"It's an udder mess," my Darling Wife said. She was at her ironing board, bent over, pouncing on a piece of fabric with a quilter's awl, picking something apart. I could tell by her clenched teeth she was trying to repair something that needed repairing. She only clenched her teeth when she was getting a flu shot or ripping something apart that needed ripping apart.
"What is an udder mess?" I asked, catching the mispronunciation of the word utter as it came through her clenched teeth.
"This cow," she said.
"Cows have udders," I said, understanding absolutely nothing except that she had meant to say "udder."
"A bull doesn't have an udder," she said.
"Not that I know of," I said.
"I made two cows," she explained. And then I got it. She was working on her new foundation-pieced Noah's Ark, and she had made two cows instead of a bull and cow.
"So you're fixing the cow," I said. She nodded and held up the cow. It was udderless.
"Now I have to attach horns," she said.
"A bull should have horns," I agreed.
"A bull and a cow," she said, and I waited for her to say more to me, but then the doorbell rang.
"Get the door while I finish the cow surgery," she said.
I went to the door.
"It's a package for you," I said when I returned to her. I was carrying a flat box decorated with priority mail labels. "More fabric?" I asked. Of course it was.
"A sale," she said quickly, trying to disarm me, trying to make me believe that the only reason a United States Postal Service truck stopped at our house was because there was a fabric sale somewhere in the United States.
"Well, then, the one thing you really know about fabric is exactly when to buy it." She bought it when she needed it, saw it in a quilt shop, passed it as when drove though any town with a store or shop that sold fabric, or when it was on sale. All that meant was that she bought fabric when she wanted it, whether she wanted it or not.
"It was an accident," she said.
"You bought it by accident this time?" I asked. I could believe it. Quilter's brains took advantage of any experience in life that would bring them closer to fabric. If fabric could be obtained by accident, then why not?
"I was looking for a weather report on the Internet," she said.
"Local weather or weather at any town that happened to have an upcoming quilt show?"
"You're not giving me a chance to explain my accident," she said.
"Sorry. Go on."
"I clicked on the weather icon and waited for the local forecast for the next few days."
"Cloudy and in the low seventies by the weekend," I said.
"If you say so," she said.
"Didn't the Weather Channel say that?"
"I didn't get the Weather Channel," she said. "Something went wrong and one of those Internet quilt shops came up.
"This sounds familiar," I said. "Wasn't it last month when you had an accident after the power went out and you called to get the correct time to reset the clocks?"
"That was last summer. My finger slipped and hit the wrong button on the telephone."
"You hit the button programmed in for the quilt shop we visited in Maine," I reminded her.
"It was an accident."
"You bought four crib-sized pieces of batting."
"I was too embarrassed to just hang up. I had to buy something, and I needed batting anyway."
"And this time it was an Internet accident? Were you embarrassed by your computer?"
"I wanted to get the weather, but a page came up from a quilt shop. I tried to get back to the weather page, but all of a sudden the screen was filled with new batik fabric."
I sighed. "Well, I can understand that. I can understand how a computer can mix up batik and weather."
"And I accidentally clicked on the fabrics and accidentally clicked on the automatic order form and accidentally confirmed the order."
"And that explains why you're holding a box of batik fabric?"
"That explains it," she said.
An hour later, after she had washed the fabric and dried it and was in the midst of folding it to put it away, the doorbell rang. "Get that would you, please," my fabric rich wife said.
"Got it," I said.
It was UPS. The driver held a large flat package in her hand. I took the package, thanked her, and took the package to my wife.
"More fabric?" I asked. I had already looked at the return address, of course. It was some quilt shop somewhere.
"I was printing out the e-mail from our friends in Tennessee," she said.
"And you had an accident?"
"The printer got confused and stopped, and I thought it might be a computer virus, so I had to go on the Internet to see if there was some new virus out there, and when I did, this new quilting site came up and my computer screen was full of Moda Marbles, and there were some colors I didn't have, so I didn't not want to have the new colors, so it was an accident."
All I heard was, "The printer got confused." Udderly confused, no doubt.
Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver
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