The Basement

My mom tells this story from my childhood about when I was two or three years old.  Apparently I would wander the house, lamenting, “It’s LAAAAAH-sted.  It’s LAHsted!”  In case you aren’t following: I’d lost something.

To this day it drives me crazy if I’ve lost something.  Bothers me to no end.   Like a nagging, running little lifetime list I keep in the far reaches of my mind.  I pride myself in being organized and being able to put my hands on exactly what I’m looking for.

During my sabbatical I organized so many closets and drawers and nooks and crannies and crossed several things off my “Lifetime Lost List.”  It was rejuvenating.  Uplifting.  Like finding twenty bucks in your coat pocket.  Or three gift cards and a bottle of Spanish honey rum.

Sometimes I do throw in the towel.  Like the orange Croc.  Jakey lost one orange Croc, or what we used to call “his Grandma shoes.”  Not because Grandma wears them (if that were the case we’d call them his Granddad shoes), but because she gave them to him when he was really little.  I kept that one orange Croc for at least a year, thinking the other one would turn-up.  I couldn’t remember a time when he could have possibly flung it out his car window on the freeway.  Finally I gave up.  I threw it in the recycling bin and said forget it.  Don’t let losing things bother you so much.  Probably two weeks later, I was going through a box of rags and what do I find?  The other orange Croc.  And some little plastic animals that someone had squirreled away in some sort of make-believe cleaning supply den.  The universe can be so cruel.

Some other things that are still bothering me include my favorite black plastic wipes case, my pearl necklace pendant and…. our glass and pewter salt cellar.  Where.  Is.  It?!  Did someone steal it?  Did it get up and walk back to Italy?  James and I regularly discuss whether we break down and buy another one… it was not cheap.  And of course I will find it the second I swipe my credit card.

Even more perplexing is Jacob’s play cupcake pan and two of the four cupcakes.  Would we have let him take a cupcake pan and wooden cupcakes to school?  Did Santa come and take it back?  Could he have flung it out his window on the freeway?

Continuing our weapons storyline, one of the things bothering Jacob most is his lost gun.  The night after he received the full-size straw-shooting gun from Uncle Geoff, Mama quickly absconded with it to the basement until the two-year-old reached an age appropriate birthday, or passed hunters safety.  We never spoke of the shooter again.

Meanwhile, last December (three years later), Jakey started asking about it again.  That child’s memory may be photographic.  “Mama, where is my gun?  You know, the one that Uncle Geoff gave me?  That shoots the straws?”  He has a special hand motion that mimics loading three-inch red plastic straws into a barrel.

“MmmHM?”  I answer noncommittally.

“Did you check the basement?”

Jake thinks everything good is in the basement.  Maaaaaybe because it is.  I still keep a child doorknob protector on the basement door, partially to keep small children from falling down the stairs into a chest freezer, and partially as the last vestige of secrecy in our lives.  Only Santa and I are allowed in the basement.

At Christmas I overheard him in Grandma’s kitchen, pumping her for clues.  “Do you have my shooter?  That shoots the straws?  That Uncle Geoff gave me?”  He’s checked every inch of our house… next stop, check Grandma’s.

A day or two after the Grandma interrogation, Jacob shot a tiny rubber cannonball directly into Uncle Geoff’s eye while trying to show him his new Christmas pirate ship.  Not two seconds after being told never to shoot anyone in the face.  And providing further proof as to why Jacob is interrogating various family members as to the location of his gun.

So a few weekends ago we decided to take a picnic to Roaring Camp and James brought-up our big wicker picnic basket from the basement.  It seems we haven’t gotten it out since Jacob was two and would spend hours making picnic messes all over the house.

James opens it up and guess what he finds?  No, not the gun.

He finds the cupcake pan, the other two cupcakes, and our felt carrot that Aunt Sara made.

A little piece of me is sleeping better now, but the salt cellar piece wants to spend all night ripping apart the basement.


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