We spent a good hour and a half, Sunday night, chasing round the house, the Gremlin and me. Well I say chasing, mostly it was him following me into rooms with a helpful air about him, and me huffing and puffing a bit – no, make that a lot – in an increasingly frustrated fashion, before moving on to a different room for more of the same.
It didn’t start out that way. Does it ever?
‘Shall I get the cheese and biscuits?’ he’d said.
‘Sounds good,’ I said back, thinking ‘Ooh, another splash of red wine then. Just a small one’.
It WAS Sunday evening after all. Lots of jobs done in the garden: dead heads lopped, weeds pulled, edges trimmed. Washing machine emptied, ironing done, papers read, crossword completed. Gin drunk. Topped off with a crackin’ piece of rolled sirloin – all pink in the middle – proper gravy (none of that granules rubbish), and what was destined to become Monday’s ‘bubble and squeak’.
But then it all went horribly wrong. And all I’d had to do was that one thing: find a decent film to download from iTunes. I’d have been happy with the wonderfully mesmeric, heartbreakingly horrifying yet strangely uplifting The Handmaid’s Tale finale but, as the Gremlin hasn’t been watching it, I was saving that for catch up.
As usual, the wealth of exciting, inspiring adventure and entertainment we’re daily led to believe is on offer on the big screen had dwindled online to a gaggle of third rate horror movies, tired old action heroes and dubious, never-before-heard-of rom coms. So finding something even remotely tickling of our joint fancy took a while. What the hell happens to decent films once they’re released into the wild? Because few seem to make it onto iTunes. Or Amazon Prime. And I refuse to pay for Sky.
So I end up with Snowden. On special, limited offer at 99p to rent. Who could refuse?
But then I forget my Apple password. Twice. So it gets all sniffy with me and I have to come up with another completely forgettable concoction of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. And wait for the password reset email. Which means downloading hundreds of emails to my laptop, because I haven’t done that for a while, because I only ever use the laptop for watching ‘catch up’ these days, and that takes ages – at which point I realise I could have got the email on my iPad, which is always up to date.
And then I go through the whole reset password ritual, tweaking it a little here and there (I do so enjoy crafting a password, don’t you?) before entering it into iTunes, which is by now displaying a completely blank screen.
So I reboot iTunes, which gets all shirty with me again about the password, so I input that again. Blank screen. Again.
And then again.
So I reboot the laptop.
Eventually, I go into settings and update the password there, at Mr Apple’s terse suggestion, clearly now believing me to be either an imbecile or someone moonlighting on a stolen device. And then I’m in. Back to Snowden.
Except that now I need to verify my payment details.
So I stomp up the stairs, grumbling softly as I go, in search of relevant credit card. Which is nowhere to be seen. It’s not in my wallet or any of my various handbags. It’s not by my desk, under a table, tucked in a knicker drawer, down the back of the sofa, mixed up with recently filed papers, or any other place rummaged, rifled and contents thrown, in any room in the house. I can’t remember cutting it up in error and who knows how many times the bin fairy has been in operation since that possible scenario anyway. It’s not hanging out by the garden gate, gathering dust on the garage floor or anywhere inside the car. It’s not even stashed in a ‘holiday hiding place’.
Meanwhile, the Gremlin has eaten his fill of cheese, drunk his wine and – after quite some time, it has to be noted – begun to miss me. A distant call of ‘Everything okay?’ patters lightly up the stairs, swiftly followed by its source. A head pops round the door. ‘Can I help?’
So now there’s two of us. Me rummaging, rifling and throwing stuff. Huffing and puffing. Him scratching his head, opening doors, pulling out the odd drawer, staring purposefully into cupboards, willing it appear. Neither approach yielding the slightest whiff of success.
‘Peppermint tea?’ he asks, finally. Defeated. Pattering back down the stairs. Search skills exhausted. ‘You’ll find it,’ he says, voice muffled by the kitchen door. ‘It’ll turn up’. I don’t believe him.
But I can’t rest, diving in for another round of rummaging, rifling, throwing. More huffing and puffing.
And then I give in and call the number on a statement to cancel the card. I won’t sleep otherwise.
‘Lost or stolen?’ she asks. ‘Lost!’ I say, in a faintly strangulated laugh. She laughs back. I wonder how many times she’s heard that laugh tonight? I’d guess plenty.
‘If you DO find it,’ she says, ‘chop it up.’
But I’m not really listening because, in my head, I’m still rummaging and rifling. ‘Not likely,’ I think. ‘There’s nowhere left to look’.
Anyway, peppermint tea now cold, it’s far too late for any sort of political drama (unless Trump’s at it somewhere, deep in the Washington night, on Twitter, and it’s never too late for that), and I have literally no more nooks to rummage. Bed time. But at least the card has been cancelled. A new one on its way.
Then, just as the lights go out and my head hits the pillow, I remember. I haven’t seen another one of my cards for some time either. Panic rises yet again, but this time – with some effort – I resist the temptation to go search.
‘Maybe they’re both together somewhere’, says the Gremlin, ever the optimist. And I fall into a fitful sleep, dreaming of lost credit cards. Resolving that, come the morning, I will make a second call. Cancel the other one.
And then, some time after breakfast, between showering and getting dressed, I find them both. BOTH! No longer invisible – in fact, weirdly, very visible. And just as he said. Together. In a place I’d several times rummaged, rifled and thrown stuff around. A place I’d put them knowing they’d be safe. A place I knew I’d remember….
Still, all’s well that ends well, eh? Now… where did I put those keys?
PS. The featured image, by the way, is an iris, spotted in the Buttchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, in May – and posted here for no other reason than I like it. And because I can.