Friday, 21 September 2012


I absolutely hate losing things. But to see my messy house you would think I wouldn’t mind losing things, to the untrained eye that pile of crap on the kitchen side is just a pile of crap, yet I believe I could list exactly what it contains. Organised chaos is alright with me.

It was actually my losing something that started my war on the loft. It was two days before the school term started and I was just getting round to labelling everything (unlike super organised mum who has everything labelled and ironed and ready to go by the last week of the previous term, smug cow) and I had misplaced the funky iron on name labels I had ordered in a desperate attempt to portray an organised image when Son One started year R (I won’t be ordering them again, poor old Son Two will have to be satisfied with his name scrawled across the washing label in an old Sharpie). It was in checking the loft for the misplaced labels that I discovered the level of disorganisation up there.

The other day I lost Son One’s swimming hat. This isn’t just any swimming hat, it’s special. Son One refuses to cut his long hair but it was affecting his swimming so I said he must wear a hat to keep it out of his eyes. He agreed to the hat on the condition that it was a Star Wars hat. So I lovingly sewed a Star Wars patch on either side of a blue and white fabric swimming hat. He loved that hat; you could see his little chest puffing up with pride when anyone commented on it. No one else had a Star Wars swimming hat, it was one of a kind.

The other day Son Two and I swam in the big pool while Son One had his lesson in the teaching pool. Swimming with kids is stressful, you have to take the same amount of luggage as for a two week holiday (and Son Two is still in nappies so that means extra supplies) and try and ram it into a locker far too small before realising that said locker is broken and you will have to go through it all again with the next locker along. But it’s afterwards that’s the worst. Trying to squeeze everyone into a tiny cubicle because a couple of sixteen year olds have decided to use the only two family changing rooms, changing nappy on the bench in a cloud of talc left by the previous occupant, wrestling damp feet into shoes and socks (with children complaining of feeling “sticky”) and then (and this is the really hard bit) get kids to stop fiddling with the door lock while you change yourself (why are they determined to reveal your nakedness to the universe?). When you finally unlock the door it’s like letting the greyhounds out of the trap, and you chase after them, hair dripping wet, all hope of checking face for runny mascara in the mirror forgotten. I returned home (mirror check revealed runny mascara as suspected). But when I took out the wet swimming things I couldn’t find the hat.

I tried to remain calm. I emptied the bag again. I put everything else away. I checked inside all the swimming costumes, inside the hoods of the towels, I emptied my car, I looked under my bed, behind sofa cushions, everywhere I knew it could be before everywhere I knew it couldn’t possibly be. I searched for over half an hour until I had to accept that the swimming hat was gone. And this is the point where my OCD kicks in.

I started to imagine the swimming hat lying forlornly on the tarmac of the car park, maybe getting kicked about by some passing youth. Or I would imagine it in the hands of some other child, who would not appreciate the love and care that had gone into making that Star Wars swimming hat. Or worst of all, being transported to the dump in a bin bag from the leisure centre, nestling amongst used nappies and sodden plasters, where it will stay til the end of time. All of these visions were a disturbing end to a much loved possession. To say nothing of the look on Son One’s face when I had to break the news to him.

And this is what happens to me every time I misplace something. I don’t just mourn their loss, but waste a considerable amount of time and energy thinking about where they could be once they are sucked into the vortex of misplacement. It’s both a blessing and a curse having such an active imagination.

I awoke early the following morning after a fretful night and reordered a new hat and patches in the hope that I could replace it before Son One noticed (which would have been hard given that Son Two loves it just as much and has taken to wearing it around the house when Son One isn’t around). It cost money but I would’ve paid a lot more to avoid the inevitable upset.

But I still couldn’t stop my mind cranking out the visions of the lost hat. So in one last desperate attempt to give myself some peace I went to the leisure centre and asked them if it had been handed in. It hadn’t. I begged them to let me look in the changing room and they reluctantly agreed. And there it was. Sitting on the bench of the changing room where it had been all along, not on any of the adventures I had imagined for it. Mystery solved and hat back in the right hands, my mind was finally calmed. Phew, close one, I almost overreacted there.

No comments:

Post a Comment