I am relieved I figured it out. I was getting scared it was me.
I thought I had it for sure.
I’d get in the car and see the big “E” for empty, and ask myself, Didn’t I just fill the tank?
When I’d open up the pots and pans drawer in the kitchen, I’d see my white measuring cups in there. And not just in there, but dumped in there, scattered—like I had lost consciousness mid-chore.
Hunting around for juice glasses became a daily part of my life. Are they here? Did I leave them in the bathroom? I always put them by the larger tumblers, but where are they now? And why aren’t they where I remember putting them?
I am losing my mind.
I open drawers and say to my kids, “I put the can opener in with the pot holders?”
And then I remember whose turn it was that day to put away the dishes.
Whose turn it was to fill the gas tank.
Who likes to shove things in drawers, then slam it boom shut quick.
When my teens empty the dishwasher, it’s like watching the loudest silent “I don’t give a shit” in action. They stash things away in places that later make me feel like I’m living with Alzheimer’s. They do things that make me question my faculties.
Like tonight, I made meatloaf. They love my meatloaf; that’s why I make it. Let me give you this freebie: I use apricot jam. It holds the ground meat together nicely and gives the baked loaf a sweet irresistible aftertaste. Try it.
I made this requested-by-them double batch of meatloaf early in the afternoon because I know they both come home crazed with hunger after their two-hour swim practice. At 3 p.m. I popped the meatloaf in for an hour, set the timer, ran to pick up my non-teenager from school, pulled the meatloaf out at 4:00, and set it atop the stove to let the apricot jam juices circulate and render the meat juicy sweet, so that by 5:00, when the teens were home, we’d have a complete meal—mashed potatoes, salad and all. Mmmm. Mm.
The only thing left to do was let the barbecue sauce simmer on the stove while I started some laundry and waited for everyone to arrive home. But when I walked back into the kitchen, there was no meatloaf in my Pyrex loaf pan. And then it began, my line of confused self-questioning: Did I make a double batch of meatloaf? I know I made a double batch of meatloaf. I could have sworn I did the recipe x2. What happened to the meatloaf?!
My boys had come home early while I was sorting and folding, the washer and dryer noisily running, and the two of them had helped themselves to one-half each of the browned brick-shaped slab.
Never mind the butter and garlic smothered potatoes, Mom. Forget the crisp green salad with cherry tomatoes. Just a fistful of meat is all we boys need.
Have I lost my mind? Do I have early Alzheimer’s? Didn’t I make meatloaf for tonight?
Where is the meat?!
Before you begin your own down-on-your-hands-and-knees APB alert for missing items and misplaced coffee mugs, ask yourself: Are there teenagers in your house?
I hope, for your sake, the answer to all your mystically placed and combobulated items, is a relief-filled sigh of “yes.“
If you need me to commiserate, I’ll be here, down on the kitchen floor, wondering why in the hell I would jam the knives and forks in between the cutting boards rack.
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