In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more columns by Palmer here.
If I was looking for my passport, I'd have found it right where it is not supposed to be - in my top desk drawer. However, I am not looking for my passport. I am looking for a check. Not just any check, but a check a friend asked me to mail to the IRS. This is not the type of check that can be misplaced (doesn't that sound better than lost?). I put the check in a nice safe place until it was time to mail it to the IRS, and now I can't remember which nice safe place I put it in.
My first safe place is in my top desk drawer. I have a little pile of business cards in there held together by a rubber band. I frequently put checks underneath the rubber band because it makes a satisfying snap. But, there is no check. There is, however, my social security card. Hmm : I looked for that weeks ago and here it is!
I interrupt this column to bring you a special message. Just now as I type this, my dear sweet son, who does not know the subject of this week's column, informed me I should teach a class entitled, "The Art of Forgetting." Amazingly, he is now old enough to fully appreciate the Zen master mother qualities I possess.
The second safe place is in one of two white baskets on the floor by my desk. The reason they are not in my desk is because I need to see the file folders labeled: "Urgent!" "Extra Urgent!" and "Drop Everything and Do it Now!" files. While flipping through these files I find:
- The order form for my son's school pictures.
- Last year's adorable Christmas card photo that needs to framed.
- Those darn padded envelopes I needed but could not find a week ago. But, no check.
- The third safe place is a small cubby in the kitchen, which on a good day holds my car keys. A search of the cubby turns up a nine-volt battery I've been meaning to put in the smoke detector, Post-It Notes, a small flashlight and the head of a Barbie doll.
As I begin to dig through the recycling containers, a frightening thought pops into my mind: Did I throw the check out with the Christmas wrapping paper?
Isn't it cool how wrapping paper doubles as a vacuum cleaner, sucking up warranties, receipts, gift cards and the all-important directions for mailing back a shirt that is two sizes to big? This Hoover-like function is why astute households like mine do not dispose of Christmas wrapping paper until June 1, 2013.
Based on hours of personal research and nonscientific observation I can say with absolute certainty that there is no point in looking for something. None. I guarantee you will not find it. As soon as you start to search, a stress-related vision thing occurs that blinds you from seeing the object. So, stop right now. Adopt the Zen-like attitude I possess. If you have trouble, pre-register for my soon-to-be-offered class, "The Art of Forgetting."
P.S. I finally did find the check. In the middle of the night I awakened and knew exactly where it was: My fourth safe hiding place, which I will not reveal in case the FBI is reading this column.
P.S.S. Note to self: I moved the passport into my safe deposit box at the bank and my social security card is in my wallet.