Every year, EVERY.YEAR, about this time, we have the same conversation with my in-laws and this year is no exception. Except, it's earlier. Every.Year.
"We can't find all of our stuff."
We store their Christmas decorations in Monica's Closet. It used to be three totes and now it's consolidated into one large tote. This, I believe, is where the wheels fall off. My mother-in-law remembers when she had a lot of decorations and forgets that two years ago she decided to give stuff away. Also, that my father-in-law puts things into their pantry/laundry room outbuilding and there they remain lost forever.
Sidenote: remember years ago I told the story of the young nephews having wedding and Transformer wrapping on their Christmas presents? No? Okay, short story: I put all of the parents Christmas wrapping behind my office door. They live in a tiny house and it was kept over here until they needed it. I explained it just like that: Your wrapping is behind my office door. Did that work? Nope.
My f-i-l went into my office, moved a rocking chair, got into Monica's Closet and dug out my big green tote of wrapping paper. Wrapping paper that had zero Christmas wrapping paper because I store that separately. Where is that tote now? Still in their outbuilding. Where is their Christmas wrapping paper? In Monica's Closet. I know this because she is the only person who buys blue or pink Christmas wrapping.
Whew, that was longer than I meant to be. But: context.
This morning my phone rings and it's my m-i-l, looking for a tote that has their lights in it. It's a tote with a cracked lid that she hates, she explains helpfully, every year. A tote that I got rid of years ago because of the cracked lid that she hates. I explain that we don't have it, that we got rid of that tote, and that she consolidated all of her stuff. No, I'm wrong. It's over here. *deep breath*
Okay, one more sidenote: This is where Kevin got to experience the specific crazy-making that is the parents when they are spun out over something simple. I mean, he's experienced it but not in real time like today. Usually it's over the phone or after something has happened. This nonsense usually happens on my watch.
I explained to Kevin that we had our traditional, annual conversation of We Can't Find Our Stuff. He asked if I knew for sure that we didn't have it. (Taking no offense because he lives with me.) I explained that he could blindfold me and I could identify every item in Monica's Closet.
Also, I am confident because: history shows it. Years ago, they put their interior Christmas lights in a different box and stored it somewhere. This prompted the "We Can't Find Our Stuff" conversation that resulted in me giving them MY LIGHTS so that the conversation would just stop for the love of all that is holy. I am one hundred percent certain that THAT BOX is somewhere over there too. Yes, it is enabling and codependent but I just wanted the lambs to stop screaming, Clarice.
He went next door to talk to the elderly crazy people. Fifteen minutes later, he returns with his hair on fire. "Are you SURE?" Yep. "Show me" Okay, you wanna go? Let's go.
I open Monica's Closet and touch every box, explaining what is inside. He remains skeptical: "You wouldn't have put their stuff with ours?" No, I reply, because I'm not CRAZY. I made the decision to pull out the Christmas boxes even though I had ZERO INTENTION of doing that today. Now I'M in it.
Open one box: "This is the kitchen stuff. It's divided up by room because your wife has ISSUES." Open the next box: "This is my work decorations and some leftover stuff" Open the next box: "This is everything else"
Yes, three boxes of just decorations. Shush. You mind your ownself.
Satisfied, yet not, he heads back over to the asylum. After ten minutes he returns, successful yet annoyed. "Found it."
"I know" I replied.
"It was in the laundry room. In an unmarked CARDBOARD box on a high shelf"
Did either of them confess, apologize or explain? Nope. It is the Great Unsolved Mystery of how that box got out there.
I asked Kevin "Did you see my wrapping paper tote?" He asked what it looked like and I explained that it's green, long and narrow. Yes, it is still in there. "Do you want me to go get it?" NOPE. There is zero stuff in there I want at this point and it's one less thing in Monica's Closet. And it gives me a little glee that they have something of MINE that they will deny having.
Tune in this time next year for a similar version of "We Can't Find Our Stuff".