The Common Household Mystery

My boys love mystery stories. They can spot the obvious clue a mile off. “Duh,” Gregory said, “these detectives are so dull! It’s so easy to see what is going on.” But of course, from the all-seeing perspective of the author you can solve the mystery. I wish they were as good at figuring out some of the things that remain unsolved in this house.

Top of the list right now is my missing journaling Bible. The cover is loose, but I was still using it because there is so much history in it and I planned to get it rebound. I love that Bible. And it is lost, lost. How does one even do that? It’s not under the bed or on my nightstand or in my reading room, all the usual places. Did I send it off to be fixed in a dream? Did a child use it to play church? All of us combined cannot seem to solve the mystery. I ordered a new one from CBD, along with new fine tipped journaling markers, but it feels like a stranger to me yet.

Here is one for the experts. How come my first attempt at making a simple cheese was beautifully successful. And my second and third. And then, when I tried cottage cheese, it refused to coagulate at all, so I put the milk back into the fridge and went to bed. The next day I decided to use it to make my simple spreadable cheese again because I knew I could do that, but when I heated the milk, it made ricotta. Hey! I am not complaining. The lasagna was fantastic. But I just wish I knew why the rennet acted so funny.

Where did all the shampoo/toilet paper/toothpaste/every other health and beauty aid go? Sometimes I think I might as well have a list with bandaids and hankies pinned to the top. The men of the house all despise tissues, so I am constantly struggling to keep them in hankies. [I think] sometimes they stay in the uniform pants pockets and the hospital laundress throws them out, even the monogrammed ones. But what do I know? I know that the boys use them for everything from parachutes to dog collars because I find them in the lawn.

What about spoons and forks? I only have cheap ones in the drawer for everyday use, but this fall I noticed that they were quite depleted. Nobody had any helpful suggestions until I jogged their collective memories when I turned up six forks in the flower bed right off the deck while I was raking leaves. “OH, yes… we were having a contest with the cousins, just chucking our forks over the railing. That is all.” I may have spoken a few choice words of admonition. They no longer question why I remind them after every picnic to produce the used plates and utensils before they go play. And while we are on the subject of silverware: How does all that grody gritty stuff get into the Rubbermaid tray in the drawer? Seriously? It’s not like we open  the drawer and butter the toast over the tray.

This fall I also noticed that we were constantly running out of stamps. We don’t even send much snail mail anymore, but the boys both have a pen pal that they communicate with regularly. Still. Out of stamps again? Then a young sleuth (our favorite Nancy Drew quote… she is “the young sleuth” so often that I want to hurl a Thesaurus at the author) tipped me off on a certain stamp collection in a certain notebook where I found at least ten brand new Forever stamps neatly arranged in rows, as well as a bunch of postcard stamps. It really kind of broke the back of the stamp collection when I reclaimed what was mine, but he didn’t have $6 extra in his piggy bank, and we had had a very clear conversation about stamps when the collection started.

This morning started with a huge upset about six missing Lego figure hands. Yes, you read that right. Do you know how tiny those hands are? Can you imagine how awful? And nobody did it or knew where they were. Except maybe the dog ate them, but I am betting on the vacuum cleaner. I actually will stoop and pick up a Lego when I am cleaning, if I see it. Sometimes the vacuum cleaner rattles crazily and I just hope it was a pony bead.

I have to put in a blurb for some of our favorite fantasies about household conundrums. Have you ever heard of the Borrowers? They are these tiny people who live, kind of like mice, in the walls and floors of the big people’s houses. I am sure I have referred to them before, how they borrow whatever they need from what they find laying around, and that is why there are never any safety pins when you need them.


If you see this book, or any of the series, just know that it will “explain” a lot of mysteries and your children will absolutely love them. The audiobooks are done really well too. (British!)

We have Christmas secrets going on right now, too. We have started on our cookie baking tradition, 2 down, 3 to go. Usually the recipe selection is based on pictures in the Taste of Home cookbooks: the more complicated the better, and I try to stay sweet about garish food coloring in dough and sprinkles all over the kitchen. I am hiding the cookies deep in the freezer this year because last year we had some sad children who were unrepresented on the cookie trays when their batch got eaten prematurely.

I also squirreled some presents away in the attic in a black garbage bag. Each child gets an article of clothing, a game or activity, and a book or audio. I hope they don’t think to look up there. 🙂 As I mentioned before, the children voted to give up some of the Christmas fund for the book fundraiser we are doing to send to refugees. I have ordered some books already, and when Addy saw them she pouted a little, “You are treating the refugee children better than us.” So, no, we are not nominating anybody for sainthood just yet.

Speaking of the fundraiser, I want to thank you, thank you, so much. It has been mostly blog readers who have been so kind in sharing. The donations on the website added to private donations is just at $1,700. That is really close to the goal, more than I actually dared to hope for! I plan to close the Youcaring site next week and place the completed order. I have been poring over the catalog and making selections with Davy and Janelle’s help. They were there and they know which books are most suitable. It is so exciting I can hardly stand it!

I know that has nothing to do with mystery except just maybe that we have no idea what God will do with these tokens of care and Christlike love.

One last thing. Our furnace has only kicked in a handful of times in the whole of December. What is up with that? It has been amazing, like a gift straight from heaven. Or is it just global warming? At any rate, it is a “problem” for the experts that I am thanking God for!

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