on learning to use bleach & other life lessons

Last summer, I had a relationship with my J.Crew white denim shorts that can only be called an obsession. Borderline inappropriate obsession. These white shorts did it all.

It got to the point where my roommate, Katie, actually had to have an intervention. I'd been dating someone since the spring (when I found them) and in August, she finally sat me down and said, in no uncertain terms: You are not allowed to wear your white shorts on another date. 

I'm not saying she was right. But she was right.

Unfortunately, in the fall, a coworker accidentally spilled red wine down the back of them at a cookout. I tried to wear them this spring, but my friend, Kate, told me, again, in no uncertain terms: You cannot wear white shorts with a red stain on the butt.

Again, I'm not saying she was right, but...

Last weekend, I decided to take the fate of my white shorts in my own hands and give them a little bleach job. Bleach scares the heck out of me.

With my mom on the phone, she talked me through it: filling up the sink, stirring in the bleach, soaking the shorts, rinsing them...

Regarding the shorts: Total success. The results blew my mind. They look new! I just ordered another pair last week (just in case), but I don't even think I'll need them.

Regarding the friendship bracelets that were lining my arm: not so successful. As I worked the shorts in the sink with my hands, I forgot to take them off. My once colorful bracelets are now brownish.

It got me thinking about the way parents just know stuff. When Melissa and I first met in Atlanta, we would often ask: wellp, which one of us should call our parents for this answer? 

Is this turkey OK to eat? 

How badly do you really need baking soda for this recipe? 

I know it says not to use it on wood floors, ever, but is that rule really hard and fast?...

And I think about this a lot, because it worries me that someday I will be a mom, and my kid will call me and  I won't have the answer. My parents always have the answers. What if I don't know how to restart the lawnmower in the (not-recommended) rainy lawn mow? What if I don't know what the flashing light on the dashboard means? What if I never figure out how to have a green thumb?

Is there some sort of parent school you go to after you have a baby that no one talks about? A secret adult club?

But this weekend, what my now not-so-colorful bracelets taught me is that the only way to learn these lessons is to live them.

I'll never forget how to bleach shorts - and I'll certainly never forget to take off my bracelets next time.

I'll never again make a cake and put 1/4 cup of cloves instead of 1/4 teaspoon in it (it tasted so bad). 

I'll never again wait eight months to empty my vacuum out and watch it catch on fire. 

Or microwave a baked potato on a non-microwave safe plate and watch the plate explode and shatter (last week). 

No sir. These are the kinds of lessons you have to live. Sometimes our parents can tell us what we need to know. But oftentimes we have to experience it ourselves. And what I'm finding is, that's exactly what your 20s are for. And the good news is, once your vacuum catches on fire, you'll never forget it.