Meredith Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
The (first) day President Obama took the oath of office, I finally felt a change in the tide. Not since the Lincoln Bedroom was underwritten by Motel 6 during the Clinton administration has the country had White House denizens with whom the average American family could enjoy some sort of real connection.
J. Crew accessorized all four members of the Obama family on Jan. 20. When the 10 gala events came to an end that evening and an after-party got under way at the White House, the president hung out while a pooped Mrs. Obama passed out in bed upstairs. Unlike the hoity-toity hoopla surrounding the inaugural ceremonies of the Reagans, Bushes (41 and 43) and Clintons, the song to which the president and first lady shared their first dance was crooned by a singer most known for being bootylicious. And who among us hasn’t flubbed our lines at least once in front of a large crowd on an important day?
All of which makes me feel that the First Family is kind of like mine. We also buy off the rack and turn into pumpkins before most nights are over. None of our rears have ever been accused of being bony and we’ve all said things we regret more times than any of us care to remember.
So now I’m wondering what else my family and the Obamas might have in common. For instance, does President Obama embark on a daily (sometimes hourly) scavenger hunt for his cell phone, wallet, keys, watch and eyeglasses like my husband? As often as I’ve encouraged him to put his paraphernalia on the foyer table immediately upon entering the house so we won’t have to call in the blood hounds every morning, he still manages to find a new and amazingly well-hidden place for each necessity each day. Does the president also act surprised each time he can’t find something? Each and every day. Every day of the year. Year after year after year.
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Does the president start his day by throwing up couch cushions, peering under mattresses and rifling through dresser drawers that have never seen daylight, shouting to anyone within a three-county radius if they’ve seen his belt? And does the first lady grit her teeth and try not to explode when she happens upon the belt ” literally ” because her husband left it on the floor next to the couch?
Does President Obama leave his nearly full glass of water on the counter directly adjacent to the sink, seemingly deliberately avoiding the actual empty sink or, heaven forbid, the dishwasher? And then does he take another glass from the cabinet the next time he’s thirsty? Leave that glass on the kitchen table? Then a little while later go for another drink and place that half empty glass on the coffee table? Following that does he leave a full glass next to the bed? If the president presumably knows that his wife prefers seltzer water to the flat variety, why does he ask her if each of the glasses filled with flat water are hers?
When the president is quizzed about the status of the water glasses, does he declare like my husband that he left them out intentionally because he plans to drink them later? Does Mrs. Obama weigh summoning the White House physician to check her husband’s electrolyte level, concerned about his potential to suffer from hyponatremia?
When the Obama girls were babies, did their father ever attempt to feed them without being supervised by his wife, like my husband did last week? As a result, did he ever confuse a stage one rice cereal with a stage two oatmeal? Did he attempt to mix formula with the cereal without actually adding water to the formula, and then wonder why the mixture seemed kind of dry?
Did the president ever try to pack a diaper bag and call his wife to ask what was supposed to go inside? Was he ever responsible for losing his baby’s favorite jingly, dainty ladybug that strapped onto the handle of her car seat? Did he think replacing it with a large stuffed fish would fool his incredibly bright infant?
Thankfully for the president, there’s probably no longer a microscope on where he leaves his water glasses and how he prepares food now that he lives in a 55,000-square-foot mansion with a cast of dozens to find his junk and cook his family’s meals. While admittedly it’s something to which neither my husband nor I can relate, it is something to which neither of us will ever stop aspiring. Yes, we can.
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