Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Unexpected Knock

Yesterday got better as it went on. I calmed down enough to write a decent email. I met a good friend for coffee. Even though we have only seen each other a few times in the last two years, we always feel close. We bonded during tough times in both our lives, and it's a lovely, robust friendship that we both enjoy. I picked up the girls and got them snacks. I did some laundry and called my parents to confirm our dinner plans. Then I dutifully got right to work.

There I was, at my screen, moving back and forth between several projects for different clients and trying to at least get some smaller tasks done in the few hours before I had to produce dinner when it happened.

A knock at the door.

A firm knock. Unexpected. I peered outside and saw a young teen. I thought she was selling something - we get that. But when I opened it, it was one of J's friends. Apparently, her cell phone has been missing since the sleepover. Her mother had driven her over - without even calling first - with orders that she was to search and find it.

Ookkaayy... uh.... come in?

 I couldn't say no. I mean a missing cell phone represents hundreds of dollars. And this is the last place she saw it. And J had mentioned it to me once or twice, but I thought she had looked in her room already. And that maybe her friend had already found it. So on one hand, I felt pretty terrible that it had already been 11 days and we hadn't looked for it very well.

On the other hand, it was completely inconvenient. Good manners dictated that I invite her mother in to help look. I mean, I couldn't really leave her in the car. We're not close friends, and have only met a few times, so I'm sure she felt pretty awkward too.

And then we started searching the entire house. Lifting couch cushions. Moving furniture. Peering into corners. I was forced to see all the areas where I've kind of been glossing past the deep cleaning, out of time constraints. At least the house was basically tidy. Thank God, there's nothing here that we're trying to hide!!

J's room is 14 year old extreme. You couldn't even see the floor. I had to take armfuls of clothing and general clutter out and into my room so that we could thoroughly search. I even had to strip down her bed and completely take it apart to check behind, around, and between the layers. The OCD part of my brain was freaking out. The whatever-part-of-her-brain that makes J feel safe with all her stuff right around her was freaking out. It took almost an hour and a half of searching. I got no work done. I didn't get dinner ready.

By the time, my parents arrived we were all in terrible moods, and J and I were sick of each other and actively squabbling. She told me I couldn't go back in her room. And I said that I wasn't in the mood and if she complained one more time, she didn't have to HAVE a room. I would throw all her stuff away, take over the room, and she could sleep in the family room. That's pretty drastic for me. Normally I'm Mr. Nice Guy, but she could tell from my tone I meant it.

It took another hour of cleaning to put her room back in order. NOT what I had planned for the evening.

Oh my God, do I try!!

At least her friend found her phone.

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