• Carmen Marie Fabio

Out of sight

I have a messy desk.

The comments seem to accumulate along with the paperwork, phone messages, notes, layouts, mail, and back issues until I snap – either because I can’t find something or I’m just tired of the comments. My desk will be all nice and clean again for another few weeks.

My home, regrettably, suffers much the same fate. I tend to leave piles of books, metal, fabric, or whatever I’m currently working on in my wake.

“It’s one of the little quirks about me that you love,” I tell my husband.

“No,” he responds. “I love you in spite of those little quirks.”

Funnily enough, we’re still married.

Five people under one roof can lead to a lot of disarray and when he reaches the breaking point, things get real. His sense of organization kicks into overdrive and household items get categorized, stored, filed, and put away. Nothing is safe. Tupperware lids get sorted by size, kitchen utensils are neatly arranged and even the contents of the junk drawer are carefully distributed in little bins. This is all fine until he begins to move things after deciding there’s a more logical place for them. It’s been two years and I still instinctively reach into a lower cupboard for a plastic bag before remembering they’ve been moved to the front closet. The paper towel refill packs that used to reside over the fridge are now stored in the laundry room, the tea towels moved to another drawer when I wasn’t looking, and the Swiffer refills and Kleenex boxes get regularly shuffled around the house.

I often buy things like teabags and Splenda packets only to find that we already had a good supply. I just didn’t know where it was.

I’m trying to embrace the current tidying trend and have to admit that the holiday purge of books, knickknacks, picture frames, you name it, felt really good, even if during one of my donation visits to the second-hand store I ended up buying a cute little teacup shaped like a hippo. Hey, baby steps.

But the good feeling turned to a sick lump in the pit of my stomach this week with the realization that my beloved Canon camera was nowhere to be found. My stalwart companion of the last seven years had vanished and as I retraced my steps, the lump grew. Taking the boys out for a day of running errands three days before had us dropping off boxes of books and assorted items at our local Rénaissance outlet coinciding with the last time I saw the camera, leading me to deduce it’d been donated by accident.

My frantic phone call to the Île-Perrot outlet this week revealed that while they didn’t have the camera there, it may have been shipped out to another outlet somewhere, anywhere, in Montreal, and thus began a series of further frantic phone calls to various Rénaissance stores as I tried to explain my plight. I will be forever grateful to Paola, a young Spanish woman, who patiently tried to help me while she was also dealing with customers at the counter leading her to repeatedly say, “Call me back in five minutes.”

After four calls, she located a Canon camera and, understandably, asked me to describe it but despite my high hopes, it was a much smaller model.

I felt close to vomiting when I got the following text from hubby.

“I found your camera hanging on the coat tree. That was probably my doing. However, in my defense, I had placed it in full view. It got rotated out of view.”

Funnily enough, we’re still married.

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