Monday morning began like most of its kind: way too early. It was one of Michael’s Mommy’s work days, which means up at 4:30 and rushing around to help her get out the door before 6 AM.
All was well until 5:58, when she discovered that she had misplaced her keys.
“Oh, shoot!” she said, heading to the garage door. “I left my keys upstairs!”
“Where?” I asked.
“In my gray sweatshirt. I put my keys in there and then realized I should wear a heavier one and grabbed the blue one before I came down,” she said.
“I’ll get them,” I offered. “You and Michael get to the car and I’ll bring them to you.” (some of you may recall that Michael likes to ride in his mom’s lap out of the garage and down the driveway on the mornings she goes to work. I am fairly confident he won’t be doing that when he’s 15, but he’s almost 9 and hasn’t lost any enthusiasm for the event.)
I rushed upstairs and began to paw through the few cast-off garments that graced the chair in the corner of the room. The gray sweatshirt was there, and a quick search of the pockets yielded nothing, not even lint or a gum wrapper to say nothing of car keys. I hunted a bit more: on the floor, on the chair, on the end of the bed, the dresser, the bathroom counter… nothing.
Pretty soon my wife came up the stairs, obviously concerned.
“Did you find the sweatshirt?”
“Yes, but no keys!”
“They have to be in there! I remember putting them in the pocket!” she grabbed the sweatshirt and searched it herself, but found nothing. “Where the heck are they?” she cried, panicked.
“I hunted all over the room and on the floor. Let’s take another look downstairs,” I said.
We searched high and low through the obvious (and not so obvious) spots for her keys, to no avail.
“Look, just take the spare, and I’ll find your keys later,” I said, working her spare car key off of my ring.
Immediate crisis resolved, we said our goodbyes and Michael got his ride.
Shortly afterwards, as I was preparing my own lunch, I went to get my lunchbox. It was not where I had last put it. I had reorganized some shelves and left the lunchboxes out on the dining room table while I decided where they should live permanently. Unfortunately, my wife had cleaned up the dining room and made it look nice again, thus deciding for herself where the lunchboxes should live permanently.
Annoyed and frustrated, I sent her a rather perturbed text message. “WHERE IS MY LUNCH BOX?”
The reply came back in just a few short minutes: “In the closet, on the shelf over the shoe rack.”
I pawed through the closet, pushing past coats and scarves, three thousand mittens, costumes for the plastic flamingo in the front yard, and a flag of the United States. There were lunchboxes there all right, but not mine.
“I don’t see it,” I texted back. “I don’t have time to look for it.”
“It’s hidden inside another bag,” came the reply, along with a little smiley with a cheesy, impish grin.
“Indeed it is,” I said, after finding it stuffed down inside another bag pushed to the back of the shelf.
“I’m a good hider,” she said, tacking on more cheesy grin emoticons.
I made lunches for Michael and myself, and soon we were on our way to start our separate days.
After work and before swimming practice, I searched for my wife’s keys some more. I retraced her steps, checking each of her usual “landing spots”, but still no luck. Upstairs, I used a flashlight and scoured underneath the bed and on the floor under the chair. I checked garbage cans and behind bookcases, in the couch cushions and in the refrigerator.
It occurred to me that she might have had them with her in the car or in her coat pocket, two places we hadn’t looked.
When she finally arrived at home last night I asked her.
“Did you ever find your keys?”
“No!” came the sharp, somewhat accusatory reply.
“I couldn’t find them anywhere. I thought maybe you had them after all,” I said.
With that, a strange look suddenly flashed across her face, and she turned and went to get her purse.
She gave it an exploratory shake.
Hunting inside, she reached down into the bottom, and there were her keys.
“I can’t believe it,” I said.
She just stood there and giggled.
“And it’s a small purse!” I said. “How do you lose something in a small purse like that?”
“I’m a good hider!” she laughed.
“That you are.”
“Well, at least it gives you something to blog about,” she said, after finally wiping away her tears of laughter.
“Don’t mind if I do,” I said.