You should already know I’m a little wacked by now, but just in case you weren’t completely convinced or have attempted to explain away my last trip to Crazy Town as a one time experience perhaps induced by the consumption of large quantities of frosted circus animals, let me assure you that is not the case. I feel I owe it to you, faithful reader, to be completely up front with my psychoses—how else are we to maintain our circle of trust if not through total honesty? Subterfuge has no place among virtual friends. I reserve that kind of deceit for those who know me in person, who might feel somewhat uneasy about my nutjobbiness. But you people can feel comfortable and safe on the other side of cyberspace—I don’t even know where most of you live yet.
BigHugs’s pink jacket is lost.
Yesterday as I was getting BigHugs ready to go out for some errands I realized it wasn’t in the coat closet. She was wearing jeans and a shirt with pink stripes, so naturally I went for the pink jacket rather than the purple because well, you know. But it wasn’t there. I looked on our entry bench, but it wasn’t there. I looked all downstairs and upstairs, but it was nowhere to be found. Then I thought it must be in the van. I’m forever leaving random jackets in the van because either the weather’s iffy and I’m bringing them along just in case or because even though it’s chilly enough to need a jacket outside, the van has warmed up sufficiently while we were in the store that BigHugs or some other child of mine is now suffocatingly hot and must relieve themselves of their outerwear before they faint dead away on the car ride home.
I grabbed her purple jacket and headed out the door and didn’t really think anything of it. Until last night when I finally realized that I didn’t remember seeing that pink jacket in the car afterall. I went back out to the car. It wasn’t there. (I actually went out to check the car four different times, the last time opening the door on the other side of the van hoping that a different perspective would somehow make the jacket miraculously reappear.) I came back inside and started asking the family if they had seen BigHugs’s pink jacket. Did they remember the last time she had worn it? Chuck thought he remembered her having it Monday night when we went out to dinner.
Me: But she was wearing the purple outfit on Monday. I remember she got rice all smushed into her pant leg. I would probably have put the purple jacket on her with the purple outfit.
Chuck: I was pretty sure I remembered her wearing the pink jacket. I remember her complaining about her straps being too tight when I put her in her carseat. But now that you mention the purple outfit, I’m beginning to doubt myself.
Me: She definitely wore it on Sunday.
Chuck: What did she wear to church on Sunday?
Me: She was wearing the brown skirt with the pink top and pink socks and brown shoes. I obviously would have put the pink jacket on her. I must have left it at church.
Chuck: I would have put it in the church bag. I always put it in the church bag when I take it off.
Me: But it’s not in the church bag. I’ve already looked. Maybe it fell out of the church bag. Figures. I spent like 10 minutes after church on Sunday running around returning random stupid belongings to stupid people that had left them behind in the stupid primary room. We even ran Sarah’s stupid jacket over to her stupid house for crying out loud and I left my own child’s stupid jacket at the stupid church. Of course. Of course I did! But why? Why would I do that?!
After I yelled at all the kids to brush their teeth and get their pajamas on, Chuck left the room and went upstairs. I felt bad. Yesterday was our anniversary (fourteen years!) and here I was all beside myself over a silly lost jacket and driving my poor husband away. He came downstairs a few moments later. He had gone upstairs to change out of his pajama pants and into jeans. It dawned on me as he was putting on his shoes that he was going over to the church to get the jacket.
Me: You don’t have to go to the church. It’s no big deal. I can go tomorrow.
Chuck: I’m already dressed and it will only take 10 minutes.
Me: No, really, don’t go. I’ll stop obsessing over it, I promise. I’ll just go tomorrow.
Chuck: I’ll be back in a few minutes. Where do you I look again?
Me: I would think it would have to be in the primary room or the chapel overflow. But seriously, I can look tomorrow. Really, I can wait.
Chuck: OK, see you in a minute.
Me: Or maybe it’s in the library lost and found?
Chuck called a few minutes later. My heart raced. He had found the jacket and was calling to put my sad little crazy mind at ease. But no. He couldn’t find the jacket. Had he checked in the primary room? Under the table in the primary room where I usually stash all our junk? On the hooks outside of the primary room? In the library lost and found? In the chapel overflow? On the coat racks down the halls? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. It wasn’t there. Oh where could it be?!
He came home and I tried to retrace my steps again. Maybe she had worn the jacket on Monday. I had gone to Kohl’s. Maybe we left it there. I got out Sunday’s Kohl’s add to check the store hours. It was open until 10 pm and it was 9:30 pm, so naturally I got out the phone book and called the store.
Me: Do you have a lost and found?
Kohl’s lady: Yes, did you lose something?
Me, resisting the urge to say “duh”: Yes, I was in a few days ago and think I might have lost a little girl’s pink jacket there.
Kohl’s lady: OK, I’ll go look in the box. Just a minute. pause. OK, I do have a little girl’s pink jacket. Hallelujah! It has a crest of somekind…uh…um…could you maybe describe the jacket?
Wait, did she honestly think I was some weirdo stealing person calling up random stores and reporting random missing items in the hopes of getting lucky and scoring myself a little girl’s pink jacket? Really?
Me, playing along: This would be just a plain pink sweatshirt type zip up jacket. I think it’s from Old Navy and it would probably be size 3T.
Kohl’s lady: Sorry, this one is OshKosh and has a crest on the front.
Me: Oh, OK, thanks.
My hopes were dashed. What are the odds that they would have a little girl’s pink jacket when I was looking for a little girl’s pink jacket? And then have it turn out to not be mine?! Oh the bitter irony!
It was late and I still hadn’t gotten the kids to bed. I grilled them one more time. Had anyone seen the jacket? Do they remember if she was wearing the pink or the purple jacket when we went to the restaurant? Mr. T thought she was either wearing the purple jacket or no jacket at all. Chuck thought maybe she hadn’t been wearing a jacket afterall. But that didn’t make any sense. It was cold. I had been wearing a jacket. Chuck had been wearing a jacket. Of course we would have put BigHugs in a jacket. What kind of parents did he think we were? Maybe the jacket fell off the booth seat onto the floor while we were at the restaurant. But why would we have left without putting the jacket on? It was cold, remember?!
We had family prayers and Mr. T asked God to please bless that BigHugs’s jacket would turn up soon. And then I said goodnight to all the kids and they each in turn said that they hoped we would find BigHugs’s jacket before heading upstairs with their dad who was tucking them in because mom was still beside herself and obviously in no state for bedtime stories. I sat on the couch and wondered what on earth was wrong with me.
Chuck came back downstairs and again apologized for the lost jacket and not being able to find it.
Me: It’s so stupid. It’s a jacket. She’ll outgrow it in a few months anyway. It doesn’t matter.
And here’s where survival mode kicks in, folks. I can a) try to convince myself that the jacket was indeed too small and virtually unwearable anyways and go out and buy another jacket (it will have to be in a bigger size, of course, to keep up the illusion that this whole scenario is actually plausible) or b) concoct an outrageous story of how the jacket was lost and cannot possibly ever be found and how grateful I should be that we escaped with our lives and that all we lost was a jacket that needed to be replaced anyways because it was getting too small.
I choose b) a lot. It’s my coping mechanism of choice and not just for lost items. For example, whenever I start to feel down about putting on a few pounds I just pretend that I once weighed 500 pounds and have lost like 350 pounds, so of course now I look absolutely fabulous despite the fact I’m carrying an extra 20 pounds around. Hel-lo, what’s 20 lbs to 350?
So with the jacket, perhaps we were involved in a near fatal car accident. I lost control of the van after swerving to avoid a family of ducks crossing the road and we flew off the side of an embankment, narrowly escaping the raging river waters below, sending all of the loose articles in our vehicle flying in all directions and out the open windows, including BigHugs’s pink jacket, before miraculously landing to safety on a floating boat dock.
I’m not sure I’m convinced. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a family of ducks around here and I’m fairly certain there are no raging rivers or floating boat docks between here and church or Kohl’s or the restaurant. And how did we get the van off the floating boat dock? It’s not quite right yet—the slightest Christopher-Reeve-penny-in-the-pocket off detail and the whole scenario will come crashing down like a house of cards, and I’ll be doomed to a fate of staring blankly out windows until I cease to exist. Although, perhaps then I could be reunited with the pink jacket.
Help me. Give me a more plausible story to explain the jacket’s disappearance so I can go on. You go ahead and work on that while I look up the number to the restaurant.