Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Borrowers

The Borrowers were popular children’s books when I was little. The books were about little people that made their homes in the floorboards or walls of houses and lived right along side us, literally beneath our very feet without ever being caught. They had thimble stools and spool tables. They slept in match boxes. It was Thumbelina meets Gulliver’s Travels meets the Smurfs all in one. When I was a kid I was sure it was make believe. Now that I am an adult I am just not that sure.

We have had several things disappear in the last couple of days. A gingerbread man cookie cutter apparently saw a chance to escape and fled when one of the kids left the door open. My grandson’s magnets took a hike as soon as he was force marched to the shower before bed. My coffee cups vanish as soon as I turn my back on them and the spare car keys are nowhere to be found.

This seems excessive for one week, but since we are gearing up for the holidays I feel that the Borrowers are doing so as well.

My sister once lost her car keys at my house. She walked in and we went straight to the kitchen, sat down to have some coffee and visit. When she got up to leave the keys were gone. We hunted high and low, lifting cushions, searching pockets, giving toddlers the third degree and terrifying the pets into cowering in the corners. We opened cabinets and drawers, went through the trash in the can, even looked in the refrigerator and freezer because sometimes we all have those kinds of days.

We found a silver pen I had been missing for three months, my glasses, HER glasses, 11 single socks, chewed on erasers, partially masticated cheerios in various stages of staleness and decomposition, my son’s winter jacket from three years before, $1.53 in change, a pickle mummified so that I at first thought it was a shriveled finger and had a heart stopping moment of panic, eggshells, a pair of underwear (who had the accident and didn’t tell me?) some murdered roly-polys and a breath mint, peppermint, with the center blue dot expertly sucked out. There were bits and scraps of paper, a library book from four moves ago and a new math text book with a hole punched straight through the middle (What the hell?  SOMEONE was getting a whipping today.). A detention slip from school I had never seen, earned due to the damage to text book I assumed, a winter cap, a tennis shoe with the laces gone and papers from at least a bags’ worth of miniature candy bars lay behind my couch.  A pile of shriveled green beans and other, now unrecognizable vegetables lay in the corner of the wash room squashed under the trash can and a small pile of penicillin pills obviously spit out after a kid had pretended to swallow them lay just under the edge of the dryer gathering lint at an amazing rate. My meager supply of make up was under the sink in the kids bathroom along with a Playboy (are you freaking kidding me???), a ruler (boys will be boys), shaving cream and seventy two disposable razors. We dove in to the kids’ rooms next. Besides the usual store of toys and dirty clothing we found sixteen cups with milk solidified in the bottom, bread crusts, crickets in a jar, dried, sticks, movies on videotape from a Blockbuster store in another state, s kitten, seven nude Barbie with ink on their faces and hair in a snarled mess, model cars blown to dust in a box with remnants of cherry bombs included. Screwdrivers, 2 Bic lighters, 5 bent rusty nails and a broken hammer next to the full-of-holes wooden bed frame, WAIT A MINUTE, a kitten? Really, guys? A kitten? Four diaries covered with read this and die phrased in various levels of frightening verbiage and a $50 dollar year book with all of the boys’ faces scribbled out except one which had hearts all around it.

We hunted high and low, filled a thirty gallon trash bag, spanked two kids and made the dog howl before we finally gave up and called a locksmith. That cup of coffee and a nice chat turned into a clean house for me and an $80 bill from the smith for her.

Why am I thinking about the Borrowers today you might ask? (Even if you are not I am going to tell you so you may as well play along) I was pushing stuff around, five moves after that particular apartment, looking for either the gingerbread man cookie cutter or the magnets, and my sister’s keys fell out of a chair. A chair just bought two years ago, after we moved into this house.