and low for the rice before finding it. But there are many other aspects of my life that affirm the reality that I could up the ante in the thoroughness department. 

4) I'm cheap. It's not a surprise; I've known this for a while. Even though I have the extra shirt fabric in my dresser drawer and other options at the store, I will most likely be using this one faded green pack for years to come. Yes, it will still be leaking rice, and yes it will still get lost from time to time. But just like Linus' blankie or that one stuffed animal we've all had since childbirth-- the rice is here to stay. You can't just throw away family. 

Well, folks... the end. I hope you've enjoyed these helpful life lessons derived from a handy-dandy shirt of rice. This post was intended to show that, even in its most mundane moments, life is always winking at you and trying to get you to notice and maybe even laugh if you're up for it. Plus, I just hung out with two of the cutest babies in the world, and their smiles were enough to dash any hopes I had of any melancholy, meaningful post on abstract concepts of eternity for my blogosphere. Sometimes we all just need to smile more. And I didn't even check the grammar because it's not fun to proofread at 12:36am. So, take care my friends and have a be-au-tiful day. :)



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