Monday, August 20, 2012

Everybody loves a good mystery...

True or false? Does everybody indeed love a good mystery? I suppose there is at least an element of truth in that statement. As a child, I read the Bobbsey Twins books, and Trixie Beldon, and a few Nancy Drew ones as well. (For some reason I didn't get into those as much. I might have tried them out when I was too young. Who knows?) Anyway, yes, I enjoyed them. And I love a good suspense movie or book, as long as it is not too graphically violent. I'm a wimp about violence, particularly since becoming a mother. So why do we love mysteries? Maybe it's because it forces us to exercise our brains. Or maybe it's because we are always hungry for answers, and there is something satisfying about uncovering the truth.

I will tell you what is not satisfying. A mystery that has no answer. Or at least a mystery that cannot be solved, even if the answer is out there somewhere. That's what we are facing here in our home today. I doubt very much that words can adequately express the levels of frustration, anxiety, anger and complete hopelessness that has accompanied our lovely little mystery. Here's what happened.

This morning, I decided I would go on an outing. I was going to drive to the ghost town where we pick up our mail. It was to be a quick outing, but a satisfying one for me, given that I was going to go alone. Completely alone. Picking up the mail is about the only thing I can do completely alone these days because it only takes about half an hour total, sometimes only twenty minutes, so there is no worry about Lauren needing me before I can return. So yes, I was excited about my little excursion. I decided to let Cody come along, as he had done some major cleaning for me earlier in the morning and his brothers did not lift a finger to help, even though I asked them to. I was in a hurry, as a flood inspector was coming to re-assess our place in light of my appeal of their decision to deny us assistance.

I wanted to drive the Subaru, because it's kind of symbolic of independence. It's not the family vehicle, if you know what I'm saying. But Mike told me the Subaru was at the farm, where he left it yesterday when he went there to pick up our tractor. (It was there having some work done.) Well, okay. My "just me", non-family-vehicle excursion was now me and my firstborn, in a minivan, but still it was a break from the house and some of the chaos. I couldn't find the van keys, so we went out to the van to see if they were in there. They were not.

At this point, I was mildly annoyed. I was working with a time limit, knowing that Lauren was going to be hungry in a matter of about ten minutes. I went inside and searched the usual places. The key rack. Nope. Well, that's not too unusual. We can't use our key rack because our boys steal the keys and go into the vehicles. Scary. So I looked in the next place we keep the keys, which is on our bookshelf, ironically, on top of my Trixie Beldon books. Nope. Okay, I searched the top of our dresser in our room. No keys. By this time, I was getting upset. I could see the minutes ticking by, and with them, my opportunity to get out of the house. We began a thorough search. Half an hour later, no keys, and no outing. I knew it was too late. We looked all over the kitchen counters, behind the TV, in the couch cushions, under our bed, under the boys' beds. Nothing. We searched the inside of the van, knowing the boys love to sneak in there. Perhaps I had left the keys in the ignition on Saturday. I don't do that, but what if I did? We did determine that I was the last one to drive the van, so the responsibility pretty much rested on my head.

We interrogated our boys. Cody, being six and much more mature than his brothers, was quickly eliminated as a suspect. He understood the dire nature of our situation and was eager to find the keys. Jamie and Micah were more challenging. Our barrage of questions was met with unsatisfactory answers. First, denial of any involvement. Jamie was adamant that he had nothing to do with the keys and that he was not in the van yesterday. His eyes did not look innocent, but sometimes Jamie looks guilty when accused even when he is not. After many questions and asking the same question in a million different ways, I decided to believe him. Micah was next. He started with denial as well, and then quickly shifted gears to blame. Jamie did it. Hm. That sounded promising. If Micah is blaming someone else (usually Jamie), it means he did it. Good. We began asking him where the keys were. He kept saying the same thing over and over again. They were under the ground hiding in the sandbox. Really? He buried our keys in the sand? The thought was disturbing, seeing they were attached to a keyless remote entry thingy. (I'm sorry, I don't remember the technical term.) We began digging through the sandbox. We did not find the keys. We checked the other two sand box areas. (Our land is pure sand, by the way.) Wow. No keys.

The inspector came and went. Lunch came and went. On and on we searched. We began looking in the same places over and over again. Through every pocket of my purse. Through every pocket of the diaper bag. The key rack. The book shelf. The dresser. The kitchen. Not surprisingly, the keys were still not in those places. So we began looking in more silly places. My underwear drawer. The change table. The garbage that had been taken outside yesterday. The camera case. The cedar chest at the end of our bed that gets opened approximately once every six months. Inside the boys' shoes. Nothing.

The search has been on, more or less, since 10:30 a.m. It is now 7:30 p.m. Nine hours, and still no keys. Mike even drove the Echo (which was devoid of any van keys) to the farm to check inside the Subaru, after Micah changed his confession to say that he had put them in there. Nothing.

So, it seems we simply have no van keys anymore. We bought it used and it came with only one set. This means we have no vehicle. No family vehicle, anyway, so only one adult can leave the premises at once, and never with all the kids. It also means the only way to get a new key is to call a tow truck to come all the way from the city out here (40 minutes each way) and have our van pulled to the Toyota dealership, where they will charge us exorbitant amounts of money to reprogram a new keyless remote thingy, and create a new key for us. This will cost hundreds of dollars. At least. And the sick part is, after spending that money, we could come home, lift up some random toy somewhere and go, "Oh! There it is!"

I am so utterly fried by this situation I am barely coping. This is just another blow to the bank account. And it's stupid. And it's my fault, somehow, because I was the last one to touch the keys. And I either left them in the ignition, or I put them somewhere obscure, or I left them out where the boys could find them. I feel like a complete loser. In fact, in this particular situation, that's exactly what I am. A loser. Because that's what I did. I lost them. And this is not like losing a sock, or a toothbrush, or something inexpensive and replaceable. No. This is going to be a very expensive loss, unless we can find the keys in the next few hours. And frankly, I'm sick of searching.

So, I have decided that mysteries are overrated. In fact, I think I hate them. Or maybe it's just that this one is not a "good mystery". Either way, I think I'll pass.

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