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Published June 11 2012

Salonen: Loser Mama considers her affliction

I’m just going to come out and say this, painful as it is.

I’m a big loser. I may even be the biggest loser mother around.

Don’t say I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached, because some days I wonder if it is.

True story: In college, I lost my new car. Well, more like I simply forgot I had one. I walked home from the computer lab like so many times before, forgetting in my 2 a.m. delirium that I now owned a red Geo.

More recently, I left my brand-new laptop at a downtown coffee shop one late evening. When I arrived there early the next morning, I peered in the window, relieved to see it still perched under the table where I’d sat nine hours earlier.

I can blame neither pregnancy nor senility at this point in my life.

And it’s bad. Just ask my kids how many after-errand loop-de-loops I’ve made back to the destination spot to retrieve my billfold or cellphone. Never mind that each is purposefully red to prevent such blunders.

But some provisions do help. I make a point of buying super-cheap sunglasses. It’s either Ray-Bans or the kids’ college funds. Safer to stick with the $5 shades and have several on hand.

That reminds me, even though I often wear them on top of my head, I’ve been known to fall into a panic over misplaced sunglasses. “Uh, Mom, check your head,” the kids will say.

I know; I’ve earned it.

Thankfully, I seem to be about as lucky as I am losing-prone, usually recovering lost objects or finding them in the safe hands of a customer service representative.

Most of the Target folks know me by name or sight. I can almost walk up to the service counter there and expect to be handed my misplaced item, no words exchanged.

Recently, though, they had a new guy working behind the counter. When he asked whether he could help me, I said I hoped so.

“I might have left my cellphone in my cart last night,” I said.

“Does it have an annoying alarm that rings around 6:20 a.m.?” he asked.

Ah, yes, my reputation precedes me when it comes to my loser ways.

A recent incident topped all others when I lost both my phone and reporter’s binder containing irreplaceable photos the same weekend at two different locations. It wasn’t until Monday morning, while waiting for the retail stores to open, that I discovered the missing binder. I was about to call my husband to see if he remembered seeing it over the weekend, but realized, red-faced, I had no phone.

Double loser! I’m glad to report both items were replaced and I was only out a little stress.

But just as I’m admitting my affliction in public, I’ve got to come to my defense, as well as that of the other loser mothers out there.

Let’s start with my daily “to do” list. My heavens, it stretches out longer than the Nile.

And really, the brain has a limited capacity. Mine is at risk for spilling over daily with five kiddos’ schedules to manage along with my own.

Sometimes I warn my kids, as they pour extra details into my filled-to-capacity noggin, “No more! I’m out of room up here!”

Speaking of the kids, there they are now …

“What’s that? You want me to keep your prized Nintendo DS safe? Forget it. You know that I will.”