I've had lasagna on my mind a lot this week.
I mean, who doesn't, right? There are times I find myself pondering the age-old question of being stuck on a desert island with the choice of only one food and would it be lasagna or deep-dish pizza?
Or even harder: red wine or white?
But this week was less about the deep (dish) decisions and more about wondering the exact whereabouts of a certain lasagna, which if it sounds a little odd, I’m not disagreeing.
It's the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and my two college boys are getting ready to head back to school. Since neither cooks much (obviously they're too busy studying) I make a huge pan of lasagna for them to take back, keeping one large piece on a plate for my husband when he gets home.
He walks in later to the delicious smell of lasagna, but when I go to warm up his piece, it's nowhere to be found. The boys had eaten and left already, so it wasn’t them. I’m mystified.
Now, some would be quick to point out here that I'm losing my mind, but the joke's on them because that sanity ship sailed years ago when we had four teenagers in the house at once. Still, you may wonder, as do I, how does one misplace lasagna?
I blame my kids. Because as I was cooking I was also searching for my daughter's ski pants, unpacking boxes of Christmas decorations so my son and his girlfriend could take back and put up a little tree in his apartment, and checking out the Lightning Deals on Amazon.
But back to the ski pants. When our daughter decided to begin her adventures as a travel nurse last year, she left most of her stuff at our house, stuff like sofas, tables and chairs, camping equipment, TVs, a queen-sized bed and kitchen appliances. It looks like a Bed Bath and Beyond and IKEA store exploded in our basement.
But wait! There's more! Our 23-year-old got his first job out of college and decided to live with my mom to save money. Bottom line: more stuff for me to store.
But wait! There's even more! In August my oldest son and his new wife downsized from a duplex to an apartment when they moved to Indiana for two years while Zach works on his MBA. His in-laws in St. Louis have many of the wedding gifts they don't have room for yet, but I have my share, too, plus plenty of other stuff. Like his wife’s wedding dress.
"Are you sure you want to leave your wedding dress with me?" I asked Nikki. "I'm really not all that responsible. I don't even know where my wedding dress is. I haven't seen it in years. I mean, I know it's here somewhere. Probably. I mean, where else would it be?"
She didn't seem too concerned, which is concerning. Occasionally it occurs to me that I should probably hunt it down, but then a more pressing item goes missing, like lasagna, and there's no time to look for an itchy gown I'll never wear again.
The only reason I don't go crazy being the keeper of my grown children's belongings is because it means they're living somewhere else temporarily and that one day they'll be back. It’s not like I'm holding their valuables hostage or anything. I mean, not exactly.
In the meantime, I try to stay calm when they ask me to find things for them, like when my daughter, who's in Seattle now but soon off to a new destination, asks if I can mail her things like her "gray cardigan with the deep pockets" or the straps to her car top carrier. Or her ski pants. I waded through her stuff for three days before finally getting a wild idea and looking in her dresser, where her ski pants were nicely folded. In a drawer. Who would've thought?
All this to say, even with all our children out of the house, I still feel their chaos around me. To his credit, when I told my husband about the missing lasagna, he just shrugged, as if half expecting it, probably due to incidents like "The Case of the Missing Gun," which went like this: After my dad died 10 years ago my mom gave my husband my dad's hunting rifle. I don't really remember my dad hunting all that much. My husband's not much of a hunter either, but it made more sense to give it to him since none of my four brothers hunts at all.
I wasn't crazy about having a gun around, so I hid the rifle well. Really, really well. So well that one day when my husband asked, I couldn't find it. For years he thought I had gotten rid of it. And then one day, years later, I found it.
Obviously I can't say exactly where, because that's going to be where I hide my millions when I win the lottery, but only after first writing down the very precise location, of course.
Still, let's be clear: if there's not already, there definitely should be stricter gun laws for people like me who misplace lasagna. And hunting rifles.
My husband is not entirely blameless here, having done his share to contribute to my senility. Take my Dyson vacuum cleaner. Which is exactly what he did without telling me. For days I looked in every corner, every closet in the house, wondering how you can lose a clunky, upright mustard-colored household appliance.
Finally, I asked him if he'd seen it, and it turns out he had taken it to our cabin.
"You have to tell me these things!" I said. "Or I feel like I'm losing it!"
Speaking of which, no, after a week I still haven't solved "The Case of the Missing Lasagna." But there is this: yesterday I was boxing up my daughter's car carrier straps to mail. I had bought a small bag of her favorite candy to throw in, too, but (surprise!) I couldn't find it.
The good news is I instantly knew where I had put it: when I was cleaning off the kitchen island countertop I tossed it in the box I was using to return one of my Amazon Lightning Deals. And then shipped it back.
I really hope when Amazon opens that box they are pleasantly surprised to find peanut butter cups. And even more, I really hope they aren't unpleasantly surprised to find a plate of lasagna.