The Power of Zero

For a number that results in nothing when multiplied by another number, and is often skipped in the counting sequence, zero wields more power than many realize.  Of course, we recognize the power of zero when they are printed on greenbacks… if given a choice between a $10 bill and a $100 bill, Ben will win every time.  Sorry, Hamilton.  (That must sting, being the first Secretary of Treasury and all.)

The number zero has highlighted a difference in thinking between my husband and me.  The Mars/Venus thing has been done to death, but I’m not going for the gender difference angle here.  This is personal(ity).

Some things around my house drive me absolutely nuts.  Like the cup rings on my wooden dining table.  Despite the 7 coasters scattered around (2 of which the kids broke and Scotch-tape repaired, as if I wouldn’t notice), cups still end up on the table- sans coaster.  This launches me into the “Why can’t I have anything nice?” tirade, which garners dazed stares, much like what I imagine seeing after a zombie apocalypse.

Kids' handiwork.  To them, they are "fixed"!
Kids’ handiwork. What cracks?

As I walked by the kids’ bathroom this morning, I noticed the broken towel rack (for the 59th time.)  It’s been broken for two months, since my eight-year-old decided to use it as a pull-up bar.  My husband couldn’t figure out how to get the anchor out of the wall, so he tossed the bar in the closet and closed the door.  Fixed.  Now, I wasn’t born yesterday.  I know very well he could get the anchor out of the wall- if he wanted to.

What's left of the towel rack...
What’s left of the towel rack…
The missing, er, hidden link!
The missing, er, hidden link!  (Out of sight, out of his mind.)

Last week, I found out what does crawl under his skin:  when zero goes missing.  Specifically, the loose zero on our TV remote control.  He loves his TV and the fact he can’t click directly to channel 10 is driving him batty.  He didn’t notice my amused smile  as he stuck his hand between every couch cushion (I wouldn’t advise doing that,) felt underneath the couch (I really recommend avoiding that,) and practically lifted the couch up with me sitting on it to locate the zero.

Zero, where are you?  I'm lost without you!
Zero, where art thou? I’m lost without you!

He’s done this for four nights now, and he’s still zero-less.

Me?  I’m not bothered at all.  I don’t watch TV much, but if I want channel ten, I press the one twice and channel down once.  I type a lot so my fingers aren’t taxed by the extra button press.

You might wonder why he doesn’t just buy a new remote.  Good question.  Obsessions are rarely rational.  I would suggest it, but frankly, I find the nightly ritual too entertaining.

I have to admit, zero has given me new appreciation of our quirks and differences.  Knowing he has a button that can be pushed (not zero 🙂 ) makes me feel more normal in the things I fixate on.  We may not have a zero to press or a rack to hang a towel on, but at least we can hold hands and commiserate over the common thread of the things that drive us to distraction.

Ah, the uniting power of zero.


If this passes through moderation, I plan to link up with Yeah Write #147.  I haven’t linked there in a while so I thought I’d give it a go! At 513 words, this post comes in under the 600 word limit.

Thanks so much for reading.  Have a beautiful day!


58 thoughts on “The Power of Zero

  1. quinndien February 3, 2014 / 11:13 PM

    At first, I thought you were going to confess to having stolen the zero. 🙂 But it’s good to recognize we all have our buttons.

    • jannatwrites February 3, 2014 / 11:16 PM

      I’m not that devious, but I wish I had the zero. I’d offer to trade the zero for a fixed towel rack 🙂 Thanks for reading, Quinndien!

  2. knotrune February 4, 2014 / 3:02 AM

    What is it with men not using coasters? My husband is just as bad. But then, I am untidy in other ways so I guess he has more to put with really 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:31 AM

      Your comment brings up an excellent point, Knotrune – it’s so easy to focus on what the other person does to annoy, but it’s healthy to look at how we are… it can soothe a lot of resentment!

  3. Deanna Herrmann February 4, 2014 / 3:15 AM

    This is my first visit to your blog and I can clearly see I have been missing out! I found this to be well-written, humorous and very entertaining. I loved your tie in to the “zero”. This story really made me laugh and is such a great example of marital “differences”.

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:37 AM

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your encouraging words, Deanna! Sometimes the differences can be so aggravating, but humor helps to give some perspective 🙂

  4. tinsenpup February 4, 2014 / 4:29 AM

    I too was hoping that you’d mischievously stolen the zero. Probably because I have a matching broken towel rail (and I’ll raise you a soap holder coming loose from the wall) and that would have given me a small vicarious thrill.

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:38 AM

      I’m still secretly looking for the zero (but I refuse to stick my hand between the cushions 🙂 ) Your comment cracked me up, tinsenpup! The soap holder would drive me nuts, too!

  5. Carol Ann Hoel February 4, 2014 / 8:06 AM

    I love to laugh, Janna. You have triggered a fine cackle out of me. You cracked me up. The uniting power of zero. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:39 AM

      I’m glad you stopped by to laugh along, Carol Ann! I’m waiting to see how many nights he’s going to keep searching for zero before he just gives up 🙂

  6. Stacie February 4, 2014 / 8:29 AM

    I love this post, Janna! And it’s so nice to see you on the challenge grid 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:41 AM

      Thanks so much, Stacie! I enjoyed this group the few other times I participated. I was a little nervous I’d get one of the better-luck-next-time ‘love notes’, so I’m quite relieved that my post passed the moderation step 🙂

  7. Debbie February 4, 2014 / 8:54 AM

    Well played, Janna — still, I, too, was hoping you’d hidden the zero in exchange for the repair of the towel bar. I can just see your son using it as a pull-up bar. Domer would’ve done the same thing, had I not scared him from it! Living as the only female in a house of men can provide you with more than enough interesting stories — lucky for us, ha!

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:45 AM

      You know, if I cared a little more, I bet I could find that zero. I have a feeling one of the cats knows EXACTLY where it is 🙂 I can’t believe my son did that- they both know better. What’s funny is that when his towel isn’t wadded up on his floor, he’s actually tried to hang it on the hardware still anchored to the wall. Maybe one of these days I’ll get in there and see what I can do to fix it. (After Cub Scout derby car season…I’m up to my elbows in sealer and paint right now!)

  8. RChillax February 4, 2014 / 9:44 AM

    This was so relatable!

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:47 AM

      I’m glad (but sorry) you can relate, Rachel 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to read it!

  9. suzicate February 4, 2014 / 10:08 AM

    This so cracks me up! As having been through those days of two small boys and the things broken doing crazy stuff…like the iron board when one decided to pretend he was surfing on it, and a new umbrella when the other one decided to “para-sail” down the street with it on his skateboard! And not too long ago the hubby found and old remote in a box that had some of the buttons missing! Your posts often bring back memories which were annoying at the time but I find such solace in now…some day you will think back tenderly of those little annoyances, too…

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:51 AM

      Your comment had me laughing, Suzicate! The parasailing down the street with the umbrella is great. I hope the kids don’t figure that one out! The ironing board is probably safe… it NEVER comes out from the back of the coat closet 🙂

  10. shirleyjdietz February 4, 2014 / 10:43 AM

    I love that you enter challenges and tell about them. I didn’t know about this kind of writing exercise but you have me thinking of doing it too. Thanks.

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:55 AM

      The challenges are a fun way to stretch the mind… and read how others respond. The Yeah Write challenge is non-fiction, which is nice to explore once in a while, even though I do tend to spend more time at Speakeasy, which is their fiction-writing counterpart. If you have time, please do check it out and join in if you feel inspired to share 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, Shirley!

  11. Natalie DeYoung February 4, 2014 / 10:49 AM

    The quintessential difference between male and female…

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:58 AM

      Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s male/female vs. simple personality differences. Living in a house of males, I just can’t tell anymore 🙂 Thanks for reading, Natalie!

  12. Samantha Brinn Merel February 4, 2014 / 12:47 PM

    I totally get this. It was so funny once I got married to realize what things I cared about and what things he did, and what drove each of us completely insane. I think knowing about these things makes for a much healthier co-habitation.

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:03 PM

      I think it does help to know… as long as we show the courtesy of avoiding doing the things that irritate 🙂 Thanks so much for reading, Samantha!

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:13 PM

      I’m glad you liked the humor, Widdershins! (He didn’t look for the zero tonight. I think he’s given up 🙂 )

  13. Michael February 4, 2014 / 1:47 PM

    I hope the zero turns up soon. 😛

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:15 PM

      At this point, I’d be surprised if it shows up again, Michael!

      • Michael February 4, 2014 / 9:34 PM

        Perhaps it’s moved on, to whatever heaven little zeroes go to. 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 10:10 PM

          Haha, maybe that’s what happened!

  14. diannegray February 4, 2014 / 1:57 PM

    Our remote volume isn’t working at the moment and (good grief – end of world) hubby has to get up off the couch to change the volume. The poor dear, it’s SO inconvenient and driving him to distraction 😉 LOL I think he’d probably need counselling if he lost the zero as well 😀

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:17 PM

      I’d rather press an extra button than actually go to the TV and change the volume. I think I’d start listening to the radio 🙂 I hope your zero is firmly in place, because that would be quite distressing! Thanks for sharing and making me smile, Dianne.

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:19 PM

      Honestly, I would, too, Kathy. Thanks for laughing along with me 🙂

  15. nrhatch February 4, 2014 / 4:17 PM

    Fantastic post, Janna.

    1. Find the zero
    2. Hold it hostage until the towel bar is fixed. 😀

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:20 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Nancy! I’m not opposed to blackmail to get repairs done, but I’m not up to finding out what’s under the couch 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:21 PM

      Hahaha… you give me too much credit, Joseph 🙂

  16. pattisj February 4, 2014 / 8:23 PM

    One thing I do know–don’t go messin’ with the remote! He probably put the towel bar aside to be reinstalled once the boys have moved permanently from the house. I read your post with a smile, knowing exactly how you feel.

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:23 PM

      It’ll snow in Phoenix before he gets it fixed, Patti! I bet you’re right about the timeframe he was looking at getting it done.

  17. vishalbheeroo February 4, 2014 / 8:36 PM

    Haha the remote number zero missing is halarious. Fun post:)

    • jannatwrites February 4, 2014 / 9:24 PM

      I’m glad you got a laugh form it, Vishal! He quit looking for it tonight, so maybe he’s come to terms with the absentee zero.

  18. Sarah Ann February 5, 2014 / 4:04 AM

    Has one of the cats taken a fancy to the zero on the remote? I’m wondering what else there is to exchange for a repaired towel rail, but maybe holding hands in shared despair is good compensation. Thanks for the smiles raised by your latest tribulations.

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2014 / 10:03 PM

      Well, I don’t know that they would’ve tugged it out of there, but it’s highly possible that once it fell out, they decided to have some fun. If that’s the case, it could be anywhere! I’m glad you stopped by read and laugh along with me, Sarah Ann 🙂

  19. Erica M February 5, 2014 / 6:06 AM

    I love that you took a picture of the broken anchors in the bathroom. That really helped illustrate your frustration while reminding me not to take all the damaged stuff in my house so seriously. Congrats on getting past our new sensor at yeah write! It was a fun post.

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2014 / 10:05 PM

      It’s actually a little comforting to know that we’re not the only ones in need of some home repairs, Erica! I appreciate you reading the post. I’m quite pleased it passed moderation 🙂

  20. Sean February 5, 2014 / 11:22 AM

    This was fun to read and was able to chuckle about it. At least your son did not pull the whole thing out of the wall so it would have to be repaired. I know there are quite a few of roundtoits that I have yet to do but at some point, I will get everything done. My quirk is leaving dishes in where the computer is especially after there have been some that the dog has managed to knock over onto the ceramic tile. Nothing like waking up to find glass all over the floor. It happens and it will be forgotten in the long run. As for the remote, our down channel button has not worked for a long time so we just don’t use it. Makes it interesting when the 7 button doesn’t work either so you can’t go to eight and back down so you end up going to 5 I think and then up 2. Don’t remember is the 6 button works or not but we don’t get that channel anyway. I manage to watch about 2 hours a week maybe so it doesn’t really bother me. If my son wants to change the channel, he can go old school and get out of the chair and change it unless the remote is not lost. We have one of those infamous remote eating chairs. Don’t let me start on my mother-in-law’s cell phone and it not being found. lol

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2014 / 10:13 PM

      Glad you laughed along with this, Sean. We all have our quirks. The one my husband complains about most is my leaving dishes in the sink. I rinse them off, or at least run water in them to soak so it doesn’t become a dried up mess. He sees it as me being lazy. I do it because 99% of the time, if I open the dishwasher, I about go off the deep end with how the men in the house load it…silverware thrown in, not even in a slot, cups laying on their side, bowls facing the outside walls (as if water can clean them). I finally asked him, “do you want me to load my dishes, or do you want to listen to my tirade about the sloppy loading?” He said to just leave them in the sink 🙂 So I do.

  21. Kim February 6, 2014 / 7:52 PM

    The 5 on my remote has stopped working. Perhaps I should write something about the power of 5? But it couldn’t rival your funny post. Thanks for making me laugh!

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2014 / 10:14 PM

      What a nice comment, Kim. I’m glad you found the humor in my post! Maybe five does have some power… you might need to explore that one 🙂

  22. agjorgenson February 6, 2014 / 9:05 PM

    That was so very amusing! Thanks for the laugh.

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2014 / 10:16 PM

      Thanks for reading, Allen! I have to laugh at the truly annoying things to counteract the frown lines that threaten to become permanent ridges in my forehead. I’d rather have laugh lines 🙂

  23. Lance February 7, 2014 / 10:07 AM

    It’s weird, but the roles are reversed at our house. I do a lot of this stuff and vice versa. But I get your point…and I laughed

    • jannatwrites February 10, 2014 / 7:36 AM

      Thanks, Lance! I think it’s probably more personality differences than gender divide, but I don’t know 🙂

  24. pattyabr February 10, 2014 / 9:43 PM

    …another song from the 70s came to mind from your post. ‘Nothin’ from Nothin” by Billie Preston. “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’…gotta have somethin’ if you wanna be with me.” In high school we did a pom pom routine to that song. Maybe the song was written during a math class, it makes sense.

    • jannatwrites February 10, 2014 / 10:14 PM

      Haha… maybe it was written in math class! I could see musically inclined students veering off from the topic to write a song.

  25. Sandra February 12, 2014 / 11:33 AM

    Thanks for the chuckle, Janna! Yes, we each have our weird obsessions, and I can totally see how that zero would just annoy the heck out of your husband. There are lots of things that drive me nuts that no one else understands. DH has a thing about orderly bookshelves, but we’ve had a towel rack he supposed to have installed into the drywall for almost a year now that still sitting in my closet. It’s on his to-do list, top five now. So I get your towel rack thing. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2014 / 11:54 PM

      It’s funny, he’s kind of resigned himself to the absence of zero. Too stubborn to get a new remote, I guess 🙂 It’s somewhat comforting to know I’m not the only one without a towel rack. Maybe when Cub Scout pinewood derby is over I can look into what I need to do to fix it.

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