Fumble: Handling A Family Crisis From Across The Country

This cartoon says it all! Thank you, Mike Bannon! MordantOrange.com

This cartoon says it all! Thank you, Mike Bannon! MordantOrange.com


“We have a crisis going on here.”

Those are not exactly the words you want to hear from your daughter when you’re calling home from the other side of the country.

“I’ve only been gone a few hours. What could possibly have gone wrong?” I asked with a jillion scenarios racing through my mind.

“Daddy can’t find his keys,” my daughter explained.

“Oh,” was all I could say, at first simultaneously giving thanks that that was all it was, and an “Uh oh,” realizing this was going to get ugly before it got better.

And so begins this tale of an upside down obstacle, Dear Reader, that I bet you can relate to—

What do you do when you’ve lost that item you absolutely must have?

For my husband it was his car keys.

“No big deal,” I think I might’ve heard you smirking, except that we are talking the added stress of the missing wife, (that would be me at a speaking gig on the other side of the country) and the dreaded Small Window.

Trying-To-Show-He-Can-Do-It-All Husband had only minutes after picking our daughter up from school. He needed to walk the dog, throw dinner together, and was getting ready to go to his baseball game.

Yes, baseball game. As in yes, he plays baseball. Not softball. Baseball. As in yes, he’s too old to be putting his body through that, as in—that’s a whole other column.

“I’ve looked in the car, on the street, on our bed, in the laundry—“

“He’s digging in our neighbor’s trash,” my daughter chimed in.

“I cleaned out the freezer,” he added.

“The freezer? You thought you left your keys in the freezer?” I asked, in my not so helpful voice. “And?”

“Not there,” Husband grumbled.

“Bummer,” said me, the useless long distance wife. “But, hey, thanks for getting that freezer cleaned out. It’s been on my ‘To Do’ list for months.”

There I was, going all gratitudey on him. My friend, Lisa, likes to say that in a crisis we all revert to type.

I went spiritual.

“You need to turn it over to Saint Anthony,” I instructed from Los Angeles. “He’s the saint of lost items.”

“We’re not Catholic,” my dubious husband countered.

“You want to split hairs or find your keys?”

“Well, I did say, ‘Kallan, Kallan, Kallan,” he said, invoking my younger sister’s name.

“She’s our Parking Fairy, not The Lost Key Saint,” I explained.

It does happen to be true that saying my sister’s name 3 times will always produce the best spot in any crowded parking lot, but again—that’s a different story. Try it for yourself. For the record, she’s useless when it comes to finding lost keys.

With clock ticking, the pressure mounting, and the big game looming, my husband went full-on conspiracy theory.

“I think the mailman stole them or I left them in the front door and someone came up and grabbed them,” he opined.

I know our daughter was rolling her eyes at that one as much as I was.

Her corner when things go bad–declare her parents are nuts.

“Robbing mailman, praying to saints, you people are crazy.”

I can’t say she was wrong about that.

Turns out Husband never did make it his baseball game that night, which might not be such a bad thing.

And I never did hear how he was planning on getting to work the next day.

In the end, the key to the keys, the savior, the answer turned out to be simple, total exhaustion.

With not a single drop of energy left, Husband crawled into bed where, you guessed it, his leg kicked a lump of a metal object.

There were his keys.

“I swear I checked the bed 10 times!” he declared when recounting the happy moment.

Doesn’t it always work that way? Be it lost keys or love or the meaning of life, you don’t find the thing you’re looking for so desperately until you totally give up.

How does it work for you, Dear Reader? How do you find lost items you must have?

My husband would love to chime in, but he’s busy—writing a letter of apology. Needs to say he’s sorry for slandering our perfectly nice mailman.


Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.



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Fumble: Handling A Family Crisis From Across The Country

by DarynKagan time to read: 3 min
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