Am I losing my mind?


Have you ever wondered if you’re losing it?

Yesterday I went into the kitchen and began making a cup of coffee. I moved to the fridge, opened the door, and blindly reached inside to grab a container of half and half from the usual shelf.

It wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere. The container was gone. Apparently, we were out.

My wife doesn’t drink coffee. We haven’t had anything in the house other than my coffee that used half and half… meaning any item or recipe where Terry might have grabbed it and used what was left in the carton.

This stuck with me all day long. Try as I might, I simply don’t remember finishing it myself. In fact, I remember putting the container back in the fridge the day before. There wasn’t much left, but enough for another cup or two.

Normally, at this point, I’d silently figure out a way to blame Terry. (Silently is the important word in that statement… for purposes of describing how it actually takes place, as well as for my overall health and wellbeing.)

As full disclosure, I haven’t asked her about it. And when I say blame, I don’t mean truly blaming her… I mean coming up with a reason for what happened. Something like: “Oh, the half and half is gone. When did that happen? Oh, look, the shelves are packed because Terry mixed a couple of containers of lemonade. She must have finished it off somehow to make shelf space for the lemonade.”

But that didn’t happen here. (Note to self… we’re almost out of lemonade.)

The weird thing is, over the past few years this has happened to me more and more. And, unlike the half and half… which stays in the fridge… I’m not so certain age is the only contributing factor.

My organizational systems around the house, in a fashion I would like to believe is similar to most people, is often based in large part upon use.

For instance, out in the garage you’ll find things for the lawn mower or snow blower, bird feeders, and most tools very quickly. I use them. Often. The Christmas stuff is in a back corner, out of the way. Specialized items that are rarely needed, like the wrench that works best under the sink at fitting around pipes and more to tighten the faucet, never seem to be in the first drawer of the tool chest I check, or even in the tool box with most of the plumbing items. (But, when I do find it, I’m sure I’ll recall the extra special reason for where I did have it and why I should have remembered that’s where it was.)

This system moves on throughout the house. The large pot we primarily use for lobster has been missing for years and neither of us can figure out where it went. That disk with three installations of Microsoft Office Home and Business I bought, because we had a PC and a laptop and I needed to buy it for both, when I eventually needed the third installation because the PC had died? I found our older printers, connecting cables long outdated, and lots of other great stuff that I’ll never use for the computers again. I eventually found it about a week after buying the software for the new PC.

It happens to kitchen gadgets… items in the food pantry… stuff for the yard… and all over the place. The less things get used, the more their location fades from memory… no matter how perfect a storage location is when selected.

This in turn explains a lot of my issues and wasted time when things happen such as a change of season, where I am suddenly in the garage spending far too long trying to find all of the stuff I need in order to get the leaves raked.

It does not explain where the darn half and half went.

And as I consider all of this, that’s where things get tricky.

The other day I was planning dinner. Wanted something a bit easy. I saw some bacon in the fridge and rolls we had left over from lunch the day before. I decided I could grill some chicken and use the bacon to make some kind of club sandwiches. Needed some lettuce and maybe a tomato. Corn on the cob is in season, and there’s a produce stand close to a grocery store near our house. Since it was a hotter summer day, I began thinking ice cream… no, wait, sundaes… would be a great treat for dessert.

Grilled chicken… corn on the cob… sundaes. Awesome. Just a quick run to the store.

Well… apparently everyone figured ice cream would be a great treat, because most of the flavors Terry and I can agree on were gone. I ended up getting frustrated with the search, finished my shopping, and came home. As I was putting stuff away, I realized I had driven back without stopping for the corn.

Muttering a few choice curse words, I began moving things around the kitchen… putting some stuff away for later while taking other things out that I might need… eventually discovering I didn’t have any chicken.

Deep breath of frustration, walked out to grab the mail, took care of a couple of things, and went back out. Came back with six ears of corn. And no chicken. Forgot the chicken.

And now here I am, wondering if I really did finish the half and half, or if maybe Terry got rid of it, or if any only slightly less than impossible other scenarios took place. After all, even though I did fix things under the sink with other tools, it’s been quite a week for my memory. (Where is that darn wrench?)

In the kitchen, we have a couple of pads of paper on the table. Whenever we come across something we need… well, apparently except corn on the cob and chicken… we write it on the list. Works great for shopping, but we seem to abandon the idea when it comes to things like making doctors’ appointments, cleaning out gutters, and remembering oil changes. We could probably use a list for our lists.

All of this eventually comes back to my morning coffee. And not because of the half and half itself, but rather because each time I’ve been near the fridge since then I’m overcome by the feeling that I’m forgetting something else. Something big. Something I shouldn’t be forgetting.

If only I had put it back where it really belonged when I used it last… or had written it on the list.

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