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©March 2007

Carol Jane Remsburg



Disappearing Pens




I do not know how it happens but it does.  Where do all the pens go in this house?  I buy them by the box lot from Staples in blue, green, red medium, not even the fine line kind.  I don't buy them with legs or other specialized ambulatory capabilities—but they seem to be able to move or disappear on their own.  (note:  the boxes say nothing about being part of a magician's road show in a former life either—I checked).


Why am I complaining?  Well, it was BILL DAY around this house again.  BILL DAY arrives every month like other unpleasant aspects of life.  Whoever said "cycles" are comfortingly familiar ought to be drawn and quartered.  I'd bet after just one experience they likely wouldn't call it comfortingly familiar when it came around the next month.  Paying the monthly bills is so often like that with only one income in the house.  Lots of bated breath, tummy turmoil, and hope—never leave out the hope that Uncle Bill's visit will be brief and he departs satisfied for now.  I'd include a bribe of some extra cornbread if he promised to go visit some long lost Cousin Colleen taking me out of his round of visits for a few months. 


Still, when it comes to facing the bills, it's also the same time I face balancing the checkbook and I need my pens—the blue one to write with and either a red or a green pen, alternating each month to tic off what matches on the bank statement to balance it up just right.  I keep all three beside my calculator on my desk. 


With a large mug of hot coffee with just a swirl of cream, I sat down with a deep sigh and the bill basket which is overstuffed with bills and other paper items/documents I don't want to lose.  Then comes the sorting of the bills that need payment this month to be followed by tallying and balancing the checkbook.  I wince.  I cringe.  Okay, so I softly whine behind the little door of my office, which isn't anything more than a pregnant closet with a grander ambitions, thus the moniker.  It's also the repository of half the junk in the house leaving me just enough room to sit down.  The door hits my chair if someone opens it.  It's time to get down to it—and MY PENS ARE GONE AGAIN! 


There are two other people who live in my house, my hubby and my teenaged daughter.  Neither will admit to taking my pens.  It's not as if they don't have their own or at least half a dozen in a jar in the kitchen along with the errant ones in the junk drawer.  The teen has an entire office supply of pens in her room in all the colors of the rainbow at her disposal as well.  Trust me, I've made sure!  She's "ink pen and colorized" needy…


My pens are gone!  Life as I know it, comes to a grinding halt.  I begin searching beneath the debris of papers and junk mail that magically appears on my desk.  Are the pens under all that?  No.  I toss the junk into the trash where it belonged to go originally.  Perhaps it just needed the matriarch of the house to put the final touch on them to assist "the unwanted" to exit via the trash can.  (Perhaps the resident packrats are hoping I'll keep all that junk mail for some purpose unknown to them, but disposing of anything has never been a strong point for either of them.)


Still, no pens.  Not even the black one I had hidden—just in case of an emergency.


A deep sigh reverberates throughout the house as I exhale like some monster from the deep.  All other residents have already left the house to the safety of the great outdoors.  The gimped-up hubby has a power-sander fired up in the garage generating dust and noise as a defense.  That's HIS story and he's sticking to it.  The teen is BEHIND the garage with her volleyball tossing it around and knowingly oblivious to all else.


I search high and I search low.  Still no pens, the blue, the red, or the green.  This month though, I need the red, I used the green last month. 


As in so many months past, I open the bottom desk drawer and pluck out two new pens, a blue and a red to face the bill paying/bank statement balancing task.  My tummy has settled down in the search for the pens and I get down to that "comfortingly familiar" monthly cycle.


Next month I'm NOT keeping my pens by the calculator…I'm putting them BACK in the bottom desk drawer.  If I'm lucky, they'll still be there next month unless they tell the rest of them about life beyond that bottom drawer and all of them take a trip to the Bahamas without me.


(Geez, where's a steamer trunk and passage to warmer climes when you need one?)


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