I am not a mad housewife. I do not drink or operate heavy machinery on Advil (or coffee). I am a big believer in bottomless cups of tea. I do not clean much, but by the time I’ve cleaned up enough to have a maid in, the house is clean. I cook great vegetarian dishes. I do not care about pretty Kate Middleton’s son.
But I do love a good mad housewife in novels. My mad housewife role models are the heroines of Sue Kaufman’s Diary of a Mad Housewife, Rachel Ingalls’s Mrs. Caliban, Sheila Ballantyne’s Norma Jean the Termite Queen, and Faith Sullivan’s Mrs. Deming and the Magical Beast.
I will pretend to be a mad housewife for the duration of this post. THINGS ARE DISAPPEARING. (This is SO Mrs. Caliban.)
You know the kind of thing. I’m organized (sort of). Pens go in the mug that is really the wrong size for all-day tea, the shopping list is on top of the refrigerator, post-its by the phone, the t-shirt and bras are in drawers, costume jewelry in the papier-mache box, and James Wilcox’s novels together on the same shelf.
Things are missing!
First, the pens. Bics don’t write. My space pen, which supposedly astronauts can write upside down with, is lost. And so I bought a box of 24 Precise V5 Rolling Ball pens. I was very happy to buy a box of Precise V5 Rolling Ball pens. It meant I would not have to buy pens for another year. And a person needs something to write with. I transferred them to the zebra mug.
Two pens and one pen cap are left. Where did they go?
My husband says he didn’t take them to the office. Hmmm.
SECOND, THE SHOPPING LIST AND POST-ITS.
I can’t imagine where the magnetic shopping list and post-its went. The magnet broke, so I put the shopping list pad on top of the refrigerator. The post-its are obviously by the phone. They’re gone.
Nobody took them.
So I have to write notes in that huge green notebook. The pages are just too big.
THIRD, MY EARRINGS. I keep my earrings in a “darling little papier-mache box,” to quote my mother. My earrings were once rejected by a burglar. Yes, he dumped them out on the bed but didn’t take them. They are junk jewelry, thank God.
I like to wear my earrings when I go out, but I have no longer have any pairs. When I put them in a box, they are in pairs.
FOURTH, MY PURPLE T-SHIRT THAT DATES BACK TO 1989. I do not have a picture of my purple t-shirt, because half a t-shirt does not disappear: it’s the whole thing. If you paid $8 for a t-shirt in 1989, it would last three years; if you paid $24, it would last a lifetime. Where did it go?
Is it in with my winter clothes? Did the washing machine swallow it, as it does socks?
LAST, THE FIRST BOOK IN MY JAMES WILCOX COLLECTION. I love James Wilcox’s humorous novels, set in Tula Springs, Louisiana, which are often compared to Anne Tyler’s books, though of course they are Southern. Where is Modern Baptists, the first one in the series? All the others are together. Modern Baptists has gone missing!
MY SUSPECT. Yes, I have a suspect.
Here she is!
She is adorable!
Sometimes she darts around the house with an earring in her mouth.
“No, no,” I say, but it doesn’t impress her.
She loves to play with pen caps, though I have never seen her with a pen. She may have playfully knocked the shopping list off the refrigerator or ripped up the post-its. I don’t think she took my t-shirt, bra, or socks. James Wilcox’s book? HMMMMM.
What have you lost and do you have any suspects?