Today I worked a ten hour shift, had two and a half hours off, then worked another two hours. My wonderful Dad offered to take the Sprouts for my second shift of the day, so I left them the keys to the apt in case they needed something.
By the time I was done with work, I was pretty tired and very much looking forward to going home and just relaxing. I headed over to the folks' place to pick up the Sprouts and packed all their stuff in the van. I got Little Sprout all buckled in and hollered for Big Sprout to hurry up.
She came around the side of the house looking like she had swallowed a bullfrog. "I can't remember what I did with the keys, Mom".
No words were less welcome in my world at that moment. Here I was, standing outside in the sun and heat, and my Sprout had no idea where the keys to our apt were. Perfect.
Dad and Big Sprout started looking through the house as I waited helplessly with Little Sprout (who was just as anxious as I to go home), getting hotter and hotter as the minutes passed. Pretty soon Big Sprout informed me that a squirrel had to have stolen the keys, because she remembered SPECIFICALLY that she had left them on the patio table.
Uh-huh. Like the local squirrel mafia had been casing our apt for months waiting for just this opportunity to let themselves in and carry off my secret stash of nutty bars.
After an hour (yes, you read that right. An HOUR) of looking I was ready to give up. We had moved every paper, blanket, pillow. We even sat and tried to look through the cracks to see if my keys had fallen under the deck. The cat was angry at being moved from every place he tried to sit down, Dad was very likely going to be late to work, and we were all hot and tired. I was beginning to think that Big Sprout's squirrel mafia idea might have some merit.
Finally, as I was urging Dad to just leave us to our terrible fate (like just hanging out at my folks' place 'till Mr. Barefoot got home was really THAT bad), Dad took one final look under all the furniture with a flashlight.
"AHA!" Came the triumphant shout.
He had my keys. My blessed, wonderful, amazing father had found my keys so that I could get my sorry butt home and change out of stinky work clothes and take a shower. I could take my shoes off. I could relax. Maybe even take a nap.
I did learn one important lesson from this. Being patient and not flipping out at a Sprout that has made an honest mistake is sometimes the worst punishment. Big Sprout was careless, but so am I. It never occured to me to be angry with her. I just wanted to find my keys and go home. But she has reacted as if it was the worst ordeal of her life. She even told me that she wanted me to yell at her, cuz then she would feel better.
What can I say? It's not like she did it on purpose. I lose things all the time, so yelling at her seems rather pointless.
Man, I am glad to be home.