The party's over.
Our 30 guests have gone home, but I'm a little concerned. I can't find the cat's scratching post, the cordless phone that was on the living room table or my brand new bicycle helmet.
Oh, and where's the dog's water bowl?
I'm not accusing anyone of anything. The truth is, all those things are somewhere in the house. I just haven't figured out where.
You see, I put them all out of sight -- and apparently out of mind. My mother (and yours, I am sure) called it "straightening." Mom was always telling me to straighten my room. Straightening was simply rearranging the clutter, with no suggestion that anything was to be discarded. When you're a kid, you learn that hiding stuff is the fastest way to straighten.
To this day I am a very compulsive straightener. So is my wife. I think we are the straightest couple in the neighborhood. I was in the Logans' house across the street once. They are not as straight.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
With our party just hours from starting, it was time to straighten extra well. That's when the old toaster, the dog's bowl and the iPod were squirreled off into some corner, rolled under a bed or crammed in the back of a closet.
The good news is that our home has never looked so neat. The bad news is that I really like toast, enjoy music, and now the dog may have to drink out of the toilet.
The downstairs bathroom was sufficiently in order, but with more than two dozen people at our bash, it was possible that my "office" upstairs might attract some additional traffic.
"Hide everything," said Mary Ellen. "Your bathroom is a disgrace."
That's when I grabbed all my medications off the counter, my electric toothbrush, the Norelco shaver, a gallon-size bottle of Scope and three hairbrushes and hid them in the ... well, I put them under the ... I lodged them behind the ... I have no clue where they are.
The same thing happened in the dining room. Because we seldom use that area, the dinner table had become the depository for bills and assorted important papers. My wife has always been concerned about leaving material like this out in plain sight. She thinks it all should be secured in a place where no one can find it. The party was last week and I still can't locate my calculator, the Chase bank statements, or my life insurance policies.
I spent most of the past week looking for things and I've had some success. I located a portable DVD player I had crammed in the back of the broom closet, an old dehumidifier that I had wedged under the ping-pong table, and a huge box of assorted electrical wires and transformers that I had stuffed behind the recliner in the living room.
That was from our Super Bowl party. The year the Colts won.
The morning after this party, I couldn't brush my teeth, comb my hair or take my Lipitor. Fortunately, when I finally got in the shower, I found it all piled up in the tub.
Eventually everything will show up.
But we really miss the dog.