nine o’clock

July 19th, 2005  |  Published in old and busted

Ben and Al on the slideHot day today. We ended up heading to Mt. Scott park, thinking that the wading pool there would help Ben cool down and chill out a little. It wasn’t running, so he contented himself with the playground equipment and a few aborted attempts to go down a slide.

We made another grocery run to take advantage of the air conditioning, and I went looking for bits I could use to put together a scrapbook, but no luck. We got home, put him to bed, and got ready to order a pizza. I noticed the downstairs phone was missing from its cradle, so I walked upstairs and grabbed the office phone to dial in the order. Strangely, the line was dead … or rather, “open.” An image of Ben walking past with the phone in hand came to me, and I realized that somewhere in the house was a cordless phone that had been left off the hook.

There are lots of places to put a phone. We looked under the futon, in the toy basket, inside a laundry basket, between a chest and the wall, under his table in the kitchen, the bathroom, and assorted “out of Ben’s reach” places where we might have thoughtlessly stashed it if we’d caught him with it. Nothing panned out. I unplugged the downstairs base to see if that would kill the connection and let me page the missing handset, but in some bizarre sort of distributed telephony, it didn’t: It held everything open.

Ben steers the monkeybars.So I took the handset we had and told Alison to walk around clapping while I sequestered myself in the bathroom with the door closed and the mute button engaged. I could hear her clapping through the phone, but couldn’t pin down whether it was getting particularly louder. I made her listen in the bathroom while I walked through the house saying “I’m in the living room now … I’m now in the entry way … I’m going into the kitchen …”

Al stopped me in the kitchen, came out, and helped me ransack it. Nothing. We even checked the pan cabinet, where Ben likes to hang out, periodically closing the door behind him to get some privacy. I went through the dishwasher, because he knows how to open it now.

Al went back into the bathroom and I walked around the kitchen saying “I’m in the breakfast nook now … I’m standing by the sink … I’m facing the microwave … I’m facing the refrigerator …”

Al popped back out again and said it was, without a doubt, somewhere between the microwave and the refrigerator. We looked between the two, and nothing.

I made Al face west.

“That’s 12 o’clock. Now when I go in the bathroom, turn a degree and announce the time.”

Somewhere around nine o’clock, it was definitely louder. I popped back out. We moved everything off the counter she was facing. Nothing. Then Al gave a puzzled sort of “well, it can’t hurt to look” sound, opened the silverware drawer, and found the handset where it had been stowed for a rainy day.

What else? Elsie got kicked out of “Hell’s Kitchen” It sort of sucked, and it continued the pattern of the previous day’s winner getting booted at the end of the next day. She was undone by a conspiracy of silence on the part of the other survivors. Pity.

And we caught the second part of “Guns, Germs and Steel,” which was pretty interesting. A nice incentive for someone who hasn’t read the book to give it a go, and pleasant supplemental material for someone who has.

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