My house is a black hole. It is a bizarre cosmic anomaly. Apparently, things that come into it mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again. Typically, it is usually one of a pair: One sock. One shoe. One hamster (yes, there were originally two of them).
The other strange thing about these missing items is, they almost always belong to either my husband or my children ... never me. Which begs the question:
“Mom, have you seen my shoe?”
“What shoe?” I ask innocently.
“The other one that looks like this,” says my son, holding up a tattered looking sneaker. “Did you move it?”
“NO,” I say indignantly. “If it’s not where you left it then the house ate it.”
I don’t know why they always assume I either hid the object in question or I have some kind of psychic knowledge as to its whereabouts. Of course, it may have to do with the fact that I am perpetually putting things back where they belong, which is not typically where the owner of said sock or shoe left their belongings. But I do not arbitrarily move things or hide them just to make my family crazy. OK, sometimes, I do that. But only when I’m bored.
Knowing that we have this strange situation, I have often hoped that things like my husband’s favorite ugly shirt, my daughter’s ratty fleece, and my son’s smelly sneakers would get sucked up into the vortex. But unfortunately, it’s usually just the non-offensive items that go missing in action.
Most of the time the wayward item turns up as soon as the owner remembers where they ditched it, dumped it or peeled it off their foot. Sometimes, however, it really does seem that it has been swallowed up by our house. The good news is the black hole has a sensitive stomach and will usually regurgitate the missing item back into the family room within a week of devouring it.
But not always.
Such was the case of the missing Ugg.
It is usually pretty easy to find the Uggs. They are either on my daughter’s feet or in a heap by the back door. But one day, one Ugg disappeared.
“Mom, have you seen my brown Ugg?” asked the Ugg’s owner.
“It’s on your foot,” I said glancing down.
“No, the other Ugg, duh.” she said to her mother, the Ugg idiot.
“Where did you take them off?”
“By the back door. But this morning there was only one Ugg there,” she explained.
Since I knew I didn’t move the Ugg and she knew she didn’t move the Ugg, as far as I was concerned, there was only one reasonable answer.
“The house ate it,” I responded. Although my daughter was keenly aware of this phenomenon, she refused to believe that her precious Ugg had been sucked up into the vortex of our home. For half an hour, we turned the place upside down, but alas, the lost Ugg remained lost. She finally gave in to the inevitable, put on a pair of sneakers (of which there were still two) and went out to meet friends.
Later that day, I walked around the house collecting dog frisbees and dog toys that lay scattered around the floor and went to deposit them in the dog’s toy bin. But just as I was about to dump everything in the box, something brown and fuzzy at the bottom of the bin caught my eye.
I reached in and pulled out a tattered brown boot, hardened with copious amounts of dried dog drool.
Shaking my head, I realized there was really only one word to describe the boot.
This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tracybeckerman.