Let’s Have a Scavenger Hunt!

The list of items that have gone missing in my household right now is a few pages long. It includes things like the following:

  • The booklet that came with my current home phone that will hopefully remind me of how to dial in and collect phone messages that went to the voicemail box that only operates when a call comes in while I’m on the line with someone already. (As opposed to the voice mail that records messages when I’m either not home or just not in the mood to answer the phone.)
  • The booklet that came with my iPhone that will explain how to use all those wonderful features that I haven’t figured out yet (this is a very large booklet: perhaps I should have called it a book). Yes, Siri, I know you are there waiting to answer my questions and I’ll talk to you as soon as I figure out how to do it.
  • The great little pan I bought because it would be perfect for cooking meat loaf for two. I’m pretty certain it is on one of the upper shelves in my kitchen: the ones that a person who is 5 feet-2 inches tall and whose available kitchen space consists of cupboards that average 6 feet-4 inches in height never sees.
  • The instructions for where to call if I need to make use of the cremation services Bill and I purchased more than ten years ago. After all, who knows when they might be needed?
  • The Christmas wrapping paper that was such a bargain right after the holiday last year: I’d better hurry on this one as the paper is in danger of being wasted (again) if I don’t find it soon.
  • The container of vinegar that I was going to use to keep the appliances sparkling clean. You’d think this one would be highly visible since it was the giant, economy size. I’m fairly certain it is hiding under one of the sinks I was planning to rinse with it.
  • The batteries for my computer mouse that I desperately needed yesterday when I had to switch to using the laptop’s built-in thingy, which I hate.
  • The contact cement that is going to help me stick back the piece of backsplash tile that has come loose again for the umpteenth time.

I could go on and on with this “Missing Item List” but you get the idea. It is almost as long as the list of items I have where I no longer know what they go with, also known as the “Extra Item List.” That list includes at least 25 keys to vehicles/homes/lock boxes that we no longer own; light bulbs that belong to light fixtures we long since broke (but it would be wasteful to dispose of the bulbs, right?); and remote controls/power cords/various and sundry cables/etc. belonging to electronic devices that breathed their last many years ago.

My daughter has a wonderful idea I thought I would pass along for anyone who shares my problem with the missing items. She also has had a long list of missing items in the past. But she thought of a creative way to shorten the list. When friends or family visit, she declares that they are going to have some fun and can win some prizes by participating in her Scavenger Hunt. The list of missing items becomes the list of items to be hunted down. The only difference between her scavenger hunt and the usual kind is that she has no idea where the items are hiding and her list of clues is somewhat short (consisting primarily of the words “somewhere in the house”). I suggested she use her “Extra Item List” as the prizes for the winners but she wisely refused this idea. According to her, everyone on the planet has a pile of similar items and no one would welcome more keys to unknown locks.

She is right, of course. I was just being cheap. I’m going to spring for some actual prizes and hold a scavenger hunt over the holidays. I can make full use of all those tall grandsons to find that meat loaf pan at last. Now I just need to find some prizes enticing enough to get them to participate in the hunt.

How do the rest of you handle the Missing Item List that gets longer and longer as we get older and older and our memories start to shrivel up? If anyone else has an idea as brilliant at the one my daughter offered, add it to the comments section please. After all, I’m not certain I can use the Scavenger Hunt scam idea more than once without the grandkids catching on to what I am doing.

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