The Tale of the Missing Kobo*

We are 99% moved back into our bedroom.

If you feel like I’ve been talking about / doing this forever, it’s because I have. It has inadvertently facilitated a reorganization of the storage spaces in all three upstairs bedrooms, so it’s been a bit of a process. When we cleared the room we had stuff everywhere as it wouldn’t all fit in one space, and as we completely redid the closet it’s not been as simple as putting it all back where it was before. The majority of our bedroom was stuffed into the upstairs play room, but we also had piles in the basement and in the kids’ room. I’m so relieved that it’s mostly sorted it out.

While everything was everywhere, it was easy to misplace something, as you can probably imagine. Shortly after I bought my Kindle, M decided to try it out. He’s been trying to read more, and so for a while we shared the Kindle. It worked fine, until he decided he liked it so much that he needed his own. He decided to try a Kobo, and shortly after a fancy shmancy Kobo arrived in the mail. It was easy to tell which ereader was which–mine is in a highly visible orange case, while his is a glossy black.

On one of our first nights bunking down in the basement spare room, M was reading his Kobo in bed. The spare room also doubles as M’s office, so quarters are tight. We have a great double bed in there, but it is pushed against the wall as there isn’t room for an “aisle” on both sides. M took the side with the wall so I could slip out of bed more easily for P’s night wakeups. On this one night, as we went to turn out the light, M handed me his Kobo and asked me to put it on his desk as I could reach it more easily from my side. I put his black Kobo on his black desk, turned out the light and we went to sleep.

It was the last time either of us ever remember seeing it.

Within a day or two, he realized that he didn’t know where it was and started looking for it. M sometimes has the unfortunate experience of putting something down and forgetting where he’s left it. That’s where I come in. In this house I am known as “the Finder of Things”. He will look and look for something, get frustrated, then I swoop in with my magic powers and find it… usually fairly quickly. (ha)

He started looking around the spare room, and couldn’t find it. It was not in the last place we remembered it being, so we figured he had probably picked it up and walked around with it, put it down somewhere when he was distracted by the reno or the kids and forgot it. The house was such a disaster there were any number of places it could have been hiding, so we figured it would turn up once the piles of stuff went to their new homes in our shiny new bedroom.

…except that we kept cleaning and the Kobo never appeared.

It was then that we really began actively hunting. Both he and I separately ripped apart the entire spare room looking for it with no luck. (Then we looked again together with no results). On my days off work, I began methodically going through each room in the house, first looking through all the logical places it might be, then all the illogical places it could be. I moved couches, looked in toy bins, cleaned out closets, looked tool chests and in our vehicles. M was pretty sure it was still in the house somewhere as my tech savvy husband could see an unknown device connecting and “pinging” our internet at the same time every day. He was 99% sure that it was his Kobo, and after 3 or four weeks of searching it was really the only thing stopping him from just going out and buying a new one.

I knew he was missing it, and every so often he’d look longingly at my Kindle, heave a great sigh and say with great sadness, “I miss my Kobo.” It was such a puzzle. I began stressing that somehow it was my fault, and that I had accidentally donated it. As we cleaned out our bedroom for the reno, I took bags and bags out for donation. I took our most recent load last Monday, and before I took it I really felt that I should check through the garbage bag before taking it out. I was rushing trying to get myself ready and get the kids out the door to school, but I did a semi-through check before piling everything back in and throwing it in the van.

…but then I worried that I didn’t check all the way to the bottom, and since the case is black and the bag is black I might have somehow missed it. AH. M did little to assuage those fears when he told me the last time the mystery device pinged our internet was last Sunday, the night before I donated the bags. I had a serious pit in my stomach and a renewed determination to search for the missing Kobo.

As I searched and searched with no luck, I turned to prayer, mostly out of desperation. I really wanted to find it because I knew M would be so happy… but also because I wanted to maintain my status as the almighty Finder of Things. As I exhausted all the places I could think of to check in my house, I said a quick prayer asking for help for where to look. I know there are way bigger problems in the world than M’s missing Kobo, but I figured it was worth a shot. I kept feeling impressed to “check the totes”, but I ignored it as a) it would be a huge job, and b) there was just no way it would be in a tote.

So, I kept looking elsewhere. I rechecked places I had already checked, and I kept having that same impression: “check the totes”. Finally, after M told me the device had stopped pinging our network the day before I donated those bags, I set out with fresh determination, and decided to check the one place we hadn’t checked: the totes.

We have a wall of rubbermaid totes in our basement. I come by this honestly–when we were little, my not-so-average sized family grew up in an averaged sized house. As you can imagine, two adults + six children accumulate a lot of stuff. My Dad likes to be organized, so he began acquiring these rubbermaid totes to store things in, and before we knew it, there was a “tote wall” in the basement that my Dad proudly managed. They were alphabetized and sorted, and my Dad had an excel spreadsheet that itemized everything in each tote, so he could find things quickly.

It was a work of art.

We all begrudgingly respected (and loved) the totes–one year he even made us pack in totes for our annual Florida trip. We had to fit whatever we wanted to take there (and back) in our tote. If it didn’t fit, it didn’t come. It was brilliant.

My Dad and I share this passion for totes and my love for them runs deep. (Don’t judge me until you’ve really “done” totes. It’s dreamy.)

When M and I moved into our home and started acquiring our own things for us and the children, we needed to figure out how to store it. It started naturally enough– hunting gear? Let’s get a tote! Baby clothes? Put it in a tote! Painting supplies? Tote that up! Before we knew it, we had our own tote wall that M had organized with his own excel spreadsheet.

My Dad has never been so proud. (or laughed so hard.)

So, last night, as I’m leaning in the doorway of the office, lamenting with M about the missing Kobo, I tell him he should just go ahead and get another one. It’s been several weeks by this point, and if it eventually turns up, we’ll just have a spare. No biggie. He goes online to check the network, and tells me that the last “ping” from what he thinks is the Kobo was a week ago, right before I donated the bags. In a bit of a panic that I could have accidentally donated the Kobo, I finally listened to the steady impression that I should “check the totes”. It made no sense for it to be in a tote, but off we went.

M went to one end of the storage room, and I went to the other. I pulled down a tote on top labeled “costumes”. We’d had it out a few times recently as the kids love to dress up and we’re getting ready for Hallowe’en. I started rummaging around in the tote when I felt something hard amidst the material. I had a sharp intake of breath and screamed, making M think I had either seen or been bitten by a mouse. (No thanks.) I pulled the long lost Kobo out of the tote and started dancing around the storage room like a lunatic.

Seriously. I was so relieved that I hadn’t donated it, but also that I am still the almighty Finder of Things.

Really though, I wish I had listened to that prompting way earlier. It was seriously in the very first tote I checked and I found it within ten seconds of opening it. (Thank you!) M’s reunion with his Kobo was a beautiful thing. Sure enough, it had stopped pinging the network because the battery died… not because I donated it.

So tonight we can read together in peace like the old people we are, and I will love every minute of it.

 

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