It's become an integral part of my family's everyday life: Charging. And I'm not talking about the kind you do at a store with a plastic rectangle - although I am proud to announce we are pre-approved at least once a week.
Plugging in has become a part of our daily routine and at my house we're suffering from a new-millennium malady: charger envy. It all stems from cell phones. You've got to keep them powered up if you want to stay connected. A solid connection is required if you want instant access to reddit, and who doesn't?
My family is preoccupied with keeping our charges at 100 percent - or as close to that as we can get.
"I'm at 97 percent, how about you?"
"98." Smug smile of satisfaction.
Competition for charging plugs and cords can be fierce. We jockey for, wrestle over and wrangle them from one another.
Never mind that each of our cell phones came complete with charging gear - originally. Trouble was, supply couldn't keep up with demand and before you could text LOL my charger had gone AWOL. It mysteriously moved from its home in the kitchen to an outlet in the family room - right next to the kids' Xbox. Yeah, I know. Not much of a mystery.
I reclaimed my charger and cord, grabbed a Sharpie and wrote on it in capital letters: MOM. Then I returned it to its rightful place in the kitchen. The next morning it was gone.
I found it a day later in the bathroom. The MOM was partially rubbed off, so now it read MC, effectively transforming my iCharger into a McCharger, which is iconic however you look at it. (Can I get a side of fries with that?)
As I plugged my bad boy into the kitchen outlet, the truth hit like a lightening bolt and I finally grasped the fundamental problem with our chargers. They were white. Identical. No wonder I couldn't keep track of mine. It looked too much like everyone else's.
It was time to take charge. God didn't invent the rainbow so we could be monochromatic. The answer involved color-coding. I got us new chargers and cords - each in a different color. Mine was pink. I figured there'd be no way to lose track of our chargers now (and no way my boys would borrow a pink set). A yellow plug mismatched with a green cord would practically shout discord. My family happily embraced their new rainbow of chargers. I figured I'd finally hit gold.
Our harmonious and cordial situation lasted less than a week. A purple plug quit working. Someone forgot his orange set in a friend's car. A black cord was destroyed in the washer. They started stealing from each other (and me) again. Not even the pink deterred them - I guess my boys are color-blind that way. Charger wars began anew, but I was not to be thwarted.
In a MacGyver-inspired maneuver, I found a new secret location for electrical hook-up. I looped the cord through the back of the nightstand by my bed. The cord slid into a drawer where my phone could regenerate hidden and in peace. I didn't even need any duct tape. It was a proud, moment. Still is.
(Whispered.) That was three days ago. They have yet to find my covert charging spot. It won't be long, I'm sure. But, at least for now, my phone is at 100-percent, and that's a very good place to be. If you call and I don't answer, leave a message. It goes without saying; I have the ringer on silent.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication." You can read more and follow her column on the Slices of Life page on Facebook.