Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ultimate Cracker Jack Prize, In a Bowl of Tortilla Chips

I misplace things a lot. Some are expensive, some are menial; I don't discriminate.

Once I lost my iPhone and couldn't for the life of me remember where I put it. I used the Find My iPhone app on my iPad to locate said phone and followed the sonar beep to the refrigerator, where, quite confused, I opened the door and followed the sound to a paper bag on the top shelf. I looked in the bag, and there, next to the beautiful grass fed beef I had just purchased at Whole Foods, my phone lay signaling its whereabouts.

Similar scenes are commonplace in our household. I've misplaced my wedding set so often that usually don't even worry when I can't find it. It always turns up, and never when I'm looking for it, and always (always) in a very random place.

When I misplaced my engagement ring a couple weeks ago I wasn't even worried at first when I couldn't find it. But something was different this time.
I couldn't remember anything about when I last had the ring on my finger that morning. I thought for sure it was while I was in the kitchen. Then I thought, no, maybe I left it on the bed after I took it off to apply sunblock on Paloma (since I'm a little OCD about keeping it clean.)

When Izzy got home I asked if she had seen it around the apartment, to which she replied, "Have you looked in the freezer?"

If it was any other day, I would have laughed and brushed it off. She knows me so well. Once I lost my engagement ring for a week, only to find it in the back pocket of a pair of jeans. I'm sure I shoved it in there before handling raw meat and then forgot about it. But this day I was seriously freaking out.

I played my day around the apartment in my head over and over, so often that I couldn't trust my own memories. I didn't know what I may have made up in my mind in an attempt to calm myself down. I was desperate, telling myself I hadn't accidentally thrown it away while cleaning up the kitchen counter. I was hoping I hadn't put it down somewhere Paloma could reach it, but I checked all her favorite pacifier hiding places just in case and my ring wasn't in Barbie's mini cooper or the pink convertible. I knew I wasn't going to find it, but I looked everywhere anyway. I don't know what it was about this time around, but I was scared. I was having flashbacks of the time I left my two carat diamond promise ring James had given me when we were dating at the rest stop on my way to Tennessee. I didn't want to tell James I had lost another diamond ring. We never even insured it!! If it was gone, it was gone. At least if it was lost and insured we may have a chance of recovering some of the cost and instead of buying another one (which I don't think I'd get anyway), we could put a down payment on a house, or pay off some school loans!

But I did tell him, and he helped me look for it. He even looked for it on his own on nights he'd come home when I was already in bed. We rented a steam cleaner to give our carpet a facelift and were both bummed that even after moving everything around and thoroughly cleaning our home, it still didn't turn up.

Almost two weeks later we sat in church on another Sunday, on another day I hadn't found my ring. I was praying about it, again, almost in tears. I loved my ring. I loved what it meant. Whenever I looked down at it I was reminded of God's hand in our relationship. How it started out so backwards and how only after committing ourselves to Him, our relationship fell in its proper place, and thrived. But I was resigned to it being gone, knowing that after all, it was only a ring. I was ready to accept that I may have accidentally thrown it away.

That evening I made some fresh corn tortilla chips to add to our dwindling supply. I picked out some I overcooked a few days before and replenished the bowl so our neighbors would have enough to snack on with the salsa verde I had planned to bring for our Sunday night potlucks.

Dinner was lovely as usual. We're so very blessed to have amazing neighbors. They chat with us and the girls and we try each other's food. It's a cultural experience as much as it is a bonding one.

As I chatted away with those around me I felt a tap on my arm, which threw me off to begin with because we aren't "tappers", if you will. I turned, and there staring back at me was the greasiest most beautiful ring ever. Our host, who was a big fan of my chips the week before, had eaten his way to the bottom of the chip bowl, and there, found my ring.

It's all still so bizarre. I can only guess that on a day I had Paloma seated on the counter with me so she would let me cook, she picked up the ring I had placed to a side so it wouldn't get dirty, and thought it would do well in the chip bowl.

That, or I placed it on a paper towel and in turn put the paper towel in the chip bowl to absorb the oil from fresh fried tortilla wedges. Both are entirely possible.

Now to fish my wedding ring out of the dashboard defroster vents. I took it off at a red light to sunscreen my hands (sunspots are totally avoidable), you know, so the ring wouldn't get dirty, and then the light turned green before I finished properly applying and I had to make a sharp right turn into the gas station, because I was empTY, and upon making said sharp turn, down went my ring into the abyss of whatever lies be beneath the dashboard.


Still not properly cleaned, but who cares.