Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Questions and Certainties

I've written many, many mysteries over my lifetime. I've killed characters because they were cruel, because they got wrongly-promoted, because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's fiction. But what about real life's biggest mysteries? Calling all detectives! Can you please explain to me why:

1. Housework. It's never done. I don't care if you live in a bachelor suite or a 40 room mansion; there's always something not completed. Even as you sink down on the couch with a well-deserved cup of tea dust is resettling on every one of your bookcases and the cat just coughed up something interesting on the stairs.

2. Socks. Where in the universe does that other sock go? I have a pile of sock orphans in my bedroom waiting hopefully to be reunited with their twin. I know for certain the minute I give up and toss them is the minute that the twin will be found. So they sit in their sock limbo.

3. Food. How is it possible that I spend a small fortune at the grocery store, stock my fridge and cupboards and get informed within minutes by my teenagers (while staring at the bounty) there's nothing to eat? Contrariwise; I can spend the day baking and the results of my labors will have disappeared before sundown. I've had to resort to freezing half and hiding it in a dark corner of the basement freezer. And speaking of which;

4. Freezers. How did that mystery package make its way into my freezer? It has an indiscernible shape and is covered in frost. What is it? How old is it? What will happen when it gets thrown out? Could it be something important that I 'hid'? Oh dear...

However, I have learned several inalienable facts through the years:

1. The back of the fridge. This is where food goes to die. If it has made its way to the back of the fridge it cannot be saved. Release it into the garbage or the compost. It's done.

2. I will never live in a magazine home. Okay, who are these people? Never in my life have I lived in a space that was magazine-worthy. I look at those magazines and suffer acutely from house envy.

3. Weeds are easier to grow than flowers. Nothing more needs to be said.

What great mysteries have you encountered? Were you able to solve them? Share. For fun!


  1. Elspeth - Thanks for this post. I so much enjoy your witty and thoughtful commentary - I really do! I've never been able to solve the mysteries you describe, either, though. And here's another I've never been able to solve:

    The Phone Why does it always ring at the busiest time? And why does the phone take on magnetic properties? The minute I pick it up to make a call, my family and pets materialize out of nowhere, each needing something desperately and immediately, so that successfully completing the call becomes a fait accompli.

    Missing and Important Papers This one I have solved. They descend to the lowest level of the least accessible drawer and hide there until a week *after* they are needed. They enjoy the desperation in my eyes as I search frantically for them. Schadenfreude, I think.

  2. Margot; I forgot about the phone! When my kids were small its ring was either a call to arms for them to begin their newest version of Armageddon or a signal to get into things they shouldn't.

  3. Margot for me the phone always rings the minute I sit on the toilet. I used to rush there but now I just leave it to ring. They'll call back.
    Very funny post Elspeth. Who wants to live in those magazine homes anway?

  4. Why does my IQ seem to go down as my children get older?

    Why do I see everyone I know when I'm out looking my worst?

    Why do I only lose my cell phone when I've set it on vibrate, not ringer?

    I like yours, Margot! Those are some of my mysteries of life, too...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. I agree with all of you! I live in a constant state of bewilderment it seems, and also, where do all the lids for my food containers go? Maybe the cats are using them for sledding down the stairs when I'm not home?

  6. This is hilarious! I'm with Margot all the way. For me, it's the papers. Important papers turn invisible and hide on me. I look and look, and then somehow they will miraculously appear where I've already searched. As if someone up there is having their way with me. My passport falls into this category. And the phone, right when I get in my groove writing the phone rings.

  7. Lauri; I identify completely; but it was a difficult lesson to learn. Glad you thought it was funny.

    Elizabeth; Oh, yes, yes, yes to your second question! WHY????

    Sue; Love the idea of the cats sledding. I wouldn't put it past my two beasts. Thanks for dropping by!

    Elizabeth; Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for adding to the mysteries.

  8. If you hire a maid, you can live in a always magazine ready house, where the freezer and fridge are mystery meat free. And you'll need to get a grounds keeper and personal chef as well, as well as a cat walker and kid sitter. There you have it! Easy.

    Things always disappear. Gone. Forever. Or until you no longer need them, then they turn up.

    Straight From Hel

  9. I LOVE this post, "it spoke to me". Here's mine -
    Naptime - why does she wake up right when I'm getting into the writing?

    No internet connection - why does that happen when you need to post or find something?

  10. These are great - and oh, so true. And don't think weeds, think wildflowers.

  11. Love this :)

    We're all apparently living versions of the same life! Especially with the food - teenagers here too. No matter how much of certain items I buy, there is never enough: milk, apples, bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers, cereal, bread...

  12. Helen; I'll keep your advice in mind when I win the lottery. Until then...

    Carolyn; Glad you enjoyed it. Oh, I remember nap time; the bliss!

    Carol; What an excellent suggestion. Thank you.

    Jemi; Isn't it amazing?

  13. Back of the fridge- YES!!!
    I don't know why, at the end of every meal, I carefully transfer whatever is left into a tiny container and put that in the fridge. I know it is unlikely ever to get eaten. However many starving people there are in the world, doesn't it make sense to chuck the left-overs after the meal, rather than a week or two later?
    Incidentally, I have very little left overs - manage to cook just the right amount. And yet, I bother.


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