We have a new family tradition of pancakes on Saturday mornings. The kids like this because they love pancakes, and I like this because Otto is in charge of making them, which generally means he not only makes the pancakes, but empties the dishwasher and does all the dishes, as well.
(After four and a half years of being a single mom, that right there is as close to a wet dream as I’ll ever get.)
So this morning started out typically enough: Monkey arose before everyone else, came down to our room and hopped into bed for a quick snuggle. I hugged and kissed him and suggested he go watch cartoons. Off he went. Otto and I fell back asleep. Then Chickadee got up and came and hopped into bed for her snuggle, and asked when we’d be getting up. I said “soon.” She went off to watch cartoons. Otto and I fell back asleep. Chickadee came back and asked if we were getting up now. We said “soon.” She left. We fell back asleep. Chickadee came back and said “I AM REALLY HUNGRY WHEN ARE YOU GETTING UUUUUUUUP?” and we got up.
Otto commenced with the pancake-making while I stumbled around muttering about how I should be allowed to sleep all day on Saturdays if I want. (Hahahaha!) After a short bit of time we were all seated at the table, enjoying our perfectly round pancakes.
[Digression: I sometimes make the kids Mir McMuffins, which is your typical egg and cheese and ham thing on an English muffin, and after some very oddly-shaped eggs while I was getting the hang of my new cast-iron pan, I mentioned for perhaps the hundredth time that I should REALLY go find some of those round eggs forms so that my eggs would be perfectly muffin-sized. Otto nodded and then WENT OUT AND BOUGHT ME SOME like, maybe the next day. I guess the egg overhang on his muffin was really disturbing; I don’t know. ANYWAY. I have used the forms ONCE for McMuffins since then, but Otto has delighted in using them to make perfect pancakes ever since. I am a teensy bit worried that my OCD tendencies are wearing off on him every time I see that plate of identically round and uniform pancakes.]
Our kitchen table sits by a bay window that overlooks our porch and casino/gazebo and while the kids cheerfully scooped butter directly into their gaping maws I noticed Otto studying the porch rather more intently than one would expect when there is a giant plate of steaming carbs sitting there.
“Are you… looking for something?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered, turning to me as if having just decided something important, “I woke up in the middle of the night last night wondering whatever happened to our bench.”
I was confused. First, because I hardly ever wake up at night thinking about furniture. Second, because I had a park bench at the old house that was falling apart and we’d tucked into the greenery at the yard’s edge at some point. We didn’t bother bringing it with us.
“The one covered with AZALEAS?” Chickadee asked. Ah, she remembered it, too.
“No, the one that was here when we moved in,” said Otto, turning to me with some impatience. “Remember that?”
And suddenly I DID remember; there had been a bench almost identical to my old one (save for the falling apart-ness) here on the deck when we moved in. We’d been delighted to discover it. We moved it at one point to make way for our grill, and then….
It was all coming back to me.
“Wait. That’s RIGHT! Where the heck is that??” Otto and I looked at each other.
“What are you talking about?” Chickadee asked.
“Well honey,” I told her, “there was a bench here when we moved in. And we moved it—”
“—to make room for the grill,” added Otto.
“Right, it was where the grill is now, and we moved it against the house, and then… oh! And then the roofers were here, so we… well we must’ve moved it then, right?”
We considered this for a moment.
“But—” I stopped, because this was too ridiculous to say out loud.
“Right,” said Otto. We were both nodding, slowly, “we must’ve moved it when the roofers were here, but WHERE DID IT GO? When’s the last time you remember seeing it?”
The roofers where here two months ago. I couldn’t remember having seen the bench after they were here. Yet NEITHER of us had realized this until now. We are so observant!
“Okay, wait. Benches don’t walk away. Maybe the roofers moved it?”
“Sure, but WHERE? It’s not under the deck. It’s not in the shed, there’s no room.”
An undertone of unease was creeping in. “Who took our bench??” asked Otto.
Last week some friends of ours were robbed. While I would ordinarily assume that a missing bench was most likely a feat of extreme obliviousness (like, maybe it’s right there next to the garage and we just haven’t noticed it? or the roofers set it behind the shed and we haven’t been back there?), now there’s a note of doubt to this predicament wherein we have to wonder if someone came to our house and stole it.
Because, you know. It’s a park bench. Very fancy, and extremely valuable.
“Do you think maybe the owners came back for it?” Otto asked me.
“No, they were out of state already,” I pointed out.
Chickadee was on the case. “Okay, Mama, when weren’t you here that someone could’ve come and taken it?” I had to bite back a laugh because sure, let me whip out my day planner and let you know exactly when I was absent from the homestead here long enough to accommodate a bench-napping.
The pancakes were long gone before we had to admit that we simply had no idea what happened to the stupid bench, or when. And we’re not sure which is sadder, that possibly someone stole our bench, or that it took us TWO MONTHS to notice.
I have done that so many times. Not with benches, of course, but with other misplaced objects. Several months go by and I’m all “Hey…where is that thing?”
Fortunately, I have yet to do that with a child.
Didn’t Chickadee and Monkey have a dog when they moved here?
I think it’s on the roof. The roofers did it as a joke. But, ya know, the joke’s ON THEM since it took you two months to notice.
Someone stole our Little Tykes Slide/Climber out of our yard. Some people suck.
I “lost” a bike that way once. I assume it got stolen out of the garage, but I don’t know really. To comfort myself, I used to pretend that I loaned it to someone, and I just can’t remember who. Surely, whoever it is will realize (it’s been 10-ish years) and return it to me.
I once “lost” a chair that was in fact in my office under a pile of stuff (but otherwise in plain view) the whole time. So your bench may still turn up one day.
Yikes. I hope you find it. Not because you obviously care so much about it that you noticed it was missing right away, but because I don’t like the alternative. My house was burglarized about five years ago and it was so traumatic. Not the loss of the items (which we were able to replace) but because of the incredible sense of invasion and vulnerability. Even having something stolen from outside your home is creepy and disconcerting.
Maybe Monkey turned it invisible. He seemed suspiciously quiet during the Pancake Inquiry above. Just a thought.
Speaking of the dog, on the news last night a family was pleading for the return of their “beloved family pet” who was taken to the shelter and adopted out. The shelter said they waited 10 days for the owners to materialize and when they didn’t, they adopted out the animal, now refusing to give up the details of the new family. How on earth do you go TEN DAYS without noticing that your dog isn’t home? And ten days was only the time we know that dog was at the shelter before being made available. Who knows how long it had really been. A dog, that needs food and water you should notice within 12 hours, but a park bench in the back yard? I don’t know that I EVER would have noticed!
I’m betting that the roofers broke it somehow (probably trying to use it as a step stool or some such) and they just discarded the evidence along with the excess roofing materials. And they were just hoping you didn’t notice.
I do stuff like this all the time except I do it backwards. I usually think “Hey, has that monstrous cell phone tower always been there and I’ve just never noticed it?”
I agree with Leandra – the roofers probably killed the bench and disposed of the corpse. When we moved house, the movers lost one of our boxes. It had it our iron in it. It took me 3 months to notice, and even then it was only because my mother asked me where on earth my iron was.
Well, now you have to go around and check to make sure that nothing else is missing. Good luck.
Now, Tulip, don’t panic, but is there any Kudzu near your house? Because that mess can swallow a park bench in about a half hour…but it’s been two months. Couldn’t be Kudzu, your whole house would be gone by now. Still, Georgia foliage being what it is, I’d check the plantings in your yard for bench-shapedness. Just sayin’.
Hmmm…might someone (the roofers?) have moved it somewhere out front where it might have been considered “public property”?
I’m with Emma C. Does anyone TRULY know the depth of Monkey’s invisibility skill?
Maybe someone took it on vacation with them like those gnomes people steal. Perhaps the picture of your bench in far away places will start arriving soon. ;)
What you do is this. When you find it… paint some god-awful gaudy colour (like lime green) and then no one will want to steal it, and it’ll never go missing again because who’s ever going to overlook something like that?!
we had bright purple park benches once.
LyndaL I had to laugh at your missing iron. We just moved this month and in my second week of living here I unpacked my hairbrush and realized I had not noticed or cared that I had no brush for 10 days. Motherhood has officially eaten me.
Regarding the park bench, how funny that it woke him up at night. I presume you have already checked the areas in question (behind the shed or garage, etc) and nothing? I’d lean toward the “broke and hid the evidence” idea. And 2 months after the fact is probably far too long to demand answers.
Oh, is this YOUR bench? I was wondering how it got into my purse…
What? You thought I only smuggled brownies in there?
I’m with Amy. Kudzu got it. That stuff is lethal. (But if one should ever need to hide a body. . .)
Oh good, she confessed! I was going to have to rat out that neighbor of yours. Look very closely at the photos of her new door and I’m pretty sure you’ll see that she stole your bench, disassembled it, and reassembled it to look like a brand new swing/ Then she hung it next to her shiny new door. She’s pretty sneaky, but honest!
I predict you will fin dit again, in 10 years or so when you decide you need to move somewhere and it will turn up on the last day when you are cleaning out the garage.
Happens to me all the time. Good thing we move every year or so.
I hate it when that happens!
Doesn’t it make you wonder what else is gone that you haven’t noticed?
I love everyone’s theories! If it was me, it would turn out to be right by the door, buried in shoes, papers, back-packs, toys, whatever. I’m always losing things that are right there in plain sight (like the above office chair) too!
As my mother used to say, “Well it [lunchbox, sweater, left shoe] didn’t just walk away on its own!”
After eliminating all other possibilities, the one remaining, however unlikely, is the truth of the matter.
Monkey made it invisible.
I hate when that happens. Especially at 2am.
Oh, the pancakes and the egg shaper: I have a pancake form shaped like a maple leaf. I’d use it more often, but then I feel obligated to serve them with real maple syrup. (I admit it, we use the cheap stuff.)
We “lost” a bike trailer, a solar garden light and a very large rock from the garden. Apparently we live in the ghetto…of nice gardens.
happens to me all the time – the waking up & suddenly wondering why i haven’t seen something in days/ weeks/ months. i HATE it when that happens.
My mom just got a new english muffin breakfast maker that looks like a toaster on one side and on the other side you can cook and egg (in a perfect circle) and a piece of ham to go along with it! Put it all together when the time goes off and tada a perfect breakfast sandwich!
I was thinking the roofers broke it and hid the evidence, too. Pretty considerate roofers, if you ask me, since usually they just break stuff and leave it in plain view. Oh, that incredibly large and expensive planter, wasn’t that broken before we got here?
Oh, and what Ani said about ‘public property.’ So true. Don’t ever put anything in your front yard anywhere near where you put your garbage, or it will quickly be gone. And not by the sanitation workers, either. Do they do that up north?
I think the crazy lady next door has it. She’s using it to “stage” her house that may or may not be for sale.
Oh, I hate it when I forget stuff like that. In the past six years of working on my money pit of a 105-year-old house (which I am very grateful to own) I’ve moved things so many times I have ‘lost’ innumerable things. And it’s always the one tool you need. Which you know you bought another for last time you needed it.
This past week, it was the 3-in-1 tool you use for painting. I now have 3, possibly 4, someplace.
BTW, for ant death that’s simple and non-toxic, use diatomacious earth. Once it’s wet you have to replace it, but you can sprinkle it on the back of the counter and leave it a few days.
LMAO! That would be us too! OCD aside…
This happens in my parents’ small town alot…check your neighbours’ yards and porches. The local teens (aka – those d@mn kids) will switch planters for chairs, benches for garden statues, etc.