"Do the Kelvin"


I bet you've done "the Kelvin," you just didn't know it actually had a term. It does. I don't like to do the Kelvin. It's no fun. No fun at all. But sometimes we're placed in bad situations and we're forced to do the Kelvin.

It had all the makings of a good, productive day. I didn't have class (I was in college) that day and had the entire day to take care of yardwork, clean house and get some paperwork organized. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.

Mid-morning, I set out to do some yardwork before the heat became too oppressive. After about two seconds of using the weed-eater, it ran out of string. I had a lot of weeding to do so I decided to stop right then and go get some more string. I went inside, grabbed my purse, pushed the lock on the garage door and got in the car. That's when I realized I had no keys. They were inside. And the door was locked. And my husband was attending an Army school and couldn't be reached. Even if he could, he wouldn't have been able to come home.

Great. Just great.

K-Mart was about two miles down the road so off I trekked. String was purchased and I walked back home. I had several hours to kill, so I got all the yard work done, and then some. Later that afternoon, I walked to the Dairy Queen around the corner for food and a potty break. When I had done everything I could possibly do in the yard and the garage, I sat on the deck peering in the sliding glass door at my dog who was wondering why his mother was being cruel and wouldn't let him outside with her. His mother was the dunce who had locked him in and her out.

Finally, my husband arrived home and opened the sliding glass door.

Andi, he wanted out with you. Why did you have him cooped up in here?

Daddy to the rescue. Did he not notice that he had to unlock the door? My eyes emitted poisonous, pulsating rays in the direction of my husband (who, to be fair, had no idea that I had locked myself out of the house all day). I walked inside to a ton of unfinished business. Business that I had intended to straighten out with all the free time I was supposed to have that day. A bit later, my husband said the words that stopped me dead in my dirty, dusty tracks.

Oh, Kelvin should be here soon. We'll be working on our briefing.

I pivoted on my heels and turned to face him.

Kelvin? Here? Soon?

He should be here in a few minutes. Yard looks great, by the way.

No time to chat. I ran about the house as if I had just cracked open my computer and smeared some of that Comcast high-speed on my hands. Dishes were put up. Papers on the desk in the kitchen were shoved into drawers. Living room was vacuumed. Countertops scrubbed. Kitchen floor was swept, and even mopped. All the while, I ran circles around a very perplexed, frightened husband and uttered bad words.

In about ten minutes, I accomplished at least 45 minutes worth of house cleaning. As the floor was still drying, the doorbell rang. I put on my best smile and greeted Kelvin at the door as if it were just a normal day and oh, I was just so happy to see him. Actually, Kelvin is a doll. A doll I would have been happy to see on any other day, just not this day. I escorted Kelvin inside and he and my husband went to work.

I jumped in the shower and kept to myself most of the evening. No food for the guys. No nothing. I failed Hostess 101, a subject I usually ace. To add to my humiliation, Kelvin was a geo-bachelor. His wife and kids remained at the old duty station and he moved alone to attend school. He deserved a home cooked meal. I really screwed that one up... I did say good-bye to Kelvin before he left. After he left, my husband looked at me, confused.

What was that? He asked.

You could have told me that Kelvin was coming by, you know.

I left you a message, didn't you check messages today?


That was eight years ago. My husband and I now laugh about this. He labeled my speedy clean-up, "the Kelvin," and jokes with me when people are coming by, "Are you going to do the Kelvin?" He still doesn't know that I locked myself out of the house that day and walked about six miles to/from K-Mart and to/from Dairy Queen. My husband must think that I went off the deep end, laid on the sofa eating bon bons all day, ignored my domestic duties, muted the answering machine, protested showers, went on strike from preparing dinner and for some irrational reason decided to torture my dog by not letting him outside to get fresh air and chase squirrels. If he only knew.

Okay, admit it. You've done the Kelvin before, haven't you?

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