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Marriage, memories and disappearing car keys

By: Brian McLeod

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 06:00 am

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Like most newly married couples, in our first year of marriage, my wife and I made many adjustments to our lifestyles, in order to accommodate the other person. We adjusted to a host of new preferences: TV shows, food, furniture styles, recreational activities, holiday celebrations, favourite movies, fashions, friends, and household chores – just to name a few. By the end of our first year together, I thought that we had resolved most of these issues. In retrospect, I should have known it couldn’t be this easy.

As our second year unfolded, I began to notice a disturbing trend: many items in our household appeared to be changing locations on a random basis. The list of items was staggering. At various times, I could not locate my shoes, car keys, overcoat, wallet, glasses, fishing gear, belts, TV remote control, cologne, deodorants, pens, briefcase, binoculars, or virtually every hand and power tool I owned. Probably most frustrating of all was the constant location changes for food products. Coffee would appear at random intervals on the fifth shelf in the pantry, in the spice cabinet, then in the refrigerator, beside the dishwasher, or heaven only knew next. And the problem was not limited to just coffee, as virtually every other food product was also “on the move.” Salt, pepper, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, cookies, bread, cheese, and yogurt were just a few of these “happy wanderers.” Initially, I questioned whether my memory was the problem. I thought this was a very valid explanation, because I noted that my wife never seemed to have problems finding anything. However, I also realized that I had no problem finding items at work, or at the clubhouse for my golf course, or in the garage. Something was happening that I simply did not understand.

For a while, I accused my wife, and my children – unfairly – of being the instigators of these nocturnal journeys, an accusation they all flatly denied. In time, I realized that it simply made no sense for them to be involved – constantly moving items would take a lot of time, and my wife and children were simply far too busy to invest so much time in such a pointless pursuit. One evening, when watching a Disney nature movie about zebra migration in Africa, the proverbial old light bulb came on. I had unfairly blamed my wife, my children, and myself but the truth was that no one was moving these items – they were simply migrating! Now, it made perfect sense.

In the years since, I’ve been able to track the migration of just about every food item in our home. Some patterns are very, very simple. For example, salt routinely moves – every fourteen days, from the spice rack to the cereal shelf in the pantry. Fourteen days later, it reverses its path back to the spice rack. Other items are far more complex. It took me nearly nine years to work out the migratory pattern for hot mustard. It moved in a random pattern of days, and in its nine-year cycle – it visited 27 different locations. Finally there has been one item that has eluded my best efforts for all these years: marmalade. Despite years of hard work, I’m sad to report that we still know virtually nothing about the migratory patterns of the Great Canadian marmalade. Perhaps next year …

Brian McLeod is a St. Albert resident.


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