It happens every time we come home from an extended winter stay in Florida. We unload our Chevy Traverse, trudging in from the garage with bin after bin of kitchen and bath supplies that we used in the rental cottage, plus coats and luggage, plus golf clubs, plus computer, electronics and office equipment, plus Schnoodle Dog’s crate, his beds, his blankets, his toys, his wardrobe, his accessories, his dinnerware, his food, his meds, and his treats. Whew!
I stand in the midst of it all and dang if I can remember where everything goes. Not at first anyway.
After two and a half months, I become so accustomed to the layout of the Florida rental cottage and where I keep everything down there that I have trouble remembering where I keep everything up here. For the first few days, home doesn’t seem like home. It’s more like a place I visited a while ago with which I am no longer familiar. It feels sort of weird having to learn my own house all over again.
Eventually, I sort everything out, finally remembering where they all go, and restore all items to their former locations. It usually doesn’t take more than a week, tops—but there are other readjustments I have to make.
Remembering where I am when I get out of bed in the middle of the night is one of them. It’s disorienting to tiptoe into a closet in the dark instead of the master bath, not to mention embarrassing.
There’s more. After two months of having to memorize and use the resort entry gate code and the cottage’s garage door code numbers, I drew a blank when I tried to remember our home’s numerical burglar alarm code. I found myself standing before the beeping alarm console in a cold sweat. The numbers I memorized—gate code, garage door code, alarm code, phone number, social security number, RWA® membership number—all jumbled together in my brain. I squeezed my eyes shut trying to block out all but the alarm code, willing my memory to kick in and come up with the code before the siren began to wail and the Sheriff’s Deputy pulled into the driveway. The memory failed to kick in, so I went with my instincts instead and punched in a series of numbers that felt vaguely familiar. Miraculously, the beeping ceased. Be still my heart.
I faced a similar situation with our home safe. I needed to retrieve an item from the safe—my MMRWA Angel Award pin to wear to the March monthly meeting. I experienced another tabula rasa moment. What the heck is the freaking code? I punched in variations on the numbers I was sure comprised the code. None worked. So not fair. I’m going to be late to the meeting. And it was about to go from bad to worse. If I wanted to wear my Angel pin to the meeting, and I did, I would have to grovel before Macho Guy and admit I couldn’t get into the safe. He pointed out the one little step I left out that was the code’s equivalent to Open Sesame. He muttered something about it being “time for the Home.” Dang that was humiliating.
As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, my car turned on me. I got into the Ford Edge that I hadn’t driven in months and backed out of the garage. I reached up to close the garage door with the car’s built in remote. I pressed the button. The garage door didn’t budge. The sunroof did. It opened. Oops. Wrong button. I pressed the one next to it. The garage door remained open. The sunroof didn’t. It closed. Oops again. Where the devil is the remote? Think. Think! I kept remembering where the controls were located in the Traverse. Their location in the Edge escaped me but I wasn’t about to admit it to Macho Guy. One humiliation per day was enough, thank you ever so.
In frustration, I banged my head against the steering wheel in the hope of jostling the memory loose. I was just about to admit defeat and get out to close the garage door manually when the light bulb finally flashed on over my head. I pulled the sun visor down and there was the remote button on the other side of the visor. Halleluiah!
Banging my head against the steering wheel apparently worked wonders. I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I have a memory hiccup. Fortunately, I arrived only five minutes late at the restaurant where our group’s luncheon meeting was taking place. The way my day was going, I’m surprised I remembered how to get there.