Most homes have a person who is the official finder-of-things, the go-to person when something is lost.
No one is more essential than the designated finder when you realise you need to get out of the house and can’t find your keys/glasses/school hat.
In our house it is the other adult. And yet, despite the accolades he receives when he retrieves important and much-loved items like the remote control/iPad charger/Barbie shoe, he says he is sick of the job and wants out.
There’s been a bit of stomping about it too. He asked: “Why am I always the person who has to find everything?” We said: “It’s because the official finder-of-things in this house is often the person who unofficially puts everything away.”
And it’s true. He will put the milk back in the fridge when I’ve only just put it on the bench while I find a teacup. When I go to pour my tea and find the milk not there I think I’m going nuts.
He removes things from their natural habitat to some random and quite illogical spot where they can’t be found by anyone other than him, and when you ask him where is, say, the jumper I was wearing or the remote control, he weirdly gets cross at me for asking.
He is also inclined to turn off lights, open windows, close doors and switch up or off the heater just as you’ve done the completely opposite thing. There is something about someone who, when you say “please don’t turn the heater off, I just turned it on because it is really cold in here” says “don’t be silly it’s roasting” and turns it off anyway. I’m not sure what to call it, and I won’t go there now because he is still the official finder-of-things in this house and I don’t want to offend him.
My canny little nine-year-old is on to him and hides things he really needs just to challenge him and his mixed-up relationship with the setting down and retrieving of goods.
Right now, his reading glasses, usually placed carefully on the kitchen bench so he can find them easily, have just been hidden in the crack between the cushions on the couch – an excellent spot and one we always check first when the remote is missing, only to find remnants of last Friday’s takeaway or, much to the kids’ delight, one random M&M.
And yet, our finder-of-things is far from perfect.
I write this knowing the key for the secret sweets cabinet is missing and he was the last person to have it. He locked the cabinet and put the key somewhere so the kids wouldn’t eat everything and now he thinks he accidentally could have put it in the rubbish.
Every time I feel like something sweet I think about the chocolate freckles and one excellent, unopened block of Lindt chocolate, both sitting in a locked cupboard since before Christmas. And the key is still missing.