Oh, what joy it is to be alive, to awake to the sound of bird song, to hear the laugh of a child, to revel in a lover’s kiss or the scent of honeysuckle born upon the breeze.

And yet, frankly, sometimes life stinks. Well, not stinks, exactly. What I mean is that life is not all honeysuckle breezes and childish laughter. Occasionally it is annoying. For example:

I hate it when I’m making tea and I pour hot water into my mug and the force of the water disrupts the tea bag so much that the little paper tag at the end of the string — which I have carefully positioned outside the rim — is yanked into the mug and ends up floating there like a man overboard.

I hate it when I tie my necktie and the little narrow end at the back is longer than the wide end at the front and I have to start over. And then when I re-tie it the knot has a weird, off-kilter dimple.

I hate pulling my bedclothes from the dryer only to discover that the twisting motion of the Kenmore has caused an elasticized corner of the fitted sheet to become stuffed with socks, T-shirts and other laundry, creating a heavy pouch that has defied the dryer and is still damp.

Sometimes, despite best efforts, a tea bag’s tag ends up in the drink. (John Kelly/The Washington Post)

I hate having to empty that moist pouch, like a gastroenterologist dealing with a case of diverticulitis, and then put everything back in the dryer.

I hate it when I take the fitted sheet — dry at last! — and stretch it onto the mattress, only to have the opposite corner pop off when I tug on it, like some Posturepedic whack-a-mole.

I hate it when I’m charging something online and the choices for the month of my credit card’s expiration date are spelled out — January, February, March, etc. — while on my Visa card it’s a number. I hate having to run through the months out loud while counting on my fingers.

I hate that, beyond the first three and the last three, I don’t have the numerical designations of the months memorized. (Is July the sixth month? The eighth?)

I hate it when every TV station goes to a commercial break at the same time, thwarting my attempts to channel surf and get away from an ad.

O jsyr oy ejrm. . . Sorry. I hate it when I’ve been touch typing then look up to see I’ve been one letter over the entire time.

Of course, these are just tiny irritations. They are more than counterbalanced by life’s tiny joys.

I love it when I see two bus drivers wave when they pass each other, as if I’ve just gotten a glimpse into a secret bus-driver fraternity.

I love it when it’s rainy and my home-delivered Washington Post comes double-bagged, helping me beef up my collection of poop bags for dog walks.

I love it when my dog poops at the point on our walk that allows me to deposit the bag in the park’s trash can rather than carry it home.

I love it when readers send me their favorite tiny joys and tiny irritations. Share them with me at

Send a kid to camp

Of course, I also love it when poor kids from the Washington area are able to experience something that middle-class kids take for granted: a week at a sleep-away camp. For many kids, Camp Moss Hollow is that camp.

Moss Hollow is at the end of a gravel road in Markham, Va. It has swimming, hiking, campfires, marshmallow-roasting and other activities that can be hard to replicate if you’re growing up in the city. One of D.C.’s oldest charities, Family Matters of Greater Washington, runs the camp. It has been letting urban kids experience the wilderness for more than 100 years.

The overhead to cover all the costs of a week at camp for one child is $700, but no family pays that much. Many pay nothing at all. That’s possible because of financial contributions from Post readers. Please help us meet our Aug. 2 goal of $500,000 by going to and clicking where it says “Give Now.” Or send a check, payable to “Send a Kid to Camp,” to Send a Kid to Camp, Family Matters of Greater Washington, P.O. Box 200045, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15251-0045.

And don’t forget: Your contribution will be doubly good. A generous donor has issued a challenge and is matching gifts, up to a total of $100,000. What’s more, if you donate between $150 and $249 from now until the end of the campaign, you will receive a $25 gift certificate from Clyde’s. Donate $250 or more, and Clyde’s will give you one for $50. (Certificates will be sent in September.)

For previous columns, visit