It started one quiet evening on the couch. I was relaxing after a hard day at work and watching some television. I have two daughters who are only two years apart and at the time they were both teenagers. So, even though I wasn't watching anything on television I was remotely interested in, I was just happy to be sitting and not at work. My oldest, Britt, was eating a plate of waffles and sitting in the floor; my youngest, Brooke, was sitting on the couch with me.
As usual when one has two teenage daughters (or any teenagers at all) the moment was interrupted when an argument ensued. Most people know to get out of the way in these situations and I should have heeded that red flag warning signal that was going off in my head. I didn't. Like an idiot I decided to sit it out and just watch.
The argument went from sizzle to fizzle and all was quiet once again. Brooke was playing with a small comb, flipping it between her fingers. I had just breathed a sigh of relief that the argument hadn't escalated into all out war and I was still sitting on my couch relaxing.
Like most chaos created by teenage girls, out of nowhere, the war had begun. Brooke accidentally flipped the comb too hard. It went flying through the air, twirling in what seemed like slow motion then landed in Britt's plate of waffles with a loud "tink." It was one of those moments that could never be recreated no matter how many times attempted. It was a freak accident and I guess it could have happened to anyone. Still, I wondered at that moment if the angels were bored and decided to create a little entertainment for themselves. We were always such an easy target -- dramatic teenage girls vs. a mom too tired to react. No matter how it happened or who was watching, the fact remained there was now a comb in Britt's waffles.
You know that moment of calm just after a child falls down on the concrete and skins her knee but just before she realizes she's bleeding? There's a long, deep breath and a deafening silence just before the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth begins. There was one of those moments that seemed to last forever. I knew it was coming just by the look of shock and anger on Britt's face. She looked down at her plate in puzzlement for what seemed an eternity then over at Brooke and then at me as if to ask, "what? why? how?"
Like the reluctant witness at a car accident who is being asked to give a statement while both parties are looking at them, I had gone from innocent bystander to judge and jury.
Britt began crying then yelling at Brooke. She looked over at me through her tears and screamed, "Did you see what she did?"
I knew no good could come from getting involved but I was truly afraid at this moment that Britt might kill her sister if I didn't. Afterall, I had seen the whole thing. It was like watching a train wreck -- I could do nothing and as painful as it was to watch, I couldn't look away.
I yelled at Brooke but she defended by screaming, "It was an accident -- YOU SAW IT!" She was right but Britt expected her sister to be punished for this pastry crime against humanity -- this mixture of items that should never even be in the same room together -- a comb and waffles! There's a reason why the kitchen and the bathroom are architectually planned to be at opposite ends of every house. I could see Britt thinking all this and trying to reason it out. It was like I was reading her mind. Then I did it, the unthinkable, I spoke in defense of the "little one" as we sometimes call her. "Britt, it really was an accident," I said reluctantly then recoiling as far back into the couch cushions as possible. She countered with, "I DON'T CARE!" And, from what I could see from her body language (arm in the air, fork pointed at her sister), she really didn't care.
My final question of desperation, "What do you want me to do, kill her? It was an accident!"
A few seconds later Brittani and Brooke both stormed out of the living room and stomped down the hall. Brooke was mad at me for yelling at her because I knew the comb ending up in the waffles was an accident. I had seen the whole thing. Yet, I yelled at her for something completely out of her control. Britt was mad at me because I didn't yell at Brooke quite enough, beat her wildly about the head or just end her life all together for defiling those waffles, even though we had more in the freezer.
That was it -- my quiet evening on the couch had been ruined by a freak accident. A few minutes later I went to the kitchen to clean up a little and it was then I heard them. They were both in Britt's room laughing, talking and watching TV. I walked down the hallway to see what was up, poked my head in the door and was shot with a dirty look from each of them. Even though they had made amends with one another they were still mad at me.
That's when I started calling this incident and others like it "Comb in the Waffles." I'm trying to have it catch on and someday become common phrasing for all us poor souls caught in situations like this.
Most of us have had a Comb in the Waffles incident and many of us have had several of them. Whether it be at work, at home or at the grocery store, we have all experienced those moments when we're not involved in anything but suddenly become responsible for everything! Then, when everyone walks away mad at you and you're left wondering, "What the heck just happened here? I was just minding my own business."
THAT, MY DEAR IS A COMB IN THE WAFFLES!
So next time you find yourself in the midst of a situation like this please refer to it as a Comb in the Waffles. If you need help phrasing it, here are some suggestions:
"Well that was a freakin' Comb in the Waffles wasn't it?"
"Oh great, a Comb in the Waffles"
or use this if you see it about to happen to someone else,
"Watch out, I see a "Comb in the Waffles" coming this way.
And please feel free to share your Comb in the Waffles experience with us on this blog. I'd love to read your story and I'm sure others would as well.
Here's hoping your Comb in the Waffles ends with humor and not horror,